Monday Night Raw: The Verdict


Thanks for taking a look at this week’s review of Monday Night Raw, here on The Real Mid Card. I made seven pages of notes last night while watching a very well produced episode until past four. I was up early this morning, and I’m groggy so let’s get down to looking at these notes. I hope you enjoy the article.

bryanvinceBryan clashes with Mr. McMahon – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

The show opened with Vinnie Mac and Brad Maddox heading out to the ring. Brad gave a very forced apology for his decision to allow Cena’s choice. Vince then brought up all of the criticisms that Brad had made about Daniel Bryan, who then made his way to the ring, to a deafening pop. As he grabbed a mic, the “Daniel Bryan” chants were going like crazy. Vince made some hilarious attempts to silence the crowd and call for some decorum, like the incredible heel that he is. He then hated on both Bryan and Cena for lacking ruthless aggression. He is really going in hard on this pursuit to rediscover the spirit of the ol’ Mr. McMahon. This was an excellent, near flawless promo from both of these guys, which ended with Bryan posing the question to the crowd “Do you want a new WWE champion?” which was greeted by huge “Yes!” chants. A top quality start to the show.

The Usos & Mark Henry v The Shield Six man tag action is always the best way to enjoy the jackals. This was set for an excellent opening match from the start. The early going was dominated by textbook tag-team psychology. The “Uhhh-Sohhh” chants were real loud with the crowd, which is a good sign. Mid way through the bout, Henry cleared the ring and the Usos hit a dual suicide dive to take all three Shield members out. Then I noticed blue shirt/red hat guy – AGAIN. The crowd were crazily into this whole match. It sounded almost like a very exciting pantomime. Cole fascinatingly pointed out the way to spot the difference between the Usos – Jey has a tattoo on his chest! During the last five minutes, the match broke down into mayhem as expected. This period was too frantic and amazing to give a play-by-play (I would recommend you watch this match, good stuff!) The match ended with Ambrose getting the win with his weird cool DDT finish thing. I still didn’t catch which Uso he pinned.

Then we saw some awesome Ryback bully video from the dining room earlier in the day. He intimidated what appeared to be an innocent office worker, slapped him around some and put him through a buffet table. Funny stuff!

Then Kane stormed into Maddox asking where the Wyatt’s were. Maddox used his aggression to get him all hyped for his match with Daniel Bryan later in the show.

Rob Van Dam v Fandango It’s good to see them giving RVD plenty of different opponents, they are getting really good use out of him. I was hoping for a pretty good match here. The crowd popped for Rob like crazy as always and all the usual chants dominated the match. He was typically exciting in the early going, until Fandango slowed the pace with the sleeper hold. Rob got back on top with another trademark flurry, was all set for the Five Star but Fandango ducked out of the ring and made his way to the back. Count out victory.

rvdfandangoTrademark spin kick from RVD – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

AJ patronised and criticized Langston backstage. That bitch will be fully alone soon if she continues the way she is going. I can’t wait to see it.

Kaitlyn v AJ Lee They must have started piping in sound for live shows (if that’s possible) because this crowd were beyond loud for everything on this show, and it was weird! There was a very decent back and forth from these two, and some good submission work once again. Kaitlyn eventually won this non title match, sparking another in-ring temper tantrum from AJ. Her ex Dolph came out to gloat and demand an impromptu match with Langston. He accepted.

Dolph Ziggler v Big E. Langston Big E dominated in the early going and kept shouting at Ziggler “Your time is up! It’s my time!” throughout the match – Awesome! A textbook belly to belly suplex and bearhug from Langston slowed the pace to a halt. He continued to keep it slow for quite a while. Dolph managed to whip him to the outside in desperation, and AJ flew into the ring, dived on his back and started gouging at his face and hair. Ziggler picked up the DQ win, much to Langston’s fury as he was clearly in control. He shouted at AJ for costing him the match after a great performance, before taking a surprise Zigzag from Dolph.

Bryan then confronted Cena in the locker room and quizzed him on whether or not Vince was telling the truth at the start of the show when he said that he was only picked because Cena knows Bryan can’t beat him. Cena said “Are you calling me a liar?” and left.

Christian v Alberto Del Rio Alberto’s choice will be revealed on Smackdown. I like this whole idea for the Champion’s to choose, it leaves the door open for something unexpected (well, here’s to hoping at least) Christian was looking to earn that place. The crowd continued to be into everything, as they let out resounding boos and cheers all the time. I found it hard to believe I wasn’t dreaming. This was a good solid contest, just like all the matches up to this point. The cocky Del Rio dominated before a spirited Christian fightback. He went for the spear but didn’t connect. Has he ever actually hit that move on someone? Del Rio evaded it by ducking out of the ring, and coming back around. Then he got a long two from a very stiff kick. There were huge “Ci” chants coming from the crowd at this point. I don’t know if this crowd was real, but it was certainly awesome nonetheless. Hispanic fans or smart marks, I commend you either way! Great crowd. Christian then reversed Alberto’s attempt at the cross arm breaker into a roll up for a big win.

Cody Rhodes v Wade Barrett They showed a recap of the whole funny river incident again before the match. I was waiting for Sandow to inevitably get involved. Wade controlled the bout until Cody turned things around with a beautiful moonsault. He then nailed the crossroads and got the win. Sandow came to the stage to mock Cody and the whole Rhodes family for being circus folk and “carnies”

Daniel Bryan v Kane Insane pop for Bryan. Shocker, I know. It was good to see Kane back for the first of two main events (which ended up being split up by two more matches) This was a really good competitive match from these two, which ended with Bryan getting the small package win, but subsequently suffering a chokeslam. This was the perfect way to protect both guys. Then the Wyatt’s made their now infamous entrance which in my opinion is the best in the company right now, in terms of atmosphere and anticipation. Kane managed to bypass the brothers to slip under the bottom rope and get Bray Wyatt by the throat. After a valiant attempt to fight, Kane was overpowered by the three on one assault, and eventually suffered at the hands of Bray’s finisher again.

bryankaneFormer tag champions face off – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Brie Bella v Natalya There were no nip slips tonight. Brie did get a cheap win though, after Nicki’s distraction from the stage. This was an okay match. More crucially, it was the second of two Divas matches on one show. I can’t remember the last time that happened. What a difference Stephanie is making to the credibility of that division.

Curtis Axel v R-Truth Heyman got on the mic during the entrance and took whatever small chance he got to drop another Lesnar threat on Punk. This was a decent, short match. Huge CM Punk chants kicked off midway through, which was very coincidental indeed. The man himself sprinted into the ring seconds later and took out Axel. He tried to get to Heyman but he escaped through the crowd to the backstage area. The Punk chants were deafening at this point.

The McMahon family were finally involved in the show as the three of them bickered backstage about Daniel Bryan. Steph suggested they give him a “corporate makeover” which was pretty funny. I’d like to see that!

John Cena v Ryback (Tables Match) Now for the main event. Cena got his usual encouragingly loud mixed reaction. Ryback on the other hand came out to a chorus of silence. They were dead silent. This made me believe they were real. This was a pretty even blow for blow affair. One humorous highlight saw Ryback mocking the childish “Cena!” chants, before driving him into the ring post. I for one think he is a great in-match heel (hilarious faces, laughing, taunting) but you can’t please everyone. The two of them started to introduce steel steps and barricades into an already physical encounter.

Ryback blocked Cena’s attempt to suplex him through a table, and nailed a vertical suplex of his own onto the outside mats. Back in the ring, Cena fought back and locked on the STF. The big man escaped under the bottom rope. Cena threw a table (narrow edge downwards) straight at Ryback, who just about got under the ring in time. Risky move! He crawled out on the other side, crept around and hit the spear on him, before using the steps as a weapon. He then attempted to military press him through the table, but Cena landed on the other side of it on his feet. Ryback then broke the table with the steps in his hand, so it couldn’t be used against him. Cena picked up the other set of steps. What a showdown. The two of them threw the steps at each other simultaneously and they collided in mid air, creating a huge crash. Unique and entertaining spot! Cena then won this surprisingly good match with an AA through a table propped up in the corner of the ring.

rybackcenaThe power of The Ryback – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Notes: Firstly, amazing crowd! Really amazing! Ten matches. Every single angle and feud was covered (to my knowledge) and almost all superstars were accounted for. This was almost flawless, for a middle show. The lack of Brock Lesnar was really my only complaint, but that can’t be helped with his schedule. I have to say, overall this was an excellent show from top to bottom. I was entertained throughout, wasn’t feeling groggy half way through. It kept my attention until the end, and ticked almost every box in what you would expect from your standard weekly wrestling show.

9/10

Craig

So those are my thoughts. You may agree, you will probably disagree. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you liked what you read, give us a Like. If you want to read more wrestling articles (we upload at least one post every single day), hit Follow. Thanks for your interest, and for all of your support. Peace!

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