Top 4 of NXT 7/18/12

After a first few slow episodes NXT has picked back up and has fully embraced being the new FCW. No, that wasn’t a typo. It’s not NXT: Redemption (which is the NXT I prefer to remember) but it basically has the same idea that FCW had, just with bigger production. And Chris Russo as the ring announcer, which is a good thing. This week the match that didn’t make it on the Top 4 is Raquel Diaz vs. Paige. Not a bad debut for Diaz, really, but not a great showing between both wrestlers.

4. Tamina vs. Kaitlyn

Tamina and Kaitlyn put on a good match, decent length. Regal gets in a few good remarks about his crush on Kaitlyn, which is the highlight of any Kaitlyn match because it’s really adorable listening to him fawn over her and knowing she’s completely oblivious to it. Tamina’s solid but she takes a while to set up the Superfly Splash, which is the weakest part of her move set. These two women know how to keep a match moving.

3. Jinder Mahal vs. Percy Watson

I can hear the TWC (Twitter Wrestling Community) collectively booing me for putting Mahal on the list, but a solid match is a solid match. While talking to a friend about NXT he asked why I was bothering watching a Mahal match and I said I don’t actually know what happens if I fast forward through the matches. I’m glad I didn’t. Mahal has leaned down a bit and the veins are no longer popping out of his shoulders, which made it hard for me to look at him. The leaner arms has led to a quicker speed which works off of Watson’s frenetic movements. Mahal has come a long way since his days fighting Khali when he first was brought on television on Smackdown, but if you continue to fast forward through matches you’ll never see it.

2. Heath Slater vs. Justin Gabriel

This is usually where I complain. “Can we stop seeing this match up? We’ve been there, done that. What can they do that is new?” Well, here, they manage. Sure, you don’t get anything particularly new and shiny, they still have a limited move set, but watching this match you don’t feel like you’ve watched it before. And before. AND before. Slater’s talented, Gabriel’s made leaps and bounds in his own wrestling, and together they show it off against one another.

1. Richie Steamboat vs. Leo Kruger

Kruger plays up being a heel quite nicely while Steamboat places the part of a smiling face. Steamboat is an incredible second man in a wrestling match and Kruger puts on a show that makes me laugh. The prancing, the dancing, the general boasting of his abilities and then the win by all means necessary. He’s sly and quick as he cheats and does it flawlessly and in a way that if you didn’t see it with the camera you might not suspect, which is the point. He comes off as genuine, but hateful, but in boasting of his abilities why would he need to cheat, but he does. Tonight the “FCW” men took it away.

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