This week’s RAW started with the newly titled Nexus in the ring. Barrett sold Bragging Rights as a success, but new Tag Team Champion David Otunga raised doubts about John Cena’s teamwork. Barrett agreed, and set up (I suppose speaking for the champions who can defend whenever they want) a WWE Tag Team Championship match against the remaining members of Nexus. Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater. He was obviously not going to let them fight though, and he said one of the champs would have to lie down. Everyone naturally presumed he’d ask Cena to do the unthinkable and lie down for Nexus, but instead he asked Otunga to do it. Now he didn’t need to do that, and in doing so denied the audience an iconic moment. I suppose management thought it might be a bit over-the-top. Also, it was a way to show Barrett’s absolute power. Otunga questioned him and was punished. Also, just seeing Cena having to watch on as he voluntarily gave up a championship is startling. I wonder now if Drew and Cody will get a rematch?
I didn’t like the crossover between brands, but after their awesome match at Bragging Rights, the prospect of seeing Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan lock horns again was mouth-watering. In comparison to Bragging Rights, this was more of a catch-as-catch-can affair, with lots of nibbling attempts at takedowns and holds, and quality-wise, it was very good. A highlight for me was when Bryan went for a Hurricanrana only for Dolph to reverse it in to a Sunset Flip! Now i’ve never seen that! I was pleased to see Bryan getting himself over again. Last night was perhaps even more impressibe (in that regard) than Bragging Rights as his entrance on RAW garnered no reaction really, but by the end of the match, the fans were really in to it. Management will be watching, and seeing that this guy can draw! As I say, I hate that a Smackdown guy appeared on RAW with no real jurisdiction, but if Ziggler was on RAW (or vise-versa), i’d love to see a programme between the two! Someone that is on Bryan’s brand though is CM Punk, and my my the possibility of a programme between him and Bryan will leave fans salivating, and indeed, I have no doubt that this is the plan. Punk applauded Bryan’s victory, and I half expected him to attack the American Dragon, but I have noticed that, as of late, Punk has been displaying face-like tendencies (humour, team-spirit), so this may be going down the road of friendly but heated competition, which I think is the right atmosphere for this sort of feud between two such gifted wrestlers.
All i’ll say about the divas match is that I don’t understand why it was booked like that. It seemed pointless, not to mention it was a travesty that Gail Kim was left to linger on the apron! There is a possibility that her appearance could be a green shoot of a title challenge, but I don’t really think so, and more’s the pity. She deserves much better!
Miz cut a recognisably good promo following this, in which he appeared to challenge Rey Mysterio to a match on RAW. Again, I am not happy about that. The brand-extension is needed, and if you have it, you can’t cheapen it by unsanctioned cross-overs! Surprisingly, Miz was then tackled by, of all people, Eve. I must say as well, Eve is a great talker. It’s just damning of the WWE’s treatment of female wrestling sometimes that we’re not more used to her on the mic. Then R-Truth came out to defend her and take on Miz in a match that was pretty good, but nothing really note-worthy. Truth’s energy gelled well with Miz’s brutish style, and in the end the MITB holder went over relatively clean (though the final Skull-Crushing Finale was quite sloppy).
Santino’s match with Sheamus was just a way to set up a deeper feud between the Celtic Warrior and John Morrison. No need to worry about Sheamus being misused. The match was an angle and nothing more. There early matches have been good, and this bodes well for both guys – obviously Morrison especially, but it also means that Sheamus wont be getting lost in the shuffle and ending up actually feuding with Santino.
It was an infinitely good move to bring in Husky Harris and Mike McGillicutty to the Nexus. They again look like a genuine, threatening swarm (they did before, but the numbers were starting to dwindle). What I was also very excited to hear was their talk of their actions against the Undertaker. I worried they would brush the incident off, saying something pithy like “we did it because we could.” Instead, now it is undeniable that they have a future with Undertaker and Smackdown, and that adds a very interesting nuance to their story. (I know I said I hated cross-overs, but it would make sense in the case of the Nexus virus, so to speak, in whose very nature it is to behave without sanction). Anyway, the winner of the main event would determine who would be special guest referee at the Barrett-Orton title match at Survivor Series. These two obviously know each other extremely well, and they have a lot of chemistry in the ring. That helped them to a good match though not a great one (I think it’s still too soon since their mega feud of last year to create a unique emotional reaction). The story of the match was Barrett trying to help Cena win dishonourably, and Cena refusing his help. Barrett, however, is one of the more calculating superstars there is, and decided to help Cena help himself, as it were. I like circularity and mirroring in wrestling, and this example of it was very blatant. Like at Bragging Rights, when Cena attacked Barrett to help him win by DQ, Barrett dished out the same treatment to Cena, partly by way of punishment, and obviously to ensure he could choose his special guest referee for Survivor Series, which he did, picking Cena himself. He also added the caveats that, should Barrett not win the WWE Championship, Cena will be fired, but even more of a carrot to Cena, should he win the title, Cena is released from his Nexus obligations. At this, Cena (who has acted this storyline superbly) fell to his knees (though not too melodramatically) in relief, that is, before he looked over to Orton, who was still in the ring, witnessing the plotting of his demise right in front of him. And therein is the story of the Survivor Series match. Will Cena again act selfishly against Orton?, and if he does, how far will he go? The result of the match seems very predictable. Cena will help Barrett win the title and deal with the fallout later. However, it seems too obvious. I’ll save the detail of this instinct for the preview of Survivor Series, but I now think that Cena will not only help Barrett win, but he will turn heel for real at Survivor Series. That’ll put some asses in the seats!