Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts. This is where we break down last night's show in more detail than one can during a live report. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts and questions below!
Thanks to Drew for filling in on last night's live show - I watched on DVR and here's my take!
Will the Cell Settle It?
Battleground has come and gone. We still have no WWE Champion. And we even had no real emphasis placed on the title by the contenders.
Randy Orton faced Kofi Kingston in a match last night. The match was good, but it wasn’t all that special. Orton and Kingston worked a decent pace down the pace with Orton picking up the win. Afterward, Daniel Bryan charged the ring and attacked Orton, hitting a suicide dive and unloading at the announce position until officials pulled them apart.
But that’s all we saw of the title contenders. No promo. A short recap video package from Battleground. Nothing more from them, and Hell in a Cell is a scant three weeks out.
The one thing they DID do is set up the special official and I liked this. Shawn Michaels will be the man to call the Hell in a Cell match between Orton and Bryan and it makes sense. He trained Bryan, has had issues with Orton, and is Triple H’s best friend. So, will he side with someone? I see no reason to turn Michaels heel, so I figure he will take a stance against Triple H.
But the overarching story of the night involved someone outside the title picture. Big Show has been fired. Stephanie called him out at the beginning of the show to belittle him for his actions on Sunday night and tell him how they own him. At the end of the night, Show finally popped Hunter and knocked him out.
The opening segment was sluggish to me. Stephanie played her part well, but the whole thing just felt like it shouldn’t have been so show-consuming. They ran several replays throughout the night to remind us what happened rather than focus on the title match itself. The punch at the end of the night got a good pop from the fans and left the show on a high note. We just never got any explanation from Big Show why he blew off the marching orders of Triple H and Stephanie.
My hope is the focus moves off of Big Show and onto the contenders of the title match – Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. They are more than capable of getting over on their own, without help. The other thing that would be good to see is some hype for the HIAC structure. Feature interviews with past wrestlers who worked in it, along with their normal excellent video packages.
Other Points of Note:
He’s back. Already. John Cena will make his return at Hell in a Cell to face Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. The Internet collectively sighed and threw their remotes at their TV’s. I will say that the lack of fanfare was very odd here and it left me wondering if this was a joke at first. Like him or not, he is the main star of the company, and his return should have been treated like a big deal. Instead, it got hidden behind Ricardo Rodriguez rolling up Del Rio for a cheap win, then getting beaten down at ringside.
Speaking of guys that should have gotten mic time – what about the Rhodes boys? Far and away the Rhodes family was the hottest act of Battleground with their win to gain their jobs back. They got serious momentum by beating The Shield, and they got main event positioning on Raw last night. The problem is that they were nothing more than sideshow players to the angle that involved Triple H and Big Show. They got no promo time and the win was barely spotlighted at all. On Sunday, it felt like it was a major happening and should have been treated as such on the flagship show to keep that momentum going.
WWE keeps trotting out the ladies of Total Divas to face Alicia Fox and someone, and again the Total Divas ladies were superior. Okay, WWE, we get it. This match could possibly have been worse, but Eva is greener than grass. She just wasn’t selling well for the opposition at all and her facial expressions were way off. JoJo never tagged in, and that was probably good. And Rosa Mendes threw me for a loop with the blonde hair.
CM Punk was really channeling the Macho Man last night, especially when he did the elbow drop. The tag match between him and Truth against Axel and Ryback did nothing for his feud with Ryback either.
Truth vs. Axel II on Smackdown does not excite me whatsoever.
I am from the Pittsburgh region, so I can say this with all passion and truth: They needed to find a way to put Bruno Sammartino’s birthday on the live broadcast rather than the app.
I liked JBL’s call of the end of the Ziggler/Sandow match where he said that Sandow dominated but Ziggler hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth to win. Good work there.
El Torito does absolutely nothing for me. I get it that it is supposed to appeal to children, but it’s doing nothing to get the former Epico and Primo over.
Nothing makes three men look dopier than not being able to catch one guy. That’s kind of what happened with the Wyatts last night. I suppose that’s the initial purpose of the angle they ran, but it looked silly.
That's all for tonight. Join us for more Raw coverage next Monday right here on Ring-Rap.com.