ThunderStruck: WWE Raw Analysis 07/01/13

The show starts with the WWE Title MITB participants coming out at various times(except Rob Van Dam). Randy Orton ends up delivering an RKO to Kane, but no other action breaks out.

^I applaud WWE’s effort to keep everyone relevant for the MITB ladder match. This was a solid opening segment that focused on the pay per view and also focused on the top three way rivalry on television right now with Orton, Dbry, and Kane.

A video package is shown of Buddy Rogers and his WWE Championship run, and then Lou Thesz is mentioned as being former World Champion as well.

The Shield defeat Christian and the Usos in a six man tag. Dean Ambrose rolls up Christian for the win.

^Nothing standout here from the Shield, but still not a bad bit of action. I like the back and forth pin exchanges between Ambrose and Christian, and I hope their rivalry eventually leads to a big one on one encounter at Summerslam.

Daniel Bryan tells Kane that he’s got a rematch with Randy Orton, and Dbry will be the guest referee.

^Dbry was funny here. I love his continued interaction with Kane even though they are no longer teaming together.

Dolph Ziggler goes one on one with Jinder Mahal. He wins the match with the Zig Zag. The 3MB go after Ziggler after the match but he takes them all out.

^It was nice to see a competitive match here with Ziggler’s talent on display, but why the hell would Jinder Mahal be booked to look so good in a match? Doesn’t matter; the action was good and fun to watch.

Bruno Sammartino and Harley Race are highlighted as former WWE and NWA World champions, respectively.

Vickie Guerrero is approached by Triple H. He tells her to ignore whatever the other McMahon’s tell her and to just do whatever he says.

^More McMahon family drama. I’m still not excited for whatever outcome we’ll get from this rivalry.

A video package is shown highlighting Mark Henry’s dominance.

Randy Orton goes one on one with Kane. Dbry DQs Orton for shoving him but Kane insists the match be restarted, so Dbry restarts it. Kane hits the big boot on Orton and Dbry fast counts to three and declares Kane the winner. Kane is angry about it and grabs Dbry by the throat. He lets him go and walks away. Orton hits Dbry with an RKO.

^Fun match with Dbry keeping things just interesting enough that it felt like more of a segment overall. I’m thoroughly enjoying this rivalry with these three as long as we continue to get match high quality wrestling matches.

Backstage, CM Punk tells Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel that he will beat both Prime Time Players on his own. He says Axel can stay on the apron. Heyman says he doesn’t understand Punk’s hostility. Punk says he doesn’t trust Axel, but he does trust Heyman. Heyman tries to convince Punk to trust his best judgment and Curtis Axel is worthy of his trust.

^Waiting for the weasel to screw Punk over, and I’m sure it will happen before long. I’m happy to see Axel interacting with a top talent like CM Punk, and I’m highly anticipating their future one on one encounters.

Bob Backlund and Dusty Rhodes are highlighted next in the WWE and NWA World Title videos.

Fandango goes one on one with Sheamus. Fandango walks away from the match and gets counted out.

^This was nothing special and we weren’t given much of an opportunity to see the chemistry between the great white and Fandango. I don’t think either man will win their MITB ladder match, but Fandango definitely has more of a shot than Sheamus.

Chris Jericho does commentary while Ryback goes one on one with the Miz. Ryback hurts his leg and has the Miz declared the winner when the ref stops the match. Jericho jumps in the ring and delivers a codebreaker to Ryback.

^Ryback’s booking is atrocious. Having the ref stop the match because his leg hurts? Enough of the damn injury storylines! It’s not clever when it becomes a CONSTANT theme on your show! Damn you, WWE, for insulting the logic of the fans by expecting us to think every injury that happens is legitimate and selling it to the news sites as real. Remember kids, just because those very credible news sites tell you that their source told them it was real, doesn’t make it true!

Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair are highlighted next in the video packages.

Mark Henry comes out and cuts a promo on never being WWE Champion.

^Good promo by Henry. Much like the fall of 2011, he’s cutting some of the best promos of his career and standing out in a big way. I’m impressed.

Vince McMahon approaches Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero. Vince compliments her on the champion vs champion main event, but then gets angry because she’s giving away a pay per view quality match on free tv. He says there’s a list a mile long of people thrown out of the building by him because they wouldn’t do what he said.

^Good point by Vince, but a better point would be that TV matches are supposed to be a bit shorter than pay per view matches so they aren’t remembered by the fans as being important. Simple logic would solve his booking problems, but we’re talking about Vince McMahon here.

CM Punk and Curtis Axel take on the Prime Time Players. Axel tags himself in at the end of the match and steals the pin on Darren Young. Punk doesn’t want to celebrate with Heyman and Axel after the match.

^I love the continued brewing rivalry here. Both men are super talented and it was an effective way of making the PTP look relevant as well without booking them to chase any titles or have a legit feud.

Stone Cold and Sting are highlighted next for their World Title runs.

Kaitlyn defeats Alicia Fox. AJ comes out after the match and taunts her.

^I’m continuous impressed by the divas rivalry, but where the heck has Alicia Fox been? It’s refreshing to see other divas have matches on tv.

Vickie Guerrero is approached by Stephanie McMahon next. Vickie complains about being under pressure and Stephanie offers to help her out. Vickie starts cracking jokes about Hunter and Vince and Stephanie gets angry. She says she will have an official job evaluation for Vickie Guerrero next week in the middle of the ring. Stephanie says Raw is unpredictable and you just never know what is going to happen next.

^And now we’ll be forced to see the McMahons for an in ring segment next week. I’m so excited!

Antonio Cesaro defeats Cody Rhodes after Damien Sandow distracts Rhodes.

^Nice to see some heel on heel action here. I would project Sandow as the best choice to win the MITB ladder match of these three, but I’d be more than thrilled if any of them came away with the briefcase.

Triple H and Booker T are the next two individuals highlighted as former World Champions.

The Divas have a meeting backstage. The Bellas lead the charge.

^This was seemingly pointless, and the biggest thing I learned from it is the fact that WWE has a bunch of divas on the roster that they choose not to utilize.

Another Bray Wyatt promo is aired. We’re told they’re coming next week. ‘Bout time.

John Cena goes one on one with Alberto Del Rio in the main event. Cena wins with an AA after a Dolph Ziggler distraction on Del Rio. Mark Henry came to ringside during the match but didn’t interfere. Henry taunts Cena after the match with the WWE Title and teases an attack. Henry eventually walks away and Cena grabs the title to celebrate.

^Good match from Cena and Del Rio. The pace was decent and it was actually a very solid story told by both individuals. I like the way both rivalries were hyped here with the outside involvement and also put on an equal level throughout the entire night with the focus on former WWE and World Champions in the video packages.

A final Bray Wyatt promo is aired for the family’s debut next week. I hope they’re booked to live up to the hype.

To sum it up quickly, we had some good wrestling, some good rivalry enhancers, and minimal overall involvement by the McMahons. I’d call it a thumbs up type of show! I’ll be back with the crew and the weekly rundown early Saturday. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck! – add me!