Last week, NXT Rookie Wade Barrett wowed the WWE Universe with his speaking skills in the Talk the Talk Challenge. This week, things got more physical as the NXT Rookies squared off against each other in the Rock ’em Sock ’em Rookies Challenge. After a three-round competition, Skip Sheffield was declared the winner after knocking fellow NXT Rookie, Darren Young, off his pedestal. “The Cornfed Meathead,” who finished second in the two previous Rookies’ Challenges, made a huge impression on the WWE Pros and the WWE Universe, and earned a special feature on WWE.com, taking over the entire website!
In just three weeks, the second Pros’ Poll will be revealed, and the NXT Rookie ranked last will be eliminated from the competition! Therefore, the NXT Rookies must not only survive the intensifying pressure, but also thrive on it to become WWE's newest breakout Superstar. The winner will earn a title match against the champion of his choice, live on pay-per-view.
In his first singles match against fellow NXT Rookie, David “A-List” Otunga, Justin Gabriel earned a victory, thanks in part to Otunga's WWE Pro, R-Truth. Otunga reached for R-Truth, looking for help, but his WWE Pro refused, allowing Gabriel to roll up the “A-List” NXT Rookie for the win. Gabriel celebrated his win with his WWE Pro, Matt Hardy, while Otunga seethed over R-Truth's reluctance to interfere. With his win, Gabriel's record increased to 5-2, while Otunga's fell to 4-3.
Tired of being overlooked by the WWE Pros and the WWE Universe, NXT Rookie Michael Tarver proclaimed himself a “bulldog off the leash” and offered an open challenge to anyone in the WWE NXT locker room. This came after an angry Tarver refused to compete in the weekly NXT Rookie Challenge, and “dance on a balloon like a little monkey for your entertainment.”
Hoping to impress his WWE Pro, William Regal, who was stuck in Europe due to the Icelandic volcano eruption, NXT Rookie Skip Sheffield accepted the dare. Then, WWE Pro CM Punk offered his NXT Rookie, Darren Young, who earned a huge victory over Luke Gallows last week.
Clearly still troubled by his loss to Young, the Straight Edge Society’s Luke Gallows tried to interfere in the Triple Threat Match. His efforts to sabotage Young backfired, as the South Beach party boy pinned Tarver. With the victory, Young’s record increased to 6-2 – the highest of any NXT Rookie after week nine, while Sheffield’s dropped to 0-5 and Tarver’s fell to 0-6.
NXT Rookie Heath Slater earned the biggest victory of his NXT Rookie career Tuesday night, besting six-time World Champion Chris Jericho! And to the “one-man rock band’s” credit, he did it without the presence of his WWE Pro, Christian, who was still stranded in Europe due to the Icelandic volcano eruption.
Slater showed no fear against his WWE Pro opponent, reversing Jericho's attempts at the Walls of Jericho, and rolling him up for the pin for the monumental victory. Jericho and his NXT Rookie, Wade Barrett, were left stunned after the match, as Jericho argued the call with the WWE official: “There’s no way! I’m the best in the world at what I do!”
With the win, Slater left a strong impact on the WWE Pros just three weeks before the next Pros’ Poll will reveal the Rookie Rankings. Slater, who is ranked No. 4, upped his record to 5-2.
In the biggest upset in WWE NXT history, NXT Rookie Heath Slater defeated six-time World Champion Chris Jericho! Also during week nine of competition, NXT Rookie Skip Sheffield won the Rock ’em Sock ’em Rookies Challenge, earning an exclusive WWE.com feature.
- Justin Gabriel (w/ Matt Hardy) defeated David Otunga (w/ R-Truth) (4:09)
- Darren Young defeated Michael Tarver & Skip Sheffield (w/ Carlito) in a Triple Threat Match (7:35)
- Heath Slater defeated Chris Jericho (w/ Wade Barrett) (3:07)