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WWE Bragging Rights thoughts

The Nexus got its first taste of gold at WWE's Bragging Rights pay-per-view Sunday night. But don't worry, Randy Orton fans, "The Viper" did not lose the WWE title to Wade Barrett in the main event.

It was actually the unlikely duo of David Otunga and John Cena that brought a championship to The Nexus camp, as they won the WWE tag team title from Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes in an impromptu match.

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That wasn't the only surprise of the night involving The Nexus. The faction also interfered in the Buried Alive Match, helping Kane defeat The Undertaker to retain his world heavyweight title.

As for the WWE title bout, Barrett won the match, but not the title. Barrett had said before the contest began that if he didn't win the match, Cena would be fired. Cena figured out a way for Barrett to get his hand raised without Orton losing the championship, as he attacked Barrett during the match, causing Orton to be disqualified.

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Overall, Bragging Rights proved to be a rather pedestrian show. I wouldn't say there was anything on the show that was really bad, but the only above-average match was the opener between U.S. champion Daniel Bryan and Intercontinental champion Dolph Ziggler.

The seven-on-seven elimination match between Team Raw and Team Smackdown had its moments, but no one really buys into the supposed rivalry between the brands, and that was obvious from the less-than-enthusiastic crowd response to much of the match.

Here is a match-by-match look at the show:

Wade Barrett defeated WWE champion Randy Orton by disqualification (14:35): With a conflicted John Cena forced to be in the corner of Barrett, this was clearly the most compelling match heading on the show heading into it. The fact that Barrett wasn't going to win the title was telegraphed not only by his choice of words before the bell – he said that Cena would be fired if he didn't win the "match" but never used the word "title – but also by the announcers making the point several times that the deck was stacked against Orton and it was almost a foregone conclusion that Barrett would win. There was a "Fire Cena" chant early. There wasn't a whole lot of heat for the match, as the fans just seemed to be waiting for the inevitable interference from Cena. There was a ref bump at the 11:30 mark. From there, Barrett ordered Cena to stand on the ring apron, but Orton shot Barrett into the ropes, knocking Cena down. The rest of The Nexus then hit the ring and attacked Orton, but Cena recovered and took them out. Barrett yelled at him, but Cena explained that he had to do it or else Barrett would get disqualified.

Orton made a comeback and was setting up for the RKO when Cena entered the ring and hit the Attitude Adjustment on Barrett. The referee called for the bell and awarded the match to Barrett by disqualification. Cena grabbed the title belt and went to hand it to Orton, but Orton hit the RKO on him. Orton also delivered an RKO to Barrett. The finish was logical and advanced the story line, but it made for a flat ending to a pretty lackluster pay-per-view. If WWE decides to pull the trigger and eventually turn Cena heel, this match (and the "fire Cena" chant) will certainly play into Cena's motivation. He can claim that he was trying to make the best of a bad situation and do the ring thing, but the fans and Orton were ungrateful.

World heavyweight champion Kane defeated The Undertaker in a Buried Alive Match (16:58): I thought The Undertaker was going to regain the title and that this would be the blow-off match to the feud, but Kane defeated his "brother" for the third consecutive pay-per-view. According to several wrestling websites, The Undertaker has a bad shoulder and needs some time off but is expected back in a few months to begin his WrestleMania program. This match was all brawling, and at times it really dragged. The crowd chanted "We want blood" about a minute and a half into the match, which obviously WWE wasn't going to deliver, so Kane and The Undertaker had their work cut out for them in trying to capture the audience. At the four-minute mark, the match was already starting to drag, so The Undertaker tossed several chairs and the covering on the announce table into the ring to wake up the crowd. The fans did get into at about the 10-minute mark, as they did the "yea-boo" chant when The Undertaker and Kane were exchanging punches.

As they were battling near the gravesite, The Undertaker caught Kane in Hell's Gate and rendered him unconscious. Undertaker rolled Kane into the open grave, and then prepared to chokeslam Paul Bearer on top of his "son." Just then, The Nexus ran out and attacked The Undertaker. He fought them off at first before ultimately being overpowered. Kane then smashed The Undertaker in the head with the urn, and Undertaker fell into the grave. The Nexus members began shoveling dirt onto him, and then Kane used his magic powers to make a bulldozer drop a huge load of dirt into the grave, thus ending the match. The fans booed, and I got the feeling that they were booing the nature of the finish rather than just the fact that their favorite lost. I'm curious as to what the explanation will be for The Nexus getting involved in the match.

Team Smackdown (The Big Show, Alberto Del Rio, Edge, Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, Tyler Reks and Jack Swagger) defeated Team Raw (The Miz, Ezekiel Jackson, Santino Marella, John Morrison, CM Punk, R-Truth and Sheamus) in an elimination match (27:44): To the shock of no one, Marella was the first to be eliminated, as he lasted just 2:37 before he was pinned by Reks. A little while later, Del Rio attacked his rival/teammate Mysterio and threw him into the barricade. Mysterio sold a shoulder injury and was taken to the back. At around the 18-minute mark, we were down to Miz, Punk and Jackson against Edge, when Mysterio suddenly made his way back to the ring to make it three-on-two.

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Mysterio pinned Punk (some things never change) at the 24:08 mark, and then pinned Jackson a couple minutes later. The Mysterio-Jackson spot created an awkward moment, as Mysterio slipped slightly while doing his springboard splash off the top rope. He still landed on Jackson, who appeared to kick out just before the three count. Time stood still for a second and then the referee ruled that Jackson had been eliminated. That left The Miz against Edge and Mysterio, and I didn't like Miz's chances. Mysterio went for the 619, but Alex Riley covered up Miz and absorbed the blow. Miz stumbled to his feet but was met by a spear from Edge and that was it. Edge and Mysterio (and Hornswoggle) celebrated with the trophy that goes to the winning team. No matter how large the trophy is, however, the fans still view the whole "bragging rights" concept as pretty meaningless. Edge was the star of the match, and Mysterio and Sheamus also were booked to look strong. (The order of elimination is below).

U.S. champion Daniel Bryan defeated Intercontinental champion Dolph Ziggler (16:15): As expected, this non-title match opened the show – and Bryan and Ziggler stole it. They were given enough time to put together an entertaining back-and-forth contest that built to an exciting series of near falls. At the 14:35 mark, Ziggler hit The Famouser and went for a cover. The referee counted to three, but then waved it off as Bryan had gotten his foot on the bottom rope at the last second. A short time later, Ziggler, began taunting Bryan, and it cost him. Bryan suddenly grabbed Ziggler and hooked on The LeBell Lock, forcing Ziggler to tap out. This was a good showing for both guys. And by the way, I must say that Ziggler's "girlfriend" Vickie Guerrero looked great. Someone needs to tell Jerry Lawler that he sounds ridiculous by still making fat jokes after Guerrero has lost so much weight.

John Cena and David Otunga defeated WWE tag team champions Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes to win the title (6:28): McIntyre and Rhodes came out and cut a promo, saying that everyone is scared to face them. That led to the anonymous Raw general manager making a match between the champions and the team of Otunga and Cena. Cena basically won the match on his own, as Otunga tried to take charge but was ineffective. Cena got the victory by forcing Rhodes to tap out to the STF. After the match, Otunga grabbed both belts and celebrated, but Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on him and left with the belts. I understand putting the title on these two to further the Cena/Nexus story line, but I didn't like how McIntyre and Rhodes were made to look so weak. It will be interesting to see if WWE keeps them together or they go back into singles competition.

WWE co-Divas champion Layla defeated Natalya (4:48): Commentator Matt Striker delivered the line of the night in response to Layla and Michelle McCool cutting another one of their promos that get go-away heat. "That was Shockmaster bad," he said. Do a Google search if you don't get the reference. There was a cool spot early in the match, as Natalya got Layla up for a vertical suplex, held her in position for a several seconds and then did a few squats. That was impressive. As Natalya dominated the match with power moves, a frustrated Layla grabbed her title belt and started to leave, but Natalya caught her and threw her back in the ring. While the referee turned his back to get the belt out of the ring, Michelle McCool kicked Natalya in the face and Layla pinned her for the victory. The match was OK but it was another flat finish.

Ted DiBiase Jr. defeated Goldust (7:28): It was nice to see Goldust get a pay-per-view match. Near the latter stages of the match, Maryse attacked Aksana, who really wasn't dressed for a catfight. Her short dress kept riding up on her during the beat-down, so she had to keep pulling it back down while she was getting roughed up. That was funny. After Goldust went to check on Aksana, DiBiase hit him from behind and finished him off with a DDT. Goldust got his heat back after the match by hitting The Final Cut on DiBiase and leaving with the Million Dollar belt still in his possession.

Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown order of elimination:

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• Reks (S) pinned Marella (R), 2:37

• Sheamus (R) pinned Kingston (S), 6:51.

• Morrison (R) pinned Swagger (S), 13:07.

• Sheamus (R) pinned Reks (S), 14:30.

• Sheamus (R) and Big Show (S) both counted out, 15:28.

• Edge (S) pinned R-Truth (R), 16:41.

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• Edge (S) pinned Morrison (R), 17:09.

• Punk (R) pinned Del Rio (S), 18:05.

• Mysterio (S) pinned Punk (R), 24:08.

• Mysterio (S) pinned Jackson (R), 26:15.

• Edge (S) pinned The Miz (R), 27:44.


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