The first match on this weeks RAW was CM Punk against Kofi Kingston, and while it was a nice match, it wasn’t long enough to really stretch each other in the ring. It may have been weird that the US Champion went down, but it was to CM Punk, and him having a high profile, it was acceptable, especially seen as Punk has needed this win for a while. What is even better,is that Punk seemed to lay the foundation for a progression with Nexus’s storyline. Punk said afterwards that he had led by example, and so would Nexus. Hopefully that is true and we’ll see some shocking actions from Nexus in the coming weeks.
It was important that Kharma started to develop this week, and this indeed happened in the aftermath of Kelly Kelly’s victory over Divas Champion Brie Bella. Why little was made of that I don’t know. Why give Brie the title only to ignore it? Hopefully this will be righted with a Divas title match on RAW next week (I couldn’t bare to see Kelly vs Brie on PPV (eventhough the Bellas are underrated)). Following that, Kharma again advanced on the ring, and initially, I expected another takedown of a Bella, we did get that, but this time Kharma advanced on Kelly for the first time, flicking her in the head like she did on her vignettes. At this point, she is literally playing with Kelly, and this could make for a very psychologically engaging story. Indeed, I would like to see Kharma stalking Kelly before finally either destroying her or maybe one of Kelly’s enemies, before taking the divas title and making the division relevant again.
Next up, Rey Mysterio hit the ring to call out R-Truth for his attack last week. Truth didn’t come, but old-time enemy Alberto Del Rio did. These two then had a match, and while their chemistry is great, I think it was still too soon from their previous match to seem particularly fresh. The main story here was about R-Truth, who made his presence known as the match was going on, suggesting that he doesn’t have to answer to Rey when beckoned, while distracting Rey by asking the audience to ‘stop that thief’ (of Truth’s title shot). Rey wasn’t affected by this however, and managed to maneuver Del Rio in to 619 position before Ricardo Rodriguez put his body in the way for the DQ. Only after this did Truth appear, again assaulting Rey Mysterio before telling Mysterio that at Over the Limit, he is ‘gonna get got’ – a great line from Truth, who can be genuinely scary in his new persona.
I don’t want to give much time to Cole-Lawler, as entertaining as it can be. It is worth noting though that Over the Limit was basically confirmed as the blowoff for this feud as Cole drove Swagger away from his corner by belittling his title reign. Telling King “he’s all yours”, Swagger left, and an almost blubbering Cole started begging for forgiveness. There is no was Cole will be booked to go over King clean.
Next up was more Nexus build as Otunga and McGillicutty went over Kane and the Big Show with the help of sly interference from Punk. Great for McGillicutty to be able to pin Kane, while the turn in Nexus’s fortunes therefore turned even more severely. It was then revealed that Punk and Ryan will compete for the tag titles at Over the Limit. Whether this is good for Nexus or not remains to be seen, but it does seem that their fortunes are turning rapidly again. Signs perhaps that Punk has re-signed?
Some people have been very critical of how Jack Swagger has been booked with Cole and Lawler, but it cannot be denied that it has garnered him a profile that he had lost before his involvement. Apparently coming out of that angle, Swagger was catapulted, in a pleasantly shocking way when he was introduced as Miz’s chosen opponent for John Cena, in a No Holds Barred match. Now, this match did have some okay ‘no holds barred’ spots: ring posts, steel chairs, computer-shots from Swagger to Cena, making him seem dominant against the top guy, and therefore potentially on par again. A lot of that, though, came during the commercial break, which made what we didn’t see on replay seem quite tame for what is meant to be a brutal match. Swagger was really made to look a threat to Cena though, locking him in the ankle lock several times and dominating him at others – exactly what Swagger needed to return to being a top player. Eventually, Cena fought through the ankle locks, specifically showing his ‘will not quit’ attitude and managed to pick up the win and send a message to Miz. This obviously irked Miz, who proceeded to warn Cena about the innumerable number of ways one can make another quit (a characteristic which makes it one of my favourite kinds of matches) and threatening that at Over the Limit, he will use a method Cena has never seen before – a statement which visibly worried Cena. He then says that, while sheer violence might not be the answer on Sunday, he’s happy to use it tonight, and with the help of Alex Riley’s distraction, he attacks Cena with a metal pipe. Cena eventually manages to turn this round, however, and Cena, furious, warns that on Sunday, he will be the Miz, and he will say I Quit. Great build for the OTL main event. It’s just a shame it took until the last seg of the ‘go home’ show to bring it. Any PPV needs adequate build, but especially one with such a psychologically engrossing match as an I Quit match. If Miz and Cena had built around that for 3-4 weeks, we could have a real mouth-watering prospect on our hands. As it stands, we may still do, but it will be no thanks to the limited build.