The crowd was hot, as Canadian fans always are, for WWE’s return to Canada this Monday, and the show had a distinctly Canadian flavour.
The first half of the show was particularly good this week in my opinion, starting off with a match everyone (at least over 8 or so) has been waiting for ever since Christian returned to the WWE: Edge vs Christian! And it didn’t disappoint, in fact, it was probably the match of the night. These days, a tag team holding the tag titles seven times is difficult to imagine, and it really brought home the history between these two. Their chemistry, eventhough they haven’t been in-ring together in years, was understandably fantastic. It’s difficult to see where it will come from, but surely these two will feud properly before one of them retires. There’s a great story in them, and more available in my view. I kinda felt ‘Taker coming out and finishing Edge kinda overshadowed the match, and I didn’t really see the point of it, other than to wheel out ‘Taker. Nonetheless, it was a cool twist and as long as it served the purpose of re-introducing ‘Taker, it’s ok by me. Incidentally, I liked the ‘pick your poison’ idea. It hyped Over the Limit really well, and made the Orton-Edge feud one of the most anticipated ones on the card.
We then heard that, in fact, Vickie Guerrero is not the new GM of RAW. Now this is interesting, simply because I have absolutely no clue who it will be. Steph? J.R. (the lady protesting too much?)? HHH? HBK? They’re complete guesses, and only Steph seems realistic. I’d like to see that, it would be HUGE!
We also saw the return of Virgil, who was looking great by the way. Ted’s match with Yoshi Tatsu was ok, a bit disjointed in parts I felt, but with a good finish. Until recently (when his PPV match with Truth was announced) I worried that Ted had hit a bit of a wall creatively, but it looks like his feud is getting some decent attention. I’m not a huge fan of it, but i’m willing to see where it goes, especially with Virgil involved, which adds a strong ring-side factor. I also like his new catch-phrase: “If I can’t buy it, i’ll beat it.”
It was a pretty good night for the Divas. While Eve and Maryse’s feud doesn’t have much driving it, they certainly amped up the intensity this week, with some pretty unpretty violence, especially backstage. The tag match was pretty good. Though they’re not at the quality they need to be yet on RAW, they’ve definately improved over the last month or two. I quite liked Michelle coming out with a replica Women’s Championship belt. It isn’t hard to see where this implosion is coming from (alá King of the Ring 2001?), and a singles feud will be a good way to show off Layla’s improving skills and Michelle’s more established skills. I was also pleased to see Gail Kim get a decent match this week. I think she’d have been a great fit on Smackdown, but as long as she gets airtime on RAW, it’ll be a good thing. Even Bourne and (perhaps surprisingly) Zach Ryder were strong in the match too.
The weak point of the show, unfortunately, was John Cena, and in typical fashion, the Canadian crowd let him know. It’s not John’s fault. He’s clearly a great guy and a passionate wrestler, but he’s been doing the ‘Never Give Up’ thing for so long that we rarely seemuch new coming from him, and more importantly, he’s starting to lose his electricity. His backstage interview could probably have taken place in any situation, and I just didn’t care about what he was saying. Surely it can’t be long before he turns heel? His match with Sheamus was ok, but not as good as the rest of the card. However, I did like the closing image of deadlock with Batista hooking in that new submission move of his (which I quite like. Batista muct have evolved more under this gimmick than ever before) and Cena refusing to quit as the show faded out.
Before I get to talking about Bret Hart, I’d just like to mention the ‘sponsors’ on the show. They were just really funny, especially in a ‘commercial-free’ setting. Kudos.
Anyway, the main shock of the night was undoubtedly Bret Hart becoming your new United States Champion. I’ve already seen some criticism of this, but my initial reaction is positive. While closure was already achieved at Wrestlemania, I feel that, considering how he last lost a title in the WWE, it was an added bonus that he return to Canada and win a championship with a sharpshooter. Not only that, but it helps add extra heat to this intriguing feud with the Hart Dynasty. For the time being, the US title was being neglected on the Miz, so I imagine this move is part of several steps to help build the title’s prestige, which having Bret as champion obviously does. My only caveat (unusually) is that Bret drop the title immediately. He’s had a good final run, but as we’ve seen – for example, this Monday – wrestling is no longer his strong-suit. Here’s what I want to happen, and what I think actually has a good chance of happening: Bret will be ending this run soon, but they aren’t going to have him lose on his way out. Instead, I would like to see the Hart Dynasty retain at Over the Limit, and then Bret Hart announce that they don’t need him any more and that he will vacate the title, leading to a tournament (or if not, something of similar grandeur) to find a new US champion. Following that, it would be pretty cool to see William Regal have a decent run as champion. No one really stands out. But anyway, congratulations to Bret for now! The Hart’s are dripping in gold! But, by the way, did anyone noticed some heel-like tendencies in Cole’s coverage of the match? He’s been acting all heel-ly on NXT too. He’s quite good at it, but I can’t help but wish it was Lawler who was turning heel, he’s so great at it!