Tennessee titan

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January 10, 2011

NASHVILLE -- When the country music capital offered a hearty "howdy" to the Raw roster, the Superstars returned the hospitality by offering up matches that were as fine as a fiddle, a host of Nexus initiations that looked as painful as a porcupine patch and one of the most "Showstopping" announcements in the whole darn history of WWE.

Randy Orton & Jerry Lawler def. WWE Champion The Miz & Alex Riley (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Alex Riley might want to think about a new gig. As assistant to WWE Champion The Miz, Riley has suffered his share of humiliation. This week proved no exception. Just three weeks until the WWE Title Match at Royal Rumble, Miz teamed with Riley in a tag team match against his Rumble opponent Randy Orton & Jerry "The King" Lawler.

Although The Viper has demonstrated how dangerous he can be, Miz has also been unable to pin Lawler as well. As a result, Riley saw a lot of action -- and Orton took full advantage. WWE's Apex Predator laid out Riley with an RKO, but before he would pin the frat fiend, he offered The "Cleveland Screamer" a chance to rescue his partner. The Miz, selfish Superstar that he is, however, simply walked away and permitted Orton and Lawler the easy pin.

CM Punk deferred Nexus initiation; Cena confronted Punk via satellite (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Standing high on the TitanTron, CM Punk must have felt like the tops in Tennessee. Unfortunately for him, though, he turned out to be just a ninny in Nashville. Rather than take a leap of faith as he had promised, The Second City Savior instead laughed at the gullibility of the waiting audience, informing them he had no intention of jumping.  He eventually made his way to the ring, where he joined the remaining disciples, who did follow through with their Nexus initiations: Michael McGillicutty, Husky Harris and David Otunga.

As Punk bragged about his supposed superiority, Cena flashed onto the TitanTron. The 2010 WWE Superstar of the Year promised to be at Raw live next Monday night and challenged his nemesis to a match. When the Nexus leader agreed to compete, Cena vowed he would destroy Punk then and there.

Shawn Michaels announced as 2011 WWE Hall of Fame Inductee (WATCH | PHOTOS)
The first 2011 WWE Hall of Fame Inductee will be … Shawn Michaels! Although his induction has always been a foregone conclusion, HBK's return to Raw still left everyone in the WWE Universe overwhelmed. Everyone, perhaps, except mouthy Mexican Alberto Del Rio. After criticizing The Showstopper, Del Rio felt pretty smug until the future Hall of Famer demonstrated just why he will be inducted into the esteemed hall -- he leveled Del Rio with Sweet Chin Music!

Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel refused to take part in Nexus initiation (WATCH)
Not all Nexus initiations end with a brutal crescendo. When CM Punk insisted that Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel slug it out with kendo sticks in order to prove themselves worthy of the group, the two original members were clearly averse from the get-go. Although the two circled one another ominously, they eventually laid down their weapons and stormed out on The Second City Savior. 

John Morrison def. Sheamus (WATCH | PHOTOS)
It appeared as if the guru had almost run out of greatness. John Morrison appeared to be getting absolutely clobbered by his recent rival Sheamus. Before The Celtic Warrior could claim victory, however, Morrison showed there was still some delight left in his Monday night fight when he flipped the script on the Irishman deep in the match and quickly edged out a win.

David Otunga endured Nexus initiation (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Unenviable task, meet immovable object. Big Show dropped by Raw to brag to the WWE Universe that it would be he who was going to prevail at this month's Royal Rumble. During his speech, however, The Nexus interrupted. As if that weren't masochistic enough, David Otunga, in pursuit of carrying out his initiation, hesitantly stepped into the ring, faced The World's Largest Athlete and slapped him across the face. Needless to say, Show unleashed his wrath on a yielding Otunga and left him shattered on the canvas.

U.S. Champion Daniel Bryan & Mark Henry def. Tyson Kidd & Ted DiBiase (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Tyson Kidd might want to think twice about hitching any wagons to Ted DiBiase's star. The two paired up against United States Champion Daniel Bryan & Mark Henry in a tag bout and ended up fizzling under the heft of The World's Strongest Man.

Bryan undoubtedly hoped he could come up a winner the following night as well when he and his WWE NXT Rookie Derrick Bateman would embark on a double date with The Bella Twins.

Husky Harris endured Nexus initiation (WATCH)
Husky Harris faced a daunting test. In the second Nexus initiation of the night, the third-generation Superstar was required by CM Punk to undergo a series of strap lashings. As fellow Nexi cracked the leather slabs down upon his back, Harris writhed in pain. The ordeal finally ended at Punk's discretion, after he had deemed Harris worthy enough to remain in the group.

Alberto Del Rio def. R-Truth by Count-out (WATCH | PHOTOS)
La Verdad, or "The Truth" in Spanish, suffered another setback. For the second time in as many weeks, Alberto Del Rio emerged victorious in a bout against R-Truth. The Truth began to unravel when the SmackDown Superstar's personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, distracted him with taunts. After punishing Rodriguez, Truth could not manage a return to the ring in time to beat the 10-count.

Afterward, the Mexican aristocrat once again berated the American audience and vowed that he would win the Royal Rumble to headline at WrestleMania.

CM Punk commenced "new" Nexus initiations (WATCH | PHOTOS)
CM Punk continues to impose his self-righteous revolt upon the Raw roster. As the de facto leader of the "new" Nexus, The Second City Savior foiled a scheduled WWE Tag Team Title Match in order to satiate his ego.

Punk led the band of outlaws in an attack on current tag champions Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov. He then sprang a surprise on his own minions. Every Nexus member, including himself, must undergo an initiation ritual to prove themselves worthy of the yellow and black band.

To establish his devotion, Michael McGillicutty was forced to endure the finishing move of each of his cohorts. The third-generation competitor reluctantly agreed, and by the time Punk delivered the final punishing maneuver, a GTS, McGillicutty appeared to be slipping in and out of consciousness.

One down, five to go.

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