This week’s Monday Night RAW saw the love triangle that has been AJ, Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk start to sink the champ and the number one contender. John Cena, Chris Jericho, Kane, and the Big Show are also starting to get into each other’s heads as MITB is right around the corner. Teddy Long was this week’s Interim GM and he put on the quite the show. Quick note folks: EGM will be down at San Diego ComicCon all next week and so The Sleeper Hold will be put on hold for a week. Thanks for understanding.
Main Plot Overview: With an opening promo that really set the two main storylines off and running, it’s hard not to start getting excited for MITB. Although John Cena continued to walk the company line and turn all negatives into positives, Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan saved the day with a hysterical catchphrase battle with Jericho obviously winning as he has a much fuller repertoire than D-Bryan.
CM Punk also came to the ring though and talked about the irony of AJ being the special guest referee for his and D-Bryan’s MITB WWE Championship match, but soon Kane and Big Show joined the fun before all hell broke loose.
Clearly, the WWE knows the WWE Championship has the best players involved right now so by putting over both Punk and Bryan’s blossoming rivalry along with re-inserting John Cena and his rivalry with Big Show and Jericho and Kane into the picture, this is the reason why we continue to watch wrestling. And the best part is how AJ finds a way to always steal the show!
Match of the Night: In terms of match quality, this was one of the weaker RAWs we’ve seen in a while. Most matches ended in only a few minutes or didn’t even get started due to classic heel maneuvers. It was good to build characters up for the MITB PPV again, but if you were looking for any kind of wrestling, this definitely wasn’t the night to watch.
But if I had to choose, I was pleasantly surprised actually by the Mixed Tag Team match between the odd team of Sheamus and AJ taking on Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler. Obviously, this was mostly a match between Sheamus and Dolph as the two put on a really good show hitting very solid spots. If they had put on this good a match at No Way Out, I would’ve walked away a much happier camper than I already was from that PPV. The end was also solid as after Sheamus Brogue Kick’d Dolph out of the ring (just after Dolph did the cowardly heel move of tagging in Vickie), AJ came in, pulled off a couple of nice moves including her Daniel Bryan-esque kick to the head finisher and got the pin.
Promo of the Night: As good as the opening promo was, especially with Jericho and Bryan trading catchphrases, and a later catty one between Eve and AJ that was surprisingly solid, the clear winner for this is Paul Heyman’s interview via satellite with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
Heyman’s big announcement was that Brock Lesnar is waiting for the 1,000th episode of RAW to announce if he will participate in Summerslam (need to fill those three hours pretty badly now). But it wasn’t just this announcement, it was that he declared he had figured HHH out. That HHH wanted to be destroyed at Summerslam by Lesnar because then HHH could be a hero, the king carried off the battlefield on his shield and placed in the corporate suit he has desired for so long without losing any face with the WWE Universe or the wrestlers in the locker room. And he did with that classic Heyman venom that makes you appreciate how good a heel he truly is.
Shocker of the Night: Tyson Kidd’s quick upset of Tensai was in the running for this, but again this seemed to just be a way to build up hype and conflict between participants in MITB. But it was the frontrunner until the very end of the night.
At this point, AJ’s continued interference in matches isn’t something new or surprising. In fact, it’s getting close to the point of irritation now (I still love her though) and hopefully this storyline will start to wind down after the results at MITB. But how she decided to interfere in the CM Punk and John Cena vs. Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan tag-team main event of the night was absolutely brilliant.
After all four men entered the ring for the standard chaos that ensues in these kinds of tag matches, Cena and Jericho fought each other up the ramp and out of sight. Punk and Bryan, the legal men, then put on a great individual effort with quick pacing, a few great spots with counters and high flying maneuvers, and then AJ made her appearance. When ignored by the two terrific tacticians in the ring though, she resorted to desperate measure and pulled out a table. Maybe like the Dudley Boys of yesteryear, she’s got a thing for wood. Anyway, she climbed to the top turnbuckle and made it seem like she was going to put herself through the table. Finally, Punk and Bryan’s attention was got and they moved over to convince her it wasn’t worth it. When in the right place, AJ then pushed them both through the table, started laughing maniacally, and started a ‘Yes’ chant all her own. My jaw dropped as my fellow New Jersey AJ native pulled one over on the WWE Champ and number one contender. Wow.
Cheap Pop of the Night: Continuing the trend leading up to the 1,000th episode, Heath Slater has been taking on WWE Legends. And for a good while I thought this would be the week the streak of this being the ‘Cheap Pop of the Night’ would be broken as Doink the Clown returned to a WWE ring…unfortunately. Lucky for Heath though as he finally broke his losing streak and emerged victorious. The cheap pop came though when DDP, Diamond Dallas Page, walked down to the ring to congratulate Heath on the win. After a hearty handshake, not surprisingly, DDP then hit the Diamond Cutter and the crowd erupted.
Honestly, DDP looked in bad shape. He was deathly thin and I thought he was going to hurt himself doing the Diamond Cutter and looked the worst of all the Legends to come out for this segment so far. I also wonder what sorry sap had to come to ring dressed as Doink as I highly doubt it was the original.