Rising to the challenge

Rising to the challenge

WICHITA, Kan. — In the thrilling second edition of WWE NXT, the stakes in this potentially life-altering competition came into view. At the end of the season, a Rookie's success or failure will be determined by votes from the WWE Pros. The catch? The Pros cannot vote for or against their own Rookies. So these eight young contenders aren't only competing to impress the WWE Universe with their talent and charisma, but the Pros they are facing in the ring. (WATCH)

Who will be catapulted to Superstardom and who will fade into oblivion? Stay tuned to WWE NXT to find out.

Matt Hardy & Justin Gabriel def. William Regal & Skip Sheffield (PHOTOS | WATCH)
William Regal and his Rookie, the self-proclaimed "cornfed meathead" Skip Sheffield, haven't exactly been seeing eye to eye. Claiming that his mentee has "the personality of an open grave," Regal has said working with the massive Texan has been the biggest challenge of his career.

This disconnect between Rookie and Pro gave Matt Hardy and his Rookie, Justin Gabriel, the advantage going into tonight's tag bout. While Regal & Sheffield bickered, the exciting duo of Hardy & Gabriel worked together like a seasoned team. With their opponents reeling, Hardy tagged in his Rookie, allowing the high-flying South African sensation to nail The British Brawler with a 450 splash to pick up the win. This major victory marked the first time an NXT Rookie has pinned a WWE Pro.

Wade Barrett def. Daniel Bryan (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Still tending to his bruised ribs after last Tuesday's epic encounter with World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan was given a rude awakening by his WWE Pro, The Miz. While in the middle of a session with a WWE trainer, Bryan was interrupted by the United States Champion who informed him that WWE Superstars have to compete even when they're hurt and then sent him out to face Jericho's NXT Rookie, Wade Barrett. (WATCH)

Ever the warrior, the talented Rookie stepped up to the challenge and attacked his larger opponent with everything he had. But Bryan's amazing tenacity wasn't enough to overcome the severity of his injury or the 270-pound bare-knuckle fighter standing in front of him. The massive Barrett focused on the wounded midsection of The Miz's Rookie, repeatedly drilling him into the mat before picking up the pin. To add to Bryan's suffering, Chris Jericho entered the ring after the bout and put the agonized competitor in the Walls of Jericho.

Darren Young def. David "A-List" Otunga (PHOTOS | WATCH)
On last Tuesday's debut edition of WWE NXT, Darren Young suffered a quick loss to the imposing and confident David Otunga due in part to a lack of guidance from Young's WWE Pro, CM Punk. This week, however, the South Beach party boy got a helping hand from The Straight Edge Savior and his loyal followers, Serena & Luke Gallows.

While the impressive Rookies battled evenly in the early goings of the match, Young was given a window of opportunity after Punk grabbed Otunga's leg. With the red carpet Rookie distracted, the powerful Young slammed his opponent to the mat and scored his first win on WWE NXT. Frustrated with his loss, Otunga shoved his WWE Pro, R-Truth, after the match.

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