Welcome to our weekly installment of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break last night's show down in more detail than one normally can during a live recap. Feel free to express your opinions and leave comments below.
Those are Strong Words...
We got a lot of good talk last night, and some, not so good. The talk segments all pointed toward one thing: the inevitable Cena vs. Punk showdown in Hell in a Cell in about four to five weeks.
Let's start with Cena. By the time the segment ended, he showed something. He was rather uninspired though in the early part of his promo. It felt like he was trying to play a 4-6 week injury shutdown into a possible retirement angle at one point. His demeanor, his expression, etc., was just not there.
But once he exchanged words with Punk, he showed a little something. Probably the weakest point of the closing segment in a case of "too little, too late." Cena may have been better served to not be at Raw last night.
Mick Foley and CM Punk had a fantastic exchange during the show. Usually when Foley comes back we get that campy, comedic version of him. This wasn't the case tonight. Foley really had something he could wrap his hands around and work with, and it came off brilliantly.
He talked his way through it, raising his intensity at the right times. The key to a good talker is just that - talk. Screaming isn't always the way to sell intensity, and Foley did his part well here without getting too far afield.
CM Punk was money all night also. The opening was very well done with him, Heyman, and Brad Maddox. Punk and Heyman lit up Maddox well for his mistake, and even Maddox played into his part well by looking nervous and intimidated by what was going on.
Punk even took it one step further and scolded fans who were supporting him rather than just accept that some fans will just cheer for him no matter how he handles himself.
CM Punk definitely was the star last night and carried the show with some fantastic mic work. I don't often like shows with a ton of talk, but these segments were well done and sold the upcoming anticipated match well.
Not Ready for Prime Time...
Call me crazy, but I am not a fan at all of putting Ryback out there as a possible substitution for John Cena if he's not ready to go at Hell in a Cell. Ryback, for starters, just got into a program with Miz (as it would seem) for the Intercontinental Championship. Just seems like far too much, far too soon.
My hope is that this is kept to a TV feud for Punk just until Cena is ready to go again. And it can be entertaining and good to watch if done right. Just not time for Ryback to be main eventing a pay per view though.
The Daniel Bryan/Kane stuff has been entertaining so far and has put a little bit of interest in tag team work. Last night, this all jumped the shark for me a bit.
Between the naming of the team (Team Hell No?) to the barfing and burping stuff at the diner, they lost me a little bit on this story. The "Harry Met Sally" movie scene reference made me chuckle, but that was about it.
Get Him Away...
Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler had a great television match last night. We have seen these two go at it a million times it seems. Last night was good though because they've been away from each other long enough to let it feel fresh again.
I really think they need to move Kingston on to something new now, without R-Truth. I don't want to see the two of them feud. Just let the two of them move on and go their own ways without a "breakup feud" between them. Kingston has the tools, he just needs the chance.
- Cole and JR were a good team last night. JR brings a sense of sport to the announce position even though he's not a natural color guy. Cole also does a good job as a straight call guy rather than the dorky heel.
- There was no call or reason to show all the various photos and videos of Jerry Lawler being worked on by EMT's and doctors. Tasteless, in this viewer's opinion.
- Ryback beating The Miz in a non-title match could have been a bigger deal if Miz had been presented better up to this point. He has been losing non-title matches all over the place. If he were winning more often, Ryback's win would have been more special.
- I'm happy to see some character development for Eve, but the Diva's segment was a mess last night. Kaitlyn revealing that she saw security footage of a blonde woman attacking her, then Eve attacking Beth, made little sense. And being honest, the fans don't much care about it at all.
That's it for this week, folks. Join us here next Monday as we continue the road to Hell in a Cell with more Raw coverage here on Ring-Rap.com.