Although this Monday's episode of Raw was pre-taped, there was still quite a bit of intrigue and anticipation heading into the night.
Even for those who already cracked and read the spoilers, the opportunity to see The Shield vs. Mark Henry and The Usos, Rob Van Dam vs. Fandango, Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian and Daniel Bryan vs. Kane was undoubtedly alluring.
That is some world-class in-ring talent right there.
Throw in John Cena vs. Ryback in a tables match, appearances from CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow and the prospect of a potential Wyatt family appearance, and it was once again a stacked Raw.
Rushed to my hotel after flight landed just to catch #RAW. After all these years, I still love this show.— Mick Foley (@realmickfoley) July 30, 2013
Let's take a look at what went down.
Vince McMahon and Daniel Bryan argue inside the ring, hyping Bryan vs. John Cena at SummerSlam.
The Shield defeats Mark Henry and The Usos.
Video shown of Ryback throwing a worker through a table in the back.
Rob Van Dam defeats Fandango via count-out.
Kaitlyn defeats A.J. Lee in a non-title match. Afterward, Dolph Ziggler challenges Big E Langston to a match.
Dolph Ziggler defeats Big E Langston via DQ after A.J. attacks Ziggler. Afterward, Big E screamed at A.J., then Ziggler returned to give Big E a Zig Zag.
Christian defeats Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match.
Cody Rhodes defeats Wade Barrett. Afterward, Damien Sandow cuts a promo.
Daniel Bryan defeats Kane. Afterward, Kane attacks Bryan before The Wyatt Family appears and attacks Kane.
The Wyatts just scare me but I'm kind of a chicken! Kane went down like a man..... But he went down! #followthebuzzards— Brian G. James (@WWERoadDogg) July 30, 2013
Brie Bella defeats Natalya when Nikki distracts Natalya with a duck call. Seriously.
Curtis Axel defeats R-Truth via DQ when CM Punk attacks Axel and Paul Heyman. Heyman gets away.
John Cena defeats Ryback in a tables match. Afterward, Daniel Bryan celebrates with Cena.
Former Tag Team Partners Face Off
So much good stuff going on here.
You've got Kane and Daniel Bryan, former Tag Team champions, going one-on-one. You've got Daniel Bryan, the most over star in the business, once again putting on a tremendous match.
You've got another attack from the Wyatt family, the captivating trio that has been booked tremendously since their introduction.
Throw it all together, and it sort of felt surprising that WWE gave it away for free on Raw.
For now, let's focus on Kane.
From Brad Maddox telling him to prove that he's still a monster with a killer instinct to his post-match chokeslam of Bryan, it's pretty apparent that he's headed for a heel turn.
What do you want to see from Kane?
If that results in Kane once again turning into the Big Red Machine—the unstoppable monster capable of causing massive damage—then I think most are going to be on board with the turn.
The real question, however, is how his interaction with the Wyatt family will play out.
Will he feud with Bray Wyatt? As soon as the lights hit on the Wyatt's appearance on Monday, Kane made a beeline for Bray and proceeded to fight valiantly before eventually getting dismantled.
Or will he join the Wyatts?
Either way, the build has been terrific, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
World Heavyweight Championship Outlook
The WWE championship has unsurprisingly gotten most of the attention during the SummerSlam buildup, and Monday, it was taken a step further with Bryan and John Cena celebrating to end the show.
But what about the "other" title?
Those who haven't read this week's SmackDown spoilers still don't know whom Alberto Del Rio will be defending his title against at the upcoming pay-per-view, and his loss to Christian on Monday only further clouds the picture.
Still, it was a terrific match:
#raw what a match between Christian & Alberto Del Rio. Congrats on the win Christian!— Mikkos (@MMikkos) July 30, 2013
Then there's the developing feud between Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, who holds the briefcase (kind of) for the World Heavyweight championship. Further building it up on Monday, a video package of SmackDown's segment showed, which was awesome.
I'm loving every part of this feud. Both guys are talented and deserve the push, and Sandow is hilarious and capable of drawing a lot of heat as a heel. Legend Mick Foley (and others) seemed to enjoy it as well:
The World Heavyweight Championship has lacked direction and credibility lately, but it's in good shape going forward.