Brock Lesnar locks in the Kimura on Triple H.
Strong segment to kick off the show with Brock Lesnar brutally attacking Triple H. It seemed like they completely forgot about Lesnar's loss to Cena other than the opening video package, which would be the best move to keep his momentum going. He and the Game have yet to clash, so I'm mildly excited for this dream feud to come to fruition. Also, I loved seeing Lesnar's Kimura lock get major focus here.
Fun match between The Miz and Santino Marella that seemed much more enjoyable than their bout the night before at Extreme Rules. The Miz feels like an afterthought at the moment, so it was a much-needed victory for him after being left off the program over the last month. Wouldn't this mean that Miz deserves another shot at the title?
Brief match that saw newly crowned Divas Champion Layla successfully defend her title against the Bellas in an 11-second Triple Threat match. I though it would be used to create tension between the Bellas, but apparently not. This didn't really accomplish anything, but I'm somewhat glad they used logic and gave the Bellas their rematch clause for the championship before they left the company.
Decent match between Chris Jericho and Big Show apart of the Beat the Clock Challenge. After weeks of build-up, Jericho received little to no emphasis on this show. Even worse, there was no mention that these two were former tag team champions together, which most fans would remember if there was acknowledgement. I'm not sure if Jericho was supposed to beat the clock or not with the count-out victory, but it was not well established.
Typical squash match with Brodus Clay destroying JTG. This is much of the same from Clay that we were seeing a weekly basis before WrestleMania, so I wish they'd capitalize on his victory he scored over Ziggler at Extreme Rules. If nothing else, I'm relieved to see he's Hornswoggle as his sidekick, who was not helping him get over whatsoever.
John Cena delivers an Attitude Adjustment to Brock Lesnar.
Quick match with United States Champion Santino Marella successfully retaining his United States Championship against The Miz. The promo from Miz before the match was well done, but the bout was too quick to mean anything. As I've said before, Marella doesn't need the strap, while a former WWE Champion getting pinned by a comedy figure doesn't do anything for Miz whatsoever.
Great Falls Count Anywhere Match between Randy Orton and Kane that was, much like their WrestleMania encounter, better than originally expected. The crowd died down a bit when they went backstage, but Orton and Kane had suspenseful back-and-forth action throughout that kept the Chicago crowd alive. Orton going over was predictable, so that wasn't a major miss. Cool finish with the RKO onto the chair as well.
Fun match between Brodus Clay and Dolph Ziggler that worked as a nice buffer. Initially, Ziggler got cheered while Clay got booed (thanks to his association with Hornswoggle), so this didn't seem to serve much purpose. However, the crowd warmed up to Clay while hitting his signature spots and Ziggler sold like a beast as usual. Good win for Clay, but Ziggler needs to regain credibility quickly.
Good booking in the Intercontinental Championship Tables match between Big Show and Cody Rhodes. The action was fine for what it was worth, but Rhodes winning the belt in the fashion he did was a smart way to protect Show and give Rhodes back the title. Although the crowd booed the World's Largest Athlete for attacking Rhodes following the bout, he won them over with those two impressive spots through to table. Nicely done.
Excellent two-out-of-three counts falls match between World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Daniel Bryan. After building up Bryan as a threat over the threat the last few weeks, he came off as an aggressive monster in this match. He was able to dominate throughout, while Sheamus was able to look resilient and pull out the victory. We've been waiting for a bout between these two for a long time, and it certainly delivered.
Edge returns to Raw to confront John Cena.
Strong promo to kick off the show featuring the returning Edge giving a pep talk to a speechless John Cena. This was a smart way to attract fans into thinking the contract signing between Cena and Lesnar would kick off the show, but would be saved for later in the evening instead. Edge's surprise return was a great touch that didn't need to be advertised to feel special, as his mic work towards Cena was solid here through his facial expressions and the meaning of his words.
Good match between Chris Jericho and Kofi Kingston, but predictable since these two have had more than a dozen matches together and provided nothing different than the previous exchanges. A win over Kingston doesn't mean much anymore, but at least Jericho connected with that awesome looking springboard Codebreaker and followed up with the Liontamer for the win.
Typical squash match with Lord Tensai detroying R-Truth. While Truth was able to get in some offense, he obviously didn't stand a chance. Truth hasn't been relevant in ages, so Tensai needs an opponent (much like Cena last week) that the fans care about and will give him legitimate heat. If nothing else, I am pleased Tensai actually pinned Truth rather than winning via referee stoppage.
Interesting segment featuring Kane and Randy Orton. I still find Kane's mic skills to be great, although some may not think so. What he said was much of the same from last week, but I was shocked to see Paul Bearer back. Wasn't he accidentally killed by Kane in late 2010? There's no logical in WWE, adding to the fact that as sick as Orton is, he shouldn't be killing a man while still a face. Nonetheless, having Kane rescue Bearer later only to put him back in the freezer actually had me hating the Big Red Monster for being so unsympathetic.
Decent tag team match with Intercontinental Champion Big Show and Great Khali defeating Cody Rhodes and Alberto Del Rio. The match shouldn't have lasted for as long as it did, especially since Show and Khali were in control for a majority of the contest. Having Rhodes being pinned by Show doesn't get me excited for their upcoming title rematch at Extreme Rules, but it gives me hope we might be seeing Rhodes regain the strap.
Brock Lesnar came off as a major heel for roughing up Josh Matthews backstage. This was probably the most heelish thing Lesnar has done since returning that would actually want the casual viewer to hate him, so this was excellent use of Matthews here.
Daniel Bryan scolds AJ in front of the WWE Universe.
Strong promo from Daniel Bryan and AJ to kick off the show. Since WrestleMania, Bryan has shown more aggression with his mic skills being stronger than ever before. He and AJ have excellent chemistry, and that truly shined here. Bryan verbally abusing AJ will certainly garner him heat, and AJ played her role fairly well during this promo. The only thing that bothered me about this segment was the fact that you could clearly see the English crowd chanting "YES!" for Bryan, but were instead muted due to the show being taped.
Intense segment with AJ getting herself disqualified in her match against Natalya. While she may not fit the raging role, AJ certainly let her aggressive antics speak louder than her words spoken to Bryan earlier on. Natalya is more of a tweener at the moment, but she did look sympathetic towards AJ, so it worked. AJ looked strong beating up a former Divas Champion, so I hope she keeps up this attitude as she nears a possible heel turn.
Typical match with Brodus Clay squashing Hunico within a minute. Sure, his entrance with Hornswoggle was fun and all, but this served no purpose. If nothing else, at least he's getting over with the crowd nicely. Hunico hasn't meant anything in a while, so he didn't lose anything he didn't already have here.
Decent tag team match with the debuting team of Darren Young and Titus O'Neil defeating The Usos. It's about time Young and O'Neil were called up to the main shows, as they have improved immensely on NXT and deserve their time to shine. The tag team match was fine for what it was, but a win over the Usos doesn't mean all that much. I'm interested as to how they'll chase the tag team titles if the straps are held by heels.
Chris Jericho confronts CM Punk via satellite.
Solid No Disqualification Match with WWE Champion CM Punk successfully retaining his title against Mark Henry to kick off the show. These two have great chemistry and made for an enjoyable match, especially with the sound effects with the English crowd. Of course, Punk's title never seemed to be in jeopardy, but they made good use of the environment to fully utilize the No Holds Barred stipulation and make this an awesome opening match. Additionally, I loved CM Punk's unique finish to the bout with the flying elbow chair drop as well.
Good exchange between CM Punk and Chris Jericho. It feels like we've been seeing the same thing each week and it feels very repetitive by this point, but at least they keeping switching it up by having Jericho sometimes in person and sometimes degrading Punk over the Titantron. The fact that Jericho was spying on Punk and filmed him walk into a bar seemed a bit silly, but it once again brought the best intensity out of the Straightedge Savior.
Throwaway match with United States Champion Santino Marella successfully retaining his title against David Otunga. The action was pretty lackluster, but at least it was brief and was over within a few minutes. As always, I don't feel Santino needs the star spangled prize in order to get over, so why not give it to someone who does like Otunga?
Intense interview from Brock Lesnar. Everything about this promo was spot on, from his reasoning for targeting Cena and managing to garner heat by saying he only cares for himself. The UFC name drop and coinciding pictures that went along with it were also a nice touch. I'm glad they used this approach with Lesnar rather than have him on the show each week, which seemed unlikely anyways due to him signing for a minimum of two appearances per month. Lesnar has been great since returning and this interview certainly got me excited for his match with Cena at Extreme Rules more than I already was.
Decent promo from Kane. He quickly got to the point and addressed his attack on the Ortons from last week's SmackDown for those Raw viewers that don't watch on Friday nights. While some people may not Kane's mic skills as of late, I believe the Big Red Monster has delivered his lines fairly well and used a good enough amount of emotion. However, I do feel bad for Zack Ryder, who had the take the beating here and hasn't looked credible all year long.
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