Doing something different tonight… possibly something we’ll be doing each week. Because so many others have decided to try their hand at live-blog reactionary articles during the flagship Monday Night show, I’m not going to go segment by segment, match by match tonight. What I’m going to do is to list each performer who’s involved in the show – each wrestler, Diva, announcer and manager – and I’ll give them a grade on their involvement in the show.

Sometimes a low grade might be their fault. Sometimes it might be how they’re booked. Doesn’t matter, a grade is a grade. Lobby with your comments if you’d like, and maybe I’ll take it under consideration.

Tonight could be interesting, given the way last week ended with COO-HHH being duped by SOMEONE into trying to track down Kevin Nash at a hospital… though we don’t know who that person is going to have been who started the rumor. Could’ve been Laurinitis, could’ve been someone else who TOLD John Laurinitis to report it to COO-HHH… either way, I’m sure we’ll find out more about that tonight.

Will the tag champs be involved? Kofi and Bourne could not only use a team name, but they could use an opponent for the upcoming pay per view… and I wouldn’t just assume that it’s going to be Otunga and McGillicutty.

Will the United States Championship situation headed towards Night Of Champions get cleared up?

Let’s look at how things went…

WWE Creative
– ending the brand split? Really? That’s not a good idea….
– Kevin Nash being the one who lied to COO-HHH? Lame. Much better options.
– Trying to have us believe that Kevin Nash got a LUCRATIVE, GUARANTEED contract without the COO knowing about it
– Having Randy Orton interrupt the end of the opening segment? Ugh…
– Booking Dolph Ziggler vs Randy Orton? Decent, because it made Ziggler look like a star… albeit he lost
– Giving Mark Henry a chance to step up to John Cena to elevate his status? Works for me, especially because they’re letting him try a “Hall Of Pain” catchphrase
– Having Christian show up during the Mark Henry / John Cena segment? Seriously, what could he POSSIBLY have to gain from angering Mark Henry the day before he gets a World Championship match
– Booking The Miz into a match with CM Punk one-on-one when they clearly setup The Miz to be paired with R-Truth last week… is forgiven because R-Truth made a run-in. Squashing the run-in by having CM Punk eventually come out on top before Nash got involved? Meh.
– Good continuation of things between Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger… and it didn’t even have to include Alex Riley
– Booking the same tag match three weeks in a row does NOT make it a feud
– Kofi and Evan Bourne getting a tag team name to go with their tag titles and somewhat matching ring attire = good
– Having Otunga pick a fight with Lawler? I’ll give it a free pass tonight, so long as it doesn’t continue for any comparable length of time to Lawler vs Michael Cole…
– Yet ANOTHER Bella Twin vs Kelly Kelly match
– Decent little backstage cut-in promo with Natalya & Beth Phoenix during the Diva match helped push the angle, especially because they pointed out that the Bellas were just as much a part of the problem
– not having Kelly Kelly continue to OWN the Bella Twins was a good choice
Overall Grade: C

WWE Production
– using the nWo theme for Kevin Nash? I dig that.
– someone letting Kevin Nash wear that black and yellow striped shirt? Not a good idea
– someone forgetting to burst the pyro for Kofi Kingston? Fail.
– someone forgot to give the other Bella Twin that cape thing for their entrance
– whoever picked out the outfit for Beth Phoenix gets BIG points. Never before have I considered her as attractive as I did tonight. I might even say HOT.
– the hype video for the Randy Orton DVD actually made me want to get that DVD
– the King Of Kings facemask on a stand in the backstage office of COO-HHH
Overall Grade: C+

Kevin Nash
– Decent promo skills, poor choice of attire for the opening segment
– Decent powerbomb of CM Punk… though it took him an hour to get into the ring
Overall Grade: B-

– good promo skills acting like he feels betrayed by his good buddy Kevin Nash
– inserting himself into a match at Night Of Champions with CM Punk? I should blame this on WWE Creative, but I’m having trouble disassociating it….
Overall Grade: B-

CM Punk
– GREAT involvement in the opening promo, including all the click/Kliq references
– Good non-verbal reactions to the pre-match rant by The Miz and a great mocking of The Miz when the match got started
– Good match against The Miz
– Decent non-reaction of the Night Of Champions booking change
Overall Grade: A

Randy Orton
– Good job at selling the fact that he was nearly going to get counted out, and at the last moment he gets back into the ring without having it look like he got a burst of energy
– Great job hitting the bricks when he charged right into that side thrust-kick from Dolph Ziggler when he was looking to setup for the punt
– Great final sequence with the sleeperhold, reversal, pancake drop, bouncing up into the RKO
Overall Grade: A-

Dolph Ziggler
– Great match against Randy Orton
– Great final sequence with the sleeperhold, reversal, pancake drop, bouncing up into the RKO
– Decent work with the run-in distraction during Sin Cara vs Jack Swagger
Overall Grade: A-

Vickie Guerrero
– Decent job with the interference halfway through the match
Overall Grade: C+

Jack Swagger
– Looked menacing backstage while he watched the Ziggler / Orton match… when he probably should’ve tried to seem interested and happy to see Ziggler having to face Randy Orton. Redeemed himself a bit at the end of the match
– Decent match with Sin Cara
Overall Grade: B-

Michael Cole
– Not too annoying in his occasional schilling for Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero, for whom he’s usually shameless
– Continuing to be toned-down during the Punk v Miz match
Overall Grade: B-

Jim Ross
– Decent work of recapping what happened last week with Ziggler / Vickie Guerrero / Jack Swagger
– Above average announe job the entire night
Overall Grade: B

Jerry Lawler
– Decent job talking about managers from WWE seasons past
– Didn’t sound fake when he said that the Orton / Ziggler match was a great one
– Seems a half-step slow and a little tired in his commentary
Overall Grade: C-

John Cena
– Using the catchphrase “if you want some, come get some!” got a laugh out of me
– the potty humor needs to stop
– no points awarded for executing 5 Moves Of Doom after getting a hot tag
Overall Grade: C

Mark Henry
– he used that “Hall of Pain” catchphrase
– did a good job of acting like, for a minute, he thought he could take on Sheamus AND John Cena at the same time
– during his entrance for the main event, the look on his face was like he knew he didn’t belong in the main event of RAW… or like someone had killed his dog
– working the ribs of Sheamus? points any time you use psychology
– Decent agility shown as he basically dove out of the ring through the middle ropes
Overall Grade: B

– he rushed that ring and looked ready to stand beside John Cena to fight Mark Henry
– selling that rib injury? nice work
Overall Grade: B

– decent mic work in the segment with Cena
– at least the look on his face during his entrance said “I belong in this main event”
– escaping onto the apron when John Cena ran into the ring during the main event entrance while Mark Henry confidently stands in the ring? True to character
– working the ribs of Sheamus? points any time you use psychology
Overall Grade: B+

John Laurinitis
– not a good job on the mic in “making the main event tag match”
Overall Grade: C-

The Miz
– Decent match against CM Punk… though it was mostly because of Punk
Overall Grade: B

– decent job during the run-in
Overall Grade: C

Sin Cara
– great in-ring work against Jack Swagger
Overall Grade: B

Michael McGillicutty
– Good work when he was in the ring
Overall Grade: B

Evan Bourne
– Great work of selling for McGillicutty & Otunga
Overall Grade: A-

Kofi Kingston
– Great in-ring work
Overall Grade: A-

David Otunga
– Wasn’t terrible in the ring…
– decent work getting into Lawler’s face after the match
Overall Grade: B-

Kelly Kelly
– Decent job taking a loss
Overall Grade: B-

Bella Twins
– the choice of offense for the Bellas, keeping it simple with kicks and hair pulling, was smart
Overall Grade: B

Natalya & Beth Phoenix
– Decent little backstage cut-in promo during the Diva match helped push the angle, and the ladies sold it well, though they could use a little more promo work
Overall Grade: B-

RAW Overall
– Decent COO-HHH / CM Punk / Kevin Nash storyline throughout the night
– Good Orton vs Ziggler match
– Decent Punk vs Miz match
– Unfortunate Bella Twin v Kelly Kelly match… albeit with a decent outcome and a decent cut-in
– Good performance by Sin Cara,though the match was almost a throw-away
– Main Event was alright but not surprising
– Above average tag match… for a RAW
Overall Grade for RAW: B+

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