Monday, January 03, 2011

WWE Raw Report

Date: 01/03/11 from Phoenix, AZ.

The Big News: Miz successfully defended his title against John Morrison and will return to feuding with Randy Orton.

Show Analysis:

Michael Cole started the show by noting that John Cena would not be on Raw this week. Cole blamed it on the attack by CM Punk last week as well as a match in Pennsylvania with Wade Barrett. That acknowledgement surprised me but it ended up playing into the story for the night. Jerry Lawler was not on commentary, selling last week’s attack by Miz. Josh Matthews commentated with Cole.

Miz beat John Morrison in an excellent falls count anywhere match to retain the title. They fought on the stage at the start of the match and Alex Riley began freely interfering. Morrison hit a clothesline off the stage and did a crossbody off a big WWE logo onto Riley and Miz. They went back to the ring where Morrison hit a dropkick off the top and used La Magistral cradle for two. He followed with a springboard kick and shining wizard but Riley pulled Morrison out of the pin attempt. Morrison beat up Riley on the outside and took him out with a running knee. Riley was helped to the back and Miz looked scared.

After a break, Miz back dropped Morrison onto a steel barricade and gave him a hip toss on the stage. Morrison responded with clotheslines and a side Russian leg sweep. He went for starship pain but Miz rolled out of the way. Miz hit a back breaker/neck breaker combination but accidentally ran into the post. Morrison hit starship pain but Miz kicked out. Morrison then went to put Miz through a table on the floor with starship pain but Miz got out of danger. Morrison crashed through the table and Miz covered for two. Miz then hit the skull crushing finale on the floor for the win. This was a great start to the show and I really liked the fact they put over Miz clean to give him some credibility. Backstage, Miz bragged about the win.

Eve Torres, Brie Bella and Natalya beat Melina, Maryse and Alicia Fox. They did the Bella switch spot early. Natalya went for the sharpshooter on Alicia but Melina stopped her. Natalya hit a butterfly suplex on Alicia and went after Melina. Melina snapped Natalya’s neck on the ropes and tagged in. Natalya immediately hit a twisting clothesline and tagged Eve. Eve hit a neck breaker on Melina for the win. This was way above average by WWE women’s match standards. It certainly had a strange finish though given they have been building Natalya vs. Melina for the title.

The Usos beat Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov in a very sloppy match. Tamina was in the corner of Santino and Kozlov. Kozlov horribly botched a missed clothesline over the top spot. Santino went for the cobra but was countered with a Samoan drop for the Uso win. Afterwards, Santino and Tamina gave one of the Usos the cobra together.

CM Punk cut a promo in the ring. He said that he spent the day looking for John Cena but couldn’t find him. Punk added that Cena wasn’t on the show because of him. Punk labeled himself a leader of men, which is why Nexus begged him to be their new leader. He said that Hustle, Loyalty, Respect is just a phony catchphrase for Cena but it is what he expects out of himself and Nexus. He told Cena that he can’t win this fight. He said he will take over Nexus and Raw.

Wade Barrett came out. Barrett took credit for Cena’s absence rather than Punk. He added that he is the leader of Nexus. He called Punk hypocritical, manipulative and a liar. Punk suggested they ask Nexus who was telling the truth. Nexus joined the scene and Otunga said they both made good points. The GM then rang in and announced that Barrett or Punk would wrestle Sheamus and Randy Orton in a triple threat cage match to determine a number one contender. That’s like the epitome of what people criticize TNA for, booking a big gimmick for a TV match with no build or logical explanation.

Barrett said that he would take the spot in the match as the leader of Nexus. Punk agreed and said he didn’t want to fight Barrett. Punk said that if Barrett won he would follow Barrett but that if Barrett lost he would be out of Nexus. Barrett agreed to this stipulation.

Alberto Del Rio beat R. Truth. Del Rio prior to the match said that his destiny is to be world champion and destroy everyone on Smackdown. Truth came out and threatened to send him back to Smackdown. Truth hit kicks, a pescado and a powerslam. Del Rio went after Truth’s arm with punches and kicks. Truth came back with clotheslines but was caught in Del Rio’s armbar. Truth just sat in the fully extended armbar forever before tapping. I really like that on Smackdown they recognize that looks completely fake to the people most likely to view that as a good finisher and the faces tap quickly, but Truth obviously doesn’t get it.

Backstage, Wade Barrett told Nexus that CM Punk is selfish and will use them for his own gain. Punk came in and asked if Barrett was describing himself. Punk said that they were all pulling for Barrett. Elsewhere, Orton said that sometimes in 2010 he was too nice but in 2011 he realizes nice guys finish last.

Randy Orton beat Sheamus and Wade Barrett in a triple threat cage match to be crowned new number 1 contender. Barrett had the opportunity to climb out but went for an elbow off the top on Sheamus and was caught with a knee. Orton hit clotheslines and powerslams on both. He hit an Angle slam on Sheamus and draping DDT on Barrett. Barrett regained control and went to climb out. Punk ran out and offered his hand for help. Punk then instead tore off the Nexus armband and kicked Barrett down. Sheamus hit the Brogue kick on Barrett but Orton gave Sheamus the RKO and left the cage through the door.

The match was pretty good. They gave them time and the work was solid. However, a triple threat cage match just isn’t a good gimmick for building drama and Nexus interference seemed the inevitable finish. I would have liked to see Lawler vs. Miz at the Rumble anyway. It’s a much more interesting story and they seem to have no interest in providing a conclusive finish to Orton vs. Miz.

Final Thoughts:

I liked this show. It was more focused on wrestling than usual and the opener in particular was a lot of fun. Punk is one of WWE’s best performers so it’s good to see him as a focal point of the show. It will be interesting to see what they do with Wade Barrett from here. He’s seemingly better suited at this stage as a heel so an absence and eventual move to Smackdown would seem like the best move.


Anonymous Ryan Rosenthal said...

I enjoyed the opening match quite a bit, but I question the logic of having Miz get a clean win over Morrison instead of Lawler.. Ah well, I suppose you need to protect Lawler instead of Morrison. *groan*

The segments with CM Punk are gold. It's refreshing to see him used in a solid way, as opposed to being the Big Shows perpetual punching bag on Smackdown. Hopefully injecting him into this Nexus/Cena feud will cement him as a true main eventer in Vince's eyes. Time will tell.

Great report, as usual, Todd.


11:48 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

It seems to be a week of gimmick matches in WWE, because there's not enough on them on PPV already.

The big disappointment is that they're going with Miz vs. Orton for the Rumble which hardly feels fresh after they already met twice on free TV and once on PPV, instead of Morrison vs. Miz which would have brought fresh blood in a stale main event scene.

Morrison is ready and on a show where the Rumble match and name is the main draw, it was the perfect opportunity. As a matter of fact, I argue their match on Raw was exactly the match they should have had on PPV. The high-risk (by WWE standards) moves would have made it feel special on PPVs that so desperately need this to turn numbers around.

It says a lot about what they think of Morrison though, being the first one to get pinned cleanly by Miz after 2 defeats in a row against Lawler.

Between Lawler in 2010 and Morrison, I think you can afford to job one of them to the champion and you need to protect the other guy who has ton of upside and potential. That's what WWE did but not in the order I envisioned.

4:41 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Logic tells us that the title match should be the main event. However, WWE Uncreative doesn't believe that Michael Mizanin is yet ready to be a true headliner. He finally gained some credibility in beating John Morrison, whom the higher-ups decided wasn't worthy of a PPV title match, hence Randy Orton moving back into the mix.

The title match picked up steam after Morrison got rid of the trash (Alex Riley, who would later stop selling his KO at the knee of Morrison and join Miz for a post-match interview.). Maybe now, they'll realize that Riley is a spare part that is no longer needed, as he's been a detriment to Miz's title defenses to this point.

Back to Orton. He's hinting at turning back full heel, but, with the questions surrounding Triple H, whether or not "The Game" will be a full time performer again, etc., Vince may want "The Viper", his modern-day Rattlesnake, to remain a bad-ass vigilante of a sort for the foreseeable future.

If they're hot-shotting a face turn for Wade Barrett, it's the wrong idea at the wrong time. We're going to get a civil war of sorts involving Nexus, now that CM Punk has become the divisive force in that group.

The writing on this show is again proof that Vince's approach, not teaching his writers anything about company history unless it suits him, is also jaded and wrong.

11:14 AM  

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