CM Punk shows off his WWE Championship to Jerry Lawler.
Great promo from CM Punk to kick off the show. Sure, he wasn't pandering to the audience and wasn't smiling as usual, but he wasn't insulting the crowd either. He was simply stating the facts and doing what he does best: speaking his mind. It's about time he mentioned the fact that the show should be focused on him while he's WWE Champion, and Punk also managed to throw in some extra hype for his eventual match with The Rock down the line. Big Show played his role well and made his intensions clear for the WWE title. I was expecting to hear from John Cena, but I guess not. It set up the main event nicely, and I find it interesting that Punk just stood there throughout the entire thing.
Fine match between Alberto Del Rio and United States Champion Santino Marella. The action was good for what it was worth, but we've seen this match countless times and it never gets any different. Granted, it was a bit longer this time around which was a nice surprise, but it's always the same outcome, so why bother? The victory does nothing for anyone, but I'm glad they at least attempted to make the bout somewhat competitive.
Harmless segment featuring Brodus Clay, Vickie Guerrero, and Damien Sandow. I'm glad they didn't go through yet another meaningless Clay squash match, as those have quickly grown tiresome. Vickie's interruption seemed strange since she was just by herself, but wasn't she involved in a dance contest with Clay on SmackDown back in January? Sandow was good here per usual and taking out Clay make perfect sense, since he can be considered an "ignoramus". I look forward to seeing more of Sandow on Raw in weeks ahead.
Strong match with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus defeating Daniel Bryan in a Street Fight. I appreciate the effort in incorporating the fans into the match stipulation, but in this case, the stipulations were basically the same thing, so it didn't matter all that much. Regardless, Sheamus and Bryan provided an entertaining contest that took full advantage of the stipulation with the stellar use of weapons throughout. Sure, it's another victory the Celtic Warrior may not need, but it was a fun contest that action that we don't normally see on Raw.
Forgettable match with Titus O'Neil defeating Kofi Kingston. I'm pleased they're keeping the feud between the two tandems going strong although the Prime Time Players already lost their title match. I'm also glad O'Neil picked up the upset victory here, as they desperately needed momentum after all the losses they've taken in recent weeks.
Kane prevents Alberto Del Rio from tapping out to Daniel Bryan.
Great match to kick off the show with The Miz successfully defending his Intercontinental Championship against Christian. I was pleasantly surprised not to see a main event star in the opening segment, but rather the new Intercontinental Champion, so that was a refreshing change of pace. Miz cut a pretty good promo, as did Christian. Putting the title on the line in the opening contest gave it some prestige and importance. They worked a fun match, and although I would've liked to see Miz win clean, having him win via dirty tactics maintains his heat and gives Captain Charisma an out for losing, thus continuing the feud. I'm excited for what the Awesome One will do as champion going forward.
Fine match between Ryback and Jinder Mahal. I actually don't mind Mahal getting offense in and making Ryback look somewhat vulnerable, as it helps Mahal's credibility and chances of winning. It doesn't take away anything from Ryback, who ended up winning anyways via count-out. Given the non-finish, I expect this to develop into a feud, which is exactly what Ryback needs right now.
Solid match between World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Cody Rhodes. They had excellent chemistry and I'd love to see this develop into a feud at some point soon. Rhodes looked strong in defeat and this contest only elevated him. My only complaint is the predictable finish, as Sheamus setting up for the Brogue Kick and they hitting it happens every time and has always annoyed me. Regardless, Dolph Ziggler teasing cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase was nicely established as was his feud with Chris Jericho. Y2J has foreshadowed a face turn in recent weeks, so I'm really looking forward to their expected match at SummerSlam.
WWE Champion CM Punk shocks the world by attacking The Rock.
Hilarious segment to open the show featuring the reuniting of D-Generation X. I was extremely glad to see X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn return and play their roles very well. This promo featured a ton of fun humor and having Damien Sandow make his Raw debut interrupting DX was brilliant. He received excellent heat and this was a great way of getting him over with the Raw crowd. Fun start to the show for sure.
Good six-man tag team match with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeating Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. Given the fact that this was the first ever encounter between Mysterio and Cara, that should've meant more than it did, but the action was fine for what it was. The finish felt anticlimactic, but at least they showed dissension between Ziggler and Jericho to tease a future feud between the two. Adding Jim Ross to commentary was a nice touch, but why was it only this contest and not for the entire night?
Throwaway match with Brodus Clay quickly squashing Jack Swagger. Wasn't Swagger starting to feud with Ryback as of last week? It's nice to see the commentators mention Swagger's recent losing ways, so maybe it's leading to something. If nothing else, seeing Dude Love return to dance with Clay was a fun flashback, but I would've liked to see Clay clash with Rikishi or even Godfather given their similarities.
Strange segment featuring AJ and Daniel Bryan. Obviously, the wedding was just as boring as most people expected, but thankfully, it was over rather quickly. It's a shame Bryan and AJ won't be rejoining forces after all, as I loved them as a couple earlier this year, but I guess it wouldn't make much sense storyline-wise. I must say that naming AJ as the new Raw General Manager was a bit of a shock, but why? To make Bryan's life a living hell? It seems like only a temporary move, but there are far worse decisions they could've made regarding the GM position.
Solid promo from The Rock. He had a fun verbal exchange with a frustrated Daniel Bryan and another strong verbal exchange with CM Punk, foreshadowing a feud between the two down the line. Announcing that he'll be facing the WWE Champion at Royal Rumble is a strong sell for the pay-per-view, and gives viewers something to look forward to in coming months.
The returning Rey Mysterio delivers a 619 to Dolph Ziggler.
Effective opening segment featuring the returning Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. Mysterio delivered a nice comeback speech, and having Alberto Del Rio interrupt and talk about how he injured him a year ago was logical and a good reminder for those that may have forgotten. Ziggler and Sheamus also played their roles well and successfully set up the main event for the night.
Enjoyable eight man tag team match with Darren Young, Titus O'Neil, Hunico and Camacho defeating WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, and Primo and Epico. Everyone's styles meshed nicely and made for an entertaining contest. It also was able to involve all of the tag team rivalries occurring right now. Cool finish with Young picking up the victory for his team and smart move by having the heels go over, who desperately needed momentum. I understand the sense in Big Show's attack by having him regain lost heat from the past week, but was it really necessary to destroy the tag team division and make them feel meaningless in the process?
Brief match with Damien Sandow defeating Zack Ryder. I would have liked to see more from these two, but what we got instead was very physical and aggressive from both men. I like the idea of putting over Sandow as a dominant heel, but his matches need to be longer if they're going to mean anything. I've enjoyed this feud between Ryder and Sandow, but it seems as if this match might have been the end of it.
Intriguing Peep Show segment featuring Intercontinental Champion Christian, Daniel Bryan and AJ. Christian did an excellent job in getting the crowd to hate Bryan and AJ as a couple, which was a missing element on Monday's Raw. They could finally become the dastardly couple I hoped they'd be earlier this year, so getting heat on both of them is smart booking. I hope to see a feud between Christian and Bryan at some point, preferably over the Intercontinental title, but nothing was really foreshadowed here during this segment.
Mr. Money in the Bank John Cena confronts WWE Champion CM Punk.
Solid opening segment featuring WWE Champion CM Punk and Big Show. It was great to see Punk reminisce on his epic "pipebomb" from last June, which also occurred in Las Vegas. As much as I don't like Show, he played his part very well here, and got the point across that Punk has been overshadowed as of late. It was certainly effective in setting up their main event match for later in the evening while also teasing Cena could quite possibly cash in his newly won Money in the Bank briefcase.
Good match with Kofi Kingston and R-Truth successfully defending their WWE Tag Team Championships against the Prime Time Players. Both teams had nice chemistry and I enjoyed the fun finish. However, this match should have been hyped in advance, or at least could have been included on the Money in the Bank card. Since Titus O'Neil and Darren Young have been losing so many matches lately, it makes me question why they were ever the number one contenders in the first place.
Effective match with Alberto Del Rio defeating Zack Ryder. Sure, I'd much rather see Ryder be used more meaningful, but at least he appeared on the show. It gave Del Rio a nice win and momentum to rebound his loss from Money in the Bank. Rey Mysterio's shocking return was brilliantly done and made complete sense since it was Del Rio who sidelined Mysterio last summer (in story-line, of course). I'm glad WWE hadn't forgotten about that angle, and I'm somewhat excited for the pending feud between the two if WWE opts to go that route, despite the fact we've seen it many times before.
Fun segment featuring Rikishi's return and his squash victory over Heath Slater. I honestly can't recall the last time Rikishi has appeared on WWE television (other than the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame), so it was a great nostalgic moment. The dance number with his sons the Usos following the contest was a golden family moment that I've been dying to see for ages. I'm looking forward to see what the blow-off is to Slater's Legend angle next week on the 1000th edition of Raw.
Strange segment with AJ and Daniel Bryan defeating Eve and The Miz. Throughout the entire night, Bryan seemed to be acting completely sincere towards AJ, which came out of nowhere since he has no motive and actually made him look like a face. Pairing Eve up with Miz was a smart move and I'd love to see more from those two together in the future. It feels like they're rushing into the Bryan-AJ wedding just to add yet another hook for next week's monumental show, but I'm certainly intrigued to see where it goes from here.
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