RAW started not with Sheamus, or John Cena, as you might expect, but with Vincent Kennedy McMahon, and he had a bit of a shocking announcement: that Bret Hart is no longer GM. I suppose this was always coming, and it was best that he went out quietly. The replacement is ‘anonymous,’ which is fine, even preferrable given the current tension that hangs over RAW. However, though I doubt it will continue, the email alerts were a bit cheesy and tiresome. Hopefully future announcements will be announced without the email alerts.
The first match of the night was Chris Jericho taking on Evan Bourne for the first time in a week, but this time with the caveat that if Jericho couldn’t beat Bourne this time, he would leave the WWE. My initial instinct was that he would indeed lose and leave the WWE for a while, coming back to a faces return. Given that this was their third match in quick succession, it was possibly difficult to do anything particularly new here, and perhaps they didn’t, but it was still an entertaining match, this time, having Jericho get over his hump and defeating Bourne before pie-facing him to the ground. Despite this however, I foresee a Jericho face turn soon, and in the immediate future, a very watchable feud with Evan.
A quick note on Ted DiBiase. Although it was great to see Virgil back, his dismissal is the best thing to happen for Ted. With Virgil around, Ted’s career was too much based on his father’s legacy. This is still a problem, but the addition of Maryse as a valet (if that is what she’ll be) adds a new element to his character, and in very base terms, what an element! Despite how ridiculously attractive Maryse is, it could have it’s downsides: for her, it might take her out of the ring for a while, and for … feminism (I guess), the way she is treated may be a bit regressive. Though Ted’s joke about ‘protection’ was funny, if his whole schtik with Maryse is making unsubtle suggestions about sleeping with her, it could get a bit uncomfortable. There’s a fine line here between acknowledging her wonderful beauty and treating her as some sort of sexual object, and it’s one that shouldn’t be crossed.
Perhaps if Maryse gets less time in the ring, Natalya will get the time she so deserves. This week, she had her first singles match (to my knowledge) ever on RAW against Tamina. It wasn’t that great a match, but that was more to do with the no-contest finish. Natalya was mostly carrying Tamina, but nonetheless, it’s good to see a deep-rooted divas feud taking place.
It was pretty encouraging to see The Miz interact with Randy Orton this week. When Orton came out to challenge Sheamus, I was relatively exciting about the prospect of a title match between the two. Miz’s music was very unexpected. What was even more exciting was that it initially looked like Miz was getting the upper hand. He spoke the truth, that it is boring to see the same people in the main event (though WWE have been producing lots of new stars recently, the main event has been kept among a certain few). I think Miz has been over and ready for the main event for some time now, and I don’t see why his attack would take place unless he was being considered for that position. Lets hope so. As for Edge attacking Randy and saying “the fun has only started,” I didn’t think much of it, it’s almost stock storyline progression. Hopefully Edge’s idea of ‘fun’ will be something quite unique.
Despite their earlier apologies and assertations that simply getting to the WWE was their goal, the NXT ‘Nexus’ seem to have more in their sights following this week’s main event. It was a WWE Championship re-match between Sheamus and John Cena, presummably to make concrete the title change at Fatal 4-Way, but with the seemingly random inclusion of Mr. McMahon as special enforcer. However, in wrestling, nothing is random, and everything has a purpose. The match itself was ok, with some impressive brutality (note the setting up of the ring steps on the ramp and Cena taking the awkward looking bump on it), but the real story was about the actions of the NXT rebels. After the apology, it seemed there was no reason for them to continue to get involved, but alas, here they came! Again, we had the commentators run for the hills and leave us with some tense viewing, but this time, there was somebody that wasn’t attacked: Vince McMahon. Indeed, Vince seemed to enjoy what was happening (explaining perhaps his strange tone when talking to Cena earlier in the night). He explained that he had some sort of influence on the NXT guys in their brutal attacks of the last few weeks, which in itself was interesting, with the chairman himself supporting some kind of cleansing of his company. However, we then saw the NXT rebels turning on McMahon himself! Not only was this shocking because of just how iconic Vince is in the industry, but because, if he thought he held the reigns of the ‘rebels’ before seeing that he didn’t, it makes the rebellion seem all the more deep-rooted, with Vince, a man who has been an unquestioned figure of power, being not only questioned, but bested. Indeed, if he has been toppled, who indeed is in charge. It’s difficult to digest it all right now, and surely it will all become more clear as the story progresses, and indeed this furthers the story in a fascinating way.
What is also interesting is the amount of unexplained limo shots, the attack on Bret Hart last week with an unseen driver, Vince driving away last night, seemingly for no reason, and today, a limo drawing up, without explanation. I suppose the question here is, who is the driver? I hope that the answer could be the name the fans were chanting thoughout the night … “Daniel Bryan!” Maybe if he comes back to WWE, it could be.