1. I’m absolutely SHOCKED that WWE opened the show with a Wyatt Family vignette. This is a group of guys where only one of them has ever seen main roster daylight and even then failed miserably. He’s barely recognizable now and the gimmick of the Wyatt Family is so out of the ordinary for WWE. Of course this helps them stand out tremendously but WWE is a company where different isn’t always better. And for them to open up their flagship show with creepy dolls, lamb masks & Bray Wyatt preaching shows just how much faith they have in these three men to make this gimmick memorable.
2. Well since they are saving his return for Sunday’s Money In The Bank PPV, we were treated tonight with highlight reel after highlight reel for Rob Van Dam. These montages are a great way to get RVD fans excited for Sunday and for newer fans to be introduced to a guy that maybe they’ve only really heard of but never truly have seen. I hate to say it because I like the company but these simple video packages probably did more for Rob Van Dam and his legacy than his one TNA World Championship reign did.
3. I think Daniel Bryan just sealed himself another spot in the Match of the Week voting with this excellent match with Sheamus. What really impressed me was the way these two men were able to still tease or use their typical babyface spots but were able to change-up the sequences enough that they didn’t feel stale. Although I have no idea where Bryan’s nip-up clothesline came from and his suicide dive still scares the hell out of me! The Cloverleaf into a cradle was executed flawlessly and the handshake at the end of the match was a nice touch. Daniel Bryan’s now had amazing matches with The Shield, Seth Rollins one-on-one, Randy Orton and Sheamus. A pretty wide range of talent and yet he steals the show each week. He might not have the same charisma of someone like Shawn Michaels but his consistency and track record are starting to make real waves in the long-term future of WWE’s main event scene.
4. At least they addressed the issue I had with Dolph Ziggler appearing on two consecutive shows without AJ Lee or Big E Langston in his corner. No matter what others say, it was still a little weird to see someone who is firmly a heel (AJ) making out with someone who is trying to launch his first babyface run (Ziggler). Although, later in the night when he interrupted Alberto Del Rio’s match in a horrible segment, it makes me wonder if the WWE is having second thoughts about his turn. He certainly didn’t endear himself to too many people with a bad comedy segment. I’m hoping the stuff with AJ leads to some version of a “dumping” angle where either you feel sympathetic for Ziggler by having AJ ridicule him & Langston kick the crap out of him or have Ziggler embarrass & dump AJ after she’s done something particularly heelish. These are the times I wish Edge was still around.
5. It may be a small detail but I like how The Shield still appear as a group during their entrance even if all three of them are not going to ringside. It gives off the impression of unity while they still try to establish themselves as individuals a little bit more. As for their match, there was a lot going on that impressed me. This was the first time we’ve seen Tons Of Funk in a serious match and they came off as monsters. If the WWE truly refocused these two men & put them into a serious role as a team, I think they could get even more over than their comedy schtick. What else jumped out at me was how good Roman Reigns is & how much he is improving since their debut. The man is bigger than people realize and then you add-on his strength and deceptive speed & you have all the makings of a mega-star. Let him stay in the background for a while, work on his character and promo ability and we very well may be looking at a future top star for the company.
6. John Cena and Mark Henry’s segment did absolutely nothing for me. Their feud started off strong but each week since then has proven how much of a fluke that first swerve was. Now we’re just getting what we always expected from a Cena/Henry feud – dated and boring. Oh and Cena, I’m glad you ditched the cheesy “Champ Is Here” t-shirt but the gear you have on now is a bit dated… you debuted over 11 years ago now.
7. That was by far the worst night in “Curtis Axel’s” career. First a promo that would have been laughed at even on NXT. And then a match we he barely showed us anything except that he could sell. Hell, Michael McGillicutty could sell! At least the victory could be pawned off as a mistake on Paul Heyman’s part but that still doesn’t erase the fact that Jericho kicked out his neckbreaker finisher as well as his Perfect Plex. Tonight was a joke for a guy the WWE seemed to finally have come around on. They need to do something with him fast or he’s going to become just another generic mid-carder that no one will ever care about.
8. The World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match has every possibility of stealing the show on Sunday. By the end of the night, people might be actually looking at these six guys as the “all-stars” compared to the main-eventers who will surely have to follow this spotfest.
9. I know a lot of my colleagues will be commenting on the “Husky Harris” chants on Raw. I’ll only say this: it was stupid, absurd and represented the worst of wrestling fans – spoiling a debut and angle a lot of people were looking forward to suspending our disbelief for and just enjoying. That being said, I don’t think they could have executed that debut any better than they did. The promo that cut seamlessly into the arena was fantastic and the fact that new “monsters” destroyed WWE’s resident “monster” of over a decade should stand as a great moment for them to stand & boost about now. Bray Wyatt is money, no doubt about it. The team of Rowen and Harper might be a little rough around the edges but their size and personalities (plus Wyatt in their corner) will get them over VERY quickly as heels. It’ll be interesting to see whether they eventually face off with fellow heels The Shield or if the WWE comes up with another team of Superstars for the Family to focus on. I think it could be interesting if The Shield and The Wyatt Family do face off with The Shield taking the stance of “organized chaos” while the Family just wants “to watch the world burn”.
10. Another incredible match for CM Punk & Randy Orton but we’ve come to expect that when these two hook up and there’s a clear winner. Their chemistry is undeniable. I loved the run-in by Bryan as it made him look like he wanted the briefcase the most and damn anyone who tries to stop him. Seeing the smallest guy end the go-home show after laying out Orton and Punk was interesting. They are clearly pushing the audience to believe that Bryan is going to win the briefcase on Sunday but like I said last week, don’t count out Orton.
Here’s a few random thoughts I didn’t have room for:
– What’s the point of having a job evaluation segment when you’re just going to make a poll for the fans to vote whether a heel is doing a good or bad job?
– Nice to see a babyface finally say that he plans to cash in on the WWE Champion at the PPV if they’re in a vulnerable position.
– Why does no one seem to notice that there are technically more “Levesques” in the ring then there are “McMahons”? So what was the point of any of that? It’s obvious that the main storyline for the summer is the McMahon power struggle but how does putting a relative unknown and definitely unproven character in Brad Maddox in the General Manager role compared to having Vickie Guerrero as the GM?
Tags: aj lee, alberto del rio, big e langston, brad maddox, Bray Wyatt, chris jericho, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, john cena, kane, Mark Henry, money in the bank, Paul Heyman, randy orton, Raw, Rob Van Dam, Roman Reigns, shawn michaels, sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The Miz, The Shield, Tons of Funk, triple h, Vickie Guerrero, vince mcmahon, WWE, wwe championship, WWE RAW, wyatt family