Wrestling’s 4R’s Friday 7.30.10: Raw and NXT Reviewed!
By: Jeremy Thomas
Randy Orton def. Jey Uso [*]
Edge and the Great Khali went to a no-contest [DUD]
The Nexus def. Team Raw in an elimination match [* ½]
Alicia Fox def. Brie Bella [¼*]
Ted DiBiase def. John Morrison [* ¾]
Miz and Sheamus def. John Cena and Chris Jericho [** ¼]
RANDY ORTON vs. JEY USO: Jey Uso? Really? Wow. This was an odd match-up for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was that no one in their right mind bought Jey as a remote threat to Orton, brother and Tamina at ringside or not. Sheamus was also watching from ringside as Orton pretty much beat the snot out of Jey and outside of a couple Uso kicks and punches, pretty much laid waste to the former Tag Team challenger. This match was very little to speak of, and was basically there to sell the Orton/Sheamus feud. Which it did just fine as Sheamus tried to attack Orton while he was battling Jimmy post-match, only to get RKO’d. That brought out Miz who nearly cashed in, but ate an RKO for his own troubles. I have to say, I wonder about this “he didn’t cash in because the bell didn’t ring,” but it’s working for now. They accomplished a lot in feud work here and that makes up for the pointless match.
EDGE JUST SAYS NO TO KHALI: Backstage, Edge was talking with Ted DiBiase and Maryse. He was complaining that the Great Khali was on the team instead of Ted. Edge called Khali clumsy, uncoordinated and not that bright; I would love this if I didn’t dislike the fact that he was burying another talent’s actual flaws. That’s like calling Jeff Hardy sloppy—oh wait, Khali doesn’t move merchandise like no one’s business. Guess it’s okay then. Granted, I would have preferred to see Ted on the team myself, but whatever. Ted made a comment about beating Morrison and showing that he deserved to be on the team and then took off, which Runjin Singh saw and skedaddled his own direction. That led into a confrontation between Khali and Edge where Edge tried to backpedal but instead got a match with Khali where if he beat Khali, he’s off the team. Decent enough set-up and I have no problem with this mini-feud.
So we had the match, and well, it didn’t last very long. There wasn’t much to speak of here; it seemed to be more an attempt to get Khali over as a threat for a few seconds before the Nexus chased Edge off. The Nexus surrounded Khali and then allowed him to leave. You know, I don’t think I want Khali in the Nexus, but I like this tease. It’s a mind game and gives Khali something to do. Can’t argue with that, even if there was no real match to speak of.
JERICENA vs. SHEAM-MIZ: So, earlier in the show, Sheamus and Miz were still in the ring shouting at each other when… “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” Michael Cole had received a manager from the General E-mail. Or something likes that. Hey Michael, when did you start taking tips from Mike Adamle? Anyway, Cole announced that Sheamus and Miz would be facing Jericho and Cena. Neither guy was happy about it, and they clearly still had issues with each other. Later in the night they faced off and got in each other’s faces backstage, and Sheamus told Miz it was never going to happen and Miz would never beat him. Miz said he’d like to try it tonight after he beat Jericena and then Miz cashed in. Miz’s Sheamus impersonation was awesome, and Sheamus looked solid here as a guy who wasn’t backing down to Miz. Good stuff and I would love to see a heel-heel feud between these guys.
This was our main event as it should have been, and I will admit that as it started I was interested to see how it was going to play out. Miz came out first with his Money in the Bank briefcase, then Sheamus which allowed the two to have some intense stares on Sheamus’s way to the ring. Then came Jericho and Cena, the latter of whom was all “Fuck the people in the ring who hate me” with his reaction. Except in a PG way. As a match, this was about as good as one might expect it to be. Jericho and Cena worked well as a tag team (outside of kayfabe, of course) and I enjoyed the way Miz and Sheamus played off each other. Miz looked like he belonged in the ring here against these three main eventers and that’s definitely a good thing for his career. The story of the match wasn’t in doubt; the only thing in doubt was which team was going to fall apart and it ended up being Jericena as Jericho turned on Cena, giving Miz the pin. Things then turned into a big seven man argument in the ring to finish us off. Decent finish, not spectacular but I’ll take it.
WHAT ABOUT TEAM JERICENA?: Monday Night kicked off with the captain of Team Cena making his way down to the ring. He hopped inside to a mixed reaction and paused to let them react as such before he proceeded to talk about the history of the Nexus. Yes, we need a history lesson since it’s been a whole seven weeks. But now the Raw had had enough and they were going to end Nexus at SummerSlam. Cena was confident that they would defeat the Nexus at SummerSlam but didn’t hesitate to put them over as a dangerous force that was gaining power. He said he wasn’t Superman—insert your own jokes here—and said he was more of an Aquaman and Khali shouldn’t look like Wonder Woman. Um, okay. He was really uneven here and couldn’t quite figure out where he was trying to go in this promo. That’s probably why it’s a good thing that Jericho came down to the ring in his snazzy suit. Jericho took issue with the label of it being Cena’s team. He tossed out a few SAT words and then talked up his issue with Barrett, then said that it was Team Jericho. Cena didn’t care whose team it was. I’ll admit that “The Liontamers” would be great. But Jericho wasn’t having any of it and it quickly became serious. Cena said Jericho was essential to the team and that they were all doing it because they loved the business. Jericho paused, looked at Cena sincerely, then went and picked up his mic and proceeded to act the same way he did before. He then said that Cena was just like the Nexus as a threat to the WWE, and once the Nexus was gone Jericho would take out Cena. Things threatened to turn physical, but… “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!”
Michael Cole announced that the GM made the Pay-Per-View match an elimination match. The GM also put Jericho and Cena in a tag team match tonight and teased that he was a D-X member. If it’s Hornswoggle, we riot. Anyway, I thought this opening segment was just okay. Cena was rambling for the most part out there before Jericho came out, at which point it became focused and serious. It played off well enough but I expect more out of these two.
NEXUS vs. RAW ELIMINATION MATCH: This seven-on-seven tag team elimination match was intended to get the Nexus over. I get that. And frankly, it was a foregone conclusion who was winning this. So I didn’t have a problem with that. Most of these guys lose nothing by losing to the Nexus and so it works out okay. But really, couldn’t this have been just a bit longer? The eliminations happened in nothing flat—poor King got eliminated during the break—and that left a lackluster match. I wasn’t expecting a Survivor Series epic but it would have been nice to see them build the guys up a little more. This was fine enough though, I suppose; Slater looked good, Otunga looked solid, and Skip got a lot of cred by pinning Mizark. At the same time, Bourne was built to be the star out of the Raw guys and it was very nice how it worked there. Afterword the Nexus brutalized Bourne and then Barrett, Skip and Tarver got on the mic to prop them up. I didn’t hate this and it served its purpose, I just didn’t particularly love it.
JOHN MORRISON vs. TED DiBIASE: R-Truth was out on commentary to talk about supporting his boy Morrison in the match against Ted. They had a decent match for the time they got, and R-Truth did a decent job on commentary. I will confess that I have been fairly concerned as to how the feud between Morrison and Truth might play out, but as long as they let their ring work do the talking I don’t think this will be too terrible. The match was too short of course—a pattern for this particular show—and I don’t know if they needed to create conflict between Truth and Morrison to sell the “Team Cena does not get along” bit. The match was all right, the angle was meh, and overall this gets a mere passable grade.
BRIE BELLA vs. ALICIA FOX: Ugh. Whenever I see the Bellas coming down to the ring to wrestle, I’m like Johnny Cash when he hears that whistle blowin’. This was short and ugly and basically amounted to Alicia awkwardly throwing Brie around the ring and stomping on her, with a pointless Jillian appearance to boot. Was this a match? I blinked and it was done. But hey, at least the in-ring work sucked. After the match Jillian tried to suck up to Alicia by singing, and got Axe Kicked. Face turn? I doubt it, but that is the best way to get a Diva cheered.
DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.
This was a really mediocre Raw. I’m not going to call it the worst ever, because everything did have a purpose and most of it was accomplished. There was just nothing remotely worth getting excited over. I’m enjoying the storyline progression but if I hadn’t watched this week I wouldn’t have missed much. That’s not the feelings the ‘E’s “A Show” should be inspiring. Meh.
SHOW RATING: 5.0
By: Chad Nevett
– “Showtime” Percy Watson defeated Zack Ryder [*1/2]
– Michael McGillicutty defeated Eli Cottonwood [*1/2]
– Husky Harris defeated Kaval [**]
THE ROOKIES TALK: The show began with Matt Striker giving each of the seven rookies one minute to discuss any topic of their choosing as long as it wasn’t why they shouldn’t be voted off that night. The results were better and more coherent than the regular promo challenge. “Lucky” Cannon kicked things off with a promo on ‘friends’ and how his only friend growing up was ‘nobody.’ All this promo emphasized is that there’s no reason to care about this guy. Eli Cottonwood did a pretty awful promo about ‘eyes’ as he basically said “Hey, I’m tall, so vote for me!” Granted, that’s about all he has going for him, so I can’t really blame him. Husky Harris raised the bar (not that that was hard after the first two) with his promo on ‘husky.’ It was strong work as he said the other rookies “look like Tarzan, but fight like Jane,” ending with his new tagline that he “fights like a tank with a Ferrari engine.” Kaval’s promo on ‘dreams’ was pretty standard stuff for him and I loved the arrogance of Michael McGillicutty as he refused to give a topic, taking issue with the Miz’s comment from last week that he’s mediocre. Alex Riley on ‘Starbucks’ and “Showtime” Percy Watson on ‘having a good time’ were both good promos. While Cole said Riley ran away with it, I’d give it to Husky Harris. Overall, the segment was strong with all of the promos save the first two being rather strong and showing that this group of rookies is really impressive.
KAVAL vs. HUSKY HARRIS: Beginning with a confrontation in the back where Harris insulted Kaval and his pros, this match was really solid with Harris using his combination of brute force and quickness to gain an early advantage. When Kaval made a comeback, he did it by using a lot of quick kicks and tearing Harris down. It was when he let up that Harris was able to counter somewhat, leading to him accidentally hitting the ropes and knocking Layla and Michelle McCool off the apron. Both men seemed thrown by that, Kaval more concerned obviously, and Harris took advantage of the distraction to pick up the win. Both men looked good and Harris getting the win was a good call.
ELIMINATION #2: With this being an elimination episode, the new rankings were as follows: 1. Michael McGillicutty; 2. Kaval; 3. Alex Riley; 4. “Showtime” Percy Watson; 5. “Lucky” Cannon; 6. Husky Harris; 7. Eli Cottonwood. I love how McGillicutty got first place after winning immunity. After it was revealed that Cottonwood would be going home, Matt Striker tried to talk to him, but he just attacked Husky Harris, leading to a brawl where Alex Riley and “Lucky” Cannon got involved. Eventually, Cottonwood stormed off in anger, pushing John Morrison out of his way. Striker asked Harris about narrowly avoiding elimination and Harris seemed genuinely frustrated, saying that he’s raised his level of aggression and if that’s not enough, he doesn’t know what else to do. Striker talked to McGillicutty and Riley after with both men taking shots at each other, leading to a bit of a dust-up and Cottonwood returning to attack Harris again, ending the show on the brawls. The right guy went home and they used the eliminations to create an even stronger sense of competition and rivalry between the rookies. I’m curious if they’ll continue to have Harris narrowly miss being eliminated, because that could get boring, but it works here.
“SHOWTIME” PERCY WATSON VIDEO PACKAGE: The package here highlighted Watson’s charisma, energy, and in-ring skills, but also sold that he still has some work to do. There was some mockery of his glasses with no lenses and the Miz called him an Eddie Murphy rip-off. Standard video package.
MICHAEL McGILLICUTTY vs. ELI COTTONWOOD: I liked this match, but found it to be way too short. That seems to be a pattern with McGillicutty’s matches. He always wins, but they last two minutes. I would like to see him go for a longer amount of time. The story here was simple: Cottonwood uses his power, McGillicutty tries to use speed and agility to not get beaten up but gets beaten up anyway, Cottonwood dominates for a while, McGillicutty uses speed and agility to make a comeback, and McGillicutty wins. Very simple. The best thing this match did was confirm that Cottonwood deserves to go home, because he’s got the ability and depth in the ring of the Great Khali. Just boring to watch.
KAVAL VIDEO PACKAGE: Kaval got lots of praise for his in-ring ability with most of the pros saying that he’s the most developed in the ring. The only criticism raised was that he takes himself too seriously. I found that a little funny since we had the package for “Showtime” Percy Watson earlier and the main criticism there seemed to be that he doesn’t take himself seriously enough. Do I sense an oddball tag-team in the making?
“SHOWTIME” PERCY WATSON vs. ZACK RYDER: Going into this match, no rookie has beaten a pro yet in one-on-one action. The match was fine, albeit nothing too exciting. Watson looked good against Ryder, getting in some good offense and counters, while Ryder was in control more often than not. Watson picked up the win the Rock DDT and an Oh Yeah Splash. He was flashy, but solid. I really didn’t like the commentators throwing in Ryder having a walking pneumonia as an excuse for his loss. Either give Watson the win or don’t. I didn’t hear any mention of the illness prior to Ryder getting pinned and it stank of the half-assed crap the WWE likes to pull where they want to give a guy a push without the other guy looking bad. Sorry, but, by protecting the loser, the winner doesn’t look that great. It’s a win with an asterisk.
JOHN MORRISON & ELI “ROTTENWOOD” BACKSTAGE: Prior to Cottonwood’s match with McGillicutty, he and John Morrison reviewed his performance in the obstacle course last week and Morrison tried to give him some advice. All this segment did was remind us again that Cottonwood is death on the mic and that Morrison isn’t much better when he’s trying to be a decent guy.
A solid episode. I liked the beginning and end a lot as the rookies are starting to stand out a bit more and take the competition against one another more seriously. The matches were all solid, but I hated throwing Watson’s win over Ryder away with the illness excuse. The right man went home and the rankings are pretty much where I’d have them, aside from Husky Harris who I’d stick in the top three easily. But, his low rank works with his story, so that’s not bad.
SHOW RATING: 7.0
…and remember to stay grounded!