After three consecutive great Raws, the streak was broken last week, as I felt the “go-home” show for Money In The Bank was just average. I loved a few of the fantastic wrestling matches, particularly Daniel Bryan VS. Sheamus and Orton taking on Punk. I also LOVED the build-up to the much-anticipated debut of the Wyatt Family, however am undecided on what they will be about and where they stand on Raw right now.
I think it kind of fell flat, and they could’ve made a bit more impact somehow, but perhaps they did at last night’s Pay-Per-View. As well, really hated the Vickie Guerrero/McMahons/Triple H segment. Went way too long and just an excuse to put themselves over again.
The only interesting parts were Brad Maddox being promoted to General Manager/Supervisor, and another possible Vince heel-turn?(Note: despite being away, I caught up on the shows today via PVR, hence my quick opinion).
Speaking of MITB, I managed to stay away again from the results, so let’s see how the landscape of the WWE has changed. Here’s hoping a couple new heavyweight champions (Dolph Ziggler and Mark Henry!), and a couple surprise MITB Ladder Match winners that would give a jolt for a summer feud!
Plus, did The Wyatt Family have any interaction on the card, and what is Rob Van Dam’s position following his supposed triumphant return?
All this and much more I’m sure, so read on!
Monday Night Raw Report for July 15th, 2013 – “Decision, Explanations, and Warnings – Oh My!”
Introduction Segment: Welcoming
The regular Raw video plays, and for the first time in a LONG time, the pyro explodes in the arena. The lights go out and the first man stands on stage…
Segment #1: Arena Promo
The new General Manager of Raw, Brad Maddox, hypes up the crowd for the first Raw in the new Barclay Center in Brooklyn. He announces that a Money In The Bank rematch will take place, with Dolph Ziggler facing Alberto Del Rio. (No champion was announced, so I am still left wondering!)
My first disappointment of the night runs to the ring in John Cena, who is all smiles as he is still clutching the WWE Championship. (I like and highly respect Cena, I just believe that Mark Henry should’ve been the Champion after the phenomenal build.)
Cena informs Maddox that this is the only time he will be in the ring with someone who is hated more (referring to himself), but gives the new G.M. his props, letting us see what he will do. Maddox butters up to the WWE Champion, saying that he always enjoyed watching him on the TV since he was a teenager.
He then lets John pick his own opponent for SummerSlam. Cena thinks this is a mistake, since he could pick anyone from Doc Hendrix to Michael Cole to one of the Bella Twins!
Before they go further, the Raw Money In The Bank winner walks out to a huge pop, and gets in the WWE Champion’s face. Randy Orton tells Cena that he will be a man, and give him fair warning that when he cashes in, John will never know. In an odd twist, Fandango struts his stuff out with Summer Rae to challenge Cena for the WWE Title.
As he announces his own name, Orton blindsides him and the two engage in fisticuffs with Randy coming out on top. Maddox interjects and immediately books those two to go at it after the break!
Match #1: Single – “The Viper” Randy Orton VS. Fandango (with Summer Rae)
Orton is stomping away on Fandango and drops him with an uppercut. He misses a running kneedrop and Fandango gains control, choking Orton with his knee. Randy reverses a suplex attempt into one of his own, then hammers Fandango from behind as he went outside.
Orton chases and clotheslines him to the outside mat. In the ring, “The Viper” scores a two-count with the first cover (on screen), but gets a boot-to-the-face as he ran at Fandango in the corner.
Fandango grips on a head submission, but Orton battles out and tosses him with a back body drop. He delivers the patented-10-punch in the corner, then a picture-perfect dropkick. Fandango catches Randy with a mini-enziguri, sending him to the outside again. He chucks “The Viper” into the steel steps and poses atop them to go to break.
Back live, Fandango slingshots Orton underneath the bottom rope for a near-fall, then goes back to that headlock/chinlock submission. Orton punches his way out again, but Fandango counters with a backdrop. 1 – 2 – Randy kicks out! He starts to comeback again with some punches and a clothesline in the corner.
He brings him overhead with a t-bone suplex and is starting to get in the zone, despite having cut left fingers. Orton flies off the top with Fandango via a superplex! (They got some serious air and bounce!) Orton nails the quick powerslam and sets up Fandango for the slingshot-DDT.
Fandango counters with a slingshot-kick, but gets crotched on the top rope. Orton grabs his head and uses the corner middle rope to drive him down with the DDT! Next, an R.K.O. as “The Viper” slithers to cover for the victory!
Winner via Pin Fall: “The Viper” Randy Orton
Segment #2: Recap
Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler recap my second disappointment of the night, as still-pictures show that Dolph Ziggler did NOT capture the World Heavyweight Championship, as A.J. had interfered, costing him the bout. Apparently, an argument ensued after.
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
“The Show Off” is walking alone in the hallways as A.J. approaches him. She apologizes again but he says to forget about it. “It’s time to move on,” he tells her. A.J. gives him a big hug, but Ziggler clears it up, saying that “it’s time for ME to move on, from you. We’re done!”
Out next is Mark Henry.
Segment #4: Arena Promo
“The World’s Strongest Man” gets in the ring and puts over WWE Champion John Cena for the match they had last night. He gives him accolades for showing up, but does remind us that Cena has the power to choose his opponent. Just as Henry makes a bid to be the one, The Shield interrupt and surround the ring.
Mark takes his jacket off and prepares to fight all three. “The Hounds Of Justice” start to pound him down, but Henry comes back, kicking Rollins down. As Ambrose jumps on him from behind, Roman doves through him with a spear, then all three triple-powerbomb the big-man! (FYI, Dean Ambrose does not have the Smackdown MITB briefcase, but Rollins and Reigns are still the Tag-Team Champions).
Segment #5: Office Promo
General Manager Brad Maddox is talking to his mother on his cell phone when “Y2J” Chris Jericho walks in. He ribs him about being so young, but Brad still sucks up to Jericho, booking him in a contest against R.V.D. to impress WWE Champion John Cena. Chris likes it and tell shim “you got a helluva future on ya junior!”
Match #2: Single – World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio VS. “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler (Non-Title)
Del Rio hammers away on Dolph quickly, but Ziggler comes back with a jumping dropkick off the ropes! He drops him with a neckbreaker, then delivers repeated elbow drops, to the pleasure of the fans! 1 – 2 – Alberto kicks out! Ziggler attempts the corner splash but Alberto ducks as Dolph kisses post. Del Rio sets up Dolph backside on the turnbuckle and flips him over with a reverse suplex off the top!
He chokes Dolph on the ropes, but also misses a corner run. Dolph comes back with a leaping splash and jumping clothesline. Del Rio counters and chucks Ziggler over the top to the floor!
Back live, “The Mexican Aristocrat” is still dominating and gloating while doing so. He does miss a kick but tosses Dolph up in the air with a flapjack. He is lining up Ziggler in the corner, but Dolph counters by rocketing himself on to A.D.R. with a Tornado DDT!
The two enter into a slugfest, which Del Rio gets the better of. Del Rio goes for his run-through-the-ropes, but does that literately as Ziggler moves and dropkicks him on the shoulder for a close fall!
Dolph attempts the Fameasser but Alberto reverses with a German Suplex Pin for two! He viciously headbutts Ziggler and gears himself up for the Cross Armbreaker. Ziggler smoothly reverses with a neckbreaker! 1 – 2 – Del Rio kicks out! Alberto comes back with a running enziguri for another two count and the suspense is on!
Del Rio hangs Ziggler upside down in the corner, kicks away, but misses a running shoulder block as Ziggler sits up! Using the leverage of the ropes, Dolph faceplants Alberto with the Fameasser. As he goes for the cover, the bell suddenly rings!
A.J. is shown standing at ringside, distracting her former man, allowing Del Rio to hit him with the kick for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pin Fall: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio
Post-match, A.J. enters the squared circle and slaps away on Dolph, until he is run over with a clothesline by Big E. Langston! Big E. picks him up and drives him with the “Big Ending” front drop. A.J. looks distraught at what has gone down, but gets on her knees, strokes Dolph’s her, and kisses him. She and Langston walk off to an out-cold Ziggler.
Match #3: Single – R-Truth VS. ?
Truth cuts his usual rap promo and entrance, but is quickly cut-off by The Wyatt Family! Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erik Rowan enter the arena and Wyatt sits down in a rocking chair at the bottom of the ramp. Harper and Rowan attack R-Truth, allowing Bray to come in the ring with a microphone.
He informs us that “they” have been lying to all of us. “There ain’t no such thing as a hero. Not anymore. You have become addicted to the allusion of what a hero is. You’ve become addicted to the allusion of what a hero does for you.” He maniacally laughs times through his oratory, saying “the man who made you is a liar. What if I was to tell you that your own flesh and blood turn his back on you? I will never turn my back on you. And maybe, maybe the answers you seek have been slapping you right in the face. Or maybe, just maybe, that I, Bray Wyatt, ‘The Eater Of Worlds,’ have been the answer all along.”
R-Truth hops back on the apron with a steel chair in hand, furious, and wants Wyatt himself. Harper and Rowan exit, as Bray eggs on Truth. “I’m right here waitin’!” He continues to taunt R, as Harper and Rowan approach from outside. Wyatt splashes him in the corner and the assault continues, with Bray kissing Truth, then planting him with a spinning flatliner!
Wyatt crawls over Truth, declaring “you are not ‘the truth’ we seek. Kane, follow the buzzards.” Bray gets on his knees and poses with his arms out, while Erik and Luke stand tall behind him. (Very awesome and creepy!)
Winner: No Contest via No Match officially started.
Segment #6: Video Recap
Footage of the WWE Performance Center grand opening airs, promoting the new development facility.
Match #4: Tag-Team – “The Real Americans” (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro) (with Zeb Colter) VS. The Usos (Jey and Jimmy)
Prior to this bout, Colter rips on Brooklyn for all the languages he hears BUT English. He then asks John Cena to pick one of his “Real Americans” to face him for the WWE Title at SummerSlam. Lawler responds with a WWE Universe Fan-Vote, which saw The Usos getting 55% to take these guys on! (The other choices were “The Prime Time Players” and “Tons Of Funk”)
Jey and Cesaro begin, with Jimmy getting the quick tag after Jey shoved Antonio into the corner. Jimmy rolls up Cesaro for a count, but Antonio comes back with a gutwrench suplex and switches with Swagger. He nails a Swaggerbomb splash out of the corner as the heels continue to dominate.
Cesaro back in and clamps on a grounding rear chinlock, which Jimmy gets out of and manages to tag in his brother. Jey flies off the top with a crossbody, then reverses a gutwrench into a sunset flip for the W!
Winners via Pin Fall: The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Match #5: Single – “Mr. Money In The Bank/The Intellectual Savior Of The Unwashed Masses” Damien Sandow VS. Christian
Sandow aggressive right away with blows to the back, then holds unto the ropes and escapes the ring. He misses an elbow drop, but pushes Christian off the top rope to the floor, then rolls him back into the ring for a quick count1 Damien sets Christian atop the turnbuckle again, but he is countered with a Tornado DDT! 1 – 2 – Sandow kicks out!
Christian trips him up on the second rope, hops over the apron with an uppercut, then dives off the top rope with a crossbody for two! He hits a second-rope spinning elbow and goes for the Unprettier, but Damien reverses into a Russian Legsweep. Sandow goes for his “Elbow Of Distain,” but Christian reverses into a jackknife flip over to get the victory!
Winner via Pin Fall: Christian
Post-match, as Sandow announces himself as “still your intellectual savior of Money In The Bank,” his former friend and tag-team partner, Cody Rhodes, comes out of nowhere and brawls. He gets the best, with Sandow walking away through the crowd.
Segment #7: Video Promo
Vickie Guerrero, the former Supervising Manager of Raw, is shown in the concourse, protesting and trying to get votes for her to return to Raw.
Match #6: Single – Brie Bella (with Nikki Bella) VS. Naomi (with “Funkette” partner Cameron)
Some great chain-wrestling between the two Divas begins, then Naomi slides to the apron and delivers a high kick to Brie. Naomi is tripped up on the apron, and Brie takes advantage. She stomps hard, then tosses her by the hair. With a unique move, Brie uses the ropes to lock in a Camel Clutch!
Back in the middle, a chinlock is applied, but Naomi fights out with a sunset flip for two! Brie comes back with a flying clothesline, and goes back to the chinlock.
Naomi flips her way out, and takes Brie down with a Hurricanrana and a couple of dropkicks. She runs in the corner, and soars off the top with a beautiful crossbody for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Segment #8: Recap Footage
With an “exclusive” from WWE.com, Paul Heyman is shown walking out of the Money In The Bank arena last night. An unknown reporter repeatedly asks him why he did that to C.M. Punk, until Heyman barks back “stay out of my personal life!” Clips are then shown of Heyman tipping a ladder on to Punk during the MITB match.
Segment #9: Arena Promo
“Cult Of Personality” blares the speakers, as do the fans who give C.M. Punk a “standing o.” He is limping his way to the ring, donned in shorts, shoes, and a hoodie. “The Second City Saint” claims he knows that both Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are in the building, and orders them to come out.
Paul E. obliges and approaches the stage. Heyman says that he is “looking at an empty ring, because in ‘my world, you don’t exist.” Paul reminds Punk how he took care of him his entire career, then they “reached the holy grail together. We were the reigning and defending WWE Champion for 434 days. WE were the longest-reigning WWE Champion of the past twenty-five (25). WE came with in an inch of breaking The Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania. We, C.M. Punk, we were ‘the best in the world.'”
Heyman goes on to preach “the truth.” He blames Punk for failing “us.” He accuses Punk of thinking that he is better than Paul Heyman, so he retaliated by lying, manipulating, and playing Punk. Heyman makes it personal, calling out C.M. for having no family, just the fans.
He gets the fans riled up and behind Punk, then says that because he took his best fiend away from him, Heyman took his opportunity at the WWE Championship away from Punk. Paul says that his children made him see the proverbial light, questioning him on why Punk never listened to him like Brock Lesnar did.
Heyman says that the main reason he betrayed Punk is because he “can’t beat Brock Lesnar!” Punk replies, saying that he saw “first-hand last night that the truth does hurt.” Punk says another truth is that “you know me better than anybody. You know when I’m lying and you know when I’m telling the truth. And you know when I want something bad enough, I am the most relentless man on the planet, and I will not stop until I get it. And the truth is Paul, I’m gonna get you. I will get everybody that conspired against me. Every single one of your associates. Everybody who profited from it. Everybody who had knowledge of it. Anybody who enjoyed it. Anybody that steps in between you and I, and opens their eyes on me. I will get my hands on and I will rip apart. The truth is that you don’t have a future because I’m going to burn down everything around you until you’re the last man standing, and I’m gonna keep you alive long enough to look you in the eye and hurt you worst of all. So tell me you son of a bitch, am I lying?”
Heyman confirms that is the truth, and mocks Punk’s “clobbering time” pose. This was the signal for Brock Lesnar to come out, and “The Beast Incarnate” approaches the ring. Punk is armed with a microphone as Lesnar distracts him. Heyman attacks from behind, but Brock pulls him out and they brawl around the barricade.
Lesnar hurls him like a rag doll over the announce table, and catches a leaping C.M., running his back into the ring post. Lesnar delivers the F-5 on to the commentary table, then hops aboard, standing over his destruction. Punk struggles to his feet, holding onto his throat and is aided by ringside staff.
Segment #10: Backstage Promo
WWE Champion John Cena is walking through the hallways, when is talked to in Punjabi by The Great Khali. Cena replies in the same language, which pleases the 7-footer.
Segment #11: Office Promo
Stephanie McMahon is in General Manager Maddox’s office, and inquires Triple H how he is doing. HHH agrees that he is doing well, but wonders if he got the final “a-ok” from Vince McMahon about the decisions he has made tonight. Both Stephanie and “The Game” toy with the new G.M. about his new-found position.
Rob Van Dam makes his return to Raw and prepares to face Chris Jericho, next!
Match #7: Single – Rob Van Dam VS. “Y2J” Chris Jericho
Lockup between the two starts, as does traded waistlocks. RVD turns it into a rolling takedown, and Jericho counters with a ground headscissors, which Rob hops out of. “Y2J” chops at RVD and he returns with punches and a shoulder block. Jericho comes back with a dropkick, then “Mr. Monday Night” flips/rolls over Jericho, takes him down with a spin kick and a monkey-flip out of the corner!
Standing Moonsault by Van Dam for a two-count! Jericho jumps a legsweep and takes him down with an enziguri for a close call! He then controls with a backdrop going into the break.
RVD now has Jericho in a grounding body scissors, but the “Ayatolla Of Rock N’ Rolla” rolls Rob up and attempts the Walls Of Jericho submission. Van Dam works his way out of it, but is slingshotted into the corner turnbuckle head-first! 1 – 2 – Van Dam kicks out! Jericho front-dropkicks RVD out of the ring, and attempts to suplex him back in, but Van Dam flips over and nails him with an on-target kick-to-the-chin!
He clamps on the grounding body scissors again, then turns into a Triangle-Choke-like submission. “Y2J” reverses into a powerbomb for two, but misses a front dropkick. This sets up Rob for the “Rolling Thunder” senton, but Jericho rolls to the outside. RVD follows up with a springboard moonsault, and both are down against the floor mats!
Back again, Jericho is in domination with an armbar hold, but RVD reverses a whip into a whip-into-the-corner, then a running double-heel kick. Van Dam fires up with some kicks, but Jericho does the same with a couple shoulder blocks.
Jericho dives off with a double-axe handle, then plants RVD with a bulldog. He misses the Lionsault follow-up, and RVD nails the subsequent “Rolling Thunder.” Chris kicks RVD and brings him down with a DDT. 1 – 2 – RVD kicks out! Again, Jericho goes for the Walls Of Jericho, but Van Dam flips him over and delivers another stiff kick!
Jericho counters a run with a boot-to-the-face, but RVD reverses a bulldog attempt by chucking Chris into the turnbuckle. He attempts the split-legged moonsault, but Jericho moves and lands the Lionsault for a near fall! RVD kicks Jericho one more time and ascends the turnbuckle, but “The Hi-Lite Of The Night” crotches him.
Jericho tries another move, but RVD headbutts him off and soars with a rolling senton! 1 – 2 – Jericho kicks out! RVD sets up for the Hurricanrana, but “Y2J” counters into the Walls Of Jericho. A now bloody RVD struggles and crawls his way to the ropes, then catches Jericho’s foot with a spin kick. He is able to go to the top rope and propel with the Five-Star Frog Splash and earn the hard-fought victory!
Winner via Pin Fall: Rob Van Dam
Segment #12: Arena Promo
Most of the wrestlers are lined up on the stage, as they await WWE Champion John Cena’s choice for Summerslam. He walks through them and glares back on his way to the ring. To the chagrin of the fans, Cena says he actually can’t make a decision, but only because he hasn’t heard the most important voice yet, them! He asks for their help, to make SummerSlam “a match you would like to see.”
He lists some names and gives the crowd the opportunity to voice their opinion. The entire “3.M.B.” group bets booed out of the building, while Randy Orton gets cheered. Khali’s response is luke-warm, but they go right back to hating on World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio.
Both Jericho and RVD receive big praise, and Fandango gets a mixed reaction. Ryback has major heat, and Cena asks if he has forgotten anybody. In unison, the fans chant “yes, yes, yes,” wanting Daniel Bryan. Cena finally concurs, and picks the big-time fan-favorite, putting him over as a deserving opponent.
Bryan runs out excitedly, and gets the crowd going with “yes, yes, yes!” Daniel and Cena face-off, with Cena holding the championship in Bryan’s face, and lets the man celebrate his “golden opportunity” to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Raw was a step-up from last week, as many aspects were highlights. However, there was also some big disappointments (mainly two!), so I do feel a little cheesed on those. On to the analysis:
Excellence: Even though it was an odd twist with Fandango in the mix, the opening segment and proceeding match were great! Orton/Fandango have some decent chemistry, and the fans were behind both! A hot way to begin. I also like how they are playing up the insecurity of Brad Maddox as G.M. He’s basically making all the popular decisions, so as too please the fans and not get fired the next time around. Good angle, since he truly looked shocked last week at the naming of his new position.
Very happy that Dolph Ziggler will finally be on his own. I did like his pairing with A.J., however, now he can truly break out. All he needs is a solid World Title run (read more than six months!) to make him the big superstar he can be – and that better happen soon!
Definitely loving The Wyatt Family, and Bray’s promo was brilliant – glad they have, for now, defined who they are picking on, with Wyatt telling Kane to “follow the buzzards.” (In other words, not going to be The Shield and attack random superstars week in/week out – they seem to have an agenda set against “The Big Red Machine.”)
Nice to see The Usos continue to be fan favorites and pick up victories. They should be in a long feud with Rollins/Reigns, though, for the Tag-Team Championships. Love the aggressiveness out of Cody Rhodes, and I hope this helps him rise back to the upper-mid-card level, where he belongs. Naomi/Brie was actually a pretty good match, so props to both women for putting in the effort!
Paul Heyman/C.M. Punk – absolutely fantastic! Can’t say much more, because their promo/segment was just genius. They held me on every word and as always, blurred the line between reality and storyline. Heyman/Punk/Lesnar will be the hot feud for the summer!
Great main-event between RVD and Jericho – nice wrestling bout, but it will be interesting to see where these guys will be positioned, since both Heavyweight Championship pictures are seemingly booked up.
Bogus: Mark Henry – loved his promo and kudos to him for being real and putting over John Cena, BUT should’ve had the WWE Title with him. Not liking the fact that he is potentially back to face again – I loved the butt-kicking, “Hall Of Pain” Mark Henry more.
While a superb match, I did not like the Alberto/Dolph rematch, for the reason that the World Title was NOT on the line. If it was a true MITB rematch, then the Championship should’ve been included! It felt like a waist of a bout (even though awesomely wrestled). Right now, out on Damien Sandow as MITB winner – that was truly a surprise, and I just don’t see him cashing in. Maybe he will be another that does so and fails? I believe it’s still to early for him in his career.
The Vickie Guerrero “protesting” gimmick is going to wear off quick and just be down right dumb. They should just scrap it! The ending fell really flat – the whole idea of Cena being able to pick his opponent is somewhat absurd, but at least he put Daniel Bryan over. It will be very intriguing to see how this is built, since everyone and anyone is vehemently behind Bryan.
As proven by my review, while I did have a lot of positives coming out of Raw, I still felt jolted that both Heavyweight Titles did NOT change hands when they should’ve, providing new feuds/plans for the summer. (I’m looking at you, Del Rio & Cena!). So I had a bit of a skewed view of Raw right off the bat, but still managed to enjoy the show.
Oh well, now that MITB is out of the way and they are focussing on Summerslam, let’s hope the build to the “summer spectacular” is awesome! Until next week, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!