January 10, 2011
RAW: CM Punk thins out the ranks
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling

Monday Night RAW started off 2011 with a bang when CM Punk took over control of Nexus. Can WWE keep that momentum going or will it just fizzle out? Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler bring us the action from a snowy Nashville, Tennessee.

The Tag Team Champions kick off the show with a title match. Vladimir Kozlov, Santino, and Tamina make their way to the ring. But before their opponents can be announced, Nexus runs in, delivering a beat down to the champs. Santino and Kozlov are tossed to the floor, as Punk addresses the crowd.

Punk calls Nexus the most dominate force the WWE has ever seen, and now they are stronger. Punk tells his crew he can give them the tools to succeed. He took John Cena out of the equation. Later tonight, Punk will make the ultimate sacrifice when he initiates himself as the new leader of Nexus. Punk isnít the only one, though; the rest of Nexus must prove themselves. Punk says they will take over the entire WWE. David Otunga says they will be honored. Michael McGillicutty is the first up; his initiation is getting a beat down from the rest of Nexus. Punk tells Husky to step up and deliver the first blow. McGillicutty turns into a spinebuster from Otunga. Slater then lays him out, and Husky delivers a splash. Gabriel hits the 450 splash, and then Punk finishes him off with the GTS. Nexus then picks up the broken McGillicutty and carries him to the back.

Match #1 Ė R-Truth vs. Alberto Del Rio w/ Ricardo Rodriguez

Well, this is a rematch from last week, and Iíll spare you the details, but Del Rio wins by countout.

Winner via countout: Alberto Del Rio

After the match, Del Rio gets on the mike and tells us once again that it his is destiny to win the Royal Rumble. Del Rio then tells the Nashville crowd they donít know what culture is. He has his ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriquez, serenade the crowd mariachi style.

After the commercials, King tells us is still isnít completely healed from the attack at the hands of The Miz. Cole wants Lawler to apologize, when the GM chimes in with an email. The GM defends Michael Cole and gives him his full support, even though he is a conceited, pompous, arrogant, self-centered jerk. The GM was kidding, and goes on to list Coleís great qualities. Lawler has heard enough, he says the entire WWE Universe wants Cole to shut up. Lawler calls him a coward. Cole reminds King if he touches him he is fired. The GM sends another message, assuring us that Cole isnít a coward, and neither is the King. Tonight, The Miz and Alex Riley will take on Lawler and Randy Orton.

CM Punk has his troops in the back, and says McGillicutty has passed with flying colors. Husky Harris is up next. He has to take three lashes from a belt from each member of Nexus. Punk tells him to take his shirt off. Otunga strike first. That has got to sting.

Match #2 Ė Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan w/ the Bella Twins vs. Tyson Kidd and Ted DiBiase w/ Maryse

DiBiase knocks Bryan to the floor and Kidd gets in a cheap shot. Kidd tags in, beating Bryan into the corner, and then distracting the ref so DiBiase can choke him. Bryan connects with a clothesline, and tags in Henry. Kidd hits the mat after a head butt, but dodges a charge in the corner. Henry catches Kidd and hits the Worldís Strongest Slam. Henry covers and gets the win.

Winner via pinfall: Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan

The Big Show is backstage.

After the break, Big Show heads to the ring to discuss some issues. He says he will knock out Wade Barrett. Show then puts every superstar on notice that he will win the Royal Rumble. Punk and Nexus then interrupt Show. Punk gives Otunga a look, and he heads to the ring. Otunga has to face the Big Show alone. Otunga slaps him upside the head, and Show kicks him in the gut, and tosses him from the ring. He throws Otunga over the announce table, and then chops him across the chest. Show whips him into the steps, and tosses him back into the ring. Show hits the choke slam, and then knocks him out with punch to the temple.

Match #3 Ė John Morrison vs. King Sheamus

Havenít we seen this match a lot over the past six weeks? Morrison picks up the win after slamming Sheamus in the face with the running knee.

Winner via pinfall: John Morrison

And then there were two. Punk tells Gabriel and Slater that everyone else has passed. Their test is to beat each other with kendo sticks until Punk says stop. The two just look at each other, and Punk is getting frustrated. Slater and Gabriel stare down Punk, and he dares them to hit him. They donít; in fact they drop their kendo sticks and walk away.

Tonight we will find out the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2011.

Jerry Lawler is in the ring to name the first member of the Hall of Fame class of 2011. Itís Shawn Michaels! And heís in the house! The crowd goes nuts! HBK struts to the ring, but before he can talk, Alberto Del Rio interrupts. Alberto recognizes that HBK is a legend, but he is the present and future of the WWE. Del Rio says the people now cheer him, and after he wins the Rumble he will become the World Heavyweight or the WWE champion. The he will be known as the new Mr. Wrestlemania. HBK shuts him up with some Sweet Chin Music.

Alex Riley canít wait to take on Orton and Lawler, but Miz isnít excited. Riley wants to know whatís up. Miz is upset that everyone is talking about Orton and not him, and itís a given that Orton will win the WWE Title. Tonight, Miz wants to hurt and demoralize Orton tonight. Riley goes for the catchphrase, but Miz says that is for closers. Heíll announce how awesome he is after he beats Orton.

Michael Cole is in the ring, and says we are about to hear from John Cena. From high atop the Titantron, CM Punk cuts him off. Punk says, McGillicutty, Harris, and Otunga have proved themselves, and he is about to do the same. He will make the ultimate sacrifice, and prove that he is a member of Nexus, and their leader. Punk has one more question; he wants to know how gullible everyone is. Punk reveals he is in a harness and has spotters. He calls the crowd a bunch of sheep. The New Nexus walk out to the ring. Punk joins them in the ring, saying he never had any intention of jumping. Punk announces Cena is not here, but Cena pops up on the Tron. Cena cuts a promo on Punk, saying he is wasting everyoneís time with an initiation. Cena already did that, except for the new guy. Punk tells Cena is not afraid. Cena wants him to prove it and face him in a match next week. Punk accepts. Cena says next week Punk will be dealt with.

Match #4 Ė The Miz and Alex Riley vs. Randy Orton and Jerry ďThe KingĒ Lawler

Once again, Josh Matthews fills in for Jerry Lawler.

The King unloads on the Miz, knocking him to the floor. Miz is smashed off the announce table, and then slammed into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Orton tags in, along with Riley. The Viper beats him into the corner, but Riley catches Orton with a kick.

The champ tags in, but Orton explodes with a kick. Orton stomps away at Miz, and then tags in Lawler. King pummels Miz with fists in the corner. Miz catches Lawler with a boot, and pounds away at him. The ref breaks it up. Miz applies a head lock, and then hits a running clothesline in the corner. We go to commercial.

After the break, Lawler avoids a charge from Riley, who catches all ring post. Both men are down, and Miz distracts the ref, so Orton canít get the tag. Miz goes for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Orton runs in and hits an RKO behind the back of the ref. Lawler covers, but Miz kicks out and gets the tag to Riley. Orton goes to work, hitting the back breaker, and then the elevated DDT. Orton stalks his prey, but catches Miz trying to sneak in. Riley tries to attack from behind, but Orton lays him out with an RKO. Orton dares Miz to enter, but he wants no part. King tags in, and he hits the fist drop from the second rope. Lawler covers and gets the win.

Winner via pinfall: Randy Orton and Jerry ďThe KingĒ Lawler

Orton and Miz stare each other down to end the show.

Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003.


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