Segment 1 - Contract signing for SummerSlam between John Cena and Daniel Bryan
I hate contract signing segments. They are so unnecessary. So basically I'm supposed to believe that even though Brad Maddox gave John Cena the option of picking his opponent at SummerSlam that the match wasn't official until they signed their names on a piece of paper? Where's the doubt behind either person signing the contract? Cena will sign it because he picked his opponent (more on that to come), and Bryan will sign it because he wouldn't get this opportunity unless he was chosen by Cena. Plus he basically celebrated for the last five minutes of last week's show. They could have run this entire promo without having the contract signing angle involved. The only redeeming part of any contract signing segment is if one of the two combatants ends up through the table, which can't happen in this storyline since they are both faces.
I also hate how Cena has to remind the crowd why he's a face and beg for them to cheer for him. It's been blatantly obvious for a long period of time that a majority of the crowd - especially the adult crowd - do not like Cena or his character. Yet it seems in every one of his promos he has to try to remind people why he is the good guy and pander for some cheap cheers. Last week it was having the audience choose his opponent for him because they are who he performs for (not the money he's making). This week it was reminding everyone that Bryan deserved this shot and that size doesn't matter, with a few name drops to stop the crowd from booing him. It's really getting old how they do not let him embrace the fact that half the crowd hates his guts. It's obvious that they are petrified of turning him heel or even letting him straddle the fence between heel and face like others have (Orton, HHH, and Austin immediately come to mind). We don't need to be reminded that we should cheer for him; that only makes it easier and easier to boo him.
Last small point: Brad Maddox has gotten much better on the mic. Choosing him as the general manager is intriguing, and there is something about him that is very charismatic and interesting. Those pants he had on however were a nightmare.
Segment 2 - Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus
Didn't watch it. Didn't want to. Not interested. They have killed both of these characters, made them boring and stale, and seemingly have no idea what to do with either of them. They were both great heels who got ruined by an ill-timed face turn that was not planned out well. They wanted a face Mexican wrestler that they could push to replace Rey Mysterio (and make us forget how terrible Sin Cara is) so badly that they turned one of their best heels in Del Rio. While it's easy to pull for Ricardo Rodriguez, it's hard to pull for Del Rio as a face. It's especially hard when his face promos were half English and half Spanish. While they worked when the shows were in Texas or California, they didn't work well in other places. It really didn't help that his first face feud was against Dolph Ziggler, who the crowd was begging them to turn face. The turn back to heel hasn't worked out well either, though not having Ricardo as a mouthpiece is definitely hurting Del Rio.
Sheamus is just boring. This is coming from someone who has red hair, who was a big fan of his, and was him for Halloween last year (thankfully there are no pictures of this floating around). I'm not sure what it is. He puts on solid matches (the street fight vs. Sandow a few weeks back on Smackdown was one of the best I've seen in recent memory), he's over with the crowd, and he's good on the mic. Yet it's obvious that they don't really have a plan for him. The 1800-FELLA skits are pretty lame, and they make him look more like a joke and less like the beast that he used to be. It seems like he has feuded with everyone so maybe a little time off would be smart. They could continue working the leg injury angle since he clearly got a bit hurt at the Money In The Bank match.
Segment 3 - Christian vs. Titus O'Neil
So we haven't seen the Prime Time Players in months, and now all of a sudden they get matches on Raw, and we are supposed to believe for a second that one of them is going to win? The only reason to watch this is to hear Titus bark, which is better than his promos.
Segment 4 - Ryback's backstage interview
Yet another guy that they turned for no reason. How do you go from over with the crowd to dead with the crowd in a month? See Ryback. Then they booked him like a whiny, complaining quitter. And now he shows how tough he is by intimidating a backstage interviewer. Oh boy I'm scared. Great job with him.
Segment 5 - Mark Henry, the Shield, and the Usos
Like we couldn't see this coming. I like the match, I like the pairing of Henry and the Usos, and I love Henry turning face. It's just that this was so predictable that anyone could see this coming. One guy calls out three, three guys beat up one guy, two guys come out for the save, three on three match for next event. What's creative about that? A five-year old could figure out these storylines. It would be nice if we got a reason why the Usos want to save Mark Henry. The Shield beat up Christian a couple weeks ago and no one rescued him. Why all of a sudden would someone come and help out The World's Strongest Man?
Segment 6 - Cena and Bryan in the locker room
Dumb. Bryan telling Cena to stay away from the ring during his matches tonight gives away the ending of the show. Bryan will get either beat up or attacked by someone, Cena will make the save, Bryan will be pissed off and think Cena doesn't respect him because he's small and he's the weakest link. Didn't they just do this with Bryan, Kane, and Orton? This build is going to be awful.
Segment 7 - Dolph Ziggler vs. Darren Young
See the first sentence of Christian vs. Titus O'Neil. At least O'Neil got some offense in and the announcers tried to make it sound like he has a lot of potential. Young is just awful. I'm convinced the only thing that keeps him in the WWE is that he looks just like John Cena. There has to be a storyline for that.
The stuff after the match with Big E Langston and AJ was great. I am a big fan of Langston and AJ. I think they work well together and I want to hear more from Langston. He has a unique personality and seems very sarcastic and condescending, plus I love the accents and the humor. AJ's character is probably the best Diva character since Mickie James being obsessed with Trish Stratus. She plays the role of crazy, psychotic, love struck, obsessive nutcase so well. Her facial expressions and mannerisms are spot on. I am very intrigued to see where this goes and am looking forward to seeing an entire lengthy match from Langston.
Segment 8 - Total Divas on MizTV
Horrendous. That was supposed to get me to watch a show about the Divas? How about actually having them wrestle or developing their characters? The only Divas that I care about are AJ and Kaitlyn and they aren't on the show. I mean the Bellas are hot and the new girl who slapped the King is pretty attractive, but if I want to see them I can just search their photos online. Just like everyone did when they found out that Brie had a "wardrobe malfunction" during this train wreck of a segment.
You can add The Miz to the list of characters that were ruined by a face turn. He went from headlining Wrestlemania to barely getting on Raw in no time. He hasn't gotten worse in the ring, his mic skills have always been good, yet the face turn killed any momentum he had. And he needs to stop doing the Figure Four since apparently Ric Flair never taught him how to work the leg over before you put the move on. Nor did he teach him how to properly put the move on.
Segment 9 - Brad Maddox with HHH and Stephanie
Another waste of time. Do we really need HHH to tell Brad Maddox that Daniel Bryan deserves a title shot? Why does it matter? Didn't he see the contract signing? It doesn't matter if he deserves it or not now that it's "official". This whole power struggle with the McMahons is awful and pointless. Last I checked Vince runs the company so where is the struggle? I can't wait for this to end... too bad I'll have to wait until NEXT APRIL. Awful.
Segment 10 - Cody Rhodes vs. Fandango
This is what is really wrong with this company right now. You have a guy in Fandango who could have been booked to the moon, especially after the 24 hours he had between beating Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania to the ovation he received at the next night's Raw (and throw in the Internet sensation his theme music and dance became overnight). Instead he's jobbing to Cody Rhodes in a match that was shorter than his entrance to the ring. Which I might add happened just a week after he had a solid match with Randy Orton in the opening segment of last week's show. We kept hearing how much Vince McMahon loved Fandango and how much time he spent working on the character. Maybe he should spend more time working with some of his characters and less time in a terrible storyline with his daughter and son-in-law.
Cody Rhodes should be a top guy in this company, yet I have zero confidence that they will be able to capitalize on his performance at Money In The Bank. Rhodes has been a personal favorite of mine for a while. I think he has spent way too long being in the midcard (or lower), and has the talent and the mic skills to be a top tier guy. When he was in The Legacy with Orton and DiBiase, no one thought that he would be the one breaking out of that storyline. Rhodes has proven through hard work and improvement that he deserves this push.
The problem I have is with the booking of the push and face turn. Rhodes and Sandow were a solid tag team with a great name that worked very well together. Yet they were never pushed to the tag titles nor were they in many high-profile matches. They both got in to the Money In The Bank match, with Sandow stealing the match from Rhodes, hence ending their partnership. Rhodes stole the show in that match, and was cheered throughout, which gave the impressions that the crowd would be receptive to a face turn for Rhodes. The obvious first feud for Rhodes would be with his former partner Sandow, who should be getting a push due to winning the MITB contract. So how does the WWE book Sandow? Like they have done with other midcard MITB winners. His first match after winning the contract was a loss to Christian (who was in the MITB match also). That basically killed the credibility and momentum Sandow had, and is definitely affecting Rhodes' face turn. Then they put Rhodes in a boring, short match with Fandango, who has no crowd reaction once his entrance music ends. I'm afraid what's going to happen is that they will have a lackluster match at SummerSlam, and since the crowd won't be in to it due to the terrible booking of the feud, they won't follow through with any plans or pushes for both Rhodes and Sandow, putting them back in midcard hell.
This is what is infuriating about being a wrestling fan. We are tired of seeing the same ten guys get pushed, and when someone comes in who deserves to get a push they are booked so badly that it is hard to care about them for an extended period of time. Just look at Daniel Bryan. He's been in the company for almost 5 years (counting his release after the Nexus incident). There's no question how talented he was at the start of his WWE tenure. Anyone who watched him in Ring Of Honor knew that he should be a top performer. Yet it took the company this long to really showcase his talents. And due to the inconsistent booking of Bryan, it's taken just as long for the fans to truly embrace what a tremendous wrestler he is. Hopefully he will be able to have a long run at the top of the card (and not lose a title in 18 seconds).
Segment 11 - CM Punk promo with Paul Heyman
Terrific. CM Punk is the best in the world on the mic right now, with Heyman a close second. The personal vibe of this build has been tremendous. Punk genuinely looks like he wants to ruin Heyman both personally and professionally. I can't wait to see where this goes. I hope the match lives up to the hype and the build. I just hope they don't get Curtis Axel involved; he's not close to being ready to get in this feud.
Segment 12 - RVD vs. Wade Barrett
You can add Wade Barrett to the list of characters that should have been pushed but horrific booking has ruined them for good. Remember when Barrett was the leader of the Nexus and Daniel Bryan was second in line? Now Bryan is a star and Barrett barely makes shows (and when he does it's jobbing out in a couple minutes). What a waste of talent.
Segment 13 - The Daniel Bryan Gauntlet matches
The match with Swagger was a joke. My thoughts on Swagger? See Barrett, Wade. Thanks WWE.
The match with Ryback wasn't bad it was just predictable. Every gauntlet ends with the biggest guy coming out last. It always goes worst guy first, followed by long lengthy match, then beast last. I thought it would be the Big Show since they advertised that he was returning and never used him. Ryback was fine, the match was pretty solid, and the table spot was excellent. The save from Cena and the match next week with Ryback? Been there done that. Not excited.
The middle match with Cesaro was tremendous. I am a huge fan of Cesaro (who is yet another guy who's talents are underutilized and vastly underappreciated) so I loved seeing him in a lengthy match with Bryan. While we all knew who was going to win it was still exciting to see Cesaro push Bryan for the entire match. The crowd was definitely into it, as they are with every Bryan match right now. The smart thing for WWE to do is to capitalize on this great match by giving Cesaro the push that he deserves. So get ready next week you'll see Cesaro job to R-Truth or the Real Americans lose to Kofi Kingston and Little Jimmy. Or they just won't put Cesaro on TV, kind of like they did with the Wyatt Family this week. Way to continue that storyline. I guess three hours isn't long enough to squeeze in a little bit of the Wyatts. Maybe if they didn't have that abomination of a segment regarding a show on another channel they would have some time for the Wyatt Family.