Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in more detail. Feel free to weigh in with your own comments, questions, and ideas!
A Cutting of Ties:
If I were to start handing out year-end awards tomorrow, the segment of the year would go to the exchange between CM Punk and Paul Heyman. It was that good.
Everyone involved played their parts to perfection. Brock Lesnar was his normal and believable badass bully. CM Punk in the brawl looked like the valiant babyface who wouldn’t give up and kept fighting until he physically could not get up. The verbal part of this segment was intense and I felt like I was watching some sort of drama flick when Punk started talking about going through all of Heyman’s men before extracting revenge on Heyman himself.
The announcers even played into this perfectly. Cole and Lawler pleading with Heyman to stop Lesnar’s assault and Lawler’s concern for Punk were both well played. JBL added in also by adding how Lesnar lacks a conscience.
If you didn’t see this live, try to find this segment out there on YouTube or something. It will be worth your time. It was a solid kickoff to the program between Lesnar and Punk.
Dancing with the Briefcase Winner:
I thought the match between Randy Orton and Fandango was solid from an in-ring perspective and really ended up giving Fandango some time to shine. I just didn’t like how we got here.
Usually the first night after Money in the Bank is a big night for the briefcase holder, and I expected no less from Orton. The opening segment started well, with Orton coming out and telling Cena “you won’t see it coming” when he cashes in. The problem came when Fandango came out. His entrance and silliness cut that moment off a bit. The announcers were even outright laughing at Fandango.
In the end, this became a whole lot more about Fandango’s in-ring credibility than about Orton. He looked great in the lengthy loss, and he got some of his mojo back, but it did nothing for Orton, your Money in the Bank winner.
It’s about time! The power couple of AJ and Dolph Ziggler has split up.
This was booked the right way. Dolph needed to be the one to cut the ties with AJ and not the other way around. He would have looked stupid to accept another apology from her, only to get burned again in the future. Also, it was simple and not drawn out. Now we look ahead for Dolph to give that promo that will rally the casual fans behind him as well as those that already were cheering him.
The match itself wasn’t as good as their pay per view effort, but it was solid. Now that Dolph will apparently be working with Big E Langston going forward, it leaves an opening for Del Rio. I’ll be curious to see who they fill that slot with.
The Family Claims Another…
There’s no doubt about it; Bray Wyatt has his character down pat. He comes off crazy as he speaks and you get the feeling you’ve got no idea what he’s saying, but what he says has meaning to his character. And last night’s promo was really solid.
Wyatt comes off convincing as the cult leader and came off intense like Punk and Heyman were in their segment. The beatdown on Truth by all three men was vicious as well.
You just have to wonder if there is something in store with the Wyatts and Kane. Bray seemed to call Kane out after they beat down Truth. Was it a call-out, or will Wyatt end up adding a brainwashed Kane to his stable? I guess we’ll find out going forward.
Brad Maddox has the ability to be a good heel. That said, I don’t want to see them go to the heel authority figure card quickly as I feel it’s overdone and needs a break.
The segment with Triple H, Stephanie and Brad Maddox was really just a rehash of what they’ve done to Vickie Guerrero of late.
Naomi certainly has some in-ring ability and athleticism, but it wasn’t showcased well in her match with Brie Bella. Poor match.
I like that they booked the Uso Brothers to continue their momentum, but they should have kept them away from the newly formed “Real Americans” team of Swagger and Cesaro for a little bit.
Damien Sandow took a quick loss to Christian, then got beaten up by Cody Rhodes. That’s not exactly a great start for him as a briefcase holder either.
I certainly expected some sort of follow-up to the Cody Rhodes drama from Money in the Bank, but this happened very quickly. I assume we’ll see them face off at SummerSlam.
Mark Henry continues to impress. He has the ability to pull off this sudden apparent turn in character after brawling with the Shield. The fans got behind him when the Shield attacked him and will stay there as long as he’s the badass babyface.
My biggest gripe with Cena naming Daniel Bryan as his opponent for SummerSlam is that Bryan comes off like the comedy guy who got a shot because of a popularity vote. They have time to change it though.
Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho really entertained in their main event match. The right guy won and the fans were standing as if they knew they were seeing something special.
That's all for this week. Join us next Monday night for more Raw coverage right here on Ring-Rap.com.