By: Todd Martin
Date: 09/20/10 from Indianapolis, IN.
The Big News: Raw set up its top two matches for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Randy Orton vs. Sheamus and John Cena vs. Wade Barrett in stipulation matches.
Randy Orton came out to start the show but was immediately interrupted by Sheamus. Sheamus said that the title has been stolen from him twice in six person matches. Orton pointed out Sheamus won the title in a four way with interference from Nexus and got himself disqualified in his singles title match against Orton. Orton and Sheamus exchanged threats.
The anonymous GM then announced Sheamus vs. Orton for the title in a Hell in a Cell match. Sheamus asked for the WWE title back from Orton. Orton threw the title up towards Sheamus but then gave him the RKO. He went to punt Sheamus but Sheamus escaped the ring.
This was a good opening segment. However, Sheamus vs. Orton as a Hell in a Cell match perfectly illustrates the problem with these stipulation themed pay-per-views. A heavy stipulation match ought to be the culmination of a big feud. That sort of match should be saved for when the timing is right in a feud, not at a specific time each year because that’s the gimmick. It makes Hell in a Cell seem like less of a big deal when it’s used for a feud that isn’t even hot.
Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes beat Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov. The Hart Dynasty did commentary and David Hart Smith whipped out some amazingly bad comedy. Santino went for the cobra but got kicked in the head. He kicked out at two. The champs worked over Santino. Santino tagged Kozlov, who came in with a powerslam on McIntyre. Rhodes broke up the pin. Kozlov kicked Rhodes out of the ring but was caught with the future shock for the pin.
Backstage, Zack Ryder suggested to Edge that they start hanging out again. Edge was angry about not winning the title and said they aren’t friends. Daniel Bryan came in carrying a book and told them to keep it down. Ryder told Bryan to “read this” and put an L on his forehead. I completely lost it. I’ll give the WWE writers this much, for the last month or so they’ve been finding ways to make me burst out in laughter at least once a week.
Ryder wanted a high five from Edge for this but Edge no sold him. Edge challenged Bryan to a match and Bryan accepted. Ryder then said “see you later” to Bryan with the L on his forehead and a gigantic smirk on his face. I love Zack Ryder. Edge pointed out the L was backwards.
John Morrison beat Chris Jericho. They explained that Jericho simply refused to abide by the stipulation that he would leave WWE if he lost Sunday. Why do they kill off stipulations for no reason? I mean, at least for a while they tried to get something out of reneging on stipulations.
Morrison hit a plancha on Jericho. Jericho retaliated with an enzuigiri, knocked Morrison into the barricade, dropped Morrison on the barricade, and then hit a suplex, dropkick, clothesline and bulldog. Jericho applied the Walls but Morrison got to the ropes. Jericho tried again but Morrison countered. He then hit a knee and starship pain for the pin. They played up that Jericho is totally dejected and on the biggest downturn of his career. This was a good match.
Backstage, John Cena did comedy about not winning the title. He had plenty of jokes and said he enjoyed seeing Orton win because Wade Barrett got the RKO. Good thing Cena doesn’t care about not winning the title because we wouldn’t want fans invested in that sort of thing. Cena pointed out that Nexus went from 8 to 5 and said he would take the rest of them out one by one.
Miz came out for a brief promo and then did commentary for Daniel Bryan’s match. Two guesses how that match ended. Anyway, Miz said that he didn’t tap at Night of Champions. He claimed an MCL injury and said that he needed to save himself from surgery.
Daniel Bryan beat Edge via DQ. Bryan came out to the Ride of the Valkyries of all things. Everyone was bewildered. They’re going strong with the geek gimmick for Bryan. Miz said on commentary that he has signed Alex Riley to a personal services contract. Edge worked over Bryan. Bryan came back with a clothesline, jawbreaker and running knee. He came off the top but was caught with a kick.
Edge went for the spear which was countered into the LeBell lock. However, Riley got up on the apron for the distraction. Miz then snapped Bryan’s neck on the top rope and Edge hit the spear for the apparent win. However, the anonymous GM then reversed the decision. Given we see this type of finish twice a week on Raw, I’m not sure why the GM decided to act now. Particularly if the GM ends up being Michael Cole or someone in cahoots with Michael Cole. Edge said that he is sick of the computer. Who isn’t? Riley and Miz jumped Bryan afterwards and verbally berated him. Miz was really good throughout this segment.
Layla beat Melina to retain the unified women’s title. Michelle McCool did commentary. Melina went after her. She was all over Layla with punches and forearms and used a curb stomp. However, Layla then whipped out diamond dust (seriously!) for the pretty much clean win. Any segment where Layla El pulls off a nice looking diamond dust gets a thumbs up from me.
Chris Jericho backstage plugged his DVD. He then said he is close to discovering the identity of the mystery GM. He basically said he will rule the world when he figures it out. Randy Orton approached Jericho and suggested they wrestle next week. If Jericho wins he gets a title shot but if Orton wins he will make sure Jericho is gone for a while. Yay, more Jericho stipulations.
R. Truth and Eve Torres beat Maryse and Ted DiBiase. Truth came out again to his new theme. The match mostly involved the women and was sloppy. Eve won with a neck breaker. After the match as Maryse and DiBiase were leaving romantic music played and the screen said “I will have you.”
I guess John Cena won a gauntlet match over Nexus via DQ. Wade Barrett was supposed to wrestle Cena in a singles match but Barrett said that since Cena said he wants to take out Nexus one-by-one he should be happy to do a gauntlet match.
John Cena beat Heath Slater first. Slater got in a little offense but Cena rolled through a top rope crossbody and hit the FU for the pin. John Cena pinned David Otunga next. Otunga hit a couple suplexes before Cena rolled him up for the pin. Cena next made Michael Tarver submit to the STF. Tarver was limping badly.
John Cena finally beat Justin Gabriel via DQ. Gabriel hit kicks, a superplex and an STO. Cena came back with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU but all the Nexus guys ran in for the DQ. Cena fought them all off anyway. If they’ve simply given up on Nexus and are writing them off, this was fine. If they are planning on having Nexus continue, the booking of this was really bad.
After the match, Cena challenged Barrett to a match. Barrett refused and said he has nothing to gain from that. Cena said he would do anything to get the match, so Barrett said he would wrestle Cena at Hell in a Cell but if Cena loses he has to join Nexus. Cena responded that if he wins, Nexus will be done. Barrett accepted.
This conclusion made no sense. They started with Barrett backing off from a match with Cena. Then he ends up agreeing to not only the match but that his group will have to dissolve if he loses in a really one-sided set of stipulations. Oh wait, you know what. It makes sense after all. Because if Barrett loses he can just refuse to abide by what he said and no one will do anything about it.
This show was a mixed bag. It was pretty entertaining but the booking was largely counterproductive.