I seriously thought about ditching the column today, in light of the horror show that was Monday Night Raw. It was a three-hour, “viewer’s choice” edition, hosted by the stars of the new “A-Team” movie. I was psyched for the bonus hour, but skeptical that the members of the WWE Universe would have much real say in what was presented in the ring.
Among the gems offered over the first two hours-plus: a dance off between Vladimir Kozlov and Santino Marella, a Divas Battle Royal, and a match between sling-wearing Randy Orton and Edge who had to wrestle with one arm tied behind his back. And let’s not forget about a skit involving Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Rampage Jackson who stars as BA Baracus in the A-Team” movie. The only purpose it served was to make poor “Hot Rod” look like a crazy, old man who thought it was still 1985 (think back to the main event of the inaugural Wrestlemania and you’ll figure out where that was going).
We have no right to complain, though. We chose the stipulations by voting throughout the show on WWE.com. No way that WWE-creative would present a stinkfest like this on its own, right?
Then, during the main event between WWE Heavyweight Champ John Cena and CM Punk (accompanied to the ring, as always by the S.E.S.), something that defied all logic happened. And for the next 15 minutes, I couldn’t believe what transpired.
During the match, the winner of the first season of “NXT,” Wade Barrett appeared and slowly walked to the ring, distracting Cena. Simultaneously, the eight eliminated “NXT” rookies emerged from the crowd and without warning, attacked the S.E.S. and CM Punk.
Cena was now in the middle of the ring alone as the rookies climbed up the ring apron and surrounded him. As they slowly entered the ring, this was where I was expecting “Super-Cena” to clean house. Oh, he tried…but after a few seconds, the rookies were beating him down in the ring. Eventually, they were able to subdue Cena, but they weren’t done.
The rookies began to lay waste to everything and everyone in their path. They destroyed the barrier at ringside, the announce table, and all of the furniture. Among those on the business-end of beatdowns were Jerry “The King” Lawler, Matt Striker, ring announcer Justin Roberts (who was choked out with his own tie)… even the timekeeper wasn’t spared.
They weren’t done, though. After smashing everything outside the ring, they tore apart the ring itself. The canvas was pulled up to expose the plywood, the ropes were loosened from the posts…in short, it looked like a warzone.
The rookies then turned their attention back to Cena who was still lying in the ring. They repeatedly clotheslined him, punching and kicking him. Daniel Bryan picked him up at one point screaming, “I’m better than you!” before spitting in Cena’s face. CM Punk tried to counterattack at one point, but was quickly overpowered again.
Then, after 15 minutes of destruction, the rookies left without a word. The cameras did a great job of panning the entire floor to show the damage and the shocked look on the faces of those in the audience. With no announcers left standing, we were left wondering what had just occurred. The show ended with Cena being stabilized by paramedics and wheeled out of the arena on a stretcher.
There were obviously a number of questions raised. What was the significance of the armbands with the letter “N” that all of the rookies were wearing? Why did even the rookies who were clearly faces during “NXT” such as Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater take part in the attack? How come none of the other wrestlers emerged from the locker room to help?
I hope that this isn’t the explanation for what happened to the Undertaker, if only because it would be too easy and quick of an answer. Perhaps the “NXT rookies” are forming some sort of a faction, a-la the NWO from WCW.
SmackDown gave us the beginnings of a great storyline last Friday, and Raw has a lot of people buzzing today for the same reason. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the coming weeks.
The “Busted Open” radio show with Pete Copeland, Dave La Greca, and Doug Mortman covers the world of Professional Wrestling…Mondays and Wednesdays from 2-4PM, on Sirius 126/XM 243.
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Written by Pete Copeland