Monday, January 10, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - January 10, 2011

A "blockbuster announcement" has been promised by WWE regarding the first member of the 2011 Hall of Fame class. Could be an interesting night!

And wow, we're getting right into the action tonight, a WWE Tag Team Title match to open the show, Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov vs. oh wait, Nexus is attacking. I thought with the amazing opener last week, WWE would try it again, but I'm not going to complain about CM Punk talking instead. Punk orders his followers to pass their individual "initiations" tonight and Michael McGillicutty is up first, who has to receive a famous Nexus beat down, just like a gang initiation. Creepy, especially when they carried him out of the ring like a human sacrifice, but an effective way to set the tone for CM Punk's vision for the New Nexus.

R-Truth vs. Alberto Del Rio is our opening contest and a rematch from last week. Not really much of a match, but Del Rio winning by count-out again is pretty funny and Ricardo Rodriguez yelling "WHATSUPWHATSUPWHATSUPWHATSUP" at R-Truth just sent it over the top. Singing "La Cucaracha" was a nice touch as well, too bad this Nashville crowd is terrible.

Cole's Got Mail! The G?M is heaping quite a bit of praise onto Michael Cole, which definitely helps the idea that he's actually the anonymous general manager, but Jerry Lawler ain't buying it. Despite a little back and forth between the two, no one gets physical, but Lawler will later tonight when he teams with Randy Orton to take on The Miz & Alex Riley.

Backstage, Husky Harris is initiated into the New Nexus after taking nine lashes with a leather strap from Gabriel, Slater and Otunga... then several more from CM Punk. Wow, just when you thought it couldn't get creepier than the first segment, it does.

Daniel Bryan & Mark Henry vs. Ted DiBiase & Tyson Kidd in tag action next, no Jackson Andrews at ringside with Tyson, so that probably says something about his WWE future. Another nothing match though, Henry picks up a quick win for his team with the World's Strongest Slam. Don't be upset about Bryan teaming with Henry for no reason, be upset about him being wasted in a useless match like this.

Oddly, The Big Show is on Raw to talk about how he's going to take Barrett out on Friday and win the Royal Rumble, but it doesn't take long for Nexus to show up again, and it looks like David Otunga's initiation is to fight the World's Largest Athlete. I'd rather get whipped. You know how this ended, David Otunga KO'd(!!)

John Morrison vs. Sheamus is up next, and I already see people complaining that "we've seen this match, waaaahhh!" Yeah, we've seen it, and every time it's awesome. At least they're not asking us to pay for it and if it's a good match, maybe it'll get this Raw on track and the crowd to actually make some noise. Not their best match, but these two have such chemistry that even their not best match is still quite enjoyable. Bit of an anticlimactic win for Morrison, but at least his momentum continues, but what about Sheamus?

Backstage, S&M Punk tries to get Gabriel and Slater to beat each other with Singapore Canes, but they decline and walk away. Who needs em, bring back Tarver and Sheffield!

And the first inductee into the 2011 Hall of Fame class is...

"The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels!

Excellent video package for HBK and even though it's only been one year since his retirement, few people deserve this more than HBK. He personifies WWE and is arguably the most complete wrestler to ever step foot in a ring. Such a treat to see one of my all-time favorites get this honor on the night before WrestleMania.

BUT OMG SHAWN MICHAELS IS IN THE BUILDING! It's HBK's first appearance in a WWE arena since his retirement, so is it too soon to ask for one more match? HBK's got a mic, but Alberto Del Rio of all people interrupts the Showstopper to say he's going to win the Royal Rumble and become the new Mr. WrestleMania. Where you know where this is going... SWEET. CHIN. MUSIC! Fun stuff, and hey, it finally got the crowd to get on their feet, way to go Nashville, it only took Shawn freakin' Michaels to get you to react to this show.

Keeping up with the uncomfortable theme of the night, CM Punk is on top of the TitanTron, asking the crowd if he should jump to make the ultimate sacrifice for Nexus. Of course, he's strapped to a harness and has guys spotting him on top and insults the fans for being gullible sheep to believe he'd jump. Seriously disturbing stuff. John Cena is live via satellite, channeling his inner George Carlin with a wrestling version of the "Advertising Lullaby" and challenges Punk to a match next week. After Punk accepts, Cena says he's going to "kick his ass." OMG, he said ass! Which is perfectly acceptable for a TV-PG program, but expect the smarks to spaz out say "THAT'S NOT PG!" I assure you, it is.

Main Event time! The Miz & Alex Riley vs. Randy Orton & Jerry "The King" Lawler; it's really surprising how much time Lawler's been getting in the ring lately. I have to wonder if he's working off ring rust for a big program going into WrestleMania? Just a thought. Anyway, typical Raw tag team main event stuff. Lawler gets destroyed, Orton gets the hot tag, Riley eats and RKO, good guys win. Yawn.

Well, at least Shawn Michaels was here. That's really the only good thing I have to say about this show. I feel like I've been overly negative toward Raw lately, but when we're heading into the Rumble, I expect more to be going on. Guys like Daniel Bryan are working two minute glorified squash matches, yet they need to bring in guys from Smackdown to fill time? Morrison & Sheamus had another good match, but they're both kinda stuck in limbo while Randy Orton continues to dominate the main event scene.

I'm happy to see CM Punk as one of the new top bad guys, but the stuff tonight was so creepy and disturbing that it fell kinda flat for me. Perhaps that's just me, and I'm sure this story will pick up, especially with next week's match between Punk and Cena (which will surely be loaded with shenanigans), but I'm not seeing where things are going yet. With talent like Punk and Cena though, I trust their abilities to steer it in the right direction.

Thumbs down to the show, but at least check out Shawn Michaels' return.

WWE: Shawn Michaels - My JourneyWWE - Bret "Hitman" Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will BeWWE - The Legacy of Stone Cold Steve Austin


  1. What do you think is on the horizon for Slater and Gabriel now that they're apparently free of Nexus? I would assume the future is not bright for either, as neither guy seems to have enough charisma to be a face the audience can really get behind. I suppose at least Gabriel can do the 450, which is awesome, as well as grow a wicked cool beard.

  2. Go to Smackdown and form Nexus Wolfpac with Wade Barrett is my favorite theory so far.