Ricardo Rodriguez introduces Alberto Del Rio, and he gets booed by the audience. ADR tries to justify his actions with how he defeated Dolph Ziggler and acts very heelish with his attitude. He says America is all about pigs and cowards. He says he will give the audience a second opportunity to show him the respect he deserves. They barely respond and they boo. CM Punk interrupts and Paul Heyman comes out with him. Punk says he came out because he heard ADR say he was the best. Punk says he came out here to challenge him and Heyman interrupts Punk. Punk interrupts Heyman. Punk knows the title won’t be on the line but he wants to steal the show against ADR tonight. ADR tries to decline so Punk challenges Ricardo. Vickie Guerrero interrupts and books the match for the main event tonight.
^I’m not sure how I feel about Del Rio being a heel again, but it is what it is. Dolph Ziggler coming back as a face with major popularity makes me happy. Punk and Del Rio tonight will make for an awesome match, and Punk owned on mic once again here with his line about stealing the show WITH Chris Jericho at Payback. Class act.
Heyman is apologizing to Punk backstage. Punk tells Heyman he doesn’t need his help to win matches and he’s not his client. Punk tells Heyman he doesn’t want him ringside anymore and that’s just the way it’s going to be. He says he will always be a Paul Heyman guy.
^And this sets up Punk and Lesnar for their feud heading towards Summerslam. Great stuff, and honestly good for Punk to go back as a face as long as he continues to have his edge when he cuts a promo. There’s a large market audience that’s going to cheer for Punk no matter what, and it seems like WWE has realized that.
Wade Barrett is set to go one on one with Curtis Axel. Vickie Guerrero comes out before Axel and announces that Barrett won’t face Axel tonight, but instead he will face her big surprise! It’s Christian! Christian picks up the victory in his return.
^I’m thrilled to see Captain Charisma back in a WWE ring. These two had some pretty solid chemistry for such a short match. Christian can definitely help build the mid card scene with some decent action in the ring each week.
A Bray Wyatt promo is aired again. Can’t wait for the family’s arrival.
Sheamus is defeated in a handicap match against Team Rhodes Scholars when Damien Sandow pins him on a rollup. Sheamus brogue kicks Rhodes after Sandow leaves the ring.
^I don’t understand the booking of these three. Can WWE not come up with anything better? Just an average TV match here with the face looking strong by the time the segment is over.
Triple H approaches Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero to “compliment” and ridicule them on their job running Raw. He tells Vickie she needs to make an example out of the Shield tonight.
^I wonder what Vickie could possibly do to make an example out of the dominating group? Funny stuff seeing Triple H throw his weight around in the executive role. He’s almost like a Vince McMahon clone in a lot of ways.
Daniel Bryan talks with Kane backstage. Dbry gets confrontational with Kane. Kane wants to give Team Hell No another shot. Dbry says he will never be able to prove himself as long as he is part of a team. Dbry says he needs to win the WWE Championship. Kane says he was thinking the same thing about himself. Kane wishes Dbry goodluck tonight and Dbry gets confrontational yet again. Kane shakes his head and walks off.
^Fun segment with Kane and Dbry. I’ll miss Team Hell No. I assume based on their comments that they’ll both be competing in the WWE Title Money In The Bank Ladder Match on July 14th in Philadelphia. Can’t wait to see Dbry win his second briefcase.
Randy Orton goes one on one with Daniel Bryan. The WWE app voting results are revealed by Jerry Lawler and the match will be no dq. The ref stops the match when Daniel Bryan has a hurt knee on the outside and Randy Orton is declared the winner.
^I was very disappointed with the outcome of this match, but it’s an okay way of slowing Dbry’s momentum as he will have to wait until what looks like Summerslam to cash in his briefcase(that he WILL WIN at MITB)against John Cena.
AJ Lee comes out with Big E. Langston and cuts a promo. She brags about being the greatest Divas Champion ever. AJ dares any Diva who thinks they can compare to her to come to the ring. Out comes Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie says she came out here to say her piece before the line of waiting divas come at her first. Stephanie tells AJ it’s time that she starts acting like a champion. AJ starts insulting Stephanie and they bicker. AJ says the only reason Stephanie is out here is become she is her, only younger. Stephanie reminds AJ that if she wants, she won’t have a job anymore. Kaitlyn’s music hits and all the divas come out. Kaitlyn starts talking and Stephanie tells her never to interrupt her again before leaving. Kaitlyn yells at AJ and says she played her like a puppet and broke her, but now it’s her turn. Kaitlyn attacks AJ and Big E. Pulls her out of the ring. Big E. carries AJ to the back while she screams.
^AJ was good on the mic, but Stephanie’s presence felt somewhat pointless. I like that WWE cared enough about the divas on this one to put some effort into their segment.
Kane challenges Dean Ambrose for the US Title and the match ends by DQ when the Shield gets involved. They beat Kane down and deliver the triple powerbomb.
^So Kane gets beat up and still doesn’t win the US Title. Interesting. I’m a bit surprised that absolutely no one came to his aid in this beatdown, but I guess Dbry really was his only friend.
Vickie confronts the Shield backstage. They taunt her. Vince interrupts before she can try to fire them. Vince says they remind him of him and to keep it up. They leave. Vince says he’s never liked Kane anyhow.
^So instead of seeing Vickie do something interesting and give the Shield a punishment or competition, we’re stuck with this stupid Hunter’s vs Vince’s ego storyline? I’m annoyed.
Michael Cole introduces another Wyatt Family promo. I love it!
Zeb Colter comes out and cuts a promo with his typical rant. He says he and Jack Swagger have formed an alliance with someone not born in America. Out comes Antonio Cesaro. Cesaro says “we the people” and comes to the ring for his match with William Regal. Cesaro chokes Regal out and delivers the neutralizer for the win. Cesaro drapes a “don’t tread on me” banner over Regal after the match.
^The match was short, but the psychology of it was awesome! I wish this could’ve been ten minutes longer with a few more technical holds. Great wrestling from these guys after being given very little time to put on a show.
John Cena comes out and cuts a promo stating that his time is now and the champ is here and the usual stuff. Cena says whoever wins Money In The Bank will have no opportune moment to cash in on him. Mark Henry comes out and leaves a pair of wrestling boots on the stage. Henry tells Cena he can put his guard down and shakes his hand. Henry cries and talks about how much he respects everyone who works in the business. Henry tells Cena at the rate he’s going he will be the greatest WWE Champion of all time. Henry says if he had any regrets about his career it’s that he never won the WWE Championship. Henry says he’s out here to formerly retire from the active roster of WWE. Cena hands Henry the WWE Title and he holds it up. Cena raises Henry’s arm and Henry delivers the World’s Strongest Slam. He yells at Cena that he’s still got a lot in the tank and that it isn’t that easy. Henry yells “that’s what I do.”
^You could see this coming a mile away. Cena was fiery with his promo, but he got repetitive with that second “champ is here” shout. I enjoyed Henry’s mic work, and I’ve been saying all along that he should challenge Cena on just one pay per view for the gold before he leaves the business. He doesn’t have to win; the gimmick for Cena is about overcoming all obstacles and Mark Henry is a massive obstacle.
Mark Henry is interviewed by Renee Young backstage. He says he had everyone fooled and they’re a bunch of puppets. Henry says the WWE Title is the only thing he hasn’t held and he’s challenging John Cena for it right now. He says the only reason he brought two boots is so he can leave one of them in Cena’s rear end.
^More great promo work from Henry. His boot comment was funny too.
The 3MB are in the ring and Heath Slater is competing one on one against Chris Jericho. Jericho defeats Slater with the codebreaker and takes out both Mahal and McIntyre after the match as well.
^And Jericho still hasn’t lost a step after the defeat at the hands of CM Punk. I hope the rumors about a possible meniscus tear aren’t true; he’s done so well making people look good in the ring this year. Nice to see the 3MB make an appearance on the show as well.
Matt Striker interviews Paul Heyman while he’s standing with Curtis Axel and asks about the problem with CM Punk. Heyman says best friends know when to give each other some space and wants to know why he isn’t asking about Axel(a man who was born to be better than perfect).
^More good promo work from Heyman. The man is brilliant on the mic.
Curtis Axel goes one on one with Sin Cara while the Miz is on commentary. Axel wins the match with a DDT.
^Short match with more Axel domination. I’d be pleased to see the Miz work a program with Axel and deliver a good series of matches. Nice work on making the midcard scene relevant, WWE!
Vince approaches Brad and Vickie and compliments them. They book Mark Henry against John Cena at MITB for the WWE Title. Stephanie and Triple H both come in and get angry with Vickie. Hunter tells Vickie she needs to start listening to him and Vince tells her not to worry about it. Stephanie says she wouldn’t listen to either one of them, but instead they should listen to her.
^I could care less about the power struggle storyline, but nonetheless here it is. Let’s see what they do with it. I’m very excited to see how WWE plans to book Cena to overcome the all powerful Mark Henry at MITB.
Heyman apologizes to Punk and tells him he understands his decision. He hugs him and tells him he loves him and that he’s the best in the world. Alberto Del Rio comes out and goes one on one with CM Punk in the main event. Del Rio runs away from the match and takes a countout finish. Dolph Ziggler attacks Del Rio and chases him to the back. CM Punk celebrates but out comes Brock Lesnar. Lesnar grabs a microphone but delivers an F5 to Punk instead to end the show.
^As for Del Rio, I like the feud with Ziggler and the possible matches to come. As for Heyman, you could sense this was coming and having Lesnar attack Punk is just the tip of the iceberg for what should be an EXCELLENT feud. If anyone can bring out the best in Brock Lesnar in an actual WRESTLING match, it’s CM Punk.
Great storyline enhancers all night and some damn good wrestling in the mix as well. Awesome Raw! The WWE seems to have a clear direction with how they want to book things, and I’m enjoying all of it! I’ll be back with part three of my top fifty WWE Title matches on Wednesday or Thursday. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!