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So the show kicked off with Stephanie McMahon in the ring. She was there to show us the progress with Daniel Bryan’s corporate makeover. They played a really funny vignette showing the changes he has been making, which included eating some steak. The man himself came to the ring looking hilarious in a full suit with a pony tail. I for one think it’s a great look for him. He gave an extremely impassioned speech which seemed to me like an homage to the indie wrestling community. He tore Cena to shreds and continuously exclaimed his desire to be nothing more than a “WRESTLER!” This was very emotional, until he was interrupted.
Vince came to the ring to hate on Bryan and Cena again. He demanded that Bryan shave his beard, to take the final step on his corporate journey. The crowd let out literally deafening “No!” chants. This was an insanely cool moment to see these two cutting such a flawless promo together. Bryan reluctantly got in the chair after being blackmailed by McMahon, and actually looked set to have the shave. Vince invited Wade Barrett to come out and do the honours (probably because he was the only guy in the back who wasn’t on the card) – Bryan lured Wade in, laid a beating on him and turned the tables, shaving off a huge chunk of the Briton’s facial glory. He then threw him over the barricade into the crowd and shot off up to the stage. Before heading to the back, he took off his shirt and jacket to reveal some new merch, a “The beard is here” t-shirt – Awesome!
Rob Van Dam v Alberto Del Rio RVD was up to his usual epic antics. It was an average opening match, only made entertaining by his inclusion in it. He won with some crazy, leg sweep pinning manoeuvre. Del Rio then took out his loss on his returning “friend” Ricardo Rodriguez by beating him mercilessly, and sandwiching his head between the outside ring-post and steel steps with a dropkick. This was a very intense assault. They have obviously decided to cash in on the novelty love that Rodriguez gets and turn him face.
Cody Rhodes suckered Sandow to the ring with the wet, seaweed ridden briefcase, only to catch him in the ring and brawl. Funny stuff!
Mark Henry v Ryback This was a role reversed (heel/face wise) Wrestlemania rematch of little interest to me, and probably everyone else. Maybe WWE knew that, because Ryback walked out of the match early on, losing by count out.
Cena came out to give his response to Bryan’s barbs, and he did so in an excellent promo. Both of these guys seemed to be at least half-shooting tonight, which made for really compelling, emotional content. Cena hasn’t seemed this intense and real for a while. I don’t know if it’s just because I was drunk while watching the show (I had to go to my friends 21st birthday drinks prior to watching live) but these two promos were incredible. Orton came out to interrupt with an even more epic beard than ever (with some tinges of grey) and briefcase in hand. He gave the typical “it doesn’t matter who wins, because I have the briefcase” speech, but was interrupted by The Shield. Finally they are being used in a big way again! They surrounded the two of them in the ring, until Bryan ran down and evened up the numbers. Maddox came out to book the inevitable six man tag team match for the main event. Predictable, but what an awesome match that should/would be/was.
Tons of Funk v The Wyatt Family This was an actual scheduled tag team match for the two sheep, but they still made their amazing entrance. I love the whole “Yeah, yeah, yeah” thing they do on the apron. The freaks wasted no time in putting away the dancing freaks quicker than a heartbeat. Then they invited Bray in to do his usual end of match finishing move sacrifice thingamajig. He gave another mad speech about Kane, before the big red monster appeared on the screen and confirmed their match for Summerslam, definitely hinting at an inferno match. That would/will be awesome!
Then Punk cut a pretty cool backstage interview outlining the differences between Curtis Axel/Paul Heyman and Curt Henning/Bobby Heenan. This was really well done!
Kaitlyn v Layla This seemed like just a way to put the fit Brit back on tele. Kaitlyn destroyed and dominated her for the majority of the proceedings, all fired up after the betrayal she suffered last week. She hit a huge backbreaker on her, was ready for the spear, and then the skipping psycho came down to ringside. She helped to distract Kaitlyn so Layla could get the cheap win, and the two of them skipped together to the back again.
Then we saw a cool advert for some new ECW DVD that looks very good! I was quite surprised to see them advertising something like that on PG television.
Christian v Heath Slater I was falling asleep at this point. When you’re fairly drunk, and something like this gets put in front of you, it’s hard to stay conscious. It was a very quick squash match. I probably missed half of it when I yawned. I think Christian won. Put it this way. He is facing the World Champion for the title in two weeks. If he didn’t beat Heath Slater, then I won’t be watching WWE anymore. Let me know if that was the case!
CM Punk v Curtis Axel Punk charged up the apron during Axel’s entrance in a bid to try and get to Heyman. When things actually got going in the ring, it was a decent sized match. Heyman continued to tease his former friend throughout the match from outside the ring. Punk finally got his hands on him and started beating him down, causing the referee to ring the bell. The beast’s music hit and Brock Lesnar made his way to the ring. Axel pulled Punk out of the ring and got a GTS for his trouble.
As Lesnar arrived on the scene, Punk tried to use a chair on him but he grabbed it and started the epic brawling. The straight edge superstar hit Lesnar with a flying forearm from off the announce table, actually knocking him off his feet that time. Sadly, before long Lesnar got Punk down, beat him down and had him up for the F5 in the ring. Punk rolled off and hit him with a chair. Sadly though he had to go and get distracted by Heyman again in the corner. This time Lesnar’s F5 connected, and he laid several chair shots on the motionless carcass afterwards. It’s worth noting that Punk had some weird chin bleeding situation going on here, like a really bad shaving cut. For a PG product, there sure has been a lot of accidental blood in the last month.
Heyman, Axel and Lesnar cut a promo backstage immediately after all the mayhem. Lesnar asked whether Punk was “the best this world has to offer” and Heyman basically challenged Punk to a one-on-one match next week, if he is physically able. He either won’t be able, or the more likely outcome in my mind is the match will go ahead and he will just suffer a three on one beatdown.
Kofi fitting to fly on Fandango – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment
Fandango v Kofi Kingston The returning Kofi has switched to long tights. This makes anyone look better, and it’s always good news. I was really falling asleep during this match (I know, how professional, right?) but from what I noticed it was decent. Kingston got the win.
Then Steph was crying backstage to Hunter because Vince had spoke to her like shit – surprise! Hunter said Vince had lost it and basically slated him, getting more angry as he did it. It looks like this feud is actually going to come to a head soon. Triple H teased that Vince will probably do something at Summerslam, and he has other ideas.
The Real Americans v The Usos Colter gave his usual in-ring pre-match speech. His legendary team are now being draped in the yellow flags on the way out – amazing! This was a fairly entertaining match. Good traditional tag team wrestling, and good to see these guys all getting some TV time. Cesaro got the pin after hitting the neutraliser. This could only happen after they had worked the ref to get a cheap shot. Classic heel tag team work.
Dolph Ziggler v Big E. Langston This was a decent enough match apart from the part when Langston botched taking Dolph’s fame asser. Kaitlyn came down half way through and got into a huge cat-brawl with AJ. The two of them fought inside the ring eventually, causing Ziggler to get distracted trying to stop it. He will regret that when he wakes up from the huge clothesline and big ending he suffered. Good win for biggie!
John Cena, Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton v The Shield The best way to see the jackals, and probably the best combination of faces in the business right now to face them (minus Punk) – good main event booking in my opinion. The match was unfortunately preceded by a painfully shameful plug for some absolutely disgraceful reality show called ‘Summer Camp’ – Josh Matthews interviewed them in the crowd. I don’t know who I felt more sorry for, them or him. Awful! When this was over and all the guys and beards were in the ring, it was all set for something great!
The opening sequence was really good, after Bryan got the early tag from Orton and destroyed everyone with one of his trademark flurries. Then Reigns dominated Bryan for a while, stopping him from getting the tag. When he eventually got to Cena, the ref didn’t see it and forced him back out onto the apron. More classic traditional tag team tactics on display here. The whole thing predictably melted down into mayhem. When the ring was cleared, Bryan reversed Rollins’ attempt at a roll-up into the Lobell lock. The Shield came in to stop it with the three-on-one beating. The ref rang the bell and disqualified them. Bit dramatic don’t ya think ref?
Team face came back to his rescue and cleared the ring. Then Orton gave them both the RKO consecutively from behind like the legendary viper he is. He was about to cash in his briefcase on John Cena, when for some reason The Shield came back to carry on beating the two of them down. Orton walked out and left them to it. Cena got the huge spear from Reigns, and wee Bryan got the triple powerbomb. Was this the actual start of a Randy Orton heel turn? Please!
My thoughts I have to say this was a decent show, in-keeping with the run that WWE have been on for several months. It was great to see The Shield back in the main event and playing a considerable role in the show. It wasn’t a card filled with incredible matches, but those that weren’t solid were made up for by two very special promos. The continued development of Cena/Bryan and the McMahon angles was very well done. I’m extremely excited for Summerslam. The card is looking insane. Bryan/Cena, Lesnar/Punk, Del Rio/Christian, an INFERNO match and much more. What’s not to like!?
Thanks for reading my review of Monday Night Raw. I hope you enjoyed it. If so, give it a ‘Like’, leave a comment letting me know what you think, and remember to hit ‘Follow’ for daily posts about pro wrestling.
Peace and elbow grease.