Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Final hype for SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar attacks Shawn Michaels, C.M. Punk and John Cena team up, plus the most awkward final 30 minutes of Raw in recent memory
By Will Pruett
- It's always fun to open up Raw with a main event right away. I would love to see them actually announce a match that will open the show at 8:00pm the week before. Announcing these matches via social media is an okay approach, but it isn't the same as giving fans a full week to anticipate it.
- Daniel Bryan's interference and subsequent involvement in the main event match felt like it came out of left field. I suppose they wanted Bryan on the show in a high profile role, but Kane was on the overseas tour. Bryan played his role in the main event scene well here.
- The distrust between John Cena and C.M. Punk is fascinating. I am enjoying the progression of this story, even though it ultimately puts Punk in an odd position. While this story isn't exactly red hot, as one would wish a Punk heel turn to be, it still has a metric ton of potential to be a great story. People saying this has "ruined Punk" are overreacting to the beginning of what is a long story.
- The hype for the Brock Lesnar and Triple H contract signing throughout the show was well done. The announcers did their best to make this seem like a history making segment. It should be interesting to see if that hype was effective in hooking viewers into the show.
- JTG's Twitter rant being acknowledged means that it was either a storyline or this was a punishment. Either way, him getting a full entrance and a backstage segment was a major upgrade for him. He is a guy I'd love to see shine in the undercard in a Cruiserweight or U.S. Championship division.
- I feel like Piper's Pit was a segment that could have been hyped ahead of time. WWE does far too much last minute booking that really hinders the stories they are telling.
- Did Shawn Michaels not have other friends to hang around with while waiting for Triple H to arrive?
- The Primetime Players actually came off as vicious heels. Their dance is still ridiculous, but their attack on R-Truth showed that they have the ability to get real heat. Now, we just have to wonder if they actually own any pants.
- The long replay of the Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus situation from Smackdown did a nice job filling viewers in, but I wonder how many people zoned out during it. There were too many of longer videos during this show. Perhaps WWE should consider a preshow format in the first hour to make the rest of the show more action oriented.
- Sin Cara's finisher has no name. As silly as it sounds, this does prevent him from getting over. The commentators tend to act unexcited when he hits it. Having a name and something for them to mention would actually enhance his act.
- Tensai beating up Sakamoto was less fun this week. There just wasn't enough time for him to really lay into him. I'm still wondering where this is going, but I also assume creative is wondering the same thing.
- Roddy Piper seemed absolutely out of it during the Piper's Pit segment. It was telling that by the end of it, Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, and The Miz weren't even letting him talk. Piper is great when he is focused, but this was another example of how bad he can be. There seems to be no middle ground with Piper.
- Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler had a fine verbal exchange in the middle of the Piper's Pit train wreck. Jericho's guarantee that he would beat Ziggler is intriguing. If there was ever a wrestler to make a guarantee, then lose the match anyways, it is Jericho. It adds a lot of intrigue to their SummerSlam match.
- The triple threat between Jericho, Ziggler, and Miz was great. It was exciting, dynamic, well-composed, and it allowed all three men to look strong. This was a match that I would have been happy to see on the SummerSlam card. All three men went out to make this Raw match as entertaining as possible. It helped quite a bit to get through the three hours.
- C.M. Punk's backstage exchanges with Eve and John Cena helped to further develop this story with Punk. As I said before, I'm interested in the story, not the instant payoff. It is more interesting to watch a character change than to experience a sudden change.
- Will Wade Barrett's in-ring persona change? Based on these vignettes, he will be more vicious. With all of this buildup, he needs some sort of change.
- Layla seems to be on her third theme song since winning the Diva's Championship. Her dancing antics in this match were frustratingly silly. There is a ton of potential to tell good stories in the division and many of the women could do so. Give them a shot with the bonus time the three hour format allows.
- I did not know who Kaitlyn was before this episode of Raw.
- The main event tag team match did a nice job of getting John Cena and C.M. Punk's personality conflict over. It also allowed Big Show to look like a monster of sorts. The triple threat match at SummerSlam definitely feels like an undercard attraction, but the scene is positioned to rise up once Lesnar and Triple H are out of the way.
- Damien Sandow looked great in his match against Christian. Kudos to Christian for putting over Sandow. The involvement of Brodus Clay kept that feud alive. I'd love to see the two of them at SummerSlam.
- The contract signing began with thirty minutes plus an overrun left to go in the show. I almost expected one of the longest segments in Raw history, but instead was treated to some of the most awkward time filling I've ever seen.
- To begin with, the contract signing itself was fine, but nothing special. When it ended, I actually felt like the show might be over. Paul Heyman talking for Brock Lesnar continues to be one of the highlights of Raw.
- Shawn Michaels' role here was just to set up the beating later in the night. I liked his doubt of Triple H, but Michaels' involvement does make this seem like a lesser version of The Undertaker's WrestleMania stories from the past two years.
- Paul Heyman's response to a car accident was fantastic. He was very good in that moment.
- The attack on Shawn Michaels in darkness was campy and awful. I'm not saying Michaels should have taken the full beating that Lesnar can give, but this was an odd cop out. They tried to sell it like a vicious and disturbing attack, but it came across as standard pro-wrestling fodder.
- The closing moments of Raw were supposed to be tense and frightening, but they played out like comedy. I want to like this segment and be excited by it, but this was a huge misstep. Nothing worked well between Lesnar, Michaels, Heyman, and Triple H. It wasn't just one bad performance, but it was four.
This was a show that really felt like it took three hours. The final half hour, which included all of the hype for Triple H and Brock Lesnar, was awkward and not compelling. I wasn't ready to throw my money on the table after watching it, which I hoped to be (although I will be at SummerSlam on Sunday).
The rest of the show was decent, but unexciting. Aside from the triple threat, none of the in-ring action was memorable. This show failed at the overall goal of getting people excited for SummerSlam, which is disappointing.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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