Thunder And Lightning: WWE Raw Analysis 08/05/13

~Stephanie McMahon/Daniel Bryan/Vince McMahon “makeover” segment – Vince has Wade Barrett come out to “shave” Daniel Bryan’s beard~

ML: This segment was a little longer than I would have liked but it had some hilarious spots. Vince McMahon’s “joking” asshole demeanor is hilarious at times and he works it well. The overall segment was effective it what it was supposed to accomplish with Vince continuing to question whether Daniel Bryan is “worthy” of being WWE Champion. Wade Barrett’s involvement was interesting, but after the outcome of Daniel Bryan simply dominating him and kicking his ass all over the outside of the ring tells me that Wade Barrett is the guy who Vince “doesn’t see as World Championship material.” This also further tells me that Vince is out of touch with what the fans want.

JT: I honestly expected this segment to set up a match between Barrett and Bryan for later in the show, but maybe that will come on Smackdown. I liked the segment, but it was a bit too much of a copycat piece to what they have done in the past(obvious will eventually repeat itself, but I’m just saying). It was a solid opener and a good way to get the crowd going for the night with all their support for Dbry.

~Rob Van Dam v. Alberto Del Rio – RVD wins the match with a leg scissors roll-up for the pin after Del Rio ran head first into the bucket Ricardo Rodriguez carries which was set-up in the corner~

ML: This was better than their Smackdown encounter that lasted under two minutes. RVD continually looks good in the ring and his wrestling ability looks sharper than ever. He definitely has worked hard to get into better shape for this WWE run. His win here makes me wonder if the World Heavyweight Title match will, in fact, become more than just a one-on-one affair despite RVD losing in the Triple Threat match to Christian on Smackdown. Alberto Del Rio’s World Title run has been extremely bland and has lacked any sort of substances at all. Hopefully the WWE will find a way to make him become relevant, especially if they plan on continuing his World Title run post-Summerslam.

JT: For a decent wrestling match, I sort’ve felt like they were both just going through the motions without much fluency or speed. I know Del Rio is capable of having a more action packed match, but the pace here was just somewhat brutal with each guy only hitting his spot moves and nothing more. Like Lightning said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the World Title match at Summerslam had more than just two participants with the way ADR has been booked as of late.

~Post-Match Segment with Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez.

ML: Well, congratulations to the WWE for finding that special moment for Alberto Del Rio that he has needed. This heel attack on Rodriguez was EXACTLY what Del Rio needed to create heat on himself. This was a great segment overall for him. The best way for Del Rio to get over with the crowd or connect was through Ricardo and this brutal assault is exactly what the doctor ordered. I suspect that this will eventually lead to Ricardo Rodriguez’s official in-ring debut and become a full-time wrestler.

JT: The attack on Ricardo will make the audience think he’s against ADR, but then he’ll pop up at Summerslam and help him retain the World Title. Or, Ricardo has just been bounced into obscurity. One of the theories is definitely correct, though. Good segment for Del Rio to really look vicious; I liked it!

~Cody Rhodes/Damien Sandow segment~

ML: Despite the short amount of time this segment went, it was awesome to watch. This Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes mid-card feud has been refreshing and showcases both guy’s abilities. Every segment between these two has been gold. I can’t wait for their potential encounter at Summerslam.

JT: I love how natural Rhodes is as a face, and I’m surprised WWE took so long to book him in this role. I truly believe big things are about to happen in 2014 for both men. As far as their upcoming match at Summerslam, WWE needs to get on the ball and get that match booked right away.

~Mark Henry v. Ryback – Henry wins the match after Ryback walks away from the ring resulting in a countout~

ML: This match started off better than their WrestleMania match but ended way worse. Not to mention it was significantly shorter and didn’t do anything to enhance either character. Henry’s short-lived feud with the Shield seems to be over and Ryback’s “bully” gimmick is actually falling short in the believability department. Hopefully, they’ll find something for both guys to do, but I’m more interested in what they do with Henry than Ryback.

JT: Hey WWE, thanks for wasting our time with once again this week with a totally pointless countout finish! Then again, you wouldn’t be the WWE I know and love if you didn’t! This one had good potential, and even the end you could’ve booked the Shield to attack Henry, but none of that happened. Ryback ran away and the match just ended. I really hope they don’t bother booking another match between these two because this one just ruined any momentum the rivalry would have had.

~Backstage segment with The Bella Twins, Eva Marie & Natalya~

ML: The slap Natalya put on Brie looked like it hurt. Other than that, this segment was simply to promote the “Total Divas” show. Hopefully, Eva Marie can improve drastically in the ring(a report came out that both her and the other “rookie” on the show were horrid in the ring) because her acting ability is extremely weak.

JT: Less crap and more wrestling please. This was awfully lame, but fun to look at all at once.

~John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan & Shield Segment – Brad Maddox makes a Six-Man Tag Match for the main event~

ML: So, this sets up a further falling out between Cena, DBry and Orton. This is also very interesting because it looks as if Shield has worked their way out of the WWE “doghouse” – assuming the dirtsheets were true and they were there to begin with.

JT: I liked Cena’s promo, but it was nothing new in terms of the audience just hating it. Nice of Brad Maddox to make a small appearance on “his” show. As for Randy Orton, I’d really like to see him face Dbry on a pay per view for the WWE Title in the future, but another Orton/Cena rivalry is something I don’t think I could bear. Good setup for the main event.

~Luke Harper & Erick Rowan of The Wyatt Family v. Tons of Funk(Sweet T & Brodus Clay) – Erick Rowan gets the pinfall victory on Sweet T after Harper hits the Discus Clothsline on him followed by a “Running Frogsplash” from Rowan~

ML: Short squash match here. On the bright side, the WWE has effectively found something for Tons of Funk to do that I enjoy – get squashed. The Wyatt Family is extremely fun to watch and I can’t wait for them to be involved in legitimate matches. For being bigger guys, Harper and Rowan move around the ring surprisingly well with some nice agility and quickness. It’ll be fun to see where everything goes from here.

JT: Nice to see the Wyatt Family wrestling in person a little more and not just have them on video playing in the woods. I liked the match, but I would like it more if Tons of Funk were never on my screen again. I hope they do something for the tag team division to boost the importance of the belts and have these two big guys(Harper and Rowan, not TOF) make it all mean something.

~The Wyatt Family/Kane post-match segment~

ML: Bray Wyatt enters the ring and hits the “Sister Abigail” on Brodus Clay, cuts another creepy and good promo to Kane before Kane appears on the TitanTron. This was an awesome and effective way to set-up the match between Bray Wyatt and Kane for Summerslam. At the end of Kane’s promo he mentions “a ring of fire” which tells me that their match will only be one thing – AN INFERNO MATCH at Summerslam!

JT: Kane has always been great at making rivalries interesting, and I’m pretty sure he’s one of the most underrated promo cutters in the business. This was fantastically entertaining work from the big red monster, and I hope the inferno match reference is true after he mentioned a ring of fire at Summerslam!

~CM Punk Backstage Interview~

ML: Punk continues to show us why he’s one of the best talkers in the WWE. This interview was great and furthered his storyline with Paul Heyman. Great work.

JT: Punk talks and we all listen. I can’t wait to see his match with Lesnar at Summerslam.

~Kaitlyn v. Layla – Layla wins the match after she hits “The Bombshell” on Kaitlyn after Kaitlyn was distracted by AJ Lee~

ML: Layla’s involvement in this storyline will be interesting to see where it develops. As of right now, I’m expecting that Kaitlyn and AJ Lee will actually be involved in a mixed tag match at Summerslam with Dolph Ziggler and Big E. Langston. This match wasn’t anything special and I’ve seen better work from both Divas in the past. If this had been a legitimate match instead of a storyline enhancer, I firmly believe we would have seen a better quality match.

JT: Not a bad segment overall, but definitely not a quality Divas wrestling match. There’s just something so very wrong about AJ and Layla skipping around the ring together.

~Recap of the Cody Rhodes/Damien Sandow segment from earlier in the night~

ML: I usually don’t add these into the analysis but this segment was important because it announced that Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes will face each other at Summerslam.

JT: It’s about damn time that their match was announced! Now we have an official upper midcard feud confirmed for Summerslam that’s worth talking about!

~Christian v. Heath Slater – Christian wins the match after hitting “The Spear” on Slater~

ML: Another short match with nothing too much to write about. Christian has been on a hot streak as of late, but with no altercation or segment between him and the World Champion, Alberto Del Rio, this match at Summerslam seems to have little importance or relevance emphasized on it. I’m still expecting Rob Van Dam to become another participate in this match somehow. Maybe on Smackdown we’ll get more of a developing storyline or feud between Chrsitian and Del Rio?

JT: Christian’s been on a hot streak since his return, but I sincerely doubt WWE has any plans to give him a World Title run. Perhaps he’s just being booked to work great matches and keep us all interested in the World Title scene?

~CM Punk v. Curtis Axel – Not sure who really wins this because Punk grabbed Heyman and the referee rang the bell to end the match. So, Punk by DQ? Or Axel by DQ?~

ML: This was match of the night of to this point except the weird ending to it. Axel was very impressive and continues to impress more and more in the ring. Every time I see him, he looks more like the wily veteran than some “rookie” or “newbie.” I guess all that time in developmental will do that to you. I still expect big things for him in the future and it’s a damn shame that he doesn’t have anything of importance to do heading into Summerslam. CM Punk looked great as always and you could really feel his burning passion to get his hands on Paul Heyman; he really makes you believe that he hates the guy. I would like to see a couple month feud between Axel and Punk in the future; they would produce some really great matches.

JT: With only five matches(check that) confirmed for Summerslam, it seems highly silly for Curtis Axel not to have a match or feud brewing. Punk and Axel worked really well together, and I’m surprised it took them this long to get in the ring and go one on one. For what we’ve been given so far, this being match of the night is somewhat sad considering how far into the show it is.

~Post-Match Brawl involving Brock Lesnar & CM Punk, Curtis Axel briefly~

ML: So, Lesnar comes down after Punk got his hands on Heyman to save the day. Once again, another good brawl between these two and Punk gaining the upper hand for a short part really makes you believe that he has a “chance” against The Beast at Summerslam. Once again, Punk had control of Lesnar and he changed his focus to Heyman which costed him. Punk did an excellent job at making you feel his desire to seriously hurt Heyman during this segment.

JT: With two potential match of the year candidates on this Summerslam card, I fully expect this one to best the WWE Title contest. Just watching the interaction between these two tells me that we’re going to see an amazing encounter when they go one on one. They really complement one another nicely with their varying styles when it comes to both brawling and wrestling. Punk getting a hold of Heyman in the near future will be an added bonus to all the fans really invested in the rivalry.

~Paul Heyman/Brock Lesnar/Curtis Axel Backstage Interview~

ML: The WWE actually let Brock Lesnar talk. And he produced one of the funniest lines of the night by telling Heyman to “say something stupid.” Which, Heyman gladly accepted by challenging Punk to a match next week. Definitely some sort of plan from Heyman here.

JT: I was terribly confused with what Lesnar said to Heyman, but then Heyman challenged Punk. I expect that to be a complete angle rather than a match, but it will still be fun to see heading towards Summerslam. Why is no one letting Axel talk? I could see it leading to a face turn down the road after he becomes sick of all the “representation” from Paul Heyman.

~Fandango v. Kofi Kingston – Kofi wins the match after hitting “Trouble in Paradise”~

ML: I scratch my head every time I see Fandango now. After being pushed and pushed by the WWE, he has become nothing but an irrelevant member of the WWE roster. His character development has come to a screeching halt and his in-ring performance has become wildly erratic. It feels like the WWE is punishing Fandango for suffering that concussion prior to Payback. Kofi Kingston’s return was hugely successful. And I’m not just talking about because he won. The pop he received from the crowd was phenomenal; one of the biggest pops of the night. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before Kingston is involved in a storyline or feud.

JT: This was a good pure wrestling match all around. I think this may have been the only one on one match of the night that had me completely invested and delivered a proper finish. I was sort of hoping that Fandango would go over here and get some momentum, but that just didn’t happen. Nice to see Kofi back; he really adds to a card when he gives us performances like this one.

~Triple H/Stephanie McMahon Backstage Promo

ML: What an intense, passion-filled and excellent promo by Triple H. One of the best promos I’ve seen in a while from him and probably the best promo of the night, thus far.

JT: I hate the McMahon crap, but at least Stephanie showed some good acting ability(not the crying part) with her widened eyes at what her husband said. It worked brilliantly to put over the seriousness of Hunter’s words.

~Zeb Colter Pre-Match Promo~

ML: Once again, the crowd didn’t really react to the political part of this promo. They actually didn’t react until Zeb brought the Green Bay Packers into it. Goes to show you that sports is greater than politics.

JT: I’ve found Zeb to become more and more irrelevant and just a bit of a rambler with his gimmick as time has passed. Does he realize how far Swagger has really fallen since he was brought in this past February?

~The Real Americans(Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) v. The Uso’s – Real Americans win the match after the referee is distracted by Zeb Colter that allows Swagger to punch one of the Uso’s in the head which leads to Cesaro hitting “The Neutralizer” for the pin~

ML: This was a highly competitive tag team match and one of the better matches on Raw so far. I’m still not sure how I feel about Cesaro’s alignment with Colter, but what I do know is that Cesaro was by the far the most talented wrestlers in that ring during this match. The win here by the Real Americans now adds them as a legitimate tag team to the Tag Titles conversation. The Uso’s are still a real threat and by beating them it gives them some credibility heading forward. I actually like this booking by the WWE. Bravo!

JT: Good tag team match here. I’m surprised one of these teams doesn’t have the belts given the Shield’s odd booking every week. Can’t wait to see more of what the Real Americans can do in the ring together!

~Dolph Ziggler v. Big E. Langston – Langston wins after Kaitlyn and AJ Lee’s brawl spills into the ring causing Ziggler to get distracted and allowing Langston to hit “The Big Ending” for the pin~

ML: After seeing the outcome of this match and the Layla/AJ Lee match it definitely makes me believe that Ziggler/Kaitlyn will face AJ Lee/Langston at Summerslam in a mixed tag match. I’m not completely against the idea of that match since Ziggler has to wrap up this storyline with AJ and Langston, but I wish that Ziggler was involved in the World Heavyweight Title match instead. It’s a shame that he lost the title to begin with. I still suspect that he’ll regain the gold before the end of the year, but he shouldn’t have lost it in the first place. Big win for Langston and I hope to see him continue his improvement in the ring and hopefully soon we’ll see him in relevant feuds.

JT: The push for Big E. along with his improvement means huge things will be happening for him sooner rather than later. The potential mixed tag at Summerslam should be an enjoyable one as WWE has really found a way to keep us interested in both rivalries. Langston and Ziggler are a lot of fun to watch in the ring together, and giving us another go at Summerslam makes me very happy!

~Six Man Tag Match: Randy Orton/Daniel Bryan/John Cena v. The Shield – I’m assuming the match ended in a No Contest rather than a DQ since Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose were involved in the match. The bell rang after Reigns and Ambrose attacked Daniel Bryan who has the “Yes! Lock” applied on Seth Rollins~

ML: I’m not sure what happened with some of these endings tonight but the WWE seems to have been confused on exactly how to have some matches end. The CM Punk/Curtis Axel match ended awkwardly as well, since it was Punk who grabbed Heyman, not the other way around. I’ve never seen a team get DQ’d because a member has broken up a pinfall attempt or a submission lock. So, the WWE really dropped the ball here and on both occasions even had the announce team confused has to what happened. It definitely looks like The Shield has worked their way out of the doghouse, which is awesome because they’re too good of a faction to be stuck in irrelevance. This whole match was too short, but designed to make the Shield look strong and to widened the rift between Orton, Cena & DBry.

JT: Poor time management all over made for a short main event and a lousy finish. Shame on you, WWE. This one had all the makings for an epic six man main event, and you guys just absolutely blew it. Summerslam is too close around the corner for this sort of booking. The Shield hold a bunch of gold and we have no idea what they’re doing for Summerslam, and the same goes for Randy Orton. Pull your heads out of your rears and take notes of what you delivered in July on Raw!

~Post Match Segment with everyone involved~

ML: Rollins sent DBry into Orton during the match, so after the match, after Cena and DBry cleared The Shield from the ring, Orton exacted his revenge. He rKo’d Daniel Bryan before The Shield re-enters the ring. Cena and Orton clear the ring of The Shield again, then Orton hits another rKo – this one on John Cena. He goes to cash in the briefcase before The Shield return and enter the ring stopping him from cashing in. Orton leaves the ring before the Shield take out DBry further by hitting the Triple Powerbomb on him. EXCELLENT way to end the show! Shield look as dominant as ever, despite a few bumps. Orton furthers his storyline by “striking at any moment” and Cena and DBry continue to have the rift between them open further and further each week.

JT: At least they made up for the crappy match with a compelling finish. I hope we get a legitimate six man on Raw or Smackdown and a solid rivalry for the Shield heading into Summerslam. Strong finish to cap off the night!

~Final Thoughts~

ML: This Raw was lackluster and overall probably one of the more boring ones we’ve seen lately. There were too many short matches and not enough storyline development. Though, some storylines did develop nicely, the more important ones were left without a direction. The World Heavyweight Title storyline, for one, has no direction. There was no exchange between Christian and Alberto Del Rio. Though, Del Rio had some character development, it doesn’t do anything to add to the World Title match for Summerslam. CM Punk and Curtis Axel had match of the night, hands down. Though, the ending was a little awkward and probably botched by the WWE, it was highly competitive and developed nicely into another heated altercation between Lesnar and Punk. The Sandow/Rhodes feud is one of the best mid-card feuds we’ve been subjected to in a long time and I’m glad both guys are getting pushed at the same time. It’s refreshing to see that. The Shield, Curtis Axel, Mark Henry, Ryback, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Fandango, RVD and the entire tag team division have nothing going on right now. It’ll be interesting to see how the WWE fills out the rest of the Summerslam card with so little time left before the PPV.

Overall, I give this Raw a 4.5 out of 10 Lightning Bolts


JT: Five out of ten. Promo work was good all night and Summerslam had some good development with two more matches being confirmed. The five taken off is for the short matches and half the stars on the roster not being booked for what is supposed to be one of your biggest shows of the year. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!

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