It seems like Survivor Series is still really far away. It’s a long break by modern WWE standards and this is only the second last, not last, RAW before the PPV. Hopefully the show doesn’t just spin its wheels for two hours. Manchester, England across the Atlantic Ocean hosts RAW tonight. We open with John Cena behind a Nexus podium reading from scroll. The prepared statement sings the praises of Nexus. It’s interesting to listen to the Manchester crowd. A vocal segment of them are cheering the hometown boy. Jerry Lawler is out with a knee injury so we get the NXT team of Cole and Josh Matthews. Barrett promises a preview of his championship celebration tonight. Barrett has issues however. First he calls David Otunga on the mat for undermining his authority. He’s madder they failed though.
On to Cena. Cena is actually funny as he gives a rundown of the launch of his career when Barrett asks him “What happened?” Cena renews his vow; once the Survivor Series match is over he beats down Barrett and anyone who tries to interfere. Barrett demands Cena announce him as the new champion as practice for Survivor Series, but Randy Orton won’t sit idly by for that and the crowd can finally get firmly behind someone. Orton knows he can beat Barrett no matter who the referee is. The anonymous virtual general manager finally chimes in to cancel Barrett’s celebration and makes the title match at SS pinfall or submission only. He, or she I suppose, also bans Nexus from ringside. As for tonight it’s going to be a ten-man tag match with the E-GM picking Orton’s team. Once again Cena is to be referee. An angry Cena knocks over the podium, then Otunga, before striding away.
Eve, Niki and Bella (all of whom could stand to go in the rumoured upcoming Diva cuts) take on Maryse, Alicia Fox and Tamita in some silly soccer themed match. It’s just a normal match with outfits and the Bellas make the switch for the win.
There’s one too many people in Nexus for this match. So Otunga gets the boot and faces Cena instead.
The Hart Dynasty face the Ousos in a “Who cares about tag wrestling anymore?” match which the Ousos win as we keep crawling towards the break-up of the Hart Dynasty. Santino has invited Sheamus to a tea party tonight. That could be awesome or awful, we’ll just have to wait and see. Orton hopes his team is the best of the best and we learn The Miz is the first other member. Goldust continues to somehow be on TV as he faces Ted Dibiase again. It’s more soap opera shenanigans as Maryse steals the million-dollar belt, then Aksana shows up to steal it. Goldust gets the win but his gold digger wife runs off with the belt he rightfully stole.
Nexus accompanies David Otunga to the ring, then Barrett turns them around and they all head back. That leaves Otunga to face an angry Cena. Otunga tries to run, only to be dragged back in for the match. Considering this match is at the middle mark of the show it’s not very long. Cena wins with an STF and Otunga still isn’t very good in the ring. By the way, next week’s RAW is three hours long and a special old school episode. Post-match Wade Barrett tells Otunga to go to Smackdown again and face Edge. Win or else.
Santino’s tea party with Sheamus (and Vladimir Koslov) is a long comedy segment. Santino trying to play nice with Sheamus, but constantly putting his foot in his mouth is actually pretty funny. The crowd loves Santino too. E-GM pipes up again and books a match between the two. Santino tries to bail but the GM threatens him with suspension so the comedy wrestler tries to psych himself up to fight. Snatino ends up low blowing Sheamus and getting disqualified and Santino celebrates too long, especially for losing, and gets beat down by Sheamus. John Morrison has to make the save again and it will be nice when Morrison gets some mic time in this feud.
The main event entrances begins at twenty minutes before the hour. But with five team members to enter we may not get much wrestling time. The mystery members of Orton’s team are R-Truth, Daniel Bryan and Mark Henry. Otunga doesn’t come out until the middle of the match so there’s a lot of speculation as to his motives. Barrett avoids Orton for most of the match but face each other at the finish. Then, out of nowhere, with Otunga distracting Cena, The Miz turns on Orton and hits him with his finisher, the Skull Crushing Finale. Cena counts the pin and, once again, Orton gets screwed.
I was worried we’d be spinning our wheels this week. It wasn’t a bad show but did anything really change tonight? The biggest development was the set-up for the match on Smackdown. Less focus on just being in England and more on selling other matches for Survivor Series would have been appreciated.
Nexus returns to Smackdown on Friday. Let’s see if it helps sell a PPV.