Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts. This is our chance to break the show down in more detail than can be done during a live recap. Have thoughts, questions, or comments? Feel free to add them below!
Not Quite Titanic, but Very Good….
I thought they did a really good job last night throughout the broadcast of hyping up the Cena vs. Del Rio “champion vs. champion” match. WWE did a masterful job of utilizing the title history with their video packages as a part of that hype. Casual fans and younger fans got a well-needed dose of history with them (how many knew Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, or Harley Race, among others used in the videos?) as well, which is a plus.
My one nit-pick is that I’d have liked to have seen backstage promos from Del Rio and Cena at some point in the evening. They could have used some talking from each man to add to the hype of the match itself. But all in all, the build was well done.
The match itself initially didn’t feel all that special to me. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that Cena and Del Rio only recently recaptured their titles and we’ve seen these two go at it before. But even with that fact aside, the two delivered a strong television main event match. The cheap finish was to be expected with their counterparts at Money in the Bank showing up, but it made sense. Neither Cena nor Del Rio needed to truly go over clean, and it added to the angles each champion is involved in heading to the pay per view.
Follow the Buzzards…
We’ve finally seen a set date for the arrival of the Wyatt Family. As we closed last night, Michael Cole set up the fact that the Wyatts will be on Raw next Monday. We got a lot of build for their arrival over the past several weeks with video packages, and they really sold it hard last night by closing the show with a vignette.
I can’t recall a developmental act getting this much hype going into their debut. The Wyatts have been given a lot of build, and WWE has set a good strong hook for their debut next week. Here’s hoping they have something special in mind to really make viewers take notice.
Lost Their Way…
I had really high hopes for what I was seeing between AJ and Kaitlyn early on. They really seemed to have a sound story going and some legitimate heat to work with. Sad to say, this story has completely lost its way now.
Over the last two weeks, we’ve gotten some really bad impersonation segments from both women. Last night, AJ broke out her Photoshop skills and came up with a horrible segment utilizing a clearly modified, obese picture of Kaitlyn. I will say that Kaitlyn is doing a better job of reacting to AJ’s games, these segments just aren’t good.
And while we’re talking about the ladies, the backstage segment featuring the Bellas, Cameron and Naomi, Natalya, and the two new divas from NXT was horrible. The goal of the segment was to hype the debut of Total Divas on E!, coming up on July 28. All this segment did was make me dread what will be presented.
The Hall of Pain Makes a Statement:
Seriously, how good has Mark Henry been in his promos recently?
WWE has been presenting Henry very well in his feud with John Cena. The retrospective styled video package was well done. His promo from the stage last night was also very good, with the strong closing statement of “I’m going to kick your ass.” I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the “worst gift Stone Cold Steve Austin gave to wrestling” – the “What?!” chants – took a little bit of an edge off his promo though.
At the end of the night, Henry came out and watched Cena face Del Rio in the main event. They didn’t physically get involved, but Henry teased attacking Cena with a couple of head fake moves after giving him the belt back. Cena flinched, showing some fear. Disregard Cole’s “is it respect?” question. This played very well into how Henry is being presented and it’s well done.
I wasn’t enthralled with the idea of Cena vs. Henry back after Wrestlemania, but this build has been solid. It feels like a showdown type of match now.
Some might consider it a “de-push” of sorts, but putting The Shield vs. The Usos in the pre-show for Money in the Bank helps to bring the pre-show up. I like the idea of putting more important matches in that slot to generate interest.
I thought the Punk and Axel vs. the Prime Time Players match was handled well. It continues the mistrust story between the Heyman Guys with Axel tagging himself in then stealing the pinfall. Heyman’s role in it was brilliant when he acted like nothing happened after the match.
The ‘all heel’ approach to the Money in the Bank match for the World Heavyweight Title contract might work. The set-up match between Antonio Cesaro and Cody Rhodes fell a bit flat though. Fans had no idea who to cheer for.
It looks like the end is in sight for the latest McMahon family saga – or is it? I expect a full on three way argument on next Monday’s Raw as to whether Vickie Guerrero goes or stays. Either that or she resigns due to the confusion.
I’d like to know what they’re attempting to do with Ryback. He quit in his match with Miz last night, which seems to build on the “crybaby” part of his story with Jericho. This could put some heat on him, so I’m not ready to throw it away just yet. If it’s a one-off, then I’ll be shaking my head at this decision.
Daniel Bryan serving as the referee in the Kane/Orton match helped to continue the dynamic between the three men and especially Kane and Bryan. That actually made for good storytelling even with the match being less than stellar.
That's all for this week. If you're celebrating the Independence Day holiday here in the US, be mindful of those who have fought for our freedoms, be safe, and most importantly have fun! Join us next Monday night for more Raw coverage right here on Ring-Rap.com.