After fake retirements, returns and character changes, the post-Payback Raw began to resemble the Monday night show after WrestleMania 29. There may not have been a cash-in like there was on April 8, but the June 17 edition of Raw provided a great deal of storyline progression and a fantastic kickoff to the summertime in WWE.
With that said, was the post-Payback Raw better than the post-WrestleMania show? Let’s compare the two events by highlighting the stand-out moments of each night. Then, we can decide which was arguably the better edition of Raw.
Post-WrestleMania 29 Raw
I may be slightly biased towards the April 8 edition of Raw since I was in attendance, but the crowd certainly helped this episode be great. The New Jersey crowd is partially responsible for the push that Fandango had been receiving until he suffered a concussion.
Fandango was a favorite to win the intercontinental title until he was replaced with Curtis Axel. Fandango’s push began with the WWE Universe at the Izod Center humming and dancing to his entrance music throughout the night. The humming and dancing clearly overshadowed any filler matches.
On this night, Wade Barrett also regained the Intercontinental Championship after losing the title to The Miz one night earlier. Barrett held the title until WWE Payback. The post-WrestleMania 29 Raw also featured The Undertaker beginning to deliver a promo until he was interrupted by The Shield. The Undertaker would continue to have a short feud with Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns until it was time for the Phenom of the WWE to leave again.
The two biggest moments of the night, though, came from Dolph Ziggler and Ryback. Ziggler held his Money in the Bank briefcase for three-quarters of a year until April 8 when he cashed in on Alberto Del Rio. Interestingly enough, there is another connection with Payback as Ziggler held the title until this past Sunday at the pay-per-view. Finally, Ryback’s heel turn took place at this Raw as well, which has resulted in questionable success.
Post-Payback 2013 Raw
As for the June 17 edition of Raw, Mark Henry and Brock Lesnar may have been the top moments of the night. Then again, there are many to choose from.
Henry’s fake retirement promo was incredibly believable as he began to promote the idea through Twitter. He followed it up by talking backstage with other superstars. He sealed the deal by having John Cena stick around after he gave a speech. I thought it was strange that Cena was staying to hear Henry’s speech, until Henry fooled us all.
Lesnar made his return to WWE TV after CM Punk defeated Del Rio via count-out. Tension had been growing between Punk and Paul Heyman, which makes a feud with Lesnar quite logical. The tension angle between Punk and Heyman could have lasted longer and the split could have been a bigger moment. Either way, Punk and Lesnar will most likely happen at Money in the Bank or SummerSlam.
Other notable moments during this episode of Raw included the return of Christian and the pairing of Zeb Colter with Antonio Cesaro. Both storylines seemed inevitable so the fact that they happened on the same night as other significant storylines progressed helped the show look stronger.
While Punk may have turned face once again, he wasn’t the only one with a character change. Del Rio solidified his heel turn with the opening segment. This can only lead to Ziggler turning face. The former World Heavyweight champion attacked Del Rio at the conclusion of his match prior to Lesnar returning. Ziggler as a face is intriguing, but it also raises questions as to the character status of both AJ Lee and Big E Langston.
Which episode of Raw was better?
While the post-WrestleMania 29 Raw was entertaining, surprising and enjoyable to attend, the Raw following Payback was better.
The post-WrestleMania 29 episode was far better than the actual pay-per-view itself, while Payback was definitely a greater event. However, this comparison is solely about the episodes of Raw and not the pay-per-views themselves.
The June 17 edition wins over April 8 with due to the logical and intriguing face/heel turns and Henry’s amazing acting skills. The April 8 edition’s best moments were Ziggler’s cash-in and the crowd’s response to Fandango. The post-Payback Raw had a lot more storyline progression with the returns of Christian and Brock Lesnar.
How would you compare the post-Payback Raw with the post-WrestleMania 29 show? Which was better? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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