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Raw: Vince inserts himself into the NXT saga
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


No titles were safe at Fatal 4-Way on Sunday night. And so far, no one seems safe from the NXT alumni, as they continued their assault on established WWE wrestlers at the event as well. Will the angry rookies show up tonight in Bridgeport, Connecticut? I wouldnít bet against it.

The music that starts off tonightís show means weíll be hearing from one person who hasnít said anything about the NXT invasion so far: Mr. McMahon. Vince struts his way to the ring and tells the crowd that all of the blame for whatís been going on lies at the feet of GM Bret Hart. To that end, McMahon says the Hitmanís services will no longer be required. In other words, heís fired. Vince has a new GM already picked out, but perhaps to avoid becoming a target in his own right (or her own right?), the replacement will remain anonymous, issuing orders via email to Michael Cole. Thatís different. Cole receives his first instructions, which are to announce that all of the NXTers have been officially hired on the condition that they explain themselves to the WWE Universe tonight. While everyone digests the news, new WWE Champion Sheamus makes his way to the ring with an anguished look on his face. The Celtic Warrior says that he won the belt with help from NXT interference, and he canít accept the title under those conditions... but then he smiles and says heís going to anyway. He thanks the rookies for their assistance but reasons that he would have won the match anyway. Someone who disagrees, former champ John Cena, makes his way to the ring for a personal retort. Cena mostly sarcastically thanks Vince, the new mystery GM and Sheamus, and explains that heís still in a good mood because he gets a rematch. Why not here in Bridgeport? Sheamus respectfully declines, but Cole receives another message saying that not only will Cenaís wish be granted, but McMahon will be the special referee to ensure no one interferes. Because Vince can take on all seven of those guys by himself or something.

Match 1 Ė Evan Bourne vs. Chris Jericho

Though Bourne defeated Jericho on Sunday, CJ says he asked for a rematch. And if he loses, heíll leave the WWE forever and bounce from one prime time network game show hosting gig to another. Alright, I made that last part up. Bourne controls the early action, but Jericho has himself back in it after a commercial break. He tries for the Walls of Jericho only to have Bourne counter with a DDT for a near fall. They trade moves until Jericho gets the Walls properly applied. Bourne strains and just makes it to the ropes. He launches into an Airbourne but is met with raised knees. Jericho connects with the Codebreaker and gets the three count to remain on the WWE roster.

Vince is on the phone with the GM, explaining that while he likes surprises, he doesnít like those that include him. In the locker room, Ted DiBiase apologizes to Virgil, but then adds that his services are no longer required. In other words, heís also fired. DiBiase has upgraded to Maryse, and Virgil is free to return to hitting the comic book and sci-fi convention circuit to try to get people to pay for his autograph. Somehow Iíve been able to resist the temptation so far.

Josh Mathews catches up with Natalya and the Hart Dynasty, who arenít too happy about Uncle Bret getting the bumís rush. Natalya gets a chance to take out some frustration on Tamina later tonight. Outside the arena, a limo pulls up, but we donít get to see whoís inside.

Match 2 Ė Natalya (with the Hart Dynasty) vs. Tamina (with the Uso Brothers)

This match never really gets going as the NXT Seven hit the ring area. Tyson Kidd goes flying to the outside and David Hart Smith tries to help him, but the Dynasty is hopelessly outnumbered and gets no help from the back.

On behalf of the whole group, David Otunga apologizes for the ongoing attacks. He explains that they did it because they love the WWE so much that they were willing to do anything to get contracts. Now that they have them, they hope to be regular members of the roster. Heath Slater says they never intended the attacks to be personal, and Justin Gabriel says they hope Bret Hart is doing okay. He also apologizes to Kidd and Smith, claiming that they had to defend themselves tonight. Darren Young says heís sorry to Cena, but since they had to make an impact, they figured they might as well target the top guy in the company. Skip Sheffield apologizes to the fans, especially the kids and parents they may have scared. Michael Tarver singles out his own kids for an apology, telling them not to follow their fatherís example but also saying anyone in the same position would have done the same thing. Wrapping up, Wade Barrett says that while he already had a contract sewed up, he chose to stand with the other six out of a sense of loyalty. With his pay-per-view title shot also restored, Barrett warns Sheamus that they can just as easily target him as they did Cena. That was a pretty thorough apology. Regular SLAM! Wrestling Raw reporter Dale Plummer was pretty much the only person they left out, but Iím sure that was just an oversight.

Match 3 Ė John Morrison (with Eli Cottonwood) vs. Ted DiBiase (with Maryse)

Who is picking the names for the NXT rookies this season? The first season guys have perfectly fine ring names, but some of them in Season 2 are horrible. Itís hard to see wrestlers with names like Eli Cottonwood and Lucky Cannon ever getting over. In any case, DiBiase says he has, ahem, better things to do, so he introduces a ďsuitable replacementĒ in the form of Zack Ryder, accompanied by his rookie, Titus OíNeill. I canít recap all of the match action because I canít wrap my head around Ryderís goofy one-legged tights. Suffice it to say that when Ryder looks for the Rough Ryder, Morrison counters it with a power bomb and hits Starship Pain to get the win.

Mathews stops Cena and asks him for his opinion on the NXT apology. John says every action has a reaction, and even though they said the attacks werenít personal, he isnít accepting the apology. Vince also drops in, telling Cena neither he nor Sheamus will have any excuses tonight.

Match 4 Ė Eve Torres and the Great Khali vs. Alicia Fox and Primo

The ladies wrestle each other pretty hard, which is fine with Primo, who clearly wants no part of Khali. When things turn bad for Fox, she tags Primo in and abandons him. The end comes shortly thereafter via the Punjabi Plunge.

Randy Orton has asked for some microphone time, and heís getting it now. Heís okay with the NXTers getting contracts, because that means itís only a matter of time before he gets to punt each one of them in the head. He accepts Barrettís apology and says he hopes Wade ends up as champion so he can be the one to take the belt away. Further thoughts from Orton are cut off by the arrival of The Miz, who says heís sick of seeing Randy get title shots and main event slots over and over. Instead, he suggests people want to see him become the first person to hold the WWE and U.S. Championships at the same time. Because heís The Miz, and heís... Miz finishes that thought by assaulting Orton. Randy eventually rallies and sends his attacker scurrying form the ring. That allows Edge to sneak in from the other side and plant Orton with a spear. According to Edge, ďNow the real fun begins, Randy.Ē Ooh, ominous!

Main Event Ė John Cena (challenger) vs. Sheamus (champion) Ė WWE Championship Match with special guest referee Vince McMahon

Sheamus takes it right to Cena, beating him down with punches and kicks and scoring several quick near falls. The beating continues through one final commercial break until Cena finally powers out of a hold on the apron. A double clothesline follows that leaves both men down. Once they rise, Sheamus counters an Attitude Adjustment with a powerslam and covers twice, getting two each time. Cena dodges a big boot and slams the champ down to receive the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Sheamus blocks another Attitude Adjustment and hits the Irish Curse for two. The champ tries for the Celtic Cross, but Cena rolls under him and applies the STF, forcing Sheamus to crawl to the ropes. The battle moves outside, where Cena is thrown into the steps twice. Sheamus drags him back in and hits his running bicycle kick, but he canít make the cover because the NXT Seven swarm the ring. Sheamus shows discretion is the better part of valor and escapes into the crowd. Cena isnít so lucky, as he gets thrown over the announce table and buried underneath it. Vince invites the NXTers into the ring, taking credit for their actions and suggesting he was behind the invasion all along. McMahon claims the new GM will reveal something next week, but he stops when he notices all of the Seven are staring at him. They smile as if they were just kidding, and Vince chuckles nervously, saying they had him going there. But as he begins talking again, Barrett nods, and the NXTers surround McMahon. One dramatic pause later, a seven-on-one beatdown commences. Sheffield nails McMahon with a big clothesline and Barrett follows with the Wasteland. Gabriel goes up top and delivers a splash, and the show ends with McMahon out cold in the ring and the NXTers triumphant. I know itís been a long time since faction warfare was a popular theme in the WWE, but someone is going to have to rally the troops pretty soon before every episode ends this way. Dale will return next week...

Nick Tylwalk knows Dale Plummer has caught a bad case of World Cup fever but still thinks he should be able to tear himself away from his vuvuzela long enough to cover Raw. Follow Nick's thoughts and links on wrestling, boxing, rap music and whatever else at his Twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk.