Live from Grand Rapids, Michigan this is the Raw Deal for episode #1047. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thank you.
If you missed my review of WWE Payback you can read it by clicking right here. I really enjoyed the event and thought it was the best WWE pay-per-view of 2013. The matches were entertaining with some interesting booking decisions too.
Raw began with Guy Voiceover talking over images from WWE Payback including the three title changes, CM Punk’s return and John Cena’s victory over Ryback.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield. Cole didn’t mention the city they’re in. Apparently they don’t do that if the city is small.
Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez made their entrance. The crowd booed them a bit. Del Rio won back the World Title at Payback by attacking the head of Dolph Ziggler repeatedly. JBL defended Del Rio’s actions while Cole & Lawler questioned his actions in trying to hurt Ziggler.
Del Rio called himself a real Superman. He talked about the night after WrestleMania when Ziggler cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase when Del Rio had a leg injury. Del Rio complained about the fans cheering for Ziggler when he won the World Title. He heard the reaction last night and every other night. The crowd was booing him. He said he gave the fans everything, but they didn’t give him the respect that he deserved. Del Rio complained about how the fans cheered for a coward like Ziggler. “I guess that’s what America is all about – pigs and cowards.” He claimed he fought for the fans for the last five months and he didn’t get anything. Last night he fought for Alberto Del Rio and it got him this (he held up the World Title). Del Rio claimed he would give the fans a second chance to show him the respect he deserves. As he was about to continue, CM Punk’s music started up.
Analysis: He is now a heel. Del Rio talked about respect and saying the fans didn’t respect. It was a classic heel promo.
CM Punk entered the arena to a huge pop. He had Paul Heyman with him. Punk told Del Rio that the last time he was face to face with him was when Del Rio was holding the WWE Title in 2011 and Punk beat him for it before going on a 434 day WWE Title reign. Punk said he came out there because Del Rio called himself the best. Punk took offense because he thinks he is the best in the world. He wanted to challenge Del Rio.
Paul Heyman spoke for Punk talking about how his clients don’t fight for free. Punk told Heyman he wanted the match. He knew it wasn’t for the World Title. He knew Dolph Ziggler got a rematch. Punk mentioned stealing the show with Chris Jericho at Payback. He wanted Del Rio one on one in a match on Raw. Del Rio told Punk he didn’t want to do this. Punk was sure of it. Del Rio told Punk that Punk shouldn’t want to face him.
The Managing Supervisor of Raw Vickie Guerrero showed up with Brad Maddox. She said that they want to continue the momentum from Payback and she made the main event of Raw official: CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio. It’s not for the World Title.
Analysis: Punk is now a face. Del Rio is now a heel. It’s a fresh matchup with two guys in different roles from what we’re used to. That’s why I enjoyed Payback so much. It felt as if it was a show that would lead to new storylines. I thought everybody did a good job in their promos. We saw some friction between Punk and Heyman, which will likely continue until Punk gets rid of Heyman as his adviser. I’m looking forward to the main event.
Later on Raw, Vickie has a big surprise for the McMahon family. Also Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton later on Raw. Wade Barrett shown walking backstage.
Analysis: Bryan vs. Orton? Nice.
Backstage, Paul Heyman was talking to CM Punk. Punk mentioned that he didn’t need Heyman to help him win matches. “I’m not your client.” He told Heyman he didn’t want him to be at ringside for his matches anymore. Punk said he would always be a Paul Heyman guy. Heyman looked sad. Poor guy.
Wade Barrett was in the ring for his Intercontinental Title rematch. However, Vickie Guerrero showed up to announce that instead of that match she has a different opponent for Wade Barrett. It’s Christian! He’s back! Yes. Love it. I’ve missed this guy. He’s always been a favorite of mine.
Wade Barrett vs. Christian
Christian dumped Barrett out to the floor. Christian hit a cross body block off the top rope onto Barrett outside the ring. Barrett tripped him up on the top rope and booted him in the ribs for a two count. There was a “Let’s Go Christian” chant from the appreciative crowd. Christian made a comeback with a forearm shot and a pretty Tornado DDT off the middle ropes. Barrett made a brief comeback, but Christian used his speed to slow down Barrett using the ropes to his advantage. Christian hit the Killswitch to win the match in about three minutes.
Analysis: *1/2 As far as I know, Christian was healthy about four months ago. It took WWE this long to bring him back on television. I’m not sure why it took so long. No stories for a guy who has been in the company for 15 years (minus three years in TNA)? You have to find room for a guy like that. Listen to his crowd reaction too. The fans like him. As for Barrett, he’s lost a lot of television matches of late. He has no momentum.
What stipulation should be added to the Bryan/Orton match: No DQ, No countout or 2 out of 3 falls. You can’t vote on the WWE App yet, but it’s coming later.
There was another Wyatt Family promo. It was creepy like all of their promos.
Team Rhodes Scholars were in the ring for a handicap match.
Sheamus vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
Sheamus beat Sandow in the Payback Kickoff match and now he has to face Team Rhodes Scholars in a handicap match with both guys in the ring at the same time. While Sandow was holding Sheamus’ legs, Rhodes hit a Disaster Kick. Double suplex by the heels for two. After a Rhodes kick, Sandow hit the Elbow of Disdain for two. Rhodes slapped Sheamus repeatedly, so Sheamus made a comeback by dumping Rhodes over the top to the floor. Rolling Senton on Sandow and the ten clubbing blows to the chest of Rhodes. Powerslam by Sheamus on Sandow. White Noise by Sheamus on Rhodes. Sheamus wanted a Brogue Kick, but Sandow snuck in and rolled up Sheamus for the pinfall attempt. It was good enough to win the match. It went four minutes.
Winners: Team Rhodes Scholars
After the match was over, Sheamus hit Rhodes with a Brogue Kick. That’s how you get your heat back.
Analysis: *1/4 I think it’s better to do handicap matches where they need to tag in. Lawler thought it was an upset that Sheamus lost while JBL pointed out that it was difficult for one man to beat two guys like that. The way it was booked made it look like an upset. It’s not like Sheamus would lose a singles match in four minutes. That’s why they did the handicap match.
The announcers talked about how active Vickie Guerrero has been during Raw so far. It’s true. She’s been on a lot already. Some weeks she’s barely on the show.
Later in the show is Mark Henry about to retire? Considering they’re coming out asking it like that I think the chances are pretty low.
The video package promoting Rob Van Dam’s return at Money in the Bank aired. It was the same one that aired during Payback.
Backstage, Vickie & Brad were sucking up to WWE COO Triple H. Hunter wondered what Vickie was going to do if CM Punk didn’t walk out there. Hunter mentioned Christian was cleared for about a month and a half now. He wondered why he was only being brought back now. Hunter also mentioned RVD, so Vickie said she did that and Hunter said he was the one that talked to RVD alone without them involved. Hunter suggested that Vickie do something to stand up to The Shield. Hunter praised them on doing a great job with the show especially booking 3MB in action later.
There were still photos of the Bryan & Orton loss at Payback.
Daniel Bryan was warming up in his dressing room. Kane walked up to him. Bryan said Kane was glad that Team RKNo lost. Kane said he didn’t think that at all. He suggested maybe they should team up again. Bryan wasn’t interested. Bryan said only “Team DB” matters to him right now. Kane said he was acting like a “DB” (he means douchebag). Bryan said he needs to prove himself. He said he wants to win the WWE Championship. Kane said he wants to win the WWE Championship too. Kane wished Bryan luck. Bryan wondered if Kane said that because he thought Bryan was the weak link. Kane just left.
The vote for the Bryan/Orton match was open on the WWE App.
Randy Orton made his entrance to a good ovation from the crowd. Daniel Bryan received a loud reaction on his entrance with the crowd chanting “yes” as he entered the arena. Jerry Lawler announced the voting results from the WWE App: No Disqualification 54%, 2/3 Falls 36% and No Count Out 10%.
No Disqualification: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
JBL said the stipulation favored Orton. I would have liked 2 out of 3 falls, but I don’t mind no disqualification at all. Orton hit a slingshot suplex. There was a “Daniel Bryan” chant. Orton hit a Thesz Press, but Bryan rolled through it and applied a Half Crab submission. The rope break doesn’t matter in a No DQ match. Bryan unleashed a series of kicks on Orton, so Orton raked his eyes. Orton dumped Bryan outside the ring and hit a clothesline on the floor. Back in the ring, Orton applied a chinlock. They could use any weapon they want yet there’s Orton grabbing a chinlock. Orton hit Bryan with some hard punches in the corner. Bryan came back with a running clothesline. Two corner dropkicks by Bryan earned him a two count. Orton missed a charge and was sent to the floor. Bryan went for his dive between the top/middle rope, but Orton dodged it and Bryan landed hard on the floor. That looked painful as Orton was proud of himself for avoiding the flying goat attack. Orton pulled grabbed a kendo stick from under the ring. Orton attacked Bryan with the kendo stick and rolled him back in the ring for a two count. They went to break right there eight minutes into the match.
Bryan fought off Orton on the top rope during a superplex attempt and he hit a dropkick on Orton. Bryan went into his kick routine, but Orton was able to fight back with an overhead belly to belly suplex. The doctor showed up to check on Bryan. Did they really need that spot? Orton gave Bryan a slingshot. Bryan held onto the rope in a skin the cat type of spot. The doctor was checking on Bryan. He was telling Orton not to continue. Bryan went at Orton, so Orton took him outside the ring and dropped Bryan rib first onto the barrier. The doctor told the referee to ring the bell because Bryan was too injured to compete. The match ended after 15 minutes.
Winner: Randy Orton due to referee stoppage
Bryan was emotionless after the match. Orton helped him up. He gave Bryan a hug. They all walked away.
Analysis: **3/4 That’s not a match result we see very often. It’s rare to see something stopped due to a referee stoppage. I guess that’s WWE’s way of trying to book more realistic matches since they have a doctor at ringside to keep an eye on things. This was probably done to build up Bryan as a sympathetic babyface figure. I’m not sure if it’s going to lead to a singles match between them at Money in the Bank or on a future edition of Raw, but it feels like the start of a story. Orton turning heel by attacking an injured Bryan would work although it is similar to Del Rio’s story with Ziggler. Bryan did a good enough job where people might think he’s legit hurt. Maybe it was legit and they were worried it would get worse, so they stopped it. I hope we see more matches between these two.
It’s Punk vs. Del Rio later.
There was a video of Alberto Del Rio’s heel turn promo that began the show. CM Punk interrupted to set up their match for later on Raw.
The new Divas Champion AJ Lee made her way down to the ring along with her friend Big E Langston. She skipped around the ring with the Divas Title in her hand. AJ said this is what it feels like to have it all. She talked about how Dolph Ziggler wasn’t there because of his injury, but soon he’ll be back to share the spotlight with the greatest Divas Champion ever – her. AJ bragged about playing mindgames with Kaitlyn and crushing her spirit. She called herself a woman that can get whatever she wants. She claimed there was not a woman strong enough to compete with her. She asked for a woman to come out from the back to challenge her. Nobody came out as AJ said “that’s what I thought.
The music of Stephanie McMahon started up. She entered the ring to a good ovation. AJ called her “boss lady.” Stephanie said she told other divas to wait backstage. Stephanie congratulated AJ on her victory. She wondered why AJ acted this way and painted women in a bad light. Stephanie told AJ to start acting like a champion. AJ said “instead of dating Superstars, maybe I should marry one.” That was well played. Stephanie said she expected something better from her. AJ said that what she did to Kaitlyn was a masterpiece. Stephanie said “nobody does crazy” like a McMahon. The crowd cheered that. Stephanie told AJ to act like a champion. AJ said that she’s like Stephanie…only younger. Stephanie said AJ needs to remember that she could take everything away from AJ and take her job away too.
Kaitlyn and the other divas were standing on the ramp. She was about to cut a promo. Stephanie grabbed her microphone to say that she was going to give Kaitlyn a pass because she lost the Divas Title. She told Kaitlyn not to interrupt her again. Stephanie left. Kaitlyn walked down to the ring and said that AJ played her like a puppet. She said AJ broke her, but now it’s her turn. Kaitlyn attacked AJ. Langston saved AJ from the attack. AJ screamed that Kaitlyn would never have the Divas Title again.
Analysis: It’s nice to see the women of WWE given promo time and a storyline for a change. I’m not sure we need to see Stephanie McMahon in the powerful authority figure, but her family books the show so who’s going to tell them not to be on it? It was weird when Stephanie was grabbing the microphones of AJ & Kaitlyn and talking as if we shouldn’t be able to hear it even though we did. It was just different. One thing I didn’t like was that Stephanie stood too close to AJ so that she was towering over AJ. It made AJ look too small. We already know she’s small. We don’t need to see a non-wrestler making her look like she’s so tiny. As far as the direction of the Divas Title goes, it looks like the AJ/Kaitlyn feud is continuing. I’m cool with that.
Update: Apparently Kaitlyn’s nipple was exposed during the attack on AJ. I had people tweeting me the image immediately. I love my readers.
Up next on Raw it’s Dean Ambrose vs. Kane for the US Title one more time.
United States Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Kane
Ambrose won by countout at Payback, so Kane gets his rematch here. They worked for about one minute when Reigns & Rollins ran in for the DQ finish.
Winner: Kane via DQ
The Shield worked together to give Kane the three man powerbomb. Nobody saved Kane from the attack. The Shield left through the crowd.
Analysis: No point in rating a match that short. The announcers were talking about Triple H told Vickie to do something to stop The Shield yet she did nothing here to stop them.
Backstage, Mark Henry was talking to Titus O’Neil, Darren Young and Tamina. Henry was in a pink suit. Young looked like he was crying. Is Henry retiring? Still to come.
The Shield walked in the backstage area. Vickie and Brad Maddox walked up to them. The Shield laughed at her wondering what she was going to do to them. Vince McMahon walked up to them. He shook their hand. Vince said they reminded him of himself – ruthless aggression. He told them to keep it up. When The Shield left, Vince said he didn’t really like Kane much.
Analysis: The story is that Triple H told her to do one thing (stop The Shield) while McMahon told her something else (The Shield is awesome). It’s a classic McMahon power struggle angle.
Cole threw to another video package about The Wyatt Family. It was the second one of the broadcast.
Zeb Colter was on the ramp delivering a promo. He complained about the government lying to them. His rant was about foreigners sneaking across the border. “We are at war.” Colter said that he and Swagger have chosen to work with a man that embodies the spirit that real Americans strive to reach every day. He speaks five languages – the most important one is English. It’s Antonio Cesaro. Cesaro said: “We The People.”
Analysis: That means Zeb Colter is now managing Cesaro. I’m okay with that.
Antonio Cesaro vs. William Regal
It’s a rare to see Regal in a Raw match. It’s always good to see him in a match. Cesaro dropped him with a forearm shot and then a gutwrench suplex. Cole called Colter a hypocrite for working with a guy not born in America. Regal wanted a butterfly suplex, but Cesaro powered out of it and slammed Regal down. That was very impressive. The crowd didn’t care too much. Cesaro applied his aggressive headlock to weaken his opponent. That led to the Neutralizer finisher. He won the match in three minutes.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Colter gave Cesaro a “don’t tread on me” flag and they placed it on top of Regal.
Analysis: * It’s been so long since we’ve seen Regal in a match that the crowd didn’t care about him. Colter’s a very good manager, so Cesaro should benefit. This could also lead to Cesaro teaming up with Swagger when he returns from his arm injury in a month or two.
Up next it’s John Cena for a promo at the top of hour three.
The WWE Champion John Cena made his entrance to a good ovation. Once the music stopped the fans gave him a sustained cheer. That’s pretty odd. He was taken aback by it.
Cena said he loved it. He said they’re all there because they love the WWE. Cena said his favorite superstars are…the fans. What a suck up. He admired the fans for their honesty like the guy with the CM Punk shirt that told him that he sucked. He admires the honesty of those fans. He also has a group of people who truly believe in him. Cena talked about having a horrible 2012 (he won Superstar of the Year remember that?), so he had to fight back to get to where he is now. He mentioned the Royal Rumble, beating Punk, beat Rock and beating Ryback in Three Stages of Hell as well. All of this led to Cena saying “The Champ is Here” and then he thanked the fans for believing in him. Cena said he felt as good as he’s ever felt. He talked about being ready for the next challenge at Money in the Bank. He also warned the Money in the Bank winner that he’ll be ready for them. He ended the promo with this: “Our time is now because the champ is here.”
Analysis: Good inspirational speech by the WWE Champion. Not great. Just good.
Mark Henry’s music began to play. He was in a pink suit jacket and black pants. He wanted Cena to stay out there. The crowd chanted “Henry” towards him.
Henry was in tears as he spoke. The crowd chanted “thank you Henry” towards the World’s Strongest Man. There was even a “Sexual Chocolate” chant. Henry told Cena that at the rate he’s going he’s going to be the greatest WWE Champion of all time. Henry said if he had any regrets about his career he’s been World Champion & ECW Champion, but now he was forced to retire from the active roster. The crowd chanted “one more match” to him. Henry talked about one more match being in front of the best crowds he’s been in front of in the last five years. Cena handed Henry the WWE Title. He gave Cena the WWE Title back. Henry talked about how he got to travel the world many times over. He stands before us a proud, proud man. The fans gave him a standing ovation. Henry talked about going on the road for over 200 nights a year. He said now he’s going to see his wife, son and daughter more. Somebody yelled Mae Young and he goes “not Mae Young!” Henry talked about how his daughter cried when he leaves home, which led to him crying some more. “Baby I’m coming home.” Cena held up the WWE Title with Henry. Then Henry picked him up and gave him the World Strongest Slam. He yelled at Cena: “I’ve got a lot left in the tank!” He threw the WWE Title on Cena and said it would be his soon. When he was at the top of the ramp Henry said: “That’s what I do!”
Analysis: I went into the night thinking that Henry wasn’t going to retire. When I saw that Cena remained out there I knew it was an angle, but I also thought Henry did an awesome job with his speech. The crowd bought into everything he said. The tears he had in his eyes felt real. It was believable. That’s why the attack worked. It will likely lead to a WWE Title match at Money in the Bank. What’s interesting is that Henry lost his last match in convincing fashion to Sheamus at Extreme Rules, yet now he’ll probably get a WWE Title match at a pay-per-view. I can’t explain “WWE Logic” sometimes. With that said, this was an awesome angle that worked perfectly.
Punk vs. Del Rio later.
Backstage, Renee Young tried to talk to Henry. He said he had everybody fooled and called us a bunch of puppets. Henry said the WWE Title is the only thing he hasn’t held. Henry challenged Cena to a match for the WWE Title. He didn’t say where. He claimed that the reason he had his boots in his hand were so that he could shove one of them up Cena’s ass.
Analysis: Henry’s trash talking is always great.
Chris Jericho vs. Heath Slater (w/Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal)
Jericho hit a double axe on Slater. Running bulldog by Jericho. McIntyre punched Jericho in the head during his Lionsault attempt while Mahal distracted the referee. Slater missed a knee attack, so Jericho hit a bulldog, Lionsault and then Codebreaker to finish him off. It went about two minutes.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Post match, Jericho hit the Codebreaker on Mahal and then McIntyre as well.
Analysis: It was just a squash match to give Jericho a win after his loss to CM Punk at Payback.
Paul Heyman was talking to Curtis Axel when Matt Striker showed up. Heyman said he was the best friend of CM Punk, so he’s giving him some space. Heyman said Axel is going to walk out as IC Champion. He claimed that Axel was born to be “better than perfect.” Well said.
The Miz joined the commentary team. He was there to watch the Curtis Axel match. Sin Cara made his entrance. Why does Axel have to face him again? They’ve wrestled on Smackdown a few times already.
Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Sin Cara
The Sin Cara gold lighting was on during this match. The guy’s basically a jobber now, yet he gets the lighting effect? That’s weird. Sin Cara hit a dropkick early, but Axel slowed him down with a clothesline. Back suplex by Axel. Reverse DDT by Sin Cara. Sin Cara hit a kick to the head, but when he went for the Senton off the top rope Axel got his knees up. Axel hit a DDT variation to win the match in about three minutes.
Winner: Curtis Axel
He stared at The Miz after the match. They will feud for the IC Title. Axel will win.
Analysis: Another squash match. Imagine if Barry Horowitz had special lighting for his matches? They need to get rid of that for Sin Cara matches.
This Friday on Smackdown it’s Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan. I love how the story is that Bryan’s injured, yet they still book him in a match on Smackdown.
Vince McMahon told Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox to listen to him. He asked Vickie what she’s going to do about the Mark Henry situation. Vickie said she wanted to put Mark Henry in a WWE Title match against John Cena at Money in the Bank. Stephanie McMahon walked in saying she was losing control of the show. Triple H walked in to say he told her to take control of The Shield. Hunter told her to listen to him when he tells her something. Hunter left. Vince left. Then Stephanie said Vickie shouldn’t listen to either of them. Vickie looked confused.
Analysis: This hurt my head. McMahon family drama can be pretty boring sometimes. That’s what this was. Don’t ever show them this if I apply to work for WWE someday.
CM Punk was walking in the backstage area. Paul Heyman walked up to him. Heyman said he understood what Punk meant earlier. He told Punk that he loved him and told him to go win the match. They shared a hug. Punk walked away on his own.
When Michael Cole mentioned Night of Champions tickets being on sale this weekend he said that it was the one night of the year where all WWE Titles are on the line. What about Payback? They were all on the line there. Oh well.
Alberto Del Rio made his entrance for the main event. That’s after the break.
CM Punk made his entrance to a big babyface reaction. I will always like him more as a heel because he’s so great at it, but I don’t mind babyface Punk either.
CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)
Punk was aggressive early on while Del Rio tried to avoid him. Del Rio was able to take control with some hard kicks to the head. There was a “CM Punk” chant early in the match. Del Rio hit a jumping kick to the arm of Punk. Punk wanted the GTS, but Del Rio got out of it and he went outside the ring to escape. Punk hit a dive between the top/middle ropes to knock down Del Rio. Rodriguez distracted Punk, so Del Rio worked on the arm of Punk with a hard kick that sent Punk to the floor. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break about five minutes into the match.
Back from break, Cole said that Bryan suffered a stinger earlier in the show. Punk was selling the arm injury as Del Rio jumped off the top rope only to be met by a fist from Punk. Jumping side kick by Punk. Del Rio gave Punk an ambreaker while using his knees as weapons. Backstabber by Del Rio for two. Kick to the head by Del Rio got a two count. Punk hit a running knee in the corner. Go To Sleep by Punk connected, but Del Rio rolled out to the floor after taking Punk’s finisher. Del Rio walked away with Rodriguez. It went about 12 minutes.
Winner via countout: CM Punk
Immediately after the bell rang, Dolph Ziggler attacked Del Rio beside the entrance ramp. The crowd cheered loudly as Ziggler went after Del Rio. Officials broke it up.
Analysis: **1/2 The match was fine, but it didn’t have a special feel to it. I really get sick of the countout finishes they do. It’s their go to finish as a way to get a heel out of doing a job. I just think they do it too often.
Brock Lesnar’s music started up. Lesnar made his entrance to a big reaction. Punk looked surprised to see him. Lesnar grabbed a microphone. Instead of talking, Lesnar dropped the microphone and gave Punk a F5. The announcers didn’t say anything as Punk was out in the ring while Lesnar looked on with a confident look on his face. No sign of Paul Heyman. Raw ended right there.
Analysis: That was fun. I expected this feud to happen at Summerslam rather than Money in the Bank, so I was a bit surprised when Lesnar showed up. Hopefully this means Lesnar will appear at more than three PPVs between WrestleMania 29 and 30, but I’m not sure about that. I’m very excited about Punk vs. Lesnar. It will be a great matchup because Punk is awesome against bigger opponents while Lesnar is at his best with a smaller guy across the ring from him. This feud has my attention.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Mark Henry – Awesome fake retirement angle. He sold it with his tears and then fooled the fans with that World’s Strongest Slam on Cena. It was one of the best segments of his career.
2. CM Punk – Welcome back.
3. Christian – Welcome back also.
To those expecting me to give Kaitlyn’s exposed nipple a star of the night all I can say is I’m sorry to disappoint you. Search for it if you didn’t see it, kids.
7 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2013 Average: 5.71
2013 High: 8 (April 8)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 7, 7.5, 6, 4
Mark Henry’s speech was definitely the highlight of the show. While I won’t claim to be the biggest fan of Mark Henry’s in-ring work, I enjoy his non-wrestling segments quite a bit. His feud with John Cena makes a lot of sense. I doubt Henry will win the WWE Title, but they will do a good job of building him up as a legitimate threat in the next month.
In terms of in-ring action, the show was below average. There were some shorter matches this week. Six matches were under four minutes and the two that went longer had inconclusive finishes. The Orton/Bryan match was more of an angle than a match, so it didn’t carry the show like it could have if they got more time. The countout in the main event made it a forgettable match.
I liked most of the angles, though. That’s what carried the show.
I thought Del Rio did a good job with his heel promo to open the show. It let people know that he had changed his ways at Payback, so if you missed it you missed something important. I’m interested in seeing the next direction of his feud with Ziggler.
I also liked how they are going to do a slow build to when Heyman is no longer a friend of Punk. I enjoyed seeing Lesnar show up. Like I said I didn’t expect it this week, but no complaints from me. Lesnar makes the show better when he’s on it and so does Punk obviously. I’m very excited about this feud.
If you’re a Facebook user I hope you have clicked “Like” on TJRWrestling.com on Facebook. In addition to linking to every column posted on TJRWrestling.com, we also share a lot of funny wrestling memes from other sites and even have caption contests of our own. Here’s an original meme that followed Sunday’s WWE Payback event.
I didn’t make it. I’m only sharing it. I don’t mind Cena. I just think that image is pretty damn funny.
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