WWE Champion and Randy Orton stand face-to-face.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Brad Maddox Addressed the WWE Universe
This was a solid segment all around where everyone involved played their roles well. Brad Maddox is an entertaining character that has the potential to be a good authority figure, so I'm glad he wasn't as bad here as he was the night prior at Money in the Bank. Allowing John Cena to choose his opponent at SummerSlam was good booking and a nice hook for the remainder of the show. I'm glad Randy Orton won't be announcing his cash-in ahead of time, but rather will be taking advantage of an opportunity. This plays perfectly into his pending heel turn. Finally, Fandango was rather random here, but at least it led into a match with Orton.
Randy Orton def. Fandango
Although Orton dominated most of the match, this was still a nice outing for Fandango. Fandango has been seen as a comedy act since his arrival, so it was good to see him up against a top star in Orton. I didn't expect Fandango to go over anyway, so the result was fine with this viewer. If anything, it helps build Orton back up as he climbs back up the card. Good action from start to finish.
The Shield Attacked Mark Henry
Henry's promo was basically what one would expect him to say following his loss to Cena. His loss at Money in the Bank was so decisive that there was essentially nothing for him to complain about, so it made sense for him to show face tendencies. Speaking of which, it looks like he'll be turning babyface sooner rather than later if he ultimately feuds with The Shield. Henry is one of the few individuals that The Shield has yet to cross paths with, so I wouldn't mind a match between the two forces at SummerSlam. As long as The World's Strongest Man maintains his badass persona, I'm completely contest with him turning.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Dolph Ziggler (Non-title)
As entertaining as their match was from Money in the Bank, I think I enjoyed this match even more. They put forth a strong effort and the live crowd was once again heavily behind Ziggler. I'm glad Ziggler was the one who dumped AJ Lee and not the other way around, as it doesn't make Ziggler seem like a doofus for forgiving her so quickly. Her interruption of the match was nicely done and it allowed Del Rio to pick up the win while protecting Ziggler. Big E Langston's attack on Ziggler implied we'll be seeing the two face off at SummerSlam. I'm not high on the feud since it feels like a step down for Ziggler, but I would hope that he continues to chase the World Heavyweight Championship following this feud.
The Wyatt Family Attacked R-Truth
I thought it was going to be a repeat of last week, but I'm glad they actually allowed Bray Wyatt to talk in the ring this time around. His promo was excellent and their attack on Truth was very well done. I love how Wyatt can act calm in his promos but then go into maniacal mode when ambushing others. I'm intrigued as to whether Kane will join them or feud with them upon his return to television.
The Usos def. The Real Americans
Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger haven't been built up to be a force to be reckoned with in recent weeks, so this loss didn't hurt them all that much. The bout was fun while it lasted, but it was too short for my taste. However, I was happy to see The Usos go over and continue their strong momentum following their great showing at Money in the Bank. I hope this means they'll contend for the WWE Tag Team Championships again at some point in the near future.
Christian def. Damien Sandow
These two had a great match a few weeks ago on WWE Main Event, so I was disappointed that it was as brief as it was. I was also baffled by the decision to have Sandow lose one night after winning the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder match. Regardless, Christian has been losing a bit lately, so I was fine with him winning here. Cody Rhodes received a nice pop from the live crowd upon attacking Sandow, thus initiating their feud going into SummerSlam.
Naomi def. Brie Bella
I was pleasantly surprised by just how good this match ended up being. It wasn't a lengthy amount of time, but it wasn't mere minutes, either. Naomi is an amazing athlete and showed off some of her tremendous talents in this match. She should really break away from Tons of Funk and contend for the Divas Championship. I'm sure she and AJ Lee could have some great matches together. Too bad this match was one giant informercial for Total Divas, though.
Paul Heyman Confronted CM Punk
To say this was a super strong segment would be a massive understatement. Both Punk and Heyman were fantastic on the mic per usual and showed incredible intensity in their respective promos. Heyman revealed his motives and explained everything perfectly. The brawl between Punk and Brock Lesnar was an excellent teaser of their upcoming match at SummerSlam. Lesnar may have gotten the upper hand over The Voice of the Voiceless, but Punk showed nice resiliency by getting up from the attack shortly thereafter. This has undoubtedly been one of the best booked feuds in years and I can't wait to see where it goes from here.
Rob Van Dam def. Chris Jericho
What an awesome, awesome match. I was waiting for Ryback to interfere and destroy both men, but I am beyond glad that didn't ultimately come to fruition. Jericho and RVD were given plenty of time to shine and they took full advantage of it. The match was filled with exciting action, fun reversals and the live crowd ate it all up. It was a good win for RVD while it allows Y2J to leave WWE on a high note for the time begin.
WWE Champion John Cena Selected His SummerSlam Opponent
This segment occurred at the top of the hour, so it wasn't given much time, but it wasn't meant to be long. Cena spent most of the segment singling out Superstars anyway, which I found mildly entertaining. The reaction to Cena choosing Daniel Bryan as his SummerSlam opponent was definitely deafening and a true sign that he is crazy over with the fans right now. I'm ecstatic that Bryan is finally getting his rightful shot at the WWE Championship and didn't need even need the Money in the Bank briefcase to accomplish it. Bryan is deserving of this spot and this was the perfect way of setting up the matchup for the biggest blockbuster of the summer.
After a great Money in the Bank pay-per-view, this edition of Raw was certainly successful in featuring the fallout from the event while also building towards SummerSlam. We witnessed a number of awesome matches and strong segments on this show that have me eagerly awaiting next week's episode. I'm happy to see WWE setting up the SummerSlam card this early, especially since the pending pay-per-view has the potential to be one of the best events in years. WWE has done an excellent job of maintaining excitement this summer and I can't wait to see what they have in store going forward.
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