Wrestling’s 4R’s Friday 8.6.10: Raw and NXT Reviewed!
By: Jeremy Thomas
Edge and Wade Barrett went to a no-contest [** ¼]
Alicia Fox, Jillian and Tamina def. Natalya, Eve and Gail Kim [* ½]
Sheamus def. Goldust [*]
John Cena def. Chris Jericho [** ¼]
The Great Khali def. Ted DiBiase [* ¼]
Randy Orton def. The Miz [** ½]
GOING IT ALONE: Raw kicked off with Michael Cole talking about how dire situations were with Team WWE, before Edge came on down to the ring to the boos of the crowd. Edge got on the mic looking angry, and said that as much as he tried, it was clear that he needed to go with his gut and listen to himself. He gave us a history lesson about how listening to us was a mistake and now the SummerSlam team was letting him down. He noted that Nexus needed to be taken down, and tonight he was challenging Wade Barrett one-on-one and he wanted no interference. That bought out Truth looking pissy, and he climbed into the ring to say that challenging Barrett was going to do nothing. Edge and Truth started arguing, and Truth said that Edge has never had to fight for everything. They put over how they were fighting for their lifestyle, the WWE and the American Way…or something like that. Truth said Edge needed to pull his head out of his ass…in a PG style. Edge’s response was that he was going to cut the Nexus’s head off, and told Truth to get out of the ring. Then….”YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” The GM (vie Cole) said that Edge was facing Barrett next, and Truth took off. This was a solid opening promo between these two guys, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a feud between them somewhere down the line.
EDGE vs. WADE BARRETT: This took place right after the opening segment and had Barrett coming down to the ring alone. I have to say that while this wasn’t a bell-to-bell four star classic, it worked perfectly well and did a good job in helping Barrett get over as a legitimate force on his own. He looked like he belonged in there against a main eventer in Edge, and he somehow seems to have avoided the “pushed too soon” rep that Sheamus and Swagger had during their main event pushes. This told a solid story and the point was to put Barrett over as a threat, which it did. The crowd didn’t quite know who to cheer for and Edge was sort of the face by default, which didn’t work out too badly at all. Of course, we had the Nexus come down to the ring to cause Edge to run off, which resulted in the no contest. That’s fine because they hardly saved Barrett, they just came down because they could and Edge found himself alone, making the Nexus seem like a threat once again. Works for me.
EVE, NATALYA & GAIL KIM vs. TAMINA, JILLIAN & ALICIA FOX: This six lady tag team match actually had me intrigued in the hopes we would see more from Nattie and Tamina. The others I was less excited about. I will admit that this match exceeded my expectations. Gail was pretty good in her opening moments, and then Natalya came in and pretty much rocked it. She needs to be wrestling more, she’s attractive as hell and skilled. Unfortunately this match was way too short, but it gave us a good preview of what the girls can do in the right combos and I give them credit for that.
And, of course, we had the post-match stuff. Alicia got on the mic and let her ego run wild, saying that she’d beaten all of them. Really? I’m not positive about that. But Alicia soon had her words cut short as Melina came on down to the ring. Ohh, my dear…how we’ve missed you. She made short work of Alicia and had a triumphant return. Now, I don’t want to see her catapulted right into a feud with Alicia, but I know it’s going to happen. If nothing else though this will freshen things up which the division clearly needs. It’s been a long time since a Diva segment ended up in the Right, but this just BARELY hits it.
SHEAMUS vs. GOLDUST: The epic rematch from ECW! Hardcore Justice, eat your heart out. (I kid, I kid.) Seriously, I always thought these guys made good opponents, and they picked up pretty well here. Sheamus can always use a squash match or two and this is exactly what this was. There’s nothing at all with a good squash match when it comes off well and while I obvious don’t think this was a great match, it did exactly what it needed to. After the match, Sheamus got on the mic to gloat and talked about how he was at the top of the world. He trashed the Miz and Orton and said he was there all because of himself. He then brought up Triple H, and said that he ended H’s career while Orton couldn’t beat him. OUCH. Sheamus did a good job here getting heat on the mic and this was a solid segment to get him over. And really, is he wrong? (Well, except for the doing it himself thing. Give props to ‘H, Sheamus.) Decent stuff here.
RANDY ORTON vs. THE MIZ: Backstage, Josh Matthews was with Randy Orton and recapped what Sheamus said earlier in the night. Orton pointed out that he put ‘H out for six weeks and invited Sheamus to come out to witness what Orton does to the Miz. He said that Miz would be in no condition to cash in on Money in the Bank so it would be safe, but that Sheamus would be facing the same fate at SummerSlam. It was a short and effective promo that hyped the main event nicely. This lead into that very main event. Miz came out first and got on the mic, telling Orton that he made a potentially career-ending, skull-crushing mistake and that he’d pay for what he did. Miz wasn’t great here, but he had his moments. “Do the voices in your head understand me?” I liked that. It was a short promo but it worked for what it needed.
Onto the match, and I have to admit that I was impressed here. This match could have gone two ways—it could have hurt Orton’s momentum going into SummerSlam or it could have done the Miz’s main event push a lot of damage. Amazingly, it did neither as both men had their moments to shine in this give and take match. I won’t call this great but it did exactly what it needed to do and it kept the crowd hot to boot. Early in the match Sheamus came out and watched from the entrance ramp as Orton suggested he should, which added a nice element of intrigue into the match. The psychology of the match could have been better, but both guys sold well for each other and this not only kept the Miz going strong, it gave Orton the big win to finish out the show. And the match ended well with Orton and Sheamus staring off. Works for me.
QUITTERS NEVER WIN AGAINST THE NEXUS: After the opening match, Edge was backstage looking for Cena. He ranted at Cena about how he was nowhere to be seen. Cena pointed out how Edge had asked to have no one come down, and Edge nicely no-sold it. He told Cena that they were going to have to beat the Nexus alone. Cena’s reaction was nicely done, and it certainly put concern on Team WWE. Jericho then appeared, and Cena asked if he was quitting. Jericho reiterated his point from last week that Cena was as much of a problem as the Nexus and advised Cena to quit. Jericho challenged Cena to a match tonight, loser leaves the SummerSlam team. Cena tried to talk sense into him but it was to no avail, so the match was set.
As Jericho came down to the ring, Cole talked about how Jericho was a perfect example of how ego was getting in the way of Team WWE. Apparently Cena isn’t, though. Huh. This was an interestingly booked match. Jericho controlled the vast majority of the match and he certainly looked good in doing so; these two have always worked together well and tonight was no exception. However, it was clear from before the bell who was going to win this match. Cena’s shtick is being anti-Nexus, and Jericho can easily go on to doing something else. If Cena lost out here then how would this play out? Very poorly, obviously. So instead they had Jericho own Cena throughout the match until an STFU made Jericho tap in nothing flat. Now, I’ve talked before about how I hate it when one single move puts someone down, and I hated it here too. Jericho tapped out after one move, and that’s fine. How hard would it have been to have him hang on for a bit though? Seriously, Jericho tapped out in nothing flat, and the announcers and even noted this pretty heavily. I didn’t like that and I don’t understand it.
After the match, Cena made an appeal to Jericho to stay on the team, and to his credit he sounded very legit here. He told Jericho the choice was his, and Jericho turned around and left. I liked the post-match and I liked Cena and Jericho’s efforts, but the booking off the match was wacky. I’m sure they have a point, I’m just trying to figure it out.
THE GREAT KHALI vs. TED DiBIASE: This match, according to the Nexus, may have had Khali’s fate on Team WWE on the line. Of course it wasn’t, but I enjoy Team N playing with Khali’s head. DiBiase came out with Maryse looking nice as always, and then got in the ring for the match. Now, when Khali is in a match I don’t have high expectations. It’s probably a good thing, as this was not a particularly good match. It was, however, about as good as we could have hoped. Khali dominated, Maryse distracted and Ted took control, until the Nexus came out and gave Khali the chance to take control. He then squished Ted’s head and put him out. Not a great match of course, but far from as bad as it could have been. Just kind of there to put the Khali/Nexus angle over and get Khali over as a threat.
OTHER GUYS PIMPIN’: So, literally out of nowhere, we had Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg in a backstage interview to talk about their coming movie The Other Guys. They started to argue about whether it was Farrell’s character who attracted hot women for no reason or Farrell itself, which of course brought out the Guest Host Escorts to fawn over the funnyman. The hit on Farrell heavily and he called them average-looking. Wahlberg asked Farrell to hook him up and it was to no avail. Listen, this was harmless and vaguely funny, and it was kept short. I didn’t love it and the time could have been spent better, but it wasn’t bad at all.
A MATTER OF LOYALTY AND…DWARVES?: John Morrison was backstage with the Great Khali, and Morrison decided to talk movies. He talked about The Magnificent Seven and Seven samurai, and that if the Seven didn’t get along, they were doomed. Through Runjin Singh, Khali pointed out that there were also the Seven Dwarves. That…doesn’t even make sense. Morrison seemed to get it though and told Khali to think about it before leaving. Okay, I will admit that I tried to think of what the hell the Seven Dwarves had to do with anything, and I don’t get it. I’m willing to take suggestions, but that was just stupid. Anyway, Michael Tarver and David Otunga showed up after and Tarver said that the Nexus didn’t attack Khali because they respected him, but Cena didn’t respect him. The Nexus made their invitation and then walked off. I’m still enjoying the matter of Khali’s temptation to the Dark side, but this segment just kind of sucked.
DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.
This show had its ups and downs to a degree, but it kept its focus on its two main storylines: Nexus vs. Team WWE and the dissolution that was occurring in the team, and Sheamus vs. Orton. The WWE is at its best when it is focused and while I didn’t love this show it did what it needed. I will give this one a mild recommendation since nothing truly pissed me off and there was enough good to make me happy. Sometimes, I’m easy to please.
SHOW RATING: 7.0
By: Chad Nevett
– Husky Harris defeated Kaval [*1/2]
– Michael McGillicutty defeated “Lucky” Cannon [1/2*]
– Alex Riley defeated “Showtime” Percy Watson [*]
– The Miz defeated Michael McGillicutty [*1/2]
EVERYBODY HATES MIKE THE MIZ: I was tempted to fold this into the McGillicutty/Cannon match, but this was really entertaining and stood well enough on its own to warrant its own spot in the Right. It began with an extended version of the Miz’s comments on Michael McGillicutty, saying that he’s seen him before, that he’s just following in his daddy’s footsteps, and that he’s mediocre. McGillicutty challenged the Miz to a match, but was interrupted by “Lucky” Cannon who also wanted to Miz because of the Skull-Crushing Finale onto the Money in the Bank briefcase Cannon ate a couple of weeks back. The two argued until the Miz got on the mic and said that they could fight it out and maybe — MAYBE! — he would wrestle the winner. If he felt like it. Maybe. Kofi Kingston then called him out, mocking him as Mike the Miz, asking if he’s “awfwaid of the wittle NXT wookies?” The Miz agreed to face the winner later in the night. This made for a good contrast to Michael Cole’s constant talking up of the Miz and gave the episode its own internal story. Plus, everyone was good on the mic.
THE MIZ vs. MICHAEL McGILLICUTTY: The Rookie/Pro grudge match main event! Like the other matches of the night, this didn’t get the necessary time, but the Miz and McGillicutty did the most with what they had. The Miz was in control most of the match with McGillicutty going for quick pins and having short bursts of offense before the Miz knocked him on his ass. The Miz’s acting in the ring was good as he grew progressively angry that McGillicutty would dare to attempt any offense, becoming more vicious as the match went on. McGillicutty looked like he was hanging in okay until the Miz hit the Skull-Crushing Finale with McGillicutty obviously knowing it was coming and unable to do anything about it. A solid match where the right man won, but McGillicutty didn’t look too bad either. My only complaint was the camera work when the two were outside the ring. That low to the ground handheld stuff was awful and distracting. I know the WWE is trying new things with NXT, but that should never happen again.
HUSKY HARRIS vs. KAVAL: I liked what these two did in the ring last week and this match began strong with Kaval doing some very impressive in-ring moves, while Husky Harris showed a lot of passion. Harris dominated a lot of this short match through power with Kaval never quite able to make a comeback, and Harris picked up his second win in a row over Kaval. These two work well together, but this match just ended, leaving me wondering where the rest of it was.
ALEX RILEY vs. “SHOWTIME” PERCY WATSON: Like the Harris/Kaval match, this one didn’t last long enough to build to anything. Both men looked decent in the ring, but that’s not that hard when you’ve only got three minutes. Alex Riley won and that’s about all there is to say about this match.
WHO IS THE WORST PRO?: Before the main event, Matt Striker decided to put the Pros on the spot and ask each of them who they think the worst Pro so far is. Kofi Kingston went first, calling LayCool the worst Pros because they had Kaval come out in that pink shirt so much. LayCool then called Kingston the worst Pro because everyone loves the shirt. Mark Henry called Zack Ryder the worst Pro, because his Rookie was the first eliminated. Cody Rhodes called Kofi Kingston the worst Pro, because he would soon take Kingston’s Intercontinental Championship. Just when Zack Ryder was, most likely, going to call Mark Henry the worst Pro as retaliation, the Miz cut him off, called all of them the worst, and got into a short verbal sparring match with John Morrison. This was fine and I like to see the pettiness of the Pros come out, but it relied too heavily on that pettiness. Mark Henry’s reasoning was the only that actually made sense. The rest came off looking kind of dumb.
MICHAEL McGILLICUTTY vs. “LUCKY” CANNON: The epic brawl to determine who would face the Miz later in the night… and it lasted a minute. Michael McGillicutty continues to squash opponents and it’s looking like “Lucky” Cannon won’t be here after next week with the quick loss here and lack of immunity for winning the Kissing Contest. This match did neither man any favors.
KEEP READING: Because the opening segment wasn’t just Ridiculous, it was…
THE NXT ROOKIES KISSING CONTEST: It’s segments like this that the Ri-GODDAMN-diculous category was invented for. NXT began with LayCool hosting a Kissing Contest where the Rookies would seemingly kiss one of the two Women’s Co-Champions and they would judge the kisses on their softness, passion, and overall quality. They started with Husky Harris and Michelle McCool. Harris looked noticeably nervous, as I’m pretty sure anyone would if he were told he had to kiss the Undertaker’s new bride in the middle of the ring on TV. McCool just mocked him and pushed him away, saying that none of the Rookies would get to kiss them and introduced the 1993 Laredo Homecoming Queen… Margarita! Margarita was an overweight woman who looked even more overweight because of her short height and, also, has visible cold sores. The original idea of a Kissing Contest was weird, but at least could have played into LayCool’s characters since their comments on the rookies usually involve how cute they are. Introducing Margarita is where the segment went completely off the rails as the Rookies went one by one kissing her. Husky Harris dipped her and then looked repulsed. Michael McGillicutty inexplicably licked the side of her face. “Lucky” Cannon delivered a soft, sweet kiss. “Showtime” Percy Watson got close and was pushed into Margarita. LayCool took pity on Kaval and debated if they should make him do it. The surprising moment was Layla almost laying Kaval out with a giant kiss that didn’t get him out of having to kiss Margarita sadly. Alex Riley was the most into it, going to town on Margarita and fainting after, playing lovesick. Alas, that wasn’t enough for Riley to win as “Lucky” Cannon was declared the winner. He would share the prize of numerous infectious diseases with his fellow Rookies. I have no idea who thought this would be a good idea, but this was awful. There were a few moments of absurd comedy, but when I look at how short the matches were on the show, this segment, which took up the first 15 minutes of the show, could have easily been dropped and given to the matches since the Miz/McGillicutty/Cannon story was good enough to carry the episode. Worthless crap that wasn’t confined to being a bad segment but also hurt the rest of the show.
Four matches, none of which were given enough time to really deliver. One awful segment that took up a quarter of the show. It’s a shame, because most of the matches looked like they could have been really strong if they were given more than just a few minutes, but the Kissing Contest segment dragged down the entire show. The rest of the work was good, especially the promos building the story involving the Miz, but there simply wasn’t enough time to make it all work.
SHOW RATING: 4.5
…and remember to stay grounded!