Live from Baltimore, Maryland this is the Raw Deal for episode #1050. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you're on Facebook please "Like" this post as well. Thank you.
There was a Wyatt Family video to open the show. That theme song is great. Look it up. Listen to it. You may like it too.
The opening Raw video aired with the "Tonight is the Night" song. It's rare that we saw that lately. Usually we get a video package telling us about what's to come, but not this week. No fireworks like usual.
Raw opened with Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero and her assistant Brad Maddox in the ring. There was a lady in the ring to promote the Money in the Bank matches. The fans booed her. She mentioned famous ladder matches involving people like Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon and Triple H. She said the ladder resembles how she has risen in her career. She climbed up, some in the crowd chanted "fall" and she did not fall while referees held the ladder. As she spoke, there was a sign that said "The John Report" sign in the background, so really what she said didn't matter. More on that in a bit.
Vickie was rambling on as announcer Jerry Lawler said "excuse me" to cut her off. Lawler said that there was a poll on the WWE App where you can vote on Vickie's job as Managing Supervisor. Fans could vote "pass" or "fail" for her. Vickie talked about how the WWE Universe are like her family. She announced some things for Raw: John Cena in a face to face with Mark Henry. She's also scheduled matches that feature the guys in the WWE Title Money in the Bank: Christian vs. Kane, Randy Orton vs. CM Punk and Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan. That last match is up first.
Analysis: Not a great opening. It was a heel GM (not her job title, but close enough) sucking up to the fans to try to save her job. At least she actually booked some matches for later in the show.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance to a big pop.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield. They went over some things scheduled for the show.
A video aired from April 2, 2006 when Rob Van Dam won the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania 22. That was the first of many RVD clips during the show.
Here's a screencap of the TJR sign that appeared during Vickie's speech.
It was on a few times during the show, but I'm only going to share it once. Big thanks to Jack McDonnell (@jakemcd95 on Twitter) for the sign. Here's a gallery of TJR signs from over the years. It's always very cool and flattering. In the future I'd love it if people brought signs that said "TJRWrestling" on them except leave the .com out because WWE takes signs away promoting websites.
Sheamus made his entrance. The red Money in the Bank briefcase was hanging from the ceiling. I enjoyed the Bryan vs. Sheamus feud last year. People remember the WrestleMania 28 match when Sheamus beat Bryan in 18 seconds. That's fine. I thought their match at Extreme Rules 2012 was excellent, so it's important that we remember that one too.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus
The announcers spoke about how Bryan has been on a roll of late as Sheamus used his power to ground Bryan in the early going. He hit a neckbreaker and then a backbreaker for nearfalls. Lawler was excited to find out that he was trending on Twitter. Bryan was able to send Sheamus outside the ring. He went for his running knee attack outside the ring, but Sheamus caught him and they both went crashing into the barricade. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break three minutes into the match.
Back in the ring, Sheamus gave Bryan the Irish Curse Backbreaker for two. Sheamus was on a roll as he hit Bryan with more power moves. Running senton by Sheamus. Sheamus wanted the Brogue Kick, but Bryan moved out of the way and Sheamus went to the floor. That led to the "Flying Goat" dive by Bryan outside the ring. In the ring, Bryan hit a missile dropkick for a two count. Sheamus hit his ten forearm shots to the chest and then a clothesline. Bryan wanted a hurricanrana off the top, but Sheamus held on and he took down Bryan with a shoulder block off the top. Bryan came back with a roundhouse kick for two. Top rope headbutt by Bryan missed. Bryan wanted the No Lock, but Sheamus fought out of it and applied the Cloverleaf submission. Bryan was able to counter it into an inside cradle. That was enough for the pinfall victory after 15 minutes.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ***1/2 It's a pretty simple formula. If you give a guy as good as Daniel Bryan 15 minutes to have a match it's going to be awesome. That's what this was. Sheamus can obviously hold his own because he's had many entertaining matches of this length on television too. I loved how they worked a competitive matchup filled with a lot of close nearfalls and the crowd absolutely loved it. The last five minutes were especially great. Bryan is the master of the counter and can win matches with inside cradles like that. I can remember him doing that in Ring of Honor a lot. Obviously the win gives Bryan a lot of momentum heading into Money in the Bank, which can be seen as a good thing to some and a bad thing to others because when somebody wins a lot on TV they often lose on PPV. I'll save the official predictions for another time.
Post match, Sheamus shook Bryan's hand. Orton did the same thing when he lost to Bryan clean on Raw two weeks ago.
There was a video with a WWE.com "reporter" who went to find the Wyatt Family. They found some random dudes by a van who told them to travel a few miles down the road.
Backstage, Divas champion AJ Lee and Big E Langston were talking. She was nervous about facing Kaitlyn again. Dolph Ziggler showed up and asked Langston to leave them alone. Ziggler was unhappy that she wasn't with him at ringside last week. She said her priority was for Ziggler to be World Champion again and for her to be Divas Champion. She asked him if he wanted to go all the way. He said he wants to go all the way to his third World Championship. They kissed as the segment ended.
Analysis: The breakup will happen soon since Ziggler's a face while Lee's still a heel, so it's just a matter of when at this point.
There was a video package about Mark Henry. Same thing that aired last week. That's what WWE does.
The Shield entered the arena for a match. It was Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins for a tag match.
There was another great Rob Van Dam clip from May 27, 2002 when RVD had a ladder match against Eddie Guerrero for the IC Title. It's one of the best matches in Raw history. I can remember a fan running into the ring towards the finish and Eddie hit the guy.
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins vs. Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay & Tensai)
The TOF entrance didn't make it on television. I am fine with this. They have matching "Tons of Funk" outfits now. Tensai hit a delayed suplex on Rollins. What's odd about this match is that The Shield members were standing on the side of the ring where the babyface team usually is. They ended up shooting the match from a different camera angle. I wonder if this was intentional. The heels isolated Clay in their corner. They did a lot of quick tags. After some nearfall attempts, Reigns went for a Samoan Drop, but couldn't hold Clay. Clay came back with a belly to belly suplex. Hot tag to Tensai and Rollins also tagged in. Huge shoulder tackle by Tensai, which Rollins sold huge. Corner attack by Tensai and then Rollins hit his awesome move where he slams the guy's head into the middle turnbuckle. Tensai avoided a top rope attack and got a two count after a slam. Rollins came back with a jumping kick to the head, Reigns made a blind tag and hit a Spear to win the match for his team after seven minutes.
Winners: Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins
Analysis: *1/2 A clean victory to put over the tag champions prior to Sunday's tag title match against The Usos. The crowd barely reacted to anything Tons of Funk did, which shows how little the fans care about the big guys these days. I like how they ended the match. Reigns looks awesome hitting that Spear finisher. It's so nice to see champions win a non-title match for a change.
The John Cena/Mark Henry "face to face" was up after the break.
The roving WWE.com reporter found the Wyatt Family house. One of them was doing some chopping with a mask on. Luke Harper went up to the camera and told the guy to follow him. End scene.
Face to Face: John Cena and Mark Henry
The WWE Champion John Cena made his entrance to a good ovation for the most part. He mentioned that Mark Henry called him out, so Cena told him that he was there. "Somebody gonna get they ass kicked" (best song in WWE still) started up as Mark Henry made his entrance.
Henry said that Cena had a look of fear on his face. Cena said he's not afraid of Henry. Henry said that he's starved for 17 years, but only one thing can satisfy his hunger and Cena made a Snickers joke. Henry chose to chill in reaction to that. Henry spoke about how he's known Cena for over ten years and said "I knew who you was before you knew who you was." That's poor grammar, kids. The fans chanted "what" so he called them puppets. Henry said if he took that WWE Title from Cena he'd be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Wrestlers need to stop mentioning a "first ballot" because there are not ballots. Vince McMahon picks. There's no ballot. And Henry will be in. Henry said he sold out his family to have that title.
Cena told him that Henry better win. He spoke about how he's won and lost the title, but he's done so with respect. Cena said that if Henry wins he earns respect. If he doesn't win he loses the respect of everybody. Henry said he didn't care what anybody thought. He pointed out that Cena cares while he (Henry) does not. Henry said there are lines Cena won't cross because of his goodness. Cena took off some of his merch to suggest that Henry should cross a line and if he did he will get his ass whooped right now. Henry said he's not attacking Cena right now for free. Then he changed his mind saying he'll give Cena a sample. As Henry took a step towards him, Cena bounced back. Henry looked like he was leaving, so Cena reached down for his title and Henry destroyed him with a forearm shot to the head. Cena tried a comeback with the Attitude Adjustment, but Henry fell on top of him. World's Strongest Slam by Henry flattened Cena. Henry stood over Cena with the WWE Title to end the segment.
Analysis: Cena got destroyed here because he's going to retain the WWE Title on Sunday. That's my prediction. Like I always say, lose on TV (in this case it was a fight) win on PPV. I always thought Cena was going to win, but this cemented it. I thought it was an effective segment with both guys saying the right things. I also liked that it didn't go on too long. It was the right length.
In the locker room, Randy Orton was shown watching what happened. Josh Mathews showed up to ask him about his match with CM Punk later. Orton doesn't believe it when Punk says that he's the best in the world and he never did. Orton says that if John Cena retains the WWE Title on Sunday he would not hesitate to cash in and take the WWE Title from him.
Analysis: A very serious promo by Orton. Was it heelish? Yes it was.
Back from break, we saw a tweet from Stephanie McMahon earlier in the day about Vickie's job evaluation.
The Miz joined the announce team for the next match. Chris Jericho made his entrance.
Curtis Axel entered along with his manager Paul Heyman. Heyman had sunglasses on because he was sporting a black eye due to what happened with Alberto Del Rio on Smackdown last week. He did a promo putting over Axel. Axel mocked Jericho's "jacket with Christmas lights on it" and said that he just needs the shine of the IC Title to let the WWE Universe know that Axel has arrived. He paused for a reaction. There was no reaction. He claimed he wouldn't let anybody stand in the way of perfection.
Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Chris Jericho
This is not for Axel's Intercontinental Title. Jericho was aggressive on offense in the early going. Axel stopped Jericho's momentum with a neckbreaker. They went to break one minute into the match.
Back from break, Axel was still in control until he missed a double axe attack of the middle rope. Jericho hit a chop off the top rope. Northern Lights Suplex by Jericho for two. Axel hit a clothesline to the back of the head for two. Axel missed a corner splash, so Jericho went up top with a cross body block for two. Jericho missed the Lionsault like usual. Axel hit his swinging one handed neckbreaker for two. Good nearfall. Jericho hit a successful Lionsault, which is a nice change. Jericho wanted the Codebreaker, but Axel fought out of it and hit a Perfectplex for two. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho. Axel got to the ropes for the break. Jericho knocked Axel off the apron and he hit the announce table. Axel stared at Miz, but Heyman prevented an attack. When Axel went back in the ring Jericho gave him the Codebreaker to win the match. It went about twelve minutes.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Analysis: *** It was a very solid TV match. A champion losing a non-title match? Of course he lost. They love booking matches that way. Jericho will lose to Ryback on Sunday while Axel will beat Miz on Sunday. There's that "lose on TV, win on PPV" thing again. I know they still have Smackdown to tape, but this theory still applies. Cole mentioned that it was the first time Axel lost a match with Heyman as his manager. It's not an upset that he lost to a guy of Jericho's caliber, but it's noteworthy that he still lost.
Orton vs. Punk later.
There was another RVD moment from a Raw ladder match against Christian on September 29, 2003. It featured a Five Star Frog Splash off the top of the ladder. Great spot.
The announcers discussed the World Title Money in the Bank ladder match between Fandango, Cody Rhodes, Dean Ambrose, Jack Swagger, Wade Barrett, Antonio Cesaro and Damien Sandow.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Sandow & Rhodes. Sandow said if he doesn't win the World Title MITB contract then he'd like his best friend Rhodes to win it. Zeb Colter showed up with Swagger & Cesaro. Colter talked about the nightmare that America was in. Barrett showed up. Colter said he couldn't understand him. Fandango showed up to dance in front of them. They cut him off before he could say his name. Barrett punched him in the head before he could say the full name.
Analysis: That was a random way to promote that match. I guess Dean Ambrose was too busy to hang out with them. I assume we'll see more of these guys during Smackdown this week.
The roving WWE.com reporter entered the Wyatt Family home. Luke Harper told him to follow him, but not to stray. When the reporter did stray, we saw Erick Rowan saying "obey" repeatedly to himself. Bray Wyatt showed up to tell the reporter to follow him. The show went to break there.
Sin Cara made his entrance. His opponent is World Champion Alberto Del Rio, who entered without Ricardo Rodriguez. Cole said that he was injured when Ziggler injured him with a slam through a table followed by a guitar shot. Of course if you went on WWE.com last week you could see that Rodriguez was suspended for 30 days due to a Wellness Policy violation.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara
This is non-title of course. The Sin Cara dim lights appeared again. Why? I don't know. Sin Cara was aggressive early as Cole bragged about the WWE Twitter account topping 3 million Twitter followers. Sin Cara went to the top, so Del Rio knocked him down with a jumping enziguiri kick to the back of the head. Another running kick by Del Rio earned him a two count. Ziggler's music started up and the Sin Cara lights went away. Who is in charge of the lights? The match continued as Sin Cara got a rollup for two. Ziggler said he would do a ring introduction for Del Rio. Sin Cara got another two count. German Suplex by Del Rio as Ziggler continued his promo. Side kick by Del Rio. Ziggler said Del Rio would be the loser of their match. Del Rio brawled with Ziggler outside the ring. Sin Cara went to the top rope. He jumped on Del Rio outside the ring. That was the end of the match as Ziggler's music started to play. He left.
Match Result: No Contest?
Analysis: *1/2 They could have done that without pretending like the match mattered because clearly the match meant nothing. They didn't even come up with anything that looked a finish. I don't mind the Ziggler/Del Rio story, but the build to Money in the Bank has been average at best. They will likely have more of an opportunity on Smackdown to continue to build to their match on Sunday.
Ray Rice of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens (the Super Bowl Champions) was shown at ringside sitting behind the announce team. There was a replay of the Cena/Henry angle earlier in the show.
The Managing Supervisor of Raw Vickie Guerrero was in the ring along with assistant Brad Maddox for her job evaluation. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, his daughter Stephanie and her husband Triple H walked out to Vince's theme song. The genetic jackhammer grandpa (that's Vince) looked happy to be there.
Vickie Guerrero Job Evaluation by McMahon Family
Stephanie said Vickie was the "Supervising General Manager of Raw." I don't think general should be in there, but it's not like it matters. Stephanie thanked the fans for voting about this on the WWE App.
Vickie spoke, but Stephanie told her to remain on the stool she was on while talking. Vickie sucked up to them in her speech. She mentioned how she exposed and replaced AJ Lee as GM. She spoke about Rob Van Dam and The Rock returning under her administration. Some might say she inspired Undertaker to return to WrestleMania. Stephanie said Vickie had nothing to do with them and brought up Brock Lesnar as well. Stephanie wondered if Vickie thought that bringing back Lesnar was a good idea. Guerrero said she did what was good for business. She apologized because Lesnar attacked the McMahon family.
Vince stood up to say that other than what Lesnar did to him personally, he thought that bringing Lesnar back was a stroke of genius. Vince said that everybody believes Vickie is highly entertaining and that even though she's made some mistakes it's okay because everybody makes mistakes.
Hunter spoke up saying that Vickie can be unintentionally entertaining and he called her terrible at her job. A few weeks ago she was supposed to be promoting the video game, but she screwed up because the WWE Universe was booing her. Hunter said we should put aside what Vince found entertaining because there's a reason the Golden Girls aren't on TV anymore. That's a smartass joke about Vince being old. Well played. It's probably on in reruns somewhere. Vince knows the channel, I'm sure. Hunter sucked up the fans by saying that the WWE Universe wants better than Vickie as the GM. On a positive note, Vickie possesses the most annoying voice in the history of broadcast television.
Vince said that Vickie had qualifications that nobody else does. He said he admired her unlike some other short sighted individuals in the ring. Vince believes she should be the permanent General Manager.
Hunter said at the end of day he's the COO and Vince is the Chairman. Hunter said the whole point of this is to put a spineless puppet in that spot to do what Vince wants that person to do. Hunter said that since Stephanie called this meeting, they should let her make the decision. Vince didn't have a problem with that. They each spoke to Stephanie by sucking up to her. They argued about it. Stephanie said they won't let business tear their family apart. She said they would let the WWE App vote decide if Vickie would pass or fail.
The vote results were as follows: FAIL 75% - PASS 25%. JBL wanted a recount while Lawler said it was a landslide. Stephanie said that Vickie failed. Vickie didn't think the fans knew what was right for business. Stephanie said that she had two words for Vickie: "You're Fired." Vickie fell to her knees looking distraught. She screamed like a baby that had her favorite toy taken away. She went on the table yelling. Hunter and Stephanie left.
Vince asked the fans if they were happy. He said they broke Vickie's heart. He told the fans that they failed by throwing away what could have been the most entertaining GM in the history of Raw. Vince said they needed a new GM of Raw. "You people deserve this - Brad Maddox." Maddox had a shocked look on his face. The announcers were shocked. Vickie freaked out as Vince helped her out of the ring. Maddox followed them up the ramp as Raw went to break.
Analysis: It took a while, but they got to the point eventually. I'm not surprised that Vickie was removed. I am surprised that they put Maddox in the spot. He's solid as a performer, but I'm not sure if he was the best choice. It's another heel GM, which is what they love to have on Raw. Time will tell if this was the right choice. I wonder if this means those painful McMahon family scenes backstage will continue. The question is if Hunter and Stephanie don't agree can't they just fire Maddox or put somebody else there? I guess it doesn't matter. Too many people can make decisions on Raw. It's confusing.
The next RVD clip was from the October 7, 2002 edition of Raw when he hit a Van Terminator on Kane. Great moment. What also happened on that night? The name Katie Vick was uttered on Raw for the first time. That moment was not as great.
Backstage, Vince told Vickie he would make it right again. Maddox walked up to them. He extended his hand to thank Vince, but Vince wouldn't shake his hand and wondered how long he would hold his hand out. Vince said he gave the fans what they deserved, which is basically his way of insinuating that he picked somebody not worthy because he thinks the fans screwed up. Vickie shoved Maddox and started screaming. Vince left as she continued to cry. JBL said putting Maddox in charge of Raw was like putting Tensai in charge of a yoga class. Well played fat joke.
When Christian entered for the next match, it said "Michael McGillicutty" on the video wall. Oops.
Kane vs. Christian
I like how Christian claps to get the crowd into his matches. It's a smart move. Christian used his speed early to get the advantage with a back elbow off the middle rope. There was some random kid in the crowd doing the Fandango dance a few times while the rest of the crowd wasn't reacting to the match very much. Kane missed a charge and ended up outside the ring. Christian went to the top and knocked Kane down with a cross body block. Both men were down for the vintage floor to commercial break three minutes into it.
Back from break, Christian hit a tornado DDT for two. Kane came back with a top rope clothesline except that Christian moved. Kane countered a Spear with a Chokelsam to win the match after about seven minutes.
Analysis: *1/2 They showed about three minutes before the break, went to break for three minutes and came back to show the last minute. It was a poorly timed commercial break that hurt the flow of the match.
There was a Wyatt Family video. The lights went out. Bray was sitting on a chair saying he didn't have followers - he had brothers and sisters. He said that people needed to be led. He's not afraid of war - he created war. "Wake up and listen to the lie they're living in." Wyatt said that he had seen it all in his dreams. He lit a torch. "We're here." He blew the light out.
The Wyatt Family music played in the arena as the lights went out and there were some screams from the crowd. Bray sat in the chair on the ramp while the other Wyatt Family members attacked Kane. They are Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Cole didn't call them by name, but if you've seen NXT like me then you know. Fans were chanting "Daniel Bryan" for the save. No sign of him. The two big men threw Kane into the steel steps. They took off the top step, put Kane against the bottom step and slammed the top step into Kane's head. Wyatt walked up to the fallen Kane. There was a noticeable "Husky Harris" chant, which I wasn't a huge fan of. It wasn't that loud. Wyatt looked up to the sky with a smile on his face as the segment ended.
Analysis: I liked their debut. It was hyped for over a month, so I think there were a lot of expectations for it. Some fans may have wanted more. I don't know what they wanted, but it was fine with me. They went after a big name in Kane, physically destroyed him and left him laying. I've already had people bitching to me about the "Husky Harris" chant. It doesn't bother me. Yes that was Bray Wyatt's name before and people should move on from it, but it was probably 20 people doing it. If this character really works like I think it will then nobody's going to think about the fact that he was Husky Harris before. As for Kane, this could take him out of the Money in the Bank match although I doubt it. I can see him still wrestling and maybe the Wyatt Family will show up to cost him the match. If they took him out they could insert somebody like Big Show into it. Getting back to the point, I enjoyed the Wyatt Family debut. I look forward to what's next.
When they replayed the attack, Cole mentioned their names as Rowan and Harper so that's good.
Vickie was shown walking with a box of her stuff. Ryback walked up to her. He put her box down. Ryback gave her a hug, told her she deserved better and that it was going to be okay. He put the box in her hand and walked away.
Analysis: Cue the rumors of Vickie managing Ryback. I'm not sure if that's where it's going, but if she's not going to be running a show they might as well put her as a manger for Ryback because she's awesome at getting heat.
The Bella Twins joined the announce team for the divas tag match. If the camera was on them the whole time and they didn't talk I'd be fine with that. Sadly, that's not how it works.
Kaitlyn & Layla vs. AJ Lee (w/Big E Langston) & Alicia Fox
Bellas made a joke saying that AJ smells like food, which is why Kaitlyn is going after her. Cole completely missed the joke so the others ripped on on him for it. One of the Bellas said "yawn" during the match. That's what I say when they are on. Layla got a dropkick on Fox followed by a cross body block. Fox came back with a clothesline. AJ tagged in. Kaitlyn attacked AJ without a tag. The Bellas said the ratings went up because they are back. AJ escaped outside the ring. Kaitlyn destroyed AJ Lee with a Spear outside the ring. This whole thing went about two minutes. One of the Bellas said at least Kaitlyn burned calories. They need better writers.
No Match Result
Analysis: That was pretty awful. If you can't book finishes then just avoid booking matches in the first place. It should be a DQ against Kaitlyn for attacking when she was not legal. It was weird how it ended. Please don't put the Bellas on commentary again. That was painful. Also, why does the WWE writing team thin that the only way to insult women is to call them fat? Kaitlyn's a gorgeous woman with a great body. In AJ's case they insult her by calling her a whore. Way to be a star, WWE.
CM Punk was in the locker room being interviewed by Josh Mathews. He said he was the Best in the World because he had the longest WWE Title reign in the modern era. He also said that on Sunday when he grabs the Money in the Bank briefcase for the unprecedented third time that will make him the Best in the World as well.
Randy Orton made his entrance for the main event before the break.
The next RVD moment was from June 11, 2006 at the One Night Stand PPV (the second one) when RVD beat John Cena to win the WWE Title. That was an awesome match and moment when RVD won the championship. They edited out the part where Edge attacked Cena to open the door for Van Dam to win. It was one of the best crowds in history.
CM Punk made his entrance to a loud ovation like usual. There was no Heyman/Punk interaction on the show.
CM Punk vs. Randy Orton
Orton hit a nice dropkick early on. Punk hit a jumping kick on Orton to send him to the floor. Punk hit a running dive outside the ring between the top & middle rope to take out Orton. That's the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from the break, Orton was in control thanks to his back suplex onto the barricade move. T-Bone Suplex by Orton for two. Punk hit a jumping side kick and then a neckbreaker got him a two count. Punk hit his running knee in the corner followed by the Flying Elbow off the top rope. He signalled for the fans to show some interest (they were quiet at times) and he wanted the GTS. Orton fought out of it and hit the "Vintage" DDT off the middle rope. He wanted the RKO, but Punk countered and Orton hit a snap powerslam for two. That was a good sequence. Punk hit another high knee in the corner. Orton tried the RKO, but Punk countered with a kick to the face. Punk hit the GTS to win the match after 14 minutes of action.
Winner: CM Punk
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match, but I expected a bit better. Is that fair of me? I don't know. I'm such a fan of both guys that I have high expectations and maybe this crowd was too tired by the time they saw this match three hours into the show. It's the second main event loss in three weeks for Orton since he lost to Bryan and now Punk beat him. A lot of times in WWE a guy loses a bunch of matches before a turn. In Orton's case it would be the long rumored heel turn that could happen in the near future. Of course it feels like I've been saying that for about a year now, so who knows? What I can say for certainty is that I like the unpredictability of things.
Post match, Daniel Bryan ran down to the ring. He attacked Punk with a series of kicks and threw him into the ring post. Bryan grabbed a ladder from under the ring. He attacked Orton with the ladder and knocked him out of the ring. Bryan set up the ladder in the middle of the ring, climbed up and unlocked the red Money in the Bank briefcase. Raw ended with Bryan leading the crowd in "yes" chants with Money in the Bank briefcase in hand.
Analysis: That attack seemed random by Bryan and almost heelish, which hopefully doesn't mean a heel turn. I think it's just a case of Bryan wanting to prove himself to the world because he always has the proverbial chip on his shoulder. This finish also makes me think he may not win Money in the Bank like I had hoped.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan
2. CM Punk
7 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2013 Average: 5.74
2013 High: 8 (April 8)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 6, 7, 6.5, 7
It gets a 7 out of 10, which is an above average show. In 7 of the last 8 weeks I've given Raw a score of 6/10 or higher, which should tell you that I've enjoyed Raw of late. I thought the first hour was really good. The second hour was boring at times. The third hour picked up a bit, but there were some bad parts too.
I thought the build up for the Money in the Bank ladder match was good in the sense that we got three singles matches out of it and two of them (Bryan/Sheamus & Punk/Orton) were fun to watch. Jericho/Axel was also entertaining. If you can give me three matches that get over three stars (out of five) in a three hour episode of Raw then I approve of that. The negative of having three good 10 minute matches is people are losing matches heading into a PPV so they look like losers. Still, I think this is better than watching three minute squash matches.
The Cena/Henry promo segment was effective.
I enjoyed the Wyatt Family debut. I think it will be better when Bray Wyatt delivers some promos and things like that, but for a first appearance it was handled well.
I wasn't a huge fan of the McMahon Family drama with Vickie fired as Managing Supervisor and Brad Maddox announced as Raw GM, but you have to deal with the McMahon stuff because it's not going away any time soon. They like attention. Who's going to tell them not to book themselves as strong characters like that?
I'll have many more thoughts later in the week with the Money in the Bank preview.
TJR Radio is tonight 10pmET with a Money in the Bank preview and talking about all things WWE. If you miss it live that's okay because you can listen to it right here after the show via online player or download the MP3 file. You can also find it on iTunes immediately after the show is over.
As mentioned, I'll write a Money in the Bank PPV preview on Friday with Andrew Johnson and Christian Michael like usual. Then on Sunday night at TJRWrestling.com I'll have live coverage of Money in the Bank with a full recap and analysis. If you miss it live you can check it out there after or on any of the other sites I write at.
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Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org