Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we delve further into last night's show and break down the stories and events in more detail. Got a comment, or a question? Be sure to comment below!
The Champ Hustles:
Let's start with CM Punk throughout the night. Punk did a very good job carrying himself last night. He has altered his look with the haircut, then last night he toned down his normal excited delivery and instead brought a more monotone delivery. He put on some good antics in front of the hometown fans.
I was very pleased that WWE at least tried to go against the grain with Punk's reaction. Just like heel Edge in Toronto getting cheered, heel Punk definitely got a big face pop from the hometown faithful. Usually WWE just embraces this and leaves it as "bizzaro world," but in this case they tried to turn the fans and had some success when he walked out on the fans before the Champion vs. Champion match.
I'm mixed on the close of the show. Paul Heyman was eventually revealed as the car driver that Punk was with. If there's one person who doesn't need a mouthpiece, it's CM Punk. He can more than hold his own on the mic. I will say that the alliance between them could form a hook to see what happens next. With the NFL season on the horizon, WWE's looking for whatever they can get I am sure. Heyman's involvement does that.
They also gave Punk some heat by having him help Alberto Del Rio beat John Cena in the main event. This advanced the Punk/Cena feud with two weeks to go to Night of Champions.
Two Women Scorned?
Vickie and AJ got into it last night again. The two women played up their parts as well as they could, but overall this just fell on its face.
AJ is in limbo right now. I don't think WWE Creative can make up their mind if they're going to go heel or face with her. As AJ has worked her way along in this role as GM, she has lost her momentum. This segment meant to portray her sympathetically and as a face, but the fans can't seem to figure out what to do in reaction.
Maybe where they're going is to have AJ feud with Vickie to clearly define AJ's babyface position. AJ feels like a better heel, though, and she could do well by stealing Dolph from Vickie and form a new heel duo.
If this leads to Vickie go back to an on-air authority role, I am really going to hate it.
Hug It Out!
The fans ate up the 'hug it out' segment between Daniel Bryan and Kane. This will live on for a number of years.
Bryan is consistently entertaining in his role. Kane and Bryan are working off of each other very, very well right now. Kane is Kane. He's been involved in a lot of strange angles over the years (Katie Vick?), but when he's been called on to be the occasional main eventer or upper mid-card monster, he is able to do solid work. The anger management segments were entertaining for me also.
I'm willing to let this play out and see where it goes. I'm not sure what WWE is planning to do here - they could go down the road of a "strange bedfellows" tag team or a series of good matches between them.
- I was happy to see Alberto Del Rio get some rub. He got Orton to tap clean and got a win, albeit tainted a little, against Cena (which still counts, given it's Cena). It's a bit late for the feud with Sheamus, though.
- Sheamus was in a really tough spot in the open when interrupted by CM Punk. He got booed but he did deal with it well and helped to put a little heat on CM Punk with his explanation.
- Cole's solo commentary was very "old school" and well done. He is decent enough of an announcer when he plays it straight and drops the heel gimmick.
- Ziggler and Ryder getting wins on Raw felt good, but the Ryder match was presented very unimpressively.
- The Diva's match proved that Kaitlyn is terrible in the ring, but Eve has done well for herself and has come a long way.
That's all for this week, folks. Be sure to follow along next Monday night with our live coverage of Raw as we get ready for Night of Champions.