RAW Thoughts: Presents Anyone?

Presents abound on Monday Night Raw.

People always love getting gifts and wrestling fans got a few gems in the mountain of gifts that opened up this week’s show. Raw came out swinging with Paul Heyman delivering a blistering rhyming promo while his client Brock Lesnar arrived to thunderous applause sporting a shirt exclaiming, “Eat. Sleep. Conquer John Cena.”

“My client wants you to know that this is Brock’s house now, “Heyman touted.

The Heyman promo served solidify Lesnar as a heel heading into Summer Slam and most likely served quiet the fans that have loudly cheered at the thought of the Beast incarnate beating the life out of “The Champ.” Heyman also cemented the WWE Network as a heel by professing that you could witness his client pummel Cena for only, “9.99.”

Portland fans were continually harassed with the heavy-handed pushing of the WWE Network most a sticking point with Triple H at the vocal IWC complaining. Fans however were privy to only handful of compelling matches.

The fan favorite Roman Reigns saw action against Rybaxel at the command of corporate Kane, who I must say I will be more than happy to buy insurance from. The match saw some high points especially since Ryback got to cut loose a bit in the ring. The power bomb out of the corner was excellent at showing that Ryback has some talent to him especially as he and his partner Curtis Axel stock continues to plummet. Reigns won the match via DQ which did no one any favors. The mean streak showed by Axel and Ryback could have easily been achieved at the hands of the Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods stable but that story line seems to have been dropped entirely. This match was there to simply keep Reigns in the spotlight something that could have been achieved in a much better way.

The show returned with Seth Rollins in the ring to face Rob Van Dam. The match was short and sweet and featured a thrills. Rollins and Van Dam had good chemistry in the ring. However this was another match that served to push Rollins rather than produce a standout bout. The real highlight was the Ambrose ambush, which should honestly be the name of his finisher. This ranks as one of the most memorable ambushes in these two enemies’ rivalry.

Another gem of the show was the McMahon confession. “He called you a dead fish.” Stephanie McMahon shouted as Brie confronted the alleged adulteress (Megan) that has been sleeping with her husband Daniel Bryan. This feud has given Summer Slam a breath of fresh air. The pay per view seems to be hinging on emotional storylines in order to get the fans more heavily invested. The most heated of which is the McMahon-Brie feud. However, the introduction of the affair comes off as a bit cheap. Brie didn’t need much more motivation to tear into the principal owner but I guess it works to make it a bit more personal. Later on Brie would be on a receiving end of the handcuffs as she was taken away for the assault on Megan.

Jack Swagger continued his road to Summer Slam by facing his former partner Cesaro. The Swiss superman showed some real teeth here by biting of the tape around Swaggers ribs. The match which Swagger won via the patriot lock was another great bout involving the new “Authority” member. The losses don’t lessen Cesaro’s stock but I want to see him win a few more in order to keep him dangerous.

After the break Michael Cole attempted to try and interview the “Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho but only made a three second appearance before Wyatt and Jericho chewed up the scenery. Overall this was a solid promo, something that was a theme of this Monday’s show.

“I have hurt a lot of people. For this, I am not the least bit sorry.”Wyatt expressed.

The mandatory Divas division matched featured AJ Lee vs. Eva Marie. Why? Why do they not relegate this young woman to NXT. She needs the practice even if she is on the “Total Divas” program. Maybe the climb from the bottom would make for compelling television. However, she was a prop in the feud between Paige and AJ. The barely got their match started when Paige came down to the ring. The distraction allowed Eva to roll the champ up for the win. After which Paige delivered another rhyming promo ala Paul Heyman.

Cena came out to cut another impassioned promo. However, he was rocking the Golden Arches colors like they were nobody’s business.
“There’s a stranger in your house. Come and try to kick me out,” Cena shouted at the “Titantron” as he called out Lesnar.
Fans also saw Heath Slater’s winning streak live on. Slater only won because Dolph Ziggler was distracted by the Miz. Ziggler in a “I can’t win anything” face extended his hand in friendship only to have Slater attack. Needless to say the Zig zag did all the talking.

The true gem was the slugfest between Sheamus and Randy Orton. Hard shot were traded with Celtic Warrior gathered momentum with a flying knee to Orton’s shoulder. He then tore at Orton’s face and cracked him in the spine with a knee. Eventually Orton grounded Sheamus, choking him in the ring and hurling him into the announce table. The advantage shifted several times until Sheamus went flying off the top rope. Orton caught him in the air with an RKO for the win. A much needed win for Orton who needed the build up more than Reigns. He is now a dangerous man with a mission and Reigns is standing in his way.

We were then treated to a birthday celebration for Hulk Hogan. Legends filled the ring and gave handshakes and words of thanks to the man that put wrestling into the popular consciousness. Flair, Nash, Orndorff, Hall, Mean Gene, and Jimmy hart filled the ring. Hogan choked up a bit and gave thanks to the WWE universe and the superstars waiting on top of the ramp. However, festivities gave way to nervous tension as Brock Lesnar declared the party was over. The crowd hissed and booed at the thought of Lesnar attacking the legends. However, Superman I mean Cena showed up to stand as the hero against the Beast. Lesnar smiled and backed off keeping the action relegated to Summerslam. Maybe people will fork out the 9.99 for the pay per view and watch two titans battle it out for a piece of championship gold.

The show was not without its flaws or questionable decisions, but it did well to build up the premier pay per view of the summer. To that the show was successful animosity was existed and fuel was added to the fire. I can’t wait for Sunday.

About Juan De Jesus 26 Articles
Juan De Jesus is a Bronx native that has embraced his lifelong curiosity for knowing all things geeky. The 30-year old freelance journalist has a deep affinity for the world of wrestling, Comic books, video games and movies. He secretly wants to be Batman or at least the Green Arrow. He has had articles published on NBC, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Westside Spirit, Queens Courier, and the Mott Haven Herald.

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