WWE Monday Night Raw: SummerSlam Hype, Van Dam Wins Battle Royal
The Monday, August 12 edition of Monday Night Raw began with the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship title, Daniel Bryan, immediately heading toward the ring for an opening match.
Match No. 1: Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan (with Special Guest Referee Brad Maddox)
Your winner via pinfall: Wade Barrett.
Once Maddox was announced as the special guest referee, there was a certain feeling that Bryan would come out on the losing end. That feeling came true, as Maddox clearly handed Barrett the victory by performing a fast count on Bryan.
While it was fair game, this was a pretty decent but basic opening match to Raw.
Match Rating: 3/5.
Match No. 2: Damien Sandow vs. Randy Orton
Your winner via pinfall: Randy Orton.
Thanks to Cody Rhodes' distraction outside the ring, Orton was able to score the pinfall on Damien Sandow. Despite the loss, the WWE smartly booked this match in having Sandow lose by Rhodes' distraction. This does not make Sandow look weak heading into the SummerSlam pay-per-view.
In the end, this was another decent match at best.
Match Rating: 3/5.
Match No. 3: The Great Khali and Natalya vs. Big E Langston and AJ Lee
Your winner via pinfall: The Great Khali and Natalya.
That was possibly one of the poorest and worst executed endings in recent professional wrestling history. After watching a second time, it clearly appeared that the referee messed up the end result by not ringing the bell after AJ Lee tapped out to Natalya's Sharpshooter submission hold.
As a result, this was indeed a forgettable match and could certainly be skipped over for those who missed it.
Match Rating: 0.5/5.
WWE chairman Vince McMahon came out to the ring and reviewed the ending of the first match between Bryan and Wade Barrett. McMahon invites Maddox to the ring, who served as the special guest referee. Maddox explained why he selected himself as the special guest referee and the reasoning for his fast count on Bryan.
Maddox asked McMahon to become the official special guest referee for the WWE Championship title match at SummerSlam. As McMahon was about to appoint Maddox as the referee, Triple H interrupted by coming out to the ring.
Triple H agreed with McMahon about the terms of a special guest referee but disagreed with making Maddox that figure at SummerSlam. Quickly afterward, Triple H hit the Pedigree on Maddox.
Match No. 4: Titus O'Neil vs. Kane
Your winner via pinfall: Kane.
The crowd appeared very quiet throughout this short match, as Kane's victory was extremely predictable heading into SummerSlam.
Afterward, the Wyatt Family announced they had arrived to Raw. However, Kane disappeared as the lights faded.
Match Rating: 2/5.
Match No. 5: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
Your winner via pinfall: Alberto Del Rio.
Decent match that saw Kofi Kingston get more television time. There was nothing to this match, as a Alberto Del Rio victory was extremely predictable heading into the pay-per-view.
Match Rating: 3/5.
Match No. 6: Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro vs. The Usos
Your winners via pinfall: The Usos.
Finally, after a streak of poor to decent at best matches, this tag team battle was actually enjoyable to watch. The Usos are coming together as a unit, and that was apparent with the crowd fully behind them in this match.
Match Rating: 3.5/5.
After the match, John Cena and Bryan were invited to the ring by The Miz, who was hosting Miz TV. The Miz got things started by asking both Cena and Bryan their thoughts on Triple H being the special guest referee for the WWE title belt at SummerSlam.
Cena held up the WWE Championship and gave positive words to Bryan.
However, The Miz twisted things by telling Bryan that Cena has no respect for his abilities. Bryan lashed out at Cena, telling the WWE champion that he is in wrestling for the glory and fame. The No. 1 contender continued to speak and labeled Cena as a "parody."
Cena fired back, saying that he is and will always be committed to the wrestling business and fans. Bryan claimed Cena had no respect for him and that SummerSlam will be the biggest event of his career. As Cena slapped Bryan in the face, Triple H came out to the ring.
Orton came out next and held up the Money in the Bank briefcase, teasing that he will cash in his title shot at SummerSlam.
Match No. 7: Fandango vs. R-Truth
It's safe to say that this was an extremely poor segment to follow up the previous one between Cena and Bryan. The WWE dropped the ball on this one.
Match No. 8: Battle Royal
Your winner: Rob Van Dam.
After the match, The Shield came out through the crowd and headed toward the ring. Suddenly, the Big Show made his WWE return by walking toward the ring, which forced The Shield to retreat.
Pretty entertaining Battle Royal. Van Dam was a good selection, given that he is still fresh into his WWE return and could make a good match at SummerSlam against Dean Ambrose.
Match Rating: 4/5.
As Paul Heyman entered the ring for his scheduled match, he asked Brock Lesnar to join him. Heyman spoke about Punk and heavily hyped the former WWE champion's match against Lesnar at SummerSlam.
Punk responded to Heyman by coming out to the ring and attacking both Lesnar and Curtis Axel, who appeared later in the segment, as Raw faded to black.
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