Monday, January 10, 2011

WWE Raw Report

Date: 01/10/11 from Nashville, TN.

The Big News: Shawn Michaels will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year and may be involved in the show the next night as well.

Show Analysis:

Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov came out to start the show. The announcers said there would be a tag title match but Nexus hit the ring and beat up the tag team champions. CM Punk claimed that Nexus has been the strongest force in the history of WWE and now they are even stronger. Punk told Nexus that he would give them an example to follow unlike Wade Barrett. Punk said that John Cena would return later on Raw and that he hoped Cena would deliver an encore tearful farewell speech.

CM Punk announced that he would make a sacrifice later in the show to initiate himself as the new leader of Nexus. He added that each member of Nexus needed to prove they belong in the new Nexus. David Otunga said they would be honored to do so. Punk announced Michael McGillicutty’s initiation would be to serve on the receiving end of a Nexus beatdown. The other members of Nexus then all hit their big moves on McGillicutty, culminating with the GTS. They carried McGillicutty to the back. Punk is so well suited to the role of cult leader.

Alberto Del Rio beat R. Truth via count out. Del Rio hit an inverted atomic drop, back cracker and punches. Truth hit a clothesline to the outside. Del Rio and Truth were fighting on the outside when Ricardo Rodriguez started yelling at Truth on the microphone. Truth went after Rodriguez while Del Rio rolled back into the ring for the count out.

After the match, Del Rio said that his destiny is to win the Royal Rumble and headline WrestleMania. He ran down American music and culture. He then had Rodriguez sing La Cucaracha with some goofy music in the background. The last thing this tremendous Del Rio gimmick needs is outmoded racial stereotypes.

The anonymous GM sent an e-mail announcing that he supports Michael Cole. The GM kept putting over Cole until finally Jerry Lawler told Cole to shut up. They cut to a shot perfectly exposing the paper Cole reads from taped to the keyboard of the computer. That looked ridiculous but they clearly don’t care about how goofy and counterproductive the anonymous GM thing is by this point or how badly buy rates have fallen during the period it has been in place.

Lawler closed the computer but the GM sent another e-mail. The GM announced Alex Riley and Miz vs. Jerry Lawler and Randy Orton for the main event of the show. Backstage, Husky Harris’ initiation to Nexus was three lashes with leather straps from the other members of Nexus. Punk gave him a bunch of extra shots.

Daniel Bryan and Mark Henry beat Ted DiBiase and Tyson Kidd. The heels worked over Bryan. Bryan tagged Henry. Henry missed a corner avalanche on Kidd. Kidd and DiBiase used a double dropkick on Henry but Henry responded with clotheslines. He then hit the world’s strongest slam on Kidd for the clean pin.

Big Show came out for a brief promo. He said that Wade Barrett cost him the title shot last Friday so this Friday he will knock Barrett out. He then said he is coming to win the Rumble. At that point he was interrupted by Nexus. David Otunga reluctantly went down to confront Show as his initiation. He slapped Show and then stood there as Show beat him up. It concluded with a choke slam and KO punch.

John Morrison beat King Sheamus. I figured for sure that with Morrison having lost his title match, they would get Sheamus his wins back. So this was an interesting sign of where Morrison stands (and Sheamus, for that matter). Sheamus worked over Morrison. Morrison came back with clotheslines and kicks. He went for starship pain but Sheamus pushed him over the top rope to the floor and followed with a powerslam in the ring.

Morrison fought back with some punches and sent Sheamus to the outside. However, he was caught with a knee as he went for the pescado. That looked really good. Sheamus dropped Morrison on the steps and went for the Brogue kick back in the ring but Morrison fell down as he went for it. Sheamus was going for a superplex when Morrison dropped his head on the post and hit the shining wizard for the win.

Backstage, CM Punk told Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel to hit each other with kendo sticks. They hesitated a while then teased hitting Punk instead. Finally, they just put down the sticks and left. So they aren’t in the new Nexus for now. I’m not sure whether that means they’ll be inducted with an angle next week or the week after or whether it means they will be joining Wade Barrett on Smackdown. To me, Nexus works better with a larger group. Then again, smaller groups might force them to book the members of Nexus more strongly than they have.

They announced Shawn Michaels as the first induction for the 2011 Hall of Fame. They built it up as this huge deal throughout the show which made the announcement feel disappointing. Obviously Michaels is one of the very biggest WWE stars not in the WWE Hall of Fame, but the appeal of the WWE Hall of Fame isn’t so much the HOF itself but the chance to see big stars you haven’t seen in a while reminisce on their careers.

Shawn Michaels came out to the ring and the announcers were putting him over when Alberto Del Rio interrupted. Del Rio said that he is the present and future of the WWE while Michaels is just history. Del Rio said he will be the new Mr. WrestleMania. Michaels gave him sweet chin music. The way this was laid out certainly suggests involvement of some sort by Michaels at WrestleMania.

Backstage, Alex Riley was excited about the match with Lawler and Orton. Miz was angry that people are talking about Orton rather than his title run. He added that people think it’s a given Orton will win the title at the Rumble. I’m not too sure as to the existence of these two groups of people.

Michael Cole was introducing John Cena when CM Punk appeared on the top of the Titan Tron. He said that David Otunga, Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty had proven themselves to be strong enough for the new Nexus. He said that he would now do the same. Punk acted like he was going to jump off the screen to his death, as if anyone on Earth watching thought he would. The announcers tried to act like he would while the crowd didn’t react at all. Punk then said he wasn’t going to jump and revealed he had a harness on. He gloated like he pulled one over on the people.

David Otunga, Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty came out to the ring. Punk joined them. Punk said he doesn’t need initiations. John Cena appeared on the screen. First he was obnoxious, jokey Cena. He told stupid jokes and insulted Punk. Cena wondered why they were having initiations when he already did the same thing to them. He noted that he hadn’t had the chance to initiate Punk. Cena challenged Punk to a match next week and Punk accepted. Cena then artificially transitioned into angry, serious Cena. He issued grave threats Punk’s way. I don’t get why they think Cena can sell serious matches after telling a bunch of goofy jokes that make it seem like he doesn’t care. It literally never works.

Jerry Lawler and Randy Orton beat Miz and Alex Riley. The faces were dominant early. The heels then took over on Lawler. Lawler got the tag but the referee didn’t see it. Miz went for the skull crushing finale but Orton came in and hit the RKO on Miz. Lawler covered but Riley made the save. Riley and Orton tagged in. Orton hit clotheslines, a powerslam, a back breaker and a draping DDT on Riley.

Orton went for the RKO on Riley but Miz started to come in the ring. Orton starred at him and a scared Miz backed off. Orton tagged Lawler and stood starring at Miz as Lawler hit the fist drop off the second rope on Riley for the win. Miz refused to try to help Riley and looked terrifying of Orton. This was a fun match. They went 11 minutes past the hour, interestingly. I’m cool with Miz being booked to have chickenshit traits because it fits his character but I don’t know about a heel champion ever essentially trembling in fear as Miz did in this segment.

Final Thoughts:

Raw has generally been pretty solid in recent weeks as they build towards the Royal Rumble and this show continued that streak. There are still some glaring issues with the overall presentation of the show but the individual feuds are mostly well laid out.


Anonymous Bob said...

The Shawn Michaels segment was weird and disappointing.

First, I generally enjoy the Hall of Fame segments, but this one seemed to be overly heavy on ring entrances and crowd reactions, which I found disappointing for someone with such great in-ring highlights.

Second, what was up with the hat? He must have checked or adjusted it a few hundred times. He seemed very nervous that it was going to come off. Is he totally bald now? Was that ponytail actually attached to the hat?

Third, the whole segment was seemingly designed to avoid having him speak at all. Why? I actually started half-wondering if he has throat cancer and the chemo made his hair fall out (I hope not!). They can do the run-in, but at least precede it with a classy acceptance speech.

Fourth, his appearance overall just seemed kind of shabby.

Fifth, the angle with Del Rio and Michael Cole saying the superkick proved Michaels is as good as he ever was made me cringe as it seemed to hint at some sort of comeback. I hope not. At least he was shaking his head when people started the "one more match" chant, so hopefully that means he plans to stay retired even if the WWE is trying to coax him back.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Michaels's career and wish him well, but this just kind of seemed sad. Maybe as Todd suggests it is just too soon after he retired. He seems to be in this awkward limbo between flamboyant wrestling superstar and retired wrestler.

Anyway, I was looking forward to seeing him come out when his music hit, and what followed was kind of disconcerting.

9:32 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

I want to focus on what I'll refer to as Nexus 2.0.

CM Punk's initiation stunts looked like they might've been inspired by someone's college experiences, and Lord knows there are a few colelge grads on the roster. It's either that or the writers wasted too much time on a "Jackass" marathon.

HBK's induction into the Hall of Fame, a year after retiring, is the 2nd fastest induction in WWE history. Recall that 5 years ago, the late Eddie Guerrero went in just 5 months after his death. I guess Vince decided he didn't want to wait, and made the call once he was sure Shawn was serious about retiring. One more match? Most likely, and I guess Alberto Del Rio will end up sending Shawn out a winner once and for all.

7:52 PM  

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