Smart move by opening the show with Triple H, but somewhat burying World Heavyweight Champion Christian isn't a great way to get him over. R-Truth made sense in his coming to SmackDown, and the comedy continues to entertain.
Pretty decent match from Christian and John Morrison, but it wasn't everything I had hoped seeing this was the first time these two have locked up. The finish was very-well done, and shows that Captain Charisma can pick up a victory without using dirty tactics. This was a loss-loss situation, as Morrison needs to look strong upon his return to the ring and going into his upcoming SummerSlam encounter.
I'm ecstatic to see Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett finally feuding with each other, as both have history together in NXT and excellent chemistry. Not to mention both Superstars shined on the mic, and this could certainly be a strong feud if given enough time and development.
A quick and painless match from the Divas of SmackDown. Although the viewers aren't given any reason to care about them, the match itself was wel-done. Alicia Fox has showed fire in victory the last few weeks, which leads me to question whether she will soon be involved in the Divas Championship picture.
Mark Henry is easily the hottest heel in WWE today, and the past few months have to be the best work he's ever done in his lengthy career. His dominant skills are finally being recognized, and the fact that no one wants to face him makes him much more "badass". I'm liking the idea of a feud with newly turned Sheamus, as their chemistry would be interesting to say the least. Hopefully Sheamus continues to shine as a face while still keeping Henry legitimate.
The tag team match was throwaway, and I wish really hoping for a title change here since the Usos hold more talent than the boring New Nexus. On a side note, I'm a little disappointed in seeing Nexus take Justin Gabriel's entrance music, as it fit him better.
None of the three men involved in the handicap match did anything for me here, as nothing was really out of the usual. Giving Cody Rhodes the win gives me hope that the Intercontinental Championship is not far from his grasp.
A solid main event match from both Randy Orton and R-Truth, but most of the action was more predictable than not. Truth has indeed improved in the ring since his heel turn, but was completely overshadowed by the interfering Christian. I'm still confused as to who the crowd is supposed to be cheering, seeing Orton using dirty tactics and acting insane. The easiest thing to do is to execute a double turn, since both men work better that way.
Overall, a decent show that had a lack of great in-ring action as opposed to last week, and the promos served their purpose. As much as I love Zack Ryder, I'm not really sure being the assistant to Teddy Long is best for him right now. Adding Jinder Mahal in small bits such as the box seats will help him gain heat and get over with the crowd. With the World Title match now confirmed for SummerSlam, hopefully we can start to see the top programs start to shape up for the upcoming pay-per-view.
Having the finals of the WWE Championship tournament start off the show was confusing at first, but it came to make sense as it really got the crowd pumping for the rest of the night. Miz and Mysterio put on a quality title bout, and the emotion of Mysterio's win was a great feel even if it didn't last long. I've been a fan of putting Miz and Mysterio in a program for awhile now, so hopefully we can see a rematch at SummerSlam.
Dolph Ziggler and Evan Bourne have awesome chemistry, so a longer match could have helped more. However, a great win by Ziggler in order to get back on his hot streak since winning the title. Bourne should continue to be in the title picture as well. On a side note, Dolph's new remix sounds great, giving him so much more of an edge as a dominant heel.
A decent tag team match by Divas standards, with the sexual appeal keeping the fans awake and alive. Given their recent teaming, I expect Eve to be victorious next week in the battle royal to go on to face her friend Kelly Kelly for the Divas Championship at SummerSlam.
Although it would have been smart to hype Triple H's State of the WWE Address a few days in advance, it still was an intriguing segment. I completely marked for the return of Jim Ross, as he can certainly add some prestige back on commentary. Truth and HHH provided some hilarious comedy, keeping Truth relevant. John Morrison's return was overshadowed by the rest of the show, but it was great to see him back in order to build his feud with Truth going into SummerSlam.
In another record breaking moment, Zack Ryder won his first match on RAW! I was absolutely ecstatic when his music hit, and even though it was a thirty second match against Michael Cole, it sure answered his and many other's demands. The crowd gave him a solid reaction, so hopefully it leads to entering the U.S. title angle at one point or another.
A solid rematch from last week involving Kofi Kingston and Alberto Del Rio. The two could reignite their feud if given the right tools, but it doesn't seem to be the case. Both Superstars are currently lost in the shuffle right now, but at least Del Rio is one of the few heels that can win a match clean.
John Cena vs. Rey Mysterio is a match is a very rare contest, as these two haven't met since at least 2003, and that was before both became top main eventers. I would have loved to see this be stretched out to SummerSlam or even WrestleMania, but what we got was still pretty great. Giving the title back to Cena was expected, but CM Punk's return was not. The live audience, along with myself, went ballistic as they saw Punk walk out from the entrance. I'm loving his theme change as it fits Punk perfectly even if his old music was still pretty great, as well as his new attire and titantron changes. Holding up the belt in that fashion gets me excited me for SummerSlam, as we may be getting the unification match we all want to see.
Overall, this was a very exciting and noteworthy edition of Monday Night RAW. The returns of Jim Ross, John Morrison, and CM Punk were absolutely breath-taking and awesome, the action and two title matches were solid, and it began to plant seeds for the upcoming SummerSlam, not to mention Zack Ryder finally being given his chance to shine. In my opinion, this has to be the best RAW so far this year, and with Triple H now in charge, I'm hopeful the excitement continues in coming weeks.
Randy Orton sitting in the chair to open the chair seemed to be mimicking Punk's familiar tactics. The intensity between himself and Christian was decent, but stale seeing it's what we've been seeing for weeks.
Contrary to what some have stated, I believe Christian's match with Ezekiel Jackson wasn't half bad. We've seen them work before in ECW, and Zeke seems to being improving nicely for my taste. The finish was unexpected, but I'm glad the World Champion was able to pick up a clean win. Some hype for a champion vs. champion match would have been nice though.
I was surprised and glad to see Daniel Bryan to announce that he will be cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase at the upcoming WrestleMaina 28 event. However, I surely hope WWE doesn't drop the ball by having him lose the briefcase before then similar to Mr. Kennedy a few years ago. Anyways, the action that followed was solid, but Heath Slater's character can't be taken seriously. He is horrible on the mic, and has that low rent look that does nothing for him. It's time to change his gimmick or release him altogether.
Usually, heel vs. heel matches aren't the best booking due to the fact that the audience has no one to cheer. Despite that, the fans seemed pleased with the action, especially with the brawling chemistry between the two. Sheamus seemed to win over the fans more, so it will be interesting to see if he goes face given the lack of faces on the brand. The program looks fun and could produce
An awesome main event delivered from Randy Orton and Kane, who were given a great amount of time and used the Street Fight stipulation to their advantage. Given the right opponent, Kane can really work, and the final five minutes had intense suspense and had the Big Red Monster looking strong in defeat. I was pleasantly surprised to see Christian not interfere, and the Mark Henry segment that followed makes the World Strongest Man looking like the beast of the company.
Overall, a very enjoyable episode of SmackDown. Although there were only four matches contested, each bout was given a lengthy amount of time and served a purpose. There was no pointless Divas match to disrupt the show, but I was confused as to why the advertised Intercontinental Championship match never occurred nor was it explained. Nonetheless, hopefully the World Title picture can start fresh and heat up going into SummerSlam.
Following one of greatest pay-per-views in recent memory, I must say I was a little disappointed with RAW's opening. I would have liked some footage or photos of Punk's wins, but they unfortunately "erased" it to make it seem legit. I can't say the tournament got me excited, as bringing back Punk for one last night might have been a bit more suitable for this viewer.
It's disappointing to see so many potential matches go to waste apart of a tournament in just one night. Alex Riley and The Miz could have blown their feud off on SummerSlam, but instead gave it away with little hype at the start of the show. The two heels match with R-Truth and Jack Swagger was awkward, while the fresh Mysterio and Ziggler match was too short to be anything special. I was surprised to see Del Rio lose in the first round, but it's always possible he can cash in on the winner of the tournament.
Why hold a 14-Diva tag team match if it's going to be less than a minute long? They pulled the same crap a few weeks ago, and does nothing for anyone. I'd much rather see Kelly move towards being a strong champion by finding new contenders.
I was hoping for Kingston to pull an upset over Miz, but no such luck. However, a very strong match from Mysterio and Truth, as they have great chemistry together, even if it was a predictable finish. Being the only two former champs (besides Swagger) in the tournament, a Miz vs. Mysterio match is new and refreshing, but it's a shame this whole thing was used to bring some new faces to the title picture.
The ending segment saved this show from being a snooze fest, as Mr. McMahon did an awesome job selling his frustration and emotion. Triple H's return was a great surprise, and giving him full control of the company was a nice touch. It helps keep excitement in this on-going angle, and writes McMahon off television in the process if that was the purpose, while keeping CM Punk's future with the company still open.
Overall, a surprisingly boring show, as I was expecting a much hotter fall-out show following the events that transpired at Money in the Bank. I surely hope a new WWE Champion is not crowned next week, as Miz vs. Mysterio is a match that doesn't need a title on the line to feel special. Hopefully Triple H's new reign as the head of the company will prove for more upcoming changes to the broadcast.
An awesome opening from SmackDown's Money in the Bank Ladder Match, as I was pleasantly surprised it was exciting as it was despite the lack of star power. Everyone involved was given a chance to shine, especially the spots involving Justin Gabriel, Sheamus, and Sin Cara. The finish was not only shocking , but a great, emotional win. Giving Daniel Bryan the briefcase got the crowd pumping, as he certainly deserves it.
Obviously, the Divas Championship was lackluster, but at least they both tried. The fact of the matter is that neither of them can work, so new contenders are needed, such as Phoenix, Kim, or Natayla. Nonetheless, at least the placement was a good buffer following the exciting MITB match.
I didn't expect much from Big Show and Mark Henry, but I was again surprised how they lived up to the hype on their on-going feud. It was given good time that included some decent wrestling, that ended with the perfect finish with Henry going over clean. This win gives Henry the monster heel effect, especially since Show will be "sidelined" for six to eight weeks.
Although it didn't quite live up to the SmackDown version, the RAW Money in the Bank match was solid for the most part. Its action was unorganized, but each Superstar involved had a brief moment. I found it humorous the Chicago crowd cheered Miz on his way back and booed Mysterio as he was about to win, and the Del Rio finish was interesting in removing Mysterio's mask. His victory was predictable, but it certifies his rightful place among the main event players.
After seeing three previous matches between Randy Orton and Christian, it's grown to the point where their solid matches have become redundant and repetitive. It didn't quite live up to their previous bouts, and the disqualification finish was a little awkward for Orton knowing he'd lose the title. The contest was never able to really kick off until the near falls, but at least they gave the fans what they wanted with the two RKOs on the after the match. I'm glad they were smart enough to finally put the belt back on Christian, putting Orton in chase mode.
Coming to the climax of the evening, the WWE Championship match was simply excellent and perfect in more ways than one. In a thirty minute wrestling classic, that's the best we've seen from Cena in a very long time, and being put in the ring with a natural such as CM Punk made the match even more suspenseful. The McMahon attempt at the recreation of the Montreal Screwjob was excellently executed, with a very well-done finish. The crowd was absolutely the perfect atmosphere, and added to the excitement of the overall match. I enjoyed the swerve of Del Rio failing to cash in his briefcase only to have Punk run off with the title, leaving a great cliffhanger for the following RAW. I consider this a strong candidate in the running for Match of the Year.
Overall, this is one of the best pay-per-views I've witnessed in a long, long time. The card was strong all around, with some surprising twists and the right people going over. It's about time WWE started to listen what the fans wanted, with an excellent Chicago all right long.
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