Courtesy of wwe.com
Well, that was some Raw, wasn’t it? Tonight, we got plenty of push for the MITB ladder match and the Nexus angle, but absolutely nothing for the WWE Championship match. Neither John Cena nor Sheamus were in action, but there were other quality segments to fill the void. And we got CONTINUITY! Yay! Enough chit-chat, let’s get to reviewing.
Nexus/WWE Locker Room promo
Nexus is in the ring for the cold open. Wade Barrett’s visa issues must have been worked out (and I hear Drew McIntyre’s visa has been renewed as well) because he is in the ring as well. Barrett tells the audience that the Raw GM requested that Nexus be in the ring at the start of the show, but it is not the right time to explain the group’s agenda. Skip Sheffield gets on the microphone and tells the WWE Universe that while what they did to Mr. McMahon had a purpose, what they did to Ricky Steamboat and the legends was just for fun. I am surprised he mentioned Steamboat, considering his current condition and the fact that the WWE took down footage of last week’s attack on WWE.com.
The lights flicker (for added effect) and we get an EMAIL! Michael Cole takes the podium like a middle school principal and reads the first message of the night. According to the GM, Nexus’ punsihment is as follows: no member can challenge for a WWE championship until furhter notice (we later learn its three months) and the “no-touch” policy has been lifted. Setting up the title ban makes sense; since Barrett is the only one with a guaranteed match and that match will probably be for the WWE Championship, it allows Sheamus a healthy reign before the inevitable Cena win. It also allows this Nexus angle to evolve before the PPV where Barrett challenges, which would be either Night Of Champions or Hell In A Cell.
Speaking of Cena, he finds his way to the ramp and brings a contingent of Raw faces to even the score. Before they can make it down, however, the Raw heels jump them from behind and allows Nexus to get away. The heels (Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Edge, Ted DiBiase, The Miz, and the Usos) respectfully decline Cena’s offer to fight as one because they like what Nexus has been doing. Randy Orton takes the mic from Cena and tells the heels (while focusing on Edge) that he and Cena are not friends and never will be, but will put differences aside if they must (Continuity!).
EMAIL! Cole tells the Superstars that all of them would fight tonight and that Cena will be in the ring with Wade Barrett, but not for a match. The Raw GM wants Barrett and Cena to call a truce. Cena disagrees, but I guess the Raw GM is watching in real time with his computer because he answers right back. The GM says that Cena will face consequences if he does not comply, and “that’s the bottom line because the Raw GM said so.” Did I hear that right? Before you get on the Stone Cold bandwagon, PWInsider’s Dave Scherer reported that WWE sources told him that it is all a “red herring,” or a trick. Three weeks is way too early to make hints as to who the GM is.
I do like the divide in the WWE locker room. It adds another dimension to the storyline, but if improperly executed, could come off as an “Invasion”-lite angle.
John Morrison v. Ted DiBiase (with Maryse)
The Raw GM let it be known that all eight men involved in MITB will be in action against each other. Instead of making fresh matchups, we get to further the rivalries that have started among everyone. It will be more evident later.
In the mean time, Morrison and DiBiase put on a solid match. It didn’t last very long and the focus was at ringside, where Maryse was on commentary. DiBiase wins when Maryse distracts Morrison and the referee enough for DiBiase to get in an eye rake and Dream Street. I am not sure how I feel about this pairing. I would like to see DiBiase actually use his “money.” Perhaps he can buy Maryse the Diva’s Title or invest in insurance for MITB. The possibilities!
Santino Marella & Vlad Kozlov v. William Regal & The Great Khali (with Ranjin Singh)
So after last week, where Ranjin Singh berated Khali for being a coward, why is he dancing alongside of him? If Regal picks him as a partner, does that make him heel? Does anyone care?
Santino and Kozlov get the victory. Singh wants Khali to be more aggressive, so he chops Regal, then dances. That’s aggressive? And I thought I didn’t have to bring out the Continuity Soapbox (patent pending) this week.
Arn Anderson/Sheamus promo
After yet another recap of Steamboat’s demise, Josh Mathews is with Arn Anderson. Anderson tells Mathews that Steamboat is in a bad way, but Sheamus interrupts. Anderson’s still got it. This was an excellent exchange between Anderson and Sheamus. Anderson warns Sheamus that it doesn’t matter if he’s champion if there is no one else around, a “great white shark in a mudhole” as it were. I loved how Sheamus looked pensive after Anderson left, perhaps realizing that Anderson made a good point. If only current Superstars would take notice of how well Anderson cut a promo. I’m sure he hasn’t done one in ages.
R-Truth v. WWE United States Champion The Miz
This match never gets underway because Miz blindsides Truth beforehand and works him over. Miz targets Truth’s arm and does a great job of turning on the hatred. The final blow where Miz ripped Truth’s arm across the ring rope looked absolutely brutal. It is good to see these rivalries incubating through MITB. We later find out that Truth will not be able to compete, leaving a spot open. I wonder who it will be…
The Cutting Edge featuring Chris Jericho & Evan Bourne
To follow up Christian’s Peep Show on Smackdown, Edge hosts the Cutting Edge. His eulogy for Truth was hilarious. Edge explains why he decided not to help the Raw locker room; according to Edge, why would he want to make seven powerful enemies when he can make seven powerful allies? He even offered his services as a leader/mentor. Edge is the “Ultimate Opportunist” and this fits perfectly with his persona.
When Edge introduces Evan Bourne, Jericho comes out instead. These two go at it like they should, bringing up their recent past as well as their storied past. Thank you for continuity. I especially liked his comments regarding Nexus/Wade Barrett and Ricky Steamboat. Bourne eventually intervenes and the Raw GM does, too, announcing a tag match between Jericho/Edge and Bourne/Orton. There goes the continuity.
Edge & Chris Jericho v. Evan Bourne & Randy Orton
I will refer to Bourne and Orton as “The Spirits of St. Louis” from now on. This match was as close to perfect as you can get. The in-ring action was superb, with several near-falls and heavy spots, but the highlight was the storytelling. Jericho and Edge hesitating to tag each other worked very well and the ending, with Edge spearing Jericho and walking out, not only made sense, but emphasized the “every man for himself” that MITB is known for.
Bourne picks up the scraps for the victory. After the match, Orton gives Bourne an RKO. Orton’s facial expression and the way he turned Bourne around was perfect; it looked like he didn’t want to do it, but had no choice. This also works for the MITB vibe as well as Orton’s character. Well done.
Randy Orton/Nexus backstage promo
Orton runs into David Otunga, Michael Tarver and Heath Slater backstage. They apologize for ruining Orton’s shot at Fatal 4 Way, but let him know that if he lets them be, perhaps they can provide a service to whoever wins MITB. Orton thinks about it, but ultimately tells Nexus to get out of his face. This could prove intriguing, especially for Orton. Stay tuned.
Josh Mathews/The Usos/Alicia Fox promo
Mathews is back with the Usos. Before they arrive, Mathews announces that at Money In The Bank, the Hart Dynasty will defend their WWE Unified Tag Team Championships against Jimmy and Jey. Jimmy bets Jey $1,000 that Mathews can’t tell them apart, which he can’t. Tamina buts in and tells Mathews that the Dynasty have given them the same amount of disrespect. This feud has been so poorly booked that it’s hard to get into it. But to be fair, it is hard to tell Jimmy and Jey apart. I just think that each of them are half of Rikishi’s ass.
Alicia Fox enters and claims that since she won the Diva’s Title, she has yet to be interviewed or congratulated. She says she will earn respect when she beats Eve next. Yeah, okay.
Alicia Fox v. Eve Torres – WWE Diva’s Championship
After getting no respect, Fox didn’t do much to help her cause because her showing against Eve was pretty awful. Fox feigns an injury and helps a sloppy scissors kick for the win. Cole made a good point on commentary when he said that if a poll had been taken before Fatal 4 Way, Fox would have probably been voted the least likely to win. I know how much fans preach about pushing fresh talent, but when the fresh talent is anything but, what can you do? With Maryse tied to DiBiase and Eve possibly moving on, does this finally leave an opening for Gail Kim to get the push she deserves? Stay tuned.
John Cena/Wade Barrett confrontation
Long story short, Barrett gives his word and his hand, Cena starts off seriously, ruins it completely by being hokey, then becomes serious again before attacking Barrett. Nexus runs out and the locker room does, too. The Raw GM tells Cena that he will be in 7-on-1 handicap match against Nexus next week. Darren Young is the odd man out and Cena beats the holy hell out of him. I wish Cena wouldn’t try to be funny when it’s not time. Also, a 7-on-1 match screams run-in. Nexus is losing a lot of momentum every week. This won’t help.