Hello and thanks for checking out this review of Monday Night Raw from last night. I also recently uploaded the latest episode of Unsanctioned Wrestling. Take a look! Last night’s show was simply outstanding! If you aren’t currently watching WWE television, give it a watch and see what you think. Let’s get started on deciphering these notes here.
So the night started with Alberto Del Rio cutting a promo in the ring. It seems like he has now turned heel, but I’m never quite sure with how chaotic WWE is right now. He reminded the crowd of how loudly they cheered when Dolph Ziggler cowardly cashed in on him when he could barely stand to win the World Title. Fair point. He questioned the fans for cheering for “Pigs and cowards” Him and Dolph definitely seem to have had themselves a double turn. Maybe the same goes for Orton and Bryan, but I’m not sure.
CM Punk came out to challenge Del Rio to a non title match for the main event. Paul Heyman started spouting off about how his clients don’t fight for free, cutting off Facey Punk. This didn’t go down well with punk who stopped him and insisted on the match. Del Rio declined anyway. This was a really solid promo. Vickie then came out and confirmed the match between the two of them for the main event, against the wishes of both Alberto and Paul Heyman.
What followed was a backstage promo with Punk and Heyman. Punk told him that he will “always be a Paul Heyman guy” but he wants to go it alone, and doesn’t want him at ringside for any of his matches anymore. They are friends, but the working relationship is done. Crazy!
When the show returned, Wade Barrett was in the ring and Justin Roberts was announcing that he was about to compete against Curtis Axel in his IC title rematch. Vickie came out and broke the news that he would in fact be facing someone else: Christian!
Christian v Wade Barrett The tempo was fast paced in the early going, with a particularly cool high spot where Christian delivered a crossbody to the outside on Barrett. There were some really great exchanges in this match. Christian got the win with the Killswitch. It was really great to see Christian return with a solid match. He got a huge pop when he came through the curtain and when he won the match. The crowd loved it and he seemed genuinely happy to be back too.
Another Wyatt Family promo, but still no sign of the trio? Come on! Stop teasing!
Team Rhodes Scholars v Sheamus Apparently this was a handicap match. I didn’t pay much attention at all and there is no need to explain why. Sandow got the win with the roll up, which proves that if there are two of them, they can beat Sheamus. Great. Just stop this now please!
Then it was time for a locker room promo with Team Hell No. Daniel Bryan said he no longer cares for teams. It’s all about Team DB, Team Daniel Bryan! I totally agree with him. Lets end all this stuff please.
Randy Orton v Daniel Bryan The fans on the app voted for this match to be No DQ. I voted for 2 out of 3 falls but there you go. This was a pretty good match. There were a lot of cool spots, good psychology and violence. Bryan attempted a suicide dive and seemed to take a pretty bad fall. They played on this for the rest of the match but he still continued to work at a high rate. Orton beat him with a kendo stick and the referee eventually stopped the match. I couldn’t work out whether the injury was a work or not. Orton helped him up and gave him a hug, so I guess the heel turn is 100 percent off now. Then again, with the way things are changing every day in WWE lately, you never know when he is going to turn. A good match and a very intriguing situation.
The Divas then starred in a very good segment. AJ came out to the ring to brag about her win at Payback and what she did to Kaitlyn. Stephanie McMahon came out to put her in her place. Then Kaitlyn came out herself and tried to beat on AJ. Langston carried her away. It was good to see the division being highlighted again with a meaningful storyline.
Kane v Dean Ambrose The Shield interfered in this match unsurprisingly. I didn’t watch the actual match at all. I wasn’t interested on Sunday. Why would I be interested in the exact same match the next night?
Hunter had told Vickie earlier in the night to keep The Shield under control and show power. She stopped them backstage in the corridor after the match and tried to reprimand them like a schoolteacher. Dean Ambrose was basically like “And what?” Vince then came over and shook their hands, saying how impressed he was with them. First Curtis Axel, and now The Shield. Seems like Mr. McMahon is truly going back to the old school. He said he didn’t care for that “freak” Kane anyway.
Antonio Cesaro v William Regal This match was pure domination, as expected. Regal was purely there to do a job, which he did well. Zeb Colter introduced his new friend Cesaro before the match. A great introduction. At the end of the match, Cesaro pulled out the yellow ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ flag and draped it over Regal’s carcass. The two of them stood above him, and with hand on heart, shouted “We the people!” This was amazing stuff. I think this will be great news for both guys. A perfect fit to make them both relevant again.
John Cena then came out to cut a promo. He put over the fans for being honest over the years and giving it him straight. It’s okay to hate Cena. He will still respect you because he is Good Guy Cena. He went on to say that he is up for any challenge, and warned potential Money in the Bank winners that “The champ is here!” This was a decent but fairly predictable promo until Mark Henry came out. It was announced earlier that he would be announcing his retirement on the show.
Mark offered John a sincere handshake and put him over as a great champion. He passed the torch to John as so many have before him. It was a tremendous show of respect. The fans were chanting “Thank you Henry!” and “Sexual Chocolate” – they gave the man a brilliant send off. The man cried genuine tears when he reflected on his achievements and his career. It honestly gave me chills. It was a really emotional and classy segment. Cena came back through the ropes and gave the title belt to Henry and led the audience in applauding him. Henry dedicated his career to his kids, made a Mae Young reference and concluded what was an epic speech with the words “Baby, I’m coming home!” Spine-tingling stuff. Great show of respect from both guys. Really cool moment!
Then the two of them went in for an embrace. That’s when something special happened. Mark Henry dropped the mic and delivered an emphatic World’s Strongest Slam to Cena. There are no words to describe this segment. It was honestly one of the best portions of wrestling television I’ve seen in years. It did something very rare. It completely played me like a fool. There is no other way to put it. I think the same goes for the entire audience. Mark Henry is gunning for the WWE Championship, and after a performance like that I hope they put the strap on him and give him one last good run in the company. Absolutely spellbinding stuff. I had hairs standing up over Henry’s emotional retirement speech, and it was all a work. Insane!
Heath Slater v Chris Jericho Y2J quickly squashed Slater with the codebreaker, and then hit Drew McIntyre with it too. From the match of the night at Payback, to this. He is quite the utility man these days.
Matt Striker then tried to interview Heyman backstage about the whole Punk thing, but he just shrugged the question off and spun it around to push Curtis Axel.
Curtis Axel v Sin Cara The Miz joined the commentary team for this one, so I guess he is going to be feuding for the IC title, and we are going to forget that Barrett has a rematch. I’m absolutely loving Axel’s music now. I also love Sin Cara’s match lighting, as I’ve mentioned before. I’m afraid to say that it’s usually the best thing about his matches. Nonetheless, there were some impressive kicks and high spots from the luchador in this match, to be fair. Axel got the win with a crazy inverted DDT. Maybe this is his new finishing move? It’s awesome but I hope he still uses the perfectplex, at least as a signature.
As the show returned, Vince was in the office with Brickie. He questioned them on the whole Henry scenario. What is the next move? Stephanie then jumped in to complain too. And then Triple H came in! I feel sorry for Vickie and Brad, now that all of these legends are around every week. All of the McMahons are there to complain about something. The tension between Vince and Triple H continues to grow, as they wrestle for power and implore Vickie to listen to each of them.
Then we saw Heyman catch up with Punk in the backstage area just before he was about to walk out for his main event match with Alberto Del Rio. He told him that he “gets it”, that he loves him, hugged him and wished him the best for his match.
Alberto Del Rio v CM Punk The king of the mutton chops was looking better than ever last night. He looks even better when he is out there alone. In the early going, Del Rio continuously ducked out of the ring under the ropes. Punk insisted on going after him every time. They have completely switched places. Del Rio is now a classic heel, and Punk a classic face. Good times! WWE has been so frenzied lately, especially over the last two days. Everyone is changing roles and switching sides. People are returning all over the place. It’s a lot to take in! Wrestling hasn’t felt that way for quite some time. I noticed that the infamous blue shirt/red hat guy was in the crowd again. I think he was at Payback too.
Sorry for that sidetrack ramble. Bear with me, we are almost at the end. Back to the match. Punk picked up a shoulder problem and sold it brilliantly. Del Rio targeted it. Classic psychology. Punk hit the GTS on Alberto but he fell out of the ring. This was such good storytelling. As he came to, him and Ricardo fled up the ramp and backed out of the match. If there was any doubt about his allegiance, he is most certainly a heel now. Punk won the match by count out. Dolph Ziggler came flying out on top of Alberto in a flurry of raged offense. He managed to get free and escape to the backstage area. This feud is going to get interesting.
CM Punk’s hand was raised. Then after everything that had happened tonight, and given everything that is still going to happen (RVD, Wyatt Family, etc), another person made an appearance. Brock Lesnar’s music hit. He came out smiling, strolled to the ring and grabbed a mic. I thought, is Lesnar actually going to speak?! Turns out, he wasn’t. He got right in Punk’s face, dropped the mic and delivered a destructive F5. He left the ring and made his way to the back smiling, as the show went off air.
I can’t describe how good a show this was. It has to be one of the best Monday Night Raw’s of the year so far. In some ways, it may even have been the best for years. The wrestling. The returns. The shocks. The McMahons. The storylines. The character changes. It was absolutely epic! If you haven’t already seen it, you need to rectify that. If you haven’t watched WWE for a while and need a reason to give it a chance, let this article be that reason. It was a sublime wrestling event. I struggle to see how it could have been improved. In my opinion, it was a truly classic episode.
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