Live from Richmond, Virginia this is the Raw Deal for episode #1046. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you're on Facebook please "Like" this post as well. Thank you.

The opening video focused on the health of Triple H and how last week Vince & Stephanie McMahon prevented him from wrestling. Stephanie called him Paul, so you know this is serious.

Triple H made his entrance for his match against Curtis Axel. The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield.

Curtis Axel made his entrance along with Paul Heyman.

Triple H vs. Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman)

The crowd chanted "Triple H" at the start of the match. Hunter attacked Axel in the corner early on. Suplex got him a two count. One minute into the match, Vince McMahon's music started up. Hunter grabbed a headlock. McMahon walked to ringside. Hunter threw Axel outside the ring. McMahon told the timekeeper to ring the bell and instructed Justin Roberts to announce something. Roberts said that Axel won via disqualification. Hunter was yelling at his father in law Vince McMahon, who simply walked back up the ramp.  

Winner: Curtis Axel via DQ

After the match, Hunter told Roberts to announce that the match has restarted.

Triple H vs. Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman)

The timekeeper rang the ball as the match began again. McMahon walked out again while Hunter had Axel in a headlock. This is the déjà vu edition of Raw. The crowd chanted "you suck" at McMahon. The bell rang again. McMahon instructed Roberts, who said that Axel won via forfeit. It went about one minute.

Winner: Curtis Axel via forfeit

Hunter instructed Roberts that this will now be a 60 Minute Ironman Match. McMahon walked back down to ringside. He told Axel and Heyman to leave the ring. McMahon took the ring bell as well as the microphone of Justin Roberts. Then Vince's music started to play.

Analysis: That was one of the most bizarre opening segments in Raw history. Hunter wants to wrestle, but his father-in-law doesn't want him to. They each had the power to start a match and stop a match, but McMahon outsmarted him. This story is just beginning. I'm actually intrigued by how they book it. Meanwhile, Axel can brag about two more questionable wins.

The announcers discussed what happened as JBL said that the McMahons were the nuttiest family in the world. Later on we'll get a face to face between Ryback and John Cena. Kane vs. Dean Ambrose is up next.

(Commercial)

Backstage, Hunter told his wife Stephanie that what happened out there was embarrassing. Stephanie said please don't hurt Vince because he's not getting any younger. She told Hunter to think about how Vince plays with their kids in the pool. Hunter told her to go talk to him.

Analysis: All this and more coming later on As The McMahons Turn.

There was a clip of Kane and Daniel Bryan arguing on Smackdown. Kane was mad that Bryan couldn't trust him. Kane has turned heel and face like 12 times in his career, yet he's shocked that somebody has a lack of trust towards him. Oh well that's WWE logic. We're supposed to forget about anything from the past unless it's relevant.

Dean Ambrose vs. Kane

This is not for Ambrose's US Title. The bell didn't ring because there was no bell. I love how they have no replacement bell. Kane hit a backbreaker early on. A referee ran out with a new ring bell while JBL sarcastically wondered if the ring bell would trend on Twitter. Outside the ring, Kane dropped Ambrose with an uppercut. They went to break two minutes into the match with Ambrose outside the ring for the vintage floor to commercial break.

(Commercial)

Back in the ring, Ambrose hit a running dropkick. On the WWE App you can see Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan watching the match. Lawler suggested that they watch the App. Yeah because that's a good use of announcers. Kane countered a DDT by tossing Ambrose into the middle of the ring. Kane hit a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Kane hit a clothesline followed by a sidewalk slam for two. Top rope clothesline by Kane. Ambrose rolled to the floor and that set up Rollins & Reigns attacking Kane for the DQ finish. It went about ten minutes.

Winner: Kane via DQ

Immediately after the bell rang, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton ran out to save Kane from the attack. The Shield quickly left the ring through the crowd.

Analysis: *1/2 It was just an okay match that was more of an angle to further the story involving Bryan, Kane & Orton against The Shield. They had good chemistry in the match, but they weren't any nearfall sequences that were believable. The DQ finish was predictable. The crowd was hot for it, though, so that's okay with me.

The Payback PPV "Kickoff" match is Sandow vs. Sheamus.

On the WWE App you can vote to see whether Bryan faces Rollins or Reigns. The member of The Shield that isn't chosen will face Randy Orton. Bryan vs. Rollins would be my pick.

(Commercial)

The result of the vote told us that 66% of voters picked Seth Rollins, so he faces Daniel Bryan while Randy Orton takes on Roman Reigns. Good choices.

There was a backstage segment with Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Kane, Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox. She announced that Bryan & Orton would get a tag title match at Payback against Reigns & Rollins while Kane will face Dean Ambrose for the US Title.

Analysis: That's an interesting setup. The reasoning given is that Orton and Bryan won via disqualification as a team on Friday. I mentioned the Kane/Ambrose US Title match as a possible in my column about Payback on Saturday.

The Miz entered the arena for his match.

(Commercial)

Wade Barrett was at the commentary desk for this match. There's a story up on WWE.com saying that Fandango has a concussion and is out of the IC Title match at Payback. That means we get Wade Barrett vs. The Miz for the IC Title instead of a triple threat match. We've seen that match many times before.

The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes

Barrett said Fandango didn't even deserve the IC Title match anyway. Rhodes hit a front suplex on Miz. Rhodes continued the offense, but then Miz countered and applied the Figure Four Leg Lock. Rhodes tapped out, so Miz won the match in about three minutes.

Winner: The Miz

Analysis: * Cody looked like nothing more than a jobber there. What a shame. Miz barely got any offense in, yet Rhodes lost cleanly to the Figure Four Leg Lock.

Paul Heyman walked out on the ramp to announce that there will be a new triple threat match for the IC Title at Payback: Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel. He received the authorization from Vickie Guerrero. Axel said the "perfect" ending for the match on Sunday would be for Curtis Axel to leave as Intercontinental Champion.

There was a video package on Mark Henry as Cole informed us that Mark Henry is back next week. He's only been gone for about a month and here he is in video package form in case you forgot about him. Because that's what he does.

The great Chris Jericho was shown walking backstage.

(Commercial)

There were a lot of replays of the McMahon/Triple H actions from earlier in the show. Lawler actually thought we'd get an Ironman match. Oh how I miss when King was a heel announcer. They even replayed the full backstage segment with Hunter and Stephanie. It's like these people run the show or something.

In Vince McMahon's office, Stephanie tried to talk to her father. She said what Vince did out there was embarrassing. He heard what Stephanie said that Vince was getting old. Vince was mad that Hunter made her cry, but she said Vince made her cry. "Family or not, business comes first" is what Vince said. He told Stephanie to keep Hunter away. Vince didn't want to talk to Hunter and he excused himself saying he had a show to run.

Analysis: Is this a heel turn for grandpa Vince? It feels like it. Still too early to tell at this point.

Chris Jericho walked out for a promo. He was in his wrestling gear. I wonder if he'll have a match? Rhetorical question, my friends. He welcomed us to "Raw is Jericho" as he talked about how he's faced everybody in the business over the years. Jericho named a lot of huge names like Austin, Rock, Orton, Cena, Triple H and more. He said the man that takes him to the limit like no other is CM Punk. The crowd chanted "CM Punk" as he paused. Jericho said the reason Punk is so damn good is that Punk believes that he is the best in the world. He said that's why they're such evenly matched opponents. He said they accept nothing more than the best. "This Sunday at Payback, Punk/Jericho 3." He referenced their matches at WrestleMania 28 and Extreme Rules (also in Chicago) last year. He said Punk will get his best. "I have to beat you at Payback," said Jericho. "No matter what happens neither one of us will ever eeeever be the same" and as he tried to finish the speech, the music of Dolph Ziggler started up.

The World Champion Dolph Ziggler was in street clothes along with AJ Lee and Big E Langston at his side as they stood at the top of the ramp. Ziggler said that nobody  wanted him to ever have this (the world title), so he earned it. At Payback he's going to prove to Alberto Del Rio he will be outclassed in every possible way. He said he's the best in the business and he's just getting started. Ziggler said that it was going to happen this Sunday.

Jericho cut him off to say this is Raw. He mentioned Richmond, Virginia to get a cheap pop. He wanted Ziggler to have a tune up match with him right now. Ziggler said Jericho has his match against Big E Langston. Ziggler said he'll be back in the ring at Payback. Langston walked to the ring as they went to break.

Analysis: I thought Jericho did an excellent job of putting over Punk in the promo as somebody he feels is the best opponent he's ever faced. That says a lot about Punk. That's a more effective way to do a promo instead of burying a guy. If you say a guy is as great as you then the fans will be more interested in the match. Fans want to see winners, not losers. The return of Ziggler was handled properly. It was obvious that Ziggler wasn't wrestling since he wasn't in his gear, so Langston was the logical replacement.

(Commercial)

Chris Jericho vs. Big E Langston (w/Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee)

It started during the break on the WWE App. Jericho was favoring his leg as Langston was dominating the action early on. Langston charged, Jericho moved and Langston went over the top to the floor. Jericho hit a dropkick, but Langston came back by throwing Jericho into the steel steps. Langston gave Jericho shoulderblocks while he was up against the turnbuckle. On the WWE App you can watch Alberto Del Rio delivering a promo. I'll stick with the match. Langston knocked down Jericho with a shoulder tackle. Jericho made a comeback with an enziguiri followed by a dropkick for two. Langston hit three backbreakers in a row for a two count of his own. Jericho hit a cross body block off the top rope for a two count. Ziggler jumped on the apron, which distracted Jericho. Langston hit a running body attack to knock Jericho down. Alberto Del Rio ran down to ringside. He attacked Ziggler from behind. Langston missed a corner charge, so Jericho took advantage with a Codebreaker. He covered Langston for the win after 7 minutes.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Analysis: **1/2 That was a solid TV match. Jericho did a great job of taking the punishment of Langston and making him look great. The finish made sense since Jericho's in a PPV match while Langston isn't on the card. The Del Rio attack was a total cheapshot and not much of a babyface move, but the fans loved it because they're anti-Ziggler of course. I just thought it was a bit cheap to have a babyface attack a heel from behind when he wasn't provoked. Some of the faces in WWE (namely Sheamus) act more heelish than the heels sometimes.

Later in the show it's Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins and Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns. I'm really excited about Bryan vs. Rollins. I've seen it in Ring of Honor before, but it will be great to see again.  

(Commercial)

Sin Cara made his entrance. Zeb Colter joined the commentating team to say that Sin Cara was disrespecting America because he was wearing a mask. Colter is great. Jack Swagger's out with a hand injury in case you don't know.

Antonio Cesaro vs. Sin Cara

No Sin Cara lights for this match, so that's good. Cole wondered why Colter didn't like Sin Cara while he was okay with Cesaro. Colter said that Sin Cara snuck across the border while Cesaro legally entered the United States. Cesaro hit a gutwrench suplex. Cesaro hit a body slam. Colter said Swagger would be back soon while Cesaro hit a double foot stomp to the chest of Sin Cara. Colter said T-Mobile was horrible and the government was listening to his conversations. This is quite the random guest commentary appearance. Sin Cara hit an athletic headscissors. He then got a nearfall off a sunset flip into a powerbomb. Sin Cara went to the top for a cross body attack. Cesaro caught him in a backbreaker. Neutralizer by Cesaro won the match after about three minutes. Colter said he's impressed by Cesaro.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro

Analysis: *1/2 That was an entertaining three minute match. Cole said that Sin Cara was "spectacular" during the match. He didn't do enough in the match to be considered spectacular. The placement of Colter was interesting. It could lead to a scenario where he manages Cesaro because he said he was a fan of him and didn't mind him because he came to America legally. It will be interesting if they go in that direction. Of course I wish Cesaro was given a push again, but this match felt like filler in a lot of ways.

There was a video featuring Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family. I'm very excited about their debut on the main roster. I've seen them on NXT. They have a lot of potential. "We're coming." It didn't say when they debut.

John Cena and Ryback will have a chat in the ring later.

(Commercial)

Backstage, Vickie Guerrero was with Brad Maddox as Vince McMahon walked up to them. They had Hardee's products by them with a Hardee's logo on the screen in the background. Maddox suggested that all of the Lumberjacks that will be a part of  Cena/Ryback at Payback should go out to ringside later in the show when Cena has his showdown with Ryback. McMahon said that was good. He left as Vickie got mad that Maddox came up with a good idea.

Analysis: What a blatant plug of Hardee's that was. Everybody has a price.

Randy Orton made his entrance for his match. Daniel Bryan also made his entrance. Each man got a big ovation. They showed what happened on Smackdown when Bryan accidentally gave Orton a dropkick during their tag match. Then Orton gave Bryan a RKO. He admitted that the RKO was on purpose. JBL said obviously it was on purpose. How could he do a RKO on accident anyway? It's not the kind of move that would be an accident. They went to break with Orton staring at Bryan.

(Commercial)

Roman Reigns (w/Seth Rollins) vs. Randy Orton (w/Daniel Bryan)

Dropkick by Orton. Orton gave Reigns a back body drop so that the spine of Reigns hit the top of the barricade. Should I call it the barricade or the security wall? I change it up all the time. Orton missed a knee drop, so Reigns took advantage with a headbutt. Orton hit a Thesz Press followed by a series of fists to the face. Orton was caught up on the top rope applying offense as Reigns hit a forearm that sent Orton to the floor four minutes into the match. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break.

Analysis: The crowd was quiet for this match. I'm sure it will get louder when Orton makes his comeback.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Reigns hit a stun gun on Orton and then a leaping clothesline for two. On the WWE App, Kane was doing a promo. That's nice. I'll stick to the match. Reigns had Orton in a long chinlock, so Orton hit a back suplex to break out of it as both guys were down in the ring. Orton made his comeback with clotheslines as well as his snap powerslam. Backbreaker variation by Orton followed by the DDT off the ropes as Cole called it "vintage" as we entered the top of hour three. Outside the ring, Rollins took down Bryan. Orton went after Rollins. Bryan went into the ring and he hit a dive outside the ring to take out Rollins & Reigns. The referee rang the bell. It was ruled a no contest and it ended in 12 minutes.  

Match Ruled a No Contest

Analysis: ** I thought Orton might win the match, but instead they went for the no contest finish as a way to set up the following match right away. Reigns continues to impress me. I don't think he's as good as Ambrose or Rollins in terms of in-ring work, but he continues to improve every time I see him. The crowd was quiet early on, but as expected they woke up when Orton was on offense.

The next match started right away.

Daniel Bryan (w/Randy Orton) vs. Seth Rollins (w/Roman Reigns)

Bryan was on fire offensively with a running knee attack followed by a series of kicks and elbows while the fans chanted "yes" for everything he did. Cole mentioned that fans were tweeting names for Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton. He said his favorite was Team RKNo. That works. Bryan hit a couple of dropkicks to knock Rollins outside the ring. Bryan hit the running knee attack off the apron onto Rollins outside the ring. Back in the ring, Rollins did his awesome move where he rams the head of his opponent into the middle turnbuckle. I love that spot. When wrestlers use various parts of the ring as a weapon it's a great move. Bryan countered a Rollins surfboard attempt and then applied the surfboard himself. Bryan bent the body of Rollins back so that he was in a painful submission hold. Rollins broke free as they went to break five minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Rollins dropped Bryan with a forearm to the face for two. The speed with which these guys go at is amazing. As Bryan threw punches, the crowd chanted "yes" and when Rollins threw punches the crowd chanted "no." That was fun. Rollins went for a kick, Bryan avoided it and applied a half crab. Rollins made it to the ropes. Bryan hit the running dropkick in the corner twice for a two count. Rollins came back with a kick to the head for a two count. Rollins went a German Suplex, but Bryan landed on his feet. Rollins hit a Powerbomb that sent Bryan's back into the top turnbuckle. That's a spot from many Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit matches. Love it. Rollins hit a flying forearm and then Bryan gave Rollins a back body drop over the top. As Bryan attempted a dive to the floor, Rollins countered with a forearm. Bryan moved out of the way of a flying knee attack. Bryan hit a rolling German Suplex and then a hard kick to the face for the nearfall. This match is awesome. Bryan tripped up Rollins on the top rope and then he hit a top rope back suplex, but Rollins countered in mid-air so he landed on top of Bryan. Both guys were out in the ring. "This is awesome" chant by the crowd. Damn right. Reigns went to interfere, so Orton tripped him up. Rollins missed an attack in the corner and then Bryan gave Rollins an inside cradle to win the match. The match went 15 minutes.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Rollins attacked Bryan post match, but Bryan hit him with a kick to the head and then Orton dropped Rollins with a RKO. Post match, Bryan led the crowd in "yes" chants.

Analysis: **** This is a rivalry that was built up in Ring of Honor where Rollins was Tyler Black and Bryan was Bryan Danielson. They had a lot of outstanding matches there that you can find on youtube if you haven't seen them. I loved how they showed off their athleticism from the beginning with Bryan also using his technical wrestling skill to keep Rollins grounded. I have been really impressed by the heel work of Rollins. He's a natural babyface in a lot of ways, but his heel work is excellent and he does a good job of getting a crowd to hate him. Kudos to the Richmond crowd for the "this is awesome" chant because that's exactly what this was. One of the best things about three hour Raw is we have been getting more great matches on a regular basis. They could still do it on a two hour Raw, but they happened less frequently. A 15 minute match between Bryan and Rollins is exactly why I still love the wrestling business. That was wrestling at its best. I loved it even more because there was a clean finish too.

More replays of the Triple H/McMahon drama from earlier in the show. This is good because now I can write more of the analysis for the match above.

The Ryback/Cena face to face is coming up. Kaitlyn was shown getting ready for her secret admirer. That's up next.

(Commercial)

There were clips of WWE's involvement with the Special Olympics.

The Divas Champion Kaitlyn was in the ring looking dressed up. She asked the secret admirer to show himself. Big E Langston walked down to the ring in a dress shirt and flowers in his hand. Kaitlyn was surprised.

Kaitlyn: "Big E. It's you?" He handed her the flowers. Langston said he knows this is unexpected, but he's more than a guy that cares about beating people up. Langston said he cared about more than that. He cares about Kaitlyn. Langston said he knows Kaitlyn was skeptical, but ever since he first saw her she was all he could ever think of. He didn't know how to tell her until now. He dipped her. Then he tossed her down. AJ Lee's music started up. AJ skipped down to the ring as Langston left.

AJ wondered if Kaitlyn felt alone and worthless. She entered the ring. AJ said this is how AJ felt when Kaitlyn abandoned her. She also talked about how guys like Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and John Cena used her. Where was her best friend? Chasing the Divas Title. Kaitlyn told AJ she was crazy. AJ called Kaitlyn sad, weak, pitiful and she called her trash too. "You have no one. No love. No friends. None of these people give a damn about you." Crowd booed. The only thing Kaitlyn has that's worth anything is the Divas Title. "Come Sunday you won't even have that." AJ said she would get what she always wanted and Kaitlyn would be alone. Kaitlyn had enough of it, so she took down AJ. They brawled for a few seconds until AJ escaped. They had a staredown to end the segment. AJ skipped away while Kaitlyn looked sad in the ring.

Analysis: That was a good way to build up Sunday's Divas Title match. It puts AJ over as a crazy woman who is also smart enough to play with the mind of somebody she knows. She was the one that sent Kaitlyn all those messages because she knew her. It makes sense with the story. It's nice to have a Divas Title feud where it feels like a personal matter between the two rather than simply having the good girl against the bad girl. I thought the segment was well done by the former Chickbusters.

There was another Wyatt Family video. "Run. We're coming." They didn't say when they would arrive. I think next week is most likely.

(Commercial)

This next match is sponsored by Hardee's apparently. Damien Sandow said that he's been battling with Sheamus for weeks now and this Sunday at Payback Kickoff he'll prove he's superior to Sheamus. At the announce table, King had a burger in front of him. He was staring it.

Damien Sandow vs. R-Truth

I noticed the Greek flag several times during the show in the first few rows. As a Greek man myself (Canton is a pen name), I approve. Sandow tossed Truth to the floor and then drove him into the side of the ring. Sandow hit a Russian Legsweep followed by the Elbow of Disdain for two. Truth made a comeback with clotheslines, a headscissors and then a front suplex for two. Sandow clipped him in the knee. That led to The Silencer as JBL called it. It was a uranage (or Rock Bottom) variation. He covered for the win after three minutes.

Winner: Damien Sandow

Analysis: * Just a basic three minute match to put over Sandow since he's wrestling at Payback while Truth is not on the card.

Sheamus appeared on the stage to congratulate Sandow for his win. He said that they have a match at Payback Kickoff, so what better way to kick off Payback in Chicago than with Sheamus kicking his head off. His music played.

Analysis: I'd be shocked if Sheamus didn't win that match.

Backstage, Stephanie McMahon told some random dude backstage to get Vince McMahon. She told another guy to get Triple H. She told them to make sure they met in their office.

Analysis: I love how it took three hours to get them together. Funny how that works huh?

(Commercial)

There was a video package that focused on the recent "Ryback rampage" as Cole called it.

The lumberjacks walked out to surround the ring for the Ryback/Cena promo to end the show.

(Commercial)

In the McMahon family office, Vince and Triple H confronted each other. Stephanie was standing between them. Stephanie yelled at them to work it out as she left the room. Neither one wanted to apologize. McMahon said that Triple H is bigger than a match against Curtis Axel. He called Hunter a legend. He wants Triple H to be the man and do the right thing every time. He's trying to do the right thing. Hunter said "I get it." Hunter said he didn't want the match with Axel. McMahon changed his mind saying he wanted the match now. Hunter said he didn't want the match now. Stephanie appeared again. She suggested a group hug. Vince: "I don't hug other men." Hunter wondered why Vince wouldn’t hug him. There was a three way hug with Vince and Hunter slapping each other on the back. Vince left.

Analysis: That was awkward. It turned into a comedy segment by the end. It wasn't even that funny. It was waste of time, really.

After three hours and four minutes of Raw, the WWE Champion John Cena made his entrance. Ryback entered in an ambulance. The lumberjacks were outside the ring to make sure this didn't get out of hand. JTG still works for WWE and even he was out there. That's right my friends, JTG is main eventing Raw.

John Cena "Face to Face" with Ryback

Ryback stood at the top of the ramp. Cena wanted Ryback to enter the ring. Ryback said he could tear through the 30 Lumberjacks and everybody in the audience if he wanted to. He told Cena he was at the top of the ramp for Cena's benefit rather than his own. Cena talked about how Ryback has been sending a lot of messages. He knows that Ryback does damage. Ryback said he deserved to be the WWE Champion three times. Ryback mentioned the TLC match, the Survivor Series match and Hell in a Cell. Cena said he gave him that match. Ryback said he got too good too fast, which is why Cena worried about Ryback. When the going got tough, Cena left him alone. Cena replied with some yelling saying it's tough in WWE. He called Ryback a guy that blamed everybody else for his own failures. Cena said he's walking into hell on Sunday, but he's walking out saying "the champ is here." Ryback said his eyes are wide open. He can see Cena. Ryback claimed to know what Cena was thinking. He claimed that the legend of Cena ends at Payback. He said he would finally become the WWE Champion. "Eight months ago you gave me your spot, this Sunday in Three Stages of Hell, Ryback takes your spot."

Cena threw off his shirt and said that this Sunday for one of them "payback's a bitch." Cena tried to get at Ryback, but the heel lumberjacks wouldn't let him go. Ryback charged the ring. Cena ducked him. Ryback brawled with  Cena in the ring. The lumberjacks went into the ring to separate Cena and Ryback. Raw ended with each man backed into a corner. The show ended at 11:13pmET. It usually ends around 11:05pmET, so it ran a little long.

Analysis: It was a decent promo to end the show. Like usual, the heel made sense in talking about how he was screwed out of his title chances. Ryback was right about that. Cena didn't have much to come back with except to call Ryback a whiner. Using the lumberjacks to keep them apart is smart because it builds up anticipation for the match on Sunday. Do I think Ryback will win? Nope.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Daniel Bryan

2. Seth Rollins

3. Chris Jericho

 

The Scoreboard

6.5 out of 10

Last week: 7

2013 Average: 5.67

2013 High: 8 (April 8)

2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)

Last 5 Weeks: 7, 7.5, 6, 4, 4

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 6.5 out of 10. That's a solid score. The last four weeks of Raw have earned scores of at least 6/10 or above each time. That's a sign of an improved show in the last month.

If you've seen one edition of Raw prior to a PPV you've seen them all. There were several matches where people wrestling on the PPV beat people not wrestling on the PPV. That's what always happens.

The highlight of the show was obviously that Bryan/Rollins match. They were given nearly 20 minutes, the crowd was into everything they did and they did an awesome job putting on an entertaining match. A long term feud between those two could be very special down the road. This match was a nice sampling of things to come in their future.

I liked a lot of the storylines although the McMahon angle doesn't interest me that much. I guess that's just because we've seen them arguing on Raw for many years.

I'll have more thoughts on everything in the PPV preview at the end of the week.

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It's time for some plugs.

The return of TJR Radio is this Wednesday night at 10pmET/9pmCT. Normally we do our show on Tuesday, but because of the NBA Finals we're moving it to Wednesday this week. The next show on June 25 is a Tuesday. Since it's only two weeks between shows we might only go an hour this week. If you miss it live you can download it or play it online right here. You can also get it on iTunes right here too. 

I'll be back on Friday for the official preview of WWE Payback on TJRWrestling.com and other website. Unfortunately I will not be watching Payback live on Sunday night to write about it live. I'm watching the NBA Finals live. I'm a hoops guy. I have buddies that come over. I can watch Payback immediately after and write about it then or maybe in the morning. I'm not sure if I'll have any columns other than the Payback preview this week, but keep visiting TJRWrestling.com because our team of writers are always providing you with great, free content on a daily basis.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

John Canton - mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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