Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan, C.M. Punk vs. Rey Mysterio, Big Show stands tall, Shawn Michaels appears and is threatened by Brock Lesnar, Sheamus steals a car, A.J. Lee heavily featured
By Will Pruett
- The best part of this show (which featured a lot of good action) was the new opening video with the new theme song. We've heard the song before, but we haven't actually seen the opening video. I don't know if I like the song as much as I do because it is replacing Nickelback or because it is actually good. All I know is that for now, I can retire one of my hashtags: #NickelbackIsAwful.
- I know we couldn't have seen it last week due the whole "catching the set on fire" thing, but the opening pyro on the new stage also looks amazing. I'm a sucker for production value and when it is good, I love it. It can also ruin a show for me if it is bad.
- A.J. was very good in the opening segment. She held her own, charismatically, in the ring with C.M. Punk, John Cena, and Big Show. This was a fun opening segment that, while contrived at this point in wrestling history, served a purpose to set up the rest of the show.
- Watching this show, I was reminded of the early WrestleMania shows. On those shows, we saw one or two good matches, a whole lot of evenly booked draws, and squashes galore. This show reminded me just how lucky we are as wrestling fans today. We see shows that, for sheer wrestling quality, top many of the early legendary wrestling shows.
- This crowd played into C.M. Punk's heel character really nicely. Some audiences would cheer Punk ostensibly, but this crowd was willing to go for a ride and it made the show fun.
- John Cena explaining that Punk had become "one of those guys" in his promo was the beginning of what should be a very good verbal back and forth between the two. Cena can remind Punk of everything Punk said a year ago and tell him to look in the mirror. This character transition is still fantastic.
- One of my favorite C.M. Punk matches was his Over The Limit 2010 match against Rey Mysterio. Their match on this show didn't capture that same magic, but it was still very good. Mysterio continues to impress me since his return, even if he is wrestling in a shirt.
- Wade Barrett's vignette seemed like the kind of thing they should have shown for him prior to his debut. I like the fact that they did it to reintroduce him, but it would have helped him immensely back on NXT as well.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian was a good match, but nothing great. It served a purpose, and that was filling time and putting Del Rio in the ring for the angle with Sheamus stealing his car. It was fun to watch, but forgettable once it was over.
- One of the best choices WWE has made in a long time has to be Booker T being named Smackdown General Manager.
- The match between Big Show and Randy Orton showed how strong Big Show is. The post-match RKO showed how explosive Randy Orton can be. Did either point get across while trying to make the other?
- Is it really safe to allow Ryback to wrestle with pink eye?
- I would love to see Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins switch places with the Primetime Players. Reks and Hawkins are charismatic and talented. There is a better use for them than being Ryback's job guys.
- Primo and Epico picking up a win over the Primetime Players was fun to see. Now give us some character development for Primo and Epico. I'd love to see the audience find a reason to cheer them.
- Damien Sandow could have just called Brodus Clay's momma to stop the dancing. That's all he's asking for.
- Daniel Bryan vs. Kane should be a fine match at SummerSlam for two guys semi-involved with each other, but not in a main program.
- Kelly Kelly defeated Eve. Was she actually ever gone? I don't seem to remember missing her.
- Could Kelly Kelly returning to the Diva's division be sort of like when Hulk Hogan would return when Warrior or Savage had titles in the early 1990's? Perhaps Layla not getting over has stopped another passing of the (much smaller) torch.
- Brock Lesnar looks to be in much better shape than he was for his match at Extreme Rules.
- Shawn Michaels and Paul Heyman did some great promo work to hype the SummerSlam main event. Brock Lesnar's job was to stand there and look intimidating and he did so. Lesnar's speaking role should be limited just like it was on this show.
- Not only did Lesnar look tough all through the promo segment, he looked smart by not jumping both Michaels and Triple H at the same time. I know some fans would love to see Lesnar knock out Triple H on a nightly basis, but that wouldn't make for a compelling product. I'll take this over what they are asking for any day.
- Tout was integrated more into storylines this week, but less was shown from fans. I'll take this trade off all day every day. Not watching a bunch of wrestling nerds ramble definitely justifies Sheamus' car theft.
- Alex Riley getting a match on Raw once again was good to see.
- Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho's feud continues to entertain me. I'm now just waiting for the match announcement for SummerSlam. That is the logical next step and I'd like to see it before next week's go home show.
- If a Kane vs. Miz match occurs and no one reacts, did it really happen?
- Would Jerry Lawler consider Sheamus to be "just joyriding" if Sheamus had taken his car?
- WWE has sinked to the point of promoting Tom Arnold? What is this world coming to? Well, at least he wasn't a guest host.
- John Cena and Daniel Bryan had a great match together. I'd love to see them get a full-fledged feud in before the end of the year. If the plan is to take Cena out of the title picture again as Punk gets ready for Rock, than Bryan could be a spectacular distraction.
- C.M. Punk cut a strong promo at the commentator's table that further reinforced his new heel-ish ways. Punk is doing some great work convincing fans to hate him, while still staying true to most of who he has been for the last year.
- Big Show needed a moment to stand tall in this feud. He feels tacked on and added in, but he needed this moment.
This was an entertaining show. It flowed well from match to angle to match and so on. It was never boring. Stories were told across the board, from the main event scene, to the lower card, with some Divas and tag teams thrown in. Not all of them were perfect stories, but attention was given to every part of the card, which I enjoy.
The in-ring action on this show was superior to most Raw broadcast. While that level may not be sustainable in the long term, I greatly appreciated it tonight. On occasion, we can see a little more wrestling on TV and it doesn't suddenly crash buyrates and cause the world to explode. I feel like this show was about hooking more people into the new three hour format, and that worked for me.
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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