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The Miz-Daniel Bryan pairing is focus of WWE NXT debut show

Judging by the first episode of WWE NXT Tuesday night, the pairing of The Miz and Daniel Bryan (formerly Bryan Danielson) is going to make for some entertaining television. And in the process, Bryan may get over quicker and to a greater degree than if he had made a traditional debut in WWE.

The stark contrast in the personalities of Miz and Bryan was played up right from the beginning of the show. Miz is the charismatic but obnoxious "pro" who used a reality show as a vehicle for getting into pro wrestling, and Bryan is the "rookie" who has wrestled all over the world and is considered a great technician, but is lacking in personality.

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Bryan got a lot of face time on the show, both interacting with The Miz – including getting slapped and beaten down by his mentor – and wrestling a non-title match against world heavyweight champion Chris Jericho.

For Bryan to be successful, it's important for him to have a compelling story line, because when the eight "rookies" were all standing together, he looked the least like a star.

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Other thoughts on the show:

I like the concept of WWE NXT, but a lot about the program is unclear. How does the actual competition work? Are people going to be voted off? What, if any, aspect of the show is "real?" It's not at all like the old "Tough Enough" series, in which the business was exposed as a work. I'm just guessing, but I think the reality part in WWE NXT is that the "rookies" are being thrown into situations without any advance notice to see how well they can think on their feet. For example, when The Miz told Bryan to go to the ring, cut a promo and come up with a catch phrase, I have a feeling that Bryan had no idea he was going to be asked to do that. I also wonder if Bryan knew Miz was going to slap him. Miz sure did get out of the ring quickly after he did it. ...

That was a brutal-looking spot during the Bryan-Jericho match when Bryan overshot a suicide dive and crashed into the announce table, which resulted in a huge welt on his side. Before Jericho finished off Bryan with the "real" Walls of Jericho, he gave Bryan some good offense, including a spot in which it Jericho teased tapping out before making it to the ropes. ...

For his catch phrase, Bryan said that when you go against him, "you have two options: tap or snap." Not bad, but hasn't Kurt Angle used that one? ...

It look as if Michael Cole is going to play a heel announcer who favors the "pros" and rants about the Internet Wrestling Community and dirt sheets, while Josh Matthews is going to be on the side of the "rookies." I get it that Cole is playing a character here, but to work in the wrestling industry and say you've never heard of Bryan Danielson just makes him look silly. He also said that it was Bryan's first time on TV, which of course isn't true. He has appeared on Ring of Honor shows on HDNet. ...

David Otunga came across as a star in his video package. I'll need to see more of him in the ring to judge him as a worker, as his win over Darren Young only went about a minute. His finisher – which I think was supposed to be either a Uranage Driver or a Spinebuster – was pretty sloppy. ...

The complete lack of interest shown by CM Punk (who is Young's mentor) outside the ring during Young's match was hilarious. ...

Wade Barrett handled himself well on the mic, which is no surprise, since he does color commentating in Florida Championship Wrestling. I thought he showed poise when Jericho interrupted him. ...

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Heath Slater and Michael Tarver came across well in their video packages and they didn't look bad in the ring.


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