-Madden’s out at midnight, the patch is available the same day, and I’m stuck here trying to figure out if Kevin Nash’s entire digestive system is going to collapse unto itself. I lead a hectic life.
-Live from Backwards A-Slut, Oklahoma
OPENING SEGMENT: Triple H and a new suit demand answers!
After Triple H gives a vague eulogy for the brand extension (YES! YES!), he also claims that Kevin Nash has lied to him, and CM Punk comes out to accuse HHH of lying himself. This brings Nash out, complete with the nWo theme, to admit he lied about the wreck, but he just wants to destroy CM Punk so bad. This leads to Nash revealing that he signed a new WWE contract that’s guaranteed, and HHH seems conflicted. Punk mocks the whole display, in typically humorous fashion, and Nash demands a match with Punk. If Nash wins in any fashion, expect the internet to whine like they discontinued Hot Pocket sliders. Punk goads Triple H with cuckold jokes until Hunter meekly agrees to make the match, seemingly powerless to retaliate. Just when the segment is seemingly over, this brings out Randy Orton as a commercial lead-in to his match with Dolph Ziggler
SEGMENT RATING: 6/10. Not as interesting as previous Punk/HHH/Nash segments, but at least things are progressing to an actual match. Baby steps and all.
Lawler and Ross’ history lesson of managers makes me smile proudly as a fan. I’m in such an old school mood right now that I’d cheer Orton if he borrowed his dad’s cast. Match plays like your typical non-story-oriented face vs. heel match, with Ziggler taking advantage of Vickie Guerrero’s distraction to pummel Orton and nearly gain a tainted countout win. Orton slowly regains the advantage and, speaking of his dad, busts out Cowboy’s superplex for 2. JR: “Randy Orton’s DNA is being pushed to the limit”. Yeah, cosmetic enhancement has a way out of mutating ones genetics. I love Cole pointing out that a win for Ziggler means more money and a title opportunity down the road. Gorilla Monsoon is beaming. Ziggler gets a close 2 on a superkick to avoid a punt in a nice spot. Ziggler also works a nice RKO counter with a sleeper, but can’t avoid a second RKO after a flapjack.
WINNER: Randy Orton via RKO
RATING: 8/10. A little longer and it may have been the best Raw match of the year. In truncated form, it was creative and exciting, particularly in the second half. Orton doesn’t get his due anymore.
In Ring Segment: John Cena
John Cena’s “talk to the camera while pausing on the stage” asides will only be interesting if he says “Oh no, I’m breaking the fourth wall!” Cena’s so edgy, he gets muted for saying “douchebaggery”. Anyway, Cena demands Alberto Del Rio and gets Mark Henry instead. Henry gives his normal speech about wanting to destroy everyone, and then Christian joins the party. PLEASE let there be a Cena/Christian Rap Battle, Part II. Christian tries to goad Henry into fighting his battle for him, but Sheamus rights out to, ironically, pair up with Cena. Christian takes a walk, which he magically didn’t do during his past 2 years of being a babyface. Sheamus to Cena: “Sorry about nearly killing ya several times, fella” Cena: “That’s okay, I never sell it anyway”
SEGMENT RATING: 6/10. Kinda boring, but it built to a match. Had a point, and I don’t ask for much.
Match 2: CM Punk vs. The Miz
Holy ECW 2007 reunion! Did anyone even use Living Colour in the original ECW? Match is a little rushed in the early going, but it allows Miz to bust out his snap-knee DDT, so that lessens the annoyance. Miz seems fairly dominant in the early going. This is a far cry from 2007, when Punk barely gave Miz (playing a hipster doofus) any offense. Miz does the Ted Dibiase sell off of a countered double axe handle. Is there a 1989 playbook somewhere at WWE headquarters, and if so, may I have a copy? Michael Cole’s “Miz is lost in the shuffle” speech must be Triple H on headset reminding his father-in-law of his shortsightedness. Crowd is either tired from 2 non-matches, or they’re not buying Punk as a full-on babyface the caliber of Stone Cold or The Rock. I hope it’s just the former, given WWE’s investment. Punk gets the double underhook backbreaker, aka “WELCOME TO CHICAGO M—–f—-r!” to a tepid reaction. Because they’re in Tulsa. Punk hits the Macho elbow, but R-Truth prevents Miz’s defeat. Punk makes his own save, but Kevin Nash lumbers down the aisle, and it ends up a three man beatdown. Punk eats a Jackknife to further the angle.
WINNER: CM Punk by DQ
RATING: 7/10. Slow build, hot finish until the DQ. Something just seemed off, though.
Match 3: Sin Cara vs. Jack Swagger
I can’t remember who plays the new Sin Cara. It’s either Ian Mooney or Matt Borne. Wait, where’s Vickie to manage Swagger? C’mon, Hunter, continuity! Ah, there she is, albeit late. Crowd is getting on my nerves; Swagger murders Cara with a shoulder block and there’s no reaction. Ziggler comes out to confront her, and the fans finally wake up. Cara gets a very delayed tornado DDT to play off Ziggler’s distraction and wins with a lionsault. More dissension is afoot.
WINNER: Sin Cara via lionsault
RATING: 4/10. Decent spots, but nothing spectacular. The entire Ziggler/Swagger/Vickie story is being rushed.
Match 4: Air Boom vs. The Nexus Remnants (WWE World Tag Team Championship)
Boom Boom pyro fails Kofi. Maffew of Botchamania, get on it! Lawler doubts the charisma of the challengers as Michael McGillicutty hits a beautiful dropkick reminiscent of his father. There’s a message in there. Can’t tell what’s better, Bourne’s front cradle into the hot tag, or Kofi’s springboard reverse cross body. Either way, Trouble in Paradise finishes Perfect Jr.
WINNERS: Air Boom via Trouble in Paradise
RATING: 2/10. Way too short, and a step down from last week.
As soon as I finish that last thought, Otunga and McGillicutty take umbrage with Lawler and his deconstructive rants. Hopefully, McGillicutty goes to the bathroom in Lawler’s crown just like his dad did.
Match 5: Kelly Kelly vs. Brie Bella
Eve Torres following Kelly around is like Michelle Williams hanging off a plastic, lifeless Beyonce. The match is so exciting that they cut backstage to an extended Natalya/Beth Phoenix rant session. After Eve gets taken out, the Bellas switch off and Nikki pins Kelly with the X-Factor (Max Factor?)
WINNER: Nikki Bella via X-Factor
RATING: 2/10. It’s been done to death, and they’re just rushing now.
Main Event: John Cena/Sheamus vs. Christian/Mark Henry
I think the show’s rushing now to compensate for Kevin Nash having to walk to and from the ring twice. Get that man a Hoveround! And man, they’ll do anything to get “Great White” over for Sheamus. He’s never burned down a nightclub, near as I can tell. Match already hits the build-to-the-hot-tag formula since we’re pressed for time. Sure enough, Sheamus shakes off the punishment to hot tag Cena, and he unloads on Christian. Henry saves Christian from the STF and it turns into a four man brawl, right on cue. Brogue Kick on Christian leads to Cena’s AA. Guess Orton’s winning tomorrow, then.
WINNERS: John Cena and Sheamus via Attitude Adjustment
RATING: 5/10. Rushed, but nothing technically wrong with it. Since I haven’t yet, here’s a quick mention for my friend Theresa, the world’s biggest Wade Barrett fan, for all of her support. Thanks, Theresa!
Show ends with Triple H informing Punk that the Punk/Nash match is cancelled, and instead, Punk is facing Triple H at Night of Champions. Well, that was sudden.
OVERALL: No WWE Champion, and a show that just felt rushed all to hell. Good matches with Orton/Ziggler and Punk/Miz compensate a bit, but it just felt like it wasn’t structured right. You had four matches in the last 45 minutes, and none were very good. If this is the end of the brand split, they need to make some cuts to get everyone on the shows, because if not, all of that good momentum is going to be halted in a heartbeat.
And let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Better luck next time.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.
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