Before I begin, I should say that I’m going to Manchester tonight for the Smackdown taping and am leaving pretty shortly! What that means is tomorrow, when I get back, I will be posting what will be Smackdown spoilers for this Friday along with the usual analysis. I’ll also probably tweet a bit during the show, so keep an eye on http://twitter.com/#!/RTVWOW
Something i’ve noticed about specifically RAW is that when they do a gimmick show (apart from the draft, which I love) they usually comprie of lots of slightly pedantic spots throughout the night to do with it. This often makes for entertaining moments, but a less interesting wrestling show, and I realie that an example of this is whenever they tape RAW in Blighty. Last night’s show was ok, but I think it got too bogged down in comic spots to really make it interesting – though that is not to say there was nothing of interest at all. With this in mind, I am pretty worried about next week’s ‘Old Skool’ RAW. Hopefully the fact that it is a 3-hour episode might mean they can accomodate both old-skool and, well, curret skool content without much trouble; but nonetheless will the likes of Piper, Snuka and Volkoff we wrestling? They are all legends, but I don’t know if it makes for great wresling TV these days at their age. Perhaps Snuka will showup with the Usos, which is pretty cool – not that anyone gives a damn about the Usos. I’m willing to give it a chance.
The first match saw Eve and the Bellas (wearing Man Utd jerseys) take on Maryse, Alicia and Tamina (in Liverpool garb). Despite the gimmick aspect of this match, and it’s brevity, there was some really good skills on show here. Eve showed her martial arts skills, Tamina hit a Samoan Drop, while the Bellas (who it seems have been training hard) continued to show real in-ring improvement with some nice grappling and dropkicks. Obviously, the Utd-clad wrestlers won, though i’m not sure management realised the complexities of fotball support in the city. Cole’s (lack of) understanding of the sport was hilarious.
Next up was the Usos against the Hart Dynasty. A bit of a typical match from these two teams really. The quality was high enough, but there wasn’t much care given to creating much tension relating to the outcome. Good, but forgettable. The real story was again to do with the Harts. It’s getting to the point now where it’s ridiculous that they haven’t pulled the trigger on splitting the two up. All of thir matches end in a loss due to insolence or a mix-up in the team which brings them to the brink of a fight. There’s only so long you can do that.
Goldust and Ted DiBiase locked up again following the tag match. Like the previous match, it had good wrestling but was more about the storyline. At least this one showed progression as, after Maryse appeared to have recaptured the Million Dollar Championship for Goldust, Aksana (last seen breaking Goldust’s heart after their marriage of convenience) retrieved it and ran it to the back. Perhaps sh has decided to be loyal to Goldust, but more likely she was acting, quite literally as a gold-digger and will be holding it herself tonight on NXT.
The Otunga-Barrett schism continuedhalf-way through the show as Barrett decided to use his best commodity, John Cena, to punish Otunga for his recent perceived challenges to his leadership, and even more, the failure of his initiatives. As you might expect, thi was little more than a squash as Cena, who rarely gets to ‘be himself’ in the ring while under Nexus, opened up on Otunga, making him tap out not only to him, but to Barrett. After the match, Barrett informed Otunga that, should he lose to Edge on Smackdown, he will be out of Nexus.
Another ‘English’ based comedy segment came from Santino, Vladimir Kozlov and Sheamus, as they went to tea. This provided some genuinely comic moments, but ended suitably violently. The stuff with Santino is good, but it’s not necessarily great for Sheamus, luckily, it seems that he’ll actually be feuding with John Morrison, who helped Santino against the Celtic Warrior once again.
The main event saw Nexus (minus Otunga) take on Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry, R-Truth and The Miz. This match was good for a ten-man match and was probably the best match of the night. The story was again that Cena, as special refereee was put on the spot to put over his Nexus brethren, which heeventually did after Barrett himself pinned Orton to really send a message to Orton before Survivor Series. However, that’s not all the story. Barrett was helped by two people, th first of whom was David Otunga. Having been completely alienated from the rest of Nexus by Barrett earlier in the show, he came back to fall in line. Initially, it seemed he could go either way, either helping or sabotaging Nexus, but as the match was coming to a close, Otunga distracted Cena enough to allow Barrett to pick up the victory. It seems there was another prodigal son in the building (well, provided he beats Edge on Friday). The other helper was The Miz. The Miz turned on his team-mate by having Riley hit Orton in the stomach before delivering the Skull-Crushing Finale and turnng him over to Barrett. There is a subtle but powerful potential meaning in this. Is this a foreshadowing of a MITB cash-in? If Orton retains champion at Survivor Series, perhaps Miz will take his opportunity. At th very least he was sending a message to Orton that he still hs that capablity.