RAW Recall (23/05/2011): RAW is Hart

Bret Hart having just officiated the main event of RAW

The previous night at Over the Limit, CM Punk and Mason Ryan failed in their attempts to take the tag titles from Kane and the Big Show, so when Mike McGillicutty and David Otunga got their shot on RAW, it would be interesting to see how they fared. On the one hand, they shouldn’t be able to succeed where their ‘betters’ failed, but on the other hand, they are much more fitting tag champions than their main-eventer brethren. While this was going on, Punk returned to the announce booth, where he was obviously brilliant. The match itself was fine, but it wasn’t really about the story of the match, but rather the result itself. After some brief back and forth, the giants were taking control; that is when the numbers game of the Nexus changed the game. With the referee distracted, Punk got the chance to hit Show in the back of the head with a stiff roundhouse, which was followed by a double DDT for the pinfall. Surprisingly, it doesn’t seem that this will cause heat between the group. Instead, it just seems to be a sign that Nexus are back on the rise, which can only be a good thing. Following the match, there was an interview with the furious ex-champions which ended with Show storming off and (I presume because it would be a hard shot to shoot with Show), after some shaky footage, we saw Show under Alberto Del Rio’s car, having been apparently knocked over. It seems that Show will be away from the ring for some time, so it also seems that Del Rio, though he acted upset/surprised about the accident, will be feuding with Kane. I’m not sure, however, how much I want to see that. On the plus side though, at least it would be a feud that would be given a lot of consideration (it being Del Rio) and that would consist of two great talkers. As for the tag champs, it is interesting that Nexus members can now appear on Smackdown. It could add fuel to their inter-twining stories with Corre and perhaps facilitate a union/agreement between the two.

I was pleased to see Evan Bourne get a call up to take on Jack Swagger. It was a pretty convincing win for Swagger who basically squashed Bourne with his Gutwrench Powerbomb, which I don’t recall seeing for a while. That in itself is a shame for Bourne, but the afters made it more interesting with Bourne attacking the proud Swagger for his OTT celebrations. Hopefully this will lead to a fresh feud between the two (hopefully) up and comers, and Swagger’s new-found pull can give a rub to the desperately under-utilised Bourne.

Was good to see Cole come out and simply apologise to King and try to get on with it. It may be a bit unbelieveable that the hatchet will be buried this quickly (not that they are portraying that anyway, with Cole still making the odd comment siding with the heels), but just letting  him get back to announcing is great for the show as there doesn’t have to be a lengthy come-down from the story to legitimise them working together that would take up still more time that others deserve.

The next segment was weird. Miz came out to cut a promo legitimising his loss at Over the Limit. The jist of it was blaming his co-attacker, Alex Riley for the loss before publicly firing him. This triggered something in Riley, who cheap-shotted Miz and beat him down mercilessly, apparently turning face in the process. This surprised me because after quitting to Cena the previous night, getting beat down by Riley came across as quite embarrassing. However, as long as Riley stays on Smackdown, the action could be a good launch-pad for his career on Smackdown. It’ll be interesting to see where Miz goes from here. RAW is so heel heavy that it’s hard to see where his next feud is coming from. If he’s up to it, i’d love to see HHH return to feud with Miz. It would be a great feud and would further consolidate Miz’s position at the top.

Next up was an eight-diva tag team match (basically, to get the whole diva lockerroom in the ring) which almost instantly was interrupted by Kharma. What came next was very odd and has been very poorly received. Basically, Kharma collapsed to her knees and started crying. The fans started chanting ‘bullshit’, apparently, but I want to see where it is going to go. I think the problem was that not enough was revealed to make it interesting – it just seemed that this monster wasn’t ‘all that’. Hopefully there will be a sensical explanation for this that will have what I imagine was the intended effect of adding interesting complexity to the character, instead of undermining the presence she has gained since her debut.

Next up we saw some spectacular pyro which ran across the stage, followed by Drew McIntyre’s music. This led me and many to conclude that (thank GOD!) Drew’s push was back – something he really has earned. His opponent was to be US Champion Kofi Kingston. The two had a nice match together, if too quick. Drew worked on Kofi’s knee the whole time with innovative brutality, so much so that Kofi couldn’t deliver Trouble in Paradise. However, trying to floor Kingston finally, he was hit with the SOS for a surprise pin. My initial thought at the beginning was that Drew would win to set up a US title match, but that obviously wasn’t the case. Many people seem to have taken this loss as a signal that a push for Drew is just as distant as ever (people really are starting to get behind him), but I take the view that it’s too early to tell. Maybe a frustrated McIntyre will target Kingston, or maybe it was just something for him to do between a proper feud. Maybe McIntyre could turn face to ease the drought on RAW. More will hopefully be revealed next week. Another variable was the vision of Dolph Ziggler (with thankfully renewed blonde hair) watching the match along with Vickie Guerrero, seeming suggestion his own interest in the US title. You never know, there might be a three man feud over the title – something very exciting as I’m really high on both Ziggler and McIntyre.

The main event was made earlier in the night when Truth interrupted Bret Hart explaining why he helped Jerry Lawler at Over the Limit. Truth had come out and cut a nice promo, acting like a babyfaceHart, being nice to a ‘little Jimmy’ in the crowd, giving him his sunglasses and saying “I’m a good R-Truth now”, before turning on Hart and saying acting that way got him nowhere and that now after beating down John Morrison and Rey Mysterio, he would beat down a Hall of Famer. This drew Cena to the ring, and the match was set for Cena & Mysterio vs Punk & Truth, with Bret as special guest referee. Punk was awesome in this main event in so many ways. For one thing, he wore almost luminous yellow and pink gear like Randy Savage at WrestleMania IV where he won his first WWF Championship. Aside from that, he was consciously mimicking the style of Bret, and really interacting with him. Hiding behind him etc, as well as attempting a sharpshooter to Cena. Punk produced some really great stuff, but other than that, the action was fun and dramatic, but was unspectacular. It ended as Punk put his hands on Bret one too many times and was assaulted by Bret and put in the Sharpshooter, which Rey compounded by dropping the dime on him for the pinfall. Before the match, there was speculation that Punk was next up to challenge Cena for the title (which I would love to see), and this speculation was quickly quieted by this result, but it still seems up in the air to me. The way I see it, Punk could still be the next challenger. I have a feeling that Bret’s return will last for a while longer, and given his history with the Nexus, and the fact that he cost Punk the match on RAW, I can see some animosity between them which will bring him to blows with Hart’s new friend, John Cena.

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