Live from Miami, Florida this is the Raw Deal for episode #1104. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Sunday night was WWE Battleground. Check out my live review with results & analysis right here. You should also read about the good things WWE did at Battleground too. The road to SummerSlam begins with this week's Raw.
Raw begins with Triple H walking to the ring for a promo. Is this a rerun? The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show.
Hunter said backstage nobody wants to look him in the eye because they're scared about how he might react since John Cena is still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He said he was mad, but he had options. Hunter said he's going to "tweet my displeasure" and he mentioned Instagram as well as Vine. He did this in a mocking tone saying "if I don't get what I want I'm going to riot" and if that doesn't work then "me and my friend Mark are going to stop watching." Of course he said Mark there. He is not referring to The Undertaker. Sorry. He said what he's going to do is relax because he knows he's going to be a winner. Hunter said that at SummerSlam "I can guaran-damn-tee that John Cena will no longer be the WWE Champion." Hunter used his deep wrestler man voice when he said that part.
Randy Orton came out to say he could beat John Cena in a one on one match. This is really feeling like a rerun. Hunter said he wanted to be impressed by somebody. Orton complained about Kane costing him on Sunday and he said "you're not seriously considering Kane" so of course Kane's music started up.
Kane said that he could beat John Cena. He was tired of babysitting Randy Orton. Come on Kane, you're not that old. Pretty close, though.
Roman Reigns made his entrance through the crowd. He said if you're going to have a conversation about the WWE WHC then his name should be in it. Reigns said nobody wants to see Cena vs. Kane or Cena vs. Orton. True! He thinks everybody wants to see John Cena vs. Roman Reigns. The crowd cheered that. "Believe that!" Reigns gave Kane a Superman Punch while Hunter and Orton got out of the ring.
Hunter put Reigns in a match right now with Kane and Randy Orton. By "right now" he means after a commercial of course.
Analysis: That's a pretty big match to have in the second segment of the show, but that's what they're going with. Hunter's lines about internet fans complaining on Twitter was pretty funny. He probably enjoyed it more than we did. If this was two years ago Hunter would have mentioned people complaining on Tout. The guarantee line is significant because when Vince McMahon said that in the past it usually happened. Solid start to the show. They're obviously saving the Cena challenger until later and that's fine.
Roman Reigns vs. Kane & Randy Orton
The heels dominated the action for a few minutes. Orton tried to come back, but Kane yanked Reigns outside the ring. Reigns whipped Kane into the steel steps out of the ring. It's time for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, the heels were working over Reigns again as Cole kept calling him "the juggernaut." That's not a good nickname. Please stop. Reigns hit a Samoan Drop on Orton. Kane tagged in and he was met with a leaping clothesline by Reigns followed by some punches. Reigns with the running kick on Kane by the apron. Kane hit a big boot to the face. Orton didn't want to tag in. Kane ended up choking him. Reigns with the Superman Punch on Kane. Orton walked away. Reigns hit a Spear on Kane for the win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: ** It was a very average match, so I'm glad they didn't put it in the main event. Reigns made a nice comeback at the end of it although it was only a win because of the heels being a dysfunctional team.
Orton teased going back in the ring to face Reigns, but then he walked away.
Analysis: There's a Reigns vs. Orton match that is rumored for SummerSlam, so this plays into that with Orton waiting for the right time to go after him.
Stephanie McMahon gave a pep talk to Alicia Fox, Eva Marie, Cameron & Rosa Mendes because they're facing off with Nikki Bella in a 4 on 1 handicap match.
Analysis: It's the night of handicap matches apparently.
The four heel divas were in the ring. Nikki Bella hugged her sister Brie, who just happened to be sitting at ringside.
Stephanie McMahon entered the arena and got in the face of Brie Bella to summarize the story of Brie's firing. She ripped on Daniel Bryan calling him a "B+ player" again. Stephanie taunted her by saying that Nikki will pay for Brie's actions. Brie called her a "bitch" after Stephanie walked away. Stephanie tried to eject her. Brie called Stephanie a "vindictive bitch" again so Stephanie slapped her. Security took Brie away.
Analysis: That was an effective segment. I know it's silly that Brie would be at ringside, but it fits the storyline. It feels personal and that's the sign of a good feud. Brie's use of colorful language was perfect because Stephanie deserved. That's why the fans cheered. They're building to Stephanie vs. Brie at SummerSlam.
Alicia Fox, Eva Marie, Cameron & Rosa Mendes vs. Nikki Bella
The four girls attacked Nikki with punches and kicks. Alicia hit a jumping axe kick and then pinned Nikki. I think Alicia did it because she's the only one of those girls that actually have an effective move. It was less than one minute.
Winners by pinfall: Alicia Fox, Eva Marie, Cameron & Rosa Mendes
After the match, Stephanie told Nikki that she's going to end up quitting just like her sister.
Analysis: Poor Nikki. Maybe John Cena can buy her another house or car. I have nothing serious to add. One of Nikki's nipples was exposed accidentally when she was outside the ring. I'm not posting a pic. You can search for it.
Later in the show is Triple H's decision for John Cena's SummerSlam opponent and Flo Rida is also there to sing some songs.
They replayed the Brie/Stephanie altercation. We get it. Stephanie is important. Now book some midcard titles that actually matter.
Bo Dallas was in the ring. Damien Sandow was in a LeBron James Miami Heat jersey. You would think the fans would be more upset about this, but Miami isn't really the best fanbase in the NBA.
Damien Sandow vs. Bo Dallas
It's pretty weird seeing a heel vs. heel match. There was a brief "let's go Heat" chant. Sandow hit a clothesline and a chinlock. Sandow did a mock basketball shot after he knocked down Dallas. Body slam by Sandow and then he said "Cleveland I'm coming home" before hitting the elbow. Dallas came back quickly with the Running Bodog for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bo Dallas
Like usual, Dallas celebrated after the match with a victory lap around ringside. JBL put him over as a huge deal for the undefeated streak. Well, he's undefeated in singles in this incarnation of the character. JBL said he's 18-0, but Cole said 16-0.
Analysis: * It was like most Dallas matches. He worked more like the babyface since Sandow was on offense until Bo made his comeback to win. Sandow was entertaining in this role.
Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt are up next for the Highlight Reel.
Retro Raw Deal from five years ago: I'm re-posting my Raw Deal review columns from five years ago every Sunday, so be sure to check out the July 20, 2009 edition. I post the original version and I also add in comments. Five years ago the hosts were ZZ Top, who were terrible. The whole show was just really bad and reminded me of how much I hated Raw five years ago. So if you're a fan of me ripping on stupid storylines, this is the review for you!
There's no Highlight Reel because Jericho was doing an interview during the break on the WWE App when he happened to get attacked by the Wyatt Family.
The Wyatt Family entered the ring with the Highlight Reel set in the ring including the Jeritron. Wyatt: "Hello everyone and welcome to the Highlight Reel!" He said Jericho couldn't be there. A clip aired of Jericho getting attacked in the locker room by Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Wyatt gave him a Sister Abigail so that Jericho's head crashed into a locker. Wyatt: "Sooner or later, they all fall down."
Back to the ring, Wyatt talked about how he wanted a war and that he created war. He said it wasn't too long ago that the Wyatt Family entered a WWE ring for the first time. It has been about a year. He talked about all the trouble they caused and wondered who Jericho thinks he has been dealing with. He's everybody bit the monster that "they don't think I am" said Wyatt. Wyatt said that society is his plaything and that time is irrelevant to him. He added that Abigail told him to be careful seeking vengeance because you're going to need two graves; one for your enemy and one for yourself. He said: "Unfortunately for you Chris Jericho, I am forever."
The camera cut backstage with a doctor checking on Jericho. His left ear was bleeding. Zack Ryder and R-Truth were also there. Truth was wondering what happened. Download the app!
Analysis: That was a very good promo by Wyatt. The line about needing two grave and "I am forever" was a really strong way to end it. It was basically a way for him to get his heat back after losing on Sunday night. This feud is going on to SummerSlam. Since Jericho was attacked viciously backstage it makes storyline sense for them to have another match. Expect Wyatt to go over in that one.
Flo Rida was shown walking backstage hugging some people. He's singing later.
The Miz made his entrance. He's the new Intercontinental Champion and he's in action after the break.
The Miz was in the ring with the Intercontinental Title. They showed pictures from the Battleground battle royal match with Miz sneaking in at the end to eliminate Ziggler.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler
This is non-title. It's the battle of Cleveland guys that don't live there anymore because they went somewhere warmer. That means Miz will already surpass his last IC Title reign that lasted for one day. Miz tried to get away, but Ziggler dominated him in the ring and hit his series of elbows as Lawler and JBL made their typical heart attack jokes. Zigger went for a dropkick, Miz caught him and gave him a slingshot towards the ropes. They fought on the apron with Miz covering up his face. Ziggler charged, so Miz dropped him face first into the steel post. It's time for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Miz was still in control as the fans chanted support for Ziggler. The announcers were making bad jokes with Miz putting on a chinlock. Ziggler tried a comeback, but Miz hit a clothesline. Miz missed a corner charge, so both guys were down. Ziggler hit a corner splash and a neckbreaker. Miz got a rollup for two, then a backbreaker, Ziggler counter and Miz hit the Side Effect for two. They did a lot of quick counters on some nearfalls with Ziggler winning that battle with an impressive leaping DDT. Miz hit a snap DDT for two. Miz went for the Figure Four Leglock, but Ziggler did an inside cradle for two. Miz kept going for the Figure Four Leglock and finally applied it in the ring. Ziggler was yelling in pain. He got to the ropes. Good camera work to show the struggle on his face. Ziggler came back with a Fameasser for two. Really good nearfall as Ziggler grabbed his left leg to sell the knee pain from the Figure Four Leglock. Miz wanted the Skull Crushing Finale, but Ziggler pushed him away. Ziggler wanted a superkick, Miz moved because he didn't want his face hit so Ziggler hit the Zig Zag and he covered for the win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: ***1/4 A champion losing a non-title match? It happens all the time. They had a really competitive match. Lots of nearfalls and near submissions throughout. You could hear the crowd get really into it by the end, which is always a great sign. People that love Ziggler will point to matches like this as an example that he's one of the best performers in WWE and he is, but it doesn't mean he'll ever get pushed to the top again. He should, though. Miz held his own too. I like his heel persona. It's probably going to lead to a SummerSlam match between them although maybe Sheamus gets involved so both midcard titles are on the line.
Post match, Miz made Justin Roberts say that Miz was still the Intercontinental Champion. Miz put on his shades after the loss. His music played even though he lost.
Triple H was in his office. Seth Rollins was in there talking to him briefly. Cesaro showed up and said he's like a walking Money in the Bank contract because he'll win any title match. Cesaro showed up to say that he was no longer a Paul Heyman Guy. He wants to be Hunter's guy. Hunter said there's unfinished business with Dean Ambrose, so he put Cesaro in a match with him.
Analysis: That Cesaro association with Heyman lasted less than four months. Cesaro's either going face soon or WWE booking has no idea what they are doing with him. You decide.
AJ Lee and Paige were shown walking backstage for a tag match.
There was a replay of AJ Lee's win over Paige on Sunday. Natalya and Emma were in the ring for their match while AJ Lee and Paige got separate entrances.
AJ Lee & Paige vs. Natalya & Emma
Emma started with AJ. AJ was in control and tagged in Paige. Emma applied the Tarantula and tagged in Natalya, who hit a dropkick on Paige. Paige shoved Natalya into Emma, who got knocked down. Natalya nailed a perfect German Suplex on Paige. Natalya gave Paige a Sharpshooter. She fought it off and tagged in AJ Lee. Natalya didn't see the tag, so AJ hit a Shining Wizard on her and then applied the Black Widow submission. Natalya tapped out. The match went about three minutes.
Winners by submission: AJ Lee & Paige
Analysis: * It was solid for a short match. All four women are pretty good and could have had a great match, but it was all about building to what was next.
Post match, Paige celebrated with AJ. When AJ went to walk away, Paige yanked her down by the hair. Headbutts by Paige and then she tossed AJ outside the ring. Paige threw her into the barricade. Paige threw her into the steel ring post and yelled: "I told you this was my house!" Paige tossed AJ over the announce table as the announcers got out of there. Paige yelled: "My house, AJ!" The doctor checked on AJ as Paige went up the ramp happy with her work.
Analysis: It was obvious that was coming. That didn't hurt it, though. Paige did a fantastic job of showing the right kind of aggression and AJ sold it all very well. I'm glad AJ didn't get to fight back at all. That made Paige look dominant. This is going to lead to a Divas Title match at SummerSlam, which should be better than their Battleground match because the next one will have a story. Paige is going to thrive as a heel. She's better in that role.
Coming up later is the Triple H decision for Cena's opponent at SummerSlam and Flo Rida is there too.
Fandango was in the ring. Zack Ryder is his opponent. He's got Layla and Summer Rae with him. The girls hang out with whoever Fandango is against.
Zack Ryder (w/Layla & Summer Rae) vs. Fandango
Fandango got some offense in early on as JBL was ripping on Ryder for being a loser. Ryder made a comeback and hit the Rough Ryder on Fandango near the ropes. Fandango's foot was on the ropes. Layla knocked his foot off the ropes. The ref didn't see it, so Ryder won in two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Zack Ryder
Analysis: 1/2* I was hoping this Fandango story was over. Apparently not. Ryder winning a singles match on Raw is pretty rare these days, so congrats to him.
There was another replay of Stephanie McMahon's argument with Brie Bella, which led to Stephanie slapping her after Brie called her a bitch.
Analysis: We get it. Stories with Stephanie McMahon are more important than everything else. We don't need hourly reminders.
Renee Young showed up to interview Flo Rida. Heath Slater showed up. They had a brief rivalry from two years ago when they had a backstage incident. Slater shoved him gently. Flo Rida shoved Slater hard and he went down. Flo Rida is singing up next.
Analysis: Poor Heath. Somewhere Jinder and Drew are shedding a tear.
Plug Time: Check out my feature column archive that's exclusive to WhatCulture. I write there every day and it's a lot of fun for me. Some recent posts include 10 things WWE wants us to forget about Paul Heyman, a look back at the Invasion 2001 PPV and a listing of the best July WWE Matches of all-time. There are plenty of other things too including Vince Russo writing at the site, so check it out now!
This Tuesday on Main Event it's Sheamus vs. Rusev. That will be a physical match.
Stephanie McMahon was in the ring. She introduced Flo Rida and noted that he's from Miami.
Flo Rida performed on the stage. He had a WWE shirt I'm not recapping the songs although I did recognized "Good Feeling" and "Wild Ones" from WrestleMania two years ago when I was in Miami. I miss Miami. The singing lasted about five minutes. Stephanie encouraged applause for him.
Analysis: While I'm not a huge fan of music performances during the show, this was fine. It's not like it went too long. Plus it allowed me to take a piss break, so that's a productive use of time.
The announcers were talking. There were two guys in suits that went up to Stephanie McMahon and looked like they were there to arrest her. A WWE security guy was with her. Fans were chanting "yes" when they realized what was going on. Some of them were singing "na na na hey hey goodbye" at her. One of the cops read her rights to her and she said she understood her rights. The cop asked her if she slapped Brie, then Stephanie admitted it and the guy said he was arresting her for battery. They put handcuffs on her. Brie showed up to yell at her. The two guys in suits carried her away as Stephanie said she's not going to jail.
When they got backstage Hunter finally showed up. The cops old her to relax because they're going to take her to the station. Hunter told the cops they better be sure of it. He made fun of the car the cops had. It was a hybrid. When Stephanie was in the car, Hunter told her to relax and that he would be right there. He kept yelling for his lawyer.
Analysis: It's silly that somebody would get arrested for being slapped, but WWE would justify it by saying that Brie was a paying customer that was attacked by Stephanie. She also was a customer that got to cut a promo. I give Stephanie a lot of credit for her performance. She is a fantastic heel. Vince is probably proud of her. He should be. Let me know when Randy Orton is going to get arrested for attacking John Cena's dad over the years as well. I know the person has to press charges. I'm just saying it's happened many times before.
Hunter was in his office. Joey Mercury was there. He's a backstage agent. He mentioned that they had to figure out Cena's WrestleMania opponent. Hunter said family first, but then he said she's going to have to be processed so tell them to keep the car ready and he'll go when he's made his decision.
Analysis: It was pretty funny that Hunter wouldn't go help his wife right away. It's about 10:13pm ET in the show so under an hour left. Can I vote for Hunter in the Slammy Award for Worst Husband Of The Year? He's a winner.
Kofi Kingston & Big E vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel
The heels worked over Big E for a couple of minutes. Kingston tagged in and was on fire so Cole fired off his "controlled frenzy" line. Kingston hit a couple of moves on Ryback. Axel broke up a pin, so Big E clotheslined him out. Kingston hit a top rope cross body block. Ryback rolled through it and that was good enough for the win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Ryback & Curtis Axel
Analysis: * A really short match to give the heel team a win to try to build them up again. It was a weak move for a finish.
Xavier Woods was in the ring for a promo with Big E and Kofi Kingston after their loss. Woods was in a white suit. He said you can't move ahead by shaking hands. He said "this is our time, this is our place." Woods told them to find focus, find order and find purpose. Woods said they won't ask any longer. Now they're going to take.
Analysis: That was interesting because Woods just popped out of nowhere to deliver that promo. It looks like they're forming some kind of stable that could possibly be a heel group. Keep an eye on this storyline. I'm a fan of all three of them. It wouldn't be a bad idea to add Titus O'Neil to the group too because he has a lot of potential. This is what we want as fans. Midcard storylines that make sense. Thanks WWE for doing something with these guys.
Triple H was in his office on his phone. They just went to break there.
Rusev entered the ring along with the "Ravishing Russian" Lana as Cole mentioned Rusev's countout win over Jack Swagger at Battleground. They said Swagger wasn't medically cleared, so he wasn't there. Lana was about to do a promo. Great Khali's music cut her off.
Analysis: No surprise considering some negative press WWE got from some news outlets from her promo on Sunday night. I didn't think that promo was that controversial, but when she said "current events" it did upset people due to the missile attack on the Air Malaysia flight that was on the Ukraine/Russia border. It was smart of WWE to not say anything on Raw.
The Great Khali vs. Rusev (w/Lana)
Khali got some offense in with some chops. Rusev came back with a kick to the shoulder that Khali sold so slowly. Kick to the face by Rusev. Lana told him to crush so it's Accolade time for the submission win by Rusev after two minutes.
Winner by submission: Rusev
Analysis: 1/2* It was a predictable outcome. No "USA" chants from the crowd for the guy from India. That was smart of them.
There was a clip of Sheamus on the Royal Pains TV show on USA Network on Tuesday. Never seen it.
Stardust and Goldust did a promo backstage again. They really didn't do or so much. Goldust said his name. Stardust blew his stars into the screen and said his name.
Analysis: I like them, but what's the point of the promos? We don't need introductory promos to these characters.
Dean Ambrose made his entrance. Good ovation for him.
There was another replay of the Stephanie McMahon story. If I did a shot for every time this was replayed I would be passed out.
Renee Young was outside of the office backstage and said that Stephanie was getting charged with battery as well as possibly for resisting arrest.
Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro
This should be fun. It's a fresh match. They brawled early on, but Cesaro was able to control it inside the ring. The announcers talked about how Cesaro wasn't with Heyman anymore. Ambrose sent Cesaro outside the ring. Ambrose tried to do an attack over the top to the floor, but Cesaro drilled him with an uppercut. They went to break with Ambrose out on the floor.
Back from break, Cesaro hit a suplex on Ambrose. Triple H was on the phone watching on a backstage monitor along with Orton and Rollins. Ambrose did a headbutt when they were fighting off the top. Missile dropkick by Ambrose. Ambrose hit a Tornado DDT out of the corner that was done perfectly and that was good for a two count. Rollup by Ambrose for two and then Cesaro got knocked out of the ring. Ambrose hit a dive outside the ring between top/middle ropes to take out Cesaro. Back in the ring, Ambrose bounced off the ropes for a clothesline. Cesaro drilled him with a clothesline for two. Ambrose went up top. Cesaro tripped him up. He stomped on Ambrose while he was upside down. The ref pulled him off. Ambrose threw Cesaro into the steel post tree times. Ambrose grabbed a steel chair. He nailed Cesaro in the arm with the chair. The ref disqualified Ambrose. That was it after 13 minutes.
Winner by DQ: Cesaro
Analysis: **3/4 That was getting awesome when they just decided to end it with a terrible finish. I thought they might end it with Cesaro attacking him in the corner for the DQ, but instead it was Ambrose going nuts. It was really good prior to that. I hope this match happens again soon. Since WWE loves rematches it probably will.
Ambrose's music played even though he lost. Just like Miz earlier when he lost and his music played after they played Ziggler's. Weird night for music guy.
Backstage, Renee Young tried to interview Triple H. He said he was going to make the announcement. She asked if he should be with his wife. He just stared at her. Good job, Renee. Way to ask the tough questions.
This week on Smackdown it's Roman Reign vs. Alberto Del Rio.
Triple H was in the ring for a promo. He introduced us to the man that would face John Cena at SummerSlam for the WWE Title. Orton nearly got to the ring, but Roman Reigns showed up to attack him. They brawled all the way to the back. Thanks for showing up!
Analysis: The Reigns/Orton story will lead to a match at SummerSlam. It makes sense. Reigns will win that.
The great Paul Heyman showed up on the stage. He said Plan A wasn't working with Randy Orton because of Roman Reigns showing up. Heyman mentioned that Plan B with Rollins was okay, but every time he shows up he gets stopped by Dean Ambrose.Heyman suggested that Hunter needs to make the dangerous choice of implanting Plan C. Cue the music.
Brock Lesnar showed up to a big reaction from the crowd. He was wearing the "EAT SLEEP BEAT THE STREAK" shirt. He got a superstar reaction. That's the best way to say it. Fans react to Lesnar like a star.
Lesnar and Heyman were in the ring. Hunter shook Heyman's hand and then he shook Lesnar's hand. That makes it official for SummerSlam.
"Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman and my client Brock Lesnar conquered The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania." Heyman said that Lesnar was going to conquer John Cena and take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam. Heyman mentioned there are some fans say "let's go Cena" and others will say "Cena sucks."
Heyman didn't care what side you were on and said that Cena was in for the beating for a lifetime. He's not there spewing hype and hyperbole. He mentions facts. They showed a video from WrestleMania showing Lesnar's win over The Undertaker. That video was excellent. It gets the point across very well.
The promo continued with Heyman talking about Undertaker going to the hospital after his loss to Lesnar and that Vince McMahon had to go to hospital with Undertaker, which is true. Heyman said "John Cena you can't escape this beating." He told us that Brock Lesnar will take John Cena down. Lesnar will hurt, injury and mangle Cena. Heyman did his own version of a Pledge of Alliance that was brilliant said that Cena's 15 World Titles in 10 years sounds like it should be conquered.
"Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman and I'm the one behind the one in 21 and 1. At SummerSlam my client Brock Lesnar will beat John Cena and become the WWE Heavyweight Champion of the World."
Lesnar's music played as he stared straight ahead and that was the end of Raw.
Analysis: That was an excellent promo by Heyman to end the show. That's no surprise since he's the best talker in WWE. Lesnar didn't say a word. He doesn't have to. The video package really helped. Heyman's words were on point. It was exactly as it should have been.
What WWE didn't tell the fans is that Cena is in New York City filming a movie he's in, so no confrontation this week. They can build that up for next week. I'm looking forward to it. I have high expectations for the match too. It was great two years ago. Hopefully it will be again.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Stephanie McMahon - She was outstanding.
2. Paul Heyman - Excellent promo like usual.
3. Dolph Ziggler/The Miz - Definitely the best match.
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2014 Average: 6.27
2014 High: 9 (April 7 & June 30)
2014 Low: 3.5 (June 2)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 6, 9, 7, 6.5
It gets a 7.5 out of 10.
The show was very good for the most part. There was some really good angle development. Stephanie McMahon was tremendous. It felt like she just showed up to taunt Brie, but then they turned it into this bigger angle that worked perfectly. Then there was Hunter not going to the police station with her that had me laughing. The arrest is silly. However, it does make a bigger star out of Brie to be a part of this angle and in the long run that's a good thing.
Best match was Ziggler vs. Miz. A back and forth 15 minute battle that was evenly booked. We need one of those every week at least.
There were so many other things like the continuation of Reigns/Orton, Paige turning heel on AJ Lee, Wyatt attacking Jericho to keep that feud going and the trio of Woods, Kingston & Big E possibly forming some kind of faction. I like it. I'm interested in all of those things. They really didn't further Rollins/Ambrose or Rusev/Swagger, but that will happen down the road.
While the ending may not be considered exciting by some, at least it featured a promo from one of the best talkers ever and the return of Brock Lesnar was treated like a big deal. They laid down the gauntlet. Let's see what Cena has to say next week. I liked how they set it up.
Things are heating up before SummerSlam. I'm looking forward to whatever comes next.
That's all for me.
This Tuesday it's TJR Radio time with The Ace, Matt Seagull and myself at 10pmET for about 90 minutes of wrestling discussion talking Battleground, Raw, SummerSlam and taking some questions too. We will also be joined by Dave Richard of CBSSports.com to talk WWE & NFL, so be sure to check it out live this Tuesday night or use that same link to listen to it any time after it's over.
Check out my feature column archive that's exclusive to WhatCulture. I write there every day and it's a lot of fun for me. Some recent posts include 10 things WWE wants us to forget about Paul Heyman, a look back at the Invasion 2001 PPV and a listing of the best July WWE Matches of all-time. There are plenty of other things too including Vince Russo writing at the site, so check it out now!
Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org