Once again, getting a copy of RAW proved sort of difficult this week. Luckily, I knew the alternate place to look this week, but it was still a process. So now it’s 1AM and I’m reviewing RAW. So, let’s go.
I watch 30 minutes of RAW, which is equivalent of how much of SmackDown ISN’T RAW recaps, then leave for work. Then I watch and review the rest, half-assedly because Jorge isn’t on facebook. You want my RAW reviews to get better, don’t you? Then go like Jorge!
First 30: Daniel Bryan takes on Wade Barrett with special guest referee Brad Maddox. Barrett rolls up Bryan and Maddox counts an extremely fast 3 count, and escapes unscathed from an angry Bryan. Randy Orton faces Damien Sandow with Cody Rhodes on commentary. Sandow handcuffs his new Money In The Bank briefcase to the ring post so Cody can’t run off with it again. Cody tries to take it anyway, but only to cause a distraction leading to an RKO, giving Orton the victory.
Look at that. 30 minutes in and we’ve already had two matches. Eat it, SmackDown!
Backstage, RVD is doing the Van Dam stretch, and apparently he’s going to be in a battle royal later on, and the winner faces Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam. Elsewhere, The Shield are talking about how the washed up has-beens need to go, because it’s The Shield’s generation. Reigns and Rollins issue an open challenge for anybody to face them for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Ambrose doesn’t think anybody in the battle royal tonight can beat him. CM Punk has a catch phrase, but Ambrose is the Best In The World, John Cena has a trophy, but Ambrose is the WWE Champion. “If Andre The Giant’s ghost isn’t in this battle royal tonight, then I ain’t losing at SummerSlam, believe that, and believe in The Shield.”
Brock Lesnar gets a video package interview deal, saying he never liked Punk. It’s actually a pretty good promo. You should check it out if you can.
Josh Mathews is with CM Punk, and asks why take a match this close to SummerSlam. Punk asks why not. He knows not to underestimate Paul Heyman tonight. He’s expecting Lesnar, and he says on Sunday, the best is the best.
The Mediocre Khali is here, Hornswoggle is back, and Natalya is actually getting TV time on a network other than E!. And that’s next.
The Great Khali & Natalya (w/ Hornswoggle) vs. Big E Langston & AJ Lee
Big E gets an old school promo during his entrance, saying at SummerSlam he’s going to break Dolph Ziggler in half. “Show off? Nah. Show over.” AJ starts things off by skipping around Khali and slapping him in the face. Hornswoggle distracts AJ, who gets locked into the Sharpshooter and taps – but the referee apparently didn’t see it? WTF? Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter again, and AJ taps again. What the fuck was that? After the match, Big E attacks Khali and Hornswoggle. Khali nails the big chop on Big E, and the two that are featured on TV every week and actually have a match at SummerSlam look pathetic. Doghouse?
Vince McMahon is walking backstage. Which you know if you’ve watched this program at all in the past 20 years means he’s coming out to the ring, NEXT!
SummerSlam kickoff is at 7 on Sunday, with Booker T, Shawn Michaels, and Natalya. It features Dean Ambrose vs the winner of tonight’s battle royal for the United States Championship.
The boss is here, look busy! Vince addresses the controversy in the Bryan/Barrett match earlier in the evening. He brings out Brad Maddox, who is still in his referee uniform despite the fact that he’s the GM of RAW. Maddox explains the fast count, saying that he was a little excited because he hasn’t been a referee in a while, but he did the best he could. Mr. McMahon says everybody makes mistakes, and Maddox asks for a second chance, he wants to be the official for the match at SummerSlam between Bryan and Cena. The fans chant “NO” when Vince asks if they’d like to see that. Vince asks if he’d call it right down the line at SummerSlam no matter what. Maddox replies affirmatively, so Mr. McMahon tries to announce him as the guest referee – but that brings out Triple H. JT pops up on my screen and yells “It’s Game time, bitches!” Which begs the question, how did he know that since he doesn’t watch this show? Vince says Triple H hasn’t been the same since he cut his hair. Triple H says they haven’t been agreeing on things lately, but given how much is at stake on Sunday, he agrees that they need somebody impartial to take control of the match, but he doesn’t think Brad Maddox is the guy. Triple H should be the guy. Then he Pedigrees Maddox.
Kane makes his way to the ring, and we get a video package detailing how we got to a Ring of Fire match at SummerSlam. It’s confirmed that it’s basically an inferno match where you have to pin your opponent.
Kane vs. Titus O’neil (w/ Darren Young)
So, it’s Jacob Goodnight vs. Cheeseburger Eddy’s stunt double? Yes, I know Titus wasn’t Terry Crews’ stunt double. He just looks like him. That’s all. Chokeslam, done.
Rowan and Harper are in the ring when Wyatt blows out the lantern, but Kane isn’t there – he’s behind Wyatt in the aisle. Wyatt loves it.
Josh Mathews is with The Bella Twins. We re-live the terrible acting of The Bellas and Eva Marie from last week. Natalya challenges Brie Bella to a match at SummerSlam and calls Eva Marie a “wannabe Jessica Rabbit.” Natalya says she’s bringing friends too – and the Funkadactyls show up, but no JoJo. Brie slaps Natalya. Aren’t they supposed to be trying to convince me to buy this PPV?
Alberto Del Rio is in the house, sans RicRod, who got a future endeavor quality beating last week from Del Rio.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
Oh god. Why? FFW! Kofi misses Trouble In Paradise, gets Kofi to chase him, but it backfires as Kofi rolls him up for a two count. Del Rio catches Kofi flying with a codebreaker of sorts, then locks in the cross armbreaker, causing Kofi to tap out.
Mark Henry is stretching backstage, he’s in the battle royal tonight.
Oh joy, a Christian video package. Whoop-di-do. Oh, and now he’s backstage with Renee Young, who asks him about his match on Sunday. He spews off his “one more match” catchphrase and Alberto Del Rio laughs at him and speaks Spanish.
Zeb Colter says America will be better when earthquakes cause California to drop into the ocean. The Real Americans are facing The Usos.
The Real Americans (Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro w/ Zeb Colter) vs. The Usos
Oh man. This is starting to drag. I dosed off during this match. FFW! Zeb distracts the ref but the Usos wind up stealing the win with a rollup.
Up next it’s MizTV. The fun keeps on going.
Oh God how I hate The Miz as a face. He panders to the damn crowd to try and get them to like him. Problem is, he tries to hard. His guests tonight are Daniel Bryan and John Cena. Bryan is glad that Triple H stood up to Mr. McMahon and he can now have the match the fans deserve. John Cena says Miz TV is usually a train wreck, and then puts over Triple H as the guest referee. Cena says the only issue between himself and Bryan is the WWE Championship. Miz tries to stir the pot, saying that Cena only picked Bryan because of his sudden popularity and that he sees him as an easy win. Bryan tells him to shut his mouth. Bryan says he’s tired of hearing that he’ll put up a good fight, like that’s all he’ll do. He tells Cena not to interrupt him. He says Cena saw the red light on and grabbed the spotlight, which is why Bryan doesn’t watch television. Guys like Cena who are in it for the fame and glory, and not the wrestling. Bryan points out that his shirt is a parody of Cena because Cena is a parody of wrestling. Bryan wants to be WWE Champion, not for the fame and glory, but because it proves that there is nobody better in the ring than Daniel Bryan. Cena takes his shirt off, but then calms himself down. Cena doesn’t like being called a parody. He says he’s out here for all these people, same as Daniel Bryan. WWE isn’t about the spotlight, it’s about the fans getting to get behind their favorite superstar. These are not just t-shirts, they represent the message printed on them. Cena says he has his detractors, but he’s here for the kid in the front row and his Dad, for the Make A Wish kids who will never give up because of him, for the last 12 years he’s wrestled all over the world, and once again asks Bryan to underestimate him. Cena lists off names of people he’s beaten. Bryan interrupts – “You talk about all those people as if they’re so much better than me.” One jackass in the crowd yells “THEY ARE!” Cena says Bryan is on his way to greatness but doesn’t belong in that class. Cena says if Bryan is good enough to earn the WWE Championship, then he earns Cena’s respect. Bryan says Cena just spelled it out, he doesn’t respect him. Cena isn’t treating this like those other big matches, because he respected those men. Bryan says Cena has held the WWE Championship 11 times, but Bryan hungers for just one. This is just another SummerSlam to John Cena, but it’s the biggest match of Daniel Bryan’s life. There’s a custom Bryan learned in Japan to fire their opponents up for a big match – a slap in the face. Bryan wishes he could do that to Cena right now, but he can’t, because Cena’s not a wrestler and he doesn’t deserve it. Cena starts tossing furniture around and invites Bryan to slap him – with a slap of his own. Bryan says Cena doesn’t deserve it. Triple H comes out. So does Randall Keith Orton. Orton stands at the top of the ramp and holds his briefcase high above his head as if to say “I made poopy in here!”
CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman is still coming up later on.
Fandango is in the house, and so is R-Truth, who interrupts his entrance. I’m actually glad R-Truth is here, because I found a great animated GIF to use in case he was on. R-Truth does a little dance, then Fandango asks for his music and does a little dance of his own. Apparently we have an impromptu dance off. Or maybe not, Fandango attacks Truth from behind, and now we’ve got a brawl. Truth sends Fandango to the outside and asks the ref to get him back in the ring. Fandango says his name, and his music plays. I guess that’s the end of this segment? Yup. Because Ryback is pushing through people backstage, because he’s in the battle royal tonight.
Paul Heyman is taping up his wrists backstage. Curtis Axel asks him if he’s nervous. Paul says he thinks he’s having second thoughts about this.
#RectangularPyro Rob Van Dam is here to lead 20 men into battle with one another for the chance to face Dean Ambrose. He’s followed by Sweet T and Brodus Clay, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre, Ryback, and obviously nobody else important since they go to a commercial break. PTPs, Justin Gabriel, R-Truth, Fandango, The Usos, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Wade Barrett, Great Khali all made their way to the ring during the break, and Mark Henry rounds out the field as we come back.
20 Man Battle Royal – Winner faces Dean Ambrose for the United States Championship at SummerSlam kickoff
Justin Gabriel and Darren Young are eliminated by Ryback, followed by Tensai. You know, I only count 19 guys in this match. One of the Usos is eliminated by 3MB. Ah, there’s the 20th dude, I didn’t see Kofi in there. Truth eliminates Fandango. Fandango comes back in and eliminates R-Truth, and then RVD eliminates Fandango again. During a break, Brodus Clay, 3MB, and The Great Khali were eliminated. The other Uso was eliminated by both Real Americans. RVD takes out Titus O’Niel. Kofi Kingston nearly gets eliminated, but he hangs on to Antonio Cesaro to avoid hitting the floor, but the Real Americans wind up eliminating him after all. RVD goes for Rolling Thunder on Swagger, but gets taken out by the trash bagger stealing his gear, Ryback. Swagger and Cesaro are taken out by Mark Henry. Henry takes out Barrett shortly after. We’re down to Ryback, Henry, and RVD. Ryback leaves RVD on the ring apron to face off with Henry. RVD assists Henry in eliminating Ryback. Henry gets RVD on the apron, but RVD low-bridges him and picks up the victory! I’m more excited for the SummerSlam kickoff now than I am for the actual PPV! After the match, Henry gets back in the ring. He and RVD fistbump. Van Dam obliviously celebrates as The Shield make their way through the crowd. Henry gets back in the ring to watch his back. The Big Show’s music hits, and Show heads down to the ring, and The Shield retreat.
Paul Heyman makes his entrance as we come back. He’s in a suit with his wrists taped. Paul grabs the mic as the Sacramento crowd chant ECW. Heyman grabs the mic and asks if CM Punk hears his worshipers calling for their hero. Heyman doesn’t blame Punk for what’s happened, he blames the WWE Universe. Punk used to live for Heyman’s love, but now he lives for the love of the fans, and Heyman takes it personally that they took his best friend away from him, so tonight, he’ll take Punk away from them. All he’s heard for the past week is that Heyman was setting a trap for Punk. Heyman says “guilty as charged.” You wanna know what the trap is? Heyman says it’s a conspiracy, and he didn’t come up with it all by himself, he had a co-conspirator, and Heyman wants us to meet him. He’s Heyman’s best friend in the world, The Beast, Brock Lesnar. Before they spell out their plan, Heyman has prepared a video package of Brock Lesnar for Brock Lesnar. Heyman says it’s time clue everybody in on what the trap is. Heyman says Punk’s love for the fans will be the death of him. The trap is that all CM Punk has to do is play the hero and fight Heyman and Brock Lesnar. Heyman says heroes, by nature, are stupid. But Punk has a choice and doesn’t have to play the hero, all he has to do to avoid a beating 6 days before SummerSlam is to disappoint the WWE Universe. He asks what Punk is going to do, play the smart coward, or the stupid hero. Punk’s music hits, but Punk comes in from behind and nails Lesnar with a television camera. He hits a suicide dive on Lesnar and grabs a chair, payback for last week. Punk, satisfied that he’s taken Lesnar out, turns his attention to Heyman. Punk starts chasing down Heyman with the chair in hand, and takes out an incoming Curtis Axel with the chair, slamming him into the video wall and dropping him on the stage with a GTS. Lesnar starts to come to as Punk stares at him from the top of the ramp. Punk screams at him, “I AM THE BEST IN THE WORLD!”
Thoughts: Look. I’ve sat through a lot of crap over the past 21 years, but have generally enjoyed Monday Night RAW. Even over the past year, I’ve sat through countless 3 hour episodes of RAW, and have been entertained just enough to stay awake for the whole thing. But tonight? Tonight I took a good nap halfway through the show. This episode went completely downhill after the Wyatt Family segment. We got Total Divas crap, followed by Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston, followed by The Usos vs. The Real Americans, with a Christian/Del Rio promo somewhere between. And by time Miz TV started I was out. Daniel Bryan turned things around for me. His promo on MizTV made a segment with The Miz, John Cena, and Randy Orton all involved actually watchable. There are three reasons I’m ordering SummerSlam – Kane/Wyatt, Punk/Lesnar, and Bryan/Cena, if only because I fully expect Bryan to win. I’ll definitely be tuning in to the pre-show as well, because I think Dean Ambrose vs. RVD has a hell of a lot of potential. Alright, it’s nearly 5AM. I’m done.
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