There's a new voice here on Bleacher Report when it comes to wrestling, and his name is Mike Shannon. If you don't know me (and how couldn't you?), I have been a wrestling columnist for almost 10 years and have written for many sites throughout the IWC.
I am completely sarcastic, pull no punches and hate when creative teams treat fans like retarded monkeys. At the end of the day, I am a wrestling fan and I review the shows from a fan's point of view.
I also use the standard DUD 5-stars review system that has been around forever, so whenever you see these little things (***) that's what they are.
So it’s another week of Raw on USA and your soundtrack tonight is Metallica’s black album.
LIVE! from Nashville, TN (home of bad music, bad food and bad teeth).
Tag Team Titles
Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov vs. ???
We never get to hear who the champs are facing, because Nexus attacks immediately and dumps the “champion” jobbers to the floor. Punk brags some more about taking out Cena two weeks ago and promises he will initiate himself in the “new” Nexus tonight. Forgive me for not liking that, because my childhood was filled with things like the New Rockers, the New Foundation and the New Blackjacks.
Punk declares that he isn’t the only one who will be initiated here tonight, as every member must sacrifice tonight and Mike McGillicutty is first. He has to take a Nexus beatdown like a gang member and, after the run of finishers, Nexus carries him to the back. With that one segment right there, Punk already established himself as a more effective leader than Wade Barrett did in 100.
R-Truth vs. Alberto Del Rio
Every kid in wrestling school should watch Del Rio’s facial expressions and mannerisms to know how to play a cocky heel; he’s that good. Truth starts quick and hammers away in the corner, but an inverted atomic drop from Del Rio sets up a back stabber for two. Truth comes back with flying headscissors and both guys go flying to the outside. They have a slugfest as the referee counts to eight, and Ricardo Rodriguez successfully distracts Truth, allowing Del Rio to beat the count. R-Truth is a freaking moron.
Winner by Count Out: Alberto Del Rio
Not much of a match here, but Del Rio is clearly above Truth anyways, so it doesn’t matter 1/2*. Del Rio cuts a pro-Mexican promo (always a good idea in a red state like Tennessee, where a family reunion doubles as a dating scene) and makes fun of country music. For a second, I thought Ricardo Rodriguez was having a seizure but then I realized he was just dancing.
After a break, Michael Cole gets to do his anonymous general manager schtick, this time reading an email that kisses his own ass. Lawler finally hears enough and tells him to shut up so Mr. Anonymous GM books Lawler with Randy Orton against the Miz and Alex Riley. Yeah, the heel Cole character is effective, but what can the payoff be? He’s not a trained wrestler and isn’t a roided freak like Vince McMahon, so where do you go after this?
Meanwhile, CM Punk orders Husky Harris to take three belt lashes from each member of Nexus. David Otunga looks like he’s enjoying this way too much. Well, they are definitely emphasizing the gang aspect, aren’t they?
Daniel Bryan & Mark Henry vs. Ted DiBiase & Tyson Kidd
Well, these are two odd pairings. Bryan starts with DiBiase and gets dumped to the floor for a cheap shot, and Ted brings him in for two. Dragon gets caught in the heel corner for some shenanigans until he gets a clothesline on DiBiase and gets the hot tag to Mizark, who is indeed a house of fire. Charge to the corner misses and the heels hit a double dropkick, which is no sold, and the World’s Fattest Slam finishes Tyson Kidd.
Winners: Daniel Bryan & Mark Henry
Rushed and not much here *. So Bryan has two women but doesn’t share one with Henry? He is Sexual Chocolate after all.
Speaking of chocolate, the Big Show is here to talk about the Royal Rumble. Before he gets too far into it, Nexus interrupts and David Otunga is sent to the ring, apparently part of his initiation. Otunga slaps Show across the face and just stands there, earning himself an unholy ass beating and a KO Punch.
John Morrison vs. Sheamus
They face off and grapple to a stalemate until Sheamus gets a knee lift and pounds away with his standard punchy-kicky stuff. An elbow puts Morrison down for two, but he launches a babyface comeback and uses a leg lariat to go in control. Sheamus tries to go to the knees to stop the attack but Morrison hits a kick and looks for Starship Pain, but Sheamus recovers and dumps Morrison to the outside. WILL OUR HERO RECOVER??? STAY TUNED AND FIND OUT.
We return to Morrison fighting out of a rest hold, but Sheamus slams him down for two. The Irishman hammers away on the apron and goes to another rest hold, really not identifying a body part that he is targeting, and it’s making the match feel sloppy. Morrison fights out again and low-bridges Sheamus to the outside before trying to follow with a plancha, but Sheamus catches him with a boot to the gut.
Now Sheamus has a target and he drops Morrison chest-first on the ring steps to punish the injured body part. They head up top but Morrison regains his wits for a second and hits a jawbreaker using the ring post (sounds cooler than it looked). He hits a running knee on the mat and…gets the pin?! OK, then.
Winner: John Morrison
I guess I should give them props for a different finish but the match was pretty boring and really didn’t tell a story of any kind **.
CM Punk introduces his newest idea of initiation: He orders Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel to beat each other with kendo sticks until he’s seen enough. Slater and Gabriel ponder turning on CM Punk for a minute until tossing the sticks down and leaving...so, I guess they’re out?
Tease for the first Hall of Fame inductee this year…think the WCW theme will come to fruition?
After a break, Jerry Lawler hits the ring and introduces 2011’s first Hall of Famer…Shawn Michaels. Hard to argue with that one and a cool video package to boot. So how long until he returns to the ring, 2013?
In a surprise move, HBK is actually in the arena tonight and gets a bigger pop than the entire active roster. After a standing ovation and before Shawn can get a word out, Alberto Del Rio interrupts and goes through his whole heel act, drawing nice heat. There’s not a verbal rebuttal coming however, as Shawn KOs Del Rio with Sweet Chin Music and takes his leave.
Meanwhile, Miz announces he will destroy Orton tonight and does NOT utter his catchphrase until his task is complete.
Michael Cole tries to introduce John Cena but CM Punk interrupts from…on top of the TitanTron?? He cuts a promo about giving the ultimate sacrifice and the fans actually CHEER him committing suicide…wow, Nashville, that’s awfully nice of you. Barbarians, all of you. Of course, he uses to situation to make fun of the audience and reveals he’s wearing a harness, because he’s not a moron.
After Punk climbs down and hits the ring, John Cena joins us “via satellite” (carny for “taped beforehand”) and challenges Punk to a match next week. Cena launches into his whole “it’s not about the funny, I’m going to kill you” thing that he does about once every three months or so and that’s about it.
The Miz & Alex Riley vs. Randy Orton & Jerry Lawler
Well, I guess Nashville is closer enough to Memphis that Lawler gets to run through his stuff again. Lawler tries to go after Miz, so the heels jump him from behind, but the King gets pissed and brawls with the Miz around ringside, slamming him into the announce table and the ring steps.
Back inside, a back body drop puts Riley down, and Orton tags in for some European uppercuts in the corner. Miz tries his luck and fares no better, getting stomped down and falling victim to Lawler’s awesome punches. Don’t you think they would have Lawler teach these young kids how to throw a punch? I haven’t seen a great punch in years. Anyways, Miz turns the tide and Lawler becomes the royalty-in-peril and Miz goes to the chinlock. The King tries to fight out but gets hit with the Miz clothesline in the corner and WE GOTTA TAKE A BREAK!! THE TAPE MACHINES ARE RUNNING!
We return with Riley hitting the ring post on a corner charge and King gets the hot tag to Orton…but the referee doesn’t see it. Miz looks to finish off the King, but Orton sneaks in with the RKO and Lawler gets the cover…for two. Now, Lawler finally gets the hot tag to Orton and he kicks Riley’s ass all over the ring. Hangman’s DDT and an RKO take care of A-Ri as Miz creeps in…and then backs out when Randy catches him. Lawler gets the tag and hits the old school fistdrop from the second rope to get the pin in his home state.
Winners: Randy Orton & Jerry Lawler
An energetic tag match that was kept simple and therefore effective. There is a reason that there is a tag team formula match: It works ***.
Well, CM Punk kept me entertained throughout the show but the wrestling was kind of lacking outside of the main event. With the NCAA National Title game on tonight, WWE faced an uphill battle from the outset, so they probably should have advertised HBK’s appearance a bit. In any event, the Rumble is sold based off the Rumble match itself, so the buildup isn’t going to factor too much into the buyrate, but it would be nice to get some intriguing storylines heading in.