John Cena locks in the STF on Alberto Del Rio.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Money in the Bank All-Stars Confronted Each Other
While this segment was pretty predictable for the most part, everyone's mic work was solid and things were kept moving at a fluent pace. Every competitor is a fan favorite, so it was hard for an all-out brawl to ensure, but they made the most out of what they had and effectively hyped the All-Stars Money in the Bank Ladder match.
U.S. & WWE Tag Team Champions The Shield def. Christian and The Usos
I found their match from SmackDown to be a bit more enjoyable, but this was still a fun bout, nonetheless. I like how much they've been highlighting The Usos in recent weeks, as it has really made them feel like legitimate threats to The Shield. I was fine with Christian and The Usos losing here since they defeated The Shield on SmackDown. Two back-to-back losses to The Shield would not have seemed realistic given the fact they went undefeated for seven straight months.
Dolph Ziggler def. Jinder Mahal
I would have rather seen Ziggler go one-on-one with someone such as Cody Rhodes or Damien Sandow, but I guess those are money matchups better saved for down the line. His match with Mahal, but it served its purpose in offering some nice action while it lasted. Ziggler looked great in outsmarting 3MB and received a nice reaction for his efforts. I'm liking his face persona so far and I hope it continues to shine going forward.
Kane def. Randy Orton with Daniel Bryan as Special Guest Referee
The match itself was well wrestled, but the focus was obviously on Bryan as referee. His interactions with Kane are enjoyable, but I can't help but think that WWE is throwing money out the window by not making him more of a serious competitor. The signs of a heel turn for Bryan are most certainly there, which worries me deeply.
Sheamus def. Fandango via Count-out
What was the point of this match? There wasn't anything neccesarily bad about it, but I don't see the logic in having Fandango return only to lose to Sheamus. No one expected Fandango to score the upset victory, but I guess it's better than having Sheamus go over clean. Even still, this was a waste of a match that didn't do anyone any favors. If nothing else, it was good to see Summer Rae back on my television.
The Miz def. Ryback
Ryback dominated almost all of this match, so to see Ryback forfeit following one move in the turnbuckle from Miz was mind-boggling to me. Chris Jericho was entertaining on commentary and he's making this feud work the best to his ability, but I simply don't understand the rationale in making Ryback look weak. Shouldn't be booked to look stronger after being fed to John Cena for two months?
Mark Henry Addressed the WWE Universe
While this promo was nowhere as good as the segment he was involved in two weeks ago, it was still a decent promo. He struggled at certain points and made the most out of the material he had to work with. This is the third consecutive week he's cut a promo on Raw. Will we have to wait until they Money in the Bank pay-per-view to finally see Henry return to the ring? On a side note, the only thing that made this segment painful to watch were the extremely annoying "What?" chants from the live crowd. I hope they realize the Attitude Era is long gone and those chants overstayed their welcome ages ago.
CM Punk and Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel def. The Prime Time Players
The Prime Time Players had an impressive outing against "The Paul Heyman Guys" and held their own in the ring. The focus was on how Punk and Axel could coexist as a team, so they kept things interesting throughout the bout. Axel tagging in Punk at the very last second to score the pin-fall is a simply yet effective way of teasing tension between the two. However, I question how they'll be able to continue this program when both Punk and Axel have other matches to focus on at Money in the Bank.
Kaitlyn def. Alicia Fox
There's barely anything to say about the match itself since it was as typical and basic as a Diva match gets. It was mere minutes long and Kaitlyn emerged victorious, so it was nothing out of the ordinary. The bickering between AJ Lee and Kaitlyn continued and wasn't as good as their past promos together. However, I am grateful they at least have a story-line going at the moment and are featuring it on Raw on a weekly basis, so that's all I ask for.
Antonio Cesaro def. Cody Rhodes
Heel vs. heel matches rarely ever work, but it made sense in this case since they'll both be competing in the SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder match and the commentators clearly established that. The action felt fresh since we've never seen these two square off before, but it needed more time in order to be memorable. The pre-match promo from Damien Sandow and the expression on his face after Rhodes lost lead me to believe that they'll be breaking up sooner rather than later, which I hope is the face. Rhodes has breakout babyface written all over him.'
WWE Champion John Cena def. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (Non-title)
Cena and Del Rio have great chemistry together and this match was pure proof of that. The action was back-and-forth and very enjoyable for the most part. The trading of the finishers at the end was what kept things exciting in the final few minutes. The interference from Mark Henry and Dolph Ziggler at the end was logical and I assume it sets up a tag team match for next week's Raw. That being said, Del Rio's loss is excusable since he lost due to a distraction from Ziggler.
This edition of Raw paled in comparison to what we've been used to seeing in recent weeks, but it wasn't all that bad. We had a handful of solid matches and progression of suspenseful story-lines featuring the likes of Mark Henry, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and others. On top of all that, I commend WWE for finalizing their Money in the Bank match card this far in advance. The McMahon segments on this show were atrocious as usual, but The Wyatt Family vignette that closed the show was incredibly intriguing. They heavily hyped their debut for next week's Raw and I, for one, can't wait to see what they do upon their arrival.
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