WWE Raw TV report

WWE Monday Night Raw

July 30, 2012
Cincinnati, OH
Rob McCarron

Highlight: Punk explains his actions, Daniel Bryan undergoes a Psychological evaluation, SummerSlam matches are announced, and video recaps aplenty.  

Raw (No longer Raw SuperShow) began with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcoming viewers to the show, and showing footage of a mishap with the pyro from just before Raw went on the air.  A fire broke out on the Raw set, which can only mean good things ahead.  We then got a video package highlighting Raw 1000, ending with the shocking attack on the Rock from CM Punk.  

CM Punk begins the show, calling his attack last week his 'Raw Moment', a moment that outshines many others' WrestleMania moments.  He took issue with Lawler's commentary last Monday claiming Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe.  At this point, Punk left the ring and sat on the announce table while addressing Lawler.  Punk's point during a few minute long monologue is that The Rock showed him no respect and got what he deserved, and that the focus of Raw should be the WWE Champion, CM Punk.  

Big Show entered next, claiming credit for causing Cena to become the first Money In The Bank winner to cash in his chance and lose.  He also claims credit for CM Punk still being WWE Champion.  Show vows to become the next WWE Champion, but Punk disagrees.  John Cena enters next, running to the ring and going right after Big Show.  How rude of this guy to interrupt a civil conversation with violence.  Cena disposes of Big Show.  AJ, the new GM of Raw, then enters.  She is dressed in a suit now, and goes by the full name of AJ Lee.  She makes John Cena vs Big Show the main event tonight, with the winner facing Punk at SummerSlam for the WWE championship.  An interesting segment, as Punk at times was speaking in both a face and heel manner.  The crowd sounded largely positive behind him, and his confrontation with the Big Show kept his "tweener" status going.  I do not suspect it to be this unclear by the end of this show, however.  

Backstage, Daniel Bryan is shown walking away from AJ's dressing room door unsure of whether to enter.

Match: Santino Marella vs Alberto Del Rio.  I feel like we've seen this match many times over the last month.  Del Rio did not enter the arena in a vehicle tonight, due to the fire earlier as Cole claimed.  After a minute, we get a commercial break, which means this match is guaranteed to go about two minutes longer than I could have expected.  Del Rio won with his cross armbreaker, afterwards wiping the sweat from his face with Santino's cobra sock.  Del Rio brags about destroying the US Champion "like nothing," and says that Sheamus and all of us are beneath him.  He says that unless he is wrestling for the world title, he will not wrestle. So Del Rio is not wrestling until SummerSlam.  

Backstage, Bryan again tries to gain the guts to enter the Raw GM's office.  

Raw is back with Brodus already in the ring dancing, but interrupted by an amused Vickie Guerrero.  Vickie, apparently unfazed by her many previous attempts to gain respect by dancing, decides to show Brodus how it's done.  At the end, Vickie was doing her best Elaine Benes.  Damien Sandow enters and attacks Brodus, taking out his knee.  This is not a match, although a referee was outside the ring watching.  Damien broke Clay's necklace over his knee, and the crowd booed at that.  With three hours, I suspect we'll get a lot more segments like this that we wouldn't otherwise see in two hours.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan finds the courage to enter AJ's office.  AJ goes for a handshake, but Bryan yells at her for embarrassing him last week.  AJ tells him to shut up.  She references a quick backstage look-in last week where Bryan was talking with guys in white shirts.  She claims Daniel was marrying her just to have her committed.  Wow, a reference to that little angle.  The new WWE.  Looks like THE BOARD~! had the right idea last week with this.  This may seem like nothing, but I liked that they did this subtle angle adding some, if only a little, depth to the story.  

AJ Lee has decided to let Twitter decide what type of match Sheamus vs Bryan is as part of #RawActive.  #noholds, #fallscount, or #streetfight.  Lots of interactive features so far with Twitter and Tout.  

Backstage, Sheamus says he doesn't know what match fans will choose but likes that they have the choice.  He then awkwardly asks Josh Mathews if he's alright, saying he seems nervous.  Don't know what that's about.

After hour one, AJ appears to be a face GM, while CM Punk's status isn't quite so clear.

Match: Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan begins our second hour, with Cole welcoming any late arriving fans to Raw.  Bryan wants the crowd to stop chanting "YES!"  Twitter gives us a Street Fight, with a 73% victory.  Sheamus and Bryan fought in the ring and up the stage at different points, having a heated back and forth match.  A chair, kendo stick, and steel steps were used during the battle by both men.  Crowd was into this more than anything the previous hour.  Sheamus won a 15 minute battle with the brogue kick.  This was an example of a strong pro to a longer show.  It was also smart to give such a strong match as part of the #RawActive initiative, telling fans that the twitter votes are important and lead to strong segments.  

Cole and Lawler recapped Punk's opening promo.

Back from commercial, Daniel Bryan is still in the ring complaining of a hurt neck and begging for a doctor.  Cole and Lawler again recap Punk's opening promo.  Kofi Kingston comes out for a match, accompanied by R-Truth, while Bryan's still in the ring.  Bryan pretends to kick Little Jimmy, and yells at R-Truth for consoling an imaginary child.  Bryan says R-Truth is out of his mind.  The four guys in white shirts then come out, followed by AJ Lee.  AJ says Bryan is unstable tonight, and has Bryan committed.

Of note, there have been numerous camera cut miscues tonight and overall weirdness at times with the directing.  Of more note, we've had two matches in an hour and a half. 

Mr. McMahon is naming a new Smackdown GM on Friday's show.  We saw some Tout's on CM Punk's comments to kickoff Raw.  There were a mix of pro-Punk and anti-Punk Touts.  

Match: Kofi Kingston vs Titus O'Neil.  AW had his live mic, and at least had some more substantive things to say this week, including a joke about O'Neil being "like Kobe in a hotel room in Colorado."  Unstoppable, you see.  Possibly not the smartest move by AW.  AW distracted the ref and Kofi to allow O'Neil to gain the win after hitting Sky High.  

Backstage, Punk explains his actions last week to John Cena.  Punk says he has no issue with Cena, and likes him.  He hit Cena with a backhanded comment about how he did to The Rock in one night what Cena couldn't do all year, and left.

Michael Cole apologised for AW's comments during the last match, and then recapped Punk and Cena's backstage confrontation from just a few moments ago. 

Heath Slater is out to get his career back on track, and challenges a current WWE Superstar.  Randy Orton's mohawk accepts.

Match: Randy Orton vs Heath Slater.  Orton looks well.  Orton won a quick one with the RKO.  Crowd was way into this. 

Backstage, Daniel Bryan is being evaluated by a doctor.  He does not help his case by continuously screaming "YES!"

Match: Chris Jericho & Christian vs The Miz & Dolph Ziggler.  Christian and Jericho have matching purple and black gear on.  Ziggler continued his showing off during the match, which riled up Lawler more than anyone else it seems.  At one point, Ziggler went to hit Christian with his Fame-asser, but probably went for it a little early as Christian didn't sell it and Lawler got on Ziggler for looking bad there.  Another 15+ minute match, with a hot crowd for all the near falls and finishes at the end.  Christian hit Miz with a thumb to the  eye, playing off Miz's Smackdown victory, and Jericho rolled up Miz for the win.  Ziggler attacked Jericho with the suitcase afterwards.  Strong performance by Miz mostly, here.  His serious persona is a nice change of pace for him, and a lack of whining and goofiness is helping.  

Backstage, Bryan is undergoing a Rorschach test.  The cards, when put on the table by the doctor, combined to create a goat face image.  Bryan thought Charlie Sheen put the doctor up to that.

Match: Tyson Kidd vs Tensai.  If this show is two hours, this match ends up on Superstars at best.  So here we have two guys happy with the longer show time.  Tensai wins a quick one, as Kidd got minimal offense.  After the bell, Tensai continued to beat down Kidd with a backbreaker ending it.  Referee Brian Nguyen reversed Tensai's victory, giving Kidd the DQ win.  Tensai took out his frustration by beating up Sakamoto.

Backstage, the doctor told Bryan he is 100% sane.  Kane comes in and declares himself Bryan's anger management therapist.  So looks like we're getting Kane vs Bryan continued.  

Video package highlighting Brock Lesnar vs Triple H at SummerSlam.  A long video package.

It's finally main event time, and CM Punk is joining commentary for the match.

Match: Big Show vs John Cena for title shot at SummerSlam.  On commentary, Punk put over his duty, and the champions duty, to be the focus of Raw and close out Raws and pay-per-views.  Pretty basic match to start.  Big Show would gain control and do a lot of crowd baiting.  The focus of this match was more Punk's commentary than the match itself.  Show yelled at Punk "How would you stop me!? You're too small!"  Toward the end, Big Show called a spot so loudly that WWE actually muted the audio for two seconds.  The finish saw Big Show launch Cena into Punk at commentary, but Cena made it back into the ring before the ten count.  Punk sold a hurt shoulder.  In the ring, Cena ducked Show's knockout punch, had Show up for the AA, but Punk knocked Cena out from behind.  Punk then delivered a kick to Show's head. 

Punk grabbed the mic and said both Cena and Show were losers, and left the ring.  The crowd mildly applauded this.  AJ then comes out, says Punk was wrong, and both guys were winners.  AJ announces Show vs Cena vs Punk at SummerSlam.  Punk is upset at this. The show ends with Punk yelling at AJ to show him respect, while she just waves her head and ignores him.  
A somewhat flat ending, as I felt the show should have ended with what was built up for three hours - Punk as champion standing tall to end the show.  He almost did, but AJ stole some focus. 
Final Thoughts...

Pack the good stuff into two hours, cut the fat and endless recaps, and this could have been one of the best Raw episodes of the year. Unfortunately, the show was three hours.  Regardless, looking back, there were more positives on the show than negatives. A problem, however, is the fact I had to look back.  Here I've been, for three hours, writing a review of this show, and aside from the Punk segment, I forgot what else happened in the first hour.  Maybe it's my awful memory, but that's not a good sign.  Especially on go home shows.  If you're going to promote the upcoming pay-per-view in the first hour, but the viewers can't remember the first hour, then that is trouble for your pay-per-view.  When all was said and done, the show had plenty of promotion for SummerSlam, but lasting over three hours will leave much of it somewhat forgotten.

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