Are you ready for the first show of 2011? Then stop questioning your heart and join me because it is time for Monday Night Raw!!!
Credit to WWE.com for the WWE Championship Results:
WWE Champion The Miz def. John Morrison
There is no worse enemy than a former friend. After all, who knows your weaknesses quite as well? John Morrison discovered that truth when he competed in a Falls Count Anywhere title match against his ex-tag team partner and current WWE Champion The Miz. The Shaman of Sexy simply could not overcome the relentless attack of The Awesome One in a memorable contest, the first of 2011.
Miz sycophant Michael Cole was joined by Josh Mathews at the announce table due to the absence of Jerry “The King” Lawler, who was still recuperating from an attack he suffered at the hands of Miz last week. As Cole and Mathews called the action, the former co-hosts of “The Dirt Sheet” battled in and around the ring until, finally, the WWE Champion managed to pin his opponent to retain the title.
I apologize for having to use those results, but I wasn’t able to get Raw up and running until the match was over.
New backstage correspondent Scott is in the back with Miz. The Miz puts over his victory and the fact that he is still the WWE Champion. Miz says history will say he was the most charismatic and technical wrestler in WWE history. Because he’s The Miz, and he’s awesome.
Video recap of the Melina/Natalya feud
Melina, Maryse & Alicia Fox v. Brie Bella, Natalya & Eve Torres
The match starts with Maryse and Brie. Maryse is pushed out of the ring, but is able to slam Brie’s head into the mat as she reenters the ring. Maryse goes for the pin, but Brie kicks out. Maryse sets Brie up against the second rope and slams her leg into her. Brie falls to the outside of the ring. Nikki appears from under the ring, and we see some twin magic! Maryse pulls her back into the ring, and Nikki goes for a quick roll up. Alicia Fox makes the save.
Natalya and Alicia Fox are tagged into the ring. Natalya slams her down to the mat, and tries for the sharpshooter. Alicia escapes, but Natalya charges right after her. Melina hits a cheap shot, which allows Fox to tag her into the ring. Eve also gets the tag from her partner. Eve hits a neckbreaker, and this match is over!
Winners via Neckbreaker: Bellas, Natalya & Eve Torres
Usos v. Santino & Kozlov w/ Tamina
Kozlov starts the match off with a Ciconte Crunch and tries for the cover, but Uso kicks out immediately. Santino and the other Uso are tagged into the ring. They lock up and Santino flips him down to the mat. Uso tags in his brother and they double team Santino with kicks in the corner. Uso stomps on the gut of Santino and taunts Kozlov. Santino gets to his feet and tags in Kozlov. Kozlov slams Jey to the mat with a single arm slam. Kozlov follows up with an attempted scoop slam, but Jey tags in Jimmy. Jimmy leaps off the top rope with a crossbody and goes for the pin. Kozlov kicks out. Jimmy locks on an arm bar, and uses it for another cover. Kozlov kicks out. Jimmy bounces off the ropes, but Kozlov scoops him over head to send him crashing to the mat. Kozlov gets the tag to Santino. Nice hip drop, followed by a headbutt. Kozlov runs into the ring after Jey breaks the cover. Kozlov is sent outside of the ring, after much effort from Jimmy. Jey interrupts a cobra from Santino and hits a Samoan drop. This match is over.
Winners via Samoan Drop: The Usos
After the match, Tamina is confronted by the Usos. Kozlov runs in and headbutts one of them. Santino and Tamina hit double cobras on him! Santino and Kozlov celebrate with Tamina in the ring.
In the back, CM Punk is seen heading to the ring.
Punk starts by saying how much he loves being in Phoenix. He says that he searched the backstage area, and everywhere else, but he just “can’t see” John Cena. That is because Cena is absent due to the injury caused by CM Punk. Punk says that he is a man of his word, as well as being a 3-time World Champion. That makes him a leader of men, which is probably why Nexus came to him and begged him to become their leader. So, last week, he led them.
Video recap of Nexus attacking Cena last week
Punk mocks, “hustle, loyalty and respect”. He says that those are three words that he leads his life by, but to John Cena it is just a catchphrase that he doesn’t follow. Punk says that he expects Nexus to follow that creed, and he also expects Cena to stay at home. Punk claims that he is not only taking over Nexus, but he is taking over Monday Night Raw.
The Nexus music hits, and Wade Barrett walks down to the ring. Wade says that there are two things he needs to correct. The first, is that Cena is not here because Wade beat destroyed him not Punk. The second problem is that Punk is not the leader of Nexus, Wade is the real leader. Wade says that he sees Punk as a hypocritical waste of skin. Wade says that Punk is not a leader, he is a liar. Wade says that Punk lies about being straight edge. Punk laughs and says that Nexus should come out and show who the real liar is.
The Nexus music hits, and this time the rest of the group makes their way down to the ring. Otunga has the mic. He says that with all due respect, but Wade and Punk both make good points.
And I quote…
Before things get out of hand, there will be three participants in the #1 Contenders match tonight. The winner of which will face Miz at the Royal Rumble. The three participants will be either Wade or Punk v. King Sheamus v. Randy Orton.
Wade says that as leader of the Nexus, he will be the man taking the final spot. Punk laughs and says ok, the spot is yours. Punk says he doesn’t want to fight Wade, he would rather talk things out. In fact, Punk says that if Wade wins the Cage match tonight, he will not only be the #1 Contender, but he will also become the official leader of Nexus and Punk will work for him. On the other hand, if Wade loses the match, Wade is out of Nexus and Punk will become the leader!
Alberto Del Rio is introduced by his person ring announcer, and then he makes his way down to the ring. He has a microphone and says that his goal is to become the World Champion. His destiny is to destroy every superstar on Smackdown. On Raw, his name will become emblazoned on the heart and mind of the WWE Universe. His destiny is to win the Royal Rumble, and main event Wrestlemania. He says that the people in the audience have no destiny.
R-Truth’s music hits and he raps his way down to the ring. Truth says that Rio’s only destiny is to go back where he came from. Truth is, he’s just the man to send him there. Now let’s go. Rio picks up the mic to speak, but Truth smacks him in the face. Then he screams, “what’s up”.
Alberto Del Rio v. R-Truth
Del Rio swings wildly and misses. Truth follows with several punches and elbows. Truth splits and flips his way into a spinning heel kick. Rio is clotheslined out of the ring. Truth slingshots to the outside with a crossbody.
Back from commercial, Truth is in the corner with Rio. He punches him 10 times in the top of the head. Scoop slam and cover by Truth. Rio kicks out. Truth punches him in the head and then whips him into the ropes. Rio counters with a kick, and then follows with a double knee arm breaker. Cover attempt, but Truth kicks out. Rio continues to work on the arm with punches and kicks. Another cover, but Truth kicks out. Rio continues to work on his arm breaker finisher with an arm bar on Truth. Truth attempts to punch his way free, and with a kick to the gut is able to escape. Truth is dragged back down for another cover. Truth kicks out, but is holding his arm. Del Rio goes back to the arm bar.
Truth dodges a kick, and Rio falls to the outside of the ring. Del Rio’s ring announcer runs over to help. Rio makes it back into the ring, but runs right into a duo of lariats. Big hip toss from Truth and a cover attempt. Rio kicks out. Rio rolls to the apron, and grabs the arm of Truth. He pulls it right into the steel post! Rio slides back into the ring and locks on the cross arm breaker. The move that broke the wrist of Rey Mysterio makes Truth tap out! This match is over.
Winner via Del-Rio Grande: Alberto Del Rio
Wade Barrett is in the back talking to the members of Nexus. He says that he has brought them success, and that he will continue to help them. Punk walks in and says that he knows he speaks for all the members of the Nexus when he says that they are pulling for him tonight, and wish him nothing but luck. Wade leaves the room, and Punk shakes the hand of each Nexus member.
In the back, Randy Orton cuts a promo for the Cage Match which is up next!
#1 Contender Cage Match
King Sheamus v. Wade Barrett v. Randy Orton
Wade immediately tries to escape, but Sheamus and Orton pull him down. Orton starts to work on Wade, so Sheamus tries to escape. Orton runs over to pull him down. Wade hits both with big boots. Wade goes for Wasteland, but Orton scurries off, and almost leaps out of the cage! Sheamus and Wade pull him back into the ring. Wade and Sheamus unload on Orton in the corner with a series of punches. They take turns kicking Orton, but Randy gets to his feet. The reprieve is brief as Sheamus regains control. Wade runs to the other side of the ring and tries to escape. Sheamus pulls him down into the ring. Sheamus then heads up himself. This time it is Orton that makes the save. Orton looks to exit through the door, but realizes he doesn’t have enough time and falls down to pounce position.
Back from the break, Orton is almost out of the cage. Sheamus and Wade are able to just pull him back down and into the ring. Orton hits a nice dropkick on Sheamus which sends him into the cage. Orton sets up the suspended DDT, but has to stop to pull Wade back down from escaping the cage. Orton takes Wade to the apron with Sheamus, and is looking for a double DDT. Wade fight his way free, and Sheamus throws Orton into the cage. Sheamus attempts to scale the cage once again. Orton makes the save, but Wade is on his feet to attack Orton. Wade tries to make his great escape, but Orton is just able to pull him down. Orton connects with a Superplex that sends Wade crashing to the mat.
Orton attempts to whip Sheamus into the ropes, but is countered and hit with the Irish Curse Backbreaker. Sheamus proceeds to throw Orton into the cage head first multiple times. Sheamus is looking at the door and begins to exit. Orton pulls him back at the last second. Sheamus decides to try and climb the cage instead. This time it is Wade that makes the save. Wade throws Sheamus headfirst into the cage three times. He kicks him in the gut, and then hits a pump handle slam. Orton is up, but gets caught with a black hold slam from Wade.
With Sheamus and Orton on the mat, Wade looks to exit over the top. Sheamus gets to his feet and pulls him down. Wade slams Sheamus’ head into the steel at the top of the cage. Barrett looks back into the ring, and instead of exiting, flies down with an elbow drop. Sheamus blocks with his knees. Sheamus is on his feet and looking for the Brogue kick. Orton stops him in his tracks with a clothesline, followed by a scoop slam. Wade charges, and Orton hits a snap scoop slam on him as well! Orton sets up Wade for the suspended DDT, and this time he connects. As Orton gets back to his feet he is kicked by Sheamus. Sheamus tries to exit the ring, but Orton runs up next to him. Orton pulls Sheamus back onto the top rope. Barrett kicks the rope, and both men crash crotch first onto the top rope. Wade is holding his injured arm as he looks to exit the cage. Wade begins to climb.
CM Punk runs down to the ring! He scales the cage and sits on top. He offers his hand to help Wade! Barrett extends his arm, but Punk pulls off his Nexus arm band instead of helping him exit! Punk then kicks Wade back into the ring. Sheamus cries for the door to be opened. Sheamus hits Wade with the Brogue kick, and starts towards the door. Orton flies to his feet and hits the RKO! Orton walks out of the cage and becomes the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship. This match is over.
Winner: Randy Orton
I was only able to watch the last five minutes of the Miz v. Morrison match so I won’t comment on it. Personally, I dislike when people give an opinion on things that they haven’t actually watched, but that’s just me.
EDIT: I had the chance to go back and watch the match in its entirety. It was a fun match, but felt a bit too spotty at times. That has been a flaw in Morrison’s character since the conversion to master of Parkour. I’d also like to point out that the bout lacked the feel of a true WWE Championship match. The cage match felt much more belt worthy of a match than this one. It was fun, but didn’t end up changing my overall grade for the show.
Santino is hilarious, truly one of the most valuable players in the company at the moment. I almost forgot that the Usos existed until this match tonight.
Del Rio is an amazing talent. Truth wrestled one of his better match in awhile, but I’m left wondering why this match took place. I suppose it was to promote Del Rio’s 2 out of 3 falls match against Mysterio this week.
I have to give credit to the cage match tonight. I’m not a big fan of them in general, but they played it to near perfection for a three way. The constant escape attempts made sense. Wade is an idiot for going for the elbow drop instead of exiting the cage. He had the match won. CM Punk continues to be a diabolical character. I knew something had to be up when he extended his hand to Barrett, and pulling off the Nexus arm band was the perfect way to get his point across. Well done. Orton won the match as I expected and will go on to have his rematch against The Miz at the Royal Rumble.
I’d give tonight’s Raw a C+ grade. It was an average showing, which is pretty fair considering that it was coming off of one of the best Raws of 2010. I liked the length they gave to some of the matches, but it is not a Raw that I’ll be remembering in three weeks time (other than Punk on top of the cage). For me, a C is the average grade that a Raw receives when it is fine, but not doing anything special, nor nothing particularly poor.
On a side note, I watched the biography portion of the Bobby “The Brain” Heenan DVD set today, and I definitely recommend it. I started to delve into some of the other discs and was pretty impressed with their content. In particular, it is a lot of fun to go back and watch matches that Heenan commentated on. In my opinion he is one of the most talented guys to ever be involved in the business and well deserving of all of his accolades.
Be sure to check out my Raw Year in Review for 2010!
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– David Stephens
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