Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sowing the Seeds of Discontent

Everyone out there who thought that John Cena’s handpicked team to conquer the Nexus would be a well-oiled, cohesive unit raise your hand. Yeah. That’s what I thought.

C’mon… it’s wrestling. Nothing’s supposed to go smooth or as planned.

Monday night’s RAW began with John Cena cutting a promo about how his team was going to take down the Nexus at SummerSlam – you know, your typical Cena babyface promo. Out comes Chris Jericho to rain on Cena’s parade by proclaiming that Jericho should be the leader of the team, not Cena. Cena, of course, could not care less who leads the team as long as the job is done. Jericho (in an interesting little dig at Cena) says that Cena is just as bad as the Nexus.

The duo nearly come to blows before the still-unseen RAW General Manager (this week he seems to be Triple H, which, of course, means it’s not him) orders Cena and Jericho to show their teamwork by teaming in a match again an unnamed team of the GM’s choosing.

There was good work all around here. Cena came off as he should – not caring who the leader is so long as the Nexus is taken down, and Jericho in full heel mode accusing Cena of being as bad as the Nexus and patronizing him at the same time. These two work very well together, and it’ll be a shame that they won’t have a bigger program after the Nexus angle as done. Why you may ask? Rumor has it that Jericho will again be taking some time off after SummerSlam when his contract is up. Take that for what you will, of course.

In the midst of all of this, it was also announced that the Team Cena vs. Nexus 7-on-7 match at SummerSlam is now an elimination match which is a tremendous decision. This will really add to the drama of the match and could offer a clue or two to Nexus’ leader, if he is on Cena’s team as I suspect.

As a bit of a preview, the Nexus would be taking on a team of RAW superstars (and I use that term loosely since the team included Goldust and Yoshi Tatsu) in a 7-on-7 elimination match. And before the match even started, I knew the outcome – a clean sweep for the Nexus. Why? It was the only logical outcome. But more on that in a bit.

Before this match, Randy Orton beat Jey Uso in a short squash match. Sheamus was at ringside for the match and predictably went after Orton. Orton managed to take Sheamus out with an RKO which brought out the Miz to again try to cash in his Money in the Bank title shot. Well, before the match could be started, Orton took out Miz with another RKO.

I’m really enjoying the Miz’s work now that he’s been pushed to the top of the card, and Sheamus (the whitest man in North America) is starting to grow on me. Orton has rapidly become the number two babyface on RAW and is responding with some of his best in-ring work and promos. Unlike his first ill-fated face turn, this one is working incredible well for Orton. Oh, yeah, one more thing – the GM announced that the main event would be a tag match between Cena/Jericho and Miz/Sheamus.

This brings us to the elimination match. Thankfully, it was short and pretty much a squash – as much as a match like this can be a squash. The Nexus dominated the RAW C-listers (with the exception of Evan Bourne) and won without having a single member of Nexus eliminated. Having one of their members pinned by someone like Goldust would only have weakened the Nexus going into SummerSlam. They need to appear to be all-but invincible for the angle to work like it should, especially because Cena’s team is in ruins.

Speaking of that, more dissension in the ranks came in the form of Edge and The Great Khali (who is suddenly somewhat interesting for the first time in… okay, for the first time ever). Edge cut a backstage promo on Khali that really wasn’t all that condescending, but Khali’s increasingly devious handler fed Khali a bogus translation causing Khali to demand a match with Edge.

The match was blessedly short (videos of Great Khali matches are used to interrogate prisoners in Gitmo… at least that’s the rumor) and was cut short by the Nexus. Edge ran like a scalded dog (TM Jim Ross) leaving Khali to fend for himself. Strangely, the Nexus let Khali leave without any incident which further fuels the story that Cena’s team is weak and not unified.

This plot development was furthered when R-Truth (sort of) cost John Morrison a match against Ted Dibiase which resulted in the obligatory pushing and shoving between Truth and Morrison.

Now where is Bret Hart, the seventh member of Team Cena, in the midst of all of this mess? Supposedly back in Calgary, training for the big match. Hmmm…

Before I delve into the developments of the main event, I need to take a quick detour and talk about how awful the Women’s division is on RAW.

I understand that injuries (to Melina, among others) and retirements (of Trish Stratus and Lita) have really crippled what was once one of the best parts of RAW, but man, does Alicia Fox suck out loud as the current Divas Champion. Her match against one of the Bella Twins did nothing to change my mind. I really like Eve Torres – she can actually work a half decent match – so why the powers-that-be put the title on Fox is beyond me. As is the woeful under-use of Gail Kim, who was so big in TNA and yet has barely registered a blip on the RAW radar. Former champ Maryse is now Ted Dibiase's arm candy and hasn't had much ring work as of late. Jillian Hall needs a gimmick revamp and maybe even a face turn. The Bella Twins are useless.

Thankfully (spoiler alert!) Melina is finally due back from (another) injury and did a run-in at the RAW taping that was done after the live show on Monday. Melina is easily the best worker on RAW or Smackdown, and I’ll be happy to see her back. Let’s hope it’s not too long before she’s holding the Divas Championship.

Anyway, onto the main event…

The match was an excellent back and forth affair with both mismatched teams working surprisingly well together. The end did catch me slightly by surprise, though in retrospect, I should have seen it coming. As the referee was busy with Miz and Sheamus, Jericho snuck back into the ring (after hot tagging Cena) and hit Cena with the Code Breaker. Miz immediately tagged himself in and pinned Cena.

Jericho took advantage of the downed Cena and put Cena in the Walls of Jericho which Cena reversed into the STF. Before long, the remaining members of Team Cena hit the ring and started arguing with one another. Cena and even the Great Khali tried to play peacemaker. As RAW went off the air, one has to wonder if Team Cena will be able to put their differences aside and be a real team against the mighty Nexus.

Once again, this week’s RAW propelled the Nexus vs. the RAW roster storyline toward its conclusion(?) at SummerSlam. The Nexus looks invincible while John Cena’s team is in shambles. And that is how it should be. If Cena’s team was unified, then there would be no doubt as to the outcome of the elimination match at SummerSlam. But now… well, I think there’s a good chance Cena’s team loses and the Nexus angle continues into the fall. However, I really think that we need to see some chinks in the Nexus’ armor in the coming weeks. I mean, they are a bunch of rookies, and sooner or later, that’s got to be addressed. Though as to who will break away from Nexus and strike out on his own remains a question.

One last thing before I sign off. Rumors are still persisting that John Cena will be revealed as the behind-the-scenes leader of the Nexus. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – this would be the worst piece of booking since “The Finger Poke of Doom” angle back in WCW during the nWo storyline. Making Cena the leader of Nexus not only makes no sense, it also takes away WWE’s number one babyface something that would be a huge mistake since there’s no one on either roster ready to take that spot.

If it’s Bret Hart, that’s fine. If it’s Triple H (out for months more after yet another injury), that’s also fine. If it’s someone no one would have ever thought of, that’s also fine. But it can’t be John Cena. Period.



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