April 11, 2011
Sin Cara . . . wows the WWE Universe in his first official match, despite Primo’s attempts to cut him off at the knees.
Jerry Lawler . . . shows that there’s no substitute for experience.
R-Truth . . . comes from seemingly out of nowhere to a WWE Title shot with a great main event performance.
EVE TORRES © vs. BRIE BELLA (WWE Diva’s Title)
When Eve is in control, this actually isn’t half bad. Eve’s strikes look okay and her spots (such as the dropkick and the standing moonsault) are hit rather well. The same can’t be said for Brie, her strikes look like they couldn’t break an egg, and the only spot of hers that isn’t awful is the facebuster that pins Eve. The booking is also questionable, why bother with Eve figuring out a way to prevent the Bella Twins from cheating with twin magic when they did just that anyway?
SIN CARA vs. PRIMO COLON
Well this is far from an ideal debut for former Mistico, although that’s entirely due to Primo. Sin Cara plants him with nice spot after nice spot, and Primo continuously shrugs them off. There’s something wrong when Primo’s bump and sell of his missed Stinger splash is better than anything he does for Cara’s spots. Most people will probably just remember the blown finish, but that’s actually one of the lesser offensive parts of the match. I’d rather have seen him keep La Mistica as a finish than the Spanish Fly (or whatever name the WWE will come up for it). It really doesn’t matter too much though, because despite Primo’s “efforts” Sin Cara impresses the crowd in the right ways while Primo goes back to the B shows, if not released.
WADE BARRETT/JUSTIN GABRIEL/HEATH SLATER/EZEKIEL JACKSON vs. SANTINO MARELLA/EVAN BOURNE/DANIEL BRYAN/MARK HENRY
It sucks that RAW went to commercial as soon as the match was announced, causing the viewer to miss the hot babyface run to start things off. The show resumes with the heels working over Bryan, which he does a good job putting over, but it’s mostly just punches and kicks from all four members of the Corre. The only nice spot being Gabriel’s slingshot senton. Bryan gets the tag to Santino and the match breaks down in the usual manner, with Santino prepping for the Cobra, only for Gabriel to intervene to give the Corre the win. Give them ten minutes instead of three to work with, and this could probably be pretty fun with Jackson’s power moves and the tag champions using some double teams.
JERRY LAWLER vs. JACK SWAGGER
This is fun more for Cole being as obnoxious has possible than it is due to the actual work. There’s really not that much flow to the work anyway. One moment Swagger has Lawler looking all but finished in an ankle lock and then the next thing he does is a wrist lock. Of course, Swagger isn’t much more than just hired muscle here, so it’s not really surprising that he doesn’t put much thought into things. All Lawler really has to offer here are punches, but, at sixty-one, he’s still got some of the best punches to be found. Cole’s interference backfires and winds up distracting Swagger and Jerry takes advantage and cradles him for three, proving that, a working brain is better than a good physique.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Edge’s retirement announcement. Despite being as longtime Edge-head, I can say that my eyes stayed dry for this one (unlike Flair’s RAW farewell in 2008).
JOHN CENA vs. RANDY ORTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. JOHN MORRISON vs. R-TRUTH (#1 Contender’s Match for the WWE Heavyweight Title)
The first leg of the match, featuring Orton vs. Ziggler, is just the two of them quickly running through their spots. Orton goes for the RKO and Nexus interferes which lets Ziggler steal the win, continuing the Orton/Nexus feud. Also, Mason Ryan lays out Orton, finally looking like a monster. Truth enters next, but it’s hard to really get a feel for how this leg of the match goes, there are way too many cutaways to show Miz doing commentary and Vicky on the floor. From what we’re shown Dolph apparently tries to bleed Truth dry with a sleeper and continue working the neck, but Truth hits a facebuster and advances.
Truth and Morrison have quite the nice little back and fourth contest. It certainly helps that they’re given plenty of time to work, and it’s a bonus that the time is mostly used well. Despite their friendship and occasional partnership, both men make no bones about wanting their crack at the title, and they don’t hold anything back. Morrison even plays a bit dirty and tries to roll up Truth under the guise of handshake. The momentum constantly shifts back and fourth, with Morrison seemingly in control until Truth gets a counter (his stunner counter to Morrison’s suplex was especially nice), but Morrison comes right back with something of his own, like the flying kick. In the end, it comes down to a simple mistake of Morrison not going for the cover when he should have, instead trying for the exclamation point with Starship Pain. Morrison misses and Truth hits the facebuster to continue on.
That leaves a worn down Truth and a fresh John Cena. It’s worked much the same as the Orton/Ziggler portion, with Cena mostly tossing out his usual spots, but it works with Truth being so worn down, and Truth makes it seem like Cena is about put him away time and time again. Cena gets a bit lax and Truth springs to life and starts reeling off his own offense, but makes the same mistake as Morrison when he tries for too much with the facebuster and Cena blocks it. Cena looks to finally be finishing off Truth when Miz and A-Ri run in to cause the double disqualification so that Miz doesn’t have to wrestle either of them, only to have it backfire when both of them get the title shot. Based off his performance here, Truth definitely earned the title shot, I just hope that it won’t be a repeat of John Morrison’s big push from earlier in the year, that wound up going nowhere. ***
Conclusion: How often do you see any matches on RAW get a decent amount of time, let alone nearly thirty minutes for the main event? There’s some harmless fun with the Corre and the Apple, and the oddity of Primo and Sin Cara, definitely not a bad episode of RAW.