October will have two pay per views in 2010. Three weeks after Hell in a Cell there will be Bragging Rights. Two weeks before Hell in a Cell was Night of Champions. That’s a lot of pay per views in a short period of time when the buy rates are lagging behind the previous year. Personally, I liked the Bragging Rights concept. But I’ll also admit I am probably the only one. They certainly treated the Bragging Rights Match as something important. The commentators mentioned what happened last year, which rarely happens. Everyone who was on a Bragging Rights team took great pride in the matter, mentioning it in promos leading up to the event. The criticism I have of Bragging Rights is that 7-on-7 is far too many people. The match took about a half hour and the excitement for who will win the Bragging Rights Cup may have been hurt by that. Also, all of the build for this match was dominated by Smackdown. Then Smackdown ended up winning the match. Furthermore, the match might have had a better crowd response if Miz’s Team was all heels and Big Show’s team was all face. They really tried selling this concept as best they could. I just don’t know that the fans ever got on board.
Also this month we cover a show that I was actually at! It was the Raw in Green Bay on October 25. I had forgotten most of this show aside from Toby Keith seeming to be in an altered state and Miz getting called frog face by Eve Torres.
Raw trades Edge for CM Punk. This works out great for both of them and each show. Much of what happens on Raw is building towards Bragging Rights or involves the ongoing storyline of Cena and the Nexus. Guest hosts are slowly creeping back into the picture with the kid who is in the movie Knucklehead with Big Show, “Three Sheets to the Wind” Toby Keith, and Pee Wee Herman being on the first Raw of November.
An Escape Clause.
At Hell in a Cell, John Cena faced Wade Barrett. The conditions of the match were of Cena wins, Nexus is finished. If Cena loses, he has to join Nexus. Cena appears to be on his way to victory when two mysterious fans jump out of the crowd. One distracts the referee while the other runs from out of nowhere to nail John Cena with a foreign object. Barrett gets the pin and John Cena now has to join The Nexus. The members of the Cenation were beside themselves. The shots of fans in the crowd really sold the moment. Fans could not accept that this was real. The next night on Raw, John Cena is reluctant inducted into the Nexus. Wade Barrett reveals that the fans who attacked during the match were Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris from NXT Season 2. Barrett has no affiliation with them and barely knows the guys. The Raw Anonymous GM has stepped in for less but I guess he is only interested in interfering with Edge’s business. Cena reads a prepared statement and has to do the bidding of Wade Barrett. His first assignment will be to team with Michael Tarver against Evan Bourne and Mark Henry. Cena leaves Tarver out to dry, purposingly missing the hot tag to sign autographs. Then Cena attacks Michael Tarver and announces he will destroy Nexus from the inside. You can be Nexus and against us. This will close the book on Michael Tarver’s WWE run, for those who are making notes for their GWWE list. The Anonymous Raw GM chimes in and tells Cena if he doesn’t do everything Wade Barrett tells him to, Cena will be fired.
Meanwhile, Bragging Rights is coming up. The Miz declares himself captain. But John Cena loves Raw and is still hurting from their lose to Smackdown last year. He wants to captain Team Raw. So Cena and Miz face each other for the right to captain team Raw. I don’t know when the issues between John Cena and Alex Riley got going behind the scenes. Cena nails Riley in this match and it was a stiff shot. Cena is reliably a very smooth worker. Whatever can be said about John Cena, his in ring work looks very good 99% of the time. I have never seen John Cena hit anyone as hard as he hit Riley for their spot in this match. McGillicutty and Harris interfere once more, the Miz gets the win, and Cena will be left off Team Raw.
Wade Barrett has other plans for John Cena at Bragging Rights. The most important is that Cena will be in Wade Barrett’s corner for his WWE Title Match against Randy Orton. If Wade Barrett does not win this match, Cena will be fired. Additionally, Cena is told to team on the spot with David Otunga to face Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes for the WWE Tag Titles. Cena wins the Tag Titles without ever tagging in Otunga, not doing McIntyre and Rhodes any favors. Wade Barrett squares off with Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. The match was okay and ends with Barrett winning by disqualification when Cena attacks. John Cena tried making everyone happy and all he got was an RKO for his efforts.
John Cena’s had enough of taking Wade Barrett’s orders and the next night on Raw, he doesn’t much care if he gets fired anymore. Wade Barrett makes him an attractive offer though. On that Raw in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which I was at, John Cena faced Randy Orton. At Survivor Series, Wade Barrett will get a rematch with Randy Orton. If Orton wins this particular match, he will get to pick the special referee for the title rematch. If Cena wins, Barrett gets to pick the referee. Cena and Orton are having a pretty good match when Barrett interferes, giving the win to John Cena. Barrett declares John Cena will be the referee for his WWE Championship Match against Randy Orton at Survivor Series. If Barrett loses, Cena is fired. But if Barrett wins, John Cena will be relieved of his duties to the Nexus.
For as much criticism that WWE has received for dropping the ball on the Nexus storyline, watching it play out 12 years later, a few things are clear to me. Wade Barrett has two Main Event level matches on Pay Per View against John Cena and Randy Orton this month. While Barrett was no doubt talented, I don’t feel he was ready to be put in this position. Like Sheamus and Jack Swagger, this was rushed to creative a new top heel fast. These matches don’t feel like Main Event quality matches. The stories are built well enough going into each match. But the matches felt like they could have been on Raw. There is no substitution for time. You took a guy from FCW to NXT Season 1 to main eventing pay per views in 10 months. That’s a lot to adjust to in a very short time.
The Pride of Monday Nights.
As previously mentioned, The Miz best John Cena to become the Captain of Team Raw with some help from Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty. The Anonymous Raw GM makes matches for various people to qualify for the Raw Bragging Rights team. Bare in mind that the Anonymous Raw GM is eventually revealed to be Hornswoggle, who is also the mascot for Team Smackdown. So Hornswoggle is really playing both sides against each other here. Miz gets to hand pick one wrestler for his team and he chooses Ezekiel Jackson. The last time we saw Zeke was in a vignette on Smackdown. That was right after WrestleMania and I’m the only person who remembers that so I’ll be a bit forgiving. It’s a good way to reintroduce a character.
CM Punk isn’t as fortunate as Ezekiel Jackson, he has to earn his spot on Team Raw. Punk beats Evan Bourne to get on Team Raw on Punk’s first night back on Raw. He won’t let go of the Anaconda Vice and Evan Bourne will be out with a torn rotator cuff for a lengthy amount of time. To set the table for Bragging Rights, Team Raw shows up on the go home episode of Smackdown. Punk gets paired up against Edge, who he was trade to Raw for. They have a very good match. Edge wins by DQ when Miz and Alex Riley interfere and attack the Rated R Superstar. After Bragging Rights, CM Punk provides commentary for a match between Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler. Just to scout talent, naturally. We will see what fruit this bares.
John Morrison earns his spot on Team Raw defeating Tyson Kidd. DH Smith was no where to be seen, hinting that their may be problems within the Hart Dynasty. Morrison defends the honor of Raw on the Raw vs Smackdown go home for Bragging Rights against Alberto Del Rio in a losing effort. After Bragging Rights, John Morrison stands up for Santino Morella as he gets bullied by Sheamus.
R Truth defeats Ted DiBiase Jr to earn his spot on Team Raw. Truth spends a good amount of the month comforting John Cena as he is forced to do the bidding of the Nexus.
Santino Marella defeats Zack Ryder to join Team Raw. Tamina runs down to the ring after the match and manhandles Santino to celebrate his big win. Santino faces Jack Swagger on Smackdown as a preview for Bragging Rights. After Bragging Rights, Santino gets bullied by Sheamus into facing The Celtic Warrior in a match. Santino pulls off an upset thanks to help from John Morrison.
Speaking of Sheamus, he joins Team Raw with a victory over Daniel Bryan, much to the delight of Michael Cole. I’ve already mentioned where he is heading after Bragging Rights. Sheamus has had a hell of a year. He finds himself in yet again in another main event level match. I have a lot more faith in a program with Sheamus and Morrison being profitable than Sheamus and Santino. Also, this is the first televised Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan match. That will have an interesting history going forward.
Million Dollar Baby.
Goldust has stole the Million Dollar Championship from Ted DiBiase Jr. Additionally, his Season 3 NXT diva, Aksana, has been accompanying The Bizarre One to the ring. Aksana is apparently having some visa issues. So to keep her in the country, Goldust proposes marriage. Goldust and Aksana get married on NXT, which is pretty much the only thing interesting that happened on NXT this month. Ted Jr is still breaking up with Maryse. They have been arguing for months now. At Bragging Rights, Ted DiBiase Jr faces Goldust and hopes to recapture his Million Dollar Title belt. Ted Jr wins the match but Goldust gets away with the belt. The match isn’t much but its nice to see Goldust on Pay Per View for the first time all year. I like the pairing of him and Aksana. It is somewhat reminiscent of Goldust and Marlene, however by 2010 you couldn’t smoke cigars in most arenas.
Closing a Chapter.
It’s worth mentioning that at Hell in a Cell, The Miz faces Daniel Bryan and John Morrison in a Submissions Count Anywhere Match. I don’t recall this stipulation existing in any other match. Daniel Bryan gets the win but the match feels like a big moment for The Miz. He is in the match against two of his biggest rivals up to this point in his career. And while he loses, Miz is moving on to bigger things in his career. For the moment, he leaves these two rivals behind and ends that part of his career with a very good match. More on what Daniel Bryan does this month later.
The Blue Brand is similarly tied down in Bragging Rights matters. On October 1st, Smackdown debuts on the SyFy Channel. This sets the table for Hell in a Cell. They pack the show with the biggest stars from Raw and Smackdown, really trying to build interest in Smackdown moving to a new network. John Cena makes a rare appearance on the show, the Nexus shows up as well. Edge calls Jack Swagger and the Swagger Soaring Eagle stupid which turns Edge face. Shortly thereafter, Edge gets traded to Smackdown for CM Punk. Smackdown invades Raw before Bragging Rights, creating some crossover matches and a cross brand Battle Royal. We get to see some faces that are rarely seen on TV like JTG and Chavo Guerrero. Smackdown dominates the cross brand competition then wins the Bragging Rights match. They really want to remove the perception that Smackdown is the B Show.
Big Show gets named the Captain of Team Smackdown. His first order of business is the appoint Hornswoggle the mascot for Team Smackdown. Also, the Dude Busters ask to be on the team and get a double chokeslam for their trouble.
Kofi Kingston gets on Team Smackdown with a win over Drew McIntyre. The match is a little disappointing. On the go home edition of Smackdown heading into Bragging Rights, Kofi teams with The Big Show and Rey Mysterio to defeat the Raw team of Miz, Ezekiel Jackson, and Sheamus.
Jack Swagger defeats MVP to punch his ticket for Bragging Rights. MVP ends up nailing the Soaring Eagle at some point during the match and its very enjoyable. I think a lot of people are missing the point of Jack Swagger having a mascot. It’s like when you see a silly looking mascot on a college team get run over by a full back barreling out of bounds. You’re not supposed to like the mascot.
Kaval desperately wants to be on Team Smackdown. Big Show says if Kaval can last 5 minutes against him, Kaval will be on the team. Kaval survives and wins the respect of the Big Show. But Kaval is about to get run over by the Reks Express. Newcomer Tyler Reks comes out to the ring and challenges Kaval for his spot on Team Smackdown. Even though he just went 5 minutes with The Big Show, Kaval accepts. Kaval puts up a good fight but its not enough and Tyler Reks gets a win in his Smackdown debut. I guess you make a new breakout star by having him lose all the time to newcomers and thrid stringers like Chavo Guerrero.
Alberto Del Rio wins a match with Chris Masters to join Team Smackdown. Del Rio defeats John Morrison in a match leading up to Bragging Rights. It was going pretty well and I think they could have done better. In the Bragging Rights match, Alberto Del Rio attacks Rey Mysterio, reinjuring Rey’s shoulder and getting him carted to the back for the bulk of the match. Rey gets a measure of revenge when he shakes off his injury and attacks ADR after Del Rio gets eliminated. After Bragging Rights, Alberto Del Rio is in a Triple Threat Match against Rey Mysterio and Edge to determine the Number One contender at Survivor Series. Del Rio even interrupts Kane while delivering an eulogy for The Undertaker. Ultimately, Edge wins the match and will go on to face Kane.
Rey Mysterio returns from injury on the SyFy debut of Smackdown, attacking Richardo Rodriguez and running off Alberto Del Rio. The next week, Rey gets a big win against Del Rio, getting some payback for Del Rio putting him on the shelf. To qualify for the Bragging Rights team, Rey defeats Cody Rhodes. The Bragging Rights match was a really well told story for Rey and would be a bug moment for him if this concept had been better received. Rey comes back from an injury suffered during the match to get back at the man who injured him and help Edge win the match in the face of impossible odds. It’s beautifully simple and the way it came together, it really felt like Team Smackdown earned their victory. As mentioned before, Rey will be on the losing end of a Number One Contenders Triple Threat Match against Edge and Alberto Del Rio. We will see what the future holds for Rey in November.
Edge shows up on the SyFy debut of Smackdown to call Jack Swagger and his eagle stupid. Edge faces Jack Swagger in an impromptu match at Hell in a Cell. When Edge returns to Smackdown following the trade, he beats Swagger again and gets a warm reception from the Smackdown fans. He turns face without really doing much other than insulting Jack Swagger. The Smackdown crowd was ready to embrace Edge. Edge qualifies for Team Smackdown in a match against Dolph Ziggler, one of the better matches all month. Smackdown invades Raw on 10/18. Big Show and Edge are the winners in a cross brand Battle Royal. Edge beats CM Punk in an excellent match on Smackdown that builds towards Bragging Rights. Bragging Rights is a great moment for The Rated R Superstar. While Big Show may have been the Captain, when the match started it felt like Edge was the leader of the team. Edge takes the biggest beating from Team Raw. He struggles to hold on and try to find a way to pull this out even though it doesn’t look good. Edge gets the hot tag to Alberto Del Rio who gets eliminated quickly. Del Rio doesn’t seem to care much and Edge has to get back in the ring facing a 3-on-1 disadvantage. Then Rey Mysterio runs out and creams Del Rio. Rey hops on the apron and Edge struggles to get the tag. When he does, Rey is on fire and taking it to Team Raw. Rey might get foiled though because Alex Riley sacrifices himself to save Miz from a 619. But Edge digs down deep and spears Miz to secure the win. The match is worth a watch to see the storytelling in the ring but it is a painful half hour match with 14 people. After Bragging Rights, Edge wins a Triple Threat Match to become the number one contender. It’s not my job to rebook things but this year would look a lot better on Smackdown if Edge had just been the top babyface since Royal Rumble. The Kane vs Undertaker feud really didn’t need the World Heavyweight Championship at the center things.
Best Month Ever.
Kane starts the month heading into a Hell in a Cell Match. Things look grim as Undertaker has brought back Paul Bearer to help put an end to Kane. During the course of the match, Paul Bearer gets in the cell. He turns on The Undertaker and hands the win to Kane. Paul Bearer must still be holding a grudge for Undertaker burying him in cement years ago when Uncle Paul was last on TV. The final chapter of the Undetaker vs Kane feud takes up a great amount of time on Smackdown. Mostly they duel promos back and forth. It’s not bad. As good as it ever was. There just isn’t a lot to say about it. Undertake vows to bury Kane alive. Kane vows to destroy the Dead Man once and for all. This leads to a Buried Alive Match at Bragging Rights. The match is most a walk around brawl. Not their best effort but the match was what it needed to be. Eventually, for unknown reasons, Nexus attacks The Undertaker, helping Kane win the match and bury The Undertaker Alive. Next month, Kane will be facing Edge. For the moment though, Kane is on top of the world.
On the 10/18 Raw, Smackdown invades Raw. Dolph Ziggler comes down to the ring to tell Raw what the Intercontinental Champion thinks of their show. In October, his relationship with Vickie Guerrero is getting dicey as Vicki’s NXT Rookie Kaitlyn is showing Dolph some attention. That isn’t particularly interesting. What is interesting is that Daniel Bryan interrupts Dolph and challenges him to a US Champion vs Intercontinental Champion match st Bragging Rights. At Bragging Rights, Dolph and Bryan have the best match of the month. The next night on Raw, they have a rematch, which Bryan wins again with a little controversy. On Smackdown to end the month, they have the match a third time to diminishing returns and another controversial win for Daniel Bryan. I said five years ago that Dolph Ziggler basically has a good match with everyone. Anyone who works at this period of time probably has a good match with Dolph Ziggler in their cannon somewhere. Daniel Bryan is no exception. But a bad habit they have with Dolph Ziggler is to constantly rematch him with people and the matches don’t necessarily get any better. His constant matches with Kofi in the summer became like the sound of white noise. I hope the same thing doesn’t happen with him and Bryan going forward.
Who cares? Seriously. If you can watch this show, then good for you. It’s a grind and very little of interest happens. Bad wrestling, bad promos, corny competitions, corny segments. Nothing on this show will help you with your Top 100 list.
- Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler. Bragging Rights 2010.
- Daniel Bryan vs The Miz vs John Morrison. Triple Threat Submissions Count Anywhere Match. Hell in a Cell 2010.
- Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler. Raw. 10/25/10.
- Edge vs Dolph Ziggler. Smackdown. 10/15/10.
- Alberto Del Rio vs Rey Mysterio. Smackdown. 10/8/10.
- Edge vs CM Punk. Smackdown. 10/22/10.
- Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus. Raw. 10/11/10.
- Randy Orton vs Sheamus. Hell in a Cell 2010.
- MVP vs Dolph Ziggler. Smackdown. 10/8/10.
- Randy Orton vs Justin Gabriel. Raw. 10/11/10.
- Kane vs Randy Orton. 10/22/10.
- Undertaker vs Kane. Hell in a Cell Match. Hell in a Cell.
- Team Raw vs Team Smackdown. Bragging Rights 2010.
- Alberto Del Rio vs Rey Mysterio vs Edge. Number One Contenders Triple Threat Match. Smackdown. 10/29/10.