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WWE Raw: Nexus story line is reinvigorating John Cena

Last week I wrote that the angle of John Cena being forced to join The Nexus was making a star out of Wade Barrett. While watching Raw Monday night, it was apparent that it also is making Cena's character more interesting than it has been in a while.

The premise of the story line – WWE's ultimate good guy has to join the bad guys and follow their leader's orders or else lose his job – is so simple, yet so effective.

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A big reason it's working so well is because of Barrett's outstanding performance as an overbearing heel, but Cena also is doing a good job of portraying a guy trapped in a no-win situation who is being eaten up inside by his predicament.

During a backstage segment on Monday's show, Barrett ordered Cena to get him a glass of water. After Cena fulfilled that request, Barrett took a sip of water and then threw the rest in Cena's face. Again, simple but effective.

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Later in the show, Barrett demanded that Cena simply stand by and watch as The Nexus destroyed Randy Orton (who had just wrestled alongside Cena in a tag team match) in a four-on-one attack. Barrett then ordered Cena to deliver an Attitude Adjustment to Orton, but before Cena could execute the move, Barrett changed his mind and he hit his finisher – Wasteland – on Orton instead.

That was a strong angle, as it got heat on Nexus and sympathy on both Orton and Cena. The only thing that I didn't like about it was that Cena was almost too animated in his despair over Orton's fate. You would have thought that he and Orton were lifelong friends the way Cena was almost in tears.

If this story line continues the way it has gone so far, even staunch Cena detractors will soon be begging for Cena to punch Barrett in the mouth. Personally, I hope when the time comes for the payoff that Cena will embrace Barrett rather than strike him. Now that would really get some heat.

Other thoughts on Monday's show:

Smackdown general manager Teddy Long appeared in the opening segment and virtually the entire Smackdown roster appeared later in the show. WWE is trying to make the Team Raw versus Team Smackdown match at Sunday's Bragging Rights pay-per-view seem important, but as I have said before, it's a tough sell because the talent switches brands so often. ...

The crowd booed Long when he came out and it cheered when the anonymous Raw general manager ordered him to leave. Why all the hate-orade for Teddy, playas? ...

After Long turned off the GM's computer, why didn't the anonymous one just text his instructions to Michael Cole like he did once before? ...

The returning Ezekiel Jackson was introduced as the final member of Team Raw. He looked good in the Raw/Smackdown battle royal main event, as he made it to the final five and eliminated Rey Mysterio as well as WWE tag team champions Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes. ...

The battle royal served its purpose as far as promoting Bragging Rights and it made for a more interesting main event than the originally scheduled Big Show versus Miz singles match. Smackdown's Big Show and Edge disposed of Raw's Sheamus and The Miz for the victory. ...

I didn't think anything could be more annoying than LayCool doing commentary, but then I heard Hornswoggle repeatedly grunting and laughing into the microphone during the battle royal and realized I was wrong. ...

The tag team match in which Orton and Cena defeated Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris was entertaining. Since McGillicutty and Harris needed to win to gain entry into The Nexus, it will be interesting to see where things go from here. ...

Before highlights from last week's angle with Cena and Barrett were shown, Cole issued a warning to viewers that the footage "was very uncomfortable to watch." It was a good angle (Barrett turned his back and dared Cena to hit him), but let's not get carried away. ...

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I still think it's ridiculous that Cena doesn't have to wear a Nexus t-shirt or come out to the group's entrance music. ...

I understand why WWE is doing the "Stand Up for WWE" campaign, as Senate hopeful Linda McMahon's political opponents have spent a lot of time lately attacking the company, but I think politics should be kept off of Raw. A large portion of the video package that aired was from an old promotional video, as there were images of former WWE performers such as Jeff Hardy and Maria. I thought it was ironic that noted misogynist Snoop Dogg and convicted rapist Mike Tyson were among the celebrities featured in a package that was designed to get WWE over as family entertainment. ...

I was surprised that Bret Hart did not make an appearance on the show since it was in his hometown of Calgary. After Raw went off the air, Hart saved Orton from an attack by The Nexus and put Heath Slater in the Sharpshooter, according to online reports. It was probably for the best that he wasn't on Raw. The novelty of seeing Hart on WWE television has worn off. ...

It was announced that WWE champion Orton will face world heavyweight champion Kane on Smackdown this Friday. It seems to me that a match between the two world champions should be on the Bragging Rights pay-per-view, not free TV. Speaking of Kane, I thought the commercial for the Buried Alive match between him and The Undertaker was very well done, especially with Halloween right around the corner. ...

What a nice treat to see Vickie Guerrero on a Monday night. Cole seemed confused, as he first acted as if he didn't like Guerrero, which is inconsistent with his commentary as of late, and then he started complimenting her. Cole also said that Guerrero was Jerry Lawler's age. Actually, Lawler is old enough to be her father (he turns 61 next month; she's 42). ...

Dolph Ziggler standing behind Guerrero after challenging Daniel Bryan to a fight and slapping him was a great heel move. Wearing the Intercontinental title belt over his street clothes also is a nice touch. I like that the Intercontinental and U.S. champions will be facing each other at Bragging Rights. ...

Kudos to Bryan for doing Lance Storm's "If I could be serious for a minute" line in Calgary. Bryan dancing with the Divas was funny and it gives him some personality, but like I've said before, WWE has to be careful not to make him too nerdy or the crowd will turn against him. I could have done without the spot in which he did a split and acted as if he had hurt himself. ...

Natalya quickly beat Alicia Fox with the Sharpshooter for the second time in three weeks. The post-match angle was good, as Natalya fought off an attack by LayCool, including reversing the Sharpshooter when McCool had the hold on her. ...

There was more dissension between Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith after their loss to McIntyre and Rhodes. This time, Kidd was the one acting like a heel. ...

It's too bad the Goldust-Zack Ryder match wasn't booked for WWE Superstars, because they probably would have had a good match. Unfortunately, they were only given about 30 seconds here (Goldust won). ...

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When Tyler Reks was introduced as part of the Smackdown team, I think I heard crickets. ...

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I've never seen that annoying, big-mouthed kid who was with The Big Show before, and I never want to see him again. ...

I was surprised to see CM Punk with dark hair. There were pictures online of him working at house shows over the weekend with bleached-blonde hair (or as I like to call it, the Kevin Eck look).

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