Raw World Tour – 7/30/2010
by Michael Sullivan
Greetings from downtown Tallahassee, Florida! Tonight’s stop on the Raw World Tour is a house show from the Civic Center (I’d call it about 60% full, though I’m terrible at judging such things). If you’ve never been to a house show before, they’re not quite the same spectacle as a televised event. In this case, there’s not even a ramp, so obviously there’s no pyro nor a Titantron. On the positive side, no announce tables means no interruptions by “e-mails from the GM.” The interruptions themselves don’t bother me… but why do the lights always flicker when Michael Cole gets a new e-mail? Yes, I spend too much time thinking about such things.
In any case, Jamie Keyes (the NXT ring announcer) is going to be our emcee for tonight’s event. I’m pretty sure you could forge steel on her calves.
Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov are tonight’s curtain-jerkers, and they’re facing off against the Usos with Tamina. Jimmy and Jey actually got some pretty good heat from the crowd after they began walking to the ring (though nobody seemed to recognize their music when it hit). Tamina is wearing more clothing than normal – I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in jeans before. I also can’t help but notice she has approximately the same wingspan as Tayshaun Prince. The match itself was enjoyable; Santino is designed for house shows, and he can actually tell a pretty compelling story in the ring when he’s given more than a 30-second squash match to work with. The finish was sort of interesting, too. Tamina was on the apron complaining to the official, and Santino (in a daze, looking for the hot tag) wandered over and kissed her on the lips. Jey and Santino chased each other around the ring, while Kozlov hit his finisher on Jimmy for the clean pin.
Winners: Santino and Kozlov
As soon as the bell sounded, Nexus hit the ring to beat up Marella and Kozlov (the Usos took a powder). Wade Barrett cut a promo pumping up the night’s main event: John Cena, Chris Jericho, and John Morrison vs. Nexus.
When everyone had made it to the back, Ted DiBiase and Maryse were next up. DiBiase grabbed a mic and talked about being “the most overlooked Superstar” on the roster, and that he should be on John Cena’s team for SummerSlam. He then issued an open challenge to the members of Cena’s team to face him in a one-on-one match. The Great Khali’s music hit, and he spent the next four minutes walking from the entrance to the ring apron. No Ranjin Singh in the house tonight, by the way. On an unrelated note, I’d pay $30 to see Singh and Bret Hart run a competitive 200-meter dash.
The match was excruciating, but fortunately it didn’t last too long. I spent approximately 70% of my time watching Maryse (who unfortunately had no active role to play tonight). Khali finished DiBiase off with a swanton bomb. Okay, okay… I’m kidding. He won by squeezing DiBiase’s head with both hands until the Million Dollar Champion passed out. Riveting action.
Winner: The Great Khali
Then came a 20-minute stretch of “Future Endeavors” candidates, led off by the Bella Twins. They selected a guest timekeeper with an easy trivia question (“Name three members of the Raw Team who will fight against Nexus at SummerSlam”). Some little kid got the honor – he followed in the guest timekeeper footsteps of Ricky Schroeder and the “Where’s the Beef?” lady from the Wendy’s commercials in the ‘80s.
Yoshi Tatsu and Primo fought next. Yoshi continues to disregard Vince McMahon’s rumored mandate by doling out Ric Flair chops on a nightly basis. He and Primo work well in the ring together, and they put on a pretty tight match. Tatsu won with a schoolboy rollup.
Winner: Yoshi Tatsu
As soon as the bell rang, Chris Jericho sprinted in out of nowhere to deliver a Codebreaker to Tatsu. He cut an entertaining promo in the ring, hitting the same talking points from Monday’s episode of Raw (he’ll take out the Nexus, then he’s coming for you, John Cena). He engaged in a bit of preening before walking to the back, and the crowd was hot – it’s funny that Jericho can generate more heat without saying a word than 90% of the roster can with a mic and a talk show segment. If we truly are nearing the end of his run with the WWE, there’s going to be a huge void to fill on the heel side.
William Regal and Goldust faced off next, and I was the only person in Tallahassee excited about this matchup. It’s been so long since I’ve seen either one of these guys win a match that I can’t remember their current finishing moves. I was hoping they’d break out Shattered Dreams or The Regal Stretch for old times’ sake. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be: after Regal missed a running kick (that looked suspiciously like an attempt at a Punt), Goldust lamely rolled him up with the schoolboy. Clean pin.
I hear voices in my head… The crowd popped about twice as loud for Randy Orton’s music as it had at any other moment in the show thus far. Orton’s out now with a mic in his hand. He says he doesn’t want to wait till SummerSlam – he doesn’t even want to wait until the end of the night. He wants a title shot with Sheamus right now. Sheamus (no mic time for him, sadly enough) was happy to oblige, and the WWE Championship match was underway. You’ve seen these two fight this match before – though it’s still entertaining. After all, these two use my favorite backbreaker variations in the world. Yes, I make lists of things like that in my head. Anyway, after Orton hit his usual moves (minus the delayed DDT, which was countered), he went for an RKO. Sheamus blocked it, then connected with the Brogue Kick and went for the pin. Orton kicked out at two, which sent Sheamus into a pretty epic tantrum. Sheamus eventually rolled out of the ring and grabbed a folding chair, which the referee tried to wrestle away from him. Sheamus shoved the ref out of the way (earning a disqualification), then swung the chair at Orton. Orton ducked the chair, then hit the RKO as the fans absolutely erupted.
Winner (by DQ): Randy Orton
No better time than this to get us to spend our money, right? Jamie Keyes stepped into the spotlight again for a short sales pitch for the merchandise table (including John Cena autographed photos). The Bella Twins emerged once more to fire some t-shirts out of a cannon, then we took a 15-minute intermission.
Coming out of intermission, we got our first and only Divas match of the night. Jillian Hall and Alicia Fox fought Eve Torres and Gail Kim. Gail and Jillian managed the biggest botch of the night – I believe the technical term for the move is “hurricanfuckup.” The end came when Fox missed her scissors kick on Eve, leading to a pin attempt. Jillian broke up the pin, but Fox began berating her for interfering. Jillian eventually got sick of Fox and shoved her toward Eve (who gamely pinned her with our third rollup victory of the night).
Winners: Gail Kim and Eve Torres
The Miz comes out with his Money in the Bank briefcase in hand. He cut the most memorable promo of the night, claiming that he’d originally planned to cash in his title shot tonight, but then realized he’d never want to win his first WWE Championship in Tallahassee. If he had to win the title in Florida, he’d only consider doing so in Gainesville, since that’s the city of champions. (For those from outside the area, Tallahassee is the home of Florida State University, and Gainesville is host to the rival University of Florida). After some unkind comments about Evan Bourne, he finished by admonishing the crowd that they didn’t deserve to say his catchphrase along with him. Silly heels… that never works.
Bourne and Miz followed up with what was (in my opinion) the best match of the night. I was skeptical about Miz’s in-ring skills for a long time, but the newer, more vicious version we’ve seen of him lately (beginning with his assault on R. Truth a few weeks ago) leaves me looking forward to his matches as much as I do his work on the mic. Bourne was, as always, entertaining as hell; he even threw in one pin attempt I don’t recall ever having seen before (I won’t try to describe it – just know that I couldn’t do it without tearing a hamstring). The finish came when Evan had control of the match and went for Air Bourne. Miz brought his knees up at the last second, then won with the clean pin.
Winner: The Miz
The final match of the night was a 3-on-3 tag team contest between the Nexus (represented by Wade Barrett, Skip Sheffield, and David Otunga) against John Cena, Chris Jericho, and John Morrison. If you’ve ever wondered why Vince McMahon loves John Cena so much, you have to see Cena at a house show. All the other established stars play these things at half-speed – by comparison, Cena seems like he must have received a cappuccino enema just before his music hits.
They played up the tension between Jericho and Cena whenever they had the opportunity, but most of the match was spent watching Morrison get pummeled by the Nexus. They used common tag team heel tactics to keep JoMo away from his corner, and it was literally about 7-8 minutes straight of waiting for the hot tag. As someone who’s never been in the ring, it’s tough for me to tell – is Sheffield a little sloppy in the ring, does he work a little stiffer than everyone else, or is he just really good at selling his offense? I noticed this before on some of his clotheslines, but tonight it seemed like everything he did just sounded louder than what everyone else was doing.
Eventually Morrison was able to break away to his corner. Jericho subtly turned away from the corner so that Cena was the only person eligible to be tagged. Cena comes in… you know the deal. Flying shoulderblocks, sit-out suplex, You Can’t See Me! – the whole works. Jericho snuck in behind Cena just like he did on Raw, only this time Cena saw the Codebreaker coming and shoved him away. Cena clotheslined Jericho over the top rope, then knocked out Sheffield while Morrison and Otunga brawled on the outside. He locked Barrett into the STF, and just when it looked like the referee was going to call for the bell, the remaining members of Nexus came sprinting to the ring. They were in control for a few moments, then the faces from tonight’s earlier matches (led by Evan Bourne) all sprinted to the ring to even the score.
Most of Nexus escaped, but the Raw Superstars managed to trap Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater. Yoshi and Khali took turns chopping the Nexus members’ chests (Khali ripped Slater’s shirt off before leaving a huge red handprint on his chest). Then Gabriel took an RKO and Slater got an Attitude Adjustment. Finally, Cena laid Slater’s body on top of Gabriel’s so that the crowd could be sent home on an Air Bourne.
The lights came on, and everyone went home happy. With the exception of us William Regal fans, of course. If you have any questions or comments about the show, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.