Subsequent to two fantastic Raws in a row, and a great edition of Smackdown! (read that fine report on this fine website), what is in store for tonight as we push towards Money In The Bank on July 14? Since the participants have now been announced, I smell some bouts between individuals on the rise; which all could be very awesome considering the talent in the Raw match. (For example, Daniel Bryan, who cost Kane his contest on Smackdown, so will we see the former tag-team partners go at it?)
C.M. Punk and Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel are schedule to team-up against the Prime Time Players, thanks to Paul Heyman. How will “The Straight-Edge Superstar” interact with Heyman’s client? Will Brock Lesnar make an appearance to explain his actions and/or put the blame on his “boss?”
Dolph Ziggler spoiled World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio’s celebration last week, so how will the “Mexican Aristocrat” retaliate, or can “The Show Off” keep getting the best of him? (Dolph better get the Championship back at MITB!)
What is still up A.J.’s sleeve to torment Kaitlyn in their personal rivalry over the Divas Championship? (Although, I think it is time for this to come to an end soon, read MITB, and have A.J move on to another challenger – perhaps an NXT “anti-Diva?”)
The Shield were pinned in a 6-man on Smackdown, and are presumably furious, so what will they do to their new challengers The Usos? Or can the twin brothers keep their momentum rolling?
WWE Champion John Cena and his Money In The Bank opponent only interacted verbally, through superb separate promos, last week, so will their be a physical confrontation as they continue their feud into their pay-per-view match?
Could tonight FINALLY be the debut of The Wyatt Family, or are we in for another ghoulish video?
And, I will be away next week, so my MITB predictions will be at the end of the review.
Finally, I must say being Canadian, as it is still July 1st as of this typing, HAPPY CANADA DAY to all who celebrate!
All this and much more I’m sure, so read on!
Monday Night Raw Report for July 1st, 2013
Introduction Segment: Office Promo/Raw Opening
Supervising Manager Vickie Guerrero appears on screen and announces that tonight, it will be (another) Champion VS. Champion match, as World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio will face-off against WWE Champion John Cena. The Raw video plays and Michael Cole announces M.N.R. is “live tonight!”
Segment #1: Arena Promo
Daniel Bryan, WWE’s current most-crowd-reactive superstars, is out and stand in the ring holding a microphone and a ladder erected behind him. Bryan says that the long-awaited wonder of him being “the weak link” was answered emphactically as a “no, no, no!” last week when he made Randy Orton tap-out. Daniel is now confident that he can also win the Money In The Bank match for the WWE Championship briefcase.
Bryan says he wants to “follow in the footsteps of the greats – Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock, Daniel Bryan.” He reminds us that he already did this in 2011, when he cashed in the Smackdown briefcase and won the World Heavyweight Champion. He claims that he “will be W-W-E Champion!” Bryan’s rival from last year, Sheamus, walks out and wants to recall how Daniel’s story ended, with him winning the World Title in 18 seconds against Bryan.
Daniel makes a joke about Sheamus’ new “1-800 Fella” gimmick, and Sheamus retorts, “I didn’t know you had a sense of humour. I always thought trolls were supposed to be grumpy.” A common opponent between the two now interrupts. “The Viper” Randy Orton says that he has not been champion in two years, and he is a starving man who needs the WWE Title.
Orton declares that after he wins, he will not wait to cash in the briefcase. Bryan takes a shot at Orton, refreshing him that he submitted last week. Randy decides to let that one slide, because “in two weeks, at Money In The Bank, no one is safe.”
Of course, the man who exemplifies unsafe the most on the current roster, now walks out. Kane agrees with Orton’s analysis, and says that he has “no problem committing unspeakable acts against my opponents, even my so-called ‘friends.'” (Kane looked at Bryan.) Daniel says that it is not his fault Kane couldn’t beat Orton, despite what happened on Smackdown.
Kane reiterates to the other three in the ring that at Money In The Bank it is “every man for himself. No partners, no friends, only victims.” Bryan and Kane argue, as usual, on who will be WWE Champion, until another wrestler who is in the match interjects.
Christian tells the boys that he is the one who has had the most success in a ladder match, and that he is “looking for one more match, and that is going to be for the WWE Championship.” Christian cites that, while he is not the “biggest, strongest, scariest, or hairiest,” but he is the “best.”
Obviously, that comment brings out C.M. Punk, the always-self-professed “best in the world.” He says that he wasn’t gong to come out to the ring, like everyone else predictably, but as soon as Christian said “best,” that was the proverbial trigger.
Punk says that he respects Christian and all his accomplishments, sincerely, but he is truly the best at the Money In The Bank Ladder Match, because he is the only one who has won it back-to-back, and will be the only one to win it twice. The “Straight-Edge Superstar” puts over Rob Van Dam, the last participant (who should not be returning until the Pay-Per-View), as a man who has disregard for his own safety in order to win that briefcase.
He starts to talk about the other contestants until Bryan cuts him off, and threatens to make him “tap out faster than Randy Orton did last week.”
Orton takes umbrage for this comment, but Kane steps in front of Daniel, who also contests Kane’s actions. Randy sneaks in an R.K.O. on “The Big Red Machine” and the other wrestlers back out of the ring as Bryan checks on Kane.
Michael Cole says that we will be looking at the great champions that have held the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship, respectively, to commemorate the “Champion VS. Champion” match later tonight. First up, Buddy Rogers and Lou Thesz. (This will be a cool, nice touch to exemplify the importance of the Titles.)
Segment #2: Video Promo
The same Wyatt Family promo from last weeks re-airs.
Match #1: 6-Man Tag-Team – The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Tag-Team Champions Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) VS. Christian and The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) (Non-Title)
(Ok, so the point of this match on Smackdown was?) (Note: it is announced that the Tag-Team Championship will be defended between The Shield and The Usos on the kick-off show to Money In The Bank. [in other words, NOT on the Pay-Per-View – shame, shame, shame!)
Rollins and an Uso start off with a punch fest, but the The Uso gets the better following a running spinning elbow. He tags in his twin, who jumps at Seth with a flying forearm. 1 – 2 – Rollins kicks out and hits a jawbreaker, then switches with Dean Ambrose.
The Uso has him in a wristlock, then tags in Christian, who gets viciously kneed in the gut. Dean runs at him against the ropes, but Christian trips him up. Ambrose rolls to the outside, and Rollins/Reigns come over, setting up a triple-dive from The Usos and Christian!
Back from break, Ambrose is in control against an Uso, choking him in the corner with his boot then tagging Rollins back in. Seth kicks him hard and runs off the ropes with a forearm, then he and Ambrose double-suplex the Twin. Dean repeatedly stomps on the stomach, then turns him around and rips at his jaw.
The U.S. Champ switches with Reigns, who powers the Twin down with a backdrop. 1 – 2 – Jey kicks out! Ambrose is back in, who mocks Christian’s taunt, but is dropped harshly with a superkick by Jey. He goes to tag Jimmy, but Rollins runs in and dropkicks him off the apron.
Jey does make the tag to Christian, who clotheslines and missile-dropkicks Rollins for a near fall! Christian is all over all “The Shield,” but Dean backs off and allows Seth to nail Christian in the side of the head with an tornado-kick. The U.S. Champ comes back and pounds away on |Christian, but is taken down with a reverse DDT!
The Usos come in and take out Rollins/Reigns, while Ambrose capitalizes on Rollins’ distraction, with a roll-up on Christian for the victory!
Winners via Pin Fall: The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Tag-Team Champions Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins)
Segment #3: Locker Room Promo
Kane is tending to his sore head, when Daniel comes in and tells him that Vickie has given something to help him feel better. Kane wants no part of Bryan, until he is informed that it is a rematch against Randy Orton. He is also enlightened, to his dismay, that Bryan will be the special referee.
Dolph Ziggler makes his entrances and will be in action next!
Match #2: Single – “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler VS. Jinder Mahal (with “3.M.B.” partners Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre)
(Replays are shown of Ziggler crashing World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio’s party from Smackdown). Dolph is all over Mahal, “showing off” after hanging on to the ropes and taking him down with a leg trip, slapping his head. Jinder comes back with a running knee after Dolph missed a dropkick.
He stomps away then moves him over with a butterfly/double-underhook suplex. Mahal springs off the middle rope with a couple kneedrops, but is countered with two boots-to-the-face and a high, beautiful dropkick! 1 – 2 – Mahal kicks out! Jinder catches Ziggler off the ropes with a scoop slam for a two-count, and tries the Camel Clutch submission, but Dolph slides out backwards and brings Jinder down with the Zig-Zag neckbreaker drop for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pin Fall: “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler
Post-match, “3.M.B.” surround and try to beat down Ziggler, but Dolph escapes and disposes of them quickly, Zig-Zagging Drew. He then climbs the announce table to “show off!”
Another look at great WWE Champions and World Heavyweight Champions, with most-recent Hall-Of-Famer “The Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino and Harley Race, respectively.
Up next, we will view Mark Henry’s career accomplishments.
Segment #4: Office Promo
WWE C.O.O. Triple H walks in on Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox, commending her for a great show tonight. (That is actually true, so far.) Vickie does say she feels confused, because all McMahon family members are telling her different things, but “The Game” reassures Guerrero, saying that she can listen to them, but much like he did, do none of what they want!
Segment #5: Video Promo
A career review of “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry is aired, from his start at the Olympics in 1996 until now. Mainly highlighted is his strength and destruction in WWE.
Randy Orton makes his entrances, and his bout with Kane is next!
Match #3: Single with Special Referee Daniel Bryan – “The Viper” Randy Orton VS. “The Big Red Machine” Kane
Orton punches and kicks away at Kane in the corner, until Bryan gets between and pushes him back. Kane takes advantage with a boot and hammers away in another corner. He smacks Randy down with an elbow off the ropes, then snapmares and dropkicks (but greatly misses), and receives a two-count from Bryan. Kane picks up Orton, but Randy wiggles out and jumps on him with a Lou Thesz press.
Orton works him over with some stomps and a knee drop, but only gets one after a cover. Kane comes back with some uppercuts and a suplex, then drops down with forearm elbows to Orton’s head. He kicks Randy out of the ring, and Bryan starts the 10-count. Kane follows out, rolling Orton back in the ring but missing with a run-in-the-corner.
Randy slugs away with fists and a clothesline, and engages in the 10-punch, but Bryan stops him. Orton shove Daniel, who immediately DQs him for the action!
Winner via Disqualification: Kane
Post-match, Kane does not want to accept it, and orders Bryan to restart. He complies, so they’re at it again!
Match #4: Single with Special Referee Daniel Bryan – “The Viper Randy Orton VS. “The Big Red Machine” Kane
Orton dropkicks Kane right away to the outside.
Back from break, Kane has Randy locked in a head grip, but Orton punches and headbutts his way out. Kane reverses an Irish Whip and clotheslines Orton a couple of times in the corner, then brings him down with a sidewalk slam. “The Big Red Machine” ascends the turnbuckle and flies off with a clothesline, but Orton counters with a dropkick to his stomach!
Orton grabs Kane off the ropes with a powerslam, and sets him up on the apron for the slingshot DDT. Kane gets out of it and clutches Randy’s throat, but the former World Champion kicks away and takes him down with a backbreaker. This time, Randy plants Kane with the slingshot DDT and gears up. The fans are psyched for an upcoming R.K.O., but Bryan gets in the way! Kane nails Orton with a boot-to-the-face and Bryan slaps the mat three times, extremely quickly!
Winner via Pin Fall: Kane
Post-match, Kane again detests Daniel’s methods of giving him the duke, even holding him by the neck for a potential chokeslam. Kane hesitates then releases the grip and walks off. However, this is not the end, as Bryan turns right around into an R.K.O.!
Segment #6: Locker Room Promo
Paul Heyman is between his two “guys.” C.M. Punk declares that he will “beat both Primetime Players by myself, and all Curtis Axel has to do is stand on the apron and watch.” Heyman doesn’t understand the “hostility,” so Punk clears it up, claiming that he does trust Paul E., but not the Intercontinental Champion. Heyman tries to get him to change his tune, saying “trust me, trust my best judgment. In my best judgment, Curtis Axel is worthy of your trust.”
Another recent Hall-Of-Famer, Bob Backlund and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes’ significant victories and contributions to the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship is shown.
Match #5: Single – Fandango (with Summer Rae) VS. Sheamus
Fandango ducks a swing from Sheamus and calls out his own name, then dances around. He repeats the process after Sheamus misses a clothesline, then Sheamus mocks Fandango with a jive of his own. Seriousness takes place now, with Sheamus controlling with a clothesline and suplex. Fandango comes back with a kick and elbow off a whip, but gets clotheslined again when he couldn’t hip toss Sheamus.
Sheamus grabs Fandango from behind, who counters with a flip-kick for a two-count! He clamps on a grounding half-nelson, which the Irishman gets out of and pounds away on Fandango in the corner. He delivers an axe-handle swing, then hammers away against Fandango’s chest on the ropes. Fandango to the outside, where he and Summer Rae begin to walk off. Chad Patton, the referee is getting up there and officially counts-out the dancing wrestler.
Winner via Count-Out: Sheamus
Up next, The Miz will take on Ryback.
Match #6: Single – Ryback VS. “The Awesome One” The Miz
(Note: “Y2J” Chris Jericho is on commentary, and it is made known that The Miz will challenge Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship.) Immediately, The Miz attacks the hurt leg of Ryback, until the beast completely dominates. He rams Miz’s head against the canvas several times and stomps on his chest/stomach.
Ryback mounts and punches away on Miz, then shoves him down with a block and walks over him. Ryback continues to beat away and toy with him. Miz gets fired up and comes back with a low-dropkick, then knee-to-the-head. He runs at “Cryback” (as Jericho is calling him) with a clothesline in the corner.
Miz shoulder-drops Ryback’s left leg, then kicks away in the corner. He runs at him with another dropkick, right on Ryback’s knee. He orders the referee to “stop the match,” and is granted the wish.
Winner via Referee Stoppage: The Miz
Post-match, Ryback turns around into a Codebreaker double-knee-facebuster from Chris Jericho, who stands tall!
All-time greats, and two of the biggest influences in the business, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, have their Championship wins aired.
Mark Henry will be out next to talk about his upcoming match with WWE Champion John Cena!
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Mark Henry recounts his legitimate Olympic/”World’s Strongest Man” career, then expresses his grievances with being in WWE for 17 years. He claims that through all the back-stabbing, politics, “accidental injuries,” and the people, he has finally earned his much-deserved shot at the WWE Championship. “Nobody’s gonna keep me down anymore. I’m gonna do the right thing alright. I’m gonna do the right thing for me. And after I beat John Cena, nobody in the world will be able to deny me.” Henry asks for the camera to get up close, so the next declaration can “sink in clear.” “John Cena, at Money In The Bank, I’m gonna beat your ass!”
Segment #8: Office Promo
Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox are discussing John Cena, when the boss walks in. Mr. McMahon is enjoying the show, except for Daniel Bryan. He puts her down for that, but is enlightened by the Champion VS. Champion match. However, Vince changes his tune quickly, saying that she is giving this monumental bout away for free, instead of making on pay-per-view, where they can make much more money.
He subtly threatens her job, recounting the list of people who have been fired/”fired” by him because they wouldn’t listen. Mr. McMahon wishes them an enjoyable evening.
Up next, Punk and Axel will try and co-exist against The Primetime Players.
Match #7: Tag-Team – C.M. Punk and Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman) VS. “The Primetime Players” (“the Big Deal” Titus O’Neil and “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young) (Non-Title)
Punk wants to begin and Curtis obliges, stepping to the apron, however quickly tags himself in. An elbow/collar tie-up starts between himself and Young, then Axel clobbers Darren. Titus is now in, and gets dropkicked beautifully by the I.C. Champion. He comes back with a clothesline on Axel, and drops Darren on a downed Axel. “Primetime” controls over Curtis, stomping away in the corner and secluding him from Punk.
O’Neil locks in an abdominal stretch, but Curtis battles out. He still can’t get the tag to C.M. and is slammed down instead. Axel eventually gets the hot-tag to Punk, and the “Second-City Saint” dominates over Young with a running knee-in-the-corner and elbow off the top rope! He is fired up and nails Darren with the Go To Sleep knee-to-the-face, but Axel tags in and steals the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pin Fall: C.M. Punk and Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman)
Post-match, Punk refuses to celebrate, walking off and yelling at Heyman.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the other biggest influence in the WWF/WWE, and Sting, a long-time fan favourite and all-around good man in the industry, are shown for their accolades of Heavyweight Gold.
Match #8: Single – Alicia Fox VS. Kaitlyn (with Layla)
Lockup between the two to start out, then Kaitlyn clotheslines fox down. She covers in a jackknife position for two, and Alicia comes back with a dropkick for a near fall! Fox rams Kaitlyn into the corner twice, then delivers elbows and a northern-light suplex for close calls! Kaitlyn rolls out of the way of a senton, and spears Alicia for the W!
Winner via Pin Fall: Kaitlyn
Post-match, her rival Divas Champion A.J. prances out with Big E. Langston. She berates Kaitlyn some more, then reveals an “unsavoury” modelling picture of her from early in the career, when Kaitlyn was “broke and desperate,” according to Lee.
(The pic is an extra-ordinary blown up and photoshopped fat Kaitlyn – a far cry from the “embarrassing” pictures of the “Attitude Era.”)
A.J. informs Kaitlyn that she will be right back in that position, after she loses her rematch at Money In The Bank for the Divas Championship. (Another match subtly announced.)
Segment #9: Office Promo
Stephanie McMahon now has a word with Vickie Guerrero and questions her on the A.J/Kaitlyn situation. Guerrero defends herself, saying that she is confused by everyone telling her what to do. Stephanie understands, and Vickie tries to make nice by making jokes, but McMahon is not laughing.
Instead, she insists she is here on a business matter, and next week, Guerrero will have clear guidance, because she will have a job evaluation. “It’s the most beautiful thing about Raw, it’s ‘unpredictable.’ You just never know what’s going to happen next,” boasts Stephanie as she leaves Vickie worried.
Segment #10: Video Promo
More Rob Van Dam highlights are shown to anticipate his return at Money In The Bank in two weeks!
Match #9: Single – Cody Rhodes (with “Rhodes Scholars” partner, “The Intellectual Saviour Of The Unwashed Masses” Damien Sandow) VS. Antonio Cesaro (with Zeb Colter)
Prior to the bout, “Rhodes Scholars” cut a promo, saying they will still be best friends even though they are both in the Money In The Bank Ladder match. Colter also conducts a speech, taking shots at the U.S. Government for making gay marriage legal and spying on the American citizens as reported in the headlines recently. He also brings back his first-mate, “The Real American” Jack Swagger, who returns after about a month away.
Rhodes and Cesaro measure each other out and engage in a struggling lockup. Antonio grabs Cody and tosses him over with a gutwrench, but Rhodes comes back with an uppercut and roll-up for two! He clamps on a headlock and counters a backdrop with almost a sunset flip. He tries to pin Antonio again with his feet on the ropes, but Cesaro kicks out and uppercuts Cody to the outside. Rhodes jawbreaks Antonio on the ropes and goes for a backslide, but Cesaro gets out of it and plants him with The Neutralizer to prevail!
Winner via Pin Fall: Antonio Cesaro (with Zeb Colter and “The Real American” Jack Swagger)
The man with the arguably the second-most authority in the WWE, Triple H, and the current General Manager of Smackdown and 5-Time WCW Heavyweight Champion, Booker T., are highlighted as great champions.
Segment #11; Backstage Promo
The Bella Twins, two new Divas by the names of Eva-Marie and Jo-Jo, Natalya, Cameron, and Naomi, all get into a catty argument on the Bellas stuck up ways and constant plugging of their successes.
Segment #12: Video Promo
Cole reads a “tweet” from Bray Wyatt, “time to remove the veil … Forget everything that you thought was real. Next week it begins. #FollowTheBuzzards” He says they will finally be on Raw next week!
A new Wyatt Family clip airs, with an empty rocking chair and Bray Wyatt prophesising about “the sheep, they out number the wolves. We’re coming!”
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio makes his entrance, sans Ricardo Rodriguez, because he was injured at the “Fiesta Del Rio” from Smackdown after Dolph hurled him off the top rope and through the table.
It is announced that C.M. Punk will be making a special appearance on Smackdown TV this Friday!
Match #10: “Champion VS. Champion” Single – World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio VS. WWE Champion John Cena
(Giving more importance to this contest, Justin Roberts makes the formal introductions when both competitors are in the ring.) Del Rio takes control early with a headlock takedown, but Cena leapfrogs, hip-tosses, and headlock takedowns Alberto!
The World Champion returns the leapfrog and hip-tosses Cena, then the two stand-off again. Cena tries an Attitude adjustment, but Dl Rio wiggles out and goes to the outside for a break. He gets back in the ring and kicks away at John, then runs at him with a resounding kick-to-the-head.
Alberto attempts a suplex, but it is reversed by Cena into one of his own, then he face-plants him with a bulldog. Cena runs at Del Rio in the corner, but misses and nails the steel post. Alberto kicks him in the shoulder and chucks him into the barricade.
Del Rio dive off the top rope with a headbutt for a two=count, then continues to work over the WWE Champion with stomps. He lines him up against the ropes, but misses and gives John time to recover.
Back from break, Del Rio is back in dominance with a head submission, and whips his head down on the mat. Again, Alberto climbs the turnbuckle, but Cena comes back with a dropkick and shoulder tackle! Del Rio ducks the second shoulder tackle and low-dropkicks him to the outside. Cena returns with a jawbreaker with the top rope, and is now fired up again, but Del Rio cools him down with a backstabber! 1 – 2 – Cena gets the shoulder up!
Del Rio goes for the Cross Armbreaker but Cena moves out of it and spins him around with the backdrop! He delivers the 5-Knuckle Shuffle fistdrop, but has to kick out of a German Suplex by Alberto! Cena catches Del Rio’s boot and belly-to-belly suplex him for a near fall of his own! He climbs the corner, but Del Rio runs up with an enziguri and also receives a very close call! He tries the same move, but Cena ducks and goes for the STF. Del Rio gets out of it and turns John around with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two!
Alberto hangs Cena upside down against the turnbuckle, but misses a running shoulder as Cena sits up. He dives off the top with a huge crossbody! 1 – 2 – Del Rio kicks out! Cena has him for the Attitude Adjustment, but Del Rio moves and goes for the Cross Armbreaker, but John smoothly transitions into the STF!
He has it held tightly, but releases when he sees Mark Henry walking down the aisle. Del Rio rolls him up from behind but Cena still kicks out at two! He nails him in the head with a kick for another near fall, then we see “The Show Off” run down! Dolph Ziggler stands atop the turnbuckle and also distracts Del Rio, which gives Cena the advantage to put him down with the Attitude Adjustment and the victory!
Winner via Pin Fall: WWE Champion John Cena
Post-match, Mark Henry takes the WWE Championship and enters the ring. He fake taking a shot with the Title, then tosses down in front of John. He also dekes Cena out when the Champ goes to pick up his belt. They glare at each other as Henry exists to the back and Cena stands alone in the ring with the WWE Championship held high.
Segment #13: Video Promo
Cole/Lawler/Layfield reiterate the main debut of The Wyatt Family next week and the promo from earlier (the “Rocking Chair” footage) re-airs to close the show. “We’re coming!”
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Three for three! Another great episode that really flowed smoothly from top to bottom, and again had that “bang” start and finish! Onto the analysis:
Excellence: The opening promo featuring 6 out of 7 MITB participants. They really made me feel like the match is worth watching and that any of them can win. That’s how to build a bout. The subsequent bantering between Kane and Daniel Bryan is awesome too, especially Bryan’s “one-liners” and precise comic timing. Kane/Orton was a great contest as well, and I really liked the “screwy finishes” that Bryan pulled off to favour his friend.
Ziggler/Mahal – yes, I’m actually “liking” a “3.M.B.” contest, but that’s because Dolph was in it! Truthfully, it was actually better than I thought, with pretty equal offense between both and Jinder did really well – a pleasant surprise, capped off with a “Show Off” Love both the career retrospective on Mark Henry, as well as his promo, to continue to pump up the new intense attitude/agenda of the “World’s Strongest Man.”
Absolutely loved the hype and prestige of the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, and some of those clips brought back some great memories. This really helped solidify the importance of a “Champion VS. Champion” match, and I hope they do these more in the future to remind fans of how significant the Titles were and should be. Del Rio/Cena was also fab-u-lous (to quote Bart Simpson!), and I loved the double-distraction finish, especially Dolph getting the best of Alberto again. The ending with Henry teasing a beat down on Cena was awesome for the intimidation/”mind games” factor too!
And yes, so excited for the Wyatt Family debut – finally! Granted, I have seen these guys on NXT and they are awesome, but it I am very, very intrigued to see where they are going to be placed on Raw and what they will do. It’s just too bad that they’re coming next week, because I will not be able to write a report due to vacation, and thus can’t give my own authentic reaction. Ah well, at least they are coming!
Bogus: As usual, all the McMahon-Helmsley/Guerrero/Maddox segments. Pointless now, other than to put themselves over for no real reason, and we’ve had many of these “job evaluations” before. Not interested in the slightest. Same with the Bells Twins and their new show. That also was a lame segment with the new “divas,” and a waste of time for Natalya and “The Funkettes.” I also thought that Fandango’s return was wasted – he was very popular prior to his concussion, and I think they could’ve built his return, even just for one week, to get the fans excited again; instead they “threw him away” in his bout with Sheamus and the MITB.
I think the Kaitlyn/Divas Champ A.J. storyline is starting to wear down now and should end at MITB (with A.J. retaining!), but at least A.J. can pull off the promos and it fits her “psycho” character to continually pick on the same person. Ryback/Jericho, still not interested in, again because came out of now where and really was dumb reason for the bout. At least Jericho has the talent to make the best of a bad situation!
For once, not a fan of “The Shield’s” match tonight, (the wrestling itself was fantastic as usual) only because we just saw it on last week’s Smackdown! I didn’t think there should’ve been that rematch, and why is Christian involved when he is already booked for the RAW MITB? Should’ve had another Smackdown MITB dude tag with The Usos. And, really, really disappointed this match is on the pre-show – this almost guarantees the winner (more below) and lowers the status of all four men, plus the Championships in my opinion. Again, shame, shame, shame!
I’m undecided right now on the Zeb Colter/Antonio Cesaro pairing. On one hand, it should give Cesaro more TV time and a great manager, however, if they keep dong the same stick, it’s going turn stale very fast. Same, for different reasons, with C.M. Punk/Paul Heyman/Curtis Axel after tonight. I just didn’t “feel it” as I usually can with them, and while another decent bout with them teaming up, it kind of just “came and went” tonight. Hopefully I will be more invested/something will have happened when I write again in two weeks.
Money In The Bank Predictions:
1. Dolph Ziggler will/should regain the World Heavyweight Championship, end this feud, and go on a long, long run with the Title.
2. Mark Henry must win the WWE Championship to keep his huge, fresh momentum going, and I would be fine with a stipulation rematch at Summerslam. (Then have him win that too, and take on a “face” RAW MITB winner – Christian/Rob Van Dam/Daniel Bryan?)
3. Smackdown MITB – Dean Ambrose, move into a serious feud with Dolph for the World Title. That would be money and some excellent matches.
4. Divas Champion A.J. will keep her title and move on to a new feud (again, perhaps an up-and-comer from NXT?)
5. Unfortunately, The Usos will lose to Tag-Team Champions Rollins/Reigns, mainly because this is on the PRE-SHOW! If it was on the pay-per-view itself, then I might be able to see them pull the upset and engage in a rematch at Summerslam. But WWE is not going to kill “The Shield” on an internet preview, would they? (I sure as heck hope not!)
6. Chris Jericho will beat Ryback. This is just a pure fan pick, as I really don’t care about this match, but absolutely love Jericho and all his abilities.
7. Curtis Axel will still have his Intercontinental Championship after facing The Miz.
All in all, it was another very cool Raw, and the MITB PPV is looking good in general and could be another score for WWE. Until two weeks from now, as always, Be Excellent Online-Readers and Wrestling Fans!