Summerslam is in the books. Where do we go from here?
RAW opens with the Nexus trying to make themselves seem impressive again. Barrett is trying his best when Cena comes out to verbally destroy the entire group. Way to rebuild them. The E-GM weighs in and we finally get Nexus guys in singles matches with no outside interference from the rest of Nexus allowed. Barrett tells them win or you’re out. E-GM tells them they can pick their own opponents from last night’s WWE team, except Wade Barrett who must face Chris Jericho after the commercial.
Barrett wrestles ok, hits a Big Boot then reverses a Code Breaker into his own finisher to pick up the first win of the night. Can we just let the guest host concept die yet? The Unified Tag Team Championships get officially unified into the WWE Tag Team Championships. The dual belts are replaced by spiffy new ones. Bret presents the titles, then learns Justin Gabriel is his opponent tonight.
But that match isn’t next. Next, Tarver takes on Daniel Bryan. Nexus could lose Tarver and not be finished. Bryan is looking good until The Miz and his NXT rookie distract Bryan and cost him the match. Bryan goes after The Miz but Tarver and Reilly ally to stop him. That lets Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale on the Money in the Bank briefcase. Miz really is upset about this.
So how can Justin Gabriel beat Bret Hart without risking killing him? Simple, the E-GM doesn’t like Bret Hart and doesn’t want to see him compete again. So Gabriel gets really screwed and has to face Randy Orton. Orton utterly dominates until Sheamus shows up and Orton leaves the ring to battle him and gets counted out. Orton saves an RKO for Gabriel. So we’re making Nexus look bad despite winning? Orton takes a chair to Sheamus to inch him closer and closer to Austin clone level.
If these are supposed to be individual matches why are Sheffield and Otunga teaming against John “Marty Jannetty” Morrison and R “Get a new song” Truth? Slater and Gabriel seem like a more natural tag team out of Nexus. Sheffield looks like the best guy in this short match as he gets the pin over Morrison with a simple Clothesline.
I guess they had to combine two Nexus matches to make room for a six-diva tag. But, then again, did I want to see David Otunga win a singles match? Tonight they have Jon Lovitz in the crowd who is at least somewhat of a celebrity. His reactions are more interesting than the match itself. You would expect the new champion’s team to pick up the win but Jillian Hall actually pins Eve and the bad girls take home the win.
Heath Slater sucks up to Edge to see if Edge will give the match a miss. But Edge is feeling his oats and won’t forfeit to the Wendy’s girl. Some guy from True Blood is here tonight too. Slater just isn’t intimidating in the ring. Justin Gabriel makes a better heel and I wouldn’t have expected that. It’s another count out victory and again Nexus looks bad in winning.
It’s not that Legendary looks bad. I’m just sick of having the trailers shoved down my throat. And The Great Khali should be a comedy foil for the guest hosts. He can pull that off.
Darren Young is the last Nexus member to risk being eliminated. He’s facing John Cena. He is the worst guy in Nexus. What do you think is going to happen? Nexus decides to come out and watch this match. Why just this one? The tease yet another countout but Cena makes it back and it’s five knuckle shuffle and STF in short order. Young lasts all of five seconds before tapping out. Nexus closes in but let Cena leave so they can beat down Young.
Look, I’m not going to miss Darren Young but this show was supposed to rebuild Nexus and it failed miserably. Kicking out and beating down Young is just treading water not advancing. Gabriel sells the damage his 450 Splash does to himself very well. WWE worked really hard on Nexus and now they seem to be in dire danger of becoming irrelevant. Oh well, Daniel Bryan is back!
Oddly, this episode broke the record for viewers on Canadian network The Score. I once again managed to avoid spoilers for NXT until it aired in Canada. There’s one elimination early, and it’s “Showtime” Percy Watson, the one guy left who really deserves to go. Michael McGuillicuddy comes up short against Zack Ryder while Kaval beats Husky Harris. Even at elimination two they don’t show rankings; they just show who is eliminated. To me, this is the ideal top 4. At this point I don’t want anybody to go but someone has to and it turns out to be Husky Harris. Cody Rhodes, his pro, flips out and he and Husky start a donnybrook. But Kaval again takes down Husky so they are finally letting him win.
Normally I would say nothing else about this episode. But some odd things happen. They gave each rookie a minute to speak. Kaval did a rap. It wasn’t very good. But he ended the rap by saying he was the guy for Total Non-stop Action. Later, Cole and Josh Matthews went on at length about rookies making, or not making, an Impact. Why is WWE all of the sudden making sly references to the competition? The policy, up until now, has been to ignore that TNA even exists. Something strange was certainly going on that night. And aren’t these terms trademarked? Is this payback for them trying to use ECW?
Speaking of TNA here’s some real life news. Rob Van Dam had limited appearances on his TNA contract. They ran out. While he was champion. For unclear reasons no new dates were negotiated. So, in storyline, Abyss beat RVD within an inch of his life and now the title is vacant and they are holding an eight-man tournament to crown a replacement. And, as if this didn’t make them look like amateurs, there’s a long segment early in the show where the announcer’s monitors are not on and all we can hear is them talking to the backstage crew. The eight-men in the tournament are the top 8 contenders.
Rob Terry is, sadly, one of the top 8. Look, Terry is improving and he’s probably at least as skilled as Skip Sheffield now. But aside from muscles I have no reason to care for him. He’s out in short order as he loses to Jeff Hardy. Next up is Mr. Anderson…Anderson versus Jay Lethal. Face versus face matches are nice once in a while but this is two in a row. Anderson wins and also advances to round 2. Doug Williams is the top 8 but AJ Styles isn’t? Williams faces Kurt Angle in a forgone conclusions match. The last match in round one is Matt Morgan versus The Pope. You would think Morgan would win to advance at least one heel into round 2 but it’s Dinero who picks up the win. He’ll face Anderson next while Angle faces Hardy. But that won’t be until September 5th and the next Pay Per View. The finals won’t be until the Pay Per View after that!
Hulk Hogan teases that he will quit while Eric Bishoff promises Abyss and Ric Flair will pay. Remember when people thought these guys would take TNA to a true #2 spot in wrestling. Fortune has swelled to Flair plus six as Doug Williams and Matt Morgan. Flair calls out EV 2.0 for being garbage wrestlers and points out he’s so hard core he survived a plane crash. Dixie Carter brings out the members of the EV 2.0 guys who just got contracts (Dreamer, Foley, Richards, Nunzio, Rhyno and Sabu). There’s a confrontation but it’s not physical and is mired in personal crap between Foley and Flair. We see Raven later, being the wild card in EV 2.0.
Kevin Nash and Sting, which might be starting a TNA seniors division, trot out the same old lines about fighting to keep their spot. So Jeff Jarrett and Hulk Hogan interrupt to argue this show is about the young guys. The epitome of chutzpah is killing your parents then begging for mercy because you are an orphan. But the lights go out and Fortune is back to beat up all four of them. I instantly like them more.
Your main event? Tommy Dreamer vs. AJ Styles. The heart and soul of ECW (both versions) versus the one true homegrown TNA star. If Tommy is going to wrestle then I demand he face Samoa Joe once his suspension is up. The match isn’t awful, but when Tommy hits a big move out comes Fortune. The EC EV 2.0 ambush them. Abyss emerges from under the ring and hits a Black Hole Slam on Tommy so AJ can pick up the win. Abyss takes off leaving the rest to brawl. Man The Sandman looks old.
You need to be a diehard fan to find Reaction interesting beyond the first few minutes where they basically continue Impact. Impact is also running over lately so if you have a DVR it’s safer to record Reactions just in case. But it spoils any illusions we had that Impact itself was live. This is clearly a pre-recorded show yet “live” footage is being shown.
On to Smackdown. Kane’s explanation could be a laugh. But it’s little Rey Rey who opens the show. Kane is guilty; Rey is vindicated. Look, it’s Alberto Del Rio, only live! Well, live without a mask. Del Rio is descended from Ferdinand and Isabella, Rey Mysterio is street trash. Rey think Del Rio’s cufflinks came from a swap meet. Rey offers him a match in his debut and Del Rio can’t wait to squash Rey like a bug. But Rey kicks him around a bit then bails. Del Rio’s accent is worse live.
Remember how Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler’s match was interrupted by Nexus? Well they try again tonight. The match is pretty typical for the pairing and ends early when Vickie Guererro shoves Kofi off the top turnbuckle right in front of the ref. Champion’s advantage means Ziggler keeps the title. Ziggler bails leaving Kofi to face down Vickie. She realizes he won’t hit a girl and laughs long enough for Ziggler to sneak back, attack Kofi and eventually Zig Zag him in the ring. He follows up with a Sleeper on an already out man. And the feud refuses to die. They’re just trying to make Ziggler look just as aggressive as they’ve built Kofi up to be.
Can it be true? Serena is going to wrestle? Awesome! She tags with Gallows to face Kelly Kelly and the Big Show. Punk tells them: lose and you’re out. But, when Show is distracted beating Gallows on the outside, Serena wins her first match with a Gutbuster.
Kane promo time. Weird sound effects are not helping. Pride is the Undertaker’s weakness. And they want us to believe Kane has been planning this for 15 years. And now the phenom is no more and Kane is the devil’s favorite demon. Kane isn’t even phased to learn Taker is back next week.
Alberto Del Rio has a personal ring announcer. He also enters in a car. A Rolls Royce, not a Lowrider. His announcer speaks Spanish, For a guy’s debut neither Del Rio nor Mysterio seem to be cutting loose or going all out. Del Rio gets an interesting flip into a seated Armbar and Rey taps out almost immediately! This is quite a surprise for them to put the new guy over Rey, by submission no less, in his TV debut. Where will he go from here?
Bad news on the RAW front, Skip Sheffield suffered a broken ankle at a house show and will need surgery. So will Nexus shrink even more? That’s it for this week. The week after PPVs tend to be loaded with filler and recaps and ads and that’s exactly what we had from WWE this week. Nexus and Alberto Del Rio continue to be fresh but it’s Del Rio who looks strong.