With the (supposed) main-event now set for SummerSlam, how will the coming weeks see WWE Champion John Cena and his new challenger, Daniel Bryan, go at it? Especially since they are both babyfaces! Could we see Randy Orton get involved with his Money In The Bank briefcase, which secures him a shot at the WWE Title?
What havoc will The Wyatt Family spew from their mouths and reek on the wrestlers tonight? Or will Kane return to get some revenge? (I’m hoping lots – loving these guys right now.)
Honestly, here’s hoping not, but will Smackdown’s new General Manager (read that fine report on this fine website to find out who) make an appearance? Same with The McMahons/Helmsley storyline – what interactions with each other will they have, and will they be really worth it other than to build their own egos?
And of course, will we get a more clearer picture of the summer’s “biggest party” with the undercard being put together?
Read on to find out!
Monday Night Raw Report for July 22nd, 2013 – “Proving Ground”
Introduction Segment: Recap
A video montage airs of Paul Heyman betraying C.M. Punk at Money In The Bank, and from last week’s Raw of their confrontation and Brock Lesnar subsequently demolishing the “Second City Saint.” Also shown is Mark Henry getting destroyed by The Shield, and the selection of Daniel Bryan to face John Cena for the WWE Title at SummerSlam.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
General Manager Brad Maddox is in the ring and he welcomes the Austin, Texas fans. Set up behind him is a table and two chairs, which will be used for the contract signing for the WWE Championship match! Maddox brings out “The Champ” first, and asks Cena why he picked Daniel Bryan for his opponent.
John replies that it is because of Brad himself. He says that because the G.M. let him pick ANYONE he wanted, it was really because the WWE Fans (I don’t like the term “universe”) wanted Bryan, so Cena went with them. Maddox tries to downplay Bryan’s character, calling him “insecure” and saying that Cena chose him only because he can defeat him easily.
The man himself takes the appropriate opportunity to walk out to a massive ovation. Bryan says that Maddox thinks he’s not worthy of a challenger, but Cena interrupts and defends Daniel greatly. He retorts that it is not all about “size and strength,” but “God-given talent.”
Cena lists three great WWE Champions – Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, and the late-great Eddie Guerrero – as prime examples of his point. John puts over Daniel as “the best competition in the WWE right now,” but does say “I will prove at SummerSlam, even ‘the best’ isn’t good enough.”
Bryan attempts to retort, but Maddox interjects and announces the official match. Daniel gets in his grill and yells at him for the interruption. Bryan says that he has waited his entire career, so Maddox books him in multiple matches tonight to prove his worthiness.
Later tonight, Mark Henry will respond to his assault from Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns of The Shield. And up next, Sheamus will take on World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio!
Match #1: Single – Sheamus VS. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (Non-Title)
Elbow/collar tie-up begins, then Del Rio takes a few kicks at Sheamus’ bruised leg. Sheamus fires back with slugs and a clothesline, and brings him down with a neckbreaker for two. Del Rio manages a cheap shot and hammers away on the Irishman. He grips him in a front facelock, using the ropes which the referee orders him to break.
Alberto delivers punches in the corner, but Sheamus comes back with a suplex. “The Mexican Aristocrat” goes back to the hurt limb of Sheamus, and then hooks in his arm with an armbar over the ropes, but Sheamus breaks out of it with a hard right hand, sending Del Rio to the floor.
Sheamus misses a clothesline and Alberto turns it into a German suplex pin combo for a near fall. Del Rio goes back to the left leg and stomps away on it. He taunts Sheamus and gives him repeated headbutts. Sheamus manages to get in a slam, then fires himself up with blows to Alberto. He continues to hammer away, with forearm smashes.
Alberto reverses another move into the Backstabbber (double-knee backbreaker) and a smacking kick-to-the-head. Del Rio goes to dive through the ropes, but Sheamus moves and traps him against the ropes to deliver the hammering blows. Sheamus gives the World Champ the Irish Curse backbreaker but only gets two!
Sheamus ascends the turnbuckle and is cut off with a running enziguri! 1 – 2 – kickout by Sheamus! He manages to pick up Del Rio in a fireman’s carry position and roll him over, then gets momentum for the Brogue Kick. Alberto ducks the vicious boot-to-the-face and gives a kick of his own to Sheamus’ leg.
He tries the Cross Armbreaker submission, but Sheamus gets out of it. He goes for White Noise, but his leg is weakened, allowing Del Rio to roll him up (cleanly) for the victory!
Winner via Pin Fall: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio
Later tonight, The Miz will host a preview of “Total Divas,” featuring the cast of that show (which obviously is Divas from WWE). And C.M. Punk will be in the arena to go over his beating from Lesnar last week.
Segment #2: Backstage Promo
Both Booker T. and Theodore Long, who are no longer running Smackdown, are asked by Rene Paquette how they feel about Vickie Guerrero being named the General Manager. Instead, they get into an argument, instigated by Long, because he filled in for an injured Booker for three months. He storms off, leaving Booker and Rene perplexed.
Christian (who makes his entrance now) will be in action next!
Match #2: Single – Christian VS. “The Big Deal” Titus O’Neil (with “Primetime Players” partner “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young)
Titus starts off with a big slam right away, but Christian comes back with a couple of slaps before getting taken down with a shoulder blocked and backbreaker/fall-a-way slam combo. On the outside, O’Neil picks up Christian then throws him back in the ring off his shoulder. 1 – 2 – Christian gets the shoulder up!
Titus drops some elbows, then locks in an abdominal stretch. He slugs away on his stomach and back, then gives him knees-in-the-gut in corner. Again, Christian comes back with slaps and gives Titus a dropkick out of the corner. He uses another second rope to dive off with a spinning elbow, and tries for the Unprettier, but has to baseball slide dropkick Young on the outside instead.
This allows Titus to capitalize with a big boot but only gets two. He then does fall to the Unprettier, as Christian gets the 1 -2 – 3!
Footage of Chris Jericho being destroyed by Ryback from Smackdown is aired.
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
Josh Matthews welcomes Ryback, and inquires if he likes to intimidate people. Ryback concurs that he does, and lists off the cliches of the big bully doing stuff to the “little guy.” (Pointless promo.)
Segment #4: Arena Promo
Mark Henry is out and puts over his pride in being a Texan and his effort in his WWE Championship match against John Cena. However, “The World’s Strongest Man” is not proud of the beating he received courtesy of The Shield, so in turn, he is going to wait for them to come on down and get one in return.
“The Hounds Of Justice” answer the challenge and proceed down the arena steps. Tag-Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, and United States Champion Dean Ambrose, surround the ring and then step in for the attack. They corner and beat down the bi-man, until The Usos, Jimmy and Jey, run out to help Henry and make the save.
Reigns is left in the ring to receive a double-superkick from The Twins, then a running splash from Henry, but is pulled out by Ambrose and Rollins before any further damage can be done. The Shield leaves through the fans as The Usos and Henry happy with their work.
Segment #5: Locker Room Promo
Daniel Bryan is warming up when WWE Champion John Cena walks in. Bryan asks if he is wishing him luck, but Cena says he is not here for that. He speculates that Maddox’s decision to put Daniel in three matches was not his, but Daniel looks at the positive.
He is happy for the opportunity at SummerSlam, and sees the bouts tonight as the proof he needs to make him worthy. He asks John not to interfere, as that would tell him everything Cena said earlier would be a “load of crap” if he did.
Match #3: Single – “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young VS. “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler grabs Young right away with a waistlock and roll up, then grapples him with a front facelock. Darren kicks out of it and sends Dolph off the ropes, who grabs the ropes for a break. He nails Young with a beautiful dropkick and receives a two-count!
Young comes back with a clothesline for a near fall, then clamps on a grounding rear chinlock, ripping at Dolph’s nose too! Young grabs Ziggler by his blond locks and hurls him across the ring. Ziggler breaks out of another grounding rear chinlock with a jawbreaker, then splashes him in the corner and follows that up with the Fameasser for a near fall! Young counters a corner 10-punch with an electric chair drop. 1 – 2 – Dolph kicks out!
Darren is upset and argues with the referee, then taunts Ziggler. This backfires, as Dolph slides out and drops him with the Zig-Zag neckbreaker to finish this bout!
Winner via Pin Fall: “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler
Post-match, both A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston charge out to attack Ziggler, but “The Show Off” gets of that too and infuriates both Langston and A.J.!
Segment #6: Arena Promo
The Miz is in the ring with the Divas, promoting their new “Total Divas” show. Footage from the episode is aired first (if you really want to know, watch the show, sorry I’m not going to recap this.) Miz introduces The Bella Twins, Eva-Marie, Jo-Jo Natalya, and “The Funkadactyls” (Naomi and Cameron).
Miz then invites Jerry “The King” Lawler to “guest-M.C.” this, and he gets in the ring, and acquaints himself with all. Unfortunately, Eva-Marie thinks Lawler is a little to acquainted, and slaps him across the face. Lawler hands the microphone back to The Miz and exists the ring. Miz plugs the show and the Divas wave. (That was really bad.)
Segment #7: Office Promo
WWE C.O.O. Triple H walks in and berates G.M. Brad for not thinking Daniel Bryan is worthy of the championship match at SummerSlam. He says that Bryan will prove them wrong, and Maddox better be careful of what side he chooses.
After HHH walks away, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley enters and lends her support. She feels bad for him, because he is caught in the middle between her husband and her father, so she will help him when she comes up with an idea.
Segment #8: Video Promo
Recap of The Wyatt Family’s recent attacks and prophecies are shown, with Michael Cole, Lawler, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield speculate on their motives.
Fandango and Summer Rae make their entrances and the star dancer will wrestle next!
Match #4: Single – Fandango (with Summer Rae) VS. Cody Rhodes
(Note: “Mr. Money In The Bank” Damien Sandow is on commentary). Cody shoves Fandango out of a headlock into the ropes, and hits a dropkick. He flips him over with a snapmare and running knee-to-the-face. Rhodes chucks Fandango over to the apron, but Fandango fires back by slamming his head against the turnbuckle. He wears Rhodes down by ripping at his face, and locking on a submission, but Cody fights out.
He kicks Fandango in the gut, and goes for the moonsault and maybe misses, maybe hits? In other words, botched! As the referee checks on Fandango, Sandow tries to sneak in an attack. Cody wizens up and manages to hit both him and Fandango with the Disaster Kick, then drives Fandango down with the CrossRhodes spinning neckbreaker/DDT combo to complete the contest!
Winner via Pin Fall: Cody Rhodes
Segment #8: Arena Promo
C.M. Punk limps out to the ring. He reviews the assault that Brock Lesnar laid upon him last week, and says that he had felt his “power” of a “genetically-gifted freak.” Punk cites his resilience though, saying that he got back up every time Lesnar took him down. The “Straight-Edge Superstar” warns everyone that Lesnar can not keep him down.
Punk puts over Lesnar’s ability to “put down” the big guys, like Triple H and The Undertaker, as well as his accolades of being both a former WWE Champion and UFC Champion. Punk says the new headline of WWE Magazine should be “I am not afraid of Brock Lesnar. I am not afraid of Paul Heyman’s ‘monster.’”
Punk threatens Heyman that he will regret his decision to screw him over, and it doesn’t matter what they think, because “this is my ring. I own it!” C.M. promises “there will NOT be a third time. I will get my hands on you and I will make you pay.” “If Brock Lesnar’s the ‘Beast Incarnate,’ then I will slay him.” “I want ‘The Best’ VS. ‘The Beast.’”
Heyman appears on the Titantron, “live via satellite,” liking the slogan of “The Best VS. The Beast.” Punk warns Heyman that if he is actually in the ring, then C.M. will find him and drag him to the ring. Heyman belittles Texas, then asks Punk if he is a “coward” or a “fool” because he refuses to stay down.
Punk still wants a piece of Heyman, but Paul will not reveal his location. He puts over Lesnar’s physical shape, while C.M.’s is not up to par because of the beatings he has taken. Heyman accepts the “fight” for SummerSlam.
Match #5: Single – Wade Barrett VS. Rob Van Dam
Barrett immediately hammers away on Rob in the corner, but Van Dam flips over him and nails a chin kick. Wade pulls him out of the ring and runs him into the side of the squared circle. He places RVD across the ropes and clubs away, then runs at him with a smacking kick.
Barrett chokes Rob on the ropes, then delivers knees and a big boot. He clamps on a grounding rear chinlock, which Van Dam slugs out of and comes back with his patented kicks. He rolls over him with the “Thunder” for two, and soars off the top rope with a somersault senton. Van Dam nails another couple of kicks then flies off the top rope with the 5-Star Frog Splash for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pin Fall: Rob Van Dam
Daniel Bryan’s test is up next, as he begins his series of multiple matches!
Match #6: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. “The Real American” Jack Swagger (with “Real Amercians” partners Antonio Cesaro and Zeb Colter)
Bryan gets a roll-up soon, but is cut off with a chop block and a couple shoulder blocks by Swagger. He knees Bryan in the gut, then brings him out of the corner with a suplex. Bryan tries to gain momentum with his dive-through-the-ropes, but gets a right hand-to-the-head. He drops the Swaggerbomb-splash, but as he stands over Daniel, he is quickly grabbed and locked in the “Yes Lock” Crossface submission to tap out!
Winner via Submission: Daniel Bryan
It is announced that Antonio Cesaro will face Bryan next!
Match #7: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. “The Real American” Antonio Cesaro (with “Real Americans” partners Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter)
Cesaro is in control after an uppercut, but Daniel comes back with a couple of Dragon Screw leg twists, then locks on a surfboard stomp. Antonio comes back with a strong suplex, then mount-punches Daniel. He calls out “we the people” then drops an elbow for a two count. Cesaro measures up and clutches Bryan from behind with a chinlock.
Daniel musters out again and runs off the ropes a clothesline. He hits some of his patented kicks, but misses the last one, which allows Antonio to re-clamp the rear chinlock. Daniel backs him into the corner however, and runs at him again.
He climbs the turnbuckle, but with referee Mike Chioda distracted, Swagger pushes him off the ropes into another uppercut.
Bryan almost has Cesaro with a sunset flip, but Antonio kicks out and then double-stomps on him harshly. He tosses him over with a gutwrench suplex, then kicks away at his head. Bryan fights back with a headbutt (or “goatbutt” as Lawler called it), and punches, but is quickly picked up and dropped from a fireman’s carry position. Bryan comes back again with a knee-to-the-face and German suplex, then a kick-to-the-head for a close one! (The fans chant “this is awesome,” which I definitely agree.)
Cesaro cuts Daniel off the top rope, but cannot bring him down with a suplex at first. He attempts again, but Bryan slips out and pushes Cesaro crotch-first onto the turnbuckle. Antonio is hanging upside down, so Bryan can deliver a few kicks then the running low-dropkick.
He sits Cesaro back up and brings him off the top with a huge backdrop, but Cesaro reverses into a lateral press! 1 – 2 – Daniel kicks out! Both slowly get back up (before Chioda counts to ten), and they slug it out back and forth, with Cesaro getting the best after a series of mini-uppercuts and one big flipping (not a cuss, but Bryan really did flip over!) clothesline! 1 – 2 – Bryan still kicks out!
Cesaro wants to finish with The Neutralizer, but Bryan reverses into a backdrop. He comes back with harsh forearms and traps Cesaro’s legs while hammering away at his head again! Cesaro ends up on the outside and Daniel follows with the suicide dive on both he and Swagger! He runs at Cesaro, who tosses him up in the air, but Daniel comes back down and rolls into a small package for the hard-fought and earned victory!
Winner via Pin Fall: Daniel Bryan
Daniel is celebrating with the fans, when we cut to Brad Maddox and (for some reason) Alex Riley wondering how he will fair against his next opponent.
Match #8: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. ???
After a few seconds of wait, the music plays and Bryan’s third challenge is … Ryback! Daniel gives “The Human Wrecking Ball” kicks and punches right away, but Ryback quickly uses his power to dominate. Ryback mocks Bryan’s “yes, yes, yes,” chant with one foot standing atop him. Suplex from Ryback nets a two-count, then he clamps on a grounding rear chinlock.
Daniel manages to reverse a Lou Thesz press into a half-Boston Crab submission, but Ryback gets to the ropes for the break, then splashes him for a near fall. Ryback is gearing up for his “Meathook” clothesline, but Bryan counters with a knee-to-the-face and hits a calf-kick on him in the corner, but is taken down with a slam out of the corner by Ryback for a close two!
Ryback now pulls out a table, but Daniel sails out of nowhere, sending Ryback into the commentator’s table! Ryback shoves him back into the steel steps. In the ring, Daniel kicks away and almost gets it with a sunset flip. He tries for the Crossface, but Ryback powers out.
Bryan gets momentum again, and dives off the top rope with a front-dropkick for two, then does lock in the Crossface! Ryback struggles and tries to get to the ropes, which he does and Bryan breaks it.
Ryback powerbombs Bryan on the outside, then fed up, does it again through the table, causing the DQ.
Winner via Disqualification: Daniel Bryan
Post-match, WWE Champion John Cena runs out and takes out Ryback before he can do anymore harm. Cena then challenges Ryback to a Tables Match, which Ryback accepts. Cena is looking over a downed Bryan with an assistant, when in his office, Brad Maddox touts his success of next week’s main event to Mr. McMahon.
Vince then asks about Bryan, not wanting to deny him competition. He says that Daniel should face someone bigger and stronger than him, to bring out that viciousness. Maddox suggests a bigger, “friend,” like Kane. So next week, it will be John Cena VS. Ryback in a tables match and Daniel Bryan VS. Kane.
In the ring, Bryan is standing alone, looking disappointed/frustrated at his “defeat,” but the fans are fully behind him with “yes, yes, yes,” and WWE Champion John Cena looks on, to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Tonight’s Raw was lacking – I felt like something was missing and their only focus was the main-event with Daniel Bryan. Other than the C.M. Punk/Paul Heyman segment, everyone/everything else just sensed “thrown together.” Onto the particular analysis:
Excellence: WWE Champion John Cena’s oratory about “smaller guys” being great WWE Champions. (Although, he did leave out Bret “Hitman” Hart, so negative points for that omission!). That was really cool to put them over, and get Daniel over even more by putting out the emphasis that it is not just size anymore, but heart, determination, and ability to make you a champion. I’m liking the way they are starting this angle.
Sheamus/World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio & Christian/Titus O’Neil were a great, physical bouts. Liked Henry’s promo – short and to the butt-kicking point. Glad to see The Usos being kept on TV and still receiving the Tag-Team Title push they deserve. Hope this leads to a match at SummerSlam (on the ACTUAL PPV!). Starting to like the feud between Sandow and Rhodes – especially because of Damien’s speaking skills. I think he can get this minor rivalry over well on his words alone. And I like Cody being back to his aggressive side.
Absolutely LOVED the promo between C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman. Again, if one was watching wrestling for the first time, they can make you think that they really hate each other and it is for real, not just a storyline. I also loved the tagline, “The Best VS. The Beast.” I’m looking forward to the coming weeks of this feud playing out. Other than Bray Wyatt, Heyman and Punk are the two best talkers right now in WWE!
Daniel Bryan wrestled fantastically tonight, and even got a great match out of Ryback – way to go!
Bogus: Lots! Definitely, #1 – where were The Wyatt Family? Weeks of up, they appear twice (three if you count the Internet Show “Superstars”) and do fantastic, then are only featured in a video promo this week? I was thinking (and it would’ve been smart) that they were going to be Daniel Bryan’s opponents – especially since he was friends with Kane, so crosses that story too. They better be back next week, if not on Smackdown this one!
I like Brad Maddox as a G.M. himself, I’m just not liking the insinuation that he is being “puppeted” by the McMahon-Helmsley family. I think that’s lame, and they really just need to have a straight-down-the-line General Manager.
Rob Van Dam/Barrett could’ve been better. I’m also concerned that they don’t have a major gig right now for RVD, other than having “great” matches weekly. He should’ve be a major player in a big storyline since coming back (read: Heyman/Punk).
Also worrying is no challenger yet for Del Rio’s World Title – he should’ve also been established for SummerSlam by now, come on it is one of the “big” pay-per-views for crying out loud! As well, no Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel for two straight Raws? Very worrying too. My Dad pointed out too, rightfully so, Fandango goes from defeating Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania to losing cleanly tonight (and last week) on Raw? What’s up with that?
Lastly, sitting on the fence right now with Dolph Ziggler – glad he’s winning matches, alone, and full-blown babyface, BUT again, should STILL be World Heavyweight Champion.
Hopefully, Raw will improve and SummerSlam will continue to build by the time I write again in two weeks (away next week on vacation), so as always, until then, Be Excellent Wrestling Online-Readers and Wrestling Fans!