Archive for the ‘Raw’ Category

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The go-home edition for Money In The Bank was nothing special. Instead of going into extreme detail about last night’s happenings, I will introduce “Quick Thoughts,” where I will just bullet point my thoughts and analysis. Without further ado, here are my “Quick Thoughts” on Monday Night Raw.

John Cena really needs to cut out the cute promos. I will be honest. The “rip off his face and replace it with his butt”  and the “clan known as NNNNNN” lines made me laugh, but after all of the crap that Cena has gone through, why be funny?

Michael Cole really looks like a middle school principal when he steps up to the GM podium. I am waiting for him to give a Superstar a demerit.

Alicia Fox wonders why he she gets no respect. It’s because she is awful in the ring. Now you can pay $40 to see her again this Sunday when she defends her title against Eve!

The Usos/Hart Dynasty match was extremely predictable. This feud, if you can call it that, has lost all momentum.

Maryse is gorgeous. John Morrison tries to be Cena with his hokey promos, but they never sound good. His deadpan heel delivery was much better.

I am not going to even go into the “Santino’s Bunch” stuff.

Randy Orton v. Edge is always a solid match (minus Over The Limit). It is what happened afterwards that is worth talking about. Chris Jericho gives Edge the Codebreaker. then eats an RKO. Evan Bourne blindsides Orton and goes for the Shooting Star Press, but Orton counters it into a Super RKO. There aren’t many things these days that make me shout “OH MY GOD” at the top of my lungs and keep my mouth open for a good minute. That’s what I did here.

I like the Miz’s new serious side. His cocky bit is great, so this only makes him greater. Or more awesome.

Miz’s attack on Mark Henry would have been better if A) the laptop hadn’t mysteriously disappeared and B) the plastic garbage can hadn’t mysteriously appeared.

Florence Henderson. The Regal Bunch? Moving on.

News flash, Edge: Only Randy Orton hears voices in his head. You’re not Randy Orton. I was waiting for Edge to say “they counsel me, they understand, they talk to me.” Good thing he didn’t.

Nexus has been beating up people all night. Tarver’s face after they took out Yoshi Tatsu was f*cking freaky.

It takes only a flinch for Sheamus to run like a little baby? Talk about change of heart (or diapers for that matter).

It makes sense for Nexus to go over. It was 6-on-1 after all.

Yes, Michael Cole, we have seen handicap matches like this before. Even bigger ones! Remember that one time when Orton and Cena went up against the entire Raw roster? And didn’t Mr. Kennedy face the ECW roster on his own?

Sheamus didn’t hit one person with his chair. I’m just glad he didn’t hit Cena. I liked how the show went off the air.

This has been “Quick Thoughts.” Look for these in the future.

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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.

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.

 

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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.

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Last night’s Raw might have been one of the most anticipated episodes in quite some time (at least it was for me). After the shocking actions of last week, all questions were seemingly answered last night, even regarding Bryan Danielson. Mixed in was a title change, a quirky, yet effective guest host, and some signs of unity within the WWE locker room. Also, we added two new matches (FINALLY) to the Fatal 4 Way pay-per-view. Let’s look at the Fatal 4 Way “go-home” edition of Monday Night Raw.

NXT Rookies/Bret Hart promo

The show opens with Season One winner Wade Barrett standing alone in the ring. After introducing himself, he calls out the other six Rookies, who make their way from the crowd and into the ring. I liked how Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole tried to move to higher ground due to fear of reprisal; it helped sell the psychological effects of last week’s ambush. Once everyone is settled in the ring, Barrett explains that Bret Hart is forcing them to apologize, which none of them do. Then Barrett says what a lot of us were already thinking. According to Barrett, the NXT Season One Rookies were treated like “animals” and were at the mercy of WWE Management, who made them compete in lame challenges and changed the rules at a moment’s notice. To be honest, Barrett made some sense.

Hart interrupts and runs down (no pun intended, but keep reading) the NXT Rookies for their actions last week. All of a sudden, Barrett mentions that last week, the NXT Rookies had one more member, Daniel Bryan, who like Hart, felt remorse for his actions and was kicked out in the process. I feel like that was a copout by the WWE; if anything, the Rookies should have used him as a “political prisoner” (also no pun intended) and that they were fighting for his honor as well as theirs. Barrett continues, saying that the Rookies don’t have any problems with John Cena; he was just a scapegoat. The problem lies with WWE Management and Barrett wants everyone in the ring to receive guaranteed contracts. Otunga wants first-class travel accommodations and private locker rooms.

Hart declines the offer and tells Barrett that he is no longer the “new superstar next breakout star for WWF,” strips him of his earned title shot and fires him. The firing would make sense in the real world; why would you reward someone for doing something wrong? The segment was a great way to kick off the show. I noticed a few things. First, I am glad that Barrett and Otunga were the only Rookies who had a chance to speak more freely on the mic considering the others are just awful. Second, gauging the reaction of the WWE Universe, I think the NXT Rookies (and the WWE) are going to miss Danielson. A LOT.

WWE United States Champion R-Truth v. The Miz v. Zack Ryder v. John Morrison – Fatal 4 Way Match for the WWE United States Championship

To put over Sunday’s show, Raw’s first match was a Fatal 4 Way for the U.S. Title. Truth got an even bigger reaction than normal considering he was in his hometown of Charlotte. This match had spots aplenty and several near falls, which will definitely sell the pay-per-view concept. The ending of the match went a little something like this: Ryder hits the Rough Ryder on Truth, put Morrison breaks up the pin. Morrison sets Truth for Starship Pain and does a good job of hesitating, considering he and Truth are friends. He hits the move anyways, but Miz throws Morrison out of the ring and picks up the scraps. He’s the Miz and he’s the new United States Champion.

Though I was surprised that Truth lost the belt so quickly (and in his hometown), the Miz regaining the title does more good than bad. Truth is already over with the crowd and doesn’t need a title to do so, while the Miz shines when he is on top. It also sets up a Miz/Truth feud that could draw interest (We find out later the rematch will take place on Sunday).

Josh Mathews asks Randy Orton about his thoughts on the NXT Invasion. While Orton can understand where the Rookies come from, he believes that they should have gotten fired or their brains beaten in. Orton has always been consumed with himself, so I’m surprised he even answered this question. It must be the face turn.

Mark Feuerstein/Big Show/Ted DiBiase/Virgil promo

Mark Feuerstein, the star of USA’s “Royal Pains,” is the guest host and he is in the back with the guest host’s call girls, the Bella Twins. Ted DiBiase enters and tells Feuerstein to let him guest host in exchange for a car. I am afraid that DiBiase has become the “seriously unfunny Santino Marella. Allow me to explain. He only interacts with the guest hosts and instead of being funny, he tries to bully them and buy them off. What a fall from grace this has been. Feuerstein holds his own during the promo and actually comes off very funny. The Big Show’s presence gives him the confidence to call DiBiase a “daddy’s boy,” which sets up a tag match between Show and Feuerstein and DiBiase and Virgil for later.

Evan Bourne v. Chris Jericho

Two weeks ago, Evan Bourne pins Sheamus. Last week, he makes a cameo in a John Cena promo. This week, he had the chance to make another impression by defeating Chris Jericho. He did do that, but by DQ. The most important part of the match was Bourne kicking out of the Codebreaker. After Jericho gets himself disqualified, he attempts to beat down Bourne, but Bourne gets the upper hand and hits the Shooting Star Press. While this wasn’t as poignant as pinning Jericho clean, Bourne still gets the rub. Jericho is in a bit of a funk. Could we see an M.V.P. losing streak-like angle for Jericho in the future? Stay tuned.

John Cena/NXT Rookies/WWE Locker Room promo

Here comes Cena to comment on last week’s assault. I liked his comments about the WWE ring being a sacred ground and the Rookies having the targets on their backs now, but did he really say that five million members of the WWE Universe hate them now, too? Really? Cena goes on to tell the Rookies that he will not press any charges if they come down and answer him and will wait every week for them to do so. We don’t have to wait long because the Rookies come through the crowd once again. This time, the WWE locker room has Cena’s back and all hell breaks loose. At first, we have the unused Superstars (Santino, William Regal, etc.), but eventually, all three challengers for the WWE Title on Sunday come to Cena’s aid. The unintentional comedy of the night comes when the Pros chase the Rookies out of the arena. Mark Henry eventually gets lapped by everyone (even the cameraman beats him) and Santino is the only one who chases them all the way to the gate. Also, wouldn’t you double take if you saw seven men in their underwear running through downtown Charlotte at 10PM? I liked how the WWE locker room came together; it shows how important the business is to everyone, even those who don’t necessarily like each other.

After the commerical, Mathews finds Sheamus in the back and asks why he would help Cena. Sheamus gives the best answer possible; he didn’t want anything or anyone to come between him and the WWE Championship. I am glad that he explained himself because it did cross my mind while watching. A nice touch.

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

Long story short, the faces win. These four Divas will be involved in a title match this Sunday. I am not looking forward to it. While Eve and Maryse can hold their own, Fox and Kim struggle sometimes. It happened in this match and will happen again Sunday.

The Big Show & Mark Feuerstein v. Ted DiBiase & Virgil

I don’t want to waste too much time on this. Essentially, the Big Show beats the crap out of both DiBiase and Virgil, Feuerstein does the Worm to Virgil and that’s it. There was definitely a “Too Cool” vibe going on with Show giving DiBiase the Stinkface as well. DiBiase does his father’s “bill in the mouth” trick to Virgil afterwards, but then decides to take it back. Gross. DiBiase is sinking.

We are going to skip Santino v. Regal with Vlad Kozlov as guest referee because, quite frankly, no one cares.

WWE Champion John Cena & Randy Orton v. Edge & Sheamus

Originally Orton v. Sheamus, the WWE gave us a tag match instead. There isn’t much to say about the match itself other than A) these four have great chemistry together and B) I am glad that Orton seemed hesitant to partner with Cena considering their past. Love me some continuity,

Near the end of the match, the lights go out and the Rookies are backstage mugging Hart. Essentially, they kick his ass, throw him in a limo, have the limo hit some cars, and then drag him back out to demand answers by Sunday. Though the whole segment screamed WCW Nitro (thanks to PWInsider for that one), it did make an effective sell for the show Sunday.

Speaking of Fatal 4 Way, look for my predictions Sunday morning/afternoon.

I have a quick announcement. My next live report will be coming September 6, 2010, when I attended Monday Night Raw at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Until then, please continue to check out #1 Pretender. I appreciate all of the readers who come to my site and I hope to spread the word. In the mean time, come back tomorrow for my NXT show report.

Courtesy of wwe.com

Last night’s “Viewer’s Choice” edition of Monday Night Raw didn’t really do much of anything for over two and a half hours. There was no push for either championship match at Fatal 4 Way (minus Randy Orton and Edge) and, to be frank, the selected matches as well as the entire A-Team gimmick were both lame. Not only that, but other than the aforementioned championship matches, we have no other official bouts on the card with the pay-per-view less than two weeks away. I am going to skip all of that and focus on one event in particular. During the main event between John Cena and C.M. Punk, all hell broke loose. The NXT Rookies from Season One absolutely destroyed everything in sight. Nothing and no one were spared. This includes: the ring, the barriers, the announce table, the timekeeper, Justin Roberts, Jerry Lawler, Matt Striker, C.M. Punk, Luke Gallows, and especially John Cena. If you have not seen this, you must. I took the time to provide it for you below.

This was the most compelling thing that I’ve seen on Raw (or WWE Television in general) in years. No explanations, no nonsense, no mercy. It leaves some many questions to be answered. Here is all I could think about while watching this.

Why do the NXT Rookies want to help Barrett? Or each other for that matter?

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

Are all of the Rookies going to be considered heels now?

If the timekeeper is being punched out by Darren Young, who is ringing the bell?

How were eight men unable to pull C.M. Punk’s mask off?

Who is the guy who tried to help Justin Roberts?

Did Michael Tarver actually do something useful? Why is he screaming so much?

How in the HELL did Michael Cole escape?

What does this mean for the WWE Championship picture?

What does this mean for NXT Season Two?

These were the questions i kept asking myself. In between it all, I was laughing at the face Roberts was making while Bryan Danielson choked him out. You should have seen the look on his face. Here it is!

Jokes aside, I am really looking forward to next week’s Raw. I doubt that this will carry over to tonight’s NXT because it is the season premiere and I suspect that the WWE does not want anything to overshadow the new Rookies. What are your feelings on this?

Courtesy of wwe.com

Let me be blunt. Last night’s Monday Night Raw was almost perfect. Here’s a quick rundown of what we had last night: an announcement of a “new” Raw concept coupled with an unannounced return of a huge WWE figure, a match that has been pushed for the past three months, a capable guest host, the formal introduction of a new tag team, AND the unexpected push of a mid-carder. This was the best edition of Raw in at least two months. Let’s look at it.

Evan Bourne/Edge/Randy Orton promo

The show starts abruptly with Edge beating the crap out of Evan Bourne. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler inform us that Bourne came out to challenge for Edge’s spot at Fatal 4 Way because he was tired of waiting for an opportunity. Bourne gets the comeback that the crowd wants, but is upended by Edge with a Spear. That’s Bourne’s job (no pun intended); he gets his ass kicked by the main event guys. We probably won’t hear from him again (Boy, was I wrong). Anyways, Edge cuts a promo on Fatal 4 Way and covers all three of his opponents: the “superhero” John Cena, the “bulldozer” Sheamus, and of course, Randy Orton. Edge knows Orton is not 100% and plants seeds of doubt in the WWE Universe by telling him that Orton, a “snake in the grass,” will strike them eventually, too. Orton interrupts and plays the “silent, but deadly” type. I love it when Edge talks and Orton stares; it’s always a great dynamic. Orton hits the RKO and poses to end the segment. The WWE is protecting his shoulder, but still keeps him in the mix. Good work all around.

Eve Torres/Ashton Kutcher/The Miz promo

Ashton Kutcher is in the back on his Twitter complaining about how Zack Ryder has been talking trash about him all day. Eve enters and Ashton lets her know about his Ryder problem. To promote his new film, “Killers,” he says he has put a hit on Ryder tonight and it could be anyone. Could Ryder be getting a rub? Anyways, the Miz enters and Kutcher holds his own. Kutcher did a great job of interacting with the Superstars and displayed knowledge of the WWE, which has been a problem with some hosts. There were a lot of weird cuts to the arena watching the tron. Kutcher does one better when he tells Miz that he and Bret Hart have signed Daniel Bryan to a one-night contract and the two will have a match later. Awwwwweeeesssssoooommmmee.

WWE United States Champion R-Truth v. Chris Jericho

When the WWE needs someone to elevate talent, they call on Chris Jericho and for good reason. R-Truth is the new U.S. Champion, but still needs some help to get over as a credible champion. This match will help. It was a solid back-and-forth contest. The roll-up out of the Walls of Jericho was well done and it is amusing to see how many counters wrestlers have come up with to combat Jericho’s hold. Truth wins and is rolling. Jericho is floating around right now, but a feud with Truth over the U.S. Title would be entertaining.

Zack Ryder/Bret Hart/Hart Dynasty promo

Ryder questions the “Hit Man” about being the one to do the job. Hart blows him off and is later joined by the Hart Dynasty. The Dynasty asks him who the team was who ambushed them last week. Hart says they are the Usos and he signed them. I liked how Hart told the Dynasty that he would not do them any favors. As a face team, that would make no sense. Effective segment.

WWE Diva’s Champion Eve Torres & Santino Marella v. Maryse & William Regal (with Vlad Kozlov)

Before the match, Santino cuts another promo where he attempted to influence Kozlov to join forces, but not before making a “Darth Vader” joke about Regal’s music and offering Eve to make love to Kozlov. Once the match started, it ended just as quickly. Kozlov enters the ring when the referee is distracted and hits Regal with an ugly uranage/chokeslam. I guess the “Dream Team” is getting together. This should be good.

Bret Hart/Ted DiBiase/Ashton Kutcher/Vince McMahon promo

Hart comes to the ring to announce a deal he made with Smackdown GM Theodore Long. Said deal is a three hour special next week with both Raw and Smackdown Superstars. Hart even asks for suggestions from the crowd and the guys in the back. Ted DiBiase answers and enters the ring with Virgil in tow. DiBiase proposes a counteroffer, which would be to sell him the GM position next week. This is the kind of angle that I had hoped DiBiase would undertake. Ashton Kutcher, who must not be in the arena, proposes a “Viewer’s Choice” show where the fans can vote on the matches and stipulations, much like Cyber Sunday/Taboo Tuesday. All is forgotten when Vince McMahon makes an unexpected return. Instead of getting a rub from McMahon, DiBiase leaves. The burial continues. First, he tries to buy eyeballs, then he gets shunned. I guess his trust fund must not be as impressive to others. Oh well.

McMahon acts chummy with Hart, even asking how many chair shots he took at Wrestlemania. Hart is hesitant to fully trust McMahon and rightfully so. McMahon even teases answering why he would hire Hart after all they had been through, but instead is very vague and wishes Hart luck. I don’t have much to say because I don’t know where this is going. In the mean time, maybe McMahon can explain why he is a part of Drew McIntyre’s letter-writing campaign.

Zack Ryder/Randy Orton/Edge backstage promo

Ryder is starting to get paranoid, and as a “future legend,” decides to ask Orton, known to kill such legends, if he is the one who Kutcher hired to take him out. Orton denies it. I like when two Superstars who have never interacted are placed together. Anyways, the door slams on Orton’s shoulder and Edge walks out from behind the door. This makes sense because even though Orton is not as injured as the WWE had thought, he shouldn’t risk injuring his shoulder before Fatal 4 Way. He had to be taken out of the match somehow.

The Miz v. “Daniel Bryan”

Am I surprised that the WWE gave this match, one that has been three months in the making, away on free television? Yes. Am I complaining? Hell no. The intensity and hatred between the two could be felt from my living room; that’s lacking these days. The Miz goes on the offensive for most of the match, but Bryan reverses the Miz into a crossface/armbar. The Miz reverses with a pinning combination, but Bryan counters with a pin of his own and gets the victory. While celebrating his victory, Bryan gets jumped by Miz and thrown to the outside. Miz picks up Bryan and places him in front of Michael Cole for a “proper apology.” Bryan fights out and throws Miz into Cole. I thought that Cole/Miz would finally get one on Bryan tonight to even the feud, but I guess that won’t happen just yet. Bryan is on a roll. This isn’t over. This is the best thing happening on WWE television right now.

The Usos/Tamina promo

When we return from commercial, the Usos are in the ring with Tamina introducing themselves to the WWE Universe. Jimmy and Jules are the sons of Rikishi and Tamina is the daughter of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. These aren’t your typical Samoans. Instead of blending in (their father, the late Umaga, Manu), they act more thug-like, if you will. They even made mention of this, “taking your scholarships” and what not. The Usos call out the Dynasty, telling them that they are no longer the only family bred for success on Raw and that last “weekend,” they proved that they were the more dominant team. The only thing I could think about the entire time was Rikishi’s “I did it for the Rock” promo from several years ago, when he felt that Samoans were disrespected and held back. Tamina echoes these statements, but before she can continue, the Dynasty runs down to seek retribution. Unfortunately for the Dynasty, that didn’t happen. Tamina gives Natalya a brutal clothesline on the outside while Jimmy and Jules hit Smith with a double superkick and Kidd with a very impressive double-team samoan drop. The Usos end the assault with the simultaneous frog splashes. I am very impressed and intrigued by the Usos and Tamina. Finally, it seems like a credible heel team has returned to the WWE tag team ranks. “Seems,” however, is the key word. Stay tuned.

Zack Ryder v. Alicia Fox

After wondering all night about who would put the “hit” on Zack Ryder, we find out, but it takes an awful long time. First, Jerry Lawler gets in the ring. But it isn’t Jerry. Then, the Great Khali comes out. But it’s not Khali (Thank G_d). Then Goldust’s music hits. But it’s not Goldust. Who the hell is it? It’s Alicia Fox. Um, what? How anti-climatic. Just when I thought Ryder was getting the rub I had hoped for in my Superstars report last week, he gets buried by a Diva. Is it safe to say that Ryder is the new Santino?

WWE Champion john Cena & Evan Bourne v. Edge & Sheamus

After Edge’s ambush of Orton earlier, Cena was left without a partner. However, he was able to find to a replacement, someone that Edge also ambushed earlier: Evan Bourne. I did not expect to see Bourne in the main event; as a jobber to the stars, I thought the WWE trotted Bourne out at the start of Raw just to give Edge someone “credible” to beat up on. Bourne has had his fair share of matches with main event talent (Sheamus, C.M. Punk, etc.), but the outcome is never in question. Yet, this was one of the hottest main events, if not the hottest, Raw has had all year. Bourne is incredibly over with the crowd and pairing him with Cena made it even louder. He held his own against Sheamus and Edge and did not look out of place. Bourne is one of the best sellers in WWE; everything looks more brutal when he takes it. Check out the Spear he takes at the top of the show. Nothing out of the ordinary happened during this match. The good guys win when Sheamus attempts the bicycle kick, but Cena moves out of the way, leaving Sheamus to run into a big kick from Bourne. Cena hits an impressive twisting FU (Er, Attitude Adjustment), dodges a Spear from Edge, tags in Bourne for the Shooting Star Press and collects what could be an “upset” to end the show. Sheamus is protected by taking two finishers to put him down.

Take a look at the picture at the top of this column. Did you ever think you’d see that? Neither did I. The only thing that would have made this match perfect was if Bourne got the pin on Edge. Along with Danielson and Rey Mysterio (someone who I believe Bourne is on his way to becoming), it seems that the WWE is finally pushing the little guys. There is always a segment every once in a while where a mid-carder feels “disrespected” and calls out a big dog, but it never ends with the mid-carder headlining the show and getting the victory. I hope Bourne is here to stay in the main event picture. I can’t remember the last time I popped for a Raw main event. A fantastic way to end a fantastic show.