Raw kicks off with The Boss man himself, Vince McMahon. It is easily revealed in no uncertain terms Brad Maddox is the puppet of the Chairman. McMahon and Maddox run down the challenger for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, but their antagonizing banter is interrupted by the challenger, Daniel Bryan. Bryan cuts a great promo, and if you would have asked me 10 years ago if Bryan Danielson and Vince McMahon would be in the ring together, I would have said “no chance in hell.” Thankfully I would be wrong, because those two can trash talk each other all night long. Bryan rallies the crowd, chanting for a new WWE Champion. McMahon says the strangest thing… he does not want either Cena or Bryan to walk out of SummerSlam as WWE Champion. In fact he hopes when they lock up, the ring explodes. So… McMahon wants a Japanese Exploding Time Bomb Match? YES! YES! YES! [Note: Fast forward to about 20 minutes or so to the ring explode in this famed match between Terry Funk and Atsushi Onita in Japan]
Well no, do not expect it. Do expect a great match. The hype now is Daniel Bryan cannot beat John Cena. Vince hates Bryan, saying he is too small, not someone who can represent WWE, does not have the look, etc… Sound familiar? Remember when Mankind (Mick Foley) was in pursuit of his first WWE Title reign? McMahon said the same thing, and soon enough Mrs. Foley’s little baby boy won the big one. Wonder if this means Bryan has a chance of dethroning Super Cena at SummerSlam?
The Shield defeat Mark Henry & The Usos
Great match. I love how Henry still acts the same way. Tough guy who just beats the tar out of everyone. Usos looked great, really working well with the World’s Strongest Man. I hope The Usos get more air-time after their program with The Shield. I get the feeling WWE will just feed Rollins and Reigns tag teams until time for them to lose the straps. I really think Usos should have some time with the gold, even if only until the next pay-per-view. Although the match was lost, Henry beat up all Shield members post-match. Everyone looked strong, hoping for some good matches at SummerSlam.
Backstage: Kane confronts Maddox to find the location of The Wyatts. Maddox informs the red demon they are not in the arena. However, if Kane wants to prove he still is a monster to The Wyatts, he might consider taking his rage out on his opponent tonight, Daniel Bryan.
Rob van Dam defeated Fandango
So, on Raw he gets good matches, while on SmackDown he faces jobbers. Great match, both RVD and Fandango hit some nice moves, but the match was far too short, and ended on a count-out. Bit of a disappointment.
Backstage: AJ Lee goes a bit whacko on Big E. Langston, who stands there and adjusts his mouth to smirk in various directions. Now that is a guy who is using his talent.
Kaitlyn defeats AJ Lee
Decent match, AJ dominant for most of the match, which is surprising when you compare AJ being a skinny twig to Kaitlyn who is quite muscular. I get they want to build Kaitlyn up, in a Trish Stratus-like way, but she looks weak. AJ has a conniption in the ring, and Dolph Ziggler comes out to taunt her and demand a match with Langston.
Dolph Ziggler defeats Big E. Langston by Count Out
Another great match, sadly did not last long enough. Ziggler dumps Langston to the floor, and AJ leaps in the ring to get the DQ. Langston looked real good here, controlling and just mauling Ziggler. Langston is a very impressive big man. Hope their match at SummerSlam is longer.
Backstage: Bryan confronts Cena over what McMahon said… if Cena was lying about having respect for Bryan. Uh oh, is Bryan becoming a little paranoid?
Christian defeated World Heavyweight Champion Alberto del Rio
You read that right. Christian pulled the upset win by countering the cross-armbreaker. Very good match with Del Rio shining as always. Christian is getting better, still seems sluggish, I feel as if Christian needs to start doing something new.
Clip from SmackDown: Cody Rhodes steals the MITB briefcase, Sandow running around the arena trying to find it. In the end, Rhodes throws it into the Gulf of Mexico, and Sandow jumps in after it. Very funny stuff.
Cody Rhodes defeats Wade Barrett
Barrett is now the British Brawler! The guy just cannot win a match. Another good match, Rhodes reversing a pump-handle attempt into the Cross-Rhodes neckbreaker. Post match, Damien Sandow comes out and rips into Rhodes, taking a shot at his family. This is going to become really entertaining if they stick with the family feud… Can you say Goldust?
Daniel Bryan defeats Kane
What a match! Great match, we should see this more often. Bryan as always was fantastic, and Kane as pure behemoth. Both looked strong, and served the purpose of bringing Kane closer back to monster-level. Post match Kane chokeslams Bryan, but before he could do anything further, The Wyatts arrive. Rowan and Harper overwhelm Kane, and Wyatt puts the nail in the coffin with a faceplant and words of warning. Follow the Buzzards. I am.
Brie Bella pinned Natalya
Wait, ANOTHER match of Divas? Well, this is more to push E! Total Divas, so I do not care. Natalya once again saddled with mediocrity. Natalya had the match in hand, but Nikki came out on stage, playing a Kazoo, distracting Nattie Neidhart, allowing Brie to roll her up for the pinfall. Natalya… her weakness is a Kazoo. The Kryptonite Kazoo. I have to vomit now.
Curt Axel vs. R-Truth went to a No-Contest
Heyman takes the opportunity to talk about Brock Lesnar as Axel heads to ringside for his match. Oh, but Axel is a Paul Heyman guy, so he is good too. Match goes nowhere, as CM Punk rushes the ring, takes out Axel and chases after Heyman. Axel saves his manager, but eats a beatdown for his troubles.
Backstage: Triple H, Stephanie, and Vince argue about Daniel Bryan. The chairman tells his daughter and son-in-law he wants someone to beat Cena, but not Bryan. Maybe someone like Triple H, except 23 years younger. Steph says she has an idea… giving Bryan a “corporate makeover.” Yeah, because that gimmick worked for Mick Foley in the late 90’s.
John Cena defeated Ryback in a Tables Match
Ryback is now “Big Bully Busick” of WWE. He bullies people. Earlier tonight, he intimidated an intern in line at some makeshift concession table, which was so poorly acted. Ryback put the kid through the table. Probably because his acting is worse. Decent match actually, some interesting spots with dueling ring stairs. Pretty much what I expected. Cena wins with an Attitude Adjustment through a corner-perched table.
Best part came after the match was over – Daniel Bryan taunts Cena with the WWE Championship, and the crowd is firmly behind Bryan.
All in all, not bad RAW, but not great either. Most matches felt rushed or just too short to go anywhere. We got a smattering of most of the assumed players for SummerSlam, but nothing major save Cena/Bryan, Punk/Heyman, and Henry/Usos/Shield building up. Sandow vs. Rhodes is certainly on the horizon, one has to wonder if the MITB contract will be on the line.
Coming up on SmackDown, Alberto del Rio gets to choose his SummerSlam opponent. This could get interesting. Zack Ryder!!!