I’m going to go through the show hour-by-hour again. It gives an interesting idea of how the momentum changes, and why in my opinion, it might be time to switch back to two hour episodes. Anyway, here goes.
First hour summary: A typically terrific CM Punk promo opened up the show. My previous question “Where is Big E?” was answered when he came out and interrupted the best in the world. Is he gonna be another Paul Heyman guy? The two of them had a good opening match, in which Big E looked strong. Punk got the win with the GTS.
Fandango lost to Kofi Kingston. The Wyatt Family came out, with him still in the ring, as if they were going to jump him, but Bray just cut another bizarre promo in the dark, outside the ring. No attack. Paul Heyman spoke to Renee backstage and said that CM Punk is now a “nobody”
Los Matadores made their debut and silenced any predictions that this may amount to a positive, serious gimmick for them, by coming to the ring with a midget. They looked very Attitude Era in the ring, with the little guy running around outside dressed as a bull. When your first opponents are 3MB and you’re not a seven foot monster, it’s never a good way to start. They actually had a decent match, moved well in there and used a cool tag team finisher, but I still don’t see this lasting. Then again, everyone thought that about Fandango, and he’s still employed.
Second hour summary: The Rhodes Family Summit was a great way to kick off the second hour. The Dream and his boys got a big pop, and so they should. After a lot of horrible goading, Steph and Triple H booked Cody and Goldust to face Rollins and Reigns at Battleground. As far as I’m aware, the titles aren’t on the line. There are stipulations though. If they win, they both get a job. If they lose, neither of them can work for WWE again, and Dusty is fired. High pressure. I can’t help but think it would have been even better if they put the titles on the line and brought the guys back with a bang. Really strong segment though, and I can’t wait for that match, especially with Dusty being at ringside!
As the three guys were leaving the ring, The Shield ambushed them all and totally annihilated them with a vicious beating. It was a great way to get more heat on them going into Sunday, but if Goldust and Cody don’t win, it’s a bit of joke to be honest. The faces only seem to go over on TV now and you can’t have the happy ending never happen.
R-Truth took on Curtis Axel. He is starting to remind of Eli from ‘The World’s Worst Rap Battle’ (YouTube it) now. Midway through the match, Punk’s music hit and Truth got the win, thanks to that distraction. That was a classic heel move from Punk to out-think these evil forces. The announcers spent most of Brie Bella’s match with Alicia Fox (and the rest of the show) talking about her recent engagement to Daniel Bryan. She won, as AJ and Tamina watched backstage on the monitor. Those two face-off for the Divas Title at Battleground on Sunday.
Big Show performed well once again during a backstage interview, before losing it and storming off to hunt down Triple H. Alberto Del Rio took on Zack Ryder, again establishing his character as the least memorable/important World Champion in history. He won with the cross armbreaker, on the second attempt, after botching it the first time around. Ryder looked stronger than usual, but I think he is going to be in job status for his entire life sadly.
Third hour summary: Heyman had said earlier in the night that he was going to go to the ring and “propose to Ryback” – The promo itself was awesome. He did some more gloating and put Ryback over, who in turn sucked up to him like a pro. After things had been drawn out in true Heyman fashion, he got on his knees, looked up at the big beautiful man before him and asked him “Ryback, will you be a Paul Heyman guy?” – Before this hilarity could end, CM Punk’s music hit. He came through the crowd and appeared to hurt himself while getting over the guardrail. He sold it like the genius he is and I actually thought it might not have been a work for a second. Of course, he got to his feet and smashed the life out of them both with a kendo stick. Curtis Axel came down and he got massacred, while his guardian Heyman (with new favourite in tow) escaped up the ramp.
The Usos teamed with Dolph Ziggler to take on The Shield, for what felt like the hundredth time this month. The match was good though no doubt. Classic tag team execution from everyone involved, and Reigns speared Dolph for the win. Big Show was still in the office waiting for Triple H, when he was confronted by a bunch of cops. Stephanie McMahon came in and called them off, saying she would vouch for Show, before burying him in another tirade of barely veiled, patronising remarks like the Queen Bitch she is.
Rob Van Dam was interviewed by Renee (big night for Renee, she must have interviewed five guys in this show. No Matt Striker to share the segments with I guess) He showed an awesome YouTube clip of the”Extreme RVD Top 10″
Santino Marella and Antonio Cesaro were the main event of the night, in a match purely to showcase the Giant Swing again. They sure know how to take anything good and lodge it into throat week after week. Khali and the midget were at ringside to further legitimise things. Santino actually won with a roll-up, beating the guy who should be World Heavyweight Champion right now, in my view.
Jerry Lawler was in the ring to once again remind us about the engagement. Bryan came out to a decent pop, but this was never a great crowd. It seems like a lifetime since I’ve seen him on TV. That’s what actually missing just one of the two flagship shows a week can do – freshen someone/something up! Randy Orton came out for the “face to face” meeting. He spoke of his joy at having rediscovered the Apex Predator, and replaced the previous “watered down Viper who cared what you idiots thought” – This was very cool.
Bryan offered a rousing, inspired response and got a great reaction out of this mostly dormant crowd. Orton furiously told the crowd to shut up and got real personal with Daniel about Brie. An intense brawl followed but after The Viper got the upper hand, he cruelly beat him down and polished things off with an RKO through the announce table in front of his crying fiancée.
There was a good amount of strong development of storylines, and a lot of hype towards Battleground this Sunday. My main issue with the show was the lack of high quality matches, and the placement of the matches on the card. Any episode of Monday Night Raw needs a credible main event, especially if it’s the go-home edition. Yes, the Santino match was followed by Bryan and Orton, but that doesn’t mean you should just throw together any old thing for the final match of the night. Overall, it was decent, but not particularly special. Seeing Dusty Rhodes and his sons again was easily my favourite part of the night.
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