WWE Monday Night Raw
Green Bay, Wisconsin
-Stephanie McMahon is in the ring to start the show off with Bryan’s corporate makeover. We get a video package of WWE transforming Bryan. Steph brings out Bryan, who stands at the top of the ramp in a suit. The fans are not enjoying his look. Bryan gets on the microphone after being complimented by Steph. Bryan asks the crowd if they like his new look. They do not. He thanks Steph for her time. But, Bryan thinks that even his new look isn’t what the company actually wants. They want John Cena. Bryan says that even though he isn’t what the company wants, he will beat John Cena because, while Cena is an entertainer, Daniel Bryan is a wrestler.
And if John Cena was fired today, he would go back to his mansion and never wrestle again. Bryan throws in a fun jab about being abruptly fired in the past. But, if Bryan were to be fired, he would wrestle in any ring because he loves wrestling. Bryan says that he’ll play their game for now, because at SummerSlam, he will make Cena tap out. Vince comes out soon after. Vince takes shots at his color matching, size, and how he reminds him of a miniature Mick Foley. Vince says that the makeover needs one more thing for Daniel to get his support. Bryan needs to shave off his beard.
The fans are not happy as they bring down a chair. Vince says that if the fans want him to become champion, he’ll have to shave his beard off. Vince welcomes out Wade Barrett, Bryan’s old Nexus boss to shave it off. Wade goes to shave Bryan’s beard, but Bryan headbutts him and actually butchers half of Wade’s own beard. He quickly dispatches Wade over the crowd barricade and heads to the top of the stage, where he reveals his “The Beard is Here!” t-shirt.
Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio
The Miz is out on commentary so that they can mention, once more, that he’s hosting SummerSlam. Del Rio is in control to start, but Van Dam hits a monkey flip. RVD hits a side kick and follows with a standing moonsault for two. Del misses a charge and heads outside following a kick. Van Dam hits a moonsault from the apron. We come back from break with Del Rio in control. RVD counters out of the corner and hits a series of kicks. He misses Rolling Thunder however and takes the Si Kick for two. Del Rio misses the corner enzuigiri, and RVD gets two from Rolling Thunder.
Del Rio gets the knees up on the split legged moonsault. Ricardo puts the bucket in the corner, but Del Rio runs into it and gets rolled up for the win. Ricardo consoles ADR after the match, but gets his head taken off with a Si Kick. Del Rio then beats the hell out of Ricardo with the bucket. Ricardo takes a filthy bump from the ring s Del Rio tosses him through the ropes. Del Rio wedges Ricardo’s head between the steps in the apron and then comes forward with a dropkick to huge heel heat, knocking Ricardo out. Probably the most he’s ever gotten, too.
Final Thoughts: The match was too brief to be much of anything, and I guess it was fine. *3/4. I did find it silly that Ricardo only had to sell the Si Kick for two seconds due to the nature of the beatdown.
-Cody Rhodes is in the ring as we come back. Before him in the ring is a briefcase shaped box. Cody then reveals that the briefcase is in the box, and it’s a mess of course. I’m not sure that the paper of the contract has held up. Damien comes out and commands for Cody to put the case down and leave the ring. They brawl and Damien gets tossed from the ring. Somehow, the contract is still in one piece. Cody keeps the contract and tosses the case into the aisle. I didn’t like that the suitcase was still dripping water as it traveled from the Gulf to Green Bay. This was pretty dull.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Can Ryback get Henry over his shoulders??? Henry knocks him down but Ryback chops the leg and clubs him. Ryback squirts out of a powerslam attempt and bails to the outside. Ryback walks away for the count-out.
Final Thoughts: What the hell was the point of that?
-John Cena is out to make his rebuttal. Cena’s used to being the target and calls Bryan ignorant. Cena is going to his “Marky Mark” voice now. This is serious. Cena calls Bryan bush league, more or less. Cena buries all other wrestling companies in the world because they aren’t WWE. The crowd is kind of dead for Cena. Now Cena is talking about being underestimated. Green Bay calls John Cena boring and Cena tries to cover it up by saying that the fans want to see the match.
Cena finishes this promo where he just comes off as a company shill. Anyways, Orton walks out to crickets. Cole teases that Randy is about to cash in. Orton says that he is a target that is staring Cena in the face. That’s not how it works, Randy. The Shield’s music hits and they march down to the ring. Bryan runs down to join Orton and Cena in the ring and gives Cena a look that could kill. There’s a standoff and we get a main event of The Shield versus Orton, Cena, and Bryan.
Tons of Funk vs. The Wyatt Family
Bray sits in his rocking chair, as he does. Harper begins with Tensai. They have a standoff but Harper takes control with a big boot. Erick enters, tearing away the mask as he does. Tensai takes control, but it breaks down, quickly. Rowan hits the splash for the win. Bray enters the ring and gives Brodus The Kiss Goodbye.
He takes the microphone and tells all to follow the buzzards. Kane interrupts the proceedings, and says it’s hard to follow buzzards when you pull the wings away. Kane isn’t here to spread a message, but to amuse himself. From what I can tell, he challenges Bray to an Inferno Match at SummerSlam.
Final Thoughts: Nothing match, but the statement from Kane was fun. I’m not so sure about WWE running an Inferno Match, however.
-Josh is backstage with the sleepless CM Punk. Comparing Axel to his father, he says that Curtis doesn’t speak from himself like Perfect did despite Bobby Heenan. But, Paul getting Axel into fights isn’t Punk’s problem. Punk plans to neuter The Beast at SummerSlam
Kaitlyn vs. Layla
Layla’s reasoning for turning on Kaitlyn is because all women are terrible bitches. Got it. Kaitlyn pounds away to start and gets two from a short armed clothesline. Layla runs away screaming and hides before hitting a kick to the knee and a DDT for two. Layla puts on a headscissors in the corner but runs into a backbreaker from Kaitlyn and a clothesline. The Ultimate Kaitlyn follows with the shoulderblock and follows with a gutbuster that turns into a kidneybuster. Ouch. AJ comes out to distract. It works and Layla hits a kick for the win. After the match, they skip around the ring.
Final Thoughts: Sloppy, disjointed match. This was pretty bad and this storyline is just dragging along.
Christian vs. Heath Slater
They fight over a waistlock to begin. Christian hops out, looking for his right hand. 3MB distract and Christian gets caught back inside with a leg lariat for two. Slater stomps away and goes to the chinlock. Christian fights back but gets choked into the ropes and slugged by Mahal. Christian gets the foot up on Slater’s leap from the top. Christian hits a flapjack and follows with a missile dropkick for two. Slater thrusts a shoulder from the apron and goes for a suplex to the outside and fails. Christian gets two from a sunset flip, but Slater takes control and dances in the middle of the ring. Christian cuts him down with a spear for the win.
Final Thoughts: **. They did well with their time in the ring and had a bit of fun. The crowd enjoyed it.
CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel w/Paul Heyman
CM Punk walks up the ramp and charges. He and Axel brawl. They fight on the stage and ramp. The bell rings and Axel hits a couple of blows and puts Punk into the corner. Off the whip, Punk gets a drop toe hold and hooks the leg to batter Axel a bit more. Punk misses a gum slap, but tosses Axel from the ring. Punk hits the dive as we near the commercial break.
We return with Axel holding an armbar. Punk fights back but gets run over by Axel for two. Curtis follows with a scoop slam and a second turnbuckle forearm drop. Axel goes to the chinlock as Heyman returns from backstage. Punk fights back with a belly to back suplex. Heyman distracts Punk and Axel hits a clothesline for two. Punk gets a boot up in the corner and comes back with a crossbody. He goes after Heyman again, but Axel slides outside and hits a clothesline to cut him off. Axel tosses him back and covers for two. Axel misses the forearm drop this time. Punk fights back and gets a swinging neckbreaker. Punk hits the knee in the corner and a clothesline.
Punk goes to the top but gets crotched. Axe gets two from his neckbreaker. Punk fights back with a desperation kick to the skull and then suddenly drags Heyman into the ring, which summons the bell. Brock comes down to the ring then and Punk lets Heyman go. Curtis drags Punk to the floor but takes a GTS. Punk and Lesnar brawl in the outside with Punk clotheslining him from the announce table. Lesnar catches Punk and hits a snapping belly to belly on the floor. Punk is bleeding from the chin. Punk fights out of the F5 and slugs Lesnar in the back with the chair. Punk goes after Heyman with the chair, but Brock intervenes and gives Punk the F5. Heyman commands Brock to hurt Punk, and Lesnar pummels him with the chair.
Final Thoughts: This was a great way to sell a big match, with Punk being blinded by his rage for Heyman and not being able to get to him. Intense stuff. I’d give the match **1/2, but the angle did wonders for the crowd and seems to be the highlight of the show.
-Backstage, Renee is with Heyman, Lesnar, and Axel. Brock claims that he is the best in the world and tells Paul to say something stupid, and Heyman does. Paul says that next week, he wants to wrestle CM Punk. You can hear a few fans yelling “bullshit!” at Heyman. Good times.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
Hey, welcome back Kofi. Honestly, the crowd is kind of muted here and is like “Shit, wasn’t he gone? Should we cheer louder? Nah that would make it more awkward.” Kofi wears pants now, and they look good on him. Kofi hits a dropkick for an early two count, but Fandango comes back and throws Kofi into the corner. Off the whip, Fandango hits a back elbow for two. Fandango wrings the arm and hits a firemans carry for two. Fandango puts on the chinlock.
Fandango hits a leg lariat for two but misses a knee drop from the second rope. Kofi hits a springboard clothesline after a corner dodge and kick. Kingston hits a series of strikes and finishes with a clothesline. Kofi hits the Boom Drop. Fandango bails on the Trouble in Paradise, and rolls Kofi up for two with assistance from the ropes. ‘Go goes up, but misses and Kofi hits the crossbody. A reversal sequence ends with Kofi hitting the Trouble in Paradise for the return victory.
Final Thoughts: This was a fun little match between the two. It’s nice to have a fresh matchup every now and then. I was a bit surprised at Fandango jobbing, but it would have been pretty lousy for Kofi to return with a loss, since he’s been the company’s most reliable midcard face for years now. **1/2 from me. Also, Kofi needs to stick with the long tights for a while.
-Backstage, HHH talks with a crying Steph. Acting! HHH says that Vince has lost it and he’s no longer a genius. HHH is upset at Vince changing everything on a whim and ruining company plans. HHH declares he’ll stop Vince from doing anything foolish at SummerSlam.
The Real Americans w/Zeb Colter vs. The Usos
Zeb garners some cheap heat before the match, bashing the Green Bay Packers. Jimmy and Swagger start. They battle in the corner, but Jimmy takes control and hits a diving headbutt for two. Off of the whip, Cesaro gets the blind tag and hits a Swagger assisted uppercut for two. Antonio delivers the gutwrench and tags Swagger back in. They work on Jimmy in the corner, distracting the referee. Jimmy fights his way out, bit Swagger cuts off Jimmy with a slam. He follows with the Swaggerbomb. Cesaro tags in and leapfrogs Swagger to hit a stomp.
Swagger is back and tackles Jimmy at the knee for two. Swagger locks on a double chickenwing and Jimmy fights back with a chop to the chest. Jey gets the hot tag and takes down Swagger and Cesaro. Jimmy hits the hip smash in the corner for two on Cesaro, with Swagger interrupting and getting dumped. Jimmy flies out onto him. Cesaro comes off the top but runs in a superkick for two. Swagger takes control on the outside and slugs Jey into a Neutralizer for the win.
Final Thoughts: This was a solid match between some talented dudes. **
Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston w/AJ Lee
Dolph dances away from Langston to start, but gets caught. Dolph pulls up on the whip, gyrates and hits a dropkick. Dolph escapes the press slam but gets clotheslined from the apron and to the floor. Big E throws him back in and gets a two count. Langston moves to the abdominal stretch. Dolph escapes with a jawbreaker. Langston misses a charge and goes into the post. Dolph hits a corner splash and follows with a neckbreaker for two. Langston avoids the Fameasser and hits a big backbreaker for two. Langston misses the splash and Dolph hits a Fameasser for two. Kaitlyn comes down to cut off AJ and they brawl on the outside. It spills into the ring. Langston runs over Ziggler during the confusion. Big E gets The Big Ending for the win, and everyone blames Kaitlyn.
Final Thoughts: Well, that was pretty stupid. As a referee, just throw the match out with a double DQ, especially since Punk got the bell for just touching Heyman a few minutes ago. Dolph has gone from feuding for the WHC to being on the outside of the AJ/Kaitlyn feud now. I guess we’ll have a mixed tag at SummerSlam.
-WWE plugs the USA Show “Summer Camp”. They interview a couple of the women from the show, and it feels as genuine as you would believe.
Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and John Cena vs. The Shield
The crowd is dead again. That poorly placed plug is somewhat to blame, but they’ve been dead all night, more or less. I’m not sure how much time this thing is going to have as we’re seven minutes from the overrun. Orton and Ambrose begin the match. They trade right hands before Rollins stomps away in the corner. Orton reverses and slugs away and hits a clothesline. Orton follows with a suplex for just one. Bryan is in and comes off the top with a dropkick. Ambrose is in. Bryan flips out of the corner and hits the clothesline. Bryan follows with a dive on Ambrose and fights off Rollins.
Ambrose takes advantage and dropkicks Bryan to floor as he goes for the apron knee. Ambrose slugs away and tags in Reigns. Reigns hits a clothesline for two and brings in Rollins for a splash. He gets two. Seth puts on a chinlock. Reigns comes back in and they hit a gutbuster for two, officially putting Bryan in peril. Bryan fights out of the corner and kicks Reigns in the head. He looks for the hot tag but it’s cut off by Rollins. There’s a false hot tag to Cena. Rollins reverses the Yes! Lock but Bryan gets it anyway. The Shield run-in for the DQ, because…they used up their other save on the rule that the company follows but never acknowledges on TV?
Orton drops Bryan with the RKO because he’s a dick and they collided earlier on in the match. Cena and Orton send The Shield scurrying. Orton hits the RKO on Cena, too. Orton thinks about cashing in the briefcase for two years. Well, that’s not going to help, as is carrying the briefcase towards the ring. The Shield come back to thwart his effort. The Shield pick apart Cena and Bryan as Orton walks off. The Shield hit the triple powerbomb on Bryan to end the show.
Final Thoughts: There just wasn’t enough time to do a damned thing in this match. Very disappointing. *1/2. Man, I would have loved for this to get twenty minutes to at least give the crowd their money’s worth.
–There was some solid wrestling on this show, but nothing that really stuck out all that much. I wonder if Bray is going to get in trouble for no selling Kane’s gimmick, even if overselling it would have been character suicide. Also, there’s no chance of an Inferno Match, unfortunately. It’s not a great match, but it’s a spectacle. The Bryan and Vince stuff was alright. The Punk/Lesnar/Heyman stuff is golden and more than worth checking out. I have a problem with the top guys being laid out during the build to the PPV, but there’s something about the way the show ended tonight that makes me think that something crazy is going to happen at the end of SummerSlam. But, what was the deal with DQ justifications tonight? I just realized that Sheamus was nowhere to be found. Maybe he’ll have a good showing on Smackdown.