After all these years Triple H still drags out his promos. The opening segment on this week’s episode of Monday Night RAW was solid, with H’s comparisons of Daniel Bryan to Doink the Clown, but it was about five minutes too long. At this point, everyone knows Bryan isn’t going anywhere and while the constant bury jobs on him are necessary, it’s getting repetitive.
What this angle needs is less jabber and more innovation on the microphone and in the ring. Bryan’s declaration on RAW that Orton has been given everything in his career was one of the things this angle needed. Bryan and Orton couldn’t be more different and for this feud to hit a fever pitch, those beautiful and intriguing differences are the things that have to be sold to the fans.
Away from the McMahon/Bryan feud, the Wyatt Family promo later in the show was stellar. For such a young competitor, Wyatt is absolutely amazing on the mic, a deliciously evil character that has the potential to be a future World Champion. Like the rest of the show, Wyatt’s promo was engaging, but was more a promise of a tantalizing future than a quick payout.
With a focus on promo and less on in-ring action, this week’s episode of Monday Night RAW was more a tease than a satisfying three-hour experience.
Fandango w/Summer Rae vs. The Miz: This match was all Miz, who spiced up his repertoire with a top-rope Dragonscrew. After having trouble applying the Figure-Four, Miz eventually locked in a disgusting-looking version of the move for the submission victory.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Ryback: United States Champion Dean Ambrose interfered before the match and left Ziggler a heap of exposed flesh for the blood-thirsty Ryback. Ziggler fought hard, but Ryback established his dominance quickly with a Belly-to-Belly Release Suplex and a bevy of strikes. After Ziggler battled back again, Ryback silenced the former World Champion with a Meathook Clothesline and the Shellshock for the win.
Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal w/Drew MacIntyre vs. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil: A back and forth encounter until O’Neil got the hot tag and cleaned house. After a Fall Away Slam and a Yakuza Kick, O’Neil finished off Mahal with a beautiful sit-down Powerbomb. Millions of dollars.
Cody Rhodes vs. WWE Champion Randy Orton: Rhodes’ career was on the line if he lost and boy, did Rhodes put up a fight. The fans were behind him, but Orton was consistently a step ahead. After Orton hit some signature offense, Rhodes battled back with a Disaster Kick, but Orton kicked out. Rhodes missed a top-rope Moonsault and Orton countered with his trademark second-rope DDT. Orton went for RKO, but Rhodes nailed the Crossroads, but again Orton kicked out. After a missed Disaster Kick, Orton countered and hit the RKO to win. After the match, Triple H fired Rhodes.
Divas #1 Contender Three-way: Natalya Niedhart vs. Brie Bella vs. Naomi: A boring encounter that ended after AJ interfered. After it was over, Lee took on the entire division and ended up on her rear.
Damien Sandow vs. Rob Van Dam w/Ricardo Rodriguez: Just when RVD had the clear advantage, World Champion Alberto Del Rio hit the ring and distracted him. Now in control, the WWE’s intellectual savior scored with some signature offense, but RVD fought back with his educated feet and The Rolling Thunder. A Five-Star Frog Splash later and RVD nailed down the win.
The Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan: Both guys sold a ton of offense in a match that was far more entertaining than anyone would have thought. When Show looked to have the match finished, rather than go for the WMD, he walked away, but Triple H and The Shield told Show to finish Bryan off. When he denied the request, The Shield interfered and beat on Bryan to get the match thrown out. After the bell, Show watched the Shield Triple Powerbomb Bryan. Then after Show denied Triple H’s request to deliver the WMD on an already destroyed Bryan, Stephanie McMahon joined the party and convinced Show to punch Bryan out. With Bryan down, Orton then made his way down the ramp and proceeded to stand on Bryan’s chest.