Monday, August 30, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/30/10 from Boston, MA.

The Big News: CM Punk was involved in a segment for the ages.

Show Analysis:

The show started with a comically absurd, self-glorifying video package about the 900th episode of Raw. Did you know that Raw has more episodes than any other television show that qualifies under WWE standards for such a comparison? This continued throughout the show and made WWE come across so desperate for respect. They just kept going on and on trying to act like they are a bigger deal than television shows with 100 times their cultural appeal.

Bret Hart then came out. There was no acknowledgement of the anonymous GM seemingly exiling him a couple weeks ago. Bret continued the Raw self-promotion and noted that the Undertaker and himself are the only wrestlers still around from the beginning of the show.

That brought out Kane. Kane said that the Undertaker is no long around because he is no longer a phenom. Welcome to the night of the technicalities, ladies and gentlemen. There was a really loud Undertaker chant. Kane said that Undertaker is like Bret: weak, feeble and washed-up. Kane added that the last time he was really the Undertaker was at WrestleMania against Shawn Michaels. Kane said that Undertaker took out an icon in Michaels so he would take out an icon in Bret.

Kane grabbed Bret by the throat. Hart Dynasty went for the save but Kane fought them off. The lights went out and Undertaker appeared in the ring. Kane teased fighting Undertaker but left. I liked the interplay here with Bret Hart and Kane.

The anonymous GM popped up and announced a match between Bret Hart and Undertaker for later in the show. Okay, now I know that the GM said a few weeks ago he never wanted to see Bret wrestle again. That was completely ignored. And I don’t know why you even bother announcing a match like Bret vs. Taker anyway. Everyone knows you’re not going to deliver and of course you don’t. You get all the downside of a shameless bait and switch with none of the upside.

Miz & Alex Riley beat Kofi Kingston & Joe Hennig and Daniel Bryan & Kaval in a triple threat tag match. Oh yes, I knew there was trouble coming when I saw Bryan and Kaval teamed together. But getting mad at WWE for repeatedly jobbing out talented wrestlers just because they had success on the independent scene at this point is kind of like getting mad at Mel Gibson for going on drunken, bigoted tirades. It’s just who they are.

Three wrestlers were in the ring at the same time during this match, which was a little unwieldy. Kaval applied a dragon sleeper on Hennig but Riley broke it up. Kaval followed with a double foot stomp off the top but Miz came in and hit the skull crushing finale on Kaval for the pin. After the match, Miz laid out Bryan with the briefcase.

Melina and Eve Torres beat Lay Cool. This started a long series of crappy, hurried finishes. At the beginning of the match, Melina just threw Layla into Michelle McCool and pinned Layla. Michelle afterwards said that the match they just had, like Melina, was forgettable. Well, that is true, but I don’t know about pointing it out. Lay Cool challenged Melina to a title unification match at Night of Champions. Melina accepted if it was a lumberjack match. Lay Cool agreed. I hope they go ahead and merge the titles.

NXT backstage was angry about being labeled weak. Wade Barrett said they would beat five great wrestlers on Raw and he would take the title at the PPV to prove Nexus’ strength. He vowed to do something on Raw that would have people talking forever. Elsewhere, Chris Jericho said that being the best isn’t just his catchphrase but that he seems to be the only person to believe it these days. Thus, Jericho vowed to leave WWE forever if he doesn’t win the title at the PPV. Josh Mathews pointed out we’ve been through this 8,000 times with Jericho.

John Morrison and R. Truth battled to a double DQ with Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes. They fought for like 30 seconds before everyone was disqualified for fighting. I don’t know why they even bothered doing this segment given it accomplished nothing and every match on the show was ridiculously rushed already.

Bret Hart and Undertaker didn’t wrestle. They were out there for the match when Wade Barrett came in and went after Undertaker. Undertaker beat him up and dumped him out of the ring. The lights went out. Kane appeared in the ring and fought with Undertaker. The lack of reaction to this was a really bad sign. Undertaker grabbed Kane by the throat and the lights went out again.

Kane was gone when the lights came back on and Nexus surrounded the ring. Undertaker beat them all up one on five until the lights went out again. When they came on this time Barrett had Undertaker over his head and gave him the wasteland (the forward fireman carry slam). Justin Gabriel then gave Undertaker the 450 splash. This segment was hokey and counterproductive in the seeming goal of getting over Nexus.

Jack Swagger beat Evan Bourne. This match was just a backdrop for Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio came out just as the match started. He did his elaborate entrance and by the time he got to ringside, Swagger submitted Bourne with the ankle lock. Del Rio bragged about taking out Rey Mysterio. He said he was disappointed the Raw audience didn’t see that, so they’re now acknowledging that Raw viewers don’t watch Smackdown. Del Rio said that he would recreate the scene. He applied the armbar on Bourne and was going to use a chair on the arm when Mark Henry made the save.

Next up was an amazing, amazing segment. They played an old clip of the Rock. CM Punk and the Straight Edge Society came out. Punk said that he’s better than the Rock and the announcers had a hearty laugh at this notion. Punk took a shot at the Tooth Fairy and asked if fans miss the Rock. Well, duh. You see, the theme of this segment was “great things about Raw that are gone now.” Seriously.

So Punk next brought up how Raw used to be edgy. He brought up DX’s catchphrase, DX invading Nitro and the Steve Austin beer bath of Vince McMahon. He mixed in some newer stuff that didn’t get over nearly as well like HHH destroying Randy Orton’s “home” and John Cena throwing Edge into water. Punk criticized Raw’s poor family values.

This was the segue into a rant against Steve Austin. Punk ran down Austin’s character, when all of a sudden Steve Austin’s music played. The crowd went nuts of course. But Austin did not come out. Punk then laughed and pointed out that Steve Austin is gone and wasn’t there on Raw.

So, having pointed out Rock is gone, Steve Austin is gone and the show is no longer edgy, what else from the past was there left to bring up? You guessed it! They aired a video clip of Brock Lesnar superplexing Big Show on Smackdown, the ring breaking, and the crowd going crazy. Punk said he didn’t know who the other guy in the ring with Show was. He then made fun of Show for being fat.

Having teased Rock, Steve Austin and Brock Lesnar, we finally got the big run-in. Big Show came out. He started bringing up his own worst segments to make fun of himself. He then did an impression. Who was this impression of? Take three guesses, brother. Yes, Big Show did a Hulk Hogan impression on Raw. If fans had started chanting TNA, it would have worked on two levels.

Punk responded, “That was boring. You’re not entertaining. And nobody likes you.” I broke out in laughter. That line was seriously the best comedy on Raw in ages. Anyway, Show was saddened by this and a fight broke out. Straight Edge Society left. Punk was great throughout this segment, by the way.

So, to recap this segment. They pointed out Rock was great but left WWE to go do movies. They pointed out the show used to be edgy but now it’s PG. They brought up how Steve Austin was great and now is gone. They aired a great clip of UFC’s biggest star. And then they had one of their guys do an impression of a guy who works for TNA. Wow. I mean, this was entertaining as hell. But just, wow.

Sheamus came out for the main event and complained about his treatment on Raw. Edge joined him. Edge said he has had many bad things happen to him as well but that he has given it back three times as much. Edge ran down his accomplishments and vowed to win the title from Sheamus.

Nexus beat John Cena, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Edge and Chris Jericho. This was an elimination match so you knew there would be some terrible finishes. Jericho just walked away and was counted out. Edge then knocked down the referee and was disqualified. Nexus worked over Sheamus and Heath Slater pinned him clean with a leaping neck breaker. Of course, Slater was then immediately pinned with an FU by Cena.

Nexus worked over Cena. Cena made his own comeback and tapped out David Otunga with the STF. However, Justin Gabriel then hit the 450 on Cena for the pin. Immediately Orton came in and gave Gabriel the RKO for the pin. Tarver missed a superman punch on Orton and was pinned with the RKO. Barrett then came in with an RKO on Orton for the pin.

I liked that they finally put over Nexus strong here. If they want them to be major players, they need to get some wins. With that said, the pins had very little resonance because of the booking. Rather than letting the big wins over Cena and Sheamus sink in, the guys who beat them were immediately pinned themselves. It had the effect of pretty much instantaneously negating what had just happened. But on the plus side, Barrett did get the big win over a major player at the end and was standing tall to close the show. So this segment gets an overall thumbs up from me.

Final Thoughts:

This show flew by and was very interesting viewing. It was also terribly booked and counterproductive in a variety of ways.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/23/10 from Los Angeles, CA.

The Big News: Sheamus will have to defend his title against five challengers at the next pay-per-view

Show Analysis:

Sheamus came out to start the show. He said that American children are spoiled brats. That gave him the opportunity to go outside the ring berating individual kids and calling them “fella.” Sheamus asserted that Randy Orton is a spoiled child too. He couldn’t win the title at SummerSlam and then attacked Sheamus afterwards and the next night. He told the anonymous GM to punish Orton for this and never give him another shot at the title.

That was the cue for an e-mail from the GM. This gimmick, by the way, has to go. It was totally cheesy from the start and becomes more grating and silly by the week. Anyway, the GM had a throne brought out on the stage. Sheamus would get to watch all the evening’s matches on that throne. At the end of the evening, Sheamus would get to decide his next title challenger.

Edge beat R. Truth. Truth hit a spinning head scissors and clothesline over the top early but missed a pescado. Edge took over with punches, kicks, a bow and arrow and the Edgecution. He missed a spear, but Truth then missed an ax kick and Edge hit the spear for the pin. After the match, Edge told Sheamus that he hasn’t beaten anyone until he has beaten Edge.

Chris Jericho beat Great Khali. Jericho worked over the leg. He went for the Walls and the code breaker but Khali escaped each. Khali hit a body slam but missed a kick and Jericho applied the Walls. Khali tapped out. It was surprising to see them have Khali tap out, but I certainly have no problem with it. Khali looked pretty darn bad here despite having Jericho to work with. After the match Jericho put himself over as a better contender than Edge. Khali came over and gave Jericho a chop.

Backstage, John Cena criticized Miz for jerking around the team leading into SummerSlam and for attacking Daniel Bryan. Cena said that Miz has a big mouth and an attitude problem but that Cena will give him an attitude adjustment.

Melina beat Jillian Hall. This was a pretty terrible match. The problem is Melina wants to get in all these spots devoted to showing off her flexibility when most of them don’t help build the match or actually take you out of it. Jillian missed a leg drop off the second rope and Melina hit the last call for the pin. After the match, Lay Cool said that they will be on Raw next week to make Melina an offer she can’t refuse. I’m all for merging the titles. There was never a need for two women’s titles.

Miz backstage said that John Cena shouldn’t talk about egos. Miz said that Sheamus was taken out at SummerSlam but that he didn’t cash in MITB because he was focused on helping Team WWE. Then Cena went and embarrassed him. Well, when you put it like that, John Cena really is a big old jerk. It was nice of them to go back and explain that. Miz promised consequences for Cena.

Nexus came out. The anonymous GM said that the ban on Nexus competing for titles has been lifted. Wade Barrett told Sheamus that their truce is over. And Nexus left. I thought there would be a much more dramatic conclusion to the storyline about no Nexus title shots. Clearly, they didn’t know where they were going with that or changed their minds.

Miz beat John Cena via DQ in a good match. Miz went after Cena with punches, kicks and an Irish whip. Cena retaliated with a side slam and vertical suplex. He set up for the top rope rocker dropper but Miz crotched him. Miz snapped Cena’s neck into the ropes and clotheslined him into the corner. Cena came back with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle. However, Miz escaped the FU attempt and hit a back breaker/neck breaker combination for two.

Miz went for the skull crushing finale but Cena got out and caught Miz in the STF. Miz struggled to get to the ropes. One nice thing about the fact that wrestlers now submit relatively quickly to submission holds when caught in the center of the ring is that it becomes all the more dramatic and impressive when someone fights to the ropes.

Cena went for the FU again but Miz escaped to outside of the ring. At that point Daniel Bryan attacked Miz on the floor and threw him back into the ring. Cena hit the FU but the referee called for the DQ. Cena seemed fine with this and Bryan came in and applied the omoplata/crossface on Miz. Miz tapped.

Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov beat the Usos in a surprisingly good little match. The Usos worked over Santino. Kozlov tagged in and went crazy with a head butt, power slam and choke slam for the pin. It wasn’t an ambitious match by any means but worked very well considering the wrestlers involved. After the match Tamina protected Santino and shot a kiss (like a blow dart) at Santino.

Randy Orton beat Ted DiBiase and John Morrison in a three way match. They did the WWE thing where one guy is almost always on the outside while the other two fight in the ring. Orton eventually took over on both opponents with power slams. He went for the draping DDT on DiBiase. Morrison tried to break it up with a springboard kick but missed. He looked like a total fool there.

Orton hit that DDT and went for the RKO but DiBiase escaped. DiBiase went for dream street on Orton but Orton countered and threw him out of the ring. Morrison came back in with a springboard but was caught with an RKO for the pin. Either they are planning to turn Morrison heel, they are planning to move him to Smackdown, or they have pretty much given up on him for the time being.

Sheamus beat Zack Ryder. Sheamus announced that he wouldn’t wait until Night of Champions to defend his title. He said he would defend on Raw and give someone new an opportunity, Zack Ryder. Ryder said that he appreciated the opportunity but that Sheamus just made a big mistake. Woo Woo Woo. You know it. Michael Cole said he deserves a title shot more than Ryder. And Sheamus just hit a bicycle kick and pinned Ryder immediately.

After the match, Sheamus said he now no longer had to defend his title for another 30 days and that he would take Night of Champions off. That brought out Wade Barrett, who said his NXT title opportunity has been reinstated and he will take it at Night of Champions. Over the next couple seconds the GM thought about this and wrote out a lengthy e-mail response. He said that Night of Champions will have a six pack title match with Sheamus vs. Barrett vs. Edge vs. Jericho vs. Cena vs. Orton.

All the other challengers came to the ring and everyone targeted Wade Barrett. They beat up Barrett and Sheamus threw him from the ring. Then Jericho hit the code breaker on Sheamus. Edge hit the spear on Jericho. Cena hit the FU on Edge. And Orton hit the RKO on Cena. The finish looked ridiculous and contrived with each guy standing around waiting for the next guy to do to him what he had just done to the last guy.

Final Thoughts:

This was a straight-forward, rather uneventful taped Raw. It was fine.

Monday, August 16, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/16/10 from Los Angeles, CA.

The Big News: Nexus “bounced back” from SummerSlam with a series of “wins” over Raw wrestlers.

Show Analysis:

Nexus came out at the start of the show. Wade Barrett said that Nexus may have lost at SummerSlam but they eliminated six WWE guys and are still here. He said that they are still united and ready to dominate. He promised severe consequences for Raw: suffering, destruction and chaos. That does sound pretty bad.

John Cena made an appearance in smarmy, obnoxious, jokey mode. He started out with Jersey Shore and Expendables jokes. He pointed out that Barrett tapped out and said Daniel Bryan eliminated half of Nexus by himself. Cena said that SummerSlam proved Nexus is human and can be beat. So apparently he didn’t watch the first season of NXT.

Cena then told a bunch of jokes. He referred to David Otunga as a male escort and Michael Tarver as a stripper. He had a Wendy’s joke about Heath Slater, complete with a “humorous” video graphic. He called Darren Young Buckwheat and suggested Gabriel is a homosexual. Finally he made fun of Sheffield’s intelligence. Nexus all just stood there and took it as Cena ridiculed them for seemingly half the program.

When Cena concluded, Nexus started arguing among themselves. The anonymous GM then popped up and announced matches with each member of Nexus against Team WWE. The GM threatened punishment for outside interference by Nexus members. Barrett said this would be redemption and the weak links on Nexus would be weeded out. He said that if anyone from Nexus lost they would be exiled from the group. Otunga then told Barrett that if he lost someone else would take over. The GM said Nexus could choose the matches except Barrett had to face Jericho.

This was a terrible start to the show. Nexus came across insecure, whiny and weak while Cena offered up a 10 minute embodiment of why WWE is seen as so incredibly uncool.

Wade Barrett beat Chris Jericho. Barrett hit a kick to the head and applied a bow and arrow. Jericho came back with a dropkick off the second rope, bulldog and applied the Walls. Barrett got to the ropes. Barrett hit a big boot but Jericho responded with an enzuigiri. Finally, Jericho’s code breaker attempt was reversed into the forward fireman carry drop for the pin. I thought Barrett should have been put over stronger here, but this was Anderson Silva-Forrest Griffin compared to basically all of the other Nexus “wins.”

The anonymous GM announced that the unified tag team titles have been renamed the WWE tag titles. They switched the four title belts for two new title belts. Bret Hart presented them to Hart Dynasty. I think it’s a good idea. The extra belts were cool for a period but it’s time to just make it clear there’s one championship. The new belts are bronze colored. I don’t really like the look but it’s no big deal.

Michael Tarver beat Daniel Bryan. Michael Cole spent this entire match on a crazed tirade against Bryan. That shtick was amusing as hell on NXT, but NXT was a throwaway show. Raw is the big show and the play-by-play guy acting like a maniac in reference to one particular face comes across distracting, bizarre and counterproductive. They need to severely tone it down.

The crowd chanted for Daniel Bryan. Bryan hit a series of kicks including a dropkick off the top. The finish was one of those idiotic, nonsensical distraction finishes. Miz and Alex Riley ran down to ringside. Bryan, learning nothing from the most common finish in WWE, turned his back on his opponent to stare at Riley and Miz for a while. Tarver of course recovered and rolled up Bryan for the pin. Afterwards, Bryan hit a tope on Miz but Riley and Tarver helped Miz take over on Bryan. Miz speared him into the barricade and gave him the skull crushing finale on the briefcase.

Backstage, Miz was livid about people saying Bryan should have been his pro and NXT and Bryan replacing him on the SummerSlam team. He proclaimed Riley the next breakout star. Miz was really good here. Riley said that Bryan never appreciated Miz. Riley said he will be the next winner of NXT and owes it all to Miz. Elsewhere, Darren Young said that he wanted John Cena. Otunga said he respected that.

Justin Gabriel beat Randy Orton via count out. Gabriel had elected to wrestle Bret Hart, but the anonymous GM said Bret Hart wouldn’t compete because he never liked Bret. He then brought in Orton as the replacement. That makes no sense if as assumed the GM ends up being affiliated with Nexus.

Orton basically treated Gabriel as a joke in this match. He smirked at Gabriel as Gabriel tried to get in a little offense. Gabriel threw a couple kicks but Orton caught one. He then took over with clotheslines, a powerslam and the draping DDT. At that point Sheamus came out. He fought with Orton into the crowd.

For some reason, rather than disqualifying Gabriel, the referee just counted Orton out. So let’s see. The finish didn’t make sense. It was shitty and inconclusive. And the winner gained absolutely nothing. Great. Afterwards, just to emphasize that Gabriel is a non-entity, Orton laid him out with an RKO. He then hit Sheamus a bunch of times with a chair.

David Otunga and Skip Sheffield beat John Morrison and R. Truth. Nexus worked over Truth. Truth got the tag and hit a clothesline on Otunga. However, Sheffield tagged himself in. Sheffield knocked Truth off the apron and hit a hard clothesline on Morrison for the pin. This is how you put someone over.

Maryse, Jillian Hall and Alicia Fox beat Melina, Eve Torres and Gail Kim. The heels worked over Melina. She tagged Eve. Eve hit dropkicks, a body slam and a somersault senton on Hall. Eve went for a moonsault but Hall pulled her off the ropes and covered for the pin. I was shocked by this result. Not that there was anything wrong with it; I just take it as a given that when Hall is in at the end of a match she is going to lose.

Edge and Heath Slater met backstage. Edge said he wasn’t surprised to get the victory at SummerSlam. Slater said that he has patterned himself after Edge and suggested Edge take the night off. Edge responded that he wouldn’t want to forfeit a match to the likes of Slate. Slater hit him from behind and left.

Heath Slater beat Edge via count out. Slater sent Edge into the barricade and beat him up. Edge came back with clotheslines, a flying forearm and a big boot. He went for the spear on the outside but Slater ducked into the ring and Edge was counted out. The night of ridiculously bad finishes continued. Edge hit a spear on Slater afterwards. Backstage, they did a comedy bit where Great Khali apparently gave up on his ugly girlfriend in favor of the Bella twins.

John Cena beat Darren Young. Young worked over Cena with elbows and leg drops. He threw Cena into the steps and kicked the steps into Cena. Cena came back with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle. He went for the FU. Young escaped that but Cena countered back into the STF for the tap. As Cena left the Nexus guys surrounded Young. Cena did a good job selling pity for Young. Nexus then laid him out.

Final Thoughts:

The basic idea of what they were trying to do on Raw was good. You put over the Nexus guys and build them back up after their SummerSlam loss. But the execution of that idea was just awful. It was one terrible finish after another, after a SummerSlam event also riddled with horrible finishes.

Is it so hard to book a real winner and a real loser and have matches actually mean something? And if you think so lowly of these Nexus guys that you are completely unwilling to give them strong wins over stars, why are they in a main event program in the first place?

A lot of people really disliked the finish to the main event last night. I was okay with it, even if I thought Barrett should have beaten Cena. But the follow-up on this show was really bad. It was like a textbook example of how to book guys win matches without the wins meaning a damn thing.

On the plus side, I’m all for cutting the deadweight from Nexus and replacing them with the strongest guys from the second season of NXT.

Latest piece:

Monday, August 09, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/09/10 from Sacramento, CA.

The Big News: Team Raw reunited, minus Great Khali, heading into their SummerSlam showdown with Nexus.

Show Analysis:

Bret Hart came out to start the show. He said that he has been training like a lunatic for SummerSlam. I’m not sure about that one. Bret said that he vouched for Edge and Chris Jericho to John Cena and asked them to come out. Jericho came out first and wanted Bret to put over how great he is. Bret said that Jericho and Edge are hurting themselves by making themselves pariahs with nowhere to go.

Jericho teased being won over by Bret but then said he wouldn’t rejoin the team. Jericho claimed that Bret is a phony and just concerned about getting hurt by Jericho or Edge. Edge then came out to talk to Jericho. He talked about how much they both idolized Bret when they were younger. Edge said he was in, but of course it was swerve number two and he tried to kick Bret when they shook hands.

Bret caught the kick and went for the sharpshooter but Jericho poked Bret in the eye. Natalya then ran to ringside and Nexus was shown on the screen beating up the Hart Dynasty backstage. Wade Barrett said Bret couldn’t use the Hart Dynasty as replacements any more. These “injury” angles “eliminating” people from SummerSlam felt completely fake and unconvincing given we see worse beatings pretty much every segment of every wrestling show and no one is ever out a full week.

With that said, I really liked this opening segment. Bret, Jericho and Edge all played their roles very well even if I could have done without two obviously phony swerves in the same segment. Bret seemed very comfortable on the microphone trying to pull the team back together and Jericho and Edge both play the role of slimy heel well.

Backstage, Bret Hart was angry about what happened to Hart Dynasty. He grabbed a chair and was going to go for revenge but John Cena stopped him. Cena told Bret to stay there while he tried to keep the team together.

Miz beat Evan Bourne. Miz hit a kick to the head of Bourne and worked him over. Bourne came back with a beautiful springboard backwards into a huracanrana. However, Miz took back over with a head over heels clothesline and the skull crushing finale for the pin. This was treated as pretty much a total squash complete with the announcers acting shocked during Bourne’s 20 seconds of offense. After the match, Miz said that when he cashes in his MITB contract he will be champion. The crowd is really taking to Miz with the MITB gimmick. He’s really clicking right now.

Melina beat Alicia Fox. Melina hit punches and forearms. Alicia used a clothesline on the floor and a slow motion tilt-a-whirl back breaker. She followed with an over the top back breaker but Melina countered that into the last call for the pin. This was very sloppy. Backstage, Great Khali was without Ranjin Singh. He said that he is with Team WWE and challenged Wade Barrett to a match.

Backstage, Edge griped about Bret Hart to Chris Jericho. Jericho was concerned that they might have screwed themselves. Edge said that they have survived it all in WWE and will survive Nexus. Jericho suggested that if they took out Bret and Cena there would be no match at SummerSlam and they would be fine. What? John Morrison and R. Truth met elsewhere and talked about how they needed to find a replacement. Mark Henry said he would be the replacement and his upcoming match would be the audition.

Mark Henry was coming to the ring for a match with Ted DiBiase when he was jumped by Nexus. They threw Henry into the ring steps and that was apparently the end of Mark Henry. It will be really funny if Henry and Hart Dynasty are back on Raw next Monday. They probably will be, too.

Sheamus came to the ring and said that last week he was scared about what he would do to Randy Orton. They aired video of Sheamus beating people up. Orton joined Sheamus and said Sheamus had a chance to prove he should be taken seriously last week but blew it. Sheamus said he will beat Orton at SummerSlam and send him back to the end of the lin. Orton replied that he will win the title at SummerSlam and dare Sheamus to redeem himself for last week.

At that moment Bryan Alvarez’s cell phone went off and the anonymous GM said that if anyone interferes in the SummerSlam title match they will be suspended indefinitely. The GM further added that if Orton loses there will be no rematch. Finally, the GM encouraged Sheamus to show he isn’t scared of Orton. Sheamus teased attacking but pulled back. Orton attacked with a back breaker and set up for the punt but didn’t use it. Instead he just stared at Sheamus. This was a good segment.

Alex Riley, Husky Harris and Joe Hennig beat Percy Watson, Kaval and Lucky Cannon. The heel team worked over Watson. Watson hit an enzuigiri and tagged Kaval. Kaval came in with a bunch of awesome kicks on Riley and applied a dragon sleeper in the ropes. A brawl broke out. Kaval hit a double foot stomp on Riley but Harris tagged himself in. Harris hit a clothesline from behind and senton for the pin on Kaval.

It’s so irritating to see WWE bury really talented guys for the grave offense of having success in the wrestling business before coming to WWE. Afterwards Sheamus laid out half the NXT guys and the other half ran away. So they brought them in just to bury them. Sheamus hit the razor’s edge on Kaval. He said this was a message for the GM, people and Randy Orton.

John Morrison and R. Truth beat William Regal and Zack Ryder. The heels worked over Truth briefly. He got the tag to Morrison. He hit some kicks and then did this crazy move that was like a full flip downward spiral into a uranage. I’m not sure what exactly it was but it looked awesome. He followed with starship pain for the pin.

The Bella twins won a “summertime spectacular” triple threat match over Jillian Hall & Maryse and Eve Torres & Gail Kim. Santino and Vladimir Kozlov were the referees and the women wore these 1950s conservative bathing suits. Okay, maybe not that bad but it really defeated the purpose of having them in swimwear. The match was chaos. Nikki hit a crossbody off the top on Jillian for the pin. Afterwards, Samina Snuka of all people came on to Santino.

Nexus jumped Great Khali backstage and went after his knee. This at least looked more convincing than the other “eliminations” with the wolves going after the giant’s leg. Nexus came to the ring and Barrett said his match with Khali was cancelled. Thank God. Skip Sheffield said that Raw is their show and Bret Hart will join Ricky Steamboat and Vince McMahon as victims of Nexus. David Otunga added that if anyone was thinking of joining Team WWE, they should think about what Nexus did to Hart Dynasty, Henry and Khali.

Miz came up to Bret Hart and John Cena backstage. He said that they need help and wanted to hear them ask him to save them. Bret and Cena both asked if he was in or out. Miz said that times sure have changed in the past year with Cena now asking Miz for help. Miz said he would let them know Sunday. Miz was tremendous here.

Edge and Chris Jericho vs. Bret Hart and John Cena with Nexus as lumberjacks didn’t have a finish. Edge and Jericho worked over Cena. They sent Cena outside and he was jumped by Nexus multiple times. Jericho then fell to the outside and was ready to be attacked but Nexus left him alone. Jericho did a great job selling this. Cena went for the FU on Jericho but it was reversed into the Walls.

Jericho accidentally ran into Barrett and as a result Nexus ended up jumping Jericho. Edge joined the fight against Nexus. Edge and Jericho then started to leave. Nexus went to attack Cena and Bret. Morrison and Truth came out to join them. Then after a period of reflection, Jericho and Edge finally hit the ring to join Team WWE. The crowd at this point was going nuts. The two teams squared off and a big fight broke out. At this point the building came unglued and it was an awesome scene. Nexus fled into the crowd as Team WWE held the ring.

Final Thoughts:

I thought this was a very strong go home show for SummerSlam. In particular, I thought the final segment was the best final Raw segment before a PPV in years. It was just electric and made you really excited for the PPV match.

Monday, August 02, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/02/10 from San Antonio, TX.

The Big News: Team Raw continues to fight amongst itself heading into its SummerSlam showdown with Nexus.

Show Analysis:

Edge came out to start the show. He said that he needs to go with his gut and just do what he feels like doing. He noted that his team is falling apart. He said that he doesn’t respect John Cena, trust Chris Jericho, have any faith in Great Khali or barely even know R. Truth or John Morrison. He added that Nexus needs to be destroyed his way and challenged Wade Barrett to a match.

R. Truth came out and said that it wouldn’t end with Barrett. Truth said that they are fighting for their survival and for the WWE Universe. What a cheesy bullshit line. Edge vowed to cut the head off the snake of Nexus and threatened Truth as well. The anonymous GM then made Edge vs. Barrett.

Edge and Wade Barrett fought to a no contest. They battled back and forth with punches and kicks. Barrett hit a high kick and threw Edge into the apron. Edge countered the forward fireman carry slam into a DDT. Edge went for the spear but Barrett rolled out of the ring. Nexus then just ran in and Edge ran away into the crowd. This was a bad match with an awful finish.

Backstage, Edge wanted to know where John Cena was when Nexus ran in. Cena replied that he was trying to show they needed to work together. Edge quit the team. Chris Jericho then came in and said Cena needed to leave the team and proposed a loser leaves the team match. Cena didn’t like it but agreed.

Elsewhere, John Morrison proposed to Great Khali that the team work together like the Magnificent Seven. Khali alluded to the seven dwarfs. Michael Tarver and David Otunga came in to speak with Khali. Tarver said they didn’t attack Khali because they don’t attack people they respect. Otunga said the rumor is the Raw team is looking to replace Khali. Tarver suggested Khali join Nexus.

Alicia Fox, Tamina and Jillian Hall beat Gail Kim, Natalya and Eve Torres. The heels very briefly worked on Gail. Natalya got the hot tag and hit a clothesline, vertical suplex (inexplicably labeled a Northern lights by Michael Cole), body slam and cradle butterfly suplex on Alicia. A brawl broke out. Gail hit a crossbody off the top onto Tamina but Jillian threw Gail into the post hard. Natalya went for the sharpshooter on Alicia but Tamina cut that off. Alicia then hit the ax kick on Natalya for the pin. This was very high on the WWE women’s match scale.

After the match, Alicia Fox proclaimed herself the greatest women’s champion ever and said that she has beaten all the women on the roster. That brought out the returning Melina. Alicia went to leave but Jillian threw her backing the ring and Melina laid Alicia out.

Sheamus beat Goldust. They acknowledged the feud these two had in ECW prior to the match, but this was just a squash. Sheamus hit a knee to the head, back breaker, bicycle kick and razor’s edge for the pin. After the match, Sheamus said that he got to the top all by himself. He said that he ended HHH’s career and he will end Randy Orton’s too.

John Cena beat Chris Jericho. Cena missed a crossbody and Jericho took over. Jericho threw Cena into the steps, snapped Cena’s neck into the ropes and applied a headlock. Cena came back with a shoulder block and Cena slam. He went for the five knuckle but ran into a code breaker. Cena rolled to the floor. Jericho had to carry Cena back into the ring and by the time he finally did Cena kicked out of the pin attempt.

Jericho went for the walls but Cena escaped. Cena went for the FU but Jericho escaped. Jericho hit a springboard dropkick and reverse elbow off the top for two. Jericho followed with the lionsault but Cena countered a superplex and hit a top rope rocker dropper. Jericho went for the Walls but Cena reversed into the STF and Jericho tapped immediately before the hold was even applied.

Jericho and Cena pretty much always have good matches and this was no exception. Afterwards, Cena suggested Jericho stay on the team and put Jericho over. Jericho left without answering.

Backstage, Edge and Jericho shared their frustrations with the rest of the Raw team. They hugged and made up. The GM then made Edge and Jericho vs. Cena and Bret Hart with Nexus as lumberjacks for next week. Elsewhere, Orton pointed out he took out HHH just like Sheamus. He invited Sheamus to watch Orton’s match with Miz. He said the good news is Miz won’t be in any shape to cash in MITB but the bad news is in two weeks it will be Sheamus’ turn.

Great Khali beat Ted DiBiase. Khali hit chops, elbows and clotheslines. Wade Barrett and Skip Sheffield came to ringside. That distracted DiBiase and Khali hit an overhand chop and applied the vice grip for the win.

Randy Orton beat Miz. Prior to the match, Miz said that Orton made a big mistake attacking him last week. He vowed to make Orton pay on Raw and said that Orton’s best case scenario at SummerSlam is to defeat Sheamus but then lose the title to Miz.

Orton used some stomps on Miz. Miz hit a knee lift. Orton clotheslined Miz over the top and Sheamus came out on the stage. Orton hit a back breaker and powerslam but Miz countered the draping DDT by throwing Orton over the top. Miz hit a back breaker/neck breaker combination but Orton hit the RKO out of the blue for the pin. Sheamus charged to the ring after the match but Orton was ready and Sheamus pulled up. This match was okay.

Final Thoughts:

When WWE decides to be more serious with Raw and give matches more time, it usually leads to a very good show. This show didn’t deliver as well as usual, largely because the longer matches underperformed. Still, it was a pretty good show, albeit a little dull at times.

With the Raw guys gravely talking about the danger Nexus presents to everything, they really need to better define what exactly Nexus is trying to do. Right now they keep using this grandiose language to describe the feud and it comes across as cheesy without having the meat and potatoes out on the table. We need to know what specifically is different about Nexus than any other gang of heels.