Welcome to yet another edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in a little more detail than we can during a live broadcast and recap.  Feel free to express your own thoughts and opinions and ask us questions.

Scandalous!

Well, seems we're going to tease yet another affair between two talents.  This time, it's John Cena and AJ.  AJ was forced into a position where she had to resign the General Manager position due to "fraternizing with one of the talents."

I, like a number of other folks that I've read, am shocked to see that they're going with an infidelity-style storyline with John Cena.  Don't forget that it hasn't been all that long since his real-life divorce from his high school sweetheart.  That situation was also peppered with accusations of infidelity.  This does breathe life into an otherwise very stale John Cena, but probably cuts at the integrity of the character, which isn't good, either.

One good side effect of taking AJ out of the authority role is to return her to the "crazy chick" she was earlier in the year.  She had a lot of momentum going in that role and her character really cooled off when she assumed the authority-figure role.

More "Punk"y Highlights...

CM Punk continues to be the weekly highlight on Raw.  He has found his stride as this heel character and Paul Heyman has been excellent in working with him.  I had my reservations of this pairing at first, but with Heyman serving as that advisor (like early in the show when Punk was going to fight Cena but Heyman kept yelling "no, you don't fight for free, you have Ryback on Sunday...") it has worked well.

They're also handling the build between Punk and Ryback well.  I just have my reservations with the Hell in a Cell structure. In those matches, it's hard to really come up with the really shady finish that they sort of need to have here unless the intent truly is to have Ryback take the strap from Punk.  I think it's far too soon for that option, so it'll be curious to see how WWE handles this one on Sunday.

Tag Team Hope?

I thought they did well with highlighting the final of the #1 Contender Tournament by having it come at us right out the gate.  In turn, they gave it a good amount of time and it helped it feel a bit more important.  Most importantly, the right team went over to face Team Hell No on Sunday.

The "Newly-Tag" game was ridiculous and unnecessary.  Otherwise, WWE did invest some effort into making the division feel a bit more relevant throughout this show and there's hope it may continue in the future.  We shall see.

Quick Hits:

  • So, we trade one authority figure who "had an affair" for another authority figure who "had an affair."  You might recall Vickie had a "fling" with Big Show while married to Edge a couple years back.  WWE thinks we have short memories.
  • By the way, if putting Vickie in a position of authority means Dolph Ziggler gets to stand on his own and prove himself, I'm for it.  Otherwise, I nearly turned the channel last night.  That's how uninspired that move feels to me.
  • The lumberjack match was billed as "biggest ever" but it really didn't feel much more special than a regular lumberjack match.  It was fine, and it served its purpose to accent the two championship matches for Sunday.  But that was all it did.
  • WWE is providing lip-service treatment to the mid-card, and it's showing in droves with the three hour format.

Overall Show:

After having the night to sleep on it, this show was really best described as a car crash.  WWE has been panic booking since ratings slumped to their lowest point, looking for that really hot show. 

They got it right a couple times, but most nights the three-hour format is full of filler and chaos booking.  It's not working for this viewer.  I would sooner see them back off to two hours again and put together solid, logical shows on a regular basis.

That's it for me for this week.  Stay tuned to the site for Hell in a Cell coverage on Sunday night, and all the fallout next week live as we bring you another Raw Recap here on Ring-Rap.com.