WWE Raw Rundown – July 15th, 2013

Lesnar F5 Punk Raw

rawIncredible edition of Monday Night Raw that delivered with surprises, entertainment, and excitement. The three-hour show was booked to the fullest. Let’s take a closer look:

The Good:

Opening Segment w/Brad Maddox, John Cena, Randy Orton, and… Fandango: Maddox came down to the ring and announced a Money in the Bank rematch – Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler. He promised to be the greatest General Manager of all time. Cena interrupted. Maddox told Cena that he admired him, and said he was going to let Cena, for the first time ever, choose his opponent at SummerSlam. Cue Randy Orton. Orton said that Cena might not even be champion by SummerSlam, and that he didn’t want to “make the same stupid mistake” that Cena made last year. Fandango’s music hit, and the crowd erupted. He told Randy Orton that Orton wouldn’t be cashing in Money in the Bank against Cena, he’d be cashing it in against Fandango. Orton and Fandango brawled to close the segment, so Maddox made it an official match.

Fun opening segment. Brad Maddox nailed it here as the egotistical authority figure, and Fandango looked major league in the ring with both Cena and Orton. It was also a great way to reinforce that Orton could cash in at any point. Good stuff.

Randy Orton def. Fandango: These guys put together a fun brawl. Things started inside the ring before quickly spilling out to ringside. Orton dominated the middle part of the match, but Fandango regained control shortly before the commercial break. Somewhere in here, Randy Orton became the number one trend on Twitter. Finally, “vintage Orton” got the crowd to their feet, and Randy hit an RKO seal the deal. Even if Fandango didn’t win, he looked solid here against a main-eventer like Orton.

Dolph Zigger/AJ Lee Backstage Segment: AJ apologized for interfering at Money in the Bank, to which Ziggler replied that it’s time to move on. AJ looked elated… Until Ziggler clarified that it’s time for him to move on from her. Short and sweet.

Mark Henry Segment: Retirement announcement time? Henry said that John Cena came as advertised, and he is one of the greatest WWE Champions of all time. “You-Tapped-Out” chants filled the arena. Henry said, “I did tap out, and he’ll tap out every one of you too.” Funny. Henry made an argument to be Cena’s pick to fight at SummerSlam.

The Shield’s music hit. As they surround the ring, Henry tried to attack first, but they swarmed him. He was able to fight back for a short while before succumbing to Reigns’ sphere. Then, in one of the most impressive things I’ve seen, The Shield delivered their patented powerbomb to Henry.

Does this mean Henry is turning? Either way, I really liked the surprise attack here, and am excited see what happens next between these two powerhouses.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio: These guys got into a pretty good rhythm early on, and Ziggler took a nasty bump over-the-top rope as the show went to a commercial. Down the stretch both guys hit big moves, and scored near-falls on each side. Just when Ziggler was getting ready to pin Del Rio for the win, the bell rung at ringside. Cut to AJ Lee. The distraction gave Del Rio the chance to score a superkick, and the pin. Great match, great surprise, great story being told.

After the match, AJ confronted Ziggler in the ring with her “crazy eyes.” Then, Big E ran down to ringside and laid Ziggler out with his finisher. Guess they’ve both turned on him… So is SummerSlam going to be Ziggler v. Del Rio IV, or Ziggler v. Big E Langston?

R-Truth and the Wyatt Family: R-Truth’s music hit, and he skipped and jumped down the ramp with his trademark “What’s Up?” theme. Just when he got in the ring, the lights cut out and the Wyatt Family’s music hit. They surrounded the ring and the two henchmen attacked R-Truth. Bray Wyatt entered the ring and cut an amazing promo about heroes being fake, and the creator being a liar. R-Truth got back up ready for a fight. Unfortunately, the Wyatt family was simply too much to handle. The segment ended with Bray Wyatt calling Kane out one more time.

And the surprises just keep coming tonight. Glad to see that WWE kept the “creepy” factor in play tonight, and Bray Wyatt delivered an electric promo that left fans hanging on his every word.

The Usos def. The Real Americans (Swagger and Cesaro): Zeb Coulter cut a promo before the matching, complaining about how two “real Americans” were robbed last night at Money in the Bank. Blah Blah Blah. The WWE Universe picked The Usos (shocker!), and things kicked off hot. The Usos scored a quick rollup about two minutes in, and that should be enough to justify keeping them in WWE Tag Team Title contention. Match was too quick to matter, but at least the creative team worked these guys onto the show.

Christian def. Damien Sandow: Sandow entered the ring and showed off his new blue briefcase. Both men got flourishes of offense throughout the match. Just as Sandow was going for the Elbow of Disdain, Christian rolled him up and stole the victory.

After the match, Sandow took the microphone and proclaimed, “And still your intellectual savior for Money in the Bank.” Cody Rhodes suddenly appeared out of nowhere and attacked Sandow, getting an ounce of revenge for Money in the Bank, before Sandow escaped through the crowd. Short match, but effective segment.

CM Punk and Paul Heyman Segment: Punk came to the ring and said he knows Paul Heyman is in the back, and that Brock Lesnar is in the back, and he isn’t waiting anymore. Heyman came out and said, “I’m looking at an empty ring right now, because you don’t exist to me.” He gave the story of how he turned CM Punk from nothing into something. Heyman said that “we” were the best in the world. He said he didn’t betray Punk, but that Punk betrayed him when he left after Wrestlemania and returned thinking he was better than Heyman. “History is going to write that Paul Heyman dumped CM Punk.” Epic. Heyman said that all Punk has left is them – the fans – and Heyman even took away his title shot at Money in the Bank. Heyman claimed he betrayed Punk because Punk “can’t beat Brock Lesnar.”

CM Punk stared him down. “Are you done?” Chills. CM Punk turned it up a few notches here, saying that when he wants something bad enough, he gets it, and “Paul, I’m going to get you.” He promised to take out all of Heyman’s associates – friends, clients, family, anybody in between. “So tell me, you Son-of-a-*CENSOR*, am I lying?”

Heyman offered to show Punk a glimpse of his future. He mocked Punk’s “It’s Clobbering Time” before calling out Brock Lesnar. Punk looked ready for a fight, but Heyman attacked him from behind, and Lesnar dragged him outside the ring. The two men engaged in a brutal ringside brawl, where Lesnar left Punk laying. Heyman commanded “more,” so Lesnar gave Punk an F5 through the announce table.

Incredible promos here from both Heyman and Punk, and the beat-down by Lesnar was brutal. A feud that feels this personal? I’ll say more on this tomorrow, but for right now, I’m sold.

Brad Maddox backstage with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon: Stephanie and Hunter both confronted Maddox on his non-decision-making managerial style, especially in regards to letting Cena pick his own opponent for SummerSlam. They said Vince doesn’t like that, and he might not like who Cena picks, especially if it’s who they think it will be. HHH said, “Good Luck to your future endeavors tonight.” Funny.

Rob Van Dam def. Chris Jericho: EPIC MATCH between two veterans. The crowd was pretty exhausted by this point (and with such a packed show, who can blame them?), but they still mustered up a “R-V-D” and a “You-Still-Got-It” chant. These guys put on a wrestling clinic down the stretch. We got to see both men break out their signature maneuvers, and the other man counter it (respectively). RVD delivered with his entertaining, kick-and-roll offense style, and Jericho balanced it out with some great mat-based skills. I really liked how the announcers put over the reversals as these guys “knowing each other well.” Most impressive was how much both of these guys still had in the tank less than 24 hours after Money in the Bank. Welcome home, RVD.

John Cena Picks SummerSlam Opponent: Cena was going to pick his opponent, but said he can’t do that because “he hasn’t made his decision yet.” He turned things over to the WWE Universe. He started calling out names on the stage, and asked for a reaction. Heath Slater? The Great Khali? Randy Orton? R-V-D?  “Is there anybody I’m forgetting?” The crowd erupted into an epic “Yes!” chant. Cena said he’s made his decision, and it’s going to make SummerSlam an awfully special occasion. DANIEL BRYAN.

Amazing reaction from the crowd!  Expected pick, but still a great way to end the show. SummerSlam should be fun…

The Bad:

Naomi def. Bri Bella: I want nothing to do with this shameless promotion for the Total Divas show. Next!

1-800-Fella: It was funny the first time. The 1-800th time? Not so much.

 

The Ugly:

Dolph Ziggler showed up on screen, and the first thing my wife says is “man, he looks good in that shirt.” How can I compete with THAT?

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