Raw opens with CM Punk. He’s got a new t-shirt debuting tonight. It says “best since day one” on the back. Michael Cole hypes Punk’s match with Ryback at Battleground. Punk says this story ends when he finally gets his hands on Paul Heyman and there’s no one left to save him. Punk says he’s not leaving the ring until he gets a fight. Brad Maddox comes out. He books Punk in a match right now with Big E. Langston after the two have already started battling.
^Now THAT is how you keep it short and sweet to set up your first match. Nice work as always by Punk, but I do think he’s trying a little too hard to play the good guy with his promos right now.
Punk defeats Langston in just under seven minutes of TV time with the go to sleep.
^Good story here between Punk and Big E. I wish Ryback possessed half the athletic ability of Langston, but he doesn’t. This match here far surpassed anything Ryback is capable of putting on with Punk, and so despite enjoying this one, it makes me disappointed in the upcoming match at Battleground.
Kofi Kingston defeats Fandango in a short match. Bray Wyatt comes out after the match with the family and Kofi grabs a chair. Wyatt cuts a promo and says they will all fall down one by one and the lights go out.
^Kingston and Fandango have had more than enough matches lately, but the Bray Wyatt intrigue makes this segment awesome for me! I’d love to see what he can do in the ring with a guy like Kofi.
^I love the jerk version of Randy Orton, and this guy here seems like a legitimate threat to defeat anyone he takes on.
Renee Young interviews Paul Heyman. Heyman dares Punk to go after him tonight as his henchmen are ready for him.
^I’m sure this will unfold more with some intense action between Punk and Heyman’s clients. Good stuff here.
The Los Matadores have another vignette. Apparently their match is up next.
Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater take on Fernando and Diego, Los Matadores(formerly Primo and Epico). They have a bull mascot with them named El Torito(little bull in Spanish). The crowd chants boring during the match and JBL says the Matadores look somewhat familiar. They double team Slater and get the win.
^Their music sounded like Savio Vega’s old music in a certain way, but it wasn’t bad. The match was pretty standard, but props to WWE for the effort of making the tag team division more interesting.
WWE puts over their Rise Above Cancer partnership with Susan G. Komen in the fight against Breast Cancer. Props to WWE for their hard work!
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are introduced by Justin Roberts. Hunter invites the Rhodes family down to the ring. Stephanie offers Goldust and Cody Rhodes their jobs back if they can beat Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins at Battleground. Hunter says if they lose then Cody and Dustin will never work in the WWE again(same goes for Dusty). Hunter and Stephanie leave the ring but tell Dusty he might get the fight he is looking for. The Shield attack the Rhodes family and beat them down.
^Excellent promo work here, and now we have a tag team match to look forward to. I’m very excited for this match on Sunday! Hopefully a stipulation comes in and the titles get put on the line! Nothing is more fitting for a pay per view named Battleground than a match with this much of an intense rivalry built up.
Curtis Axel w/Paul Heyman goes one on one with R-Truth. The crowd chants Walrus during the match and Punk’s music hits. Truth hits the little jimmy on Axel for the three count. Looks like Truth is now the number one contender for the IC Title.
^Not much of a match, but good storyline enhancer for Punk/Heyman here as well as for a potential IC Title match on Sunday at Battleground. Good segment and short match. Call it even here as neither positive or negative.
Trish Stratus gave birth to her son, Maximus today. Congrats to her!
We get the story of Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan now that they’re engaged. Brie loves that Dbry looks like a lumberjack.
Brie Bella goes one on one with Alicia Fox. AJ is shown watching backstage with Tamina by her side. Brie ends up slapping Alicia and delivers the X-Factor for the three count.
^Nice of WWE trying to put over Brie for her match on Sunday, but she’s not going to win the title. She’s also still not a very good wrestler by any stretch.
Heyman and Axel are shown talking backstage. Axel is furious and Heyman talks him down. Ryback says no one needs to be distracted by the threat of Punk. He says if Punk wants us, he can come get them. Heyman ships him off to get food and wants to talk to Axel alone. Heyman says he sees things in a different perspective ever since Ryback saved his life. Heyman says he’s going to go out to the ring and propose to Ryback.
^What the hell? Seriously, what are we watching here?
Renee Young interviews the Big Show. He’s teary eyed. He says there’s only so much that he can take. He says he’s going to find Triple H and show him exactly how he feels. He says he’s going to knock Triple H out.
^I doubt this will end up happening, but damn we can all be hopeful, right?
Big Show confronts Brad Maddox and wants to know where Hunter is. Maddox says he doesn’t know. He tells Maddox to go find him.
Zack Ryder goes one on one with Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio destroys Ryder with his aggression and gets the win with the cross armbreaker.
^Ryder got in some offense here and there and even had some momentum, but there was no way the World Champion was going to lose on a go home show before a pay per view. Nothing special overall for a match, but at least we got to see Ryder wrestle against a high profile main eventer like Del Rio.
Ryback and Paul Heyman come to the ring. They each talk and Ryback says there is nothing he wouldn’t do for Heyman as he grabs his face. Creepy stuff. The crowd chants get a room. Heyman continues and gets down on one knee before asking Ryback if he’ll become a Paul Heyman guy. Punk’s music hits. He comes through the crowd and jumps the barricade as he apparently hurts his knee. He pretends to be hurt and then hits Ryback and Heyman with a cane. Axel comes down and Punk hits him with the cane as well. Heyman and Ryback get away as Punk beats on Axel with the cane before delivering a GTS.
^Brilliant! What a great night for this rivalry! I haven’t seen a rivalry booked with this much interest in quite some time outside of WrestleMania season. Nice to see Punk get the upper hand tonight on the go home show.
The Shield take on Dolph Ziggler and the Usos in a six man tag team match. Reigns pins Ziggler after a spear.
^Match of the night thus far! On a show where the storylines appeared to be dominating the script, this match delivered on all levels. Highly enjoyable work from the Shield and company. I don’t enjoy seeing Ziggler in such irrelevant booking, but at least he’s competing with other talented superstars.
Big Show is about to be escorted out by police for threatening a WWE employee, but Stephanie comes into the scene and stops him from being taken out by them. Steph tells Show she spoke to his wife today and that Show hasn’t been measuring up to her expectations either. Show sits down on the couch and cries before getting up and punching a hole in the wall.
^Show will snap eventually and get back at Hunter and Stephanie, but until then we get to ride out this storyline with his blubbering promos as he tries to contain himself.
Renee Young interviews Rob Van Dam. RVD says he excels when it comes to Hardcore Rules(he shows a video of some of his highlights from those matches). RVD says Del Rio has no clue what Hardcore Rules means.
^You can read all of our predictions for the Battleground matches on the ThunderStruck Wrestling Community page. Will RVD win the gold? Find out what WE think this week!
It’s announced that Big Show will take on the Shield in a three on one handicap match this week on Smackdown.
Santino Marella w/Hornswoggle and Khali takes on Antonio Cesaro w/Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. Colter cuts a promo on Mississippi before the match and compares it to a third world country. Santino defeats Cesaro with a messy rollup after he gets spun around in the swing by Cesaro.
^We’ve seen these two go one on one too many times for me to be excited by it. Comedic filler here to get us through to the main event. It worked…somewhat.
Jerry Lawler is in the ring for the face to face session between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. Orton and Dbry exchange words. Dbry gets angry at Orton’s insults and they brawl. Brie Bella pleads with Orton to stop as he delivers an RKO on Dbry through the announce table. Orton looks at Brie and Dbry to end the show.
^Nice of WWE to add the heavy personal element with Brie’s involvement. I was originally against the idea, but now this feud feels a bit more legitimate. Nice ending to the show with the hype around the WWE Title rivalry!
The storyline push for most of the rivalries was good, but the wrestling left a lot to be desired. Call it six out of ten for the score. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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