Welcome to the return of This Week in WWE which will now have two segments a week, one for Raw, one for SD. This week’s Raw edition will feature RVD, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton’s impending heel turn and, so much more!
McMahons/Daniel Bryan “Makeover” Segment
In the sometimes crazy world of the WWE, maybe this type of thing has its place. It brings us back to a time where “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was WWE Champion and Vince McMahon tried to get him to have a “corporate makeover” to reflect better on the company. It’s been done before, and better, but that doesn’t mean this segment was all bad. Wade Barrett ends up coming down to shave Bryan’s beard and ends up getting tossed around all over the place for his troubles. The segment ran a bit long but, it certainly established Bryan even more to his many fans and continued Vince’s questioning of whether he was “worthy” of being the WWE Champion. Great way to get the crowd going, not so great in terms of thinking outside the box.
Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio
The last time these two met left a lot to be desired and I really question what RVD’s long-term storyline plans may be. He’s flirting with main event status right now but, we’re not really given any reasoning as to how he got there or if he’s going to have any type of feud. The two had a decent match, it could have had a lot more of a brisk pace to it and was more of a signature spot fest than anything fluid. RVD wins after Ricardo sticks the bucket in the corner and it backfires on ADR. The main point of this match was the attack that ADR laid out on Ricardo after words. ADR finally showed the fire that the fans need to see to really buy into him being a heel, before this act he was just going through the motions. This was a much-needed development for ADR’s character and I can really see the World Championship match at SummerSlam turning into a triple-threat match between Christian, ADR, and RVD.
I’m not sure that WWE had a plan for these two when they were Team Rhodes Scholars, I”m guessing they were just thrown together. The way this feud has come together and the way that these two interact with each other has created a refreshing mid-card feud which has been extremely lacking in WWE in the last few years. The Intercontinental and US Championships don’t even have any solid feuds right now so, this is something WWE needs to truly run with for a while and establish into something big. They’ll face each other at SummerSlam.
Mark Henry vs. Ryback
This one’s a Wrestlemania rematch from Wrestlemania 29. Unfortunately, that’s where the hype wears off. This one ended in a count-out victory for Mark Henry after a short exchange. To me, a count-out victory is just filler. What point did this match even have on the show? It didn’t take a feud any further and it didn’t add anything to any storyline. It wasn’t needed and it wasn’t good.
Shameless promotion for Total Divas on E!. Remember when the Divas actually cut promos and wrestled in main events? Yeah, neither do I. It’s been so long.
Simple stuff here, the faces all trying to one-up each other. Cena in particular took some shots at Daniel Bryan about glorifying his days in ROH comparing it to Arena Football. Cena just strikes me as someone who has the same standard delivery for every promo and the crowd just hates it every time. It’s been a good 9 years of the same Cena, something has to change soon. Orton teased that his Money in the Bank cash in could happen at any time. Maddox comes out and makes a match between the three faces who all have something against each other vs. The Shield. There are a ton of dynamics in this match.
Luke Harper & Erick Rowan vs. Tons of Funk
It’s great to see The Wyatt Family actually have some realistic involvement in some matches. The aura can only last so long before these guys have to show what they can do. Hopefully Harper and Rowan can build upon the excellent promos of Bray and really pull this whole thing together. The match was fairly decent, I’m sure it would have been much better had it been against a better tag-team/ Tons of Funk is nothing more than a gimmick which is sad for a guy like Tensai who can be so much more. The best part of this was the post-match promo from Bray who continually surprises me with how great and creepy his promos can be and then Kane showing up on screen to set up a match at SummerSlam referencing a “Ring of Fire”. Will we be seeing an Inferno Match? Talk about something different, that would be something VERY different and definitely a great debut for Bray in this new role. I’m excited.
More greatness from Punk here, his promos are always on the money.
Layla vs. Kaitlyn
This was more of a storyline enhancer than an actual match. Kaitlyn loses after being distracted by AJ and pushes this feud just a bit more. It’s hard to tell where this one’s going to go but, I’m betting on Kaitlyn getting a running buddy soon. How long can this girl keep getting screwed over before she gets her payback?
Christian vs. Heath Slater
This was another match that just flew under the radar. Christian goes over here and that was pretty much it. I guess they’re keeping him on top going into SummerSlam but, I don’t know why they wouldn’t have more interaction with his PPV opponent, Alberto Del Rio. Seems there could be another angle coming up.
CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel
This was a good aggressive match until all hell broke loose. It wasn’t clear who won because there was no official explanation after the bell. Brock Lesnar ends up coming down and eventually decimating Punk yet again which seems to happen every other week. I liked this segment in that it really seems like Punk is up against the world now and it really pegs him as the underdog. On a funnier note, they let Brock talk for once who then told Paul Heyman to “Say something stupid”. Heyman then continued on with his promo. Is Brock that bored with his segment that he doesn’t even fake interest in what’s going on around him? Who knows? But it was great.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
Kofi returns and goes over Fandango. That part was predictable. I really wish they’d get Fandango going again, the guy never found his way again after being cooled off considerably. Fandango has a character that is truly different and that can go great as he was in the beginning or it can go the way of Brodus Clay. Also, Kofi looked like he hasn’t missed a step after returning from injury which is great news. Hopefully he can climb to new heights this time around.
Triple H/Stephanie Segment
Steph is crying because Vince was angry at her over the “makeover”. Triple H is pissed because of this. Great emotion here from Triple H and for the wide-eyed Steph who really made it seem all the more realistic. Cut the fake crying stuff though, everyone sees right through it.
The Usos vs. Swagger/Cesaro
Great to have these two teams face off against each other as always. It’s nice to see them package a couple guys together in Swagger and Cesaro and boost the tag division that way while actually giving them some time to have some matches. All we need now are some decent feuds in this division and we’ll be on to something. They still have a long way to go but, at least we have some established teams now. Swagger and Cesaro pick up the victory here.
Big E. Langston vs. Dolph Ziggler
Another match that should have been better but, was clouded by the AJ/Ziggler dynamic. Ziggler as Kaitlyn goes after AJ. Interesting plot points here and I do wonder whether Ziggler will somehow side with Kaitlyn in the near future. I think we’ll be seeing Big E vs. Dolph at SummerSlam in a real match with some actual substance.
The Shield vs. Orton/Bryan/Cena
This match wasn’t a masterpiece but, it was pretty good. The faces win by DQ and Orton lays out both Cena and Bryan with an RKO along with a MITB cash-in tease and then leaves the scraps for The Shield. Orton was great in these segments and really shows why he’s a much better heel than a face. The turn is definitely coming unless they’re going to use those RKOs as a heel turn but, I think he’ll be a tweener until SummerSlam and then either cash-in on Bryan or Cena directly after their match.
Not a bad show overall, I’ve seen worse. The storyline development has been pretty good lately even if the wrestling has been somewhat lacking. It’ll be interesting to see what happens on Smackdown this week with so much coming together.