Solid six-man tag team match to kick off the show. It served its purpose in covering Mysterio's knee injury, getting everyone involved in the event, and giving the Master of the 619 some momentum going into his WWE Championship rematch on Raw in his hometown.
Contrary to some people's beliefs, I thought that the Sheamus and Mark Henry match was actually pretty good for the time they got. They certainly could go more and held back last night, but this was only a teaser of what they can accomplish in the future. Henry's attack on Sheamus through the barricade was intense indeed, and the count-out victory keeps Sheamus credible while furthering Henry's monster push.
Although I did take a break to get some food in the convenience of my own home, I didn't think the C-Lo Green segment was all that bad. Sure, he didn't sound as great in person, but he preformed pretty well and the addition of the beautiful Divas were a nice touch. The performance also helps gets WWE some extra mainstream coverage they're always craving.
Surprisingly, the Divas Championship bout between the defending Kelly Kelly and challenger Beth Phoenix was better than expected. That was certainly one of the best Kelly matches I've ever seen, and Phoenix is a good opponent to bring the best out of her. Although I was bit disappointed that the Glamazon didn't walk away with the gold, you can't help but think that Kelly's upset victory helps further a story, something that is unheard of and rare in the Divas division. I can guarantee a rematch at Night of Champions, where Beth hopefully then claims the title.
I've been highly anticipating the eventual confrontation from Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett, and their bout was everything I hoped it to be last night. They have excellent history and chemistry, which can be sampled from the variety of reversals they provided. The only minor miss here is the lack of crowd reaction, but that's typical given the fact that the bout was confirmed for the card at the last minute. I was surprised to see Barrett pick up the victory, but I have no problem with it seeing Barrett needs to regain credibility as a top heel on SmackDown. Hopefully, the rivalry continues with Barrett earning a fair shot at the briefcase at Night of Champions.
Out of all the matches Randy Orton and Christian have contested against each other, this was easily the best with the tremendous suspense, use of the No Holds Barred stipulation, and the pace the two worked at to give us a great 25-minute bout. I was hoping for Christian to finally defeat Orton clean last night, but alas, it was not meant to be, as the Viper once again became World Champion. You can tell from the fan reaction that followed that they weren't all that psyched seeing a new champion. Even though the finish of the contest was extremely awesome, Christian was pretty much buried by this loss and will no longer be featured in main event programs. Edge's appearance prior to the match was a nice surprise, pleased the fans, and settled any speculation with his thoughts on his best friend Christian's antics.
The main event WWE Championship match between CM Punk and John Cena was once again a classic, another match in the running for Match of the Year. The crowd was hot for it the full twenty minutes and both Superstars were able to live up to their infamous Money in the Bank performance last month. I'm glad to be wrong in the fact that Triple H didn't turn heel despite much speculation, but he served his purpose as referee in blowing the call with Cena's foot on the rope, keeping the Cena-Punk on-going saga alive. I absolutely marked out for the return of Kevin Nash, as its about time he was involved in an on-air story-line. I completely forgot about Del Rio at the same, which made for another awesome moment when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract. I'm certainly content with the way everything played out, and I'm also glad Del Rio got what he finally deserved.
Overall, a way better show than expected that certainly exceeded my expectations. Every match included solid action, served a purpose, and shocked the WWE Universe with the outcome. The ending of the broadcast was the perfect way to add more intrigue, interest, and suspense into the upcoming Raw show tonight and freshen up the WWE Championship picture.
Redundant, non-funny segment to kick off the show. Triple H's comedy gets old after a while, and this is certainly no way to make Christian look going into SummerSlam. Exclaiming that he was "suing" the entire WWE accomplished nothing, and once against made Christian come off as a coward.
Good match from Christian and Sheamus, but it wasn't really given enough time to develop. The two have excellent chemistry, so I hope they can feud once Christian's rivalry with Orton is over. The count-out victory keeps them both semi-strong going off into Sunday, so can't complain about that. On a side note, it's disappointing that Christian's great matches start the show, while Orton finishes it with nothing much better.
Now Beth Phoenix looks like an absolute monster going into Sunday. I'm glad it was over quickly seeing that Kaitlyn and AJ are very green in the ring, and the post-match attack on the two "bimbos" helped establish Phoenix and Natalya as top heels.
I, personally, think Hunico (the guy that was playing Sin Cara last night) is a much better wrestler than Sin Cara as I didn't notice as many obvious botches, but I do understand that swapping the two now would confuse the viewers, fans, and conflict with business. But what I don't understand is why couldn't they have held off another week for the real Sin Cara to return following his suspension?
Much like the starting match, the bout between Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio had great action, but it was way too short to be anything special. The finish seemed to come out of no where, but it did help Del Rio recover some lost momentum. It was a special, fresh attraction between two Money in the Bank winners, so I'm hoping for a future rematch. The post-match attack from Wade Barrett was a smart move in helping Barrett get some heat going into their match on Sunday after being overlooked the past few weeks.
Mediocre match from Ezekiel Jackson and Cody Rhodes, but I don't expect much from the Superstar with only five moves in his repertoire. However, I am very satisfied with the ending result, as it's about time the final gave Rhodes his first singles championship. The fire that Big Zeke displayed following the contest was intriguing, but it unfortunately leads me to believe this feud is not yet over.
I wasn't too thrilled to see Johnny Curtis killed on his debut after all the strange hype he's been given for the past two months, but it helps keep major heat on Mark Henry. The teasing by Sheamus that followed was predictable, but it should get fans excited to see the Celtic Warrior finally get his hands on Henry come this Sunday.
A better match from the Great Khali than I expected, but did it really need to be the main event? Sheamus and Christian could have gone for ten minutes if given the slot. Nonetheless, the bout was short, simple, and effective, and I was impressed by Orton's jumping RKO on Khali, something that is difficult for a man of his size. Christian's promo that closed the show was a great way for him to recover from earlier in the evening, adding suspense and new-found intrigue to his upcoming match with Orton over the World title.
Overall, an entertaining SmackDown that served its purpose in building towards SummerSlam this Sunday. Although the action was light and some bouts could have gone longer, the broadcast was successful this week in every match somewhat building hype towards this Sunday.
Nice opener from Triple H. I predicted that he would eventually appoint himself as the special guest referee for the WWE Championship match on Sunday, but that doesn't take away from the star power itself. I'm also glad he didn't attempt to bury anyone this time around as well.
Decent match from John Cena and Jack Swagger. Although it was predictable, it was a good showing from the All-American American. Swagger has zero direction on Monday nights and his future looks grim, unless he can be featured in a meaningful program soon.
Awesome night for The Miz all around. I'm glad they didn't deliver his match with Mysterio as that is pay-per-view worthy, and his attack on the Ultimate Underdog made him come off as a legitimate heel. His match with Kingston was well-paced, and giving him clean wins will do a lot for him in the long run as a top star.
Solid match featuring CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio, even though it was a contest that could have been saved for a later date. Nice combination finish with the roundhouse kick followed by the GTS. Del Rio has certainly lost direction, and hopefully can snag a spot somewhere on this Sunday's SummerSlam card.
A more than average Divas match from Beth Phoenix and Eve, as I believe these two are the only ones left on the Raw roster that can actually wrestle. The finish was well done, but having Kelly Kelly get a shot in at the last minute wasted Beth's momentum and felt unnecessary. However, it leads me to believe the Glamazon walks away with the gold this Sunday.
Pretty disappointing match with Dolph Ziggler and Alex Riley. Hopefully the disqualification victory continues the feud, saves the potential match for a later date, and gets Riley a future title shot. Vickie's brake-up with Dolph was completely overshadowed due to the quick match, but I'd expect it to slowly build up to an ultimate climax instead.
Although it was a great match from John Morrison and R-Truth that succeeded in telling a story, I was confused as to why this wasn't saved for SummerSlam instead. Given Truth's clean victory, I'm lead to imply that Morrison is in the doghouse, with creative really dropping the ball on his return.
Amazing, controversial contract signing to end Raw, something different than most contract signing thats occur in WWE. It catered to the insider fans while also driving the point clear across the casual fans. Mentioning the legit releases of Chris Masters, Harry Smith, and Vladimir Kozlov really made Punk look like a hero here, and Cena's mic work was also some of the best I've ever seen from him while excluding the PG comedy we usually get from him. I was afraid at first the Rock video would drive the focus onto that rivalry instead, but it made for a very funny addition.
Overall, a solid go-home show edition of Raw, that built around the upcoming SummerSlam matches but also featured great, lengthy in-ring all night long. I am bit concerned over that fact that there are only four matches confirmed for the pay-per-view, but the given matches made for exciting television. Hopefully the ending segment brings in pay-per-view, with fans looking to discover what unfolds next in the on-going, controversial saga with CM Punk, John Cena, and Triple H.
Most people can't get a good match out of The Great Khali, but Sheamus made the best out of it. It made the Celtic Warrior look like an absolute beast, with the main focus of the impressive face reaction at the result of his actions.
Above average Divas match from Natayla and AJ. I question the move in turning Natayla heel seeing the division will have zero credible face Divas, but it develops a story and certainly has me interested. Hopefully we see a longer version of this bout somewhere down the line.
Amazing technical match featuring Daniel Bryan and Tyson Kidd, something I've been dying to see for months on hand. The two have excellent chemistry, with Bryan making Kidd look like a legitimate threat of a mid-carder instead of the Superstars regular that he is. Wade Barrett was a nice addition on commentary as well.
The Zack Ryder-Ezekiel Jackson segment was baffling to say the least. I'm not sure to believe Ryder as a face or heel, being one of my favorites, I hope he finds his place as the SmackDown official soon. Losing to Big Zeke in a matter of minutes does nothing to either of them or the Intercontinental Title belt, as Cody Rhodes stated. Speaking of Rhodes, he needs to quickly progress as a character as his mic skills and gimmick is at this point getting a bit stale.
Although I'm not a fan of squashing Vladimir Kozlov in his last WWE match within two minutes, it did what it needed to do in making Henry come off as a monster. Sheamus making the save pushed the feud further, having me highly anticipating their inevitable showdown at SummerSlam.
Having a six-man tag team match without any credible Superstars involved is a complete waste of time. The crowd simply didn't care about anyone apart of the match, coming off as simply filler more than anything.
Solid tag team main event, with all four Superstars included pulling off some great spots and intense action. The final minutes were simlpy exciting, and finally made Morrison look good in defeat. Putting Christian over Randy Orton clean was excellent booking, as it gives the crowd now that there's some doubt in Orton's predicted victory at SummerSlam.
Overall, a decent show with a few two excellent matches. Having seven matches on the card wasn't the best move, seeing that each contest was reduced to minimal time. Nonetheless, it was good as a whole that went by quickly, with the SummerSlam hype serving its purpose as well.
The opening promo featuring CM Punk and Triple H was by far the best segment of the night, even if it took up a quarter of the show. Both Punk and HHH made excellent points, but it seemed they were more focusing on setting up Punk vs. Triple H rather than Punk vs. Cena. Either way, Punk's mentions of former Superstars made this noteworthy and intriguing for internet fans and casual fans alike.
The Divas battle royal was quick and painless, with the right Diva going over here and earning contender-ship. As much as I enjoyed Beth Phoenix as a face, turning her heel will certainly spark up the Divas division a bit and build towards her eventual showdown with Kharma down the line.
Solid tag team match featuring Miz and Truth taking on Morrison and Mysterio. I'm not all for Morrison taking the pin here as he needs to look strong upon his return, but giving the heels heat going into SummerSlam works as well. I'd expect for Miz and Mysterio to continue their feud going into the pay-per-view, which just needs to be set up next week. On a side note, the pre-match segment with Truth and Miz was hilarious, which leaves me hoping this isn't the end of their teaming.
Both Alex Riley and Dolph Ziggler did pretty well for themselves on the mic, so hopefully it translates well into a future match between the two. I'm not sure where this angle is going with Vickie Guerrero, but I'm afraid that without her, Ziggler will garner zero heat as a singles competitor.
Finally, the WWE Tag Team Champions pick up a victory that actually means something. The action was decent for the most part, and Otunga and McGillicutty seem to have some chemistry now as a team. Ryder and Santino could make a good team, but I'd much rather have Ryder be taken seriously as a future contender to the U.S. Title. Also, it seems as if the Nexus is officially dead after last night, another angle that WWE expects to forget about without any mention unfortunately.
Great, brief action from Alberto Del Rio and Evan Bourne, especially with the jump kick to Bourne's head towards the end of the contest. Looks like they're continuing the feud between Del Rio and Kofi Kingston, which hopefully can get Del Rio back on track come SummerSlam.
The ending promo between CM Punk, John Cena, and Triple H didn't do much for me, as it was more bickering over the claim of the championship and an announcement we all saw coming. The holding of the belts and switching of the entrance themes at the conclusion of the broadcast was a bit awkward as well.
Overall,a middle-in-the-road show. It wasn't as boring as two weeks ago, nor was it as exciting as last week. The action that was featured was good for what it was, and a predictable Raw at the very least. Hopefully we get confirmations of more top Raw matches on the go-home show to SummerSlam.
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