Daniel Bryan conquers the gauntlet on Monday Night Raw

Thanks for taking a look at the weekly review of Monday Night Raw here on The Real Mid Card. I took notes for the hour of Raw that I managed last night. I continued this morning over breakfast. I fell asleep after a long day of film editing and just couldn’t stay awake. Anyway, let’s have a look through these notes now.

bryancesaro2Daniel, the suplex Dragon – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

So the show kicked off with Brad Maddox in the ring joined by John Cena, ready for the contract signing for the Summerslam title match. Daniel Bryan joined them shortly after. Maddox questioned Cena’s choice. Cena proceeded to relentlessly put over Bryan, and give love to all the small legends of the past, especially Birthday Boy Shawn Michaels. They both signed the contract. Maddox hated on Bryan for his size and strength (ironic) and booked him in a Gauntlet Match for the main event. Not very nice.

Alberto Del Rio v Sheamus This was an okay opening match, but I was very sleepy. All I recall from the match or thought was noteworthy was Sheamus’ leg giving way while going for White Noise, and the fact that Del Rio picked up the win.

Christian v Titus O’Neill Lawler mentioned the “Royal baby” which made me want to vomit. I noted Titus lifting Christian up from the outside, carrying him on his shoulders up the steps and onto the apron, and tossing him with one arm back into the ring. I thought that was cool, sue me. Christian got the win.

There were some kind of boring segments involving all of the General Managers and/or their predecessors. I didn’t pay any attention to this. It was bedtime.

I woke up this morning and and picked up where I left of. Ryback cut a backstage interview, in which he intimidated Josh Matthews. Funny. I’m liking this bully angle for him.

Mark Henry came to the ring and cut a promo that assured his descent into the world of the face. He called out The Shield. As long as he doesn’t bring back the red outfit, I’m okay with it I guess. The Shield began the beatdown, before The Usos came to make the save. This worked as decent build for this angle. The Shield escaped up through the crowd past the blue shirt/red hat guy, who was making another regular appearance [PS: If you’re that guy, please leave a comment. I want to meet you!]

Then we were treated to a fourth segment in a row – I’m not complaining. Daniel Bryan met with Cena in the back and urged him not to get involved in his Gauntlet Match, as he needed to prove himself on his own.

Darren Young v Dolph Ziggler Decent short match. Ziggler got the win, but Langston immediately came down to beat on him. He managed to escape, much to Big E’s fury. Legend.

Miz TV with Total Divas. I had to skipped this. I don’t think I could have handled a second of it without killing myself. His career has become such a joke now. From a Wrestlemania main event to this segment.

Maddox was backstage being grilled firstly by Triple H about his small comments towards Daniel Bryan and the whole Gauntlet Match situation. Man he loves putting over the small guy these days! Then Steph came in and said her piece. Slight advance on the McMahon angle. Slow burner – I like it.

codykickCody takes out everyone – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Fandango v Cody Rhodes Damien Sandow joined the commentary desk and proclaimed that he taught Cody every move he used in the match. Him and Cole had a hilariously biased back and forth throughout the match. This was entertaining. Inside the ring itself, Cody was as always one of the most reliable workers in the business. He hit a terrific moonsault, and hit both Fandango and Sandow (who had climbed on the apron) with the disaster kick simultaneously. He then polished off a great match with the Crossroads and got the win. That’s my boy!

CM Punk cut a terrific all round promo in the ring. Despite all of his injuries, he is “still standing” He put over Lesnar as an NCAA, WWE and UFC champion, but assured him that unlike all of his other opponents, he won’t fall victim to fear. This had everything and ticked all boxes. Paul Heyman offered a response via satellite, an amazing response. I can’t believe how much he has switched on Our Punk. What a big meanie! He accepted the challenge. In the words of Punk, it’s The Best versus The Beast at Summerslam!

Rob Van Dam v Wade Barrett Barrett got a bloody mouth early on but was in major control. He then got a bloody nose too. He used this to his advantage, working classic heel psychology. Before too long though, RVD’s amazing offence reared it’s head, and he got the win with the Five Star Frog Splash. They are booking him very generously.

Then Daniel Bryan had to run the Gauntlet!

v Jack Swagger This was a pretty decent match, albeit short. A good starter. Swagger controlled most of it before tapping to the Lobell Lock. The crowd popped BIG time.

v Antonio Cesaro Now for the main course. Antonio Cesaro jumped in from outside the ring and had a simply incredible match – By far the match of the night. Cesaro took control early on (there is a babyface comeback theme here) with his insane strength and European Uppercuts. Daniel Bryan fought back with a wicked surfboard. This was a really nice Ring of Honor throwback, and a much lengthier match between two great athletes. Cesaro showed his exemplary technique with a textbook vertical suplex.

bryancesaroBryan goes surfing – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

The big Swiss thought he had him when Swagger pushed Bryan off the top rope straight into an extreme uppercut, but it wasn’t to be. They then had a great back and forth, but every time Bryan picked up some speed, Cesaro would end it with a big power move. Bryan then made a silly risk when he attempted a back drop off the top rope, only for Cesaro to counter it and land on top of him. Luckily he kicked out. Then we were treated to a genuine battle of the uppercuts. The big man started to get the best of him and hit Bryan with what seemed like thirty consecutive uppercuts and a huge clothesline, but it still didn’t get the job done.

This match did so much for both of these guys. It’s made Bryan look even more invincible, and Cesaro looked really strong, and really entertaining. A career revitalisation, perhaps. Bryan then reversed the Neutralizer into a back drop, and hit both of the Real Americans with a (I hate to say it) vintage suicide dive. Not long after, he countered another one of those huge uppercuts into a small package and got his second win of the night – a gruelling, gruelling win. This was a really, really great contest. Evil Maddox and Alex Riley (What?!) didn’t seem too impressed backstage. An exhausted Bryan looked up the ramp to see his third opponent of the show, and our desert: Ryback the bully.

v Ryback The tempo from the last great encounter completely died for this one. I know, how shocking! The crowd were dead. I liked the idea behind the two of their ideologies clashing, with Ryback being on this ‘hate the small man’ thing, and Daniel Bryan standing up for the smaller and more talented. Nevertheless, the match was an anti-climax. It was never gonna follow the last match well, but it was worse than expected.

Bryan got him in the half crab with some serious torque but Ryback made the bottom rope, to a chorus of “Goldberg” chants – At least they were making noise! Bryan was clearly tiring, and Ryback can’t carry anyone to a good match yet. The big beast set up a table outside, but Bryan cleared it and struck him with the suicide dive. Back in the ring, Ryback just about got to the rope when locked in the Lobell Lock. He didn’t need to worry about that a minute or so later, when he gave him the powerbomb through the aforementioned table.

bryanthroughtableBryan through a table – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Daniel Bryan subsequently picked up the DQ win, and John Cena ran down to his aid to attack Ryback. He ran away to the stage, and Cena got on the mic to challenge him to a table match for next week (snore) – He accepted. Vince then caught up with Brad backstage and suggested that he book Daniel Bryan v Kane for next week too, and so it was done. Bryan got a standing ovation for all of his hard work and the show went off the air.


This would have got a seven if it weren’t for Daniel Bryan’s gauntlet performance, and particularly the match with Cesaro. Being a Raw in the middle (not a pre-PPV or post-PPV show), I knew it would be lacking a few of the big stars – in this case Lesnar, Kane, Big Show, Wyatts) but overall I think it did a decent job. It could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse. You don’t want to blow your load weeks before the biggest show of the year. Fair play. Major props to Bryan, Cesaro and Rob Van Dam. Thumbs up! Maybe I’m easily pleased. What do you think?


I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you have any questions or musings, post a comment! Thanks for staying locked to the site for daily wrestling posts. Hit ‘Follow’ if you would like to read more.


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