Edge returns to host "The Cutting Edge".
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Edge Hosted "The Cutting Edge" with Daniel Bryan
After being absent from WWE programming for nearly a year, it was great to see Edge back on Raw. He was extremely entertaining in the opening segment and had an enjoyable exchange with both Randy Orton and Triple H. Speaking of Orton and HHH, they both delivered solid mic work here, taking shots at the crowd and garnering successful heel heat in the process. Bryan also played his role well and the main event match for later in the night was nicely hyped. Finally, The Shield attacking Christian was a great touch given his history with Edge. It allows Christian to enter the storyline as well. This was an electric start to the show and set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Kofi Kingston def. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel by Disqualification (Non-title)
These two had a pretty good matchup against one another last week on SmackDown, so it was a shame that their latest encounter was cut short. The commentators did a nice job of putting over the fact that Axel's frustration might cost him his match with CM Punk on Sunday, which was apparently the sole purpose of this contest. However, this marks Kingston's second win over Axel in the last week, so logical booking would call for Kingston getting a title shot at the pay-per-view, but only time will tell.
Bray Wyatt def. Dolph Ziggler
This was easily Wyatt's best televised match to date. Ziggler brought him to a fun match, but that isn't to say that Wyatt did hold his own in this bout. The match went longer than originally expected, despite the fact that most of it consisted of commercial time. However, the only issue with this contest was that it had no storyline purpose behind it. Sure, it's a nice win for Wyatt for having beaten a former World Heavyweight Champion, but Ziggler has been directionless for a while now.
Paul Heyman Underwent a Live Medical Evaluation
I'm well aware that it's a part of Heyman's character to feign an injury to get out of his match with CM Punk at Night of Champions, but this was a weak way of going about it. Slipping on a wet floor? Really? I hate to say it, but I'm afraid this segment was merely used to kill time. Sure, the live crowd was hot for Punk, but that was the only saving grace of this segment. Punk's feud with Heyman has been amazing thus far, but I don't want it to overstay its welcome past Sunday.
Natalya, Naomi and Brie Bella def. Layla, Aksana and Alicia Fox
I like that the Divas have something of a story going for them at the moment, but the length of the matches remains the same. That's not to say that this match should have gone longer, though, as it served its purpose in hyping the Divas Championship match for Night of Champions. The Fatal 4-Way on Sunday looks more like a Handicap match than anything else (in the favor of the cast of "Total Divas", of course), but I'm hoping AJ ultimately retains at the event. Speaking of AJ, her commentary during this match was very good while it lasted, in addition to Natalya's use of the Sharpshooter in Canada.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. R-Truth (Non-title)
Who thought it would be a good idea to put two competitors that no one cares about in a match against each other? There were a handful of botched spots and the crowd couldn't have cared less about this bout. Similar to Randy Orton vs. Sheamus the night after WrestleMania 29, the live crowd got bored with the action, so they entertained themselves by chanting random things instead. This win gives Del Rio credibility as champion, but his victories should come against people that the crowd can actually invest in and not write off as a joke.
Santino Marella def. Antonio Cesaro
While I may not be the biggest fan of Santino, it was nice to see him back after a long layoff. He received a huge ovation from the live crowd since he hails from Canada (despite being billed from Italy on television). The match was fine for what it was, and I didn't expect Santino to lose on his first night back. On that same note, though, Cesaro, who will be in a match on Sunday, shouldn't be losing to comedic relief. Regardless, Colter's pre-match promo tied in nicely to Santino's return, so I at least enjoyed that aspect of it all.
Damien Sandow def. The Miz
I'm not at all surprised that the crowd was heavily against Miz, but it's not like they were into the match anyway. It consisted of forgettable action before Fandango (who received a huge pop from the Canadian crowd) eventually interrupted, allowing Sandow to pick up the victory. I'm glad Sandow's losing streak has finally come to an end, but that wasn't the central focus once the match ended. I assume Miz and Fandango face off at the pay-per-view, but that has yet to be confirmed.
WWE Champion Randy Orton def. Goldust (Non-title)
It wasn't quite as great as Orton's match with Cody Rhodes from last week, but it was still a very well wrestled matchup that was solid as whole. The "You Still Got It" chants for Goldust were appropriate, as he appeared to be in top condition and hasn't lost a step in the ring. He looked pretty exhausted by the end of the contest, but I found it cool that Goldust resorted to using the Cross Rhodes on Orton when he was in dire straights. There was no doubt that Orton was going over here, but I was still entertained by the bout and Orton's post-match promo.
Rob Van Dam def. Ryback by Disqualification
I've been highly anticipating this match for quite some time now, but I was surprised that it was given away on free television with zero hype. It's not a dream match or anything, but this two have history with one another (they have/had similar gear and have mutual respect for each other outside the ring), but it would have been nice if it was saved for a later date. Even still, it wasn't long before Ryback got himself intentionally disqualified, so the actual finish was saved for later down the line. Unfortunately, though, this match did very little to get this viewer excited about the upcoming World Heavyweight Championship match.
Daniel Bryan def. United States Champion Dean Ambrose (Non-title)
I had high expectations for this matchup, and these two definitely delivered. As expected, it was an excellent match filled with exciting action and plenty of awesome counters in its final few minutes. It was nice to see the U.S. Champion compete in the main event for once, but the star-spangled prize hasn't received any attention at all as of late. The win helped boost Bryan's momentum going into Sunday and it's good to finally see him get the upper hand over Orton. Big Show wasn't the central focus this week, which was reassuring. I don't think Bryan walks out of the event as champion, and despite closing Raw this week as the last man standing, WWE hasn't given viewers much of a reason to believe that he has a chance of capturing the title from The Viper.
In all honesty, the Canadian crowd was the only thing worth watching about this show. They were hot all night long, regardless of the fact that most of the matches and segments were rather meaningless. Sure, there were a handful of highlights including Edge's return, Orton vs. Goldust, and Bryan vs. Ambrose, but those didn't save this show from being a disappointment. The sole purpose of this show was to sell Night of Champions, and it failed to get my excited for the event. Only one match was added to the card (the Tag Team Turmoil match on the pre-show), and even that didn't receive much hype. The card for the pending pay-per-view has the potential to be a good one, but WWE didn't succeed in making it feel special up to this point.
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