Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts. This is our look back at last night's Raw episode in more detail. Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts and opinions on the show in the comments below!
Thanks to Drew for covering while I was on vacation for this show. I caught up on it via DVR today, so, here's some hits and misses for you!
“Say something stupid, Paul…”
There is really one story that has me sold on SummerSlam. That story is NOT the WWE Championship. Instead, it is the matchup between Brock Lesnar and CM Punk, with Paul Heyman in the mix. This story is building extremely well, and last night was no exception.
Punk and Lesnar had another strong brawl. Lesnar comes out of this still looking like a beast, and Punk comes off as the valiant fighter that just won’t quit. Even Michael Cole fed into the brawl well with his announcing of it. He told the story of Punk standing his ground with Lesnar, but being distracted by the blind rage that Heyman generates in him.
The backstage promo with Lesnar and Heyman was well done also. I did chuckle at the “say something stupid” part but it works.
I am thrilled that CM Punk has not gotten his hands on Heyman yet. We know it’s coming, but the longer it’s saved just adds to the payoff once it actually happens.
“Sakemoto 2 – Habla Espanol?”
I’m not fully convinced that Ricardo Rodriguez took that beating from Alberto Del Rio as an ending to their on-air partnership. Perhaps Ricardo will become the new Sakemoto, who Tensai took to task after every loss. It’s a thin possibility, I suppose.
The hit of this segment though was how well it solidified Alberto Del Rio as a heel. Ricardo has always been a bit of a sympathetic character while with Del Rio. Ricardo needed to be more of a heel to enhance Del Rio’s act as a heel. Given Ricardo’s sympathetic tendencies, the fans really got on Del Rio when he beat down Ricardo so at least on this night it got Alberto heat. We’ll see how it carries forward, but for one night – well done.
Burn, Burn, Burn…
WWE has it right so far in limiting the exposure of the Wyatt Family. They’re keeping the act hot, but not over exposing them either. Having Harper and Rowan squash Tons of Funk was short and effective, and Wyatt cut another sound promo afterward.
I do have to question putting Wyatt in an Inferno Match as his first match (look it up on YouTube, Taker and Kane fought the first one I believe) if indeed this is what a “Ring of Fire” match is. But none the less, WWE is doing a good job out of the gate with the Wyatts.
Corporate Makeover Failure…
If you cast aside what involvement the McMahon family had in the WWE Championship story, you got some good television from Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, and John Cena. Bryan delivered a strong opening promo that pointed out the differences between him and Cena. Cena delivered a good promo as well in his segment. Randy Orton played his part perfectly in that he put the MITB briefcase in play. It served to remind viewers that there are many possibilities with that contract in his hand. The final segment definitely showcased Orton’s “Viper” persona.
The Shield did benefit from this moment too. They haven’t had too many high profile moments of late, but this was one of them. It’s reasonable for viewers to draw a conclusion that the Shield is working for Orton, but the three of them interrupted the tease of a cash-in, so it’s not likely that Orton hired the hounds of justice.
Swings and Misses
I stand by what I’ve been saying – whenever Vince used to appear on television, something big was about to happen. Sadly, their insertion into the Bryan/Cena story just doesn’t feel important or necessary. Maybe once we get the payoff, we’ll look back and see it differently. The McMahon involvement is taking away from what otherwise could be a compelling story.
Also, it’s worth noting that Stephanie still has not improved her acting ability. Her crying was just poor.
Cop Out Finshes
Fandango has been on a string of count-out losses of late. Apparently WWE Creative has felt the need to give the directionless Ryback the same loss in his match with Mark Henry. Can we start a Rydango, or Fandangback tag team that loses all their matches by count-out?
They Can’t Get All of it Right:
If you’ve paid attention to the reports, the “Total Divas” show is doing reasonably well on the E! Network. WWE has managed to produce a mildly entertaining show in that regard. However, both the match between Layla and Kaitlyn with AJ’s involvement and the backstage segment with the Bellas were just bad. Too bad WWE can’t come up with good creative for the ladies.
Speaking of, why on earth was Kaitlyn out there during the Dolph Ziggler/Big E. Langston match? I’m guessing the goal is to make her sympathetic because bad things keep happening, but all it seems to be doing is creating “go away” heat.
That's all for this week. I'll be back in the saddle next Monday as we enter "go-home" week for SummerSlam. Be sure to join all the fun on Twitter, Facebook, and here on the site!