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.
Chris Jericho lands a picture-perfect Lionsault on The Miz.
Brief match with Randy Orton quickly squashing Heath Slater. It's nice to see Slater still being used in a regular role on Raw even though the Legend story-line is over, and it was the perfect opportunity for Orton to return. When you think about it, this match made complete sense since it was technically the Legend Killer taking on the Legend Jobber. Nice win for Orton that'll hopefully get him on the right track now that he's finally back.
Solid tag team match with Chris Jericho and Christian defeating Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Dolph Ziggler. Even on paper, this match looked fantastic, so I give major props to Creative for setting this up. It furthered two rivalries while featuring some awesome action. The ending sequence was fun and gave Christian and Jericho the victories they needed. Given the fact Ziggler had yet to get the better of Jericho, it was smart booking to have him attack Jericho following the contest. All in all, great segment here that I believe was the highlight of the night for this viewer.
Decent match between Tyson Kidd and Tensai, but nothing special. Tensai hasn't been on Raw in weeks, so giving him the initial victory was pointless. Then again, Kidd hasn't been on Raw either in awhile, but at least a win over Tensai would further the push he was rumored to be getting. Of course, Kidd ended up winning anyways with the decision being reversed by the referee, but he was still dominated by Tensai following the bout. They need to find direction for both men immediately, as it seems they're still not sure what to do with either of them.
Throwaway main event match between John Cena and Big Show. The action wasn't all that bad, but we've seen it all before and it just felt slow until the very end. Honestly, the only aspect of the match that kept me entertained was CM Punk's commentary, which was witty and gave him even more time to establish his new tweener character on the mic. It was also intriguing to see Show through Cena into Punk, who retaliated by attacking Cena shortly thereafter and causing the contest to end in a disqualification. Anyone else realize that most of the matches in the last month featuring Punk, Cena or Show have ended in a disqualification as well? I wouldn't neccaraily say that Punk's interference was a heel tactic since he ambushed both men, so I'll stay with what I've been saying all along in the sense that it's a tweener turn. AJ booking a Triple Threat WWE title match for SummerSlam was predictable, yet logical.
Overall, a decent show that felt like it dragged at parts, but that's expected now that it's a three hour format. There was a handful of filler, but it was mostly done effectively. There was some good action and story-line progression, as well as some extra hype for the SummerSlam pay-per-view in a few weeks. However, the numerous HHH-Lesnar video packages grew obnoxious after awhile, which I find pathetic since they couldn't even make time for a Divas match. Luckily, there was no campy comedy, so I'm not completely dreading the three hour shows just yet. CM Punk's turn was the focus on this show, but they need to do more to make the title match at SummerSlam feel more important and worth watching.
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