Live from Green Bay, Wisconsin this is the Raw Deal for episode #1054. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you're on Facebook please "Like" this post as well. Thank you.
No video package to start. Instead we get the "Tonight is the Night" theme song and a quick fireworks display, which is not something we get every week. The announcers are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield.
Stephanie McMahon was in the ring to open the show. She spoke about the makeover of Daniel Bryan. She said he was a good sport about it, so let's take a look at a video package. There was a video package of Bryan training at the gym, going to a spa and then getting a new wardrobe. The crowd chanted "No" at the end of the video.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance while wearing a suit. His beard was still there. His hair was slicked back. The fans cheered him as usual with some "YES" chants. Stephanie gave him the microphone and left the ring. Bryan wondered if the fans liked it. Bryan thanked Stephanie for the effort she put into all of this. Bryan said that he doesn't think the company wants a guy like this. They want a guy who wears cargo shirts, bright shirts and sell people stuff they don't actually need. "It seems to me like they want somebody like John Cena." Much of the crowd booed him. Bryan respects Cena, but knows that Cena doesn't believe that Bryan can win. "He's on cereal boxes - come on!" When Bryan mentioned he was 5'8" with a scraggly beard the crowd cheered. Bryan said he could beat Cena because Cena is an entertainer while Daniel Bryan is a WRESTLER! "Yes" chants. Bryan said that if Cena got fired he'd still have his mansion and cars. Bryan said if he got fired he would be wrestling anywhere there were 30 people with a wrestling ring because he loves wrestling. Bryan said it sounded like "you people" (the fans) liked wrestling too. The fans chanted "yes" for that. He said he'll dress up in the suit and comb his hair for now because at SummerSlam he's going to do what everybody wants him to do: "I am going to make John Cena tap out." The "yes" chants continued.
The WWE Chairman Vince McMahon entered the ring to his theme song. He liked that Bryan was trying a new look out. He mocked the shoe/suit color Bryan chose. Vince said he didn't want Cena to be champion and he didn't want Bryan to be champion either. Vince said WWE has never had a dwarf for WWE Champion. Never had anybody with the muscularity of a toothpick or a face like a gargoyle. "You're like a miniature Mick Foley." So mean. We love ya, Mick. He said if Bryan listened to him they could work it out. McMahon said Bryan needed to fix one other thing as he looked at Bryan's beard. McMahon told Bryan the one thing they should do is shave that beard off. Big boos for that. McMahon brought out some guys who brought a barber's chair down to ringside. Bryan led the crowd in "no" chants. McMahon said he knew what the fans want. McMahon encouraged Bryan to cut that beard off. The fans booed.
Bryan left the ring. He took off his jacket. Bryan sat in the barber's chair as McMahon brought out Wade Barrett to cut the beard because he had a well kept beard. Wade "The Barber" Barrett? I don't think it will work. Bryan gave Barrett a headbutt and threw him into the chair. Bryan used the electric shaver to shave Barrett's beard. Then Bryan dumped Barrett over the guardrail into the crowd. More "yes" chants. Bryan said "no" to the idea of change. Bryan said he would be who he's always been and he will be WWE Champion. He took off his shirt to reveal a shirt underneath that said "The Beard is Here" with an arrow pointing up similar to Cena's "The Champ is Here" shirt with an arrow pointing down.
Analysis: That was a long opening segment at around 18 minutes. Who would have ever thought that Bryan would carry an opening segment with Stephanie and Vince like that? He's certainly come a long way as an all around performer. They did a good job of showing just how popular Bryan's look is. I also liked that he made a point to call himself a wrestler multiple times. It was also a big statement to hear Bryan say he was going to make Cena tap out. I'm guessing they will make a point to mention that many times in the future.
Rob Van Dam and Alberto Del Rio were shown walking backstage, so they're in a match up next.
The host of SummerSlam is The Miz and he's at the announce table.
Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Rob Van Dam
This is non-title. Rodriguez is back from his drug suspension while the storyline injury was that he was hurt. Christian was shown looking on backstage because he's facing Alberto Del Rio for the World Title at SummerSlam. RVD hit a moonsault off the apron while Del Rio was on the floor. They went to break about 90 seconds into the match.
Back from break, RVD had the momentum until Del Rio moved out of the way from Rolling Thunder. RVD came back with a jumping side kick off the top rope. Miz called himself the "most must see host of all time." No. Del Rio used his knees to counter a moonsault attempt. Rodriguez put his prop bucket between the ropes in the turnbuckle, so Del Rio went face first into it and then RVD rolled up Del Rio with his legs for the pinfall victory. The match went about seven minutes.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
Analysis: *1/2 We only saw about four minutes of actual action. I thought Del Rio may lose, but didn't expect it to be that quick or on a rollup where RVD used his legs. Since RVD has no roll at SummerSlam yet I wonder where they're going with him. They could add him to the Del Rio/Christian match, but I'd rather see that remain a singles match.
Post match, Del Rio hit Rodriguez in the head with a standing side kick. Then Del Rio beat Rodriguez with the bucket. Del Rio threw Rodriguez outside the ring. Del Rio wedged the head of Rodriguez between the steps and turnbuckle. He did a dropkick into the steps so that the head of Rodriguez was crushed. Doctors tended to Rodriguez as Del Rio left.
Analysis: Is that the split for these two after a three year alliance? It sure looks like it. Rodriguez could thrive as a babyface, but I'm not sure if the intention is to push him as a wrestler or a manager type of character. It wouldn't shock me to see Rodriguez cost Del Rio the World Title at SummerSlam now. Very good job by both guys too. Rodriguez sold it very well. Del Rio came off like an arrogant jerk.
CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel is coming up later.
Cody Rhodes was in the ring. They ran the video package showing when he threw Damien Sandow's Money in the Bank briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico on Smackdown a couple of weeks back. Sandow was pretty hilarious there.
Rhodes revealed that he had the Money in the Bank briefcase that he claims to have retrieved. It was wet with weeds hanging out of it. Damien Sandow made his way down to the ring. He told Rhodes to put the case down and leave. Rhodes left, but when Sandow went into the ring so did Rhodes. Rhodes won that battle and Sandow escaped. Rhodes dumped out contents of the briefcase including the contract. Sandow left as Rhodes threw the briefcase outside the ring.
Analysis: I know they were trying for an eventful story there, but the crowd barely reacted to it. It didn't really work. Why couldn't they just announce the match for SummerSlam here? At least that would have got a pop out of the crowd. I like both guys, but this was not a great segment. It just fell flat.
It's Mark Henry vs. Ryback up next.
Mark Henry vs. Ryback
It's a WrestleMania rematch. When they wrestled there, Henry was the heel and Ryback was the face. The roles are different now. Ryback lost that match, yet he got two WWE Title matches against John Cena. Nice "split his wig" sign in the crowd in support of Mark Henry. Henry dominated the early portion of the match. Ryback was knocked out of the ring, so he went up the ramp. The match went just under two minutes.
Winner: Mark Henry via countout
Analysis: 1/2* I hate that finish so much. They do it every couple of weeks. I complain about it because they do it too often. It doesn't help either guy. I figured maybe The Shield would show up to go after Henry, but that didn't happen.
John Cena is up next at the top of hour two.
Analysis: There was about eight minutes of televised in-ring action in that first hour. Not a great first hour although I did like the opening segment.
The Bellas were backstage doing their bad acting routine talking about how hot they looked. They mentioned Total Divas without talking about their boyfriends. Eva Marie walked up to them with hairspray. She complimented Brie on her win last week. Natalya showed up. Brie said that letting Natalya on the show is a slap in the face. Natalya said "no this is a slap in the face." Then she slapped her.
Analysis: I enjoyed that. I'm a Natalya guy.
The WWE Champion John Cena made his entrance. His time is now. Cena said a lot of the time the guy he's against is a bad individual, but sometimes he's there with a fan favorite like Daniel Bryan. It forces the WWE Universe to choose - he acknowledged that a lot of them chose Bryan. He heard Bryan talk and said there was truth, but also ignorance. Cena said that Bryan criticizing him is not fresh. Cena said he doesn't change for Bryan or nobody. "Always have been me - always will be me." Cena said he came to work 24 hours after breaking his neck and his elbow looked like a football - it did look pretty gross. Swelling? Cena said if he got fired tomorrow he'd never wrestle again because he loves WWE. Bryan glorifying wrestling anywhere else doesn't mean a lot to him. Cena did a promo saying WWE is like the NFL and if you don't perform it means Not For Long.
Cena brought up how Bryan said that Cena can't wrestle and tried to encourage the crowd to chant "you can't wrestle" even though they were pretty quiet in terms of the noise they were making. Cena pointed out that he's been WWE Champion 11 times. As Cena did his fired up promo, some fans chanted "boring" so he stopped talking. He said he wants the people to see him and Bryan fight right now. "Yes" chants for that. Cena said that after Bryan loses he will know he's not good enough. Cena said he's been mowing people down for six month. Cena said that our time is now and the champ is here. He dropped the microphone. Randy Orton's music hit.
Analysis: I agree with the "boring" chant because it was the same Cena promo we have heard for years. The crowd wasn't even that loud with the chants, but you could tell Cena was instructed to play off them. I just think they were tired of hearing the same promo. I'm not a Cena hater. I just thought this was a very average promo.
Orton walked down to the ring with the red Money in the Bank briefcase in his hand. Orton's beard is more full now. He mentioned that Cena's aware of the target on his back, but what about the one staring him in the face? Orton said what matters is the Money in the Bank briefcase he holds. It can happen at SummerSlam, the night after or even at WrestleMania, but the point he was trying to make was that the champ is here - he held up the briefcase.
The music of The Shield started up as Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns surrounded the ring. Daniel Bryan ran down to the ring. The Shield didn't attack.
Raw GM Brad Maddox showed up on the stage. He channeled his inner Teddy Long as he made a main event six man tag match with The Shield against Daniel Bryan, John Cena & Randy Orton. That was an obvious setup, but it worked. The Shield left without attacking anybody.
Analysis: That could be an awesome match if they get 15-20 minutes like I expect. Orton's promo was a good way of reminding viewers that he has an advantage with the briefcase in his hands.
Tons of Funk were in the ring doing their stupid dancing when the lights went out and Bray Wyatt appeared on the screen with his family. "We're here." Thanks for that. I'm tired of Tons of Funk dancing. Wyatt sat in the chair as the lights went on and we have a tag match.
Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt) vs. Tensai & Brodus Clay (w/Funkadactyls)
It was a very physical match early on as all four guys started brawling early on. Rowan took down Clay with a move similar to the Pounce that Marquis Cor Von (Monty Brown) used to do. Harper hit a clothesline on Tensai and Rowan hit a splash on Tensai to win the match. It went about two minutes.
Winners: Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
Analysis: Short, squash match. Tons of Funk are two of the biggest jobbers in wrestling history.
After the match was over, Wyatt went into the ring. He gave Clay his neckbreaker variation finisher. Wyatt said he was the man of a thousand truths. He said he was forever. "Kaaaaaane - follow the buzzards." He did a pose over Clay's body. The lights went out. Fireworks went off.
Kane appeared on the screen. Kane said he didn't condemn their intentions. He liked that they wanted to mutilate people, but he didn't do it to spread a message. He did it for his own personal amusement. Kane said that at SummerSlam Wyatt will find out why Kane is the devil's favorite demon. Kane told Wyatt that nobody was going to be able to save him from inside a ring of fire.
Analysis: Ring of fire? Does that mean an Inferno Match? Might be. Cole made it a point to ask what ring of fire meant, so I'm guessing that's where they might be going with it.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed CM Punk. Punk talked about how Curtis Axel's dad Mr. Perfect could still think on his own when he was managed by Bobby Heenan, unlike Axel with Heyman. Punk said when he says he's coming for you that means he's really coming for you. Punk said Lesnar's going to lose at SummerSlam. He said it with a lot of confidence. It was a quick promo that went for about one minute.
Kaitlyn was in the ring smiling. They showed a clip from Smackdown when Layla turned on Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn smiled when the camera was first on her, but after the video she had a serious face. She should have had a serious face the whole time.
Kaitlyn vs. Layla
There were pre-match comments from Layla where she said all eyes were on her and she was flawless. Clothesline by Kaitlyn early on (I actually wrote Kayla at first). Layla hit a DDT. Layla slammed Kaitlyn's face into the mat. Kaitlyn came back with a sloppy backbreaker. Shoulder tackle by Kaitlyn and then she hit a Gutbuster with her knee hitting Layla in the ribs. AJ Lee's music started up as she made her way down to ringside. AJ distracted Kaitlyn, so Layla knocked her out with a high kick that Cole called the Bombshell. The match went about three minutes.
Post match, AJ and Layla skipped around the ring together. Apparently they are friends now.
Analysis: 1/2* The crowd didn't care about it too much. I'm still not a fan of somebody's music playing during a match. We can see AJ skipping around the ring. We don't need the music. Of course Kaitlyn was in the role of the dumb babyface that can't deal with a distraction. It was just a match to push this new pairing of AJ and Layla. At least I can tolerate Layla more as a heel. It's a better role for her.
It's Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston later.
Back from break, the announcers congratulated E! Network on the success of Total Divas. I have seen both episodes, but I'm not going to write about it. My buddy Matt Seagull is reviewing it if you want to check it out.
It was announced that Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow would take place at SummerSlam. I'm glad that it's official now.
Christian vs. Heath Slater (w/Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal)
It's a shame there isn't a "don't hinder Jinder" sign in the crowd. Slater slapped on a chinlock about one minute into the match, which is a clue that it's going to be a short match. Also the fact that Slater is in the match tells me that it's going to be short too. Christian slapped the mat to get the crowd into it and he hit a flapjack. Dropkick got Christian a two count. Slater regained momentum for a bit, but Christian connected with Spear to win the match in about three minutes.
Analysis: * Obvious squash match since Christian is the #1 contender to the World Title while Slater is just a jobber. I'm not a fan of Christian using the Spear as a finisher. Of course the Spear is popular since his best friend Edge used to do it, but I like the Killswitch more. Not a big deal, really.
CM Punk was shown walking backstage. He's in action up next.
There was a video package for WrestleMania 30 travel packages being available next Monday. Hello New Orleans. I plan on being there although not getting a travel package.
CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman)
Punk went after Axel in the aisle because he wanted to go after Heyman, but Axel prevented that. They rolled into the ring to start the match. Punk focused his attack on Axel's left leg early on. Clothesline sent Axel to the floor. Punk hit a dive between the top/middle rope that knocked down Axel outside the ring. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break two minutes into the match.
Back from break, Axel was in control. Heyman made his way down to the ring. He went to the back at the beginning of the match when Punk went after him. JBL defended Heyman for getting out of there. I like heel announcers. Axel got a clothesline. Punk came back with a cross body block off the middle rope. He went after Heyman outside the ring, so Axel went outside the ring to knock down Punk with a clothesline. Well done spot. Back in the ring, Punk started his comeback with a clothesline followed by a neckbreaker to a big ovation. Now the crowd is making some more noise. Punk hit the high knee in the corner followed up by a clothesline. Cole called it wrong at first, but JBL corrected him leading to the "vintage" line by Cole. Axel tripped up Punk while he was on the top rope. Running neckbreaker by Axel for two. Punk caught Axel with a roundhouse kick. Punk grabbed Heyman by the throat. The referee rang the bell. That quick? It went about 11 minutes.
Winner: Curtis Axel?
Brock Lesnar's music hit as Punk went after Heyman. That led to Brock Lesnar's music starting up and the beast made his way down to the ring. Punk gave Axel a GTS outside the ring. Punk went to hit Lesnar with a chair, but Lesnar blocked it. They brawled. Punk sent Lesnar into the steel post. Punk jumped onto the announce table and hit a clothesline outside the ring. Huge "CM Punk" chants from the crowd. Lesnar came back with an overhead belly to belly suplex outside the ring. That was awesome. Lesnar rolled Punk into the ring as Heyman looked on. Lesnar wanted the F5, but Punk fought out of it and hit Lesnar in the back with a steel chair. Punk looked at Heyman. That led to Lesnar saving Heyman and he dropped Punk with a F5 in the middle ring. Lesnar hit Punk in the back with chair shots. He left with Heyman. Punk had a cut around his chin.
Analysis: Call the match ** out of five. It didn't really matter too much because once Lesnar went out there the match was quickly forgotten. I thought it was another awesome brawl between them. Lesnar looks like such a monster while Punk is doing a fantastic job as the fighting babyface. The crowd absolutely loves him. They were cheering for his comebacks, but then when Lesnar came back it made the crowd angry. I thought Punk, Lesnar and Heyman all did an outstanding job. I'm such a fan of these Lesnar appearances. In some ways it's easy to book him as a monster heel, but it's still fun to see him destroy people. Punk is really connecting with the crowd. Heyman's an awesome manager. This is a money feud. Take my money, WWE. I love wrestling segments like this one and the one they did a few weeks ago too.
Back from break, they replayed the Lesnar attack on Punk.
Backstage, Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel were interviewed by the lovely Renee Young. Lesnar said that he was the beast and the best. Lesnar told Heyman to say something stupid. Heyman also challenged Punk to a one on one fight next week on Raw.
Analysis: I laughed at the "stupid" line by Lesnar. I doubt the fight will actually happen, but Lesnar's expected to be there so it will be a good way to build to the SummerSlam match.
Fandango made his entrance with Summer Rae. His opponent? Kofi Kingston. It's his return after being out of action for about two months.
Kofi Kingston vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae)
The crowd was hot for the entrances, but as soon as the match began they went silent again. Fandango controlled the action in the early going. Knee drop to the arm by Fandango. Fandango went for a spinning kick that was more like a butt splash because the kick didn't totally connect. Kingston hit some chops followed a dropkick. A leaping clothesline by Kingston. The crowd barely reacted to it as he hit the Boom Drop. Fandango hit a kick to the head and then put his feet on the ropes, earning him a two count. Kingston hit a springboard cross body block for two. They did a series of counters in the ring, which led to Kingston hitting the Trouble in Paradise for the win after about four minutes.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: *1/2 Another short match in a show that's been full of them. The crowd really didn't care about Kingston that much. I think it's a problem with the crowd because they have been quiet for most of the show. It also doesn't help that Kingston has been the same exact character for about six years now. Fandango had a lot of momentum, but ever since he got that concussion a few months ago he's become just another guy.
Backstage, Triple H was talking on a phone when his wife Stephanie McMahon showed up. She cried because her dad yelled at her. Hunter said that Vince has lost his mind. Hunter said he's had enough of it. He's tired of Vince's actions and doesn't want to watch the ship go down. Hunter claimed that he was going to stop Vince from doing what he wants.
Analysis: That was interesting because Hunter showed a lot of passion. It's better than his bad comedy promos. Either he'll stop Vince or he'll turn heel, join up with Vince and Orton will be their heel champion.
After a shot of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, there were replays of what happened earlier in the show when Del Rio attacked Rodriguez. That bump by Rodriguez outside the ring was awesome.
In the ring, the great Zeb Colter had his Real American duo of Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro with him. Colter insulted the cheese of Wisconsin for heat. He also mentioned the overrated football team (Green Bay Packers) and pointed out that they should leave if they don't like it because the heartland belongs to Real Americans.
The Usos vs. The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter)
The crowd was chanting "go Pack go" to counter Colter's promo. Cesaro hit a huge uppercut and then a gutwrench suplex. Lawler wanted the barber chair to come back out for Colter's facial hair. Swagger hit a slam and then a Swagger Bomb as they isolated Jimmy Uso in their corner. Swagger hit a diving attack to the leg of Jimmy Uso in the ring. Jimmy broke free of Swagger with a spinning kick. Jey got the hot tag for his team and hit a leaping shoulder block. Running butt splash in the corner by Jey got a two count. Jimmy dumped Swagger outside the ring and then hit a dive over the top onto Swagger on the floor. Cesaro went for an attack off the middle rope, but Jey got a kick to the ribs for a two count. Outside the ring, Swagger threw Jimmy into the steel steps. Colter distracted the ref, so the heels worked together leading to Cesaro hitting the Neutralizer for the victory after five minutes.
Winners: The Real Americans
Analysis: ** Fun match even though it was only five minutes long. I really liked how they set up the finish with Colter distracting the ref, which gave his team the advantage. The Usos are an exciting babyface team that the crowd likes. Eventually they'll become tag team champions, but I think it was right to put over Swagger and Cesaro. Those two have a lot of chemistry now. All the work they've done on house shows has paid off.
The Shield against Cena, Bryan & Orton later in the show. Up next is Ziggler vs. Langston.
Before the Ziggler/Langston match began, we saw a clip of last week when AJ Lee went after Ziggler. Then Ziggler hit Langston with the Zig Zag.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston (w/AJ Lee)
Ziggler hit a dropkick early but while on the apron, Langston destroyed him with a clothesline, sending him crashing to the floor.. In the ring, Langston applied the abdominal stretch. When Ziggler broke free, Langston went shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Langston came back with a modified backbreaker. Ziggler hit a Fameasser for two, but it didn't look that great. I think Langston dropped to the mat too quickly. Kaitlyn walked down to the ring. AJ met her in the aisle for a brawl. They went into the ring for a catfight. Ziggler tried to separate them, so Langston hit a clothesline on Ziggler. The match continued as Langston hit the Big Ending to win the match after about four minutes.
Winner: Big E Langston
Analysis: *1/2 Even though the women were brawling inside the ring, neither guy was touched, which is likely why referee Mike Chioda didn't call for the bell in that situation. It's likely this is going to lead to a match at SummerSlam, so I would expect Ziggler to get the win there. JBL claimed that Kaitlyn screwed up again and he had a point there. It seems like they'll do something at SummerSlam where Kaitlyn is in Ziggler's corner except she won't screw up that time. I'm ready for Ziggler to get back into the title picture. That will likely happen after he beats Langston at SummerSlam.
The six man tag main event is up next.
There was a commercial for some USA Network show called Summer Camp. It's on after Raw and probably has bad ratings, so they plugged it. Two women from the show named Brooke Mangum and Michelle Schexnayder were interviewed by Josh Mathews. Even though the blonde was hot I didn't care.
Daniel Bryan was the first man to enter for the babyface team. Randy Orton was out next. John Cena entered last for his team. Bryan still had his hair slicked back with a ponytail in the back. After Cena's entrance they went to break at 10:54pmET. This match likely won't get the 15 minutes I was hoping for.
There was a replay of the Lesnar/Punk brawl. Bryan, Cena and Orton have been standing in the ring doing nothing all this time. Next week it's CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman. The Shield made their entrance.
Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton & John Cena vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins)
The clock is at 10:59pmET as the match began. It would have been nice if they started this at least ten minutes earlier. Orton started off for his team, but then Bryan got the quick tag and he was on fire as he went on offense against Ambrose. He hit the Flying Goat dive outside the ring on Ambrose. Bryan was distracted, which led to Ambrose hitting a dropkick to the ribs that gave his team control. It's weird watching Bryan work with his hair in a ponytail. Reigns hit a clothesline as they isolated Bryan in their corner. The Shield made a lot quick tags while Bryan struggled to bring in his partners. Bryan was able to slow down Reigns with a kick to the head. Rollins tagged in and Bryan made the tag to Cena, but the ref didn't see it so he made Cena leave the ring. It should be noted that Cena had tape on his elbow that he injured. Rollins threw Bryan into Orton while he was on the apron. Bryan applied the Yes Lock to Rollins. Ambrose & Reigns attacked Bryan to free Rollins. That led to the quick disqualification. The match went about five minutes.
Winners: Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton & John Cena via DQ
Analysis: *1/2 The match could have been so good, but it was really rushed since it started so late. Cena didn't even get in there for his team possibly because of his elbow injury. It could have been because it was such a quick match that there was no time for him. I thought the DQ was a bit rushed because it was really just two guys breaking up a submission attempt. Ultimately it's not a big deal.
Post match, the babyface team sent The Shield outside the ring. Orton dropped Bryan with the RKO because Bryan was the one that was thrown into Orton on the apron. Cena and Orton worked together to dispatch The Shield with a double clothesline. Orton hit Cena with the RKO. The crowd cheered. Orton grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase. He slowly stalked Cena in the ring. The Shield made their way back into the ring and Reigns hit a Spear on Cena. Orton walked away while The Shield also attacked Bryan as well. Orton left with his briefcase. The Shield gave Bryan the Triple Powerbomb to end the show. Orton looked on from the ramp. Raw ended at about 11:08pmET.
Analysis: The story is that Orton didn't help Cena and Bryan when they were getting attacked by The Shield to end the show. Does it mean a heel turn? Does it mean nothing at all? We don't know, but I like the way they have left it wide open giving the audience a chance to form their own opinion. As mentioned, Orton's RKO on Bryan was revenge for Bryan being thrown into him when Orton was on the apron. The RKO on Cena? That was just mean. That's where you can say the heel turn is coming. He also did the heel move by leaving the ring when The Shield was attacking Cena and then Bryan. I like how this week's Raw ended with Orton in the spotlight because it keeps it fresh in people's minds that he could decide the outcome of Cena/Bryan because of the Money in the Bank briefcase. Good ending to the show. If it happened after an entertaining 15-20 minute tag match it would have been even better.
Three Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk
2. Daniel Bryan
3. Brock Lesnar - "Paul, say something stupid." Hilarious.
6 out of 10
Last week: 5
2013 Average: 5.77
2013 High: 8 (April 8)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 5, 6.5, 6.5, 7, 4.5
It was an angle driven show. That's my way of saying there weren't that many long matches on the show, but at least most of the angles they did were well done.
The highlight of the show was the Punk/Lesnar brawl. It was awesome to see them working together again after going a few weeks without seeing Lesnar. It's obvious they have good chemistry already.
The interaction between Orton, Bryan and Cena was very good after the main event match. The crowd was into it. It made people look at Orton as a threat because of the briefcase in his possession.
There were some things on the show that I wish were booked better like the Rhodes/Sandow segment or the Kingston/Fandango match, which could have been scrapped to give more time to the main event. I also think the Mark Henry/Ryback match was pointless. What happened to Henry's issues with The Shield? Is that just over now? I hope not. Rumor was it would be Henry & Big Show vs. The Shield at SummerSlam, but perhaps Show's still injured. I'm not sure.
Generally speaking, I like the direction of WWE heading into SummerSlam. They have two more editions of SmackDown and also next week's edition of Raw for the final push. I'm excited about it.
This is not Raw related, but it's great. It's CM Punk giving grammar lessons for Nerdist. He tweeted about it on Monday night and it's so great that I had to share it with you.
There are five videos in all, so check them out. They're hilarious.
I'll have my monthly "20 Questions & Answers" PPV column about SummerSlam likely on Thursday this week. I could push it back until Saturday. I don't know yet. It will give me another chance to write about a lot of the angles heading into the big event on August 18th.
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Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - [email protected]