Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw SuperShow - A.J. Lee gets the central focus, C.M. Punk and John Cena tease tension in their match against Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan, Jericho plays his greatest hits, Paul Heyman responds to Triple H again
By Will Pruett
- As far as technical issues go, there were none of the West Coast feed of Raw, which made it weird for Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler to apologize for them. For the last two weeks, WWE just hasn't been able to get Raw started off right.
- After John Cena made his full entrance for the opening segment, it almost seemed like a "This is your life" style segment. Both Daniel Bryan and C.M. Punk entered without music and by starting to talk backstage. It was a fun change to the usual musical party that accompanies entrances in segments like this.
- I would be super into a Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena rivalry.
- Could more talent have been involved in the opening? Kane, Big Show, and Chris Jericho getting involved was fun. This week seemed to start a major effort to assure that the WWE Championship is in segments with John Cena. They are trying to make it look like a major title again.
- Chris Jericho dusting off the greatest hits of his old catchphrases was fun, but it also confused the crowd. Most of these phrases haven't been heard since Jericho returned in 2007 and most of them really haven't been heard since 2005 on a regular basis. It was fun for long-time older fans, but confusing for those in the crowd.
- Getting Big Show over as a dominant force for the Money in the Bank match works for me, but it isn't perfect. Show looks to be gaining more weight on a daily basis. For some reason, on this show, he looked to be in worse shape than Vader was a few weeks ago.
- Assuming that wrestlers get some sort of choice (in kayfabe) in who they team with, why would Cody Rhodes team with David Otunga again?
- The entrances in the eight-man tag were a little strange. Why would Cody Rhodes enter to the Primetime Player's music?
- I enjoyed Abraham Washington's encouragement from ringside and I look forward to him fine-tuning it. It's not exactly Jimmy Hart's megaphone, but it is at least slightly similar to it.
- The babyface group hitting multiple finishers on David Otunga was odd. Shouldn't it be a heel group beating someone up that way?
- I don't want a "Teddy Long Surprise" and I never will.
- Doesn't it sound a little janky to say "World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match" every time we have to refer to it? The brand extension made match naming much easier.
- Those Vince McMahon training packages from 1999 were pretty much brilliant. Shane McMahon should appear on the 1,000th Raw. If anything, he can just talk a little, dance, then fall odd of something tall. That was the core of Shane's act.
- Was that another injury angle and write off for Sin Cara? I sincerely hope it wasn't, but would not be surprised. I was looking forward for a match between the two lucha-style wrestlers, but Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara was not to be on this night.
- A.J. showed that flower who the boss was. She was all over this show, but she excelled in every segment she was a part of. Backstage with Daniel Bryan, she did a really nice job.
- Paul Heyman's promo reeked of subtlety. So many wrestling talents could learn from watching Heyman sit still in front of a camera and talk quietly and calmly. Heyman is a master at his craft and this was more proof.
- While Money in the Bank is the primary focus, it also seems that WWE is planting seeds (and more) for SummerSlam. This is the kind of long-term build that most pay-per-views do not receive. It makes SummerSlam feel more important than it usually does.
- While I am enjoying A.J.'s act, it was odd to see her paired with Sheamus. She is so intertwined in the story of Punk and Bryan that it felt unnecessary to see her teamed with Sheamus.
- Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler still have amazing chemistry in the ring. I wish Ziggler was able to look like more of a threat in their matches. Going back to Alberto Del Rio after these matches with Ziggler is a big step down on quality opponents for Sheamus.
- A.J.'s post-match excitement and segment with C.M. Punk was fantastic. Her anger at being ignored was perfect. The amount of crazy she can bring is truly inspiring. As a focal point of this show, she is more than pulling her weight.
- Why almost ruin a good thing by allowing Doink the Clown to lose to Heath Slater? Sure, Doink was Steve Lombardi and not Matt Bourne, but even the Brawler deserves to beat Slater on occasion.
- Diamond Dallas Page showing up was fun, but why not allow him to work the squash match with Slater? It's not a big deal, since Slater still ended up beat down by a legend, but it was noticeable. Who is next to beat up Slater?
- I'm going to assume that DDP wanted to cut a 45 minute promo about YRG in order to work a match, so WWE managed to argue him down to a quick appearance for a t-shirt.
- "No Holds Barred" was funny when it wasn't supposed to be. In 20 years, will we be referring to "The Chaperone" as an unintentional dramatic masterpiece?
- I'm not one of those people that believes WWE is wrong in promoting their charity work. It's frustrating that so many reporters always assume WWE has evil motives. I won't say they are perfect, but I strongly doubt their charity work is motivated by selfishness.
- Big Show vs. Kane was a slow a slow and unexciting match. They continued to show Show's dominance, but this match also showed too many of his weaknesses.
- Eve and A.J. are two very different and very strong female characters on Raw. They both intrigue me and they could have a great rivalry, if WWE decided to tell that story anytime soon.
- Alberto Del Rio was super into the DX invasion of Monday Nitro? That just seems odd.
- Tyson Kidd pinning Tensai was a huge surprise and a fun moment. Kidd is getting quite the nice push right now and he deserves it. Kidd really impressed me in the first main event of the new NXT with his babyface style.
- Is Tensai's new gimmick that he beats up Sakamoto when he loses?
- When is someone going to auto-tune Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan's backstage segment? I'd tweet the hell out of that video song.
- The tension between Punk and John Cena was fantastic. Making it appear that Punk and Cena are on the same level again should be the number one priority if this is going where I believe it is going.
- Punk vs. Cena would be a great co-main event for SummerSlam. The one-two punch of that and Lesnar vs. Triple H would make SummerSlam a must-see show.
- Will someone powerbomb Punk after this year's Punk vs. Cena SummerSlam match? If the answer is yes, my hope is that Sid gets the text from Hunter, or himself, or Kevin Nash, or John Laurinatis, or Vince McMahon, or Stephanie McMahon, or Harvey Whippleman, or Papa Shango. Who sent that text again?
- Discussing all of the title reigns that Punk is outlasting every week on Raw does a lot for his character and the title. Step two is having the faith in Punk to carry main events, which they showed on this show.
- Building the match to the hot tag from Cena to Punk was fantastic. The crowd was super hot for Punk to get into the action. John Cena did a great job playing the babyface in peril here.
- Somewhere, most likely in an airport, John Cena and Chris Jericho are still fighting.
- The little taste of Punk and Bryan was, hopefully, enough to sell fans on their match at Money in the Bank. They will go out there and try to top their phenomenal effort at Over the Limit, which will be very fun to watch.
- A.J. closing Raw as the final image, as well as the entire angle with her pushing Punk (and Daniel Bryan) through a table, was surprising. I can't remember a time when a woman was the final focus of Monday Night Raw and I loved it! WWE has a breakout star on their hands and they seem to be realizing it with A.J.
This was a pretty good episode of Raw. It wasn't particularly newsworthy, but it moved a lot of pieces into place for Money in the Bank and SummerSlam. The true star of this show was A.J. Lee, who can point to this week and last as the breakout performance of her career. She is as much a part of the Punk and Bryan story as either of them, or the WWE Championship. She's super talented and super exciting.
The build for the WWE Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match was also handled well. Putting that match on the level of the actual WWE Championship was a wise choice. It seems to be conventional wisdom that the winner of that match will face Punk at SummerSlam, but we'll see what actually plays out.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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