Refs Reflection: Monday Night Raw Review 5th August

Alex Knowles

Hi guys – another good performance on Monday Night Raw and if we didn’t already know…The Beard is Here…

Raw opened up this week again with Daniel Bryan leading the charge and really pushing a strong main event for this years Summerslam. It’s difficult to sell a face vs face match at the best of times so fair play to the WWE for making a good punt at this one. With Bryan and Cena inevitably being closer than usual due to the fact they both have shares in Bella (and I don’t mean the Italian Restaurant) it allowed for them to ‘shoot’ a little at each other and again blur the lines of story and reality. The points Bryan said about Cena were true – that he was a entertainer and not a wrestler. If Cena got fired he wouldn’t wrestle for any other company again (implying he wouldn’t be hired). Very clever wording as Cena has also stated his love for the WWE and that he wouldn’t work anywhere else due to his respect for Vince’s business – so perfectly kept Cena on top as the ultimate, one company, give everything to the business kind of guy.

I also enjoyed Bryan’s quip about ‘getting fired’ tomorrow and how it has happened in the past. That he can wrestle in front of 10 people in a gym or a million people in a stadium because he is a WRESTLER…cue Vince. The whole suit gimmick and smartening DB is a small angle to help push a storyline and keep the McMahons involved in the action. To me this is leading to a cash in at some point sooner than later for Randy. Vince is burying DB for not being popular, muscular, a fans favourite, selling Merch etc – in fact he is disliking the idea of Bryan being the Champ of the company because he is nothing like John Cena….but Vince doesn’t want Cena to be the champion either??! Clearly a much more complex storyline is coming out from this but spare us Stephanie’s fake tears to Hunter. Doesn’t work for me.

Anyway – back to the beginning and if our Wade wasn’t left further down the pecking order…he is now. Yes he is being wasted at the moment but I’m sure his time will come on the merry go round that is WWE Creative. Still a good opening start and build up for the biggest party of the Summer.

Del Rio and RDV had a good match and RDV’s momentum continues to roll on thanks to another cleverly booked match that doesn’t see too much damage to Alberto. I’m a big fan of Ricardo Roderigues so looking forward to seeing where this direction takes him. The man can bump and made Del Rio look a million Dollars after his defeat.

I will at this point add how important a live crowd is when making a show feel electric for the audience at home. I’m not sure where Raw was broadcast from on Monday but I will find out and mark it as a destination on my list of places NOT to visit. Talk about a group of people just not up for it. Cody and Sandow is one segment that I am really excited about as it has been very well booked. The crowds silence though really took out all the momentum. Sadly it also killed the Wyatt family gimmick as well. I wasn’t a fan of this match – Tensai got too much offense in and actually looked pretty hardcore going after Brays Hench men. The finisher on the Funkasaurus also looked messy and just doesn’t work that well with two big men. Again, the fact I could hear the popcorn man fart on the 17th row due to the inaudible silent atmosphere of the audience made the whole segment very clunky.

Henry vs Ryback – See same notes on Wrestlemania only reverse characters. The End hang on – quick reflection on the match…Rybore – The End.

Not many will agree with this but fair play to Cena again. You might not like the guy but few can denyhis ability on the mike. Another well put, straight talking promo from the Champ. Yes it’s the same as every other week when faced with the latest challenge, but this time it felt more edgy and a shoot on the business and the crowd. He has a knack of turning the patrons hatred and ‘boring’ chants into a positive in putting his opponent over as well as the company. An interesting Main event also set up from this utilising the Shield in a good capacity and putting a combustible package together with Cena, Bryan and Orton in the same corner.

Axel Vs Punk was always going to be on the cards thanks to last week’s antics and again CM Punk and Paul Heyman were on top of their game. I’m loving the use of Brock suddenly brawling with Punk, but that has got to be it now. Once is a surprise and excellent, twice is ok to really push for those SummerSlam buy rates. Three times will be too much and I will start to lose interest in the Match. Can’t wait for Punk Vs Heyman next week and the shenanigans that will occur with this one, but don’t make it obvious – and Lesner appearing again is both predictable and obvious. Punk, Heyman and Lesner all looked great during the whole segment; As I feared – Axel looked a little separated, just standing in the background. Fine if he is a junior member of the team (which he is) but I still want to see the IC belt brought back to its stature of when the current holders forebearer held it, and for this to happen – Axel needs a good solid storyline. My wild suggestion? Promote Andy Hammer to work alongside Axel as a no nonsense kick ass heel, then repackage a face Ted Dibiase and have him managed by his dad? Battle of the generations. Anyway – fantasy booking aside – welcome to the never ending pit of midcard wrestling Fandango. Putting Kofi over clean means he is firmly fixed in the Mid card section and being heel is not going to help his cause in climbing the rope back to the top. I have lost interest in the gimmick too. A big drop for him since beating Jericho at Mania. Perhaps the birth of Fandangoing has done him more harm than good in the long run.

A promo aired for Wrestlemania 30. I look forward to bringing you coverage of the show…Live from New Orleans because it is one pilgrimage this referee is not going to miss. A once in a life time opportunity and I will be there live for Lock Up Wrestling. Besides, the Mrs and the kids love baked beans…which is good as it’s all they’ll be eating for the next year while I pay for it and go enjoy myself for the week…

I hope Creative are going to work out a new story for Ziggler as well. The AJ, Big E feud was never going anywhere and has run its course (if it ever really had one). It’s a cheap copy of the Punk/Heyman storyline given the main antagonist has gone face and is now feuding with the old guard. But AJ (Who is very good) is not Paul Heyman and Big E is no Brock Lesner…although he is a beast. Problem is – who’s next for Ziggler. A Likely heel turn for Orton could lead to some excellent matches down the line, but apart from that It looks like Ryback or Del Rio again.

At least the Shield were given time again to shine at the end of the evening in a well worked match that put everyone over in their various ways. Interesting where they are going to take this with Orton in the mix at Summerslam and I can only hope that Vince’s family saga doesn’t overshadow what is looking to be a good show with the spine of it being The Beard Vs The Champ, The Best Vs The Beast, The Cult vs The Demon (In an inferno match which will be cool to watch) and The Intellectual vs The Tash.

Looking forward to the go home show to tie up any lose ends…till next week – take care