WWE Monday Night Raw opened with WWE champion CM Punk. He went over how someone like him would have never had the opportunity to wrestle on the first episode of Raw, and that brought out the Big Show.
He complained how John Cena got lucky at Money in the Bank, to which Punk responded with saying how Big Show always dominates, but always loses in the end. Big Show will knock him out later, which will give Cena the chance to cash in.
I thought this was a decent segment to open the show. Punk was solid on the mic like he usually is and delivered a good promo. Big Show was actually pretty solid on the mic as well, but he was just boring.
The Big Show had me falling asleep in what was the first 10 minutes of the show. Punk was good, but Big Show dragged the segment down.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. The Prime Time Players: Tag Team Championship
Kingston and Truth retained the titles after they each hit their finishers on Titus O'Neal, and a bit of a distraction from A.W.
This was a decent match that saw a bit of nice action at some points. This was the basic WWE tag team match that saw the faces dominate before the commercial, the heels dominate afterwards and the faces make a comeback for the win.
I feel that if this match didn't have a commercial in the middle, it would have looked better.
Kingston and Truth make a good team and are certainly carrying WWE's rebuilding of the division. The Prime Time Players also make a good team, but I think that A.W. is actually holding them back. He hasn't really done anything for them since becoming their manager.
All he does is talk at ringside, which sometimes distracts from the match itself. When I think about it, I don't think Young and O'Neal have won a single match since A.W. came aboard. He has pulled them out of matches, thus losing by count out, and they lost to Primo and Epico at Money in the Bank.
I think the team has a lot of potential, but they need to either ditch A.W., or A.W. needs to do something other than talk.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan apologized to A.J. for everything he has done lately and had something to tell her. That brought in Eve, who announced a mixed tag match between her and a mystery partner against Bryan and A.J.
When he said he had something to tell her, the first thought that popped in my mind was marriage. With Bryan out of the WWE Championship picture for the time being, he really has nothing to do besides finishing his storyline with A.J.
While I'm glad to see Eve back and wrestling, I have to wonder where the Divas champion is. Sure, she appeared at Money in the Bank, but I can't remember the last time she has appeared on Raw.
Zack Ryder vs. Alberto Del Rio
After Ryder hit maybe two moves, Del Rio squashed him for the victory. I like that Del Rio is keeping his aggressive attitude, as it's finally making him not look so boring.
Since gaining this new attitude, Del Rio has been exciting to watch. His matches have been very good and he hasn’t put me to sleep on the mic. I think it's going to lead him to winning the World Heavyweight Championship by the end of the year.
As for Ryder, there really isn't much I can say. The Ryder Revolution is long dead and there doesn't seem to be any sign of it coming back to life. I suppose he'll be stuck getting squashed on Raw while shining on Superstars for the time being.
Post-match, Rey Mysterio made his return to attack Del Rio. It's certainly good to see Mysterio return. It's been way too long since he's appeared.
With his return, it looks like Del Rio may be out of the world title picture for a bit, or at the very least, Mysterio will be added to the storyline. Either way, Mysterio will add some much needed depth to the main event.
Heath Slater vs. Rikishi
Like the other Raw legends, except for Doink the Clown, Slater was squashed by Rikishi here. Rikishi hit his usual moves, including the Stink Face, and concluded by dancing with his kids, the Usos.
One thing I noticed was that he used the Samoan Spike, the finishing move of his late brother, Umaga. That was a nice little tribute. It was certainly good to see Rikishi back, though I can't picture him being around past the 1000th episode.
With Slater getting beat down week after week, I have a feeling that this is going to pay off in a big way for him. Perhaps he'll start a feud with Santino Marella over the United States Championship and eventually win the title.
The Miz and Eve vs. Daniel Bryan and A.J.
Bryan and A.J. picked up the victory after Bryan reversed Eve's small package into A.J.'s. This was a decent match that featured mostly Divas action. While Miz and Bryan did fight a bit, most of the action was provided by Eve and A.J.
They seem to work well together and I hope to see them in a match that lasts longer than a minute sooner rather than later.
One thing that intrigued me was the small interaction between A.J. and the Miz. After she dropkicked him off the apron, she flashed her smile at him. Miz responded with a cocky smirk of his own. Seems to me like the Miz may be getting involved in the Bryan/A.J. storyline somehow.
Post-match, Bryan said he loved A.J. and proposed to her once again. She said "yes," and it was revealed after the commercial break that the wedding would take place next week on the 1000th episode.
A WWE wedding rarely goes well and I think this won't be any exception to that. I can see it going one of two ways. Either A.J. will walk out on Bryan, or the Miz will get involved. No matter what happens, no one will be getting "married."
Jack Swagger vs. Ryback
The match never actually started as Swagger attacked Ryback before the bell. The former world champion was doing a pretty good job of beating him down, that is until Ryback got up and destroyed him.
As soon as Swagger came out I said to myself, "I wonder who's going to squash him this week." I was surprised to discover that he wasn't actually squashed. He was Rybacked, but it wasn't the typical Ryback squash match.
Swagger is a very talented wrestler and would be the perfect person to be Ryback's first real feud. Working with someone of the caliber of Swagger could really benefit Ryback. The trick, though, is to have actual matches. Ryback can't just squash him; he'll need to wrestle him.
Will that happen? Probably not. Ryback will most likely continue to squash people until WWE thinks it’s a good idea to give him a title.
Dolph Ziggler then made his way out to the ring. The fans were looking at the next world champion, and when he wins it, he'll be the greatest champion in history. He mentioned names like Bret Hart, Steve Austin and the Rock before Chris Jericho came out.
Jericho didn't say a word as Ziggler just talked down to him. Speaking of not remembering the last time Y2J won a match, the Showoff was really laying into him. After saying that he was losing his touch, Jericho delivered the Codebreaker to end the segment.
I thought this was a very well done segment. Ziggler was solid on the mic as he delivered a very good promo. This was one of the best I've ever seen him do.
Keeping Jericho silent was the right move. This was Ziggler's moment and he really shined. Besides, Jericho's facial expressions did all of the talking for him. From the looks of things, fans just saw the setup of Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler for SummerSlam.
This is a feud I've wanted to see since Y2J made his WWE return in January. The mic work these two will produce should be gold and their matches could steal the show. I can't wait to see how this develops.
A poll was then shown asking what title fans wanted to see put on the line next week. Christian's Intercontinental Championship won, so that title will be on the line next week. The other two choices were Santino's United States Championship and Layla's Divas Championship. The Divas title actually got more votes than the United States title.
I would have preferred to see the U.S. title on the line as it could have given WWE the opportunity to finally take the title off of Santino.
Brodus Clay vs. JTG
The Funkasaurus picked up the victory with his big splash. This was actually a decent match as JTG was in control for part of it. I don't know about anyone else, but I was tired of see Brodus just squash people. While he's still winning, he's at least facing people who will fight back.
It's good to see JTG still have a job. To be honest, I had no idea he was still with WWE, and judging by the reaction he got, neither did most of the crowd. I can't see him around much longer, though, unless he becomes a contender for the NXT Championship.
CM Punk vs. The Big Show
Punk won the match via disqualification after Big Show pushed the referee. This was a decent match that featured the typical David vs. Goliath action. Big Show is quite boring in the ring at times, but Punk sold for him so well that he looked a bit like a star here.
Punk played the underdog very well, but the match really wasn't anything special, unfortunately.
Post-match, Big Show continued to beat on Punk when John Cena made the save. Big Show tried to convince him to cash in, but Cena announced that he would be doing so next week on the big milestone episode.
The show ended with Cena bashing Big Show in the head with the briefcase, and Punk raising the title over his head while Cena raised the briefcase.
I was kind of expecting Cena to cash in at SummerSlam, so this was a bit of a nice surprise, especially since the WWE Championship will now be on the line on the big show.
I still think a Punk/Cena rematch is going to happen at the event, though. That would mean Cena wins next week, or he somehow becomes the No. 1 contender after losing.
John Cena as the first to unsuccessfully cash in a Money in the Bank briefcase? I can't see that happening, but WWE has thrown some curveballs in the past. With Big Show still around for some reason, I think he'll end up getting involved somehow.
Overall, I thought this was a decent episode of Monday Night Raw. It was certainly better than last week. There were a few decent matches, but Raw continues to be nothing special.
The highlight for me was the Dolph Ziggler/Chris Jericho segment, as I thought it really stood out and delivered.
With Raw going downhill over the past few months, I'm a little worried about next week's big episode. I want it to be good; in fact, I want it to be great. I want to see the WWE blow us all away and deliver the best Raw of year so far.
With the way the show has been, though, it'll definitely be a "wait and see" kind of situation.