We left off with the Nexus continuing to stagger along after SummerSlam. Our resident superhero, John Cena, continued to feud with Wade Barrett and the Nexus, even though his team’s victory at SummerSlam really killed the storyline’s momentum. Injuries shuffled up Nexus’ lineup, with Skip “my name should really have been attached to Alex Riley’s character” Sheffield and Michael Tarver sustaining injuries and Darren Young dropping off the face of the earth to be replaced by Michael McGuillicutty and Husky Harris, who caused John Cena to become a Nexus member by attacking him prior to their induction into the group. Cena being forced into the group he had been battling for months had the potential to revitalize the Nexus and really shake up John Cena’s stagnant character. Unfortunately, Cena got to deliver some of the worst-written promos I’ve ever had the displeasure of hearing as he suffered under Wade Barrett’s snarky British yoke. Eventually the whole thing came to a head as Wade Barrett, despite never having used Cena to do anything productive, fired Cena for not awarding him the WWE Title. Cena proceeded to engage in the shortest firing of all time, as he NEVER LEFT TV. Seriously, WWE, what the fuck? Do you really believe that if John Cena is not on TV that nobody will tune in? Needless to say, Cena was re-hired and Wade Barrett was buried. Literally. Under some chairs.
After a wonderful feud with Daniel Bryan that produced some very exciting matches, The Miz cashed in his Money in the Bank and won the WWE Title from Randy Orton. Who is still ridiculously over despite not having the title (or mic skills, or any noticeable wrestling talent), so clearly taking it from Sheamus to put it on him was brilliant. Anyway, The Miz winning the WWE has been mostly positive, except for Michael Cole, who does his best to try and ruin Mike Mizanin’s career by attaching himself to the champ.
Speaking of Michael Cole, a review of 2010 can’t go without mentioning the buffoonish little troll’s new character direction, which appears to be based on WWE attempting to do as much damage to their own product with one character as is possible. The WWE has shirked the face/heel announcer dichotomy for quite a while now, which makes it even more off-putting and distracting now that Cole flies off on seemingly random heel tangents that eschew all of the hallmarks of a good heel announcer in favour of verbally shitting on the wrestlers. Hopefully Jerry Lawler murders him with a series of piledrivers in the near future.
Over on Smackdown, Dolph Ziggler, with help from Vickie Guerrero, made the Intercontinental Title relevant again. Having good matches on a weekly basis was, of course, overshadowed on the show by a truly horrendous storyline involving Edge challenging for Kane’s World Heavyweight Championship. Oh, and the Undertaker was buried alive, thus leading me to believe that blood and necktie choking is not okay but death by dirt-based suffocation is PG. I think I’ll continue to forget that the Edge/Kane storyline ever happened, because it’s better for my mental health. Now Edge is the World Heavyweight Champion and a babyface, despite torturing Paul Bearer for several weeks.
The real big deal on Smackdown, though, was Alberto Del Rio. After a series of kind of lame vignettes, he stormed onto the scene and was the hottest heel on the roster within a matter of weeks. I don’t think Mysterio beating him clean on Smackdown was a wise move, since people would have paid to see it on pay-per-view, but that’s WWE’s problem, not mine.
In 2010 the WWE retained a lot of the problems it had when I stopped watching (around 2004/5), primarily at the top of the card. While the main event scene got some shake-ups this year with Sheamus, The Miz, and Alberto Del Rio stepping up full-time, the usual suspects are still around and I have a hard time believing Randy Orton or John Cena won’t have the WWE Title around their wasit by Wrestlemania. The Tag Team titles have been rendered meaningless as any team that shows potential is broken up before they can accomplish much. The midcard produced some fantastic matches while the guys holding the belts are frequently all talk and no work.
And I still don’t get why Randy Orton is over.