Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in a little more detail than can be done during a live show recap.  Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts and opinions!

The Man of the Hour:

They did a good job in this over-the-top celebration of Punk's 365th day as champion.  Punk and Heyman really pulled out some good verbal spots.  Heyman turned the heart-attack spoof on the fans, saying they didn't recognize Attitude or ECW when they saw it.  It was a strong shot, despite my not being a fan of mocking that situation.

Best line of the night goes to Punk knowing the exact day - July 25, 2018 - when he would break Bruno Sammartino's longest title run on the 355th episode of Main Event.  It was good humor and yet still drew some heat from the live crowd.  Good work from them here. 

Young Love?

John Cena kissed AJ.  Right in the middle of the ring.  Two young lovers, or are we trying to kill off a story?

I will hope that this kills off the Cena/AJ/Ziggler/Vickie story.  It has jumped the shark long ago for this viewer and really serves no purpose but to fill TV time with a soap-opera story.  Further, it's a story that is doing nothing to get anyone over.  If they go Cena vs. Dolph to shut this off once and for all, you know Cena's winning that match.

Worth noting was the fan reaction during the kiss.  Women ate it up, kids had their reactions, but more than a few grown men were seen jumping for joy as well.  Hand over your man card, now.  It's on video.

The Barrage...

I was a fan of the match that Wade Barrett and Kofi Kingston had.  I felt it was well thought-out and a good overall television match.  The announcers did a nice job of explaining why Barrett was working around the eye and the two men in the ring did a good job of working and selling that same point to set up Barrett's "Bull Hammer" finishing move.

I would prefer to see Barrett in a higher profile feud, like the World Heavyweight Championship scene on Smackdown.  That seems taken, so a solid feud between Kofi and Wade could increase the value of the Intercontinental Championship, which is a positive.

Holding Pattern:

These three-hour shows still continue to drag on, but last night was particularly rough because it was a night of repeats.  We saw the same exact formula attack on Ryback by Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.  We got another match between Brodus Clay and Antonio Cesaro. 

We got a decent, yet predictable match between Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton.  And to top things off, they essentially did nothing with Dolph Ziggler's win at Survivor Series when he could have used some solid follow-up.

Several other throwaway matches and segments factored in, the buzz from Survivor Series that could have brought some fresh stories forth just wasn't carried forward.  Everything just felt like it was on hold.  Maybe it's the holiday effect?

Quick Hits:

  • AJ was upset with Vickie because John Cena tweaked his knee chasing Dolph Ziggler after the in-ring segment they had where they kissed.  What did I miss here that made Vickie responsible?
  • Don't hand Ryback a mic.  Ever.  Unless he's going to chant "feed me more."  Actually, it's more that Creative hasn't found the right formula yet.  He needs to talk, but right now, it's not doing him favors.
  • Otunga has zero credibilty as a wrestler.  He should remain an out-of-ring character that takes the occasional bump.  And Miz feels no different, even though he turned, we think.
  • I am still wondering what the heck that segment was with Great Khali and Hornswoggle.  Oh yeah, there was a handicap match.  Epico and Primo are certainly not being utilized well at all at the moment.

That's all for this week.  Be sure to join us next Monday night for more Raw coverage right here on Ring-Rap.com.