I left off the last post with the fallout from Wrestlemania 26, so that’s where I’m going to pick up here.
I mentioned last time that the post-Wrestlemania shakeup of the main event scene was something I was really excited about. I didn’t mention that, initially, I was a bit concerned about putting the World Heavyweight Championship on Jack Swagger. I loved the feud he had with Christian over the ECW Championship, but that title didn’t have a whole lot of value attached to it. While Swagger’s reign turned out to be pretty disappointing due to some pretty lacklustre booking, it proved that the All American American could carry the gold. Swagger’s long, hilarious speeches about his lifetime of achievements really sold me on him. Unfortunately, his reign was overshadowed by the head-shaker that was the “Kane, P.I.” storyline. Before finally dropping the belt to Rey Mysterio for basically no reason, Swagger was forced to carry the Big Show through a feud which reminded me that, improved work rate or no, the Big Show can’t pull his substantial weight at the top of the card. Swagger pretty much disappeared from the main event scene after losing the title, much to my disappointment.
Speaking of Smackdown Superstars who disappeared after a title run, what about Drew McIntyre? During his run with the Intercontinental Championship he was running pretty hot as a heel. The way they played his undefeated streak didn’t work quite as well as it could have, but it didn’t kill his heat. Seriously, though, having your undefeated Intercontinental Champion lose to Kane in a non-title Money in the Bank qualifier with a kick to the face is a terrible idea, even if it’s immediately expunged. Since his title loss, he might as well have a bucket of ice water thrown on his heat. He had a pointless run with Cody Rhodes as a tag team (more on that another time, perhaps), and is now involved in some truly painful segments with Kelly Kelly.
On the RAW side, Sheamus toppled John Cena (literally) to win the WWE Championship before being turned into a total pussy by the creative team. The thing with championships is that nobody is going to pay to see a champion that seems like a fluke. The finish of Sheamus’ bout with Cena made his win look like an accident, which is fine as long as some time is spent building the Irishman back up. WWE took it in a different direction and had him cheat to win against EVERYBODY, even guys who the WWE Champion should be able to demolish. Sheamus lost the title, then won it back by taking advantage of Nexus interference at Fatal Four Way, and continued where he left off: looking like a particularly cowardly jar of margarine. What did Sheamus’ neutering accomplish? Putting over John Cena and Randy Orton, the only two guys on the roster who didn’t need it AT ALL. Good thinking, writers.
The Nexus were the big deal on RAW for much of the year. Their initial appearance, where they stormed onto the scene and destroyed everything in their path, was an instant classic WWE moment. Pretty much everything after that went downhill. In a series of matches on RAW designed to show that the Nexus could compete individually, Darren Young was pointlessly exiled from the group (and WWE TV entirely) because John Cena is apparently not allowed to lose ever, for any reason. Things stayed fairly hot until SummerSlam, when the Nexus was effectively shut down by Team WWE because, once again, John Cena is not allowed to lose for any reason, even if it would make the storyline better. Daniel Bryan’s return to battle his former comrades was a delightful twist, but if the WWE had really wanted Nexus to remain a legitimate threat to RAW, they needed to win at SummerSlam. There were plenty of ways for Cena to lose to Nexus and not look bad. For example: all of them. No matter how the thing ended, Cena would still be over because he’s beyond wins and losses mattering. He’s the face of the WWE. The Nexus continued to trundle along, shuffled their line-up a bit, and got John Cena as a member, which was a good idea in theory but really stupid in practice. More on that next time, though.