Every episode of Raw directly following a pay-per-view is compelling as it is, but the night after Money in the Bank is extra special.
That's because the nature of the PPV—which immediately gives us two individuals who will presumably soon become world champions—opens up a slew of new storylines.
But not only did Sunday's thrilling event vault Damien Sandow and Randy Orton into the world title picture, it created a bunch of new avenues of intrigue throughout the company.
How would you grade the show?
How would CM Punk respond to Paul Heyman's betrayal? Are Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee kaput? Would the Wyatt Family, after being absent from Money in the Bank, be in attendance?
All that and much, much more was answered on an absolutely explosive, well-executed show in front of a fired-up crowd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Let's take a look at what will go down as one of the best Raw shows of the year.
Brad Maddox says John Cena can pick his opponent for SummerSlam.
Randy Orton defeats Fandango.
Dolph Ziggler dumps AJ Lee.
Mark Henry gives a promo, then gets attacked by The Shield.
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio defeats Dolph Ziggler after AJ got involved. Afterward, Big E Langston attacked Ziggler.
The Wyatt Family attacks R-Truth.
The Usos defeat The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro).
Christian defeats Damien Sandow. Afterward, Cody Rhodes attacks Sandow.
Naomi defeats Brie Bella.
CM Punk and Brock Lesnar give promos. Brock Lesnar comes down and attacks Punk.
Rob Van Dam defeats Chris Jericho.
John Cena selects Daniel Bryan as his opponent for SummerSlam.
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam
In what was an appropriate way to end a Raw that created an already crazy amount of anticipation for SummerSlam (more on that below), Cena—with a little help from the crowd—picked Daniel Bryan for his opponent at SummerSlam.
Bryan has been on fire over the past two months. Nearly every match he puts on is a thriller, he's over with seemingly every crowd and there is no one who deserves a title shot more than him.
Oh, and the pop he got when Cena selected him was, well, deafening:
Wow. Epic career moment for Daniel Bryan. They'll show this on his highlight reels someday. #Raw— Zack Zimmerman (@InVasionZim) July 16, 2013
A great finish to a memorable night.
Bray Wyatt a Star on the Mic
The Wyatt Family attacking R-Truth certainly wasn't anything special, but when Bray Wyatt grabbed the microphone, he captivated the audience in Brooklyn and the viewers at home:
LOVE IT! Did you see how he captivated the crowd?! Incredible work by Wyatt. Absolutely incredible— Benjamin Tucker (@BTuckerTorch) July 16, 2013
As Wyatt began to talk, it appeared as though the crowd was in "smark" mode, yelling out "what" chants toward the new character. But he continued on, entrancing the crowd and eventually drowning out the chants with an unbelievable promo.
It was spectacular:
Now that is how you make an impact! Bray Wyatt + family = MONEY!— Jimmy Korderas (@jimmykorderas) July 16, 2013
Bray Wyatt is such an incredibly presented character that he reminds me why I continue to follow pro wrestling. He's money. Just great TV.— Peter Hoare (@PeterHoare) July 16, 2013
Wyatt's character (along with the rest of his family) is original, creative, classic and enthralling. It's still early, but Windham Rotunda is executing the role perfectly, and it's hard not to be excited about where this trio (and possibly foursome with the addition of Kane?) is headed next.
Paul Heyman and CM Punk Steal the Show
It looked like Wyatt had completed one of the best promos in a while, but then Paul Heyman and CM Punk went to work.
This isn't surprising. We've seen these two work the mic before. But following their separation on Sunday night, they were both at their best, providing crazy energy to make for a scintillating segment:
Seriously the promo segment of the year. Absolutely incredible. Someone give Punk and Heyman an Emmy.— Benjamin Tucker (@BTuckerTorch) July 16, 2013
Strong, strong segment. CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, in my opinion, has been one of the best booked feuds in years. #Raw— Graham Mirmina (@SAVE_US_GSM) July 16, 2013
Who had the best promo of the night?
After each put forth some fantastic promos, Brock Lesnar came out and attacked Punk. Lesnar looked like a machine. Punk, who was incredibly over, looked awesome for fighting back.
Somehow, these gentlemen had combined to make the best in the world and former world champion look like a courageous underdog, and it felt perfectly natural.
It was an absolutely red-hot segment, and it created a ton of early anticipation for SummerSlam.
Oh, and that wasn't even the main event on Raw. The company is firing on all cylinders right now.
WWE is en fuego right now. Loving it. #RAW— Greg Parks (@gregmparks) July 16, 2013