Be sure to check out the Raw Rundown for complete coverage of last night’s show!
Mark Henry and John Cena faced off last night, in a take-it or leave-it segment. This feud kicked off hot a few weeks ago with Henry’s faux retirement speech. Unfortunately, things died off for the last two weeks, and this segment only managed to muster up a little more momentum heading towards Sunday. The face-off at the end gave Cena fans a reason to worry. But, it also reminded the rest of us that Henry’s chances at Money in the Bank are slim indeed.
Rob Van Dam was featured prominently on last nights show through a series of classic ladder match clips. This was a smart move by WWE. It reminded fans why they should care about Rob Van Dam returning to the company after so many years, and also highlighted his chances at winning the match this coming Sunday. For those of you that don’t like RVD, this probably didn’t do much to change your mind. But it should at least help sell a few more Pay Per Views to the casual fans.
The Wyatt Family finally debuted, and ended up deliver a Shield-esque beatdown. I’m not saying their overall persona reminded me of The Shield, or that just because they’re both three-man groups they act the same. But WWE creative has to give these guys more than just “we attack random people.” The videos hype last night climaxed in an eerie way. Let’s hope that trend continues, and these three men (especially Bray Wyatt) are treated like something special. These guys definitely have the potential to become the “creepy presence” of the next decade, and fill the void left by The Undertaker and Kane. Speaking of which, do I smell a possible SummerSlam feud?
Vickie Guerrero, love her or hate her, delivers in segments like last night’s job performance evaluation. I question her replacement (Brad Maddox? Really? Isn’t he a wrestler?), but considering he’s probably a spot-filler, I can handle it. What left me most disappointed was the McMahon family feud (again!). Just when it seemed like Vince and Triple H were taking their disagreements to a more personal level, they simply deferred to Stephanie, who settled things with the biggest non-commitment anybody could ask for. This constant bickering is leaving me indifferent. Come on, WWE, let’s kick things up a notch.
The overall show was solid. While not every match was entertaining, and not every segment lived up to the lofty expectations in place, I felt consistently entertained for three hours. A few standout matches including Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus (these guys could have stolen the show last year at Wrestlemania), without a lot of filler, made this seem like a well-booked show. This was the first night in a while where advertised segments, such as the Wyatt Family and Vickie Guerrero, kept me from changing the channel. And while I still think the WWE product (obviousy) has room for growth, it feels like creative is finally taking the charge of putting together a full three-hour show more seriously. Hopefully this is indicative of a good SummerSlam build… but only time will tell.