Tuesday Morning Backlash on WWE Raw Thoughts with John Cena, Nexus, Michael Cole, Daniel Bryan and Sheamus

As Aaron is laid up with something that may or may not be swine flu—or possibly SARS or some kind of flesh-eating virus—he asked me to write up some commentary on this week’s Monday Night Nickelback PG Raw. I didn’t have much of anything better to do, having miraculously been able to keep up with the Briscoes/Kings of Wrestling match on HDNet and not needing the second go-round of the show to catch anything, so I figured, why not. Could be fun to talk about WWE for a change.

Andy Wheeler has already done a phenomenal job of detailing goings on on the Raw brand in this (and every) week’s “For Your Consideration.” In addition, the PulseWrestling Raw Report by Paul Marshall (who has apparently survived the storm of death slapping the midwest) and the Raw 10 Thoughts by the always thoughtful and well-spoken Will Pruett have done a good job of detailing the minutia of the show.

Since so much of the show—opinions and otherwise—has essentially been laid out even as I write this, I think the process that I’ll take will be to piggyback off of some of Will’s thoughts and specifically expound on the ones that I find myself disagreeing with.

1. I’m so glad that in the last two months the two major promotions (WWE and TNA) have decided to have championships change hands via champions laying down for challengers. Not an impressive opening segment for Raw. The Nexus was made to look too dysfunctional here.

8. Interesting segment with Wade Barrett and David Otunga backstage. I’m happy to see Husky Harris and Michael McGulicutty as actual members of The Nexus. I have to wonder why The Nexus really did attack Undertaker. Intriguing stuff there that will hopefully lead the The Nexus into a meaningful future after John Cena leaves the group.

These two points have to be grouped together, because they clearly play into one another as the ongoing story of the evening unfolded. I do have to agree that I don’t care for the Fingerpoke of Doom style title change, but despite not having the benefit of having seen the aforementioned TNA title change, I can all but assure that WWE’s was done in a more logical, rational method that actually furthered a story that made sense. Clearly Otunga has been presented as the guy who is the most likely to be the “Rock” of Nexus to Barrett’s Faarooq. In hotshotting the titles this way, they established the “anything can happen” mentality again, even on PPV, were able to re-establish Barrett’s dominance over Nexus—further evidenced by his bringing in Harris and McGillicutty seemingly without anyone’s knowledge—and avoided the oft-reviled lazy booking technique of “Wacky Mismatched Tag Partners that Hate Each Other.” If they just went with Gabriel & Slater from the start, the thing wouldn’t have had the kind of impact and Barrett wouldn’t have gotten to look like the mastermind he does now, in making such a major statement.

2. We’ve seen John Cena vs Randy Orton on Raw too many times in the last year for it to be fresh. This could be a big match for this company again, but they are dead set on giving it away.

12. Did we really just see the same finish two nights in a row? Not cool WWE.

While it’s true we’ve seen Orton/Cena a significant amount of times, it’s still more fresh than it was during the height of their feud. In addition, the question must be asked, what else were they to do? No one would buy Orton vs. Slater or Orton vs. Otunga, and Orton vs. Gabriel has already been done at least twice. Orton vs. Barrett shouldn’t be given away, which just left Cena. The only legitimate alternative that we could have had would be to have chosen one of the new members, in McGillicutty or Harris (perhaps as a ‘mystery opponent,’) which could have served to put one of the newcomers big, it gets in the way of Barrett continuing to look like the totally in-control mastermind who’s able to get one-up on Cena and hoist him by his own petard. To make a guy like Barrett look as brilliant as he’s been made to look, especially in the wake of realizing his mistake in wording from Bragging Rights is really going a long way to making him look like a legit main event guy and making the viewer forget he’s been in WWE for only about six or eight months.

4. The Green Bay Packers deserve a good night at WWE Raw after beating the Vikings and their wiener-showing quarterback last night. Go Pack!

I don’t disagree with this. As a Packer fan, I just wanted to re-emphasize it.

7. I don’t want to sound like a bitter fan here, but why have Sheamus lose to Santino when he did not lose in a highly competitive match against Daniel Bryan?

I’ve seen a couple of people really complain about this big time. While on the surface, it seems like an awful idea, I’m definitely of the opinion that this will resolve itself in short order. Clearly the match only existed to build up to a John Morrison/Sheamus feud, and Santino’s “victory” couldn’t have been made to look like any more of a fluke if they tried. Sheamus beat him until he couldn’t stand up, then when he propped Santino up in the corner to behead him once and for all, Morrison clearly pulled Santino out of the way to cause Sheamus to hang himself up and stun him just long enough for the flash pin. It popped the crowd, Sheamus will murder Santino in short order, likely next week, and Morrison will get his chance to hang in the big time. Hopefully he is able to put it together and make the most of it. Part and parcel of the IWC anymore seems to be a borderline unhealthy obsession with wins and losses. In Sheamus’s case, this won’t hurt him at all. A legit loss to Daniel Bryan last week would have, even though it would have been enormous for Bryan.

9. How many funerals has The Undertaker had? Why are they all officiated by Kane?

As far as the number of funerals Undertaker has had, it’s been a lot. Because wrestling fans LOVE THEM SOME IRONY. And as far as Kane officiating them all…well, Undertaker is an undertaker, and Paul Bearer is a mortician. Maybe Kane got ordained and he forgot about it when he went through the trauma of getting burned but not really, but then miraculously remembered it after Paul Bearer got buried in concrete and someone told him about it when they asked him to do the service for his father? Honestly, it makes just as much sense as anything else in Kane’s backstory.

10. I don’t believe Michael Cole knows the meaning of the word surreal.
The sad thing is that I believe he does. If you watch him do interviews, he comes across as well prepared, knowledgeable and well spoken. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to do live TV on something that moves as fast as WWE can, and I think Cole reaches for certain words in the heat of the moment and just misses the mark. At least, I hope that’s the case. His heel schtick is gradually improving—even though he’ll never be anywhere near Bobby Heenan or Jesse Ventura—and after reading more about him, respect the effort he must have put into his career, having covered Afghanistan and Oklahoma City. But still, I could do without him on all three shows.

14. Predictable setup with John Cena as the special referee being offered his freedom from The Nexus. I like the match idea and think it will add a lot of intrigue going into the next few weeks of Survivor Series hype.

I just want to applaud you and re-iterate what you’ve said here regarding predictability. As much as some would like to believe otherwise, predictable isn’t always bad. Hell, since I cover ROH, we’ll use that example. Everyone and their brother knew Homicide was walking out of Final Battle 2006 with the ROH World Title. But even still, the pop when he did, was one of the loudest in company history. Similar with Roderick Strong at this year’s Glory By Honor. If you do something that people want to see, they’ll respond to it, whether it’s predictable or not.

Anyway, I hope that works for what Aaron wanted, as I didn’t really have much else to add to the show that wasn’t already said by somebody else. I don’t want Will to think that I’m trying to attack him or his opinions, but rather just expressing some differences in opinion and hopefully giving readers of this and/or his thoughts—which I can’t recommend enough—something else to think about. Hopefully everyone enjoyed reading, and I’ll see you when I see you!

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