Beginning the new year with wrestling’s main show, its the first Raw for 2011!
Michael Cole announces that John Cena will most likely not be here tonight due to his attack from CM Punk and also an injury sustained during a match with Wade Barrett. This would be so so bad if Cena is out with an injury right after starting this feud. We are live in Phoenix AZ and so far it looks like Michael Cole is calling Raw on his own. Who does he think he is, Joey Styles? CM Punk is now in a major story line and Jerry Lawler was attacked last week. So Josh Matthews begins the biggest year of his career.
The Miz (WWE Champion, with Alex Riley) vs. John Morrison — Falls Count Anywhere Match.
Is Nitro on tonight? If not than I see no reason that this match should be the opening match. Miz tries to attack Morrison during his entrance. Riley attempts to turn it into a two on one attack and gets a punch to the face from Morrison. JoMo has already picked up a few two counts in the early parts of this match. John uses the entire Raw set to his advantage, like a fully playable background in Smackdown vs Raw 2011. Morrison jumps off the WWE sign and hits a high cross body on both Miz and Riley. The match makes its way back to the ring and the fans are already chanting “This is awesome”. Morrison ducks a clothesline and hits a flying Chuck on Miz. He follows it with a running knee to Miz’s temple and when everyone thinks a new champion is to be crowned, A-Ri pulls Morrison out of the ring and breaks up the count. Morrison destroys Riley on the outside, finishing him off with a running knee while Alex is on the guard rail. Miz looks on in fear as we go to a commercial.
Back from break and Miz has gained the advantage. Morrison gets a back body drop onto a propped up guard rail. The beating continues when Miz puts Morrison on the stage and hits his own running knee. This match is incredible. Tonight, its not just WWE hype, the WWE Championship is the most coveted belt in the world. Miz hits John with a WWE milk crate (soon to be packaged with figures) and the match collects yet another 2 count. Miz berates Morrison and John begins the big face comeback. Morrison misses with Starship Pain and Miz hits a neckbreaker but still only gets the two. Miz begs the gods of wrestling to tell him what he has to do. Neither man has ever looked better. The match gains an extra star when Miz kicks out of Starship Pain. Morrison knocks Miz out of the ring and the move of the year takes place. Miz is on a table and Morrison attempts a super Starship Pain from the top turnbuckle down to the floor and putting Miz through the table on the way down. Miz moves. Morrison shatters the table and yet still Miz can only get a two count. Miz smells blood though and hits a Skull Crushing Finale on the floor to finally win the match.
Is it too early to give out Match of the Year and 5 Star rankings? John Morrison will be champion this year. Instead of arguing which man will be the Marty Jannety of their former tag team the debate should be, can there be two Shawn Michaels?
Scott Stanford finally makes his way onto Raw and interviews the Miz.
Melina, Maryse and Alicia Fox vs. Natalya, Eve and Brie Bella
Only one Bella? Must be a spare out here somewhere. Maryse and Brie catfight until Maryse drives Brie’s head into the mat. Brie’s teammates try to get the fans to rally and Nikki switches places with Brie. All in the early part of the match. Nothing like a 3 minute Divas match. Match is over booked. Trips, hot tags, big moves. Too much to actually be a good match. Natalya hurts Melina enough to give Eve the hot tag then Eve hits a rolling neck breaker on Melina for the pin. The faces celebrate but only 3 of them. Maybe the other Bella is stuck in Hornswoggle land.
The Usos vs. Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov (WWE Tag Team Champions, with Tamina)
Tamina has ditched the Usos for good. For a woman who didn’t look that great at first, the WWE makeover department has done a great job on Tamina. Kozlov wrestles the majority of the match. He easily dispatches of the Usos until one missed move. The Usos beat on Vladimir just enough to make a hot tag necessary. Kozlov is thrown over the top rope but gets tripped up in it. Bit of a botched spot, but just looks like Vladimir is too much of a moose to easily flip over the ropes. Santino attempts a cobra but is stopped with a Samoan drop and the Usos pick up the shocking pin. Santino and Vladimir fight off the Usos after the match and the tag titles might have a purpose.
Cole and Matthews announce the return of Tough Enough. Could be something great. Expect it to look very similar to Ultimate Fighter.
CM Punk comes out and talks about the events of the last week. Wade Barrett comes out saying he is still the leader of Nexus and Punk is nothing but a liar. The Nexus comes out to lay to rest who they align with. Before David Otunga, as spokesperson, can give an answer a GM Email is delivered. And I quote. Either CM Punk or Wade Barrett will be in a #1 Contender match for the WWE title tonight. Punk adds the extra stipulation that if Wade wins the match, he will lead Nexus but if he loses he’s out of Nexus. Wade agrees to the deal and Raw’s main event will direct the next month, at least, of WWE.
Alberto Del Rio comes out and talks too much. R-Truth comes out and raps too much. This can only lead to a match.
Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth
Del Rio works over Truth’s arm all match. It may not seem like much, but when Truth tries to lift himself off on the ropes, his arm gives out. Del Rio might be like a Mexican William Regal. Slow to appreciate, but once you do, wow he’s a great wrestler. Del Rio misses a kick and slides out of the ring, landing hard. The mistake gives Truth enough time to start a comeback. Alberto drags Truth along the ring ropes and drives the shoulder into the ring post. Del Rio locks on an arm bar and Truth holds on longer than anyone else has but eventually succumbs to the same fate. That finisher would not have meant anything without the ring psychology and story throughout the match. That was impressive.
Wade Barrett calls a Nexus meeting. Nexus says they have his back, until CM Punk comes in and they all shake his hand. That’s a loyal group of guys. Nexus should be hired out as mercenaries on both shows.
Randy Orton cuts a promo during WWE’s time killer segment of the show.
Wade Barrett vs. King Sheamus vs. Randy Orton — Steel Cage Match for #1 Contender Spot.
None of the men are trying to win the match by pinfall or submission. Each Superstar tries to escape the cage while the other two are fighting each other. Orton tries to walk out the door, but drops to a defensive position when he sees that his opponents will reach him before he’ll reach the door. Orton gets trapped in the cage scaffolding and almost drops to the floor and/or injures himself. Barrett and Sheamus save/stop him. Orton is being decimated by the United Kingdom attack. Wade and Sheamus could be an awesome tag team. Sheamus hits a small penis back breaker. Something missing from this match. Too much stalling while waiting for the next spot. Wade is damn close to winning the match when CM Punk runs down. Punk scales the cage and helps Barrett climb the cage. Only to rip off the Nexus armband and kick Wade down to the mat. Wow! To out heel the biggest heel of the last year is an accomplishment. Sheamus leans for the open door and leans right into an RKO! Randy very easily walks out the cage door and into the Royal Rumble. Over booked match but an amazing finish. Like previously said, this sets up a whole lot of stories for the next few months in WWE.