WWE Week in Review, Aug. 3: Christian Gets One More Match, Layla Finally Turns
Due to WWE tours of Australia and China, all of their programming from the past seven days was taped last week. While the latest edition of Monday Night Raw may not have been live, it certainly left this viewer anxiously anticipating next week's show.
Take nothing away from Friday Night SmackDown, though, as the the blue brand had its fair share of entertaining action as well. In the night's main event, Christian reigned supreme over Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam to become the new No. 1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship.
In other SummerSlam news, CM Punk made an appearance on both televised programs this week, sending a message to Brock Lensar by attacking Curtis Axel on Raw and defeating Fandango on SmackDown. How long before The Voice of the Voiceless finally gets his hands on Paul Heyman?
As SummerSlam quickly approaches, the annual event is slowly shaping up to one of the best pay-per-view in years. Here's hoping the show lives up to the hype as more matches are confirmed in coming weeks.
Here, I will break down the week in wrestling by analyzing the Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and WWE Main Event broadcasts, including each show's highlights, low points and other noteworthy, monumental moments. Also, an award will be given to the show and Superstar that shined the brightest over the course of the week.
Match of the Week: Christian vs. Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam: SmackDown, Aug. 2
Christian, Rob Van Dam and Randy Orton have all faced Alberto Del Rio at some point in the last two weeks, so it should come as no surprise that each of them had their sights set on Del Rio's World Heavyweight Championship. That in mind, Vickie Guerrero arranged a Triple Threat match between the three veterans on this week's edition of SmackDown.
The match was just as awesome as it looked on paper, as everyone involved put forth a strong effort and made it one of the most entertaining matches on the blue brand in recent memory. For well over 20 minutes, Christian, Orton and RVD battled for the opportunity to contend for the golden strap at SummerSlam, each of them connecting with their signature spots on the others.
After connecting with an RKO on RVD, Orton looked to do the same to Christian, but Captain Charisma reversed into a backslide pin attempt to score the three-count and earn his highly anticipated "one more match" for the prestigious prize.
Superstar of the Week: Christian
Since returning to the ring after 10 long months this past June, Christian has embarked on an impressive winning streak that has seen him defeat the likes of Wade Barrett, Titus O'Neil and Jack Swagger, among others. This week, Christian scored his biggest win to date as he surprisingly defeated his former foe and current World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match on Raw.
This earned him a spot in the No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat match on SmackDown, which also involved Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam. In a shocking turn of events, Christian also emerged victorious in that bout to advance to SummerSlam.
Now that he's finally earned his "one more match," is it only a matter of time before Christian is wearing world title gold once again?
Show of the Week: Friday Night SmackDown, Aug. 2
For the first time this year, Monday Night Raw was taped this past week due to WWE's tour of Australia and China. For this reason, the show didn't feel as exciting as usual or have the same unpredictable vibe it normally does.
That said, though, it was a solid show from top to bottom. Once again, the focus was fully on John Cena and Daniel Bryan, give or take a little Mr. McMahon. There weren't many promos on the show, but it felt more wrestling heavy than in past weeks, with Cena and Ryback headlining the episode in an entertaining Tables match.
Despite all that, Friday Night SmackDown managed to barely beat out the flagship show to be named the latest Show of the Week. This week's SmackDown featured a tremendous Triple Threat match to crown a new contender to the World Heavyweight Championship as well as an additional Divas Championship match.
Overall, all three of WWE's televised programs over the last seven days did a superb job of building toward the pending SummerSlam pay-per-view.
This Week's Highlights
John Cena vs. Ryback: The lack of hype for this matchup bothered me a bit, but aside from that, the match itself was actually entertaining. There were several spots that were well done and convinced viewers Ryback might ultimately emerge victorious. Ryback's character is still in need of some tweaking, but I'll take his bullying persona over Cryback any day of the week.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane: It may not have been as exciting as the Gauntlet match from last week, but it didn't need to be. These two work well together and provided a solid contest. Bryan winning cleanly only boosted his strong momentum, while Kane's feud with The Wyatt Family was also furthered.
Mark Henry and The Usos vs. The Shield: I was hoping we'd see this at SummerSlam, as it would have made for a fun opener at the event. Regardless, it was a great match on Raw this week and the right tandem went over. If a rematch isn't held at the biggest blockbuster of the summer, then I'd be content with Henry challenging for the U.S. title while The Usos go back for the Tag titles.
CM Punk vs. Fandango: This was an enjoyable bout and much better than I originally expected. While I'm not a fan of Fandango's ridiculous gimmick, there's no denying that he can flat-out go in the ring. Punk made him look like a star and put him over in a big way in this match despite being on the losing end.
AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn: They've had better matches in the past, but their bouts on Raw and SmackDown, respectively, this past week were pretty good for what they were worth. More importantly, Layla has finally turned heel, which explains why she's been constantly hanging around her in recent months. However, how will she factor into the rumored mixed-person tag team match at SummerSlam?
This Week's Low Points
Mr. McMahon and Daniel Bryan: Although the opening segment on Raw between McMahon and Bryan was strong, I just feel that McMahon's involvement in the WWE Championship feud isn't necessary right now. It might make sense eventually, but it didn't do much for this viewer this week.
Rob Van Dam vs. Fandango: The match was fine for what it was, but the finish was mind-boggling. Fandango losing via count-out has become a running gag at this point, so I didn't see the point in it happening on Raw this week. Thankfully, both competitors made up for this travesty with great matches on SmackDown.
Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth: This isn't a major miss, but I absolutely hate it when matches abruptly end without an official decision being made. I enjoyed CM Punk's pursuit of Paul Heyman, but the match between Axel and Truth was forgettable and merely an afterthought. Axel should be more prominently featured on Raw given the fact that he's the current Intercontinental champion.
Brie Bella vs. Natalya: I have no problem with the Total Divas show, but this match especially bothered me. The typical "Mean Girl" antics from The Bella Twins are extremely obnoxious, and not in the heat-garnering kind of way, either. Not only that, Natalya continues to be wasted as an enhancement talent for no apparent reason.
The Usos vs. The Prime Time Players: While there was nothing necessarily wrong with this match from WWE Main Event, we've seen it countless times before and this bout simply wasn't as exciting as their previous encounters. If nothing else, it's encouraging to see The Usos continued to be pushed as a credible tag team.
Read the original version of this article here.