Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - SummerSlam fallout, Triple H is discussed but absent, Brock Lesnar quits, C.M. Punk and John Cena wage philosophical war once again, Chris Jericho loses his contract against Dolph Ziggler
By Will Pruett
- Often on the Raw episodes after major pay-per-views, WWE likes to begin the show looking at the night before and end the show looking forward. They did it after WrestleMania this year and they did that here. Opening with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman looked back at the evening before perfectly. Closing the show with the Punk and Cena exchange looked at Night of Champions.
- Paul Heyman has been nothing but brilliant cutting promos on behalf of Brock Lesnar. WWE realized Lesnar's weakness during the Cena feud and they have filled it in perfectly.
- Heyman declaring Brock Lesnar as the new King of Kings and the conquerer of the WWE was fun to watch. This whole opening, including Scott Armstrong's summoning to the ring worked for me. It was evil, arrogant, and set up Brock's future well (as well as explaining his coming absence).
- With both Triple H and C.M. Punk, the chin gets shaved when they are turning. It's a nice indicator of status.
- The six man tag team match featuring Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, and Sin Cara vs. Primetime Players and Cody Rhodes was a fine match, but nothing memorable. Sin Cara getting the best of Cody made sense, but the entire match was skippable. The action didn't justify its existence.
- I enjoyed the idea of Punk being allowed to pick his next challenger pending A.J.'s approval. It teased some A.J. interference earlier in the night as well as providing a hook for the show. The final segment was more than worth the long build to me.
- Ryback and Jinder Mahal are telling a decent, yet unexciting, undercard story. WWE is making an effort to tell stories in their undercard and I appreciate that. Mahal and Ryback seems like a boring story to some, but it is better than both men doing nothing. This story has given them, and their spot on the show, a purpose.
- Dolph Ziggler, as great as he is, still needs to work on his acting in backstage segments. In both his segment with Chris Jericho and his segment with Vickie Guerrero, Ziggler's acting was suspect. He's developing extremely well, but he needs to work on that aspect of his game.
- For some reason the Ziggler vs. Jericho set up reminded me of the Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair Loser Leaves Town match from the first year of Raw. The match didn't live up to that classic, but the set up was reminiscent of it.
- Alberto Del Rio's promo was just what we have come to expect from him. I'm bored of the character and I find myself wishing he would reinvent himself. Wrestling acts stay on top by adapting and changing their characters or being involved in hot feuds. Del Rio has done neither of these things.
- It seems like WWE is running through bug Randy Orton matches prior to him leaving again to film a movie. If that is the case, I have to wonder why they brought him back. Either way, Orton is having some decent TV matches, so I can't complain too much.
- Randy Orton did his second rope DDT from the corner spot in this Raw match and his match with Daniel Bryan on Smackdown. Michael Cole called it the exact same way both times. This was almost déjà vu.
- Sheamus did a nice job on commentary. He has the poise and charisma of a champion and even in his speech, he seems like a big deal. I do believe that Sheamus is mis-cast as an opportunistic champion and I would love to see him get out of this Del Rio feud.
- All of the post-match interviews from SummerSlam shown were great. It's fun to reflect on a show in this way. I hope WWE continues to do this after pay-per-views. It is a little bit of a take off on TNA's roving camera concept, but it's a great concept, so why not use it?
- Once again, WWE is telling stories using their mid-card acts. This time, it is with Brodus Clay and Damien Sandow telling a story together. This match was the next chapter in their story and it continued to be even. I'll take this over random squashes for both men any day of the week. Sandow seems to have more upside at this moment, so him getting the official win isn't surprising.
- Shawn Michaels' via satellite interview about Triple H was a great next chapter in this story. WWE is selling the idea that Triple H (a star legitimately over with their main audience) might be done really well. It feels heavy handed to those that automatically assume he isn't, but WWE should be selling this like they would if he was done. Underselling would compromise the story.
- We always say we want WWE to tell stories where characters age, good guys lose, and a hero has to deal with a major loss. WWE is doing that with Triple H and I am buying into it. This is the kind of story I always hope they will tell.
- David Otunga looks so odd to me without his goatee. It's like he became 10 years younger.
- Where does Big Show go now that he is (presumably) done with John Cena? Will he be in the World Heavyweight Championship picture anytime soon? What feud seems important enough for him to be in as a heel now?
- The concept of the Kane and Zack Ryder vs. Daniel Bryan and The Miz match worked for me. It was fun to see those two old rivalries restarted. It was also nice to see that those grudges were not forgotten now that the two teams were on the same side of the heel/face spectrum.
- WWE is doing a great job of promoting Daniel Bryan in a side program. He's more than capable of main eventing. He's ridiculously entertaining. He is finding a great role for himself.
- I know that Zack Ryder worked hard to get himself over, but the character is too silly. I don't believe it could sustain itself at a high level outside of the small run from earlier this year. Ryder is a caricature, not a compelling character.
- The Diva's Battle Royal was like watching a slow motion train wreck. I'm all about taking time and focusing on the Diva's division, but matches like these don't help things. I'd rather see a one-on-one match that is actually good than a battle royal.
- Brock Lesnar's Tout (sent from Paul Heyman's account) about quitting WWE was curious. I find myself wondering why WWE allowed this major story point to be told on Tout. It's a better use of it than sending in 100 fan videos, but is it the best way to tell a story?
- I see no problem with WWE waiting to show the Lesnar video on TV and I doubt it was a mistake either.
- Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho has a nice match that didn't live up to their pay-per-view effort. It was a very good match, but it didn't have the atmosphere or the allotted time that SummerSlam gave them.
- It seemed obvious that Jericho would be leaving after this match, but Ziggler and Jericho kept us guessing down the stretch. This was the best match on the show and it had a nice, lasting effect.
- Chris Jericho's next return will likely be another run at Y2J. Jericho has earned a nice nostalgia run before he goes out.
- I really enjoyed the show-closing segment between C.M. Punk and John Cena. It almost feels like they are setting up Night of Champions in Boston as the opposite of last year's Money in the Bank show. It is Cena's opportunity to take it to the established champion.
- There are logical errors in the Punk and Cena promo and there were moments I wanted a little more out of. I'm not calling it perfect. I am calling it a great philosophical battle that they have been having for over a year. Cena and Punk will always represent different things. Even when they are on the same side of the character spectrum they will always be different.
- Cena refusing to concede that Punk is the best in the world was one of the best moments for Cena's character this year. This promo was one of his best in a long time for Cena. He brought his A-game to this story. He made Punk seem important and like an equal, but he couldn't quite allow Punk to get his way.
- In a way Punk vs. Cena feels like a battle for the soul of the WWE. It's a big deal and WWE is doing this right.
This show followed up on the main stories from SummerSlam really well. I love the idea that Triple H may be done. I love the philosophical battle between Cena and Punk. I love the effort to tell stories in he undercard. WWE is working really hard to use the third hour of Raw effectively and, for the most part they did so on this show.
There were still moments where the show felt long, but that may have something to do with conditioning fans as well. In a year, if Raw is still three hours, it will probably feel normal. At this moment, WWE is battling the third hour fatigue. They did so well here, especially with a dynamic and exciting final segment.
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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