-Bad: Michael Vick injury, John Cena winning yet another World Title, Kevin Nash on my TV, back pain, and Chaz Bono dancing.
I don’t ask for much.
-Live from Cleveland, where sports fans are barred from owning sharp objects.
-The USA advert preceding Raw said “with special guest, Real Steel’s Hugh Jackman”, which is like saying “Hanging Up’s Walter Matthau”.
Opening Segment: CM Punk
[adinserter block=”2″]CM Punk’s taped up after last night’s no-disqualification match, which is always a nice touch. You know, as opposed to Triple H getting dropped forty feet inside a car and, uh, not dying. Bob Holly gets a shout-out, because Punk’s the greatest name-dropper alive. Punk segues into relaying a theory that The Miz and R-Truth were right about a conspiracy within WWE, and the mere mention brings out Triple H. Triple H admits that he’s every bit as beat up as Punk is, and makes a peace offering: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk in a triple threat Hell in a Cell match in two weeks. Okay, that could rule. Triple H then tells Punk that if he’s still buying a conspiracy theory, he’ll go to war with him again, and Punk doesn’t mind the notion. Punk reveals, however, that it’s not Triple H that’s pulling the strings. Sure enough, John Laurinaitis comes out, right on cue. Laurinaitis accuses Punk of running some kind of conspiracy. Punk fires back, accusing Laurinaitis of being in charge of the entire conspiracy with Nash, Miz, Truth, etc, and that even spurs Triple H against Laurinaitis, reminding Ace that he’s in charge. In the end, Laurinaitis fires Punk, and Triple H unfires Punk. Awesome. Triple H promises to solve the mystery by night’s end, and that somebody will be fired.
SEGMENT RATING: 6/10. Nothing special, but it progresses the angle. Does make what happens later intriguing. Anyone besides me wanna see Ace back in the ring?
Match 1: Sheamus/Justin Gabriel/Air Boom vs. Christian/Wade Barrett/David Otunga/Michael McGillicutty
Old school Nickelodeon viewers: is it me or does McGillicutty resemble Barth from You Can’t Do That on Television? WWE’s going green as Lawler recycles every “boring” joke about Otunga and McGillicutty. Sheamus gets the hot tag after Bourne takes a beating, and he and Kingston wind up cleaning house. Otunga eats a Brogue Kick, eyeballing Christian all the while, for the win.
WINNERS: Sheamus/Justin Gabriel/Air Boom via Celtic Cross
RATING: 4/10. Short, but hit the right notes. Sheamus/Christian as a feud, as well as a proliferation of eight man tags (creating a Survivor Series feel) make me happy.
Match 2: Alberto Del Rio vs. John Morrison
Can’t Del Rio have John Cena arrested for stealing his car? Or would Cena overcome the odds and destroy the cops? And I barely finish that sentence as Del Rio makes Morrison tap to the cross armbreaker. Burial, defined.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio via Cross Armbreaker
RATING: 6/10. Just because it took a major heel and gave him a convincing win.
In-Ring Segment: Hugh Jackman
Two words out of Jackman’s mouth, and I now know that Andy Samburg does a lousy impression of him. Jackman goes for the movie plug, and Vickie Guerrero’s here to screech, with Dolph Ziggler in tow. Then the mood grows seductive, with Vickie hitting on Wolverine. Vickie tries to get Jackman, who’s a mumbler, to admit that she’s the hottest diva in WWE. Dolph Ziggler, for no reason, calls Mason Ryan a ‘robot’, thus becoming my hero for the next five minutes. Ziggler then goes for cheap heat insulting Cleveland (zzzzzz, fish in a barrel…..), and Jackman promises to go backstage and coach somebody to a victory over Ziggler. Crowd begins a “WE WANT RYDER” chant, and Jackman takes a fan’s “RYDER > WOLVERINE” sign and holds it up. Oh my, we may actually get the push.
SEGMENT RATING: 7/10. Was actually fun with Ziggler carrying the dialogue, and it may begin an official push for Ryder. Jackman also didn’t seem out of place.
Match 3: Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes (non title match)
They should totally have both Sin Caras go the “double Doink” route and perform illusions on opponents, including the “man in the mirror” routine. I’m pretty sure this match isn’t mask vs. mask. Then just to be confusing, the second Sin Cara enters after Cody. Crowd knows which one is actually Mistico, though. After a stunt exhibition, the impostor is driven away.
RATING: 2/10. Cody Rhodes got paid for that.
In Ring Segment: Mark Henry
It’s announced that Henry and Randy Orton will have a rematch at Hell in a Cell. THE HELL YOU SAY! I’m disappointed that Henry can’t even get a dapper suit to wear in his celebratory moment. Jim Ross is doing the interview, so I’m laying odds on him getting destroyed. Sure enough, Henry tells JR to apologize on behalf of those who didn’t believe in him. Gee, wonder where this is going. Henry parlays stories of JR in his old talent relation job, recommending that Henry be released. Yep, I can sure call this. Ross gives a half-hearted apology, and Henry grabs him by the tie. Jerry Lawler tries to intervene. Ross is spared, but Henry grabs Lawler, who tries to fight before Henry headbutts him down. Lawler eats a World’s Strongest Slam before being deposited to the floor. Then the announce table is cleared off, and Henry delivers a second WSS through it. Henry gathers his title and leaves satisfied as Lawler is tended to.
SEGMENT RATING: 9/10. Very effective use of Henry, who has finally hit his stride as a remorseless killing machine. I hope he wins at Hell in a Cell, because any loss kills the mystique.
Match 4: Kelly Kelly/Eve Torres vs. The Divas of Doom
Kelly Kelly I’m sure is thrilled to have the Muppets on Raw for Halloween, since her mother Janice was a famous Muppet, and she appreciates what great actors they are. Barely finish that statement as Eve pins Beth with a roll-up. Uhh, was that it?
WINNERS: Kelly Kelly/Eve Torres via roll up
RATING: 0/10. Seriously, did Beth fail a Wellness test, or not shake Stephanie’s hand, or profess her undying love for Chris Benoit? There has to be a reason for this.
Match 5: Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder (Non Title Match)
Not since Paul Heyman and Nathan Jones in 2003 has WWE had such a prolific NY/Aussie combo like Ryder and Jackman. True to the spirit of the match, Ziggler dominates early while Ryder, “the underdog”, tries to will his way into an upset. Hugh Jackman wearing the Broski headband is one hell of an endorsement, and one of the most random. Jackman interference leads to the Ruff Ryder and pin for Zack.
WINNER: Zack Ryder via Ruff Ryder
RATING: 4/10. Ehh, it was fun. May even get Ryder on the Access Hollywood-type shows.
[adinserter block=”1″]Main Event: John Cena/CM Punk vs. The Awesome Truth
Cena and Punk are clearly better than the Rock n Roll Express. Punk can see straight, and Cena has more than enough money to pay child support. This main event is like Raw’s entire World Title scene from WrestleMania onward, with only Del Rio missing. Match is formula early, with Cena and Punk playing nice, but the “someone’s getting fired” story is still looming. Back from commercial, Cena ends up as face in peril, which will make for (hopefully) a nuclear hot tag for Punk. Cena gutwrenches Miz and tries the tag, but Truth is tagged and cuts it off. Love the formula. Sure enough, Miz misses the corner clothesline, Punk gets the tag, and goes crazy on both heels. Punk finishes Miz with the GTS convincingly and without incident.
WINNERS: John Cena and CM Punk via GTS
RATING: 7/10. Good formula main event, but nothing more.
Afterward, Triple H makes his way out, and simply says “Punk, good match. Miz, Truth, you’re fired”, and leaves. Miz and Truth express confusion, while the entire roster backstage is also confused. Scott Stanford tries to get a word, but Awesome Truth jump Hunter backstage, prompting a massive brawl. The midcarders help Hunter throw Miz and Truth out of the building, and the show ends without explanation.
OVERALL: Talk heavy in parts, short matches in others, but the angle progression is there. It’ll be fun to see what Miz and Truth did to earn their firing. Meanwhile, I like that we have monster heels again in Mark Henry and Alberto Del Rio.
See? I can find upside in anything.
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.