WWE News: Reviews, Analysis and Rumors for Week of July 29
Photo courtesy of WWE.com
With RAW 1000 in the rear-view mirror, it was back to business as usual in the WWE this week. The new era of three-hour RAWs officially got started and the build toward SummerSlam intensified. With plenty happening on both RAW and SmackDown, this was certainly a bust week in terms of WWE news.
A big change was made on SmackDown, as Vince McMahon appeared on the show for the first time in three years to name a new general manager. Not to be outdone, a huge match was announced for SummerSlam on RAW involving the WWE Championship.
Also, there appears to be some roster movement taking place and forthcoming. A top superstar made his return on RAW after a two-month absence, while another may be on his way out a little over a week from now.
In addition to all of that, a WWE talent made a controversial comment on Monday that has made the rounds throughout the media and gotten both diehard and casual fans talking about its appropriateness or lack thereof.
Here are is all the latest news and rumor-mill activity emanating from the WWE during the week beginning on July 29.
Booker T Named General Manager of SmackDown
Since the firing of former general manager John Laurinaitis, both RAW and SmackDown have been without a GM to run the show. Vince McMahon named AJ Lee the general manager of RAW, but SmackDown remained a ship without a captain. That changed on Friday, however, as Vince introduced announcer Booker T as the new general manager.
SmackDown is taped on Tuesdays and the WWE wasn't shy about spoiling this particular segment, as it sent text alerts and also posted the news on its website ahead of time.
Booker made an instant impact, as he put both Alberto Del Rio and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus in singles matches to start his reign as SmackDown GM.
I'm not one who believes that a show absolutely must have a general manager to function, but I do like the choice of Booker T. It makes very little sense since he didn't have a GM trial and since he has been an announcer since his return to the WWE, but it should be good nonetheless. Booker may not have the best vocabulary, but when you consider how bad his predecessors—Laurinaitis and Teddy Long—were on the mic, it's almost like Booker T is The Rock out there.
Booker had his moments on commentary and was entertaining, but he also detracted from the matches at times with his random quips. An announce team of just Michael Cole and Josh Matthews is solid and they did a nice job on Friday.
Booker won't be much more than a figurehead, but I feel as though his talents will be utilized much more effectively as an authority figure than an announcer.
CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Big Show Announced for SummerSlam
After his actions at RAW 1000, much of the WWE talk involved CM Punk's potential heel turn. Punk attacked The Rock after he came out to save John Cena from an attack at the hands of Big Show. That show closed with Jerry "The King" Lawler proclaiming that Punk had turned his back on the WWE Universe.
Punk addressed that and a whole lot more on Monday.
Punk didn't exactly complete his heel turn, but he certainly isn't a face any longer, either. Punk got in Lawler's face over the announcer's comments and he interrupted a No. 1 contender's match between Cena and Big Show, attacking them and calling them both losers. General manager AJ then announced that Punk would defend his title against Cena and Big Show in a triple-threat match at SummerSlam.
Although most fans, myself included, were hoping for a Punk vs. Cena singles match for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, Big Show's involvement was inevitable. He has constantly stuck his nose in Punk and Cena's business, so there was no way that he could be left out. With that said, Big Show could play an interesting role in the match, so I'm not as against him being in it as I was initially.
It seemed like the creative team tried to make it look like Punk was a tweener on Monday, but I feel like they are just delaying his official heel turn until SummerSlam.
Because of the way Big Show helped Punk at RAW 1000, my feeling is that Big Show will help Punk retain at SummerSlam rather than going for the title himself. That will lead to a heel pairing led by Punk with Big Show as his muscle.
Randy Orton Returns from Suspension on RAW
After a two-month suspension due to a violation of the WWE's wellness policy, Randy Orton made his triumphant return on RAW, as he squashed Heath Slater. Orton has been among the company's top draws for the past several years, but he has already tested positive twice and a third violation of the policy will result in him being released.
Because of that, the creative team may have to tread carefully, and it will be interesting to see what type of program Orton is inserted into ahead of SummerSlam.
Prior to his suspension, Orton wasn't doing much, as he ended a feud with Kane and was involved in a fatal four way for the World Heavyweight championship, so the writers have an opportunity to start from scratch.
Having Orton beat Slater was a passable way to have him return, but there is obviously no future with regards to a possible feud. On Friday, Orton faced Alberto Del Rio, and then World Heavyweight champion Sheamus got involved as he threw Del Rio into the ring after the match and Orton delivered a thunderous RKO.
Because of that segment, I get the feeling that Orton will somehow find a way into the title match at SummerSlam, making it a triple threat between himself, Sheamus and Del Rio.
While that would be good in one respect since the Sheamus vs. Del Rio feud is stale, I feel like Orton could be better utilized elsewhere. The obvious choice is a program with The Miz over the Intercontinental championship. Not only would it help add some prestige to a faltering title, but it would be sensible since Orton RKOed Miz for no apparent reason before he was suspended and Miz went off to film The Marine 3.
Miz could bring up the fact that he was given the role instead of Orton, and that could be the basis of the feud. Ultimately, I would have Miz go over both as a punishment to Orton and a means of getting Miz back to top-heel status.
Chris Jericho Done with WWE After Aug. 14?
It has been known for quite some time that Chris Jericho's band, Fozzy, is set to go on tour beginning in August. Precisely when Jericho would be taking a leave of absence from the WWE was uncertain, however. According to an interview with IconvsIcon.com, Jericho said that Fozzy would begin its tour on Aug. 14 and that he would be done with the WWE at that point.
That revelation is an interesting one since SummerSlam takes place on Aug. 19. It seems quite obvious that the creative team is building toward a match between Jericho and Dolph Ziggler at the WWE's biggest summer event. If Jericho is being totally truthful, though, then that match may not even happen.
If Jericho is indeed leaving on Aug. 14, then my hope is that he still honors one last date and wrestles at SummerSlam.
As a huge fan of both Jericho and Ziggler, a potential bout between them would be the main selling point for me as far as SummerSlam goes. They have had some great interactions over the past couple weeks, and as two of the best in-ring workers in the business, the match would be an absolute joy to watch.
Also, Ziggler would benefit from having Jericho put him over.
Ziggler is the Money in the Bank winner and a rising star in the WWE, but if he doesn't pick up some impressive wins while holding the briefcase, then he may not get over as a legitimate main-eventer. Jericho has no problem putting guys over, so I'm sure he would be happy to help out Ziggler.
I fully understand that Jericho has other commitments, but he is definitely needed in order to add depth to the SummerSlam card. Jericho didn't address his future with the WWE after that tour, but I'm sure most wrestling fans are praying that he has another run left in him.
AW Makes Controversial Comment Regarding Kobe Bryant on RAW
AW was originally brought into the picture to be a mouthpiece for Primo and Epico, but he has since joined the Primetime Players and has certainly added some personality to the team.
AW is constantly equipped with a microphone at ringside during matches and he often taunts opponents or shouts words of encouragement to Darren Young and Titus O'Neil.
While everything had been harmless, AW may have crossed a line on Monday. When O'Neil was in control of a matchup, AW said that he was "like Kobe Bryant in a hotel room in Colorado—unstoppable." This was clearly in reference to rape allegations against the Los Angeles Lakers star back in 2003.
When I initially heard AW's comment, it took me by surprise and I got a good laugh out of it, but upon further analysis, it really wasn't a great idea for AW to say that. I assume that he is allowed to say essentially anything he wants within reason, but he took one too many liberties on Monday and I wouldn't be surprised if it costs him in the long run.
In one respect, it has gotten the WWE some mainstream attention, but I doubt that is the type of attention Vince McMahon wants, especially with his wife running for Senate. AW was trying to be funny, but he was clearly trying a bit too hard if he was willing to break out a joke that hasn't been significant in about nine years.
AW was surprisingly allowed to keep the mic on SmackDown, so perhaps he was just given a stern warning and will have a zero-tolerance policy against him moving forward.
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