I’m back with another WE Raw Review, and I am sorry about missing a few weeks. I will also be missing the next couple and will be looking for a replacement to take me place, so I had to get this one done at least.
Raw has been consistently the hype show, more about promos and stories than wrestling, and I’m fine with that since I get a lot of wrestling as it is from all the other shows. That said, tonight was a bit lacking even more than usual as the first hour and a half was almost devoid of wrestling.
That was probably the worst part of what was otherwise an enjoyable Money in the Bank hype show. Also, there may finally be a clue as to what the big summer angle is, but I’ll get into that in a few thousand words. First, we begin at the beginning as usual.
Catchphrases All Around
Overview: John Cena arrives on the scene to hype up his match at Money in the Bank, Daniel Bryan comes out to interrupt with a barrage of “yes”es, Punk adds more “yes”es to the fray, Jericho appeared to add a bunch of other catchphrases, Kane and Big Show come out to cause absolute chaos.
I have always found Cena’s humor very hit or miss. While he cut a good promo early on by himself, his humor never really hit it off here. Again, this was a time to be serious rather than use comedy as a safety net.
Daniel Bryan elevated things mainly because it teased for just a second a possible Bryan/Cena feud which honestly is something I am dying to see some day. Honestly, I would love to see Cena/Bryan for the WWE Title at Summerslam over Punk/Cena because it’s fresh, but it won’t happen.
I also had a crazy idea I just want to get out there here since I ramble in these a lot, and that is that WWE could go full circle here if Bryan wins if they also have Big Show win. Show could cash in on Bryan that night and cause him to have the shortest reign in WWE Championship history as payback. Could be a final straw that turns Bryan face. Just a thought.
Back to the task at hand, as each person was added into the fray, the whole segment got a bit crowded but surprisingly entertaining. Bryan and Jericho fighting over catchphrases was just fun to watch, and Jericho was in top comedic form throughout the night.
When Kane came out followed by Big Show, it was obvious things were breaking down, and it was all to put over Show further as the unstoppable force which WWE has done well, more or less erasing his one loss rather quickly. Overall, it was well done to put everyone over and set up good matches for later in the night.
Midcard Action Boiled Up Into One Match
Overview: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth and Christian and Santino Marella def. The Prime Time Players and David Otunga and Cody Rhodes, Santino hits the Cobra after everyone deserts Otunga and he gets thrown back in the ring by Brodus Clay. After, everyone takes turns taking out Otunga for formerly being Laurinaitis’ stooge.
I have to give credit to WWE for really handing a spotlight to the midcard for once with a very solid match here that got good time. It continued several rivalries and made most everyone look strong, well, except Otunga. Santino Marella is slowly recovering from recent folly in booking with solid wins and wrestling.
While I am glad for R-Truth being back, his lack of time in this match probably tells the story here. He is back to have the tag team match at Money in the Bank and lose most likely. Is he fully ready to compete yet? I don’t know.
The ending was a bit convoluted. Is it really necessary to completely bury Otunga? Apparently, nobody likes him at all anymore even though he supposedly turned his back on John Laurinaitis at the end. Couldn’t he just move on in peace, just feuding with Brodus Clay, not taking three different finishers?
A Message or Just Another Write Off?
Finally, Alberto Del Rio is facing Sheamus. I really think this match has potential to sneak up on people. Both men being great in ring workers with some time to develop chemistry they get one chance to shine on a card already filled with possible great matches.
As far as Del Rio’s attack on Sin Cara, unless they are writing off Cara again, this was a bad move. Cara was finally getting back credibility, and now he’s been taken down again before having one full match.
As far as AJ biting off that rose head, AJ and Daniel Bryan have natural chemistry together. They always seem to shine in scenes together. I loved this backstage segment, and AJ only kept up the positives throughout the night.
The Exit Strategy
Overview: Paul Heyman speaks on behalf of Brock Lesnar, notes that Triple H will never win, calling the match Triple H’s exit strategy as he can go out fighting, retire as the hero, in simplest terms – Heyman sells the feud better than either man in the match could have… again.
I’m not sure what happened to Brock Lesnar.We haven’t seen him in so long that he’s becoming a myth of a man, but honestly no one could have done this segment better than Paul Heyman. No one could pull off that subtlety and poise. That pure attention to detail in his every word and expression. It was impeccable.
“Because if Brock Lesnar accepts this match at Summerslam, it won’t be a match. It will be a mercy killing” – Paul Heyman
I know the feud doesn’t interest a lot of people, but I find it engrossing how they are doing this. It takes patience and poise. They have time to build at a level most matches never get, and that means they can only keep getting better.
When Lesnar finally comes down that ramp again, he better not mess up what Heyman has done with his mic work. Because I have no doubt the match will be great, a dream match finally realized if HHH can still keep up with a great story built in. I do hope beyond hope that Lesnar wins this match though. He needs something to make him look dominant.
An Amalgamation of Partial Feuds
Overview: AJ and Sheamus def. Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler, short match with Sheamus taking out Ziggler and AJ taking out Vickie with a Shining Wizard, CM Punk basically tells AJ he was ignoring her backstage.
My one problem with having a match like this is that Sheamus and Ziggler’s feud for what little it was given is over. Does he really need to be embarrassed by Sheamus again? Also, AJ and Vickie’s little feud has felt rather pointless really, so this very quick match just ended up being little use.
If AJ had to have a match so that Punk could ignore it, couldn’t they have her beat someone who can actually sell a Shining Wizard properly? The Punk scene by the way was also interesting. The two just don’t seem to click talking, but I still love AJ’s expressions selling Punk’s rejection.
What WWE is really doing is trying to tighten the gap between the two men, make some reason for the fans to feel that AJ might not screw Bryan. They are developing that though I think they are more just creating an amazing character in AJ.
It’s Jobbing Time… Or Not?
Overview: Heath Slater def. Doink, a quick match sees Slater beat Doink easily, DDP then comes out to celebrate with Slater only to hit him with the Diamond Cutter.
First, let me just say that the Heath Slater promo video before was hilarious. It put over Slater’s journey to beat the legends and failure in such consistently to hokie country music.
Beyond that, I was glad that Slater could have some measure of credibility given to him by beating Doink the Clown before getting Diamond Cuttered. I just love these Slater segments. They are far too enjoyable for their own good, and all the legends just seem to be having a great time mauling Slater.
Overview: Big Show def. Kane, after hitting a Spear with a steel chair and a chokeslam onto the chair. Backstage, Eve and AJ have an interesting interaction.
This match was far too short honestly. The pace these guys set especially for their size was really well done, seeing a lot of big moves quickly. It really put over Show who still looks amazingly impressive hitting a Superkick.
My main problem was that it was so short that it made Kane look bad. It was a No DQ match between two giants that could’ve gone ten minutes on pay-per-view at least but got four minutes here. How can I take Kane seriously now when he gets squashed like that with barely a knockdown on the giant?
Still, the Big Show push is really full force lately and well done. So far, he has shown that he can use a splash, a chokeslam, a spear, and obviously the WMD to finish matches which makes him just an unstoppable monster. Cena will probably hurt his move up again, but I really like this Big Show.
AJ and Eve backstage was interesting as the two are easily the two biggest women in WWE (sorry entire Divas division including the Divas champion). These two are the only women in years who can legitimately get the crowd riled up, so the parallels in their runs so far were interesting to explore.
The Underdog Triumphs
Overview: Tyson Kidd def. Tensai, a ten second match ends in a quick roll up by Kidd after the first real move of the match, Tensai then beats down Sakamoto again. Jericho/Bryan exchange gimmick advice while Punk tells Cena what to do. Tensai attacks Kidd after the commercial break.
This match needed to at least go a few minutes. The win for Kidd was fine, but winning after one move just undercut how little WWE wanted to show wrestling tonight. Kidd could get over even better if you let him just go in the ring.
Still, Kidd may be gaining a push as he beat Tensai, or he might just be being used to further Tensai’s development as a monster who hates losing and will beat up poor Sakamoto every time he does. Yet the guys keeps coming back, like an abused wife.
I’m also not sure if that beatdown on Kidd was supposed to take Kidd out of the Money in the Bank match because honestly if he’s gone who’s going to be the spot monkey (I use that term here with endearment)? I guess they could use his spot to have Barrett sneak in if he’s ready or a disgruntled Rhodes.
Also, I just want to mention how hilarious that Bryan/Jericho segment was. They seemed to continue bashing each other’s gimmicks, and it just ended up getting into a catchphrase shouting contest, and I just loved it. I know I’m a mark for both men, but I loved it. The Cena/Punk segment had some underscored tension which was interesting.
Overview: John Cena and CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho goes to a no contest, a great tag team match ending with AJ threatening to throw herself through a table only to be stopped by Punk and Bryan who she throws through the table.
Seriously, I really feel like the moment the main event began that it was a completely different show. The crowd woke up, and we saw real wrestling where everyone was featured well. I just wonder where all this was the rest of the night.
Besides one bad miscommunication botch between Jericho and Cena, this was just a plainly great match though honestly it was overshadowed by the ending. As AJ Lee came out and stole the show in a way that just cannot be denied anymore.
I have a theory now that spawned the moment AJ said she was going to do something to get everyone’s attention. What if AJ is the summer angle? What if this amazing character is actually going to continue to be pushed? When is the last time a woman has been the only person standing in the ring at the end of Raw?
AJ makes this WWE Title match captivating. When she threatening to cause herself self injury, that was quite simply her breakout moment. All she needs is for this story to play out with her at the helm, and she could very well remain the greatest character in the company right now.
The possibilities of her aligning with other stars possibly even a debuting Dean Ambrose could be exactly what this summer needs. AJ could end up being one of the most influential female characters of all time. She just needs to keep playing with people’s minds.
I mean she was able to convince Punk and Bryan, one guy who was distant from her and one who flat out is in opposition with her, to fall for her trick and try to save her. If she keeps this up, this is it. This is the summer angle WWE has been sneaking onto us this whole time.
What wrestling there was was decent. The main event was great. The first match was good, and the Kane/Show match just needed more time. The real star of this show was hype. Promos and stories are building toward Money in the Bank that I can get behind with matches all set so far that should all be great.
I am pumped for Money in the Bank more than ever with Summerslam around the corner seeming just as promising. I am excited for wrestling in general right now. This show helped further solidify my confidence in this coming summer for wrestling.
It wasn’t perfect. It needed much more wrestling. But what it delivered, I really liked.