WWE is always cooking up new programming for its Network. Many of these shows target specific demographics, like women (Unfiltered with Renee Young), middle-aged men (Legends’ House), and really immature teen boys whose moms don’t know how to use the parental controls (Camp WWE). And of course, kids.
Early this year, WWE taped an episode at Full Sail University for NXT Kids, featuring Izzy the Bayley superfan and various WWE superstars. But this wasn’t the first time WWE attempted to launch the program.
Back in August of 2015, someone from WWE accidentally leaked the original unaired pilot of NXT Kids, uploading it to Vimeo without password protection.
Consisting of two matches from the late April NXT taping, the show clearly had a lot of effort put into it, with graphics, commercials, and commentary added in post-production featuring Corey Graves.
It’s a wonder that the original pilot never aired, considering how highly WWE must think of the commentary of Corey Graves, the newest member of the Raw announce team.
Then again, maybe it has something to do with the off-the-wall commentary by Graves’s announce partners for NXT Kids, Tucker and Drew.
Who the hell are Tucker and Drew?, you might be asking. To that I say, watch your language, because Tucker and Drew are children. There’s an old saying in show biz: “Never work with children or animals”; NXT Kids features a whole lot of the former and even a little bit of the latter.
The first match in NXT Kids history is between Bayley and Jessie McKay, better known now as Billie Kay. By the end of the match, you’ll know what the Kay stands for.
To start the match, Bayley’s opponent Jessie McKay rejects her offer of a hug.
Corey Graves casually mentions that Jessie is from Australia. “Oh my God, it’s the Kangaroo Lady!” says one of our young commentators, setting the tone for the whole match.
From there, the commentary devolves into a string of stereotypes and fantastical visions of what it’s like to live in Australia.
For instance, the kids speculate in great detail about the Kangaroo Lady having wrestled kangaroos with a koala as a tag team partner.
All joking aside, fighting kangaroos is a dangerous game.
Being able to spring off their powerful tails, they have as much chance as a three-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
Then again, maybe she only wrestled mechanical kangaroos.
Jessie McKay may also have given birth to three kangaroos herself on her kangaroo farm. Now that’s not PG, let alone TV-Y7 or whatever rating WWE is going for here.
Corey Graves is intrigued enough by all these kangaroo stories that he picks Jessie when his colleagues ask him his preference for a date.
And did you know that Jessie attended school with wallabies?
Corey Graves tries in vain to relate to the kids by referencing Rocko’s Modern Life, but his broadcast partners have never heard of it.
“That was twenty years ago, Corey!” says an indignant Michael Cole.
At least he would say that, were he on the announce team, which thankfully he isn’t.
Our team of Art Donovans-in-training also has lots of insightful questions (“Corey, would you want to be in one of those, uh, submissions?”), comments (“You saw that kid’s face, he’s like yeah!”), and strange terms that sound like ethnic slurs but aren’t (“I love when those noodle people come out!”).
Jessie hits Bayley with something called a “knee to the hug,” which the kid announcers very unprofessionally make light of. If someone had said, “knee to the hug” on Raw, the announcers would just ignore it until it started trending on Twitter, at which point they would mock that person for the next half hour.
Bayley wins the match after dropping Jessie right on her malanga gildachuck.
One of our kid commentators wonders how the match would have played out had Jessie simply given Bayley a hug at the outset, thus providing better analysis of the in-ring action than JBL, Cole, and Saxton ever did on Raw. Come to think of it, WWE’s commentary really sucks. Do you think they’re allowed to sign these kids full-time?
Then it’s time for hugs all around, including Corey Graves. They even air a video package where John Cena hugs a fan.
After the match, we are presented with a math problem involving Big Cass and the Statue of Liberty.
They fudge the answer just a bit (it should be 43 and 4/7ths)…
…but I’m more concerned about the phrase “equals to.” Whoever put this graphic together needs to learn how to proofread…
Lady Liberty then effortlessly crushes the entire unsuspecting women’s division under her feet while holding the Women’s Title.
I’m surprised Stephanie McMahon hasn’t yet booked herself to do exactly that.
Another feature is the Superstar interview conducted by one of NXT Kids’ senior broadcasters, PJ Whitaker (I call him “senior” because his voice has already changed).
Here, we learn that if Zack Ryder were stuck on a desert island, he would want, among other things, a “hot chick.”
For hugging, I bet.
Before we get to see the show’s second and final match, there’s one more segment: the fan video of the week, which, to capture that coveted 0-24 months demographic, stars a toddler identifying NXT wrestlers’ theme songs.
That’s kid stuff, Dad. Next time, get him to identify all the former Shield members’ entrance themes. I can never figure out whose is whose.
One Flintstones commercial later, and it’s time for the main event: Kalisto vs. Tye Dillinger.
The kids are no fans of Tye’s hair, but they are fans of Kalisto’s entrance…
…and mask, especially the snake flag and cape that’s hanging down from the mask like a mini-ponytail. Okay, they lost me.
Kalisto’s key to victory, they say, is to move around like the mini-ninja he is.
Unfortunately, Tye hits him with the dreaded Mega Wedgie Drop, prompting one of the commentators to ask Corey whether wedgies are legal.
Clearly, these kids have never seen Ahmed Johnson in action. And clearly, Corey Graves has given up any hope of this episode making it to air, remarking, “Tye Dillinger with a well-executed Mega Wedgie Drop.”
Eventually, Kalisto recovers from the Mega Wedgie Drop to execute a Salida del Sol to pin Tye Dillinger.
“More like ‘Cry Dillinger’,” says one of the commentators (not Corey Graves).
Post-match, Kalisto celebrates. Hey, there’s at least one fan I wouldn’t mind hugging till the salida del sol.
For the next week’s episode, we are promised matches between Charlotte and Dana Brooke…
…as well as Sami Zayn and Tyler Breeze, all of whom will have joined the main WWE roster by the time the episode airs (which is never).
NXT Kids plays out like a caricature of what Vince thinks his shows would sound like were he not constantly telling his commentators what to say. In fact, I bet whenever an announcer complains about Vince yelling in his headset to give instructions, McMahon shows them NXT Kids. Maybe that’s the whole reason he commissioned the show in the first place!
Hopefully, the new and improved NXT Kids won’t offend international viewers with its commentary. Things aren’t looking good on that front though, as it reportedly features Corey Graves on commentary with two kids again, as well as a Becky Lynch match.
Well, whatever Irish stereotypes the youngsters might bring up, they couldn’t possibly be any worse than this: