After the success of the June 16 Payback pay-per-view, the WWE have been on something of a roll as of late.
And this momentum showed no signs of faltering on Monday Night Raw this week, as we were treated to another entertaining show with twists and turns aplenty.
Storylines involving both the WWE and World titles are progressing rather nicely, while various angles involving the likes of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have created quite a buzz within the IWC. Add to that some exciting developments regarding the upcoming Money in the Bank PPV, and there is certainly plenty to digest in the aftermath of Monday Night Raw this week.
In this article, we take a look at five of the top talking points to come from the show and analyse the potential impact they may have.
After Jericho nailed Ziggler with the Codebreaker on SmackDown last week, the latter exacted some revenge on Raw as he hit the Zig Zag on Y2J after his match with Alberto Del Rio.
It certainly seems odd that Ziggler would resort to such villainous methods after his apparent face turn of the past few weeks, but personally I wouldn’t read too much into this.
It was most likely a case of Ziggler simply evening the score with his former foe.
And speaking of Jericho, there has been plenty of speculation as of late suggesting that Jericho could be set to enter the world title picture after his involvement in recent weeks.
Such theories were soon quashed on Raw though, after it was announced that Y2J would be facing Ryback at MITB. A match undoubtedly set up to give Ryback that PPV victory that he so desperately needs
As a result, the shenanigans involving Jericho and the World title combatants are most likely nothing serious, merely a method of keeping ADR occupied as Ziggler sells the injury angle.
After a short lived number one contender’s match, The Usos emerged victorious to set up a Tag Team Title match with The Shield at some point in the near future.
For Jimmy and Jey, this is great news.
The twin brothers are a highly entertaining tag team, and one of the few natural pairings left in the WWE. Thus it’s nice to see them finally receive some recognition for their efforts.
For the Tag Team division as a whole though, it is a worrying sign that the only opponents available for The Usos were Tons of Funk and two thirds of 3MB.
That being said, I’d rather focus on the positives. Combining The Usos innovative offense with the always exciting in-ring work of The Shield should result in a brilliant match, most likely at the Money in the Bank PPV.
The Shield will head into it as favorites, but this is nonetheless a great opportunity for The Usos to shine on the big stage.
After both men delivered awesome promos, CM Punk seemingly realigned himself with Paul Heyman having been essentially guilt-tripped by the former ECW boss.
Boos rang around the arena, putting Punk’s face run in doubt, however events surrounding this topsy-turvy storyline weren’t over for the evening just yet.
The two spoke backstage before the end of the show, with Punk informing Heyman that regaining the WWE Championship was his “one goal” and that "nothing else" mattered to him.
It was a subtle little segment, but in having him prioritise the title over their friendship, it seems to me that this might be enough for Heyman to justify turning on Punk once and for all.
We’ll have to keep an eye on this one, as the storyline remains rather difficult to predict, but don’t be surprised to see yet another falling out between Heyman and Punk in the coming weeks.
Arguably the biggest revelation of the night was Stephanie McMahon’s announcement of the seven participants in the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE Title.
Given the number of combatants though, questions remain over whether or not we will even see a second ladder match for the World Title contract.
There are few other main events stars available to contest such a match, and thus there is a high possibility of just one ladder match taking place at this year’s MITB PPV.
Nonetheless—even if we only get the one MITB ladder match on the PPV’s card, it’s hard to be unsatisfied with such a star-studded line-up.
In his “rubber match” with Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan finally silenced his critics after he made the Viper tap out in the middle of the ring.
It marks the end of a dramatic few weeks for the former Ring of Honor star. Where he has reached even greater heights in what has been a thoroughly enjoyable, albeit it relatively short-lived, feud with Orton.
The clean victory seems to have concluded the pair’s rivalry, and thus we must ask what is next for the ever-improving Bryan.
A MITB win seems likely, which could then lead to a career-defining title win at SummerSlam.
Such an eventuality remains a long-way off though, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. For the time being at least, congratulations are certainly in order for Bryan as he finally appears to be receiving the big push that he has deserved for some time now.
Of course, there were further noteworthy developments on Raw this week, including AJ’s continued mockery of Kaitlyn and another demonstration of Mark Henry’s newly-discovered mic skills.
Last week, the World’s Strongest Man proved he was an exceptional actor. This week, he proved that his performance was no flash in the pan.
With Money in the Bank still well over three weeks away, the PPV already looks set to be an excellent watch. If the WWE continue at this rate, we could be in store for one of the best shows of the entire year.
But what did you guys think of Raw this week?
Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on the show, as well as any opinions you may have on the article itself.