In front of an electrifying London crowd, WWE provided an entertaining show that was filled with strong action, progression of story-lines, and promos.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of aftermath and wishful thinking about what we hope to see in coming weeks.
WWE Champion CM Punk def. Mark Henry in a No Disqualification Match
Solid No Disqualification Match with WWE Champion CM Punk successfully retaining his title against Mark Henry to kick off the show. These two have great chemistry and made for an enjoyable match, especially with the sound effects with the English crowd. Of course, Punk’s title never seemed to be in jeopardy, but they made good use of the environment to fully utilize the No Holds Barred stipulation and make this an awesome opening match. Additionally, I loved CM Punk’s unique finish to the bout with the flying elbow chair drop as well.
Chris Jericho confronts CM Punk
Good exchange between CM Punk and Chris Jericho. It feels like we’ve been seeing the same thing each week and it feels very repetitive by this point, but at least they keeping switching it up by having Jericho sometimes in person and sometimes degrading Punk over the Titantron. The fact that Jericho was spying on Punk and filmed him walk into a bar seemed a bit silly, but it once again brought the best intensity out of the Straightedge Savior.
United States Champion Santino Marella def. David Otunga
Throwaway match with United States Champion Santino Marella successfully retaining his title against David Otunga. The action was pretty lackluster, but at least it was brief and was over within a few minutes. As always, I don’t feel Santino needs the star spangled prize in order to get over, so why not give it to someone who does like Otunga?
Brock Lesnar Interview
Intense interview from Brock Lesnar. Everything about this promo was spot on, from his reasoning for targeting Cena and managing to garner heat by saying he only cares for himself. The UFC name drop and coinciding pictures that went along with it were also a nice touch. I’m glad they used this approach with Lesnar rather than have him on the show each week, which seemed unlikely anyways due to him signing for a minimum of two appearances per month. Lesnar has been great since returning and this interview certainly got me excited for his match with Cena at Extreme Rules more than I already was.
Kane vs. Zack Ryder goes to a No Contest
Decent promo from Kane. He quickly got to the point and addressed his attack on the Ortons from last week’s SmackDown for those Raw viewers that don’t watch on Friday nights. While some people may not Kane’s mic skills as of late, I believe the Big Red Monster has delivered his lines fairly well and used a good enough amount of emotion. However, I do feel bad for Zack Ryder, who had the take the beating here and hasn’t looked credible all year long.
John Cena responds to Brock Lesnar
Strong promo from John Cena that surely showed his side. I’m glad we’ve been getting this side of Cena over the last few weeks rather than his comical self, since it really enhances his feud with Lesnar and makes this rivalry seem much more “legitimate” as they’re calling it. Hopefully, Cena keeps up the intensity from here on out. The promo from John Laurinaitis also set up the main event nicely and helped build intrigue for it.
Daniel Bryan def. Kofi Kingston
Fun match between Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston. These two had a match together a few months ago that lasted under a minute, so I’m glad they were given much more time to really go all out. Their styles mix very well together and made for some impressive high spots. Sure, a win over Kingston these days might not mean much, but at least Bryan picked up the victory in a clean fashion. On a side note, the crowd was red hot for Bryan throughout the entire match given the “YES!” chants and his newly named finishing maneuver. Whether the American Dragon is face, heel or tweener, he is playing his current role to perfection.
Brodus Clay def. Dolph Ziggler by disqualification
Quick match with Brodus Clay defeating Dolph Ziggler by disqualification. I would liked to see this bout go longer just to see Ziggler sell like a beast as usual, but at least he wasn’t pinned for the second week in a row. While I’m enjoying this push they’re giving Brodus, former World Champions Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler are suffering because of it.
Intercontinental Champion Big Show and Great Khali def. WWE Tag Team Champions Primo and Epico (non-title)
Meaningless match with Intercontinental Champion Big Show and Great Khali defeating WWE Tag Team Champions Primo and Epico in a non-title bout. Where was the build-up and point to this match? I know Primo, Epico, and Rosa have been taking it to Twitter lately that they deserve more airtime, but it shouldn’t be against two giants in a random fashion. The last thing I’d like to see is Show and Khali teaming up and squashing every team in the already dead division.
Lord Tensai def. John Cena in an Extreme Rules Match
Good Extreme Rules match between John Cena and Lord Tensai. I completely forgot about Tensai by the end of the broadcast, so making him the mystery opponent for Cena was a pleasant surprise for this viewer. The action wasn’t all that great since neither man are the best workers, but it was decent enough given the stipulation. Despite the David Otunag interference, it was extremely smart booking to have Tensai defeat Cena here. Tensai continues his winning streak and garners major heat for defeating a top face, whereas Cena suffers another huge setback. The unpredictability of Cena’s matches these days get me more interested in his character, which further adds and enhances his upcoming match with Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules.
Overall, a very entertaining and solid show after last week’s disappointing edition. Despite some random segments throughout the night, a handful of rivalries were progressed and successfully built towards Extreme Rules in a few weeks. Most of the promos were well done and served a purpose. The overall action was average, but the good certainly out weighed the bad. From what I’ve noticed, WWE always provides enjoyable shows every time they travel overseas to England, where the crowd was electric all night long. Since the annual WWE Draft won’t be next week after all, I’m not too sure what the point of next week’s three-hour broadcast is, but everything on this has me looking forward to next week for sure.