WWE Monday Night Raw
Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
Brad Maddox is our surprise referee of this match. Barrett grabs a side headlock, and they run the ropes. Bryan gets a dropkick to begin, but Wade fights back and tosses Bryan outside. Bryan catches Wade on the way, and slams his leg into the apron. Back inside, Bryan chops him down and gets a dragon screw legwhip. Bryan works the leg, and Wade goes outside, where Daniel gets baseball slide. Bryan misses the knee from the apron and takes a big boot. Wade puts Bryan into the barricade and tosses him inside.
Barrett hangs Bryan up in the corner and delivers a big kick that sends Bryan outside. Wade slams Bryan into the announce table and then whips him into the stairs. After jawing with the crowd, Wade rolls Bryan back in. Wade cuts off Bryan’s comeback and puts on a rear chinlock. Bryan flips out of the corner and hits Wade with the clothesline before following with another to send him outside. The crowd gets wild as Bryan hits Wade with the dive. Back inside, Bryan hits the dropkick from the top, and nips up. Bryan goes for the buzzsaw kick, but Wade rolls him up and Maddox screws him with the fast count. Maddox high tails it before Bryan can pay him back.
Final Thoughts: *1/2 But really just another way for the fans to know that Vince has it out for Bryan.
Damien Sandow vs. Randy Orton
Before the match, Damien cuffs his new briefcase to the turnbuckle. Also, Cody is on commentary. Headlocks and shoulderblocks start off the match. Orton takes control with a back elbow and punches Sandow in the corner. Sandow fights back with shoulderthrusts. Orton blocks a suplex and gets one of his own for two. Randy slugs in the corner as the crowd chants for Cody’s mustache. Orton comes out of the corner with a clothesline for two. Sandow comes back with a back suplex out of a headlock but gets tossed to the apron. Orton follows with a dropkick that sends Sandow out.
We come back from break with them at the top and Sandow pushing Orton off for two. Orton gets a boot up in the corner and beats away, but gets shoved to the outside. Sandow brings Orton inside and gets two. Randy fights back but get a knee to the gut for two. Sandow hits the Russian legsweep and follows with The Elbow of Disdain for two. Sandow throws on a chinlock. Orton fights back with a back suplex and follows with some clotheslines. Sandow dodges the powerslam and comes forward with a neckbreaker for two.
Sandow comes out of the corner but takes the powerslam and hanging DDT. Sandow bails in the RKO and crawls outside. Orton follows, but Sandow posts him. Cody distracts Sandow by grabbing at the briefcase, and Orton hits the RKO for the win.
Final Thoughts: ***, great crowd for this and some decent action. There were a few smart sequences between the two that added to this match.
-The Shield are in the back, talking of a new generation led by themselves. Reigns and Rollins ask for two brave men to come forward to challenge them, and Ambrose says that he is the best in the world, as everyone runs from his title. “If Andre The Giant’s ghost ain’t in the battle royal tonight, then I ain’t losing,” Ambrose says in response to the twenty man battle royal to find him a challenger at SummerSlam.
-CM Punk is backstage with Josh Matthews. CM Punk accepted the match with Paul Heyman because, why not? He knows that he’s walking into some type of trap. Punk says that the best is the best, to finish.
The Great Khali and Natalya w/Hornswaggle vs. Big E Langston and AJ Lee
It’s nice that Langston is wearing a longer singlet. AJ and Natalya start the match. Nattie drives AJ into the corner and hits a clothesline. AJ floats over on a powerslam and hits a spin kick for two. AJ works away in the corner and gets a snapmare and neck vise. AJ gets two from a hairpull. Nattie fights back but takes a Shining Wizard for two. AJ screams at Hornswoggle and gets caught with a Sharpshooter. She taps, but the referee forgets to ring the bell or something. So, they repeat the spot with AJ tapping clean. Nattie gets the win and then Langston gets swatted by Khali after tossing around Hornswaggle.
Final Thoughts: Well, that was pretty bad and not the way to send AJ and Langston into SummerSlam. On the finish, it seemed like Nattie dropped the hold before A.J. tapped out. Maybe someone was slamming their hand on the barricade nearby. Still, it was pretty bad and exposing. The referee just stood there like he had just shit in his pants.
-Mr. McMahon is out for the beginning of the second hour. McMahon brings out Brad Maddox to answer for his actions. Brad says that he appointed himself as referee to keep control of a Daniel Bryan match, which have a habit of being out of control. Maddox says that the fast count was just due to excitement, and McMahon begins to let him off the hook. Brad asks for a second chance. He asks to be the referee for the main event of SummerSlam. McMahon asks the crowd if they want him to be the guest referee. They respond negatively.
Vince makes him SWEAR that he’ll be impartial. Brad has to correct his hand gesture as he claims Scout’s Honor. Right before Vince can name him referee, COOHHH is on the scene. Of course. McMahon makes fun of HHH’s lack of hair. HHH milks the adoration from the fans and Vince implores the fans to not feed his ego. HHH agrees that there should be a special guest referee. HHH then pedigrees Maddox and says that he’ll be the special guest referee. Congrats, HHH, you got yourself at the top of a hot angle with an up and coming megastar.
Kane vs. Titus O’Neil
Kane beats at Titus to start, and hits the back elbow. Kane slugs away in the corner and hits a slam for two. The crowd is toast, probably thinking about what happened last time HHH was referee at a SummerSlam main event. Kane hits the big boot and gets a corner clothesline. Kane hits the side slam. Chokeslam finishes after Titus calls for it, audibly. After the match, The Wyatt Family comes out. Bray is wearing a lamb mask t-shirt. Lawler, Cole, and JBL don’t shut up during this entrance. The lights come on, but Kane is up on the ramp for a staredown.
Final Thoughts: Well, at least we got a Wyatt entrance and some new merchandise to buy. Titus did not appreciate being held there for the chokeslam and didn’t want to look like too much of a jobber. Of course, it could have been Young hopping up onto the apron and missing a cue.
-Josh is backstage with the Bella Twins for a Total Divas plug. They recap some bad acting from last week. Nattie shows up and challenges Brie to a match at SummerSlam. And then they bring most of the cast out to get catty. Brie slaps Nattie to retaliate for last week.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
They brawl a bit to start. Kofi floats out of the corner, leapfrogs Del Rio, and hits a back elbow. Kofi punches in the corner and hits a European uppercut for a short count. Del Rio crotches Kofi and hangs him in the tree of woe. Del Rio goes up and hits a snapping inverted suplex from the top for two. Del Rio goes to the chinlock as the crowd gets into this. Del Rio swats away a dropkick and hits the double stomp to the back.
Kofi gets a back elbow up on a charge and dodges another, sending Del Rio out of the ring. Kofi hits a couple of clotheslines, but seems off and disoriented. He hits the Boom Drop. Del Rio dodges Trouble in Paradise and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Kofi hits the SOS for two. ADR ducks out of the way of Trouble in Paradise and gets rolled up for two. Del Rio gets the knees up on a crossbody and locks on the cross armbreaker for the win.
Final Thoughts: This was pretty sloppy in the middle after Kofi got dropped on his head. **. I worry that Kofi picked up a concussion here. He was off and leaning the wrong way for most of the match.
-Christian is backstage with Renee following a video package on his storied career and says that he’s going to prove that he just needed one more match. Del Rio steps up and taunts Christian.
The Real Americans w/Zeb Colter vs. The Usos
Before the match, Zeb has a dream that he shares with the crowd…California breaking off after an earthquake and floating into the Pacific Ocean. Jey and Cesaro start, with Cesaro getting a big boot for just one. Swagger is in and they go high and low for two. Swagger hits some knees in the corner and follows with the Swaggerbomb. Cesaro comes in and hits a leapfrog double stomp for two. Jey and Cesaro slug it out.
Swagger is back in and stomps away after a blind tag. Swagger hold a rest hold, but Jey fights out. Cesaro is back and Swagger launches Jey into the uppercut. Cesaro puts on the chinlock, but Jey fights out and gets the tag to Jimmy. Swagger is in and he takes a Samoan Drop and hip smash in the corner. Cesaro pulls Swagger from the ring and The Usos take stereo dives. Jimmy rolls Swagger back in and goes to the top. Cesaro eats a superkick that knocks him to the floor, and a blind tag leads to Jey rolling up Swagger for the win.
Final Thoughts: This was fine, but Swagger’s minute long resthold killed the match. *1/2. The best part of this match was probably Zeb’s cranky rant. He must have been saving that one up for a while.
-It’s Miz TV with John Cena and Daniel Bryan. Miz asks about HHH being the special guest referee. They are both happy at this development. Cena says that the only issue between the two of them is the title and that Bryan is going to put up a good fight. Miz tries to instigate on this and Bryan says that he better shut up or he will punch him in the face. Bryan then goes on the offensive, and explains that Cena’s fame grabbing is the reason he doesn’t watch TV. He sees Cena as a parody of a wrestler.
Cena goes into preacher mode after this and talks for what feels like a half an hour about his sacrifices. He lays it on thick, to say the least, comparing his t-shirt to the American flag. Cena ends by saying that Bryan has to earn his respect. Bryan finally spells out the truth that Cena doesn’t respect him and moves into a story about how in Japan, it’s a custom to psyche each other up before a big match by slapping each other in the face…but Cena isn’t a wrestler and doesn’t DESERVE to be slapped in the face. This is pretty intense stuff.
Cena slaps Bryan in the face and tosses a chair aside, but Bryan just fixes a crazed grin on his face and refuses to slap him. HHH’s music hits and he comes down to the ring because now the time is right to get himself some of that glorious heat. He keeps Cena and Bryan apart as Orton steps out onto the stage to loom over them. Great segment until Cena exploited his charity work and then great again until HHH had to run down for no real reason.
Fandango vs. R-Truth
They have a bit of a dance off to start. Or maybe this is just a dance-off. Fandango slugs away at Truth and they brawl for a bit. Truth sends Fandango outside and that’s that.
Final Thoughts: They should have just cut this from the show.
-Backstage, Heyman is taping up for his match with CM Punk. Heyman admits to Axel that he’s having second thoughts about this match with Punk.
Twenty Man Battle Royal
They start out with the usual brawl to start. Ryback tosses Gabriel and then Darren Young, showing no love for his old Nexus buddies. Ryback clotheslines Tensai out. Jey Uso is dumped by 3MB. Truth eliminates Fandango. Fandango then tosses out Truth. Not sure how that would be allowed, but whatever. We hit a break.
We come back, with Clay, Khali, and 3MB all out. Jimmy Uso is eliminated by Swagger and Cesaro. Rob Van Dam eliminates Titus. Kofi gets tossed but does his thing to stay in, holding onto Cesaro and dangling above the floor, but is clotheslined out soon thereafter. Still, love those Kofi spots. Van Dam goes on a run, but takes a clothesline from Ryback. Henry fights back on Swagger and Cesaro and disposes of them. Barrett is next.
Ryback and Henry have a showdown. RVD and Henry combine to eliminate Ryback. The crowd is buying in here. Rob grabs a sleeper, but Henry shrugs him off. RVD goes up but get crotched. Henry goes for the charge, but Van Dam pulls down the rope and Henry tumbles out over the top. After the match Henry gives RVD a fistbump and wishes him luck. The Shield come down to make their presence known. The Big Show returns, walking down to the ring. Rollin’s reaction is priceless. The Shield retreat.
Final Thoughts: **1/2. It was a pretty nice battle royal, especially towards the end where everyone started hitting their spots. Rollins’ mouthing “Oh shit!” was a terrific moment, that WWE unfortunately cut away from.
Paul Heyman vs. CM Punk
Paul takes the microphone and blames the entire WWE Universe for what has happened between him and CM Punk. CM Punk used to live for Heyman’s respect and now, he’s going to take their love away from him. Paul just comes out and says that this is a trap. He introduces the crowd to Brock Lesnar, who was his co-conspirator. We move to a video package of the feud thus far. The trap is simple, and that this is a handicap match. Punk decides to come out anyway. Punk comes into the ring from behind and steals an overhead camera. He beats away at Brock with it. He drops the camera and dives out onto Lesnar. Punk grabs a steel chair and pummels Brock with it. Punk then turns his attention to Heyman and chases him up the ramp. Axel intervenes and winds up getting a GTS on the stage for his troubles. Heyman runs off and Punk poses on the stage, successfully springing a trap of his own to end the show.
–The auxiliary storylines didn’t have much in the way of movement tonight, so I’ll just say that the Cena/Bryan and Punk/Lesnar segments are worth checking out. Bryan held his own in his promo battle with Cena, even after Cena dropped a filibuster on him and caused the Truth and Fandango match to be hacked to pieces. I was very much upset with HHH being added into the match as special guest referee. SummerSlam in 2011 sets a bad precedent, and this placement of HHH just insures that the match itself is going to have shenanigans. There’s nothing wrong with good, predictable storytelling, but just let the wrestling sell the show and not what a semi-retired guy is going to do for a half an hour during the match. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it is when you have the best wrestler in the world and a legend such as Cena. As for John, there was some stuff in his speech, but needed to be a minute or two shorter. Bryan did very well, and his refusal to give Cena the respect of slapping him in the face was such an awesome moment, so much that HHH had to run out for no discernible reason and work to keep a smile off of his face.
I have no problem with Heyman going at length into the trap that he set for Punk. It was much like a comic book villain giving out their entire plan when all seems lost, but it just gives Batman the opportunity to find another way. I can get behind that. It also showed that Punk is a hero with a brain. I’m always a fan of camera attacks, and this was no different. The difference in Punk learning to make sure that Lesnar is down before attacking Heyman is a big deal and shows growth from last week. However, I still expect Punk to lose and have a couple of rematches with Brock. Still, it should be intense matchup