Raw opens with the Big Show cutting a promo. After reminiscing fondly over losing the World Title so quickly last December, Show calls out Daniel Bryan for a match. Bryan is shown backstage refusing to go to the ring. AJ shows up and tells Bryan he needs to wrestle Show. Kane laughs at Dbry when he asks if he Kane will have his back.
^Solid opening. I’ve been wanting to see Dbry and Big Show in more one on one matches ever since Dbry cashed in MITB last December.
Big Show defeats Daniel Bryan using the chokeslam. Kane comes out and stops Show from attacking Bryan after the match. Show walks away rather than fight Kane.
^Very short match; I’m a bit disappointed with it but it’s what I would expect from WWE. Show needs to keep looking unstoppable as we get closer to HIAC. I like Kane coming into the ring after he told Bryan he wouldn’t; it makes for a good story with those two.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman come out to announce Punk’s choice for HIAC. Punk takes his time and gets interrupted by Vince McMahon. Vince tells Punk he will make the decision for him and there will be a contract signing later tonight.
^Vinny Mac is on Raw two weeks in a row, and I’m actually enjoying his presence. Vince can be a game changer when his character puts heels in their places and doesn’t just humiliate Jim Ross in some form or another. I liked this short segment; it did very little overall but set up for the final segment of the show.
Alberto Del Rio defeats Brodus Clay using the cross armbreaker.
^I like that Brodus has finally been put into a role where he is forced to wrestle and forced to put over the top guys. To me, Brodus isn’t deserving of anything more than jobber status; the guy doesn’t wrestle all that well and his marketability for this gimmick is non-existent with viewers over the age of seven. Good win here for Del Rio; I like the potential for his match with Orton in two weeks.
Punk and Heyman are shown arguing backstage. Punk tells Heyman to challenge Vince to another match tonight.
^I like seeing Heyman in the role of the guy that’s learned from his mistakes when it comes to crossing Vince. Punk doesn’t seem to get it, and Heyman is taking the orders well from Punk when you consider that Heyman isn’t supposed to be viewed as the typical manager.
Titus O’Neil pins Zack Ryder after the sky high to get the win for the Prime Time Players as they defeat Ryder and Santino. The Three Man Band comes out dressed in black leather and attack Ryder and Santino. They say they’re going to hit the town and put the music back into the music city.
^Not much of a tag match in terms of length, but it worked for keeping Ryder and Santino in the role of making other tag teams look good. This three man band group might intrigue me a bit more if they weren’t attacking the same two guys every single week.
Dolph Ziggler comes out and cuts a promo complaining about Ryback getting a championship opportunity without earning one. Otunga comes out and agrees with Dolph but tells Ziggler that he hasn’t earned one either. AJ comes out and makes Otunga and Ziggler against Ryback right now. Ryback hits shell shocked on Otunga for the win as Ziggler leaves him stranded.
^So Ryback gets more momentum, Otunga still bores me and jobs as he should to top faces, and Ziggler comes out of the situation squeaky clean without a blemish. This worked perfectly on all levels in terms of effectiveness. Anyone else think a Ziggler/Ryback match would be awesome on a ppv?
Backstage, Heyman proposes Punk’s match idea to Vince with the stipulations. Vince says the only way he will accept is if his opponent is Heyman, not Punk. Heyman declines and Vince throws him out.
^I wonder how Vince truly feels about Paul Heyman in real life, and vice versa. I love seeing Vince throw his weight around.
Matt Striker talks to AJ about being attacked by Kane and Daniel Bryan, and Striker wants an apology. AJ books Striker in a match with Kane tonight instead.
^I guess the rumors about Striker getting back in the ring are true.
Antonio Cesaro defeats Justin Gabriel using the neutralizer.
^I liked the competitiveness here, but when is WWE going to make someone a legit contender to Cesaro’s title? This was a really good match between these two.
Kane defeats Matt Striker with a chokeslam after squeezing him in a bearhug.
^Putting over Kane with this tag team champions gimmick is the most entertaining thing Kane has done in…well ever. The man has great skills to portray all gimmicks, and I think his hard work often goes unrecognized in terms of what he brings to the table.
Miz has Kofi Kingston as his guest on MizTV. They talk about their match for the IC Title this Wednesday on Main Event, but Kofi challenges Miz to a non-title match tonight and then they brawl.
^I LOVE the idea of Miz and Kofi wrestling on Raw, but doesn’t that ruin the build for their Main Event match on Wednesday?
Sheamus defeats Wade Barrett by DQ after Big Show pulls the top rope down and causes Sheamus to fall to the floor. Sheamus hits a brogue kick on Barrett after the match and knocks the Big Show over the top rope with a clothesline.
^Once again, Sheamus and Barrett are in the process of telling a good story and WWE finds a way to pull the plug on them. I’d be willing to bet that Barrett will be challenging for that World Title by Survivor Series if Sheamus holds onto it.
Vince talks to John Cena backstage. Cena says he will do what he does best if Vince picks him tonight.
^Like Heyman, I wonder how Vince feels about Cena these days after realizing that John can’t carry the company forever. I really don’t think Ryback is the answer for being the next top guy, but we all know how Vince loves to push the bigger wrestlers to the top.
Eve defeats Layla to retain her divas championship. Eve gets the pin while pulling Layla’s foot off the rope at the same time.
^I’m going to admit that Layla and Eve worked hard to give us a good match, but they still didn’t give anything special compared to what I see from the knockouts on Thursday nights.
Daniel Bryan talks to Kane backstage and suggests he face Big Show next week on Raw.
^Kane and Big Show? Again? No! No! No!
Vince and Ryback talk backstage. All Ryback says when Vince is done thanking him is “feed me Punk.”
^All signs point to Ryback facing Punk at this point, especially the matches they’ve been having at live events.
Team Rhodes Scholars defeat Primo and Epico. Damien Sandow pins Epico after hitting the modified neckbreaker finisher.
^This one was a little longer than the previous tag match we saw. I really feel bad for Primo and Epico having to take a backseat after representing the tag team division since late last year. Rhodes and Sandow look good together though, and the future for them as a tag team is bright if WWE chooses to keep them paired up.
Kofi Kingston defeats the Miz using trouble in paradise in a non-title match.
^This was another really good match tonight. I’m sure on Main Event they’ll wrestle for five minutes longer and throw in some kickouts back and forth at the end, but I’m excited to see it if it’s anything like this contest. Miz was pretty banged up in the face after the match; I hope he didn’t break anything.
Vince comes to the ring and brings out Punk, Cena, and Ryback. Punk and Vince exchange words and Cena cuts them off. Vince cuts him off and wants to announce Punk’s opponent for HIAC. Cena then cuts Vince off and gives a small speech before he starts yelling “feed me more.” Ryback steps up and signs the contract as Vince announces CM Punk vs Ryback at HIAC for the WWE Championship. Ryback bounces Punk’s head off the table and hits shell shocked on Punk to close the show.
^So John Cena interrupted the boss and spoiled his big announcement; I wonder if this was planned like that or if Cena went off script. As far as John Cena not being in the main event of HIAC, I like the fact that WWE isn’t rushing Cena back to action when he’s recovering from major surgery. I don’t necessarily believe Ryback should be getting a shot at the WWE Championship right now, but I’ll state right now that I don’t believe Punk will lose the title in October.
Overall, we saw a decent amount of wrestling mixed with a decent amount of promos. I have no issues with this Raw, and to me it feels like it’s right on pace with how all the other Raws have been as of late. I’ll be back with the Rundown this weekend. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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