Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down the show in more detail than can be normally done in a live show recap. Feel free to comment and ask questions about the show!
We got a whole lot of CM Punk yet again last night and he delivered as usual. Let's break this apart into three different sections.
Punk came out and interrupted Vince during the "State of WWE" Address. Punk has been so good on the mic of late, so these interruptions are always highlights and last night was no exception. It was fun to watch him go against Vince and tear him up. Heyman showing his reactions in the background was a perfect touch. Heyman has been holding up his end well too, not just being a "rah-rah" manager but instead showing concern and worry when needed. The slap was the perfect ending as well.
Vince vs. Punk:
I'm sure there is a lot of bellyaching among fans that Vince put a beating on Punk and that made Punk look weak. This is a whole different scenario here. Punk is not the monster like a Brock Lesnar. Punk is shifty and sneaky, so watching Punk take a bit of a beating here isn't going to affect his character at all. This was a fun, "moment making" Raw main event that was entertaining to watch and fed into the storyline of Hell in a Cell. And for 67 years old, Vince looked good.
Choices to make...
Vince told Punk he has to decide next week if he's going to face either Cena or Ryback at Hell in a Cell. Even though the obvious selection for Punk is to take Cena, who is still nursing his elbow surgery, it's a good tease. It gets people thinking about either choice, and perhaps wanting to see the match that doesn't get picked. Also, Punk not picking Ryback will make it look like Punk is ducking. Will Punk spin this to make it look like he's the fighting champion even by picking an injured opponent?
Oh Hell No....
I've got concerns that the Team Hell No gimmick is getting close to jumping the shark at times. That said, last night was a good example of their chemistry working well. They are giving us something with Hell No that is entertaining and funny. They need more than the "I am the tag team champions!" thing to work with though now to keep this from jumping the shark.
Nice side effect though of this situation: the tag team division is getting a bump. With two fairly established stars in Daniel Bryan and Kane taking up the head of the division, the other teams in the mid and undercard are getting some rub. Team Hell No isn't a long-term thing, so hopefully this brings good things while it lasts.
Feed Me Latino...
Ryback took on Epico and Primo in the opening match. It was what it was to advance Ryback, but it's just a shame that there isn't more for the Epico/Primo/Rosa act. If you recall, Rosa had an incident in a San Antonio airport. Since then, it seems that the trio has gotten little to nothing.
That said, the fans ate up Ryback last night and they were into it. JBL did an excellent job on commentary talking about Epico and Primo's credentials and really trying to make them seem like quality opponents that Ryback destroyed. They're doing a good job with Ryback right now and he seems like he's on a path to be a star, so let's see how it lasts.
Some Quick Hits:
- Cena's promo was all over the place. He was good in his serious moment, but the campy comedy needed to stay away - especially the need to point out Antonio Cesaro's "big nipples."
- There was no need to reference Jerry Lawler's heart attack in that backstage segment between JR and Vince. If I misunderstood that, then I apologize but it seems that's where they went. Tacky.
- The three-man booth was working well last night. Cole is doing well as the straight play-by-play man with JBL and JR offering good banter and discussion as the color guys.
- Sheamus and Wade Barrett had a good, hard-hitting match. This may be a good feud down the road. The non-finish worked as it protected the returning Barrett without him taking the loss.
- The overall three-hour format is exhausting, though. This show would have been a hot show had it been two hours. Delivering good start-to-finish shows like this week in and week out are very difficult in the three-hour format.
That's all for this week. Join us next week for more Raw coverage here on Ring-Rap.com.