Live from Washington, DC, this is the Raw Deal.
No music intro or pyro to start. We got The Nexus in the ring. They bragged about winning the 5-on-5 match last week, talking about how Jericho and Edge walked out because they were scared of them and Heath Wendy Slater went on about how he pinned Sheamus last week.
I assume that means Sheamus beats Slater next week on Raw. That's how WWE does these things.
Gabriel bragged about beating Cena and how Barrett "devenomized" (there's your word of the week!) Orton by beating him. Orton came out to say he pinned a couple of them last week, but they won't be showing that. Owned. Or is it pwned? I'll have to ask my nephews.
Anyway, the GM buzzed in, and Cole read off the paper because reading off the screen would make them actually work. Reading off a paper is much more of the WWE way because it's ridiculous. "For the first time ever" it's Gabriel vs. Cena. I love how they say first time ever as if it's a dream match or something. It's also Orton vs. Barrett.
If you've followed WWE at all you should know that this meant that Cena and Orton would be getting their wins back. Can't have top guys lose twice in a row to put people over. That might actually create a new star.
It was a decent opening segment. Barrett's a good talker, while Tarver and Otunga are pretty good at speaking although neither is good as a worker.
For Night of Champions, the Six Pack Challenge stipulations are that the first guy to score a pinfall or submission wins the match.
Before the next match, the GM buzzed in to say that because Jericho or Edge walked out on the match last week they would be punished should they lose on Raw. If either guy loses, they will be out of the title match at Night of Champions. Jericho wanted to know who the GM was, but Cole had no idea. He only was buzzed with the information. I don't think the WWE writing knows who it is either. It's easier when it's anonymous.
John Morrison d. Chris Jericho (**1/2)
You know what this match reminded me of? Smackdown. The show where they actually have wrestling matches that lost longer than five minutes.
They went right around ten minutes with a lot of great action. This is how you book John Morrison, okay? It's not hard. The guy is a very good worker. He has quality matches when given the opportunity. Throwing in three-minute matches as a jobber or part of a tag team isn't going to help him or anybody else. He needs to be in longer matches like this.
And guess what happened? The crowd was into it. They gave a shit. He was over. Hell, he even hit a perfect looking Starship Pain that actually looked like it hurt! Sometimes he jumps over the guy and barely connects. This time it looked painful with a knee right in the gut.
As for Jericho, putting a guy over clean on TV is what he does. As he said in a recent interview, he can lose every match and still be a top guy. He's right. I wish more top guys were booked this way.
Post-match, Jericho sold the loss by looking sad. The fans were rooting for him, too. The idea here was that Jericho would leave the WWE if he didn't win the title at Night of Champions. Now he's not in the match, so he's in a state of shock. I'm pretty sure he will re-sign. I can see him moving back to Smackdown in October once it gets moved to Syfy and they try to add more star power to the show.
Melina d. Alicia Fox (1/2*)
The highlight (or lowlight) of this was Alicia saying she was going to be the "undefined" Women's Champion against Laycool at Night of Champions. She meant "unified," of course.
I guess it's hard to say one line properly. I'm not trying to be mean. It's live TV, so this shit happens. But people are already flooding me with "undefined" jokes that, frankly, are pretty funny. Melina won in a typical divas match that went about two minutes.
Backstage, Miz had something hidden behind a black curtain. Josh wanted to know what it was, but we would have to wait for Miz to tell us.
Also backstage, Edge was with Zack Ryder. "You're an easy win because you suck," Edge told him. So true. This was a lot of fun with Edge basically calling Ryder an idiot. Zack was like "I'm right here, dude," and then Edge told the anonymous GM by speaking into air—wherever he or she is—that he wanted Ryder to be his opponent for the evening.
It ended up not happening, but this was a fun segment. By the way, not sure if we're allowed to remember that Ryder and Hawkins were Edge's stooges a few years ago on Smackdown. They haven't told us if we can remember that part yet.
Elsewhere, high school love storyline moment with Dibiase and Maryse. He was on the phone telling somebody he loved them, then Maryse walked in and he said it was his mom.
Oh, he might be lying. What a meanie!
Maryse said "me too" to Dibiase, who asked what she meant. She showed him a paper that was in an envelope that said "I WANT YOU SO BAD!" This might not even be high school. It's maybe grade six. Ted said he could tell her that to her face, why would he write it? And they had a little argument.
They are breaking up already? I guess it's been three months or so. That's too long for WWE to run any angle.
They had a commercial saying next week is the season premiere of Raw. So, is this the season finale? I guess not. It's also a Raw Roulette show, which means gimmick matches. It's the first Raw Roulette in three years. Does that make it better or worse? You decide.
John Cena d. Justin Gabriel (*1/2)
Decent match. He sold a lot to Gabriel, much more than usual. It was only about five minutes long, but at least Gabriel wasn't made to look like a jobber. I don't think anybody believed Gabriel was winning, though. That's obvious. It's just that at least he was competitive throughout the match.
The finish came when Gabriel was up on the top rope ready for the "deadly" 450 splash, except Cena wasn't out yet. He climbed up, put Gabriel on his shoulders and delivered a sloppy Attitude Adjustment for the win. Cole kept calling it the "AA" all night for some reason. I'm sure Alcoholics Anonymous loved the plug.
They aired some clips about the Cena movie "Legendary" that looked pretty decent. It's only in a few theatres, though, so WWE wants you to bug the hell out of everybody you know to get it in more theatres.
There was a commercial for NXT season three. There are only five women now after they dumped the Aloisia chick because they realize she's too green and sent her to FCW. The show is only lasting five weeks, too. I don't expect much quality on NXT 3. Could be wrong.
The Miz was in the ring for a promo, and he told us his name was "Mike Mizanin" and he had no right to be there. There was something under a black curtain. He told his life story about how he started six years ago as a reality TV star. Hey, they mentioned Tough Enough. Then he mentioned that he was the host of Smackdown. That didn't last long. He mentioned the tag team with Morrison.
He said nobody thought he'd be a big star, but he became the US champion. Yeah, but Morrison was IC champ years earlier. Anyway, he mentioned Money in the Bank, which is true, and he is higher up than Morrison. He called himself the biggest star in the company. Under the black curtain? The cover of WWE Magazine.
They still sell those? I guess so.
He said the point of this is to show that he is the poster child of WWE and we should all admit we are wrong. Michael Cole was standing up clapping his hands. "You can't deny it, you can't hide from it." Cue Daniel Bryan. Yes! He needs better theme music.
"Hi Mike Mizanin, my name is Daniel Bryan." Well, not his real name. Miz told him he hasn't made it. Bryan says he's the anti-superstar because of how he looks and carries himself. He admitted that he paid $10 for his haircut. He said he could beat him if he got a title shot, so Miz goes, "I agree you paid ten dollars for the haircut." Good line.
There was a botch where Miz said he was mad that Bryan replaced him at Smackdown when he meant to say Summerslam. Nobody really said anything. It just moved on. Bryan showed a new cover of WWE Magazine, which is him putting Miz in a crossface.
He says he can beat Miz while Miz claims he's not worthy. Eventually Miz agrees. He goes after Bryan, but Bryan counters and goes for the LeBell Lock (it's like a crossface). In comes NXT 2 rookie Alex Riley, so Bryan dumps Miz out of the ring and puts him in the LeBell Lock. Awesome. Then he kicked the Miz poster.
That segment was very good although Miz did goof up a bit, which is rare for him. The match is on for Night of Champions. It did a great job of promoting the match and it makes me really want to see it. Should be a show-stealing match if they are able to work for 12-15 minutes. I love this feud. Well done, WWE.
We found out from Cole that, next week, Cena faces the winner of Orton vs. Barrett. They are giving away some big matches this week and next week. Desperate for ratings I guess, although I don't think it's working.
Edge d. The Great Khali via countout
Before the match, Edge contemplated beating up the computer. Is he aware that it doesn't really stop the e-mails?
Ha, Edge's Khali imitation was fantastic! Not much of a match. Edge forced Khali outside the ring and the slow giant was too slow getting back in the ring. He won via countout.
The GM e-mailed to say that the match would be restarted as a no-DQ, Over The Top Rope Challenge. And they went to commercial. Did they just stand there for three minutes doing nothing? Must have been exciting for the live crowd to see The Great Khali standing out there doing absolutely nothing. Actually, that's better than him wrestling.
Edge d. The Great Khali in an Over The Top Rope Challenge
"Can you still call it a Six Pack Challenge if there's only four?" asks Lawler. No dumbass, it's a Fatal Fourway. You know, that PPV that did a shitty buyrate?
Khali walked over the top to the floor and Cole wondered why that isn't an elimination. He's right. Yeah, I said it, Michael Cole is FUCKING RIGHT!
Lawler theorized that he wasn't thrown out. Well, that's not a Royal Rumble rule. Then Edge got thrown out through the middle, and he pulled Khali over the top rope for the win. Edge wins and he is still in the title match. Khali needs to stop wrestling. Seriously.
They did a rundown of the Night of Champions card. The Six Pack Challenge is still on with five guys. Whatever that means. I guess it's a Five Pack Challenge. Maybe next week they will add somebody or put Jericho back in there like they did at Summerslam. Who really knows? I'm thinking Sheamus retains the belt, by the way.
Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to Jericho. Or at least he tried to. Chris didn't answer his questions. He just stared blankly into space. He's the best in the world at staring blankly into space.
Hey, there's John Morrison: "Bad day, huh? You still think you're the best in the world at what you do?" He told him things would get better and asked: "Do you understand what I'm saying to you right now?" Jericho looked at him, and then they looked off into space. I enjoyed this. Good sense of seriousness with some fun thrown in.
Another "Season Premiere" of Raw promo. Next week, it's Cena vs. Orton or Cena vs. Barrett depending on the winner.
Sitting at the commentary desk for the next match are Sheamus, Edge, and Cena. They all have lovely leather chairs as well as headsets. How cute. At least they all are sporting their own t-shirts. I like how Edge puts over his 29 championships in WWE and how nobody else has won more than that. That's a good thing for him to brag about.
Randy Orton d. Wade Barrett (*1/2)
It wasn't a long match. They got about six minutes or so. I love how the guys on commentary made sure to do the company line of putting over Barrett. They argued over everything except that. Good company men.
They interrupted the Barrett/Orton match with Darren Young coming out to cut a promo? He says he's going to show us he's not the weakest link, but the missing link. Barrett turned around and Orton hit a RKO. Orton wins.
After the match, Young walked into the ring and took a RKO too. There's a RKO for Edge. There's a RKO for Sheamus. He is going RKO crazy! I wasn't a fan of Darren Young interrupting the main event with a promo—he even has theme music—but that's the WWE way of not having somebody lose clean. It protects Barrett.
The crowd was really hot for the RKO-fest at the end. It reminded me so much of Stone Cold. I bet WWE wishes ratings would spike like they did with Austin over a decade ago, but it's not happening. That's not a slight on Orton. I'm just saying there hasn't been much forward movement in the ratings department. But Darren Young walking out during the main event? No. That guy's average at best. We don't need that.
Next week it's Cena vs. Orton. They had a big staredown to end it. Maybe they will want us to pretend like we haven't seen this match many times before? The staredown was good. Going all out next week against the debut of Monday Night Football. They will get killed in the ratings of course, but they are going down with a fight. I don't expect a winner in that match next week. It's a DQ all the way.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Chris Jericho - Great match with Morrison plus awesome facial expressions afterwards.
2. Edge - He seemed "on" all night.
3. John Morrison - Finally a big win for a guy that deserves it. He has done nothing on Raw this year. Push him!
Worst Moment of the Week
Alicia saying "undefined" instead of "unified." She was nervous and she said the wrong word. It happens on live TV. Back to wedding planning for you. Am I allowed to remember that angle?
It should be noted that Khali walking over the top rope in an Over The Top Rope Challenge was also one of the worst moments of the week.
7 out of 10
Last week: 4
I liked the show this week. Here's the problem, though: At Summerslam, Team WWE goes over The Nexus. Then last week, Gabriel pins Cena and Barrett pins Orton. So what happens this week? Cena pins Gabriel and Orton pins Barrett. Basically, it's like going in a circle. Something happens one week, then the opposite happens the next week and no progress is really made. They protect everybody. Do wins even matter anymore?
On the positive side, the strong 10-minute match with Morrison beating Jericho was a highlight for me. The Miz/Bryan segment was something that I thought was really good and beneficial for BOTH guys. I thought Orton was great again with the RKO on everybody in sight. Also it was great because Cena wasn't overbearing on this show. He was more low key. He's a lot more enjoyable when he's like that.
Next week is the historic, record-breaking 902nd edition of Raw that is also the SEASON PREMIERE for some reason. I know TV shows have season premieres in September. They also have re-runs. Raw doesn't. Calling it a season premiere is iffy.
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