Vince McMahon and Brad Maddox open Raw. Maddox apologizes for allowing John Cena to choose his opponent for Summerslam. Daniel Bryan interrupts. Dbry accuses Vince of not being a fan of his or giving him an ounce of respect. Vince tells Dbry that he can’t beat John Cena and Cena knows that. Vince says he doesn’t want John Cena OR Daniel Bryan to be WWE Champion and that both men spontaneously combust instead of having a WWE Title match. Dbry tells Vince that it only matters what the fans think and they chant yes when he asks if they want a new WWE Champion.
^I would say it’s not good for business to criticize two of your top superstars, but Vince certainly did it before with Rock and Austin and look how that turned out. Strong opening segment for Dbry’s popularity with the audience to shine through as usual!
The Shield take on Mark Henry and the Usos. Ambrose pins Jimmy Uso after his finisher for the win. Mark Henry attacks the Shield after the match and clears the ring.
^I feel like the feuds for the Shield have taken a bit of a backseat, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They can realistically only be elevated so quickly, and slowing down the pace and establishing them as dominant midcard is smart booking at this point(I must sound like a broken record saying this).
A segment is shown from earlier in the day with Ryback bullying a guy at the catering table and then putting him through it.
^Ryback didn’t want to be a star here. That looked like it hurt; at least the table was breakaway, I guess.
A Bray Wyatt and the family video package is shown.
Kane approaches Brad Maddox backstage and he wants to know where the Wyatts are. Maddox says they aren’t here, but he can send a message to the Wyatts by showing his killer instinct against his former partner and good friend, Dbry in their match tonight.
^I’m impressed with Maddox as a talker, much like I’m impressed with him on commentary on NXT. He has a natural chemistry to converse with almost anyone and it’s actually not bad to listen to.
Rob Van Dam takes on Fandango. Fandango walks away around the four minute mark and takes the countout. Fandango gets on the mic after the match and pronounces his name.
^Unless this is going to turn into a decent rivalry where RVD puts over Fandango on a pay per view, then there’s no excuse for this sort of booking. True, you don’t want to make either guy look weak, but this just doesn’t come across as anything worthwhile when the match never comes out of first gear.
AJ is shown scolding Big E. backstage for not helping out. She says he stands there and watches because he likes her and never knows what she’s going to do next. She skips away laughing.
^I really hope Big E. turns face and gets a chance to talk more. I wonder who AJ will chase after next.
Kaitlyn goes one on one with AJ in a non-title match. Kaitlyn defeats AJ with the spear from out of nowhere. Dolph Ziggler comes out after the match while AJ flips out and he taunts her. Ziggler wants a match with Big E. right now.
^The math was too short to be anything special, but this was just a good way of Kaitlyn getting a win and justifying another title match with AJ in the near future. I could definitely see this turning into an intergender tag for Summerslam even more after watching this segment.
Dolph defeats Big E. by DQ when AJ randomly jumps Dolph from behind. AJ continues to flip out after the match and Big E. is furious with her. Ziggler jumps in the ring and nails a zig zag on Big E. when his back is turned.
^Ziggler and Big E. worked well together in the ring; I could definitely enjoy some longer matches between the duo. Big E. has certainly taken advantage of a good learning opportunity being on the main roster and improved his ring presence and pacing tenfold.
Backstage segment between Daniel Bryan and John Cena. Dbry asks Cena if what Vince said was true. Dbry says Vince McMahon has always been honest with him. Cena asks if Dbry is calling him a liar and then walks away.
^I like the interaction between these two, but I really hope this thing stays face versus face and doesn’t become anything roo personal in the storyline.
Christian defeats Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match. Christian turns a cross armbreaker into a messy rollup.
^These two had a good match at Extreme Rules two years ago, and their chemistry here was just as good. I’m excited to see Christian back in the main event scene; it means excellent matches guaranteed whenever he’s on TV.
Cody Rhodes defeats Wade Barrett with cross-rhodes. Damien Sandow comes out after the match and scolds Cody for tossing his briefcase in the Gulf of Mexico. He continues to insult Cody and then leaves.
^Cody’s push continues, and Sandow’s push continues. Brilliant! Sandow is a great actor showing outrage towards Cody. Cody looked great against Barrett, but I’m definitely concerned for Barrett’s future in WWE as he’s almost fallen off the map.
Kane goes one on one with Daniel Bryan. Dbry wins the match with a fast pin when he gets out of a chokeslam. Kane chokeslams Dbry after the match. The Wyatt Family comes out and attack Kane after the match. Bray says his usual creepy words before slamming Kane with his finisher.
^Kane and Dbry have never had a boring match. I liked seeing Dbry go over; it makes sense that he would since he’s challenging for the WWE Title in just three weeks. I sincerely hope Bray and Kane go one on one at Summerslam; Kane putting Wyatt over would be huge and could be a highly entertaining matchup. The booking for the Wyatt Family has been exceptional, and I hope the group doesn’t become a joke anytime soon(Prime Time Players, possibly Fandango)
Brie Bella defeats Natalya with a rollup when Nikki Bella comes out and distracts Natti with a duck call as she makes fun of her.
^Speaking of jokes. This was somewhat competitive, but it was also slow and dragged on for too long without any exciting spots. Don’t showcase the divas if you aren’t going to have them do anything noteworthy in the ring.
Curtis Axel w/Paul Heyman defeats R-Truth by DQ. CM Punk interferes and attacks Axel during the match. Punk goes after Heyman but he gets away with the help of Axel. Heyman cuts a promo before the match putting over Axel and talking about CM Punk’s match with Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. Axel says his father won the IC Title right here in Texas, but despite that, he went on to become Mr. Perfect. Axel says he is already more perfect than perfect.
^I would be excited to see Axel eventually take on CM Punk on pay per view. This one was a good segment to put over the feud between Heyman and Punk; it feels so personal and I like it!
Triple H is backstage asking Vince if he’s done pulling Maddox’s strings. Vince doesn’t want Dbry to be WWE Champion because he can’t beat John Cena. Vince says he wants someone like Triple H that’s twenty or so years younger to beat John Cena. Stephanie mediates and suggests helping Daniel Bryan’s image by giving him a corporate makeover. Vince wishes her luck. Triple H says it’s worth a shot.
^I like the storyline booking of this for Vince. It’s like taking former real life views of Vince and exploiting them on camera. It’s just intriguing to see how opposite he and Triple H are in storyline, and then wondering how much of these conversations may have taken place for real at one time or another(with obvious mutual respect between the two in real life).
Ryback takes on John Cena in a tables match. Cena wins the match when he delivers an AA to Ryback through a table that’s leaning upright in the corner of the ring. Dbry comes down after the match and stares off with Cena after he taunts Cena with his own WWE Title. Cena snatches the belt and holds it up while Dbry gets the crowd to chant yes as the show goes off the air.
^Not a bad match with Cena and Ryback, but they’ve certainly done better in the ring together(Rumble interaction, Survivor Series ’12 with Punk). I enjoyed the Dbry/Cena standoff ending; the hype for this WWE Title match has been perfect and I for one cannot wait for August 18th!
For a taped episode of Raw, this wasn’t bad at all. Christian and Del Rio has arguably the best match on the card, but Kane and Dbry wasn’t bad and neither was the main event. I enjoyed the Cody/Barrett match and the hype for his feud with Sandow, and I also liked the Big E/AJ/Kaitlyn/Ziggler hype for that particular feud. The six man was also some decent action, and the only real gripes are the Fandango/RVD finish and the Bella/Natti match. Can’t complain too much, so that must be a good sign! Until next time you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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