By: Todd Martin
Date: 10/11/10 from Seattle, WA.
The Big News: Raw’s team for Bragging Rights was put together.
John Cena came out to start the show smiling and happy before he began his serious promo. He received many more cheers than boos and the announcers disingenuously tried to explain that the scattered boos are because some fans are angry at Cena for joining Nexus. You could actually see a number of pro-Nexus signs, presumably to support Cena. That’s an interesting development. Cena brought up the never give up chant last week and said he would in fact never give up.
Cena said that he lost to Wade Barrett and he has to join Nexus. He added that if he is fired he will not be able to go to Smackdown. He didn’t explain why. He put over how he loves to perform in the WWE and doesn’t know what he would do without it. He said that he may have to do some things people don’t want to see him do.
Miz and Alex Riley came out. Riley has stopped wearing the letterman jacket, which is a smart move. They pointed out it was Miz’s birthday. Miz said he will captain Team Raw at Bragging Rights and offered Cena a spot on the team. Cena told some jokes and said he would like to be on the team but that he should be captain instead of Miz.
Wade Barrett came out and said he doesn’t care about Raw vs. Smackdown. He cares about Nexus and the title. Barrett told Cena his attention needs to be on getting Barrett the title. Cena said that he can do both things. They teased that Miz might cash in MITB at Bragging Rights.
The anonymous GM announced that he or she wants the best Raw team so there would be a series of qualifying matches to create Team Raw. All the matches on Raw except Randy Orton vs. Justin Gabriel would be qualifying matches. The GM further announced Cena vs. Miz to determine the team captain. A brawl broke out with Miz and Riley jumping Barrett. Cena stood by for a while until Barrett signaled for help. Cena then made the save and fought off Miz and Riley. Barrett got in Cena’s face after this, presumably over the delay in help.
I thought overall this was a solid start to the show. The one thing that drives me nuts is how every week they need to write in comedy for Cena no matter the situation. It undermines the seriousness of all his angles. If you want to make money with a serious main event angle, the main event face has to act like it’s a big deal to him. The jokes do such damage to that. There was only one Rock and he’s long gone.
R. Truth beat Ted DiBiase to become a member of Team Raw. Eve Torres was out with Truth again. DiBiase hit a clothesline and punches. Truth used a powerslam. DiBiase retaliated with a spine buster. DiBiase was going for dream street when, can you guess what happened? Why of course you can. Goldust showed up on the stage. DiBiase turned his back on his opponent to stare at Goldust. Truth then rolled him up for two and hit the lie detector for three.
This was a nothing match with a stupid, redundant, contrived and unbelievably predictable finish. These distraction finishes are among the dumbest things WWE does on a weekly basis. They don’t build interest in feuds. They don’t help the winner. They just make the loser look like a buffoon and matches look like phony contrivances. And they do it every single fucking week.
John Morrison beat Tyson Kidd to earn a spot on Team Raw. Morrison went for a tope but was countered with a kick. Morrison hit a dropkick and punches. He went for a springboard but Kidd countered with a side Russian leg sweep off the ropes. Kidd applied the sharpshooter but Morrison countered out. They went for a series of pinning attempts. Morrison then hit his impressive reverse flipping STO thing for the pin. This was a fun match.
Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris met with David Otunga, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel backstage. The current Nexus guys wanted to know the deal from the future Nexus guys. Barrett walked in and said if they want to know they can ask him. He told McGillicutty and Harris to leave and confronted Otunga about his comments to Cena last week. Barrett suggested they take out Randy Orton. Otunga said he would but that Gabriel might be the better choice. So Barrett said Gabriel would face Orton with Slater and Otunga in Gabriel’s corner.
Santino Marella beat Zack Ryder to qualify for Team Raw. Ryder hit some knees. Santino countered the Rough Ryder and hit the cobra for the pin. The crowd was really into Santino. Tamina came in afterwards to celebrate with Santino.
Randy Orton beat Justin Gabriel. David Otunga swung at Orton and missed so the referee ejected Otunga and Slater from ringside. Poor Slater. Talk about guilt by association. Orton hit a dropkick and stomps. Gabriel used some sloppy kicks and a somersault senton off the apron for two. Orton hit punches and a European uppercut where the timing was off. Gabriel came back with a jaw breaker and low dropkick. However, Orton then fought back with a back breaker, clotheslines and a belly to belly throw.
Gabriel went for the 450 and was supposed to have missed but he caught Orton solidly as Orton was rolling out of the way. Orton just went ahead and hit the RKO anyway for the pin. These two didn’t seem to be on the same page at all and the match was a huge disappointment despite getting a lot of time.
Sheamus beat Daniel Bryan in a qualifying match for Team Raw. Bryan got a nice reaction in his hometown area. There were Daniel Bryan chants early. He went for the LeBell lock but Sheamus escaped. Bryan went for a pescado but was caught by Sheamus. Bryan escaped the situation and clotheslined Sheamus into the post. Sheamus hit a back breaker and throw to gain control. Bryan used a series of kicks but Sheamus kicked out of the pinning attempt. Bryan hit a dropkick off the top for two.
Sheamus hit a cool looking ax handle to the head and Bryan took a flip bump. Sheamus followed with some knees but Bryan used a rollup for two. Sheamus then caught him with a bicycle kick for the pin. This was a very good match. I wouldn’t book a champion to lose to a guy who isn’t going to be wrestling for the title, but the match was laid out to make Bryan look as good as possible under the circumstances. Backstage, R. Truth told John Cena that he knows Cena is in a tough spot. He suggested Cena quit. Some friend.
CM Punk beat Evan Bourne to join Team Raw. They announced Punk was acquired from Smackdown. He got a face pop coming in. It kind of undermines the brand vs. brand gimmick when you have a guy on one team that just arrived on his show. Bourne hit kicks and a high knee. He went for a huracanrana on the outside but was thrown into the barricade. Punk missed a knee and Bourne used a spinning heel kick and reverse thrust kick. He went for the shooting star press but Punk crotched him and hit GTS for the pin.
This was a good short match. After the match Punk attacked Bourne some more. He threw him into the barricades and the post and applied the anaconda vice on the outside. So that’s the injury angle to take out Bourne. Punk looked good here in his Raw debut. I really hope they involve him in top of the card programs.
Natalya did a brief promo in the ring saying she will win the women’s title from Lay Cool. Lay Cool came out and made fun of Natalya’s appearance. They did one of those Photoshop deals with Natalya having her father’s beard. Natalya called them annoying, dumb and too thin. Lay Cool was happy about the weight comment. They said all the other women respect them. That brought out other women who sent Layla back into the ring. Natalya put her in the sharpshooter but Michelle pulled Layla out and they escaped into the crowd.
Miz beat John Cena in a no-DQ match to retain the Raw captaincy for Bragging Rights. Alex Riley attacked Cena a couple of times early. Miz went for the skull crushing finale on the announce table but Cena avoided it. Cena beat up Riley and hit the shoulder blocks, Cena slam and five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU but Miz escaped and hit a kick to the head. Cena went for the STF but Miz escaped and hit a back breaker/neck breaker combination.
Miz went to hit Cena with the briefcase but Cena ducked and applied the STF. Riley ran in but Cena put him in the STF. He went for the FU on Miz again but Harris and McGillicutty ran in. McGillicutty hit the McGillicutter (they need to change that name now that he’s in a real program on a real show) and Harris hit the senton. Miz covered for the win.
Cena went after McGillicutty and Harris following the match. Barrett went to pull off Cena and Cena almost hit Barrett. The GM then announced McGillicutty and Harris vs. Cena and Orton next week. Barrett said if Cena loses Harris and McGillicutty will be in Nexus. He told Cena to do the right thing. Barrett mocked Cena about not being able to hit him. He said Cena is scared. He called Cena a coward and pathetic. Cena was seething but didn’t do anything and eventually left. Barrett said “you can’t see me” and laughed at Cena to end the show. Barrett was great here as the overbearing heel.
This was the best in-ring episode of Raw in a while, with a series of matches that were generally given time and were quite good on balance overall. The Cena/Nexus angle also seems to be working well.