The first three-hour RAW had way too much fluff. Between the Brodus Clay segment and the constant filler, promoting matches for Summerslam, the first hour was a waste of time. The rest of the show was decent, as Punk continues to cement himself as the “grittier” ant-hero.
Punk’s developments last week won’t make him hated. Instead, the fans that love him with continue to do so, even more than they did before, while those that prefer Cena, won’t change their minds anytime soon.
The execution of it all was lackluster, but in the end, it’ll all be justified. Punk’s character deserves more “soul” and color as it’s anything from the boy scout Cena is. This was just one way to get it done.
After three hours, it’s fair to say that AJ Lee’s era of RAW isn’t much different from the Laurinaitis era. Aside from heels getting screwed, instead of the faces, the show still lacks the pipe-bomb moments of last summer that kept viewers on the edge of their couches.
While the matches tonight were rock-solid for the most part, there needs to be more equally proficient storyline to put it together.
Make no mistake, RAW isn’t terrible, but with the characters and athletes they have, it could be so much better.
United States Champion Santino Marella vs. Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez [Non-Title]:The Mexican aristocrat was vicious and worked over Marella with suplexes, submissions, kicks and clotheslines. Marella fought back and had a small flurry or two, but it didn’t last long. Del Rio was especially stiff and that made for a good heel-face confrontation. Del Rio won with the Cross-Arm breaker after Marella missed the Cobra.
Street Fight: World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan: A near-PPV quality match. These guys nearly killed one another. Sheamus is always stiff, but Bryan’s kicks and a nasty jumping knee lift on the entrance ramp were brutal. Sheamus fought back with a fallaway slam on the outside and then brought some weapons into the party. Bryan made use of a kendo stick first though and nailed the champ several times. He then lodged a steel chair into the turnbuckle, but Sheamus got in a few shots with the kendo stick. Bryan managed to drive Sheamus’ head into the chair, but The Great White wasn’t done yet. Unfortunately for him, neither was Bryan. The two battled back and forth for another few minutes until Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick after Bryan escaped the White Noise.
Titus O’Neil w/ AW and Darren Young vs. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth: Routine match that got hairy once AW threw his show at Kingston. That interference allowed O’Neil to hit a sit-out sky-high powerbomb for the win.
Heath Slater vs. Randy Orton: Two clotheslines, a powerslam, his second rope DDT and an RKO. Orton is back.
Christian and Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler w/Vicki Guerrero and Intercontinental Champion The Miz: Another routine match. A poor attempt to develop two storylines at once. Miz and Ziggler made an excellent heel team. They took advantage of every opportunity they had. Christian did a ton of selling. Once Jericho got the hot tag, he was indeed on fire. After Christin nailed Miz with a spear, Jericho eventually hit the Code Breaker for the win. After the match, Ziggler used the briefcase on Jericho, putting an exclamation mark on the loss.
Tensai w/Sakamoto vs. Tyson Kidd: Tensai was stiff, but Kidd nearly won with the Blockbuster. Tensai ultimately won with his seated-senton backsplash. After the match Tensai delivered a massive cross-backbreaker, forcing the referee to reverse his decision.
The Big Show vs. John Cena for WWE Title shot at Summerslam: A 15-minute match that ended with Punk getting involved and getting the match thrown out. The result of all the shenanigans? A triple threat match for Summerslam.