Tuesday, July 16, 2013

RAW Review: Respect the Beard

Good show last night, let's take a look at some of the high points.

New RAW GM, Brad Maddox, allowed John Cena to pick his challenger for the WWE Title at SummerSlam.  He chose none other than Daniel Bryan to the delight of the crowd in Brooklyn and the IWC.  Solid choice as Daniel is arguably the most over guy on the roster.  The match should certainly be good provided we get there without an Orton cash-in.  Good job by WWE to pull the trigger on this.

Randy Orton alluded to the idea that he may cash-in his briefcase unexpectedly.  Surely another sign of an imminent heel turn.  Honestly, it makes perfect sense for them to "prime the pump" for that in order to get the crowds juiced about the idea of a surprise cash-in.  I would have gone the other way and had Orton tell his friend John Cena that he will be a man about the whole deal and give him fair warning.  Then when he cashed it in unannounced it would be a fantastic spark for his turn.  Orton's match with Fandango was awesome by the way.

Dolph dumped AJ Lee which made perfect sense and helps avoid Dolph looking like a dope in the future.  More importantly, he had an excellent match with World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio.  ADR's superkick that finished the match looked brutal (in a good way).  Of course dumping AJ immediately blew up in Ziggler's face as she cost him the match and he was assaulted by Big E Langston.  I, for one, am looking forward to the feud between these three.

 Mark Henry looked sharp once again in a suit.  Since this isn't Project Runway the more important aspect of this segment was that "The Hounds of Justice" interrupted him.  This played out in a way I really enjoyed.  This angle highlighted a device that I have argued for extensively here.  Mark Henry didn't destroy The Shield and look like a bad, bad man.  He was destroyed by The Shield and still looked like a bad, bad man.  His willingness to fight impossible odds is all that was needed to get him over a big, tough, son of a gun.  Far too often WWE insists on having the hero "overcome the odds" in a situation like this.  Fortunately, they avoided that nonsense here and allowed Henry to look good while not killing The Shield.  Roman Reigns brought great intensity as usual.  Excellent execution by all involved.  This also clarifies what is next for Henry after tapping to WWE Champion, John Cena.  It would appear that a face turn is in the works and I am certain the WWE Universe will be receptive to that.  Much like with Orton they need to be careful that a face Mark Henry doesn't lose his intimidating edge.

The Wyatt Family beat down a returning R-Truth and Bray Wyatt delivered another solid promo.  The highlight here being that he teased Kane joining The Family.  Hopefully they keep this momentum going.  The Shield has shown us what happens when decide to nurture hot acts.  The Wyatt Family has tremendous upside and I hope that is embraced.

RVD vs Chris Jericho was given a ton of time and as Lance Storm said on Twitter they "busted their butts."  I know RVD is pretty divisive online, but he certainly seems to be over and I enjoy him.  Good match.

Damien Sandow paid the price for snaking the briefcase from his friend.  Cody brought great intensity in the attack.  Hopefully both guys are headed for bigger things than Team Rhodes Scholar (as entertaining as they were together).

Last, but certainly not least, Paul Heyman and CM Punk did a hell of a job selling the betrayal from Money in the Bank.  Honestly that would have been good enough, but as soon as Brock Lesnar showed up the whole thing just blew up (once again, in a good way).  The physicality was brutal and the angle was red hot.  I am confident that almost all of us are looking forward to this one playing out.  I was a bit surprised there was no Curtis Axel, but I'm not sure his presence would have enhanced anything.

The crowd showed signs that it was going to be one of "those crowds."  Luckily the nonsense was kept to a minimum and they got a heck of a show in Brooklyn.  It looks like the Road to SummerSlam will be an exciting ride if last night's RAW is any indication.