Holy crap - Did we just see the return of the Attitude era on tonight's Raw?
I won't have pictures up until later, but after seeing that insane ending tonight, I had to scrap my planned entry and instead write about Raw. If you haven't seen the episode, then don't read any further, because the ending is legitimately shocking...
... Anyway, the NXT guys came down to ringside and essentially beat the crap out of everyone, interrupting the main event match of Cena vs. Punk. The beating they put on Cena, and the announcers and ring crew, was savage and brutal. It reminded me of the old school beatings the NWO would put on WCW wrestlers and crew, back before they got bloated with a red and black faction, and with 500 members.
Since none of them talked outside of Bryan Danielson screaming, "I'm better than you!" at John Cena, their intentions aren't entirely clear... which makes it all even better. The whole attack came out of nowhere, and the unconventional nature of it - the wrestlers so pissed that they were literally ripping the ring apart - definitely heightened the rawness of it all. In a day and age when everything is leaked on the Internet ahead of time, this was genuinely shocking.
I think the rest of the show set the tenor for the surprise at the end. By that, I think the WWE went way over-the-top with cheesy and bad skits, like the A-Team and Dusty Rhodes fighting Roddy Piper, to lull the audience into complacency. I also liked the nice, unintentional touch of the little kids at the end yelling, "Mr. King!" Again, it heightened the realism of it all.
A few random observations: No second generation stars were involved, and it was all the younger NXT guys, so I wonder if that will become part of the angle at some point. I also wouldn't be surprised if they pick up a member or two from the roster, someone like Bourne who has indie roots.
It'll be interesting to see where the WWE goes from here. This was about as perfect of a start to an angle as you can get, so hopefully, they don't screw it up. It might even be a smart move to run NXT tomorrow like an old NWO invasion show, to keep the angle in everyone's mind.