I can’t believe John Cena is still stealing the headlines. Under these circumstances, it’s actually infuriating.
Anyway, starting off on a better note, the ending of the previous week’s RAW made the opening of this week’s episode ‘must see.’ Cole handled the segment wonderfully and got tonnes of heat for his holier-than-though bureaucratic attempts to worm out of the situation, eventually blaming ‘The King’ himself for stealing the spotlight. As ever with heels, he may have had something of a point, though he acted in such a way as to make the question of who was in the wrong very clear. Him getting an RKO from Orton was cool too as the fans loved it, and it just about came across that he was sending a message to the watching Miz.
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella against Ted DiBiase and Maryse was a pretty good match. I do like the Brie Bella/Bryan burgeoning relationship, especially seen as Nikki has been doing a very good job of being so heelishly different to her sister as of late. It being a mixed tag match, there was also a focus on Maryse, and the diva components of the match took it over and made it more of an angle. DiBiase’s recent change appears now to have seen him eschew Maryse, and I think this is a good move. His demeanor now is much more interesting, and I look forward to seeing him more than I used to. These two will probably square off for another US title match at TLC, and if they do, it promises to be very good. Perhaps the Bellas fighting over Bryan will be enough of a distraction for him to drop the belt?
I like that, of the Hart Dynasty, it was Tyson Kidd to turn heel, as in these situations, you would expect the sparkier guy to be face and dazzle the crowd. Nonetheless, this feud needs to have more to it than it has, and maybe that’s what Tyson Kidd’s MASSIVE new associate will bring. It’s too early to tell with that though. It was a decent enough match, as is the least you’d expect from these two, and Kidd eventually held the tights for the win. On it’s own, that seems quite empty unless he starts doing more personal attacks on Smith. Hopefully, this new variable will add something of that to it; otherwise, kill the feud and move on.
Next up we had a 4 tag-team elimination match for the WWE Tag Team Championships. This could have meant one of two things; either Nexus survive and look united in the face of Cena, or Cena costs them the titles somehow – the latter was the case. The match was pretty good in a lot of ways. Gabriel and Slater were great as a tag team and managed to fight their way to the final two against Santino and Kozlov. It was now that Cena struck, causing enough of a diversion so that Santino could use his Cobra for the win. Now, in terms of the Cena-Nexus storyline, this was good – it continued Cena guerrilla exploits and further wounded Nexus in an exciting way. And I do like Santino and Kozlov, my only problem is that, when they are the best pick for a babyface tag team, that’s pretty telling on the state of the tag team division. I think the Usos, who also gave a good accounting of themselves, will be taking them on first.
I wasn’t too keen on the Sheamus-Morrison segment. Though I like the history of the Irish kings to an extent, I think Sheamus overdid it with the dogma of being a king (calling the fans his ‘subjects’ etc), but it was Morrison that was the real problem. He tried to be funny, and he is not funny. He was bleating on about elves and gnomes for what seemed to be five minutes. He didn’t stop! It just goes to show that Morrison can’t cut it as a main event face yet. They’ll probably have a good match at TLC before HHH comes back to take Sheamus to task on calling himself a king.
A very high quality divas match took place next between two of the best in the business: Melina and Natalya. Both were showing great technical prowess and using impressive suplexes and slams before Natalya understandable went over. What was interesting was that it was face vs face. It seems that Natalya may have to beat either one or both of LayCool first, but I can see a Melina heel-turn coming up. After the match, LayCool attacked Natalya, and the announcers made a point of discussing how Melina didn’t come to Natalya’s aid. Perhaps it will be some sort of ‘friendly rivalry’ turning Melina heel. It’s just a hunch, but it was definitely hinted at, and if we saw more matches between these two, it would be great for the divas division.
The main event match between between Randy Orton and Alex Riley was pretty good, but more dominated by the angle regarding the Miz. Alex Riley gave a decent accounting of himself, playing on Orton’s injured knee and the like, but the match was more about Orton punishing Riley, like he did with Cole, to send a message to The Miz, who again avoided the Viper’s clutches, hitting him from behind with a Skull-Crushing Finale to end the match when the result was inevitable. Miz elected to ‘show’ Orton what the stipulation will be at TLC by getting a table out. Before he could send Orton through it though, Orton reversed and looked to put Miz through the table. Escaping, however, Miz left his apprentice to an MDF fate as Orton used an uncharacteristic powerbomb Riley through the table. This, should have been the ending of the show in my eyes.
Like with my review of the past Smackdown, i’m not going to give much time to the ending of RAW this week, because I hated most of it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Cena sneaking around and trapping Nexus one by one (though I would like it to be a bit more methodical and with less acceptance from security and the like, and I don’t want to hear his music! Why would they play it!?), and I also understand the idea of Nexus questioning their leader in light of this. What I don’t like is that it looks like it’s going to be used as leverage to bring Cena back to the company (kayfabe). Within two weeks of Survior Series that is, frankly, a joke. It makes a mockery of the storyline, a storyline that was excellently dramatic and very engaging. Now, it’s just stale. I don’t know how Nexus will progress from here. Everything points to a split, but the new merch seems to suggest otherwise. I presume that Cena will take on Barrett at TLC, but I can’t see what will come of that. I can’t see there being another ‘free or fired’ type stipulation, so what the situation needs is some sort of change to the Nexus, perhaps a new member. I really think Cena needs do beat Barrett (or vise versa) and move on. If they can get it past TLC, the Royal Rumble offers lots of opportunities for shifts. For instance, I think Jericho could come back as a face and take on his former rookie. What is clear is that, especially if Cena is re-hired, something drastic needs to change, or this story will become completely unsatisfying.