Refs Reflection: Monday Night Raw 19th August

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Another cracking week of entertainment by WWE – It’s time for another reflection…

I take my hat off, stand up and salute WWE on what I can only describe as a superb weekend of Wrestling. Summerslam was exceptional with John Cena and Daniel Bryan stealing the show along with CM Punk and Lesner – but I will come to Summerslam as I review Monday Night Raw in a moment.

First of all it takes a grown man to stand up and be accounted for when they are wrong…Well I’m standing. I didn’t like the MacMahons involvement in the past 6 weeks of Raw and I certainly didn’t want them to interfere in Daniel Bryans big moment at Summerslam…After watching the PPV and now Raw this has to be one of the most compelling storylines I have seen in years. Well done, covered and closed older lingering storylines (HHH and Orton feud) and has already begun the build up for Wrestlemania 30.

So let’s take it from the beginning…. The show began with John Cena coming out to the usual hostile crowd. I make no secret that I’m a Cena fan which leaves me is a dark place with regards to 90% of other fans and also an even smaller percentage considering I am over the age of 7 and not female! But Cena can go toe to toe with the best and it takes the best to get a decent match out of him and Bryan got one of the best matches I have ever seen Cena perform. Even technical at some points. So to see the size of Cena’s elbow and the fact he wrestled that match with a torn tricep – you have to earn respect and he must have done that with many of the so called haters – even if they continue to boo. 4-6 months is a long time out for a WWE superstar, especially if you are the face of the company. Sunday night Cena passed the torch to Bryan and let him run with the ball. No gimmicks, no distractions just a clean finish. He put DB over. And DB is ready – more than ready. His exceptional Mike work backs up his panache in the ring, but the one thing that Bryan also has in abundance? The tsunami that is the WWE universe. He was already over, we know that. But Daniel Bryan wasn’t the only one screwed at Summerslam when HHH hit the pedigree. We all were as well. I felt angered, upset – how can they take this away from him after all he has worked for. You’re an arse HHH I hate you and I hope you get your butt handed to you on a plate….(Then I remembered that none of this is real….) But that’s the point – and it’s what WWE have managed to capture so well. For some reason I feel emotionally invested in this particular storyline and the boundaries are once again being blurred. The end of Raw was superbly booked and Hunter is also gold on the Mike. I can completely see his point for why WWE wouldn’t want a champion like DB and the way the MacMahons subtly mock the audience, patronise and belittle us – along with ‘little’ old Daniel is very well told. Then bring in the real champion of the WWE – Randy Orton. The worse thing to happen to Randy was turning him face. He’s not Stone Cold, this isn’t the 90’s and it just hasn’t worked. The Viper is at his best when he is cold, calculated and dangerous. He is now back in this guise. But more than that – he is aligned with the MacMahons as the top of the WWE hierarchy turns rotten – there will be a clear line between face and heel within the company. I can’t wait to see where this leads – John who?

Cody vs Sandow – another good match between them but I’m not sure where the story is going and I don’t think Cody is over enough as a face for the crowd to care. I’m assuming it will lead to the briefcase being on the line…but I have learnt by my mistakes above. Never assume anything with this company!

Clearly Maddox is also relishing his role as Vince/Hunters mouth piece as the GM. Triple threat handicap for Ziggler was another piece of good booking to get the crowd on Zigglers side in what is an impossible match for him. Ziggler is gaining momentum once again and at the perfect time. With the two biggest Baby faces (Cena and Seamus) currently out injured it is up to Ziggler, Bryan and of course Punk to step up to the plate. For many (including me) they are a better alternative to the Great White and Dr of Thuganomics anyway.

Darren Young – good on you for stepping out and making a statement which I hope in 2013 is not an issue for anyone anyway. He’s gay, so what. Saying that we all know that if he didn’t come out, there is no way he would be taking centre stage next to Big Show during the final segment of Raw – and I question whether the Prime Time Players would go on the run they are clearly about too. But so what – he took a risk to his personal privacy by making the announcement and he is getting rewarded for that bravery by a company that wants to show itself in a good light. It’s just business.

Good to see Ricardo back as well and a good pairing for RVD. It will hopefully give Rodrigues the opportunity to talk more on the Mike rather than just announce and will give Van Dam more of a mouth piece. I’m surprised Heyman hasn’t come sniffing around his former ECW padawan – but that is always open for the future. Yet again though Punk and Heyman continue to excel. I loved Punk ripping the ‘fat guy in the front row’ a new one for booing him. Not sure how well it will sit with the Be a Star bullying campaign however or the amount its cost Punk when Vince catches up with him regarding his colourful choice of words! Finally Another great outing for Bray Wyatt as well after a solid inferno match with Kane. I can’t wait to see where this one ends up! So all in all another great night for the WWE and it leaves me looking even more forward to next week’s edition. But for now, catch you next time.

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