Monday Night Raw
Date: January 3, 2011
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Michael Cole
It’s the first show of the year and we have a huge main event in the form of Miz vs. Morrison in a falls count anywhere match for the WWE Title. Apparently that’s going to be opening the show which kind of negates the whole main event thing. Also we’ll get to see the next step in the Punk vs. Cena feud. Let’s get to it.
Theme song opens us up.
Raw World Title: The Miz vs. John Morrison
No Lawler due to the beatdown last week by Miz. Morrison takes down Riley to start and we hit the floor very quickly. Morrison fights both guys off and comes off the top of the big W with a huge cross body for two. Back to the ring as that was a very quick segment up there. Missile dropkick gets two for the challenger. The running knee gets two also as Riley interferes. Morrison DESTROYS Riley and we take a break as the paramedics attend to him.
Back with Miz setting up a piece of railing up against the stage. He can’t suplex Morrison through it for awhile but Morrison tries one too many counters and winds up taking a backdrop into it for two. Back towards the ring again with Miz in control. They slug it out in the ring with Morrison taking over again.
Morrison gets Miz down and goes for Starship Pain. Miz rolls out of the way and gets the Reality Check for two. He charges but rams into the post. Starship Pain hits for two and a big kick sends Miz to the floor. Morrison sets up a table and goes for Starship Pain off the top through the table. The champion moves and the table more or less explodes in an awesome looking spot. That somehow only gets two and Miz is pissed off. The Skull Crushing Finale on the floor ends this clean at approximately 22:00.
Rating: B+. This was a good brawl and a solid back and forth match. I’m not sure if I get the point of having Morrison use his title shot on the first show of the year rather than the Rumble but there’s time to see what they’ve got planned I suppose. This had some good spots and there were a few moments of possibility that the title could change hands. Good stuff but it never hit the level they wanted it to I don’t think.
There’s a #1 contenders match later in a cage.
Back with a new backstage interviewer who is with Miz. Miz goes on about how he’s WWE Champion and is still awesome.
We recap the Natalya vs. Melina issues with Cole saying Natalya needs to get over it.
Melina/Maryse/Alicia Fox vs. Natalya/Brie Bella/Eve Torres
Quick break between the intros. Those are some lackluster partners for Natalya. Maryse and Brie brawl to start with Maryse controlling. Brie is sent to the floor and the twins switch under the ring. Off to Natalya and Alicia and Natalya is more concerned with getting at Melina than Alicia. Butterfly suplex puts Alicia down and Natalya goes after Melina. The champion gets clotheslined over the top rope and here’s Melina officially. Natalya drills her with a spinning forearm and brings in Eve. Not much of a showdown there. Eve hits a spinning neckbreaker to end it at approximately 3:00.
Rating: D+. I’m not sure what the point was to having Natalya be all about getting to Melina and then having them be in at the same time for maybe 4 seconds. The Twin Magic was incredibly quick and didn’t serve much purpose at all. I’m not sure what the actual point to this was but it didn’t work that well.
Uso Brothers vs. Santino Marella/Vladimir Kozlov
Pretty sure this is non-title but I’m not sure. Vladimir and I believe Jimmy start us off. After some brief Russian dominance we’re off to Santino to a big pop. This is looking like a squash so far. I’m glad they’ve giving Santino some real offense such as the sambo stuff. Back to Kozlov and the crowd dies almost immediately.
The Usos take over with basic jobber offense for a little while. Santino comes back in and cleans a few rooms. He isn’t doing enough to classify it as cleaning house you see. Kozlov comes back in illegally to try and help out his partner by growling at an Uso. Somehow this works but Kozlov winds up getting sent to the floor. Vlad gets stuck on the ropes for a bit so Santino has to finish shoving him over. Santino sets for the Cobra but walks into a Samoan Drop for the surprising pin at 4:02.
Post match Tamina and Santino hit a double Cobra on Jey. You never would know they had just lost the match based on how well they’re taking it.
Rating: D. Pretty ugly match here with the crowd completely dying when Santino wasn’t in there. The Usos aren’t exactly an interesting team but they’re better than nothing I suppose. It gives them actual challengers which they’ve been needing since they won the belts. Weak match though.
Tough Enough is officially coming back. Oh joy.
Punk is on his way to the ring.
Back from a break with the new leader of Nexus. Punk says he loves being in Phoenix and that he’s been bust all day looking for Cena. He couldn’t find him anywhere though and that he, ahem, couldn’t see him. Cena isn’t here this week because of Punk and what happened last week.
Punk talks about being a leader of men and that Nexus saw this and they almost begged him to be their new leader. We see a clip of the Nexus beatdown from last week and Punk’s GTS. Punk talks about hustle, loyalty and respect and how it’s just a catchphrase to Cena but to Punk it’s very real. Cena can’t win this fight and Punk is taking over both Nexus and Monday Night Raw.
Here’s Wade Barrett who isn’t thrilled with this at all. Barrett says that Cena isn’t here because of a beating he gave Cena in a match in Pennsylvania earlier in the week which is true kind of. Barrett also says he’s the leader of Nexus, not Punk. Punk says Nexus needed new management and now has it. Wade says that Punk is a liar, including about being straightedge.
Punk says let’s ask Nexus who the liar is and Barrett agrees, calling down the troops. I like how they come out in the V formation like an army. We get an E-Mail almost immediately and tonight there’s are three participants in a match in the cage for the title shot at the Rumble. It’s Barrett vs. Punk vs. Sheamus vs. Orton. They finally have something that looks like an e-mail on the screen too. Ah apparently only Barrett or Punk can be in the cage.
Barrett says he’ll take the spot as the leader of the Nexus. Punk says take it as he’s a talker not a fighter. If Barrett wins the match then Punk will work for him and Barrett can be the leader. If Barrett loses he’s out of Nexus and Punk is officially the leader.
Del Rio is here? Nice surprise. I love that car he’s in which is a red and white Chevy from the 1967. He says it’s his destiny to be world champion and that he’ll show that tonight. It’s his destiny to win the Rumble and be in the main event at Wrestlemania. R-Truth apparently disagrees. Truth says that Alberto’s destiny is to go back where he came from.
Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth
Truth dominates early on with his usual unorthodox offense. A clothesline puts Alberto on the floor almost immediately and a dive over the top puts Del Rio down as we take a break. Back with Truth hammering away on Alberto in the corner. Del Rio gets in a shot to break the momentum and hits a Codebreaker onto the arm.
Off to an armbar as we talk about how Del Rio has taken out various people on the Smackdown roster and wants to take out more. Truth tries to fight back but can’t do his flip out of the corner due to the arm. A modified arm drag gets two and it’s back to the arm. Truth manages to send Alberto to the floor and starts taking over with his one good arm. And never mind as Alberto sends his arm into the post and the Cross Armbreaker (with very little torque on it at all) ends this clean in 10:00.
Rating: C+. Better than I expected here given that R-Truth is a guy I can’t get into at all. Del Rio gets another nice win to further his push even more which is something he needs, especially before his big match with Rey on Friday. Nice little match here with Truth being able to hang in there for awhile but at the end being overwhelmed in the end.
Barrett talks to Nexus and says that he can make each and every one of them champions like he did Slater and Gabriel. Punk comes up and calls out Barrett when Barrett says Punk is using Nexus for his own gain. Punk says they’re all pulling for him. Barrett leaves and Punk shakes all of their hands.
Over to Orton who says last year meant nothing and that the only thing he cared about was Miz cashing in. Orton says he was FAR too nice as he actually held back a bit and didn’t punt Jericho. He says that nice guys finish last and implies that isn’t happening anymore.
Cage match is next.
Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus
In a cage and the winner gets Miz at the Rumble. We’re going old school here as it’s escape only. Cena might be back next week. BIG pop for Orton. Sheamus and Orton beat down Barrett early on but Sheamus tries to run away, only to be stopped by Orton. Barrett takes over off the distraction and goes for Wasteland which is acknowledged as the move that injured Cena. Orton tries to escape to no avail.
Sheamus tries to escape to complete the set of people trying to get out. Orton almost goes through the door but turns back around to coil up in front of the other two. Cole says Orton couldn’t have made it out, but it was pretty clear he could have. Odd indeed and we take a break.
Back with Orton almost all the way out until Sheamus makes the save. Barrett helps to finally pull him back in and the two evildoers take over again. Orton tries for the elevated DDT on Sheamus but has to stop to keep Barrett from getting out. He tries for a double elevated DDT but Barrett fights out of it. Sheamus blocks as well and sends Orton into the steel.
Orton gets taken down by the two UK dudes but since one is Irish and one is British they start fighting amongst themselves. Barrett goes up but slips, allowing Orton to make another save. Superplex puts Barrett down as are Orton and Sheamus. Sheamus gets up and beats the tar out of Barrett but can’t get through the door thanks to Orton.
Barrett sends Sheamus into the cage multiple times and adds a pump handle slam. Orton is back up though and gets taken down almost immediately by a Boss Man Slam. Barrett tries to escape but Sheamus slows him down. Wade kicks him down but instead of going out he tries a top rope elbow which gets knees. Sheamus doesn’t take the chance to get out either and gets taken down by Orton’s clotheslines.
Powerslams to both guys and the Angle Slam to Sheamus. Elevated DDT to Barrett but Sheamus slows Randy down. They slug it out on the top rope until Barrett kicks said rope to crotch both guys. Both guys are down now after a pair of big boots. Barrett is the only person up so he tries to climb out. Here’s Punk though, climbing into the cage and offering his hand. He’d help a lot better to just open the door for him but whatever.
Barrett takes his hand but Punk goes all Scar to Barrett’s Mufasa and pulls the armband off and shoves Barrett back into the ring. Sheamus puts Orton down and the door is open. And of course there’s the RKO to Sheamus so that Orton can go through the door at 19:40 to get the title shot at the Rumble. Oh joy.
Rating: A-. I liked this better than the opener actually. The escape only worked very well and it does two things as it sets up the PPV and gets Barrett out of Nexus (not mentioned at all post match). This was a more old school style with the false finishes and saves. I like the lack of pinning as it makes it feel more about survival than winning. Very good match to close out Raw.
Overall Rating: B+. Well you certainly can’t complain about a lack of wrestling here with two very good matches that both ran about twenty minutes. Throw in a ten minute Alberto match and you’re looking at nearly an hour of wrestling on a two hour and ten minute show. This was fun stuff as we’re in Rumble mode now and things are starting to click. Good stuff here, although I’m not looking forward to Miz vs. Orton at all.
The Miz b. John Morrison – Skull Crushing Finale
Natalya/Brie Bella/Eve Torres b. Melina/Maryse/Alicia Fox – Spinning neckbreaker to Melina
Uso Brothers b. Vladimir Kozlov/Santino Marella – Samoan Drop to Marella
Alberto Del Rio b. R-Truth – Cross Armbreaker
Randy Orton b. Sheamus and Wade Barrett – Orton escaped the cage