This week’s Monday Night RAW will go down as the best this year and for good reason. A title change and two fantastic matches [well, for free TV] highlighted the show, making it a show that the WWE can build on in the upcoming weeks.
After the Bragging Rights pay per view, CM Punk is now the newest member of the RAW roster, with Edge being sent over to Smackdown. Nothing against Edge, but Punk is a better wrestler, with just as much charisma. His ability to work well with other wrestlers in the ring and provide unique storylines make him an enigma in this business and one that RAW can use to bolster both their in-ring action and storytelling.
This was apparent right away on Monday, as Punk commentated the match between Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan and wasn’t scared to say that Bryan was a fantastic wrestler and one that was primarily trained by William Regal and not Shawn Michaels, who according to Punk: “just took three thousand dollars from him.”
This kind of commentary is sorely needed on a show that over the past few months has gotten terribly boring. As a result, seeing Punk away from a slew of boring storylines on Smackdown, with a fresh slate on RAW will do both of them some good. The future matches between Punk and Bryan, if done properly, will easily be some of the best action on the show in quite some time.
As far as the match of Ziggler and Bryan went, it was fast-paced and full of action. Aside from a silly finish that was pretty confusing, the majority of the match showed a nice variation between storytelling and high spots. Ziggler is playing the arrogant heel and Bryan the happy-go-lucky face that leaves his heart on his sleeve. Considering this, there’s a bevy of room for this angle to grow. Throw Punk into this mix and this could be exactly what the show needs during the middle of the show.
The main event, which featured John Cena and Randy Orton, was also an excellent match. These guys went back and forth for over 10 minutes and challenged each other. The finish wasn’t clean of course, but Wade Barrett’s stipulation at the end to Cena has the possibility of being huge down the road.
Cena will have a choice to make soon and that can play a huge role in the career of Barrett, who has been trying to get over to no avail since the summer.
This whole idea is an interesting one and one that definitely adds more spice to a show that was feeling like white rice for a few months.
These two segments made up for a weak match between Santino Marella and Sheamus, as well as a silly guest appearance by Toby Keith, in addition to several forgettable matches, the biggest being between R-Truth and the Miz. Even though both of these guys can wrestle, there doesn’t seem to be enough cohesion between the two athletes to turn in a great product in the ring.
Regardless of that however, this week’s RAW featured enough quality in-ring action to forgive any misgivings involving future storylines and current matchmaking. Where it will go from here is up to the company, but as far as shows go right after a pay per view are concerned, this wasn’t too shabby by today’s wrestling standards.