Wrestling’s 4R’s Friday Edition 7.9.10: Raw and NXT Reviewed!
By: Jeremy Thomas
Ted DiBiase d. John Morrison [* ¾]
Vladimir Kozlov & Santino Marella d. William Regal & The Great Khali [½ *]
Evan Bourne & Randy Orton d. Chris Jericho & Edge [** ¾]
THE NEXUS DRAWS THE LINES: Monday Night Raw kicked off with all seven Nexus members in the ring, “awaiting their fate” as Michael Cole put it. Wade Barrett got on the mic and said he had gotten an email saying he had to assemble the Nexus in the ring to receive appropriate consequences for their actions. Barrett said he couldn’t reveal yet why he did what he did, but it needed to happen as part of a bigger picture. I’m intrigued, Wade…tell me more? They certainly had the crowd’s utter contempt behind them, and Barrett did a good job of building heat off the McMahon attack, although when he handed it over to Sheffield…well.
Is it just like me, or is Skip looking more and more like Bigfoot? He talked about what they did to Ricky Steamboat and the Legends, which they just did for fun. Skip talked about the loophole and how they exploited it. Skip’s not terrible on the mic, but he has a tendency to talk in that sleep-inducing cadence that midcarders seem to fall into. He was cut off by… “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” The GM had announced his punishment against the Nexus, which was that none of them could compete for a WWE championship until further notice and the no-violence levy had been lifted. That brought out John Cena, looking all pissed. He talked about how the seven of them had done a lot, but they hadn’t been in a fair fight, so he brought out six friends—Orton, Truth, the Harts, Bourne and Morrison and it became a—well, an ambush as seven heels came out to beat some ass from behind. Nice little tease there. It became a seven-on-seven fight with the faces tossing the heels out, and Sheamus said that he didn’t want to take them out because they just seemed to keep attacking Cena. You know, I like this. They’re getting the Nexus involved and they’re not exposing them yet. This is a bunch of upper midcarders and main eventers, and it continues to make the Nexus angle look important. You can’t at all argue with that.
JOHN MORRISON vs. TED DiBIASE: Maryse came to ringside and took a seat on commentary while Morrison and DiBiase got it on in the ring. Maryse talked about how she’s not a gold digger. Insert your own Kanye West joke here. While she paused to take a call, Morrison and Ted put on a perfectly decent match in the ring. It didn’t last very long, but it was good for what lasted and it gave DiBiase a much-needed win without hurting Morrison. I do think that Morrison looked kind of goofy staggering around the ring “blindly” for as long as he did, but otherwise this was a fine match that played into the Maryse/DiBiase relationship well. Nothing wrong with that.
ARN GIVES SHEAMUS A HISTORY LESSON: Backstage, Josh Matthews was interviewing Arn Anderson, who gave an emotional update on Ricky Steamboat. Sheamus showed up and Josh skedaddled as the Irishman belittled Double A. Arn did his best to talk some sense into Sheamus and get him to see some sense. This was an old-school verbal schooling, but Sheamus said that he wasn’t worried and that the Nexus was smarter than the Horsemen ever were. Arn then busted out a great line about how Sheamus needed to be smart or he would be the Great White Shark swimming around an empty mud hole. This was a great little segment that gave a nod to continuity and continued the building of Nexus by comparing them to a group like the Horsemen. Is it sacrilegious? To us older-school fans, probably. But it did the Nexus more good than it did anyone harm and I enjoyed seeing Arn and Sheamus interact here.
THE CUTTING EDGE/TAG MATCH: Edge came out to a ladder-filled ring for his Cutting Edge. He started off by mocking R-Truth in a pretty awesome fashion and he got the crowd laughing with it. He talked about how the Nexus attacked at the Fatal Four-Way and that he could deal with it, but he wanted seven allies instead of seven enemies. He talked about how he could guide them and then talked about Money in the Bank. I liked the way he put it over. He then introduced Evan Bourne—oh, wait. No, that’s Chris Jericho. Jericho had the super-serious expression and they faced off before Jericho talked some crap and said how he was the guy who mentored Wade Barrett, so it was his credit. They sniped back and forth pretty nicely and I gotta say, I love them arguing as heel-heel more than I did as heel-face. Finally it went to blows, and Edge took advantage before Bourne came out and got the best of both of them. Very nice way to continue Bourne’s push.
This turned into a tag team match which, disappointingly, was joined in progress. But even with that minor disappointment, we got a pretty good match here. Bourne looked very solid early on against Jericho and Orton did some good work as well. I actually liked the way these two worked as a team, and it’s not a major dash against continuity since Orton and Bourne never interacted when Orton was a heel (to my knowledge). Of course, Bourne played the face-in-peril, and that’s more than fine as he sells like no active wrestler today. He made the hot tag and Orton came in, cleaned house and hit the rope DDT before going nuts. Edge caused a distraction and that allowed the heels to take control. This was a good, long match that allowed the crowd to get seriously into it and had some very nice ring work as well. Who ever thought that Orton would be making the hot tag to Bourne too? I dug this match and I thought it played out very nicely, and the finish gave Bourne a huge rub and made sense in storyline. Works for me. And Orton RKO’ing Bourne was classic too.
NAME THAT USO: Backstage late in the show, Josh Matthews announced that at Money in the Bank the Uso Brothers would get a shot at the Hart Dynasty for the World Tag Team Titles. He then had Jimmy, Jey and Tamina show up, and Jimmy talked about his opportunity before he told Matthews that he’d win a grand if he could figure out which Uso he was talking to. He couldn’t do so. Tamina then introduced them, and said Matthews was ignorant like the Hart Dynasty. Jey then talked about how next week they’d show the Harts what the Usos were all about. This is exactly the kind of promo I like seeing from the Usos. They have great mic skills and they deserve more promo time; they can give the feud a lot of heat if they get the right promos. Good stuff here.
THE TRUCE: Our main event segment was Wade Barrett and John Cena’s enforced handshake by the mystery GM. Barrett came down first and got on the mic, telling Cena that they were supposed to shake hands, and while they’ve attacked Cena, it’s been nothing against him and he’s just been caught in the middle. That brought out Cena who had to stop and check to make sure he wasn’t being attacked from behind before he came down to the ring. Cena was looking very skittish as he got into the ring, and Barrett said that he wasn’t in their future plans. He said he wanted to put the past behind them and look to the future, that the Nexus Seven would be there for a long time and they could make his life easier or harder. With that choice, you knew where Cena was going with it. He asked Barrett if he really wanted to do this or if he was being forced, and Barrett went to shake the hand and…Cena started joking around. Oh Christ. He was semi-moderately funny here, and then he went super-serious. Yeah, okay. He did well with it, and this is exactly how I expected he’d play it in terms of telling the Nexus to screw off so that’s all fine. I’ll even forgive the bipolar stuff this time, because it ended with a big-time brawl where the faces came down and attacked the Nexus. This was a major escalation and I liked that. Then…”YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” The GM said that he wanted peace, but if things didn’t stop there would be consequences. Cena then put the STFU on evil Cena, and that meant that Cena would face the Nexus seven-on-one. That’s a crucible moment for the storyline. But this played out well and I was okay with it.
R-TRUTH GETS HIS ASS KICKED: Well, this was interesting. Truth was supposed to have a match here with the Miz, but instead he got put out of action. During the entrances, Miz came down with another parody of Truth’s entrance rap. He climbed into the ring and he made fun of Truth before cheap-shotting him with the microphone. He proceeded to just beat the snot out of Miz and left him beaten on the ground, which resulted in Truth’s removal from Money in the Bank. Now, I would have preferred a match out of this and maybe a post-match attack, and I have to wonder why they put Truth in the PPV match in the first place if they were going to yank him out with this. It worked just fine, but I think more foresight and an actual match would have made it work better.
SANTINO MARELLA & VLADIMIR KOZLOV vs. WILLIAM REGAL & THE GREAT KHALI: Should I even bother pointing out how little the Regal/Khali pairing made? No, there’s no point. The Khali heel turn is half-assed at best and I don’t think anyone really cared. But I did like Regal’s alliterative promo. This was a comedy match that saw Regal doing most of the work rate and Khali not even entering the ring; instead Santino clowned, Koz squashed and Runjin flattened Regal post-match. I’m not one of these “LET REGAL WIN” fanatics, because I am aware that at this point he’s really training people and helping build them up, not climbing the ladder on his own. But this was just a Chavo-level squashing, and there was no real match worth mentioning either. Yeah, I didn’t like this.
STEVE AUSTIN, GM?: Throughout the night, we got implications that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the General Manager. Michael Cole quoted the GM in the first segment with “and that’s the bottom line, because the GM said so.” The Bourne/Orton vs. Edge/Jericho match was announced by asking for a “Hell Yeah.” I didn’t like this, mostly because it was too obvious and they clearly want us to think that it is. Why is this a problem? Well, if it is then it’s not as shocking as they want it to be, and if not then it’s another dumb bait and switch. Listen, I’m not going to harp on this, but if they had subtly hinted at it then people would start talking and that would build hype. As it is, there’s no way it can end well.
DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.
ALICIA FOX vs. EVE: Apparently Eve was mad because she hasn’t been interviewed yet, so she told Josh Matthews the Butterfly title win wasn’t a fluke. Okay. Eve was cashing in her rematch tonight, and I gotta say, purple isn’t her color. They had a predictably short match and it had some predictably sloppy moments for the ten seconds before Alicia played opossum and then nailed Eve to retain. A nothing title defense given no time. Why should I care, exactly? The Divas deserve better than this.
I know some people are down on it, but I thought the WWE did another great job building to Money in the Bank. The Nexus development is really making the guys look like stars; now they just need to do something with it. Yes, there were some problems and I will admit that, but I was entertained for most of the show and I want to see where it goes next. That’s all I ask.
SHOW RATING: 7.5
By: Chad Nevett
– Michael McGillicutty defeated “Showtime” Percy Watson [*1/2]
– The Miz defeated Kaval [**]
– Husky Harris & “Dashing” Cody Rhodes defeated “Lucky” Cannon & Mark Henry [*1/4]
THE MIZ vs. KAVAL: It’s not often you get to see a match where the Miz dominates, but it was fun to see him work that way with him controlling 90% of this match easily. He was vicious and mean, especially whenever Kaval would get in the odd shot here and there. At first, I almost expected this match to be the reverse of most Kaval matches we’ve seen with Kaval getting beat up, but managing to get the win after two moves. In the second half of the match, he made a good comeback with a lot of kicks and aerobatic moves, falling short after the Miz countered the Warrior’s Way a couple of times before hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win. This match made both the Miz and Kaval look good as the Miz beat the strongest in-ring performer of the rookies and Kaval looked like a threat to one of the pros.
TALK THE TALK CHALLENGE: The show began with the introduction of the pros and rookies, first with Matt Striker asking the pros about the results of last week’s elimination of Titus O’Neil. Zack Ryder said that O’Neil was robbed, while John Morrison said that they should have eliminated the Miz. When the rookies came out, Alex Riley stole the clipboard from Layla and took notes himself throughout the segment, which was entertaining. Striker asked the rookies about the results of the poll last week and Husky Harris talked about how dangerous he is, asking Striker “Do you think I’m seven?” Alex Riley was shocked at only ranking fourth, while Kaval thanked the WWE Universe for supporting him. With that lengthy intro out of the way, Striker got down to brass tacks by introducing this week’s challenge: the Talk the Talk Challenge where each rookie would be given a topic that they must talk about for 30 seconds to show off their mic skills. This could have been ugly, but it wasn’t too bad. The best of the bunch were “Showtime” Percy Watson on glasses, Michael McGillicutty on breath, and Alex Riley on pigeon. Each of them managed to work their topic into their 30 seconds well. Kaval wasn’t too bad with chicken, but he pandered to the crowd quite a bit. Husky Harris’s promo on doorknob wasn’t too bad, but it never really came together. Eli Cottonwood and “Lucky” Cannon were just bad. I was expecting a lot worse from the group and “Showtime” Percy Watson winning and getting his own talk show on next week’s show was the right call since he’s the best talker despite his promo not being the best of the bunch this time (but it was still one of the best). Unlike the keg challenge, this one actually makes sense and relates to the competition.
MICHAEL McGILLICUTTY vs. “SHOWTIME” PERCY WATSON: This was a fine enough match. Longer than some of the squashes McGillicutty has gotten, which is good. Watson looked decent in the ring, but is clearly outmatched by Junior Perfect. There wasn’t much flash in this match with both men sticking to simple holds, but I don’t mind seeing rookies keeping to the basics, showing that they can do those well before trying more, especially when there are a few who really can’t do that much in the ring well. MVP and Kofi Kingston being in their respective rookie’s corner worked well, too, with MVP getting a lot of camera time shouting encouragement to Watson. That sold the pro/rookie relationship quite a bit, while also selling the idea that McGillicutty is more advanced in the ring and that Watson needs a little more coaching. While Kingston was also on the apron, we didn’t see/hear from him much, unlike MVP who was in our field of vision most of the time. McGillicutty picked up the win and looked good doing it.
VIDEO PACKAGE: ELI COTTONWOOD: In this video, the emphasis seemed to be on how Eli Cottonwood needs to open up a little and use his size better. It was fairly negative, but in that constructive manner where it seemed like the pros were pointing out his weaknesses so he could improve. I don’t see that happening, but it came off well enough.
VIDEO PACKAGE: HUSKY HARRIS: Husky Harris’s video took a similar route to Cottonwood’s, but with a lot more praise. The pros are clearly high on Harris with the only big negative being that he’s heavy. The main message was that Harris has tons of potential and needs to unlock it (and lose weight). Again, a solid video package, but not amazing.
HUSKY HARRIS & “DASHING” CODY RHODES vs. “LUCKY” CANNON & MARK HENRY: The show went from the Husky Harris video to this tag match, which was fairly short, but had some nice bits. I was a little disappointed that the feud between the two camps wasn’t referenced more by Cole and Matthews since that’s one of the few stories in NXT right now. Harris and Rhodes worked well together, making a lot of quick tags to hammer on Mark Henry until Harris got a little too cocky and paid the price. After that, the match quickly wrapped up with the usual end-of-tag-match clusterfuck with everyone in the ring until Rhodes hit Cross Rhodes on Cannon for the win. Harris and Rhodes winning was good as that gives Cannon and Henry something to prove. A solid match, but I would have liked to see it get more time and for Henry and Cannon to do more as a team. Rhodes and Harris worked very well together, though.
ELIMINATION RECAP: TITUS O’NEIL: The elimination recap of Titus O’Neil showed him dropping the keg last week and his post-elimination speech before getting some quotes from the pros where they just tore the guy apart for his lack of skill in the ring. They did say he has a good look and that his hand gesture is the best thing about him. It makes sense for them to bury him a little since he was eliminated, but he’s still a WWE employee and he came out of this looking like a joke. Even his pro didn’t have many nice things to say. This needed a little more constructive criticism and a little less mocking criticism.
A pretty average episode. The Talk the Talk Challenge was better than I expected and the three matches were all fine, but nothing spectacular.
SHOW RATING: 6.5