Hey, we start Raw with Brad Maddox. Yawn. We start with a contract signing. My wife points out they have been doing these a lot lately, perhaps they have too many tables in storage and need to destroy a bunch. Anyway, we have John Cena and Daniel Bryan coming face-to-face to sign the so-called paperwork to make their match at SummerSlam official. What happens if they forget to sign the papers? Match does not happen? Anyway, Maddox tries to be the antagonist, I think at one point he forgot his lines and Cena had to step in. Bryan comes out to a MASSIVE ovation. A great moment, he steps into the ring and raises his arms, the crowd erupts into YES YES YES chants over and over. Before he even speaks, the crowd chants his name. Wow, Bryan has certainly made it. He can go to any arena, and get a massive reaction. Maddox says something dumb, saying the WWE Title is only for big men, so Cena throws the title down and tells him to give it to The Great Khali. I erupted with NO chants.
Maddox tries to be the jerk-heel, saying no one really cheers Bryan, he is a loser, etc… Maddox really sucks at this, or he does a good job of sucking. It is painfully, PAINFULLY obvious Maddox is trying to be over as an a-hole. But it just does not come across right. It is too forced. Way too force.
Alberto del Rio defeated Sheamus
Not much of a technical match, just an all-out brawl. Sheamus as a HUGE bruise on his leg, results from Money in the Bank. He moved real slow, but damn impressive to pull off some big hits. Took some big hits too. Give the Irishman credit. Del Rio scored a nice enziguri while Sheamus was on the top rope. Very nice finish with Sheamus powering out of an attemped cross-armbreaker, went for the White Noise, but his leg, convincingly gave out, I actually thought Sheamus screwed up his leg, but Del Rio used it to roll up Sheamus for the very solid win.
Promo for the premiere of Total Divas. Yawn.
Announcement: The Miz will be the “host” of SummerSlam. Oh boy… they really have NOTHING for him to do now.
Recap of Vickie having Teddy Long ejected off SmackDown. Booker T and Teddy argue backstage over what happened. No idea what the point of this is.
Christian defeated Titus O’Neal
I give this match to O’Neal. He outclassed Christian in every way possible. How does Titus not get a singles push? Christian came back at the end, hit his spots and got the win, but I still maintain something is off with Christian. He just does not look the same. Titus O’Neal needs to go solo, get himself a singles title and be on his way to main event.
Mark Henry calls out The Shield
The newly minted babyface calls out The Shield, and cuts a pretty good promo doing it. Henry is overwhelmed, but The Usos rush out for the save. Usos likely getting another shot at the Tag Team Championships, Mark Henry will target Ambrose for the United States Championship at SummerSlam. It makes sense. The interesting thing about all this, Mark Henry has not changed his attitude or demeanor at all. He did not shake hands with Jimmy or Jey, he did pull a cheap-pop, but I still think Henry is at a second prime in WWE, perhaps another title run, perhaps the U.S. Championship is in his future.
Backstage: Cena talks to Bryan, saying he thinks Maddox is being used as a pawn by someone “higher up” and is really calling the shots. Bryan does not care, looking forward to his three opponents.
Dolph Ziggler defeats Darren Young
WINNER! This wins the “Why Is This A Match?” award tonight! Short recap of AJ Lee flipping out on SmackDown as Ziggler gloats about dumping her. AJ and Langston nearly kiss. Weird. I am actually impressed Young was able to last as long as he did, but I still think he needs to go. He sucks worse than David Otunga. Put them together as a new jobber team. Lawyers and Losers. Post-match the real action takes place, with Langston and Ziggles brawling. So, Ziggler is bumped back down to mid-card, and the obvious match for him at SummerSlam will be against Big E. Langston.
The WORST Miz TV Segment I Have EVER Seen
Miz tries to promote the E! Total Divas show, but turns it over to Lawler who gets slapped by some new Diva named Eva Marie, then turns it back to Miz. Lame lame lame lame lame lame.
Backstage: Brad Maddox harassed by Triple H, obvious implication Vince McMahon is calling the shots. Stephanie shows up and tries to give Maddox some encouragement.
Cody Rhodes defeats Fandango
Not a very good match, but Sandow at commentary is always entertaining. Sandow tries to interfere, but backfires, allowing Rhodes to spike the dancing fool for the win. Sandow vs. Rhodes should be quite entertaining.
CM Punk promo: What can I say which I have already said? CM Punk cuts a great promo, putting over Brock and his brute strength. Punk talks about how he is legitimately injured, feeling like he was in a car wreck, but like always, he always comes to RAW. Exclamation mark, “I am not afraid of Brock Lesnar” headline by CM Punk. He cuts a great promo on Heyman, who has some jarring words via satellite. Punk and Heyman were great together, and even better against each other.
Rob Van Dam defeats Wade Barrett
Another shock. Really. Barrett loses AGAIN. He had a good showing, dominated the match, but of course the extreme high flyer took control and finished Barrett off with a very nice Five Star Frog Splash.
Daniel Bryan defeats The Real Americans
Zeb Colter runs down Bryan with a pretty good promo. Swagger could have used the opportunity to show off some of his mat-based wrestling, but all we get is brute force, and a single Suplex. Swagger counters the suicide dive, hits the running turnbuckle splash, but does not get much more, as Bryan counters, trapping Swagger in the YES-Lock, forcing the tap out.
Daniel Bryan then faces off against Antonio Cesaro in a match lasting a little longer. About three times as long. Some more suplexes, and Cesaro is looking really good. Bryan continues to look awesome, two consecutive rushing corner dropkicks. Cesaro is a former ROH wrestler [Editor’s Note: then known as Claudio Castagnoli], he can take the punishment. Bryan crushes Cesaro with a huge German Suplex and a tree of woe. Cesaro and Bryan go back and forth, putting on an incredible show. Cesaro beats the tar out of Bryan with European Uppercuts, followed by a clothesline turning Bryan inside out. The crowd chant of “This is Awesome” is quite accurate; Cesaro must feel good hearing it. Bryan gets the win after evading Cesaro corner rushing, is nearly flapjacked, but Bryan counters into a small package roll-up for the win.
Backstage: Brad Maddox is with Alex Riley… ALEX RILEY?!?! He still has a job??? WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING ON TELEVISION??? [Editor’s Note: He’s the new Matt Striker — backstage interviewer] He points out the obvious to Maddox, “Bryan survived” but in response, the new GM has one more opponent in mind…
Daniel Bryan defeats Ryback
Ryback just killed the pace. He does his slow bully-like beat down, but Bryan gets some great offense in. Nice moment where Byran has the YES-lock, and Ryback does a slow crawl to the ropes. Very intense, really thought he might tap. On the outside, Ryback powerbombs Bryan through a table, ending the match by DQ. Ryback tries to inflict more pain, but Cena makes the save. He throws Ryback into the ring… and then Cena clotheslines him out.
So, Daniel Bryan once again is the highlight of Monday Night Raw. He is so over right now, it is unbelievable. Nice moment, he stands alone in the ring with the entire arena chanting YES! YES! YES! Not a bad RAW, a lot of mid-card matches, most of which I felt did not contribute to the overall storylines.
Before we close, Vince and Maddox are backstage, talking about Cena issuing a challenge to Ryback for a Tables Match. Vince wants Bryan in action against someone bigger than him, possibly a former friend… KANE.