Live from Charleston, South Carolina this is the Raw Deal for episode #1048. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you're on Facebook please "Like" this post as well. Thank you.

The opening video package reminded us of last week on Raw when Brock Lesnar attacked CM Punk and Mark Henry attacked John Cena. What happens next? Find out on Raw.

The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield.

Daniel Bryan made his entrance to a good reaction. Cole mentioned Randy Orton beat him by ref stoppage last week on Raw and Bryan got his win back by winning via countout on Smackdown.

Bryan talked about how people have doubted him his whole life and he confirmed also that he was not an extra in The Hobbit. I never saw it. He brought up being called the weak link saying that anybody who thinks that is a moron. He said even though he won by countout against Orton last week on Smackdown he wants to beat him via pinfall or submission. Will he do that tonight? "Yes! Yes! Yes!" And repeat.

Randy Orton made his entrance. He took the microphone from Bryan. "Shut up and fight." Simple. To the point. Bryan hit Orton with a running knee attack that knocked Orton to the floor. The match began.

Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton

Orton dumped Bryan outside the ring and knocked him down with a clothesline. Orton threw Bryan over the announce table onto the announcers. Bryan came back with a running knee attack. Referee Charles Robinson rang the bell because he couldn't control them. Other referees ran out to break it up. The "match" went about two minutes.

Match Result: No Contest

The referees finally were able to separate them as the show went to break.

Analysis: It was an angle more than a match, so no point in rating it. It was a hot start to the show. I assume it was done to set up something later in the show, so in that sense it was effective. The crowd was hot for it. I'm looking forward to seeing where this story goes next.

(Commercial)

Backstage, Daniel Bryan walked up to Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox. Bryan was mad about the double disqualification. He wanted the match with Orton. He said if he didn't get a match with Orton he wanted a match with Maddox. She gave Bryan the match with Orton.

Analysis: No stipulation announced for it at this point. It didn't take long to further the story huh?

Vince McMahon walked up to Vickie for the weekly As The McMahons Turn segment where he said some people think Bryan isn't fit to be a WWE superstar and that he has psychological issues. Vickie wondered what he thought. He just left.

Sheamus & Christian vs. Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes

The heels didn't get a televised entrance. The faces did. Christian aggressively attacked Rhodes early, but then the heels used cheap tactics to take advantage as Rhodes threw Christian into the steel steps. Cole mentioned Sheamus' rivalry with Sandow, which saw Sheamus win clean prior to Payback yet the feud is continuing. Lawler mentioned the late Jackie Fargo, who passed away earlier on Monday. He was a guy that was very influential in Lawler's career. The heels worked over Christian in their corner with a lot of quick tags. Delayed front suplex by Rhodes got two on Christian. Double clothesline spot fired up the crowd as Sheamus got the hot tag for his team while Sandow also tagged in. Running knee by Sheamus and then the ten clubbing blows in the ropes. Rhodes tagged in and Sheamus destroyed him quickly with the Brogue Kick to win the match after four minutes. The heels miscommunicated when Rhodes tagged in.

Winners: Sheamus & Christian

Analysis: *1/2 It was a short tag match, but there was nothing wrong with it. Christian was the babyface in peril, Sheamus got the hot tag and predictably that was the end of the match. They teased a problem between Rhodes & Sandow at the end although it was not pushed strongly. Sheamus is in a street fight with Sandow on Smackdown, which they mentioned a few times.

Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match is coming up later.

(Commercial)

Backstage, CM Punk was on his cell phone. Was he checking the Chicago Blackhawks score? Vickie Guerrero showed up. He asked her about Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. She said she didn't know about them. She wanted to put him in a match. He didn't care about being in a match. He just wanted to know if Heyman and Lesnar showed up. Then he left.

Kaitlyn (w/Layla) vs. Aksana

Layla was supporting her friend Kaitlyn by standing in her corner. Layla's a gorgeous woman no matter what she wears, but when she's not in ring gear she's even hotter. I hope that make sense. Kaitlyn hit a shoulderblock. Less than a minute into the match, Kaitlyn's music started to play. She kicked Aksana and knocked her out of the ring. AJ Lee walked out in a wig and an outfit that had muscles on it to make it look like she was Kaitlyn. Aksana tried a rollup. Kaitlyn quickly kicked out and hit a Spear to win the match in under two minutes.

Winner: Kaitlyn

Post match, AJ Lee said she was Kaitlyn and imitated Kaitlyn saying she lost her dignity. She (as Kaitlyn) was humiliated when she had a secret admirer. Big E Langston walked out with flowers in his hands. Langston said that she (fake Kaitlyn) was the one. AJ said she dreamed of finding a man with a voice as deep as hers, legs as big as hers and let's not get started about the Adam's apple. Ouch. She laughed. Then AJ's music played and Langston carried AJ out. Kaitlyn looked angry in the ring. Her nipple was not exposed this week. Congrats on that.

Analysis: 1/2* It was basically a squash. Seeing AJ dressed like Kaitlyn gave me some flashbacks to the Trish Stratus/Mickie James angle from 2006 when they dressed up as each other. It was also reminiscent of Laycool/Mickie, but that feud wasn't nearly as good. This segment was just okay at best. At some point Kaitlyn needs to get revenge on AJ and that will likely be in their match at Money in the Bank. It's refreshing to see a divas feud that has more to a story than simply having a babyface against a heel. Character depth is a great thing.

There was another video about the "disturbing" Wyatt Family as Cole called them.

Up next we'll see what happened with Mark Henry and John Cena last week.

(Commercial)

There was a video package about Mark Henry's great fake retirement speech last week on Raw. Just as it looked like he was going to retire, he dropped John Cena with the World's Strongest Slam. He told him he still had a lot left in the tank. This was a great angle. I didn't think he was retiring when it was happening, but the crowd bought into it and when they did it resulted in a memorable moment as Henry slammed Cena in the middle of the ring.

JBL applauded Mark Henry for his elaborate hoax as Cole told us that Henry gets the WWE Title shot against Cena at Money in the Bank.

Analysis: Henry lost his last match to Sheamus at Extreme Rules, yet he gets a WWE Title shot at Money in the Bank while Sheamus feuds with Damien Sandow. I realize wins and losses don't matter, but it would be nice if people received title shots based on winning matches.

Chris Jericho made his entrance for the match against Alberto Del Rio. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

Ricardo Rodriguez mocked South Carolina by speaking with a southern accent before he introduced Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio has the heel scarf back in case you care about these sorts of things. At Money in the Bank it will be Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Title.

Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Chris Jericho

This is not for Del Rio's World Title. Jericho dropkick with the "c'mon baby" to fire up the crowd. Suplex by Jericho got a two count. Running kick by Del Rio, but then Jericho hit a missile dropkick off the middle rope. Back body drop by Jericho sent Del Rio over the top to the floor. Jericho went for a dive outside the ring, but Del Rio moved. Del Rio threw Jericho into the barricade as we hit the vintage floor to commercial spot three minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Jericho hit an enziguiri kick to the back of the head for two. Jericho went to the top rope, so Del Rio leaped up and kicked Jericho in the back of the head. Del Rio really does a lot of hard kicks as part of his offense. Jericho was out of the ring, but he was able to roll back in the ring before the ten count. Del Rio continued to control the match with a couple of nearfalls. Del Rio whipped Jericho hard into the turnbuckle, which Jericho took as a sternum first bump. That was always one of my favorite bumps in Bret Hart matches. Jericho was able to come back with a cross body block off the top for two. Good to see an old school move like that get a nearfall. Jericho hit the bridging Northern Lights suplex for two. Great to see that move too. Del Rio missed a corner charge. Del Rio blocked Jericho's Codebreaker attempt and then countered out of the Walls of Jericho. Hard side kick by Del Rio got a two count. Jericho hit a running bulldog and of course he missed the Lionsault. Cross Armbreaker by Del Rio. Jericho got to the ropes to break the hold. He countered into a Walls of Jericho. Rodriguez ran into the ring to attack Jericho in the back with the bucket. The ref rang the bell for the DQ. The match went 14 minutes.

Winner: Chris Jericho via disqualification

Post match, Dolph Ziggler showed up to attack Del Rio. Jericho gave Rodriguez a Codebreaker. Ziggler hit Del Rio with a Zig Zag. Ziggler faced off with Jericho, which led to Jericho walking away and then Ziggler hit him with the Zig Zag. On Smackdown, Jericho dropped Ziggler with the Codebreaker. This was Ziggler's revenge.

Analysis: ***1/4 It's a simple formula. Give two of the better workers a match that gets over ten minutes and they will put on an entertaining match. The good thing is that they haven't had a lot of matches together (aside from Smackdown last week), so it felt very fresh. I loved the pacing of the match, the way they set up the nearfalls and teased so many logical submission finishers as well. A feud with Jericho and Del Rio would be a lot of fun because the chemistry is there. I'm waiting for a babyface promo from Ziggler. Hopefully we get to hear that on Smackdown.

Backstage, Triple H Suit McMahon Helmsley walked up to Vickie and Brad. He brought up that Vickie was thinking of canceling the Bryan match against Orton. She said yes, but he told her that the WWE Universe wants to see Bryan vs. Orton. He wants Vickie to over deliver. He wants her to give the WWE Universe the option to pick the stipulation in their match later tonight. She said it was a great idea. Hunter told her to keep listening to him. He then complimented Brad on his purple shirt and wondered if they had them in men's sizes. Oh the comedy. That's the Triple H way of making fun of somebody for not being as big as him.

Analysis: Vince wanted Vickie to cancel the Bryan/Orton match apparently. Hunter not only wanted the match, but wanted the fans to vote on it. Vince is the heel in this scenario while Hunter is the guy that cares about the fans unless they are smaller than him I guess. Why can't Hunter or Vince just announce things themselves instead of trying to get Vickie to do stuff? Because they need these segments to fill three hours. That's my only explanation.

The WWE 2K14 video game cover reveal is up next. John Laurinaitis? No. Just a guess.

(Commercial)

Jerry Lawler was in the ring with Raw's Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero and her assistant Brad Maddox. They were there to announce the WWE 2K14 video game cover. The fans can design the inside cover of the game. For more info go to WWE.com. Vickie told Jerry she could handle it.

The crowd was booing Vickie to the point that she could barely talk. She brought up that the WWE Universe can vote on the stipulation between Bryan and Orton. Three choices: Street Fight, Lumberjack or Falls Count Anywhere. Street Fight and Falls Count Anywhere aren't exactly the same thing, but it's pretty close.

Vickie said that she designed her own cover for WWE 2K14. She pointed to a cover idea she had on the video screen. It was a picture of Vince, Stephanie and Triple H. Where's Shane? I remember him. Maddox had a cover of his own: Cena, Punk and Maddox in the middle of them. Lawler revealed the real cover of the WWE 2K14 game. The Rock is on the cover of the video game. The game is out in October, but you can pre-order now.

Analysis: I'm not much of a video gamer. I used to be, but got tired of it a few years back. I'm aware that there's a new developer for this game, so hopefully it's great for you gamers out there. As for the segment, it's amazing how much heel heat Vickie still gets. The crowd absolutely hates her. As for Rock being on the cover, he's a part timer obviously, but he's also the biggest name they can put on the cover. It's a business after all.

Ryback was shown walking backstage.

(Commercial)

It's the first time we've seen Ryback since he lost the WWE Title match to John Cena at Payback. His opponent? The Great Khali. At least Khali had the lovely Natalya with him. Hornswoggle was there too. He's not that lovely.

Ryback vs. The Great Khali (w/Natalya & Hornswoggle)

Keep it short. Please. Khali got some chops in. Clothesline by Khali and then a punch. Ryback punched him in the ribs and then gave Khali Shellshocked to win the match. He walked around with Khali on his shoulders longer than usual. It went about two minutes.

Winner: Ryback

Analysis: At least it was short. Ryback lost a WWE Title match, so they have to build him up as a threat again. Beating a giant gets that job done even though Khali is pretty much a jobber at this point in his career. It is impressive to see Ryback put Khali on his shoulders and walk around the ring like that.

Up next WWE Champion John Cena responds to Mark Henry's attack from last week.

(Commercial)

At 9:30pmET - midway through the show - the WWE Champion John Cena made his entrance. The All-American issue of WWE Magazine is now out. I haven't bought WWE magazine in well over a decade. I don't think I'm missing out. If I am, that's my loss I guess.

Cena held up the WWE Championship saying that only 43 men have held the WWE Title. He mentioned Bruno Sammartino holding it for eight years and Rey Mysterio holding it for only one night. It's best to forget that. If you hold that you earn the respect of your peers. Cena talked about how much superstars wanted that title. He even mentioned Vince McMahon's quest to be WWE Champ (Vince did win it before giving it up without defending it). He brought it to the present day saying that Mark Henry disgraced his family and cheated the WWE Universe. Cena thought Henry's speech was a disaster because it mocked speeches from names like Edge, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair when they really retired (we will ignore Flair in TNA of course!). Big "woo" for that. He said Henry's speech was a mockery of all their speeches. Cena said he understood why Henry did it because he realized he may not have a legacy in WWE without being WWE Champion. "Allow me to introduce myself. I'm John Cena: WWE Champion." Big ovation. I think he used that line on Nikki Bella. He told Henry he has to earn the WWE Title. Cena said Henry is dangerous, but he forgot that they're in the middle of whoop ass season. Whoop ass is an Austin thing. Don't say it, Cena. "Our time is now and the Champ is here." Cena's music played. He left.

Analysis: That's it? I was expecting Henry to come out for a promo of some kind to build up the match, but that didn't happen. I thought Cena's words were pretty good for the most part. At least he wasn't making poop jokes or ripping on Henry. He was honest in saying he understood why Henry did what he did, but that he was prepared for the challenge. I still don't like hearing Cena say "whoop ass" because that's a Steve Austin thing. Can the glass break? I miss Austin. A lot. His podcasts are amazing, though.

The video package for Rob Van Dam's return at Money in the Bank was up next. RVD was actually wrestling in his last indy match on Monday night for a company called 2CW against Sami Callihan, who is also WWE bound on a developmental contract.

There was a guy that made his entrance along with Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea. He got that opportunity because he bid the most in the charity auction that WWE did for Sandy Relief. He got to do the full entrance with the Tons of Funk group. Good for him. I'm not analyzing his dancing "skills" there. Sorry.

(Commercial)

3MB were in the ring. The Usos made their entrance. The winners of this triple threat match get to be #1 contenders to the tag titles.

Brodus Clay & Tensai (w/Funkadactyls) vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso vs. Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre (w/Heath Slater)

Tensai knocked down one of the Usos. Then Brodus ended up dumping everybody outside the ring. Brodus jumped on the three 3MB guys outside the ring. It was a weird looking splash. Tensai hit a running senton for a two count. I thought that was it. I'm glad it wasn't. Superkick into the Samoan Drop. Superfly Splash got the win for the Usos after about two minutes.

Winners: Jimmy & Jey Uso

Analysis: 1/2* Only two minutes. Too quick to make a lasting impression, but the right team went over. The Usos likely won't win the tag titles although they are a team I want to see more of. I'm glad they were booked to win this match.

The Shield's music played as Reigns, Rollins & Ambrose stood in the crowd holding up their tag titles. The Usos would get a title match at some time in the near future.

There was a video about the WWE Films produced movie The Call that starred Halle Berry. It actually did very well in theatres and is one of the most profitable WWE movies they have produced. They weren't the only producers, but it still counts. They replayed the skit they played when the movie originally came out where Kane called Halle Berry after David Otunga gave her the number. Kane's home address was the "depths of hell." Bad WWE comedy that I didn't need to see again.

Paul Heyman was shown walking backstage as we neared the top of hour three.

(Commercial)

Paul Heyman entered the arena. He was alone. A clip aired from last week when Brock Lesnar hit CM Punk with the F5 to end the show.

"My name is Paul Heyman." We know. Thank you for being you. He said he's ignored CM Punk's texts, emails and phone calls because he figures the only way to do this is face to face in front of all of us. He said that he was going to give Punk some answers.

CM Punk entered to a big ovation from the crowd. JBL thinks Brock Lesnar is there, which likely means he isn't. Punk wondered why Heyman wanted to do this in public. Punk wanted to explain why he was a Paul Heyman Guy in the first place.

Punk said that in 2005 he was signed to a contract with WWE. I can confirm that when that happened internet wrestling fans were very excited. At that time John Laurinaitis was the Senior Vice President of Talent Relations (barely any reaction to his name) and he told Punk to go to the developmental system in Louisville. Punk said that Heyman was also there as the man in charge. Punk claimed that people higher up didn't want Punk to succeed. "The kid's not what we look for" is what these people said apparently. Heyman was told not to bring Punk to television and Heyman refused to fire CM Punk. When ECW was resurrected, Heyman's first draft pick was Punk. There was a "CM Punk" chant from the crowd. Punk said now that he's got that out way, he wants Heyman to tell Lesnar that he's coming for him. Just because he's bigger doesn't mean that Lesnar is better than Punk. He called himself the best wrestler on the planet. Punk said Heyman knows there's nobody more sadistic or relentless than Punk and he's going to do whatever it takes to bring Lesnar down. Heyman simply nodded his head.

Punk moved on to what happened last week. He said that Heyman has never treated Punk wrong. "Did Brock Lesnar attack me on his own or did he attack because you saw the writing on the wall after Payback?" He wanted Heyman to give him the truth. Punk told him not to lie to him. "Swear on your children you didn't have anything to do with it or tell me you did. For the first time in your life you tell the truth!" Punk was fired up. Great intensity.

Heyman said he never wanted it to be this way between them. Heyman said that Punk deserved the truth straight to his face. "On my children I did not know that Brock Lesnar would be here last week." The crowd booed. Heyman said that management booed him when he would try to tell them about how great CM Punk was. Heyman said that Lesnar's contractual obligations were up at Extreme Rules. Heyman mentioned there was professional jealousy between Lesnar and Punk. That's why he never put them together as a team. He kept them apart because of professional jealousy. He would never represent anybody against CM Punk. Heyman made it a point to say that he loved Punk and that he was his best friend in the world. Heyman claimed that he would not screw up his relationship with Punk. In 2005-2006 he didn't get rid of Punk. Now everybody is telling Punk to get rid of Heyman, so Heyman claimed his fate is in Punk's hands. Heyman said it was Punk's move.

Punk looked conflicted as he stared out into the crowd. Some fans chanted "GTS' towards him. Punk said he was sorry he doubted Heyman. He gave him a hug as the crowd booed. Punk's music started to play as they embraced in the ring. It was not a heel action by Punk. It was just a hug. The crowd wanted an attack. Not yet.

Analysis: That was an awesome promo. Both guys did a fantastic job of conveying the right emotions and setting the right tone during their respective speeches. Punk was not a pandering babyface. He was simply a guy that wanted answers. Heyman appeared to be honest for a change. It felt like a real conversation rather than some kind of silly wrestling promo. There are so many questions that can emerge from a segment like this. Is Heyman REALLY telling the truth? Does Punk really believe Heyman? Is Brock Lesnar on his own? I think it will lead to Heyman admitting that he lied to Punk and it will lead to a huge Summerslam match pitting Punk against Lesnar. Since they have a PPV before that they can take their time in building it up. I'm very excited about Punk vs. Lesnar. I love that they will get two months of build to get to that match.

The Prime Time Players entered the ring for a match.

(Commercial)

CM Punk vs. Darren Young (w/Titus O'Neil)

Punk hit a suplex on Young. Young came back with a hard whip into the corner. The crowd was unusually pretty quiet for this match. JBL mentioned Rafael Nadal losing at Wimbledon and Lawler mocked him for liking tennis. Young hit a belly to belly suplex. I'm shocked that this match has passed three minutes by this point. Punk missed a corner charge. Punk countered a chinlock with a back suplex. Running knee in the corner by Punk followed by a clothesline for two. Punk hit his springboard clothesline off the top for a two count. Young hit a gutbuster variation for a two count. The announcers thought that was it. The crowd didn't. Punk hit a roundhouse kick on Young. Then applied the Anaconda Vice and Young tapped out very quickly. The match went about six minutes.

Winner: CM Punk

Analysis: *1/2 I'm shocked that it went six minutes because I figured Punk would win in about three minutes. Young's offense drew almost no reaction although the gutbuster nearfall was solid. It's just that fans aren't used to seeing him in featured Raw matches. I thought he did well, though. Punk hit a lot of signature moves, but didn't hit the top rope elbow or the GTS. Winning with the Anaconda Vice made sense because of what happened post match. Am I wrong to think that it took too long for Punk to beat Young? It's weird to me.

Post match, O'Neil attacked Punk for the double team with Young. Remember Young tapping clean quickly? It was done so he could attack post match. Curtis Axel made the save for Punk. Axel dispatched Young while Punk kicked O'Neil in the head to get rid of him. Heyman stood in between his two guys to say they should talk about it. Punk just left.

Analysis: That's another question now. Will Axel work with Punk or will Heyman turn on Punk? Obviously Heymans' the heel while Punk is the face, so that's what will happen. I like that they are taking their time to get there.

Backstage, Vickie Guerrero was on the phone telling Brad Maddox she wanted her coffee. Stephanie McMahon walked up to her. Stephanie mentioned that Vickie hasn't announced participants in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Vickie said she was busy, so Stephanie said she would make the announcement.

Later we can vote on Bryan vs. Orton: Lumberjack, Street Fight or Falls Count Anywhere.

(Commercial)

The Bella Twins were at ringside handing out copies of WWE Magazine to fans at ringside. Cole said he can't wait for the Total Divas show on July 28. Vintage sucking up!

Stephanie "Pantsuit" McMahon stood on the stage for a promo. She talked about how it was Money in the Bank time once again. Since Vickie Guerrero is too busy, she was there to announce the participants. This is for the WWE Championship ladder match: CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Christian, Kane and Rob Van Dam.

Analysis: That's a loaded lineup of seven big names. I pick Daniel Bryan to win. Based on the names in that match the star power is very big and in terms of quality it could be excellent. The Philly crowd is going to love that one. It should be noted she said it was for the WWE Title. Is there also a ladder match for a World Title contract? I believe so, but they didn't mention it.

Backstage, Ryback walked up to Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox. He wanted to face John Cena for the WWE Title. He said he deserved better. Chris Jericho showed up saying that he should be in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Ryback said he could eat Jericho alive. They had a staredown. Vickie ended up announcing Ryback vs. Jericho at Money in the Bank. They seemed pleased with it.

Analysis: Ryback will get a win over Jericho to get his momentum. Jericho doesn't win on PPV that often. It was a random way to set up a match, but it's better than nothing. I'm easy to please. Fellas, if a girl tells you that she's a keeper...for a night at least. I miss college.

Mark Henry was shown walking backstage.

(Commercial)

CM Punk was talking to Paul Heyman in the locker room. Punk didn't want Curtis Axel to help him. Heyman said he was just looking out for a friend. He said that next week on Raw it's going to be the Prime Time Players against Curtis Axel and CM Punk. Punk said he'll do it because it's his fight and that's what he does. He said his goal was to win the Money in the Bank ladder match and to become WWE Champion again.

Analysis: It's nice to hear them actually advertise a match a week beforehand. I wish it happened more often. I don't see Punk working well with Axel.

The vote for Orton vs. Bryan was finally open.

Mark Henry made his entrance in a suit. He said he fooled everybody. He heard the "Henry" chants. Because of his spectacular performance, he's been nominated for an Academy Award. So he's going to win a best actor in a motion picture award on a television show? Amazing! I'm teasing. Relax. He mentioned Quentin Tarantino, Stephen Spielberg and Tyler Perry reaching out to him. Heels lie. He said that's not what he wants. Henry talked about people being mad at him for bringing up his family and other superstars, but he's not going to apologize to any of us. Somebody must have yelled at him about his suit because he randomly said it wasn't from Men's Warehouse. I'm sure they appreciate that plug! He called the fans puppets that do what he asks them to do. That was his way of combating the "what" chant. He said he's going to go home to his family as the WWE Champion.

Analysis: Last week's promo was amazing. This one wasn't as good, but he got his point across. I don't think he'll beat Cena for the WWE Title. However, he is a legit threat for it so I don't mind seeing him as an opponent for Cena. They have a few more weeks to get into physical brawls to properly build up the match. I just thought it was weird to have each man give promos without the other guy interrupting.

Cole mentioned a tweet of Bray Wyatt talking about destroying the machine. Then there was another Wyatt Family video. After another reminder of the Bryan vs. Orton vote, they went to break.

(Commercial)

This week on Smackdown there's a celebration for Del Rio and also the Sheamus/Del Rio street fight. It's a Dublin street fight in South Carolina. Sure it is.

The vote results showed that Street Fight won with 50% of the vote. Daniel Bryan made his entrance and then Randy Orton made his entrance.

Street Fight: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton

They brawled outside the ring, but since it was Street Fight rules that meant no countout or disqualification. Back in the ring, Bryan ran the ropes going for an attack only for Orton to counter that with a chair shot. Was that a chair shot to the head? Close enough. They went to break two minutes into the match with Bryan hurting in the ring.

(Commercial)

Back to the show, Orton brought a table into the ring only for Bryan to attack him with kicks. Orton ended up draping Bryan rib-first onto the top rope in a suplex like maneuver. Bryan came back with a running clothesline. Corner dropkick by Bryan. Orton used the steel chair to counter another Bryan attack and that left Bryan lying in the ring for a two count. The replay showed he threw it in Bryan's face. This has been very physical for a WWE Street Fight. Orton was on the ring apron with a table set up on the floor underneath him. Bryan hit Orton with a couple of dropkicks. Orton didn't go through the table. Bryan gave him a powerbomb off the apron (Bryan was on the ground while Orton was on the apron) through the table. Nice spot there. Bryan rolled him back in the ring for a pinfall because the decision has to happen in the ring. Bryan grabbed a kendo stick. He attacked Orton with stick shots as well as a series of kicks. Orton ended up catching Bryan and gave him an overhead suplex into a table that was propped up against the turnbuckle. Orton got a two count. They had an exchange where each guy got some punches in and the crowd was chanting "yes" for every Bryan punch, but then Orton was like "screw this" and hit a beautiful dropkick. The message is if you're in a slugfest you should throw a dropkick. Or not.

Orton set up Bryan on the top rope, but Bryan used punches to knock him down. Bryan wanted a hurricanrana only for Orton to counter into a powerbomb for a two count. Sweet counter. Bryan applied the No Lock. Orton grabbed the kendo stick to get out of it. He hit Bryan with the kendo stick repeatedly. Orton hit the DDT off the middle ropes. Orton wanted a RKO, but Bryan countered with a backslide for two. Bryan hit a roundhouse kick and then he hit Orton with a series of shots with the kendo stick. No Lock by Bryan again. Orton grabbed the kendo stick. Bryan took it from him and used the kendo stick across the face of Orton while he had the No Lock on. Orton looked to be in a lot of pain, so he tapped out. Bryan won via submission after 16 minutes.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a very good main event. It wasn't an epic encounter, but I liked how it was a solid wrestling match where Bryan won clean over an established top guy. That’s what he needs to earn the respect of the fans and it's a good way to tell the story where he constantly has to prove himself to everybody around him. There were some stiff shots in the match with the chair shots, the table bumps and many uses of the kendo stick. I thought the finish was very creative as Bryan used the kendo stick to his advantage while Orton looked to be in a lot of pain. Do I expect Orton to turn heel? Yeah. I'm surprised it hasn't happened yet, but I'm okay with waiting because there have been a lot of turns in the last few weeks.  

Post match, Bryan celebrated by leading the crowd in "yes" chants as the crowd chanted "you tapped out" at Orton. They shook hands. Orton left. No heel turn. Bryan led the crowd in "yes" chants as Raw came to a close.

----

Three Stars of the Show

1. Daniel Bryan

2. Randy Orton

3. Chris Jericho

 

The Scoreboard

6 out of 10

Last week: 7

2013 Average: 5.74

2013 High: 8 (April 8)

2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)

Last 5 Weeks: 7, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 6

 

Final Thoughts

The two really good matches carried the show. Storyline wise there wasn't that much that went on as far as major events except the Punk and Heyman stuff, which is just the start of a major angle that will be a focus of WWE storylines in the summer.

I like that Money in the Bank is coming together nicely. Here's the lineup so far.

WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Mark Henry

World Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler

WWE Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. Christian vs. Kane vs. Rob Van Dam

Chris Jericho vs. Ryback

WWE Tag Team Championships: The Shield vs. The Usos

Payback was the best pay-per-view of the year. This one might top it.

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