Doing something different again this week… and it looks like it’l be every week from now on unless the comments are overwhelmingly negative. 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 the contract signing ended on last week’s Smackdown, with CM Punk not signing the contract and Nash not only getting involved, but also pushing COO-HHH in the process. Possible three-way at Night Of Champions? Seems very probable. Will we see Nash in action? Might CM Punk be given some sort of warm-up match? One way or another, this is certainly the top storyline on the top WWE show, so we’ll find out more about it before the night is over.

Will we find out more about who AIR BOOM will be facing at the pay per view to defend their tag team championships? If it’s Otunga & McGillicutty, it’s going to be serious laziness on WWE Creative’s part… not that it would be the first time WWE Creative booked the same match 5 weeks in a row.

Will the United States Championship situation headed towards Night Of Champions get cleared up? I keep thinking that Dolph Ziggler is going to get a definitive opponent, and although I’m guessing it’s going to be Dolph vs Swagger with the winner getting both the US Title AND the services of Vickie Guerrero, nothing’s set yet.

Let’s look at how things went…

WWE Creative
– starting the show with a CM Punk segment is a good thing, though having him go sideline-to-sideline like Rey Mysterio, looking for applause? Doesn’t seem like his style.
– having the story involve COO-HHH getting backstage security footage from the last pay per view to find out that Nash was the one who sent the text message to himself from The Game’s phone? Ugh.
– having Nash say WWE isn’t big enough for CM Punk AND Kevin Nash, then having COO-HHH side with CM Punk and end up firing Nash? Definitely gave a certain depth to things I wasn’t expecting.
– If Nash really IS fired without having a match with CM Punk? That’ll be a let-down.
– Booking Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali to face the tag team champions in a non-title match? Works well for me on several fronts: they’re a natural team given their storyline, Jinder Mahal hadn’t been used much the past few months despite the hype, it gives Air BOOM a new opponent and it furthers the Mahal / Khali storyline and puts them into a potential position for a pay per view match.
– Using the tag match to further tensions between Mahal and Khali works for me, though I might’ve stretched things out and had it happen on the pay per view in a tag title match after some miscalls and cheating to win here tonight.
– No-brainer booking of Eve Torres vs Beth Phoenix? Did ANYONE have a doubt as to how that one was going to end? Phoenix has been targeting Kelly Kelly, Eve is K2’s best friend, and this match determines the #1 contender to K2’s title? Shaking my head.
– Why wouldn’t COO-HHH announce the No DQ stipulation to his Night Of Champions match during the opening segment, and instead waits until after Punk vs Truth? Shakes my head again.
– Booking Jerry Lawler in a tag match against Otunga and McGillicutty? Haven’t we seen enough of Lawler in the ring this year?
– Putting Zack Ryder as Jerry Lawler’s tag team partner? Works for me.
– Getting Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks and Drew McIntyre all involved in backstage segments? I can dig that.
– Having Zack Ryder be the one to get the pinfall in the match against Otunga and McGillicutty? Definitely works for me.
– Booking Heath Slater against Randy Orton was a worse booking than Eve Torres vs Beth Phoenix in terms of believability. Not having Mark Henry show up AT ALL during (or after) that match? Eye-roll-worthy.
– Having a segment with Zack Ryder and John Cena which gave an under-handed dig at The Rock for wearing sunglasses inside? Decent dig.
– Turning the final segment into a four-on-four elimination tag match? Works for me
– Using the 8-man tag match to also push some tensions with Swagger and Ziggler? They could’ve done more, but it was good enough
Overall Grade: B

WWE Production
– Giving Air BOOM a combined theme song for their entrance was good stuff
– Giving Beth Phoenix pink and black attire? Nice cohesion with Natalya
– Continuously hyping CM Punk vs R-Truth? Time could’ve been better spent.
– Not leting CM Punk stand out by having him wrestle in the short tights instead of letting him return to the long board-shorts in the ring like he uses during the opening segments (and like he used to wrestle in prior to WWE)? Disappointment.
– Zack Ryder’s pre-entrance hype video including some True Long Island Stories video footage and mention of Broski Of The Week? I dig that
Overall Grade: B

CM Punk
– Talking about how he’d rather fight Kevin Nash tonight instead of his scheduled opponent, R-Truth? Saying that he’s not buying any strife between Nash and COO-HHH? Awesome.
– Bringing up Super Shredder, The Longest Yard estrogen pills and the fact that Nash won a world title in 1994 – before Punk could legally drive and the same year Justin Bieber was born? Bonus points. (not that I’m a Justin Bieber fan, but it puts it into perspective)
– Above average match with R-Truth, but mostly because he carried the majority of that match
– Decent interaction with COO-HHH following the match
Overall Grade: A-

Kevin Nash
– Decent mic work in the opening segment, but not anywhere near above-average.
Overall Grade: C

COO-HHH
– Above average mic work in the opening segment.
– Decent mic work in the segment following the Punk / R-Truth match
Overall Grade: B

Jinder Mahal & The Great Khali
– Above average wrestling from Mahal, and passable in-ring work from Khali
Overall Grade: B-

Air BOOM
– Evan Bourne did a decent job taking a beating early on, Kofi looked crisp in his moves, but the match wasn’t long enough for any of them to have great performances.
Overall Grade: B-

Eve Torres
– Above average in-ring work, with only one botched spot from my perspective
Overall Grade: C+

Beth Phoenix
– Above average in-ring work, with only one botched spot from my perspective
Overall Grade: B-

Commentary by Kelly Kelly and Natalya
Overall Grade: D+

Alberto Del Rio
– Decent quick segment with Christian
– GOOD work in the quick segment with Dolph Ziggler
– Refusing to get physically involved with John Cena in the final segment / match? works for me
Overall Grade: B+

The Miz
– Decent job of selling the fact that he wants to be involved in the tag division, working himself into the tag title match at Night Of Champions.
Overall Grade: B+

R-Truth
– Above average promo work prior to his match with CM Punk, working well with The Miz
– Average in-ring work during his match with CM Punk
Overall Grade: B

Jerry Lawler (in-ring)
– Decent in-ring work
Overall Grade: C+

Zack Ryder
– Decent in-ring work
– Decent segment with John Cena backstage
Overall Grade: B

Otunga & McGillicutty
– Above average in-ring work, though there wasn’t much of it
Overall Grade: C+

Dolph Ziggler
– Decent mic work in the segment backstage with Alberto Del Rio
– Decent in-ring work in the main event
Overall Grade: B

Randy Orton
– Nothing special about how he dished out a beating to Heath Slater aside from the fact that he did a decent job in setting up for the elevated DDT by simply shoving Heath Slater’s legs between the ropes from a standing headlock position.
Overall Grade: B-

Heath Slater
– Nothing special about how he took a beating from the World Champion.
Overall Grade: C

John Cena
– decent backstage segment with Zack Ryder, including a dig at The Rock while he was at it
– decent in-ring work in the main event
Overall Grade: B

Jack Swagger
– Good in-ring work during the main event
Overall Grade: B

Christian
– Decent mic work in a segment with Drew McIntyre & Alberto Del Rio
– Decent in-ring work during the main event
Overall Grade: B-

Wade Barrett
– Decent mic work and in-ring work
Overall Grade: C

Sheamus
– Decent in-ring work
Overall Grade: C

John Morrison
– Decent in-ring work
Overall Grade: C

Announcers
– Regretful bickering between Cole and Jim Ross during the Punk / R-Truth match
Overall Grade: C

RAW Overall
– Above average opening segment
– Decent non-title tag match with an acceptible storyline ending
– Average match between Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres
– Decent segment with Alberto Del Rio and Christian
– Decent match between CM Punk and R-Truth
– Decent segment with CM Punk and COO-HHH after the match
– Decent tag match with Otunga, McGillicutty, Lawler and Ryder
– Good segment backstage with Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and The Bella Twins
– Skippable match between Randy Orton and Heath Slater
– Almost funny segment with John Cena and Zack Ryder
– Decent finale to the show with the 8-man elimination tag match
Overall Grade: B-

For another good perspective on tonight’s RAW, check out the RAW Insight article from Nathan, one of GuysNation’s top (and hardest working) analysts!

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