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So Stephanie McMahon kicks us off and introduces a comedy package showing Daniel Bryan getting a corporate makeover. How is this exactly supposed to build to SummerSlam?
Anyway, the crowd disapproves of Bryan’s suit and Daniel talks about how he’s not a “superstar” like John Cena. However, Cena is an entertainer and Daniel Bryan is a wrestler—oh, that’s a dirty word in WWE. And if Cena gets fired, he’ll never wrestle again while Bryan will slum it in every single armory and gym because he’s a wrestler. Great promo from Bryan here.
Vince McMahon makes his presence known and starts running down Bryan, calling him a troll and a mini-Mick Foley. McMahon does say he will give Bryan his support if he shaves off his beard though.
They tease this for a while as the segment kind of drags until McMahon calls down Wade Barrett to shave Bryan for some unknown reason. Why not just book a match between Bryan and Barrett instead of setting it up through this long segment?
Of course, Bryan attacks and shaves off Barrett’s stylish chinstrap beard and celebrates. It was an awesome promo to start the segment but it really limped to a finish and the lack of crowd reaction showed just that.
By the way, was I the only one who was praying for a Brutus Beefcake cameo in that last segment?
Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio
The Miz is on commentary and I resist the urge to hurl large metal objects at my television. Ricardo Rodriguez also returns from “serious injury” (aka “I’m taking GNC pills to slim my fat ass down for television”) and now I’m sure SummerSlam will draw a huge buyrate.
Del Rio attacks but gets caught with a monkey flip and a standing moonsault for two. Del Rio whiffs on his charge against the ropes and hits the floor so RVD hits an impressive moonsault from the apron to take us to break.
We return with RVD making his comeback but he misses Rolling Thunder and Del Rio hits him with a kick to the face for two. Enzuigiri misses for Del Rio and RVD floors him with a kick from the top rope and Rolling Thunder gets two. A split-legged moonsault hits knees so Ricardo wedges his bucket between the turnbuckles for Del Rio to use.
However, the hand of irony interjects and Del Rio tastes his own bucket and Van Dam rolls him up for the win.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
-Del Rio superkicks Ricardo after the match and beats the hell out of him with the bucket. We’re not done yet though, as Del Rio wedges Ricardo’s head between the ring steps and the post and dropkicks the steps. Rodriguez is a big loser though because no babyface can even be bothered to come save him. The match was cut down to basically nothing, which gets *1/2.
-Cody Rhodes intros a video recapping his feud with Damien Sandow, including him tossing the Money in the Bank briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico. He lures Sandow into the ring with the recovered briefcase and beats him up while the crowd goes apathetic. This segment fell totally flat and got basically zero reaction, which does not bode well for either guy.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Looking back, that match with CM Punk absolutely DESTROYED Ryback and never should have happened. Ryback’s straight forward attack doesn’t work, so he goes low with a chop block and hammers away. Henry overpowers him again though, so Ryback takes a powder and intentionally walks out on the match.
Winner by Count Out: Mark Henry
-Lame, stupid and a waste of time…DUD.
-Meanwhile, the Bellas (minus nudity this week) talk about whatever until Natalya smacks the one with the implants.
-Speaking of the Bellas, Cena hits the ring and actually uses the words “fan favorite” in a sentence for the first time since the Apter mags. Anyways, he goes into the “I’m gonna be me and I don’t care what anyone says” routine until saying Bryan likes wrestling in gyms because that’s where he belongs. People say Cena can’t wrestle but he’s held the title 11 times (11 times?!?! My God, someone shoot me) so that proves he’s the greatest and all that.
Randy Orton interrupts to remind everyone he still has the Money in the Bank briefcase but the Shield surround the ring. Daniel Bryan runs out to even up the numbers on the babyface side and if you can’t guess the next booking move, please turn in your smart card at the door on your way out. Of course, Brad Maddox comes out and books a six-man tag for the main event slot.
Tons of Funk vs. Wyatt Family
Luke Harper starts against Tensai and gets tackled down but pops back up and hits a big boot. Rowan tags in and it quickly turns into a four man brawl but Rowan takes out Brodus Clay with a flying tackle and hits Tensai with a splash for the quick win.
Winners: Wyatt Family
-Total squash but the Wyatts are destined for bigger and better things than the curtain-jerking Brodus Clay. Bray Wyatt hits Sister Abigail and gives one of his speeches before Kane’s pyro interrupts and challenges Wyatt to an Inferno match at SummerSlam. I wonder how they are going to pull that one off?
-Backstage, CM Punk cuts a promo on Curtis Axel and promises revenge for SummerSlam.
Kaitlyn vs. Layla
Kaitlyn attacks so Layla runs away and hides in the ropes while the announcers just sit in silence at the amount of suck on the TV screen.
A cheap shot from Layla turns the tide and she locks on a headscissors in the ropes. Kaitlyn catches her with a sloppy backbreaker and tries for a gutbuster but ends up kneeing Layla right in the kidney. What a mess. Thankfully, AJ skips around the ring to save Layla and a kick to the face gets the pin.
-Can WWE please send Kaitlyn back to whatever bodybuilding website they pulled her from? This was terrible—DUD.
Christian vs. Heath Slater
Christian takes Heath down with a drop toe hold but 3MB distract him and allow Slater to hit a superkick for two. He stomps away and works over Christian with his jobber offense but gets caught coming off the top and gets planted with a flapjack.
A missile dropkick gets two and a back body drop sets up a sunset flip off the second rope for two. Slater recovers and shoves Christian to the mat but celebrates too much and eats a spear to allow Christian to get the win.
-The finish came out of nowhere but the match was fine for what it was *3/4.
CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel
Punk confronts Axel on the entrance ramp and they brawl as Punk tries to get hold of Heyman. Axel drags him back to the ring though and chops away. Drop toe hold puts Axel down and Punk works the leg before dumping Axel to the floor and following with a dive to take us to break.
We return with Punk fighting out of a chinlock but Axel floors him with an elbow for two. Body slam sets up an elbow from the second rope for two and Axel goes to the chinlock as Heyman makes his way back out to the ring.
Punk notices Heyman at ringside and fights his way out of the chinlock but gets clotheslined down while distracted by Heyman. Punk finally gets a foot up on a charge and hits Axel with a high cross body. Punk goes after Heyman again though and Axel cuts him off on the floor with a clothesline.
Back inside, another elbow off the second rope misses for Axel and Punk mounts a comeback with a swinging neckbreaker and the high knee (called a “high elbow” by Cole).
Punk heads up top for the Macho Elbow but Axel crotches him and hits a neckbreaker for two. The crowd weirdly starts a “this is awesome” chant and Punk hits a kick to the face to put Axel down. He immediately grabs Heyman and drags him into the ring as the bell rings.
-Brock Lesnar makes his way to ringside but Curtis Axel tries to attack from behind. Punk hits the GTS on Axel to get rid of him but Lesnar overpowers Punk and tries for an F5. Punk manages to wiggle out of it and lays some stiff shots on Brock, finally flooring him with a dive from the announce table.
Lesnar recovers quickly though and hits a belly to belly on the floor before dragging Punk back in the ring. Lesnar looks for the Refresh again but Punk gets out of it again and cracks Lesnar with a chair.
Heyman begs for his life but Brock grabs Punk and finally hits the F5. Heyman screams for Lesnar to “hurt him,” so Brock smashes Punk with the chair and stands tall.
The match was basically a backdrop for the big Lesnar attack but at least Axel looked competent, if not kind of boring. Call it **1/2 for the whole thing.
-Backstage, some blonde lady interviews Brock Lesnar who tells Heyman to “say something stupid” in a funny line but Heyman is dead serious and challenges CM Punk for a match next week.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
Kofi kicks away at Fandango’s legs and hits a dropkick for two but Fandango takes him hard into the corner and slugs away. Fandango works the arm for two (still don’t understand that) as the camera focuses on Summer Rae and Fandango screws up a spinning kick but it still gets two.
Kofi makes his comeback off a blind charge and the crowd really doesn’t care that much but the Boom Drop connects. Kofi looks to finish but Fandango rolls to the apron and catches him with a kick for two.
Fandango heads up top but Kofi dodges and comes off the top himself with a high cross body for two. Trouble in Paradise quickly hits though and that’s all she wrote for Fandango.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
-Just another match on a three-hour Raw…that’s the best way I can summarize this match **.
-Meanwhile, Stephanie comes crying to Triple H because Vince is yelling at her about the opening segment of the show. Triple H freaks out and promises to stop Vinnie Mac before he ruins SummerSlam.
Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger vs. The Usos
Dirty Dutch gets the crowd going by insulting the Packers…aren’t rubes so much fun to get worked up?
Jimmy chops away at Swagger and hits a headbutt for two but Swagger gets an elbow and launches Jimmy into Cesaro, who hits an uppercut for two. Antonio comes in with a gutwrench suplex and the heels switch off on Jimmy until a Swagger Bomb/Cesaro stomp combo gets two.
More double-teaming leads to Swagger cutting down Jimmy’s leg but he gets a little too cocky and Jimmy hits an enzuigiri. He gets the hot tag to Jey, who cleans house on everyone and gets two on Cesaro.
Jey gets rid of Swagger on the outside and Cesaro leaps into a superkick from Jimmy in a good near fall. Outside, Swagger tosses Jey into the ring post and gets a cheap shot on Jimmy, allowing Cesaro to hit the Neutralyzer for the win.
Winners: Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger
-A good little tag match as the Usos are definitely starting to grow on me, which means they’ll be jobbed out on Superstars in about a month **.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston
Langston tries to toss Ziggler but walks into a dropkick. Ziggler escapes a press slam by pulling himself to the apron but Langston floors him with a clothesline and gets two. Abdominal stretch is applied but Ziggler fights his way out and dodges a charge, causing Langston to hit the ring post.
Ziggler comes back with a neckbreaker for two but Ziggler runs into a backbreaker for a near fall. Langston tries for a splash but Ziggler dodges again and hits a Rocker Dropper for two.
This crowd sucks.
Kaitlyn makes her way out to ringside and has a catfight with AJ on the floor. They end up in the ring and Ziggler tries to make peace, allowing Langston to recover and take his head off with a clothesline. Kaitlyn is seriously bad at everything she does. Langston hits the Big Ending and gets the easy win after that.
Winner: Big E Langston
-So, a match ended earlier tonight when Punk grabbed Paul Heyman but two girls can fight inside the ring and the match continues? A little consistency would be nice. Anyways, the match was fine but “fine” gets really boring after almost three hours of Raw.
Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton & John Cena vs. The Shield
Rollins and Orton start and Randy gets the better of the exchange, hitting a 10-punch in the corner and following with a suplex for two. Bryan gets the tag and hits a missile dropkick, causing Rollins to tag Ambrose and he has a fast-paced sequence with Daniel.
Bryan takes on the entire Shield on the outside rather successfully but Ambrose kicks him off the apron to make Bryan our Ricky Morton for the match.
The Shield trap Bryan in their corner and switch off on him, hitting an impressive double-team gutbuster and getting two. Bryan manages to flip over Roman Reigns and hits a kick to the face but Ambrose occupies the referee and he doesn’t allow the blind tag.
Rollins tosses Bryan into Orton for a two count but Bryan counters to the Yes Lock, causing the Shield to attack Bryan 3-on-1 and…the bell rings? Seriously?
-That finish sucked and made no sense, no other way to put it. Orton lays out Bryan with the RKO and then does the same to Cena for good measure. Orton debates cashing in his contract but the Shield returns so Randy decides to pick a different day. The Shield destroy Cena and Bryan while Orton looks on from the entrance ramp. Let’s call it **1/2 for the heat segment and that’s about it.
Just another three hour Raw in a long line of boring TV shows. I mean, seriously, there was maybe 15 minutes of good stuff on this show but how is that supposed to sustain an audience for three hours?
The live crowd was completely dead and the main event finish was brutal. On the bright side at least there were only two segments with the McMahon-Triple H connection. You can definitely skip this one and just catch the highlights next week.