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By Buck Woodward on 2010-06-29 12:06:57

For me, the first hour of Raw last night was pretty dull.  WWE did announce two matches for the next PPV, which I appreciate, but between John Cena's intentional overacting, the briefness of the Uso-Harts angle, the predictable finish of Sheamus-Henry and the "does it matter?" Santino-Kozlov bit, I just wasn't feeling the show.  The second hour picked up considerably, with a real good angle to make the Nexus group seem even more heelish, a better than usual Divas match, and a fun eight man tag to end the show.  However, I still wasn't overly enthralled with the program, and I think I know why.

It's because I watch Smackdown. 

And I don't only bring this up because Smackdown has more (and better) wrestling action, and does a much better job with their undercard storylines.  I don't mention this just because Smackdown does more with less "star" talent and paces their two hours better than Raw.  I mention it because something on Smackdown kept popping into my head whenever the "WWE Superstars will be suspended if they have physical contact with a member of Nexus" bit was mentioned.  

I just watched weeks of Matt Hardy being "suspended" and running out from the crowd, and Matt continued to be brought back (then suspended again, then brought back...).  So, why wouldn't John Cena go after Nexus at some point, knowing he could travel the same path Matt did?  Or, if there is this supposed "locker room unity" (except Sheamus), couldn't they all attack Nexus, with the idea that "You can't suspend us all"? 

I'm probably thinking too much about this, but when a show is fairly dull like Raw was, you have time to think about these things.  I was also thinking about how we still have no clue why Nexus attacked Vince McMahon last week after getting the contracts they wanted, but I will assume that Wade Barrett was explaining that at WWE headquarters and we'll find out next week. 

Okay, ranting over, onto my thoughts from the show, as it happened: 

We kick things off with a recap of the group now known as "Nexus" beating up Vince McMahon.  The big question to me is why they would do this after they got their contracts (and Barrett got his title shot back).  

Sheamus comes out and cuts a pretty good promo about how since John Cena already used his rematch clause, he is done with him and won't wrestle him again.  Nice heel move.  Cena shows up, not to get into it with the man who stole his title, but to recruit Sheamus to help him against Nexus.  Really?  The guy who runs away from Nexus is the one Cena wants on his side?  The anonymous General Manager interrupts, and we now have a goofy podium for Michael Cole to make announcements from.  The fans really didn't like this, and the boos for it got louder with each email. Apparently we will be waiting a week to find out what will happen to the Nexus crew, and for tonight, they can't touch any "WWE Superstars" or they will be fired.  Also, if any WWE Superstars touch the Nexus group, they will be suspended.  

Cena then switches gears and is looking for a match with Sheamus, and when it is announced we are getting Sheamus vs. Mark Henry, Cena intentionally overracts and quite honestly, was being pretty geeky.  Oh, and the "Internet is ruining my life" line probably got big chuckles in the Creative Team meetings.  For a guy who lost his title and is still looking for revenge from getting beat up, Cena hasn't lost his sense of humor.  Sheamus leaves, and we find out from the anonymous GM it will be Cena vs. Sheamus at MITB in a cage match.  Long opening segment, but at least we found out the WWE Title match for the next PPV. 

The Hart Dynasty come out, they are attacked by the Usos and Tamina and.... that's it.  So much for whatever match we were going to get.  Tamina goes back in to give Natalya a Superfly splash.  I guess it keeps the feud going, but aren't we past the "blindside attack" phase at this point?

R-Truth is asked about whether the Nexus group should be allowed to stay in WWE, and I liked his line about how they should "keep the animals" because he is the "Zookeeper".  I was surprised he didn't say anything specifically about his former rookie, David Otunga.

Santino vs. Kozlov, and if Santino wins, Kozlov will team with him.  Santino escapes two holds, but then loses.  However, Kozlov is amused with the funny little man.  William Regal attacks Santino, but Koz makes the save.  Does this mean we will finally get the highly anticipated team of Santino & Kozlov?  I'm sure everyone who watches WWE Superstars is dying to find out.  Everyone else?  Not so much.

The Great Khali, who I thought was a Smackdown guy and who I thought was supposed to be on sabbatical in India, gives his comments on Nexus, which apparently didn't sit too well with his brother, who walks off after obviously not properly translating them.  Anyone care?  Anyone? Anyone?

Our special guest host, Rob Zombie comes out, and I liked the Lou Reed "Transformer" shirt.  Great album, produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson.  Anyway, Zombie actually gets to do something useful, reading off the eight participants in the Raw MITB match at the PPV:  Randy Orton, The Miz, R-Truth, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Ted DiBiase, John Morrison and Edge.  So, basically all the top Raw guys other than Cena and Sheamus.  Zombie and Edge play "I dumped you" over Edge's old theme music, and Zombie walks off, ending his brief appearance.  Edge cut a great promo about his previous MITB success, and during the video package, we got to hear all the announcers that are better than Michael Cole.  The anonymous GM then announces an eight-man tag with the participants for later.  Edge and Chris Jericho on the same team.  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It's not like they were trying to cripple each other two months ago or anything. 

The Sheamus-Mark Henry match went exactly as I figured it would.  Sheamus bounces off Henry a lot, Henry shows how strong he is tossing Sheamus around.... there's the kick, and Sheamus wins.  Henry got to show some offense, but no one buys him a a top guy anymore, which is a shame.  Sheamus hardly got any offense in, but he got the win, and they have established his kick as something that can end a match instantly.  Still, really predictable bout.

The Nexus is interviewed, and Skip Sheffield beats up a production assistant, so we now have our loophole, as Nexus will be targeting WWE employees, not "Superstars".  You'd think the anonymous GM would instantly look to close that hole, but alas we aren't getting anymore emails tonight.  Maybe he lost his internet connection?

As a longtime fan, I loved seeing the Ricky Steamboat highlights, and got a kick out of Arn Anderson, Mike Rotundo, Dean Malenko and Michael Hayes coming out and cracking some jokes while also giving well-earned praise to Steamboat.  I don't know if younger fans really care about such things, but those of us over the age of 30 probably dug it.  I figured the NXT guys would come out, and with it being eight-on-eight, and the veterans having the "high ground" I thought they booked it well, with Nexus only able to get an advantage after managing to pull out a few guys and putting the odds in their favor.  I liked that Steamboat fought until the end, and the Nexus guys definitely got some heat putting the Dragon out on the stretcher.

Following the segment, they had Michael Cole stressing the whole "WWE Superstars would be suspended if they got involved" aspect, and this is when I kept thinking about Matt Hardy and other "suspensions" WWE has done in the past.  Are we really to think that someone (Cena) wouldn't risk suspension to "do the right thing" here?  Oh, and wasn't it strange that after the opening segment, we didn't see Cena again the rest of the night?

Alicia Fox & Maryse vs. Gail Kim & Eve Torres.  Haven't I seen this before?  Actually, this was better than the usual Diva fare, and I like Fox as the champion and the way she and Maryse were interacting.  I also liked Fox hitting the kneedrop to block Eve's sunset flip, and hey, Gail Kim actually got offense in this match, unlike her "stand on the apron" performance a few weeks back.  Fox gets the pin with the ax kick in a solid match.  I did notice a "Daniel Bryan" chant here, which I thought was a little odd.  I would think the previous segment would have been the better place for it.

We then ended the show with the eight man tag, which saw John Morrison and Evan Bourne pretty much wrestle the whole match for their team.  I assume R-Truth was limited due to his being hurt on the house shows this weekend, and Orton was intentionally kept out to set up the finish, so we had the heels getting a lot of heat on Bourne and Morrison.  I liked that we got some Morrison-Miz and Bourne-Jericho exchanges in here.  I still think it is absurd to have Jericho and Edge on the same team.  It wasn't that long ago they were killing each other.  The finish was unique, with Orton and DiBiase getting hot tag, and Orton immediately hitting the RKO on DiBiase for the pin.  Maybe DiBiase was better off not wrestling the past few weeks?  Anyway, we get a nice post-match brawl, and it ends with Orton grabbing the briefcase and standing tall at the end, and he obviously is the favorite (this week) for Money In The Bank.

What To Make Sure And Watch If You DVR'd The Show: The Legends-Nexus angle and the eight man tag are worth checking out. 

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