Archive for June, 2010

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Just when you thought it was safe, NXT pulls out all of the old surprises. An unexpected elimination? A dumb contest? A new host? We did get the first Pro’s Poll of the new season, but other than that, this episode brought back all of the bad that I had hoped was purged after Season One. Oh well. Let’s take a look.

The Return of the Keg Carry

New host Ashley (who is having some mic difficulties) brings out the NXT Rookies. She mentions that there is a surprise elimination tonight for whoever is in eighth place, but immunity can be won by winning (GASP) the Key Carry. The main problem with last season was all of the twists and turns that “WWE Management” took during the course of the season. During this season’s premiere, Matt Striker spelled out the season’s process. I guess that’s out the window now, too. I don’t want to go too in-depth about the competition. But here were some highlights:

Kaval’s reason for not competing (he didn’t want to wear his body out) makes perfect sense as compared to Michael Tarver just refusing for no reason.

In response to Michael Cole mentioning that he started for four years playing basketball, Josh Mathews said it was because he was home schooled and played by himself. That was HILARIOUS. Point Mathews.

Lucky Cannon wins and receives immunity. Titus O’Neil falls on his ass (or his face, really). I thought we were past this.

Percy Watson video package

Watson is the only Rookie who did not compete, so we get a video package instead. Watson has grown on me. He is very entertaining and he always has a smile on his face. It makes me feel like Watson isn’t a caricature, but just an extension of who he really is. Those are the Superstars who shine through. Watson is still green in the ring, but once he has that figured out, he will be in great shape.

MVP (with Percy Watson) v. Husky Harris (with Cody Rhodes)

Watson joined his Pro, MVP, at ringside for his match against Cody Rhodes’ Rookie, Husky Harris. This match was really slow. The first two minutes was a feeling out process, if you will. A lot of circling and a lot of broken grapples does not lend well to entertainment value. Harris looks a step off with everything that he does. Minus the botched kip-up (which was painful to watch), everything else just didn’t flow. His moves were very basic (elbow drops, scoop slams) and other than his explosive uranage slam, nothing impressed me. MVP wins with the 305 and does an excellent job selling Harris’ offense, which may have salvaged him just a bit. Harris refused to shake MVP’s hands after the match, which makes sense considering his Pro, Rhodes, would do the same.

Lucky Cannon, Kaval & Michael McGillicutty v. Eli Cottonwood, Alex Riley & Titus O’Neil

This was a short match which highlighted Cannon, Cottonwood, and Kaval. Cannon did a great job playing the face in peril while Cottonwood, O’Neil, and Riley beat him down. Cottonwood looked much better than he has in the past, but I’m surprised they put him on the heel team. With a babyface Pro (Morrison), it’s weird to see Cottonwood develop as a heel. Kaval got the hot tag and was able to hit the Tidal Crush and the Warrior’s Way. It’s funny how a man with such a low speaking voice can shriek so loud. Anyways, a good win for Kaval, who won’t be a clone of Bryan Danielson after all.

Pro’s Poll

Here are the results of the first Pro’s Poll:

Kaval

Percy Watson

Michael McGillicutty

Alex Riley

Lucky Cannon

Eli Cottonwood

Husky Harris

Titus O’Neil

O’Neil is eliminated for being in eighth, which is where I had him last week. He gives a great exit promo, but like Cottonwood, O’Neil, though paired with heels, came off as a face. Not that it matters anymore, but just a thought.

Find out what happens NXT on NXT this coming Tuesday. In the mean time, check back tomorrow for my Superstars report.


Courtesy of wwe.com

After lagging behind Smackdown last week, Raw picked up the pace dramatically and caught up to its blue counterpart. The eight men involved in Money In The Bank have been revealed and the main event has been set. There was yet another beatdown at the hands of Nexus, but on an unexpected legend. The focus of this night wasn’t on the wrestling, but that is what Raw is known for. Let’s check it out.

John Cena/Sheamus promo

Sheamus opens the show and wants to make a statement on behalf of the locker room. Instead, he brags about his championship victory. There is no reason for Sheamus to care about the rest of the Superstars; as long as he is intact as champion, nothing else should matter. That was a great heel move. Sheamus is ecstatic because John Cena is no longer the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship and he won’t have to deal with Cena’s armbands, lame slogans, and fans anymore. It was a watered-down version of Edge’s promo on Cena before Backlash 2009.

Just when you thought it was safe, Cena heads down to the ring. Cena doesn’t want another rematch, but for Sheamus to stand by him against Nexus. Cena calls Nexus out, but there’s an email from the Raw GM. Michael Cole goes to the new podium, adorned with a Raw GM seal, and reads the first email. It states that if any WWE Superstar attacks any member of Nexus, he or she will be suspended. Conversely, if any Nexus member attacks a WWE Superstar, he will be fired. Wade Barrett is not present because he is at WWE HQ meeting with WWE officials (In reality, his work visa expired and he is back in the United Kingdom until things are processed).

Buck Woodward of PWInsider made a good point in his recap, asking why the WWE Superstars would hold back considering Matt Hardy kept on being suspended on Smackdown, jumped the guardrail constantly, but was ultimately reinstated. i guess Raw and Smackdown operate on two parallel WWE universes (no pun intended).

Cena says that this puts a hitch in his plans and that he and Sheamus should have a WWE Championship match instead. EMAIL! Cole informs everyone that Sheamus will be in a match with Mark Henry.

Cena screams that he has been screwed by the internet once again (a subtle shot at the IWC?) and that he hasn’t been this screwed over by the internet since his mother cancelled his Warcraft account. There was also something in there about a Gmail address (which by the way, is gmail.COM, not gmail.ORG. Pushes up glasses). Really? I know Cena’s promos can be a bit overdramatic and hokey, but this is over the top. Why would Cena be in such a good mood after being screwed out of the WWE Championship twice in two weeks? He started off well, but crapped out at the end. Where is 2004 Cena when you need it?

EMAIL! Cole goes back to the podium. He looks like a middle school principal. Sheamus leaves, but before he does, a cage is lowered and we find out that at Money In The Bank, Sheamus will defend his title against Cena in a steel cage match. This makes sense considering the constant run-ins. Though the segment ran a bit long, it got over the Nexus/WWE storyline for the time being and set up the main event at the PPV. It’ll do.

WWE Unified Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty & Natalya v. The Usos & Tamina

This match never starts because the Usos jump the Dynasty before the match. How many sneak attacks are there going to be? The Dynasty has been buried since winning the titles in April. I am afraid that we might see constant Dynasty/Uso matches like we saw constant Dynasty/Cryme Tyme matches last year. The Dynasty either needs to be pushed or drop the belts. In the spirit of Washington D.C., “Pick 1.”

R-Truth is a zookeeper? Must be a fun zoo. I am surprised that a former NXT Pro wouldn’t say anything about his Rookie, who happens to be taking part in Nexus. Oh well. I want to go to this zoo.

Vlad Kozlov v. Santino Marella – If Santino wins, Kozlov will become Santino’s tag team partner

This feud is better served for WWE Superstars, but I guess we can kill time with it. Kozlov wins, so there will be no team this year (Simpsons joke). William Regal shows up to congratulate Kozlov, but then attacks Santino. Kozlov runs off Regal and carries Santino to the back. This team might form after all. Too bad you won’t see it unless you watch Superstars on Thursday nights.

Trouble in paradise for The Great Khali and Ranjin Singh? Does anybody care? I still thought he was on sabbatical.

Rob Zombie/Edge promo

I completely forgot that Rob Zombie was hosting. Good thing he really didn’t. He came out to announce the eight men who would participate in MITB for Raw. Those men are: Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, John Morrison, R-Truth, Ted DiBiase, and Edge. I think it is incredibly lame that they didn’t earn them, but were handed them.

Speaking of Edge, we get the expected Edge/Zombie/entrance music spat before Edge puts over his MITB expertise. A very well done promo, but I can’t help to feel like I’ve seen it before. Edge calls out Orton specifically, which means that these two aren’t done with each other just yet.

EMAIL! Cole informs us that there will be a face v. heel eight man tag tonight featuring the MITB participants. Jericho and Edge teaming together? After they tried to cripple each other for two months? Continuity soapbox!

WWE Champion Sheamus v. Mark Henry

Sheamus wins. Henry looks bad in defeat. Poor Henry. Someone throw him a title run!

Josh Mathews is in the back with Nexus. Skip Sheffield beats up a PA. Said assistant is not a “Superstar,” so a loophole has been found! What will happen NXT? See what I did there.

WWE Legends/Nexus segment

Jerry Lawler is in the ring and brings out Ricky Steamboat, whose DVD drops today. More legends come out (Dean Malenko, Michael Hayes, Mike Rotundo, and Arn Anderson) to congratulate Steamboat on his accomplishments. This segment ran a bit long and I could smell Nexus interrupting. Guess what? They did.

To sum up what took about 15-20 minutes, Nexus beat up all of the legends, leaving Steamboat by himself. They beat up Steamboat, using a variation of the Nexus formula. What is the Nexus formula? Well it is clotheslines + Barrett slam + Gabriel 450 splash = beatdown. Tonight it was Otunga spinebuster + clothesline + Gabriel 450 splash = beatdown. This gets the group A TON of heat. I am really looking forward to these guys getting theirs, and I don’t say that often. Since I’ve grown, I watch more for analysis than for fun. But I still have fun. And I would have fun watching Skip Sheffield eat an RKO. Just sayin’.

WWE Diva’s Champion Alicia Fox & Maryse v. Eve Torres & Gail Kim

This is the Diva’s equivalent of Dynasty/Uso. I still don’t think that Fox is ready for a title run, but she is trying to improve and credit must be given where credit is due. Her rise isn’t as prolific as Eve’s was. but it’s a start. The heels win, which makes sense to get Fox over as a credible champion. Melina’s return could not come any faster.

Randy Orton, Evan Bourne, John Morrison & R-Truth v. WWE United States Champion The Miz, Edge, Chris Jericho & Ted DiBiase

This match was essentially the heels v. Bourne and Morrison. Truth pretyt much didn’t wrestle at all and Orton only came in for the decided pinfall. It was a good way for Bourne and Morrison to get over with the crowd. Orton getting the hot tag and winning right away with the RKO was different, but nice. We get a post-match brawl, but Orton stands tall with the briefcase at the end. A good way to end the show and set up the mystery of who will win in July.

 

Courtesy of wwe.com

You’d think that after the lack of build-up between Raw and Smackdown before Fatal 4 Way, the WWE would try to figuratively hit the ground running with pushing Money In The Bank, the next PPV in about three weeks. Raw failed miserably. Smackdown? It passed with flying colors. We already know what the main event will be as well as some of the details regarding the Money In The Bank match itself. For a show on a lame duck network, Smackdown outshines Raw more often than not. Let’s take a look at last Friday’s Smackdown.

Theodore Long/Vickie Guerrero/Drew McIntyre opening promo

The show begins with a cold open featuring Theodore Long and Vickie Guerrero. Long recaps Fatal 4 Way and declares Rey Mysterio as the new World Heavyweight Champion. Right after that, he announces the concept behind MITB, where eight Smackdown Superstars will compete for a chance to win a guaranteed World Title match. I guess the Raw match will be the same except involving the WWE Championship. I heard reports that qualifying matches were going to start on Raw last week, but were ultimately scrapped. I would much rather have guys earn their spots instead of being handed them. I suppose qualifying will start tonight for Raw and next Friday for Smackdown. Five minutes into the show, Smackdown set up its MITB match.

Drew McIntyre interrupts and tells Long that he will face serious repercussions for his actions at Fatal 4 Way. Long tells McIntyre that since Mr. McMahon was incapacitated by Nexus on Raw, he has the authority to run Smackdown his own way. With that said, he reinstates Matt Hardy and the two will compete against each other tonight. Even Guerrero gets behind Long, which was weird, considering they’ve never seen eye to eye. This power rush of sorts for Long will be interesting to watch. I am not sure if it will only involve McIntyre or if it will carry over to other Superstars. Stay tuned. Either way, a great way to kick off the show.

The Big Show v. Jack Swagger

It gets better with the first match of the evening. Swagger walks out and rubs his stomach (Maybe he has a bellyache?) to highlight where his title used to be (Oh, nevermind).  Swagger cashes in his rematch (no pun intended) at Money In The Bank against Rey Mysterio. The show is not even 10 minutes old and we already have Smackdown’s main event as well. Swagger promises to right the wrongs along the way to MITB and he will start with the Big Show.

This match, while shorter than their title match at Over The Limit, was leaps and bounds better. Yes, it ended once again with Swagger losing by DQ, but it was the storytelling that made the match. At Over The Limit, Swagger used the World Title to get himself intentionally DQ’ed because he couldn’t find a way to win. This time, he put Show in an Ankle Lock and refused to let go. While the former was an instance of cowardice, the latter made sense considering Swagger’s comments before the match. Swagger has been fighting Kurt Angle comparisons for his entire career. Let the floodgates open! The entire sequence involving the Ankle Lock screamed Angle, but I loved it. A new side to Swagger’s character would help. He already transformed during his title reign, so let it continue.

Christian, MVP & WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston v. Curt Hawkins, Vance Archer & Dolph Ziggler

Five of these six men have been involved with each other in some way over the past several weeks (Kingston is the odd man out, but I believe the WWE is setting up an IC program between Kingston and Ziggler, so it might make sense). Hawkins and Archer have grown on me a bit, but Hawkin’s pants have not. These two guys will never be champions (in Hawkin’s case, again), but will be the mid-card heel team that each show needs (Sorry, Dudebusters).  Ziggler is the rising star out of this group. We all love Christian, I know, but if he hasn’t received his main event push by now, I am starting to get a little “glass half-empty” about it. Yet, Christian gets the win over Ziggler with the Killswitch. I did love Christian’s stall before hitting it and his staredown afterwards. I love me some storytelling. That’s why I’m a journalist! And MVP? He needs to turn heel again. His best work has been behind him since he turned.

Matt Hardy v. Drew McIntyre

This angle has been beaten into the ground, but this might have been the best match either man has had in quite a while. and for McIntyre, it might have been the best match of his career. I know I’ve said this a few times already, but storytelling is what makes wrestling great. The bumps and spots are great for entertainment value, but knowing why things are happening and having acceptable explanations for those things is what really separates a good match from a great match. In that regard, this was a great match.

Everything from McIntyre’s facial expressions to Hardy’s tenacity really brought this rivalry to a head. Of course, there were some great bumps and spots, especially McIntyre’s Michinoku Driver off the top rope and Hardy’s counter of McIntyre’s head stomp on the steel steps. Hardy wins with a Twist of Fate. After all of the bad that this storyline has brought with it, if this is the end, what a way to go out. Great work.

After the match, Long appears on the Titantron and tells McIntyre that his visa has expired. I loved Hardy waving goodbye from the ramp. I wonder where this will go. Hopefully, he won’t be back in a week like after he was “fired.” (UPDATE 6/29: McIntyre’s work visa has expired, according to Wrestleview. He is “MIA” but might be able to stay in the U.S. since his new wife, WWE Diva Tiffany, is a U.S. citizen).

Cody Rhodes promo

Cody Rhodes is out with his NXT Rookie, Husky Harris, to talk about how good-looking he is. I don’t understand this whole “Dashing Cody Rhodes” thing. Those prefix nicknames are so TNA. I liked the “Uncommon son of a common man” thing he had going on. He did some funny lines though, particularly his line to an audience member that he was “hearing [him] get fatter.” Rhodes is a stud, don’t get me wrong, but this is a wrong turn. He is better as the silent type. His promo skills are adequate, but nothing special. Rhodes is a great mid-card heel, so I hope the WWE doesn’t screw him over.

Dolph Ziggler/Vickie Guerrero promo

Ziggler finds Guerrero in the back and tells her he wants an IC Title match or he’s done with her. I guess it will be Kingston/Ziggler after all. This could be good.

Rosa Mendes v. Kelly Kelly (with Tiffany)

This was a squash. Kelly wins with the K2 in about five seconds. LayCool is at ringside, so this match was just an excuse to further their feud before the inevitable Women’s Title match in the future.

Alberto Del Rio vignette

Alberto Del Rio, better known as Dos Caras, Jr., is debuting on Smackdown with some sort of “honest man” gimmick. I can’t tell where this will go, but hope it doesn’t fall the way of Kizarni or Eric Escobar. Only time will tell.

C.M. Punk v. Kane – No DQ Match

This wasn’t a match, but a fight. Kane is convinced that Punk is the culprit (WHICH I SAID A MONTH AGO. SHAMELESS PLUG) and he goes after him hard. The Straight Edge Society interferes, including the Masked Man in a new outfit. If that is Joey Mercury, damn he is ripped. Anyways, Kane disposes of them, eventually chokeslamming Luke Gallows through the announce table. Kane chases Punk into the crowd and out onto the concourse. Punk escapes and runs into the night in his ring gear, which makes me laugh. What would you think if you saw Punk running through the streets in his underwear? This wasn’t their best encounter, but a Kane/SES program possibly involving the Undertaker through the summer would be fun to watch.



Courtesy of wwe.com

After a nice weekend away, I am back to go over last Thursday’s Superstars. It was nothing out of the ordinary. Let’s take a quick look.

JTG v. Caylen Croft (with Trent Baretta)

JTG has been busting up the Dudebusters for quite some time. After Baretta had a decent showing against IC Champion Kofi Kingston last week, Croft came up way short this week. This was a glorified squash. JTG has his way with Croft, who got in some assorted shots, but ultimately lost in quick fashion. JTG even called his own shot, hitting the Shout Out with relative ease. The Dudebusters (I am definitely beating a dead horse here) are a waste. Croft and Baretta are talented workers, but are being booked the wrong way. They are like a more annoying Hawkins & Ryder, but at least those two won the WWE Tag Team Championship. Hopefully, they will be straightened up or they will be flown right out.

Luke Gallows (with Serena) v. Chris Masters

In a spoiler report I read last week, someone said that TV doesn’t do Serena justice and that he was surprised she didn’t fall forward when she walked. Awesome. Anyways, Gallows and Masters put on an entertaining mid-card match. Each man had his chance to dictate the pace. but Gallows was more impressive. His big boot out of nowhere looked brutal. Gallows wins when Serena distracts Masters, perched on the top rope, which allows Gallows to stun him with a nice kick and lock on the Gallows Pole from the top rope. I thought this was innovative considering Masters is almost the same size as Gallows. Those of you who read this blog know how high (no pun intended) I am on Gallows and the Straight Edge Society in general. Only good things will come to C.M. Punk and his followers.

Jillian Hall v. Brie Bella (with Nikki Bella)

All I will say about this match was that watching referee John Cone tell the Bellas, “You are not going to do this to me” and deciding which Bella was which by noticing that Brie was “all sweaty” made me laugh. Yet, the Bellas found a way to make the switch and Nikki gets the pinfall victory over Jillian. Moving on.

R-Truth v. William Regal

This was a solid main event match. Truth played the face-in-peril while Regal worked over his left knee after Truth landed awkwardly onto it early in the match. I liked the spot where Regal caught Truth’s leg in the rope and pushed him into it, trapping him the process. Truth wins with the Lie Detector out of nowhere for the victory. Truth should find a place in Raw’s Money In The Bank match at the pay-per-view of the same name. I would consider him a wild card in the match, but can’t see him winning. I will discuss that further later this month.

Courtesy of wwe.com

This season of NXT is only a few weeks old and it is already flowing much more smoothly than its Season One counterpart. Tonight, we had a Pro/Rookie tag team match as well as the first Rookie v. Pro match of the season. Mix in some video packages, awkward exchanges, and some Matt Striker abuse and we have the recipe for yet another episode of NXT! Let’s take a look, shall we?

WWE United States Champion The Mix & Alex Riley v. MVP & Percy Watson

The Miz and Alex Riley are a match made in heaven. If it wasn’t for the noticeable size difference, these two would be indistinguishable. Even with the instant rapport between the two, I liked how the Miz showed disapproval with Riley at points during the match. It makes the Rookie/Pro pairing actually mean something. Percy Watson is so entertaining, but he’s like a juiced up Urkel. He needs more experience in the ring to go along with his noticeable promo skills in order to complete the package. Miz and Riley win in a good opening contest. Riley is this season’s Wade Barrett and David Otunga rolled into one. He is the consumate WWE Superstar. Expect big things from him.

Titus O’Neil video package

O’Neil brings up his rough childhood and the lack of support and respect he had while growing up. His “working man” gimmick works better for faces (see: Dusty Rhodes), so having him as a heel doesn’t make much sense. He gets cheered later on for his “working man” comments. I am not sure that is the reaction the WWE is looking for when it comes to O’Neil. Either way, he needs to get better in the ring if he wants the respect he yearns for.

Michael McGillicutty (with WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston) v. Titus O’Neil (with Zack Ryder)

The discrepancy in talent between McGillicutty and O’Neil is astounding. Nevermind the bloodlines. O’Neil is the most physically imposing Rookie on Season Two, but is probably the most green in the ring. Irish whip clotheslines and reverse chin locks won’t win matches in the WWE. Albeit, McGillicutty uses a swinging neckbreaker as a finishing move, but at least it looks brutal. McGillicutty (by the way, we were told that McGillicutty is his mother’s maiden name, which it isn’t) put on a clinic in less than five minutes. Perhaps O’Neil’s struggles are a reflection of his “Pro,” Zack Ryder, but I would be surprised if he doesn’t find himself in last place when the first Pro’s Poll is released next week.

Kaval (with WWE Co-Women’s Champions LayCool) v. Eli Cottonwood (with John Morrison)

Kaval and Bryan Danielson took a very similar route to the WWE, so it doesn’t surprise me that he is being booked the exact same way. Kaval took on Eli Cottonwood in a one-on-one match, and much like McGillicutty/O’Neil, the talent discrepancy is alarming. Cottonwood is as stiff as a corpse in the ring. He doesn’t sell well and his offense isn’t fluid. Kaval definitely carried Cottonwood through the entire match, but ultimately lost. Kaval did get some impressive spots in, including his reverse Warrior’s Way and the springboard enziguiri. Cottonwood wins with a reverse chokeslam-like faceplant/flapjack manuever. Whatever it was, Kaval was out. Like Danielson, Kaval doesn’t need wins to earn or maintain credbility. Cottonwood, on the other hand, needs all of the help he can get. I just hope Kaval actually wins at some point.

Lucky Cannon video package

We get to hear about Lucky Cannon, who is “lucky” because he survived a brutal assault that left him unable to speak or walk. That is quite the story (if it were true). I know the WWE wants to make Johnny Prime look “lucky.” How about he wins some matches out of nowhere or has a penchant for knocking off Pros? Unfortunately, Cannon’s backstory is a little too farfetched for me to get behind.

In the back, LayCool is trying to cheer Kaval up. They give him a present. It’s a “I ❤ LayCool” warmup. To further the comparions with Danielson, Kaval has been placed with two Pros who are total opposites of him. Kaval, however, is taking things in stride in order to learn and succeed, showing his disicpline and respect for the business. Will he snap or will he continue to silently accept his mentors? Stay tuned.

Cody Rhodes (with Husky Harris) v. Lucky Cannon (with Mark Henry)

Cannon would have his chance to prove how lucky he is when he faced Cody Rhodes in the main event. Last week, Rhodes said that Cannon would be lucky to last five minutes. so Rhodes makes the match a “Five Minute Challenge.” All Cannon would have to do is not lose within five minutes. That didn’t happen. Cannon lost in about 3:30. Cannon got some offense in, but the story told through the match was his lack of experience. Last season, Heath Slater beat Chris Jericho, but it happened halfway through the season. That was more believable considering Slater had several matches (and a win over another Pro in a tag match) under his belt. This was Cannon’s second match; there was no way he was going to win, no matter how “lucky” he is.  Good work. Storytelling is important and it worked out very nicely here.

Rhodes is an absolute stud. I have said it before, but Rhodes has shined while Ted DiBiase has sunk. He is getting better on the mic and his movement in the ring is so crisp. The step-up kick off the turnbuckle looked and sounded brutal. The Cross Rhodes at the end looked a little weird, but I think that was more Cannon than Rhodes.

Rookie Final Thoughts

With the first Pro’s Pool being unveiled next week, Matt Striker gave the Rookies one last chance to speak their minds. Riley went first and said that he didn’t have to beat up nerds on the school bus anymore because he gets to do it on NXT. Kaval (wearing his LayCool shirt) is next and mentions that he has had to work hard to get to the WWE and will prove size doesn’t matter.

O’Neil follows with a “worked hard for everything and everyone doubted me” promo, which went over with the crowd. I wish he would stop with the “make it a win” schtick. McGillicutty must feel the same way because he mocks O’Neil before claiming that he possesses no weaknesses. I wish he would throw the word “perfect” into some of his promos to pay homage to his father. Surprisingly, Cottonwood delivers what I feel was the best promo, promising to wait in the shadows and bide his time until it’s time to strike. Watson is next and he makes me laugh, but in a good way. The gimmick is a little over the top for my taste, but it works for him.

Cannon, fresh off his loss, pretty much said the same thing that he said during his video package. Last, but not least, Harris says he doesn’t need 45 seconds and instead beats up Striker. Harris hits his senton splash and bails out. No one helps Striker. Do I blame them? No. Does it make sense? No. Striker has been taking quite the abuse lately. I would love to see him snap and put on the argyle trunks again. Rhodes looks pleased with Harris and the show goes off the air.

Don’t forget to vote on WWE.com next week for the first Pro’s Poll. Here is my Pro’s Poll based on what I have seen so far.

Michael McGillicutty

Alex Riley

Kaval

Eli Cottonwood

Percy Watson

Husky Harris

Lucky Cannon

Titus O’Neil

Be sure to tune in NXT week to find out what happens NXT on NXT.

 

Courtesy of wwe.com

Remember when the NXT Season One Rookies absolutely destroyed Raw two weeks ago? If I haven’t told you, that was one of the most compelling angles I’ve seen on Raw since the “PG Era” began. Well, that excitement is gone now because the WWE completely dropped the ball. I will explain more on that later, but last night’s Raw failed to impress. Sure, we had a WWE Championship match, but we also had some completely ludicrous things take place, too. Before I can continue to bitch and moan, let’s take a look at last night’s Monday Night Raw.

Vince McMahon/Sheamus/John Cena promo

Mr. McMahon is out first to open the show to address the Bret Hart situation. According to McMahon, he told Bret that he would have to make tough and unpopular decisions. He failed to do that and he was “relieved of his duties.” Well, it was fun while it lasted. In retrospect, how long did the WWE really believe Hart would stay? I was shocked when he was announced as GM, and other than making Batista quit and being jumped by Nexus (The NXT group), he didn’t make any waves (No, signing the Usos doesn’t count). McMahon says this is “closure” and I am not sure if we will see Hart again. If we do, please don’t make another lame “Bret screwed Bret” angle.

McMahon then announces that a new GM has been appointed, but that said GM wants to remain anonymous. How will he communicate, you might ask? Let me tell you. He will email Michael Cole, who will read the email aloud. WHAT. David Stephens of Wrestleview liked this idea because it allows the WWE to build up a GM without whoever it may be actually having to do anything. That is true, but really? Email? Michael Cole? Not only that, but it makes that annoying Apple/iPhone noise when someone receives a text message (or for those with Macs only, the noise when you finish uploading CDs on iTunes). We are really going to have to hear this for months, huh? On the bright side, it will absolutely confuse the hell out of my roommate, who is attached to his iPhone.

Cole got mail! The first order of business is for Nexus to receive contracts and that they will address the crowd tonight. I like that. Maybe the GM won’t be too bad.

As McMahon is leaving the ring, Sheamus’ music hits and the new WWE Champion makes his way to the ring. Sheamus looks forlorn and stressed. He tells McMahon that he doesn’t feel like he earned the WWE Championship because of the way he won it and wants to relinquish it. As McMahon reaches for the title, Sheamus pulls it back and puts a huge smile on. He had me. He really did. Yet, Sheamus takes the “I don’t care how I won it because I won it” road and even thanks Nexus for their “help,” even though he claims he didn’t need it. When Sheamus became WWE Champion in December, I couldn’t believe it. In June, after six months of gaining credibility, I’m okay with Sheamus as champion. He has grown on me.

John Cena makes his obligatory appearance and enters the ring. His promo was AWFUL. Why would you be smiling and joking when you just got jumped again and lost your title in the process? Like Sheamus, Cena is in a thankful mood. Cena thanks the GM for hiring Nexus so he doesn’t have to know whether or not they will show. He thanks Sheamus for his rematch clause and thanks Bridgeport because he thinks there is no better place for said rematch. I like John Cena. I really do. But sometimes, I want to duct tape his mouth shut. Duct tape? Really? Are you serious? (Sorry, Batista moment). The whole “let’s do a rematch right now” bit usually gets rebuffed by the heel champion, which it does. EMAIL! There WILL be a title match tonight and McMahon will be the guest referee. How anti-climactic. How will the no contest happen this time? Stay tuned.

Evan Bourne v. Chris Jericho

For the third time in a week, we get this match. Fortunately, all three have been gems, so there is no need for complaint. Jericho enters the ring with a brilliant facial expression and asked for yet another rematch with Bourne, putting his career on the line to do so. As soon as he said that, I thought he would lose (Jericho has a game show on ABC that premieres tonight). Yet, he did not, which was a pleasant surprise. This match was no different than any of the previous ones, but watching Bourne and Jericho is like poetry in motion (Sorry, Hardys). Jericho can make anybody look good and giving Bourne ample time to go over and display his skills has worked wonders already. Jericho wins when he rolls out of the way of a Shooting Star Press and hits the Codebreaker. Afterwards, it looks as if Jericho might show Bourne some respect, but slams him down to the mat. This “I am now the hunted” angle is definitely intriguing. I would like to see other up-and-coming Superstars (Yoshi Tatsu comes to mind) get a shot at Jericho. It could make for entertaining television.

Virgil is in the back and he’s a sad panda. Ted DiBiase enters and apologizes for his actions last week. Then DiBiase fires him. DiBiase has found a suitable replacement: Maryse. I ain’t sayin’ she’s a golddigger. We get the best line of the night when Virgil asks DiBiase what he will do for protection. “Go to the drugstore,” says DiBiase. Priceless (pun intended). This DiBiase/Maryse plotline will be something to watch. At least it gets Maryse out of the Divas division. Or does it? Maybe DiBiase buys her the Diva’s Title? Hmmm.

Josh Mathews is with the Hart Dynasty, who believes Bret got screwed again. Tonight is her debut on Raw. Finally, some new blood in the Diva’s division.

Natalya (with WWE Unified Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty) v. Tamina (with Jimmy and Jey Uso)

Yeah, so much for that debut. The match lasted a minute before Nexus interrupted to make their public address.

Nexus promo

The NXT 7 are in the ring and ready to make a statement. They apologize. Oh boy. David Otunga says they attacked everyone because they love the WWE and would do anything to get noticed. Weird. Heath Slater says it’s nothing personal. Okay. Justin Gabriel says…something. I think he apologizes to Hart and the Dynasty. Darren Young, who acknowledges the nickname “Black John Cena,” apologizes to his white doppelganger and vows that he will get his title back. Skip Sheffield yup yup yups and asks what it does. Michael Tarver apologizes to his children.

Finally, Wade Barrett gets the microphone and actually says something important and not incredibly stupid.  Barrett answers on the questions that I asked myself two weeks ago:

“After beating everyone else to win NXT, what does Barrett have to offer to the other Rookies? Is there some sort of incentive?”

The answer? Loyalty. Nexus made a pact that no matter what, they would stay true to each other. Makes sense. Barrett also mentions that he has received his title shot back and that whoever is champion is on notice. He says the NXT 7 have formed a “Nexus” (Oh! He said it!) and will stick together.

Last week, they weren’t sorry. This week, they’re incredible sorry? What gives. The WWE (who has reportedly been booking this angle on the fly) is dropping the ball. They need to get it together or what has been lost (DANIELSON) will outweigh what has been gained.

Zack Ryder (with Titus O’Neil) v. John Morrison (with Eli Cottonwood)

This match was supposed to be Morrison v. DiBiase, but DiBiase comes out with Maryse and says he has better things to do, like do his taxes or play Mouse Trap (He didn’t say that).  Ryder comes out instead and we get a match of NXT Pros. Good for selling the show, bad for entertainment. Morrison wins with Starship Pain. Eli Cottonwood is creepy.

John Cena is walking around in the back and Mathews asks him what he thought of Nexus’ apology. He doesn’t accept it. Uh oh…

Eve Torres & The Great Khali v. WWE Diva’s Champion Alicia Fox & Primo

Why bother? The faces win. Fox walks out on Primo. Wouldn’t you?

Randy Orton/The Miz/Edge promo

Randy Orton is alone in the ring and, unlike Cena, accepts the Nexus apology. Orton even hopes that Barrett wins the WWE Title so that it’ll be easier to win it back.

The Miz interrupts and says what a lot of people think: “we are tired of you in the main event.”  Miz says that in time, he will hold both the U.S. and WWE Championships, something Orton, or no one else for that matter, has ever done. The Miz jumps Orton, who gets the upper hand before getting speared by Edge. Edge tells Orton that the “real fun has begun.” A Miz/Orton feud would be (sorry) awesome. Not only would it give Orton something to do while Cena takes his probable spot as #1 Contender, but it would further push the Miz into the upper echelon of the WWE. What better way for the Miz to get even better by going up against the biggest face in the company for the second summer in a row? Orton has never held the U.S. Title. Imagine that title program. So good. Hopefully, Edge’s ominous message won’t screw things up.

John Cena v. Sheamus (with Mr. McMahon as special guest referee) – WWE Championship

McMahon ended up not being the referee, but more of an “enforcer.” Sheamus definitely had the momentum throughout the match, giving Cena a beatdown. It makes Sheamus look good.

Anyways, the match ends in a no contest (Surprise!) when Nexus interferes and attacks Cena yet again. After he has been disposed of, Nexus and McMahon enter the ring and McMahon takes partial credit for everything that they have done. Nexus surrounds him and they look pissed, but then they all crack a smile. McMahon says that Nexus had him for a minute. A minute later, he’s getting his ass kicked.

The good news is is that McMahon must not really be behind Nexus. Thank goodness. That would have been the beginning of the end in terms of interest. The bad news is how many times are we going to see the SAME ATTACK every week? Look, a clothesline, a fireman’s carry slam, and a 450 Splash was cool the first time. BUT NOT EVERY TIME. Clotheslines don’t keep normal wrestlers down. DO SOMETHING ELSE. Sheffield has a cool finisher. Use that! This is getting really old really fast. After what happened two weeks ago, the WWE is sinking with this. Fix it now or prepare to lose what was unfathomable momentum.

Well, Fatal 4 Way just ended and I must say, what an interesting show it was. We had three title changes, including both the World Heavyweight and WWE Championships as well as a run-in by the NXT Rookies of Season One (or “Nexus” as they might soon be called). Below I have listed the results of the PPV as well as my selections from my “Predictions” column from earlier today.

Kofi Kingston v. Drew McIntyre – WWE Intercontinental Championship

Predicted winner: Kofi Kingston

Winner: Kofi Kingston

1-0

Eve Torres v. Maryse v. Gail Kim v. Alicia Fox – WWE Diva’s Champion

Predicted winner: Gail Kim

Winner: Alicia Fox

1-1

Jack Swagger v. The Big Show v. Rey Mysterio v. C.M. Punk – WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Predicted winner: Jack Swagger

Winner: Rey Mysterio (Boy, was I wrong)

1-2

The Miz v. R-Truth – WWE United States Championship

Predicted winner: The Miz

Winner: The Miz

2-2

John Cena v. Edge v. Randy Orton v. Sheamus – WWE Championship

Predicted winner: John Cena

Winner: Sheamus

Total score: 2-3

Matches not included (not announced before the show)

Chris Jericho v. Evan Bourne

Winner: Evan Bourne

WWE Unified Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty v. The Usos & Tamina

Winner: The Hart Dynasty

#1 Pretender PPV Standings

Extreme Rules: 6-1

Over The Limit: 4-3-1

Fatal 4 Way: 2-3

Updated total: 12-7-1

Be sure to join me next month on July 18 when yet another new pay-per-view concept, Money In The Bank, comes to us live from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Until then, continue to come back to #1 Pretender for all your weekly WWE analysis!