I'm torn on tonight's episode of Raw as it did some things very well, others not as well, and the rest was just typical Raw bullshit. As always, any lack of a guest host is a good thing.
* The opening with Vince, Sheamus, and John Cena was strong. Vince is always good on the mic, but Sheamus really won me over. Michelle wasn't in the living room for the first bit of the show and came in asking what I was laughing at so hard. The answer: Sheamus and his little 'I don't want to win the title like that' fake-out. His delivery was very strong and shows he's really growing. I don't mind him as WWE Champion right now at all.
* I oddly hope that the anonymous General Manager is Triple H. For some reason, I'm very keen on the idea of Trips as GM to play up his McMahon connection (why not since it's common knowledge since that feud with Orton last year...), allow him to stay out of the ring somewhat, and keep him out of the title picture for the most part. That made me think that Vice was going to screw Sheamus out of the belt in the main event as payback for what he did to Trips back at Extreme Rules. But, this story is intriguing. I wonder if this is the last we'll see of Bret Hart. Probably not, but it would be weird if it were.
* Chris Jericho and Evan Bourne put on the best Raw match in a long time. The added stipulation that Jericho would leave the WWE if he lost had me genuinely worried since there are rumours of issues between Jericho and Vince backstage over Jericho hosting that Downfall gameshow (despite Jericho getting permission ahead of time). But, he and Bourne really put on a good show. Jericho won in a very Jericho fashion (outsmarting his opponent), while Bourne looked good in the process. After the match, Jericho helping Bourne up only to shove him back down was fantastic -- Bourne's reaction was great; he looked like he was about to cry. Raw was off to a very good start.
* Then, we got a taste of Natalya and Tamina in the ring and FINALLY some Divas that can actually wrestle. It's been far too long since we saw Natalya in the ring. I don't mind it too much when I think of the matches she's had with other Divas where she's obviously moving in slow motion so they can keep up. Sadly, we only got a taste of this before the NXT (or, it looks like, Nexus) guys came out.
* That Nexus promo was weak. The apologies were just awful, especially the over-the-top apology to the kids and parents. Wade Barrett's bit was the only good part.
* The Miz getting involved with the Edge/Randy Orton feud is interesting. Are Edge and Miz allies or did it just work out that way?
* Zack Ryder is a little mystifying regarding any push, but, as I told Michelle, he's easy to remember -- and standing out at all is half the battle. In the ring, his match with Morrison was average.
* The Cena/Sheamus match was solid. Not sure about Cena being so knocked about because of being thrown into the steps. That didn't fit exactly with what we've seen. The Nexus beatdown was just odd and tame compared to what we've seen. They teased Vince as the man behind it and, thankfully, didn't go in that direction. That final bit was a little too drawn out for me. It wasn't tense, it was boring.
All in all, the show started well, dragged in the middle, and had a small recovery at the end. Hopefully, we'll see more matches of the Jericho/Bourne calibre on Raw in the future, but I wouldn't bet on it.
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