ThunderStruck: WWE Raw Analysis 07/15/13

Brad Maddox tells John Cena he’s going to allow him to pick his opponent for Summerslam. Randy Orton comes out and tells John Cena he may not be WWE Champion when Summerslam rolls around. Fandango interrupts and comes out and says Orton will be cashing in the briefcase against him, not John Cena. Fandango tries to get John Cena to say his name with him but Randy Orton attacks him. Fandango gets the upper hand but Orton comes back. Brad Maddox books Randy Orton vs Fandango right now.

^The segment as a whole was a bit lame promo wise with the exception of Orton, but I like the two things that came from it. First, we have John Cena picking his opponent for Summerslam, and that’s cool as Carlito would say. Second, we have a wrestling match up next!

Randy Orton defeats Fandango with an RKO.

^I like the majority of this match being street fight style. It was worked at a slower than normal pace, but I think Fandango needs that with his level/lack of experience in putting on quality matches. Orton did a good job selling Fandango’s brutality and made Fandango look good even though he came up on the losing end of the stick. Orton winning makes sense as he’s the vet, and because he’s got a briefcase and needs to look strong while he holds onto it(despite the booking of previous briefcase holders).

Dolph Ziggler dumps AJ Lee in a backstage segment.

^Call me a happy guy! I’m hoping they don’t drag out his ending with AJ too badly and just let him keep chasing the World Title.

Mark Henry comes out and wants to face John Cena at Summerslam. The Shield come down and surround the ring. They eventually beat Henry down and hit the triple powerbomb.

^Face turn for Henry with a possible Summerslam feud? I’d be just fine with that. Mark Henry as US Champion? I’d be just fine with that too. I like all the possibilities that could come from this rivalry. Nice job by WWE of showing that the Shield is still a threat after not being booked as high profile as they’ve been in the past.

Brad Maddox books Chris Jericho in a match tonight with Rob Van Dam. Apparently the entire night is about everyone trying to impress John Cena.

^I love the idea of two WWE vets trying to tear the house down and prove themselves worthy of being number one contenders. Great booking by Maddox and whoever scripted the match for real.

Dolph Ziggler goes one on one with Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match. AJ Lee rings the bell during the match to distract Ziggler and Del Rio picks up the win after kicking a distracted Dolph in the head.

^Lousy finish. Awesome match. Four stars from me; maybe ***3/4 if you want to complain about the finish. The chemistry of Ziggler and Del Rio is unmatched and the series shouldn’t just end prematurely with a new challenger for Del Rio.

AJ mauls Ziggler with slaps after the match. Big E. comes down and attacks Ziggler before nailing the big ending.

^I really hope this is the official ending for AJ and Zigs. I don’t want a Big E./Ziggler feud to interfere with Ziggler chasing the World Title. If it does, then so be it, but I don’t think a small TV feud between Zigs and Big E. would be a bad thing if they wanted to keep Ziggler occupied until he challenges Del Rio again at Summerslam.

R-Truth comes out for a match. The Wyatt Family comes out and Bray’s boys attack Truth. Bray cuts a promo on the illusion of heroes and what they are. Bray allows Truth to come at him with a chair and taunts him, but Truth just cowers in the corner until Bray charges him and beats him down. Bray says he was not the truth they seek and then tells Kane to follow the buzzards.

^I enjoyed this, and I love the fact that they’re continuing the feud with Kane and the Wyatts. It makes me think we have a potential handicap/tag or even singles match between Kane and Bray coming at Summerslam(assuming Kane is healthy by then). Kane being gone for now may have been WWE’s way of separating him from Daniel Bryan without having him in the MITB match, or he may be legitimately hurt; it’s hard to say for certain where he is now but you could speculate either scenario.

Zeb Colter cuts a promo telling John Cena to pick one of the Real Americans as his opponent for Summerslam. The WWE universe voted for the Usos over Tons of Funk and PTP for the American’s opponents tonight. The Usos win the match when one of them rolls up Cesaro for the three count.

^Tag team wrestling is alive and well! The match definitely should have gone longer, but something tells me we’re going to see some solid action in the tag team division going forward with the Real Americans joining the pack.

Christian goes one on one with Damien Sandow. Christian rolls up Sandow for a quick win. Sandow holds up the briefcase and declares himself still the intellectual savior of the masses and money in the bank holder…until he’s attacked by Cody Rhodes.

^This was definitely more of a segment than a match to put over Sandow’s new feud with Rhodes. Christian winning was the right move as he was the veteran in the match. Rhodes got an awesome and well deserved pop from the crowd. A rivalry with these two former partners is going to be fantastic!

A 1-800-Fella segment is shown for Sheamus where he brogue kicks a guy to help him get rid of his hiccups. Weird.

A Vickie Guerrero scene is shown earlier in the day of her protesting to be GM again. Lame.

Naomi goes one on one with Brie Bella. Naomi wins a short match after a crossbody off the top rope.

^Nice of WWE to include the divas tonight. Okay match for being so short. Nothing to really say overall for storyline progress, but glad to see them on the show and be reminded that Kaitlyn and AJ aren’t the only two divas on the roster.

CM Punk comes out and calls out Paul Heyman. Heyman comes out and takes credit for CM Punk’s success. Heyman tells Punk he is not the best in the world without him and Punk failed them when he couldn’t break the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania. He says Punk thinks he is better than Heyman. He says history will now write that Paul Heyman dumped CM Punk and not the other way around. They continue to exchange words and then Heyman brings out Brock Lesnar. Punk and Lesnar exchange shots until Lesnar gets the upper hand. Heyman tells Brock to beat him down more. He F5s Punk onto the announce table.

^After seeing this segment, how anyone could not be excited for Summerslam just boggles my mind. This potential/likely match alone makes the show worth seeing! Great segment to pick up the steam on this red hot rivalry!

Khali approaches Cena backstage and says words we can’t make out.

^Please, no. Not again. Anything…er…ALMOST anything but that.

Triple H and Stephanie talk with Brad Maddox. They tell Maddox that Vince may not like Cena’s choice of opponent for Summerslam, despite them liking the possibility.

^I think we all know that choice is, and I doubt Vince really doesn’t like the performer as much as people let on, or he wouldn’t be booked the way he has been.

Chris Jericho goes one on one with Rob Van Dam. RVD wins with the five star frogsplash.

^A second four star match tonight in my eyes! While the pace may not have been as fast as these two once were, this was still an excellent wrestling match with all the criteria in place to be remembered as something great. I like RVD being back as long as he puts on great matches and doesn’t steal the top spotlight. I enjoyed this one a lot.

John Cena comes out and says he hasn’t made his decision yet as to who he will face at Summerslam. He wants to know who the WWE Universe wants to see him face. The crowd chants Daniel Bryan and then yes over and over. Cena asks about Heath Slater, Randy Orton, and the rest of 3MB. The crowd chants no. He suggest Khali and the crowd boos. He says Del Rio and then Chris Jericho and the crowd boos for ADR but cheers some for Jericho. He asks about RVD and the crowd cheers some more. Cena suggests Fandango next and the crowd boos and they do the same for Sheamus as well as Ryback. Cena asks if there is anyone he is forgetting and the crowd chants yes over and over. Cena says he’s made his decision and the crowd chants Daniel Bryan very loudly. Cena says he selects Daniel Bryan to face him at Summerslam and the crowd pops. Dbry comes down and gets in Cena’s face and then leads the crowd in a yes chant to close the show!

^You could see this coming a mile away, and the crowd just loved it! Perfect ending to an excellent show and now the hype for Summerslam is going to be even bigger! Cena could even turn heel if he drops the title to Bryan and keep the feud interesting if they wanted to go that route.

Top to bottom, this was another excellent edition of Monday Night Raw. Between the two big Summerslam hyping segments(Cena/Dbry and Punk/Lesnar) and the two excellent singles matches, this show rocked! Awesome work by WWE in 2013, and that’s not just a WWE “mark” kissing their ass. I’ll be back with the crew this weekend for the Rundown. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck! – add me