ANAHEIM CA - OCTOBER 22: UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar weighs in at 264 lbs at the UFC 121 weigh-in at the Honda Center on October 22 2010 in Anaheim California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
WWE Monday Night Raw took place last night (Aug. 13, 2012) from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, and featured the go home show to this weekends Summerslam pay-per-view (PPV) in Los Angeles.
And wouldn't you know it, they actually ran a solid angle for Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H. Shawn Michaels got his arm broken while Paul Heyman was awesome, as usual.
CM Punk, John Cena, and Big Show were all booked together in a tag match that also included Daniel Bryan, essentially a lazy way to make sure there was interaction between the three heading into this weekend. Whatever.
Plus, Piper's Pit returned, a few matches were set for the PPV, and other stuff happened that really wasn't all that memorable.
Enough with the small talk, though. If you want full results from Raw last night, click here for the running live blog. You can also listen to Sergio and I on the Cageside Live podcast gabbing about the show (among other things) right here. Time to get to reactions, posted after the jump.
- I covered the Brock Lesnar angle with Shawn Michaels and Triple H earlier but it should be noted again that this was exactly what this feud needed, an infusion of actual emotion to help drive the match that is being relied on to sell the PPV on Sunday night. There aren't enough kind words to say about Paul Heyman and his performance. It was masterful.
- Daniel Bryan is a bonafide star and it's nice that WWE is finally realizing it. When the evening started with WWE Champion CM Punk hitting the ring for a match against Big Show, neither of them got even close to the reaction as Bryan did when he came out. His character dictates as much but he deserves all the credit in the world for it. Remember when he was a bland babyface who couldn't cut a promo to save his ass? Talk about a complete reversal of fortunes. I can't remember the last time a crowd rose in unison to jeer a heel with such zest like they did with Bryan last night. It was wonderful.
- Is it bad that AJ Lee annoys me more and more each week? I think I figured out what it is that irks me so. Her movements are so jagged and quick. She never slowly tilts her head to the side, she violently jerks it that way (head out of the gutter, dudes) while smiling. She overdoes it with the facial expressions, too. It's like that girl you really like and want to get to know but the more you do, the less you like. It feels sad, when I think about it.
- JTG got his television time, just like he wanted. But his TV time consisted of Ryback squashing him while Michael Cole made snide remarks about his Twitter account during the pinfall. He's probably on his way out and the reality is no one will miss him. It's too bad, too. Cryme Time was over as hell at one time.
- Rawactive continues to be a joke. Once again, they made a poll, essentially rigged it to ensure a certain winner, and then shit all over the results by using the three guys in the segment anyway. Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler and The Miz were the choices to appear on Piper's Pit and Jericho won. But Ziggler and Miz came out anyway for a verbal exchange just before a triple threat match that turned out to be plenty of fun. Roddy Piper looked drunk like usual, and he's long past his expiration date. Last night showed WWE needs to stop booking him.
- Can we talk about Jericho being such a saint? The guy is running an angle where WWE is consistently saying he "can't win the big one," and he's willingly going along with it in the name of getting someone else over. It's all a set up to help make Ziggler and get him ready for his inevitable world heavyweight title run. This is precisely how Jericho should be used at his age and this stage of the game. Props to Y2J for remembering what's right in the business and doing what he can to advance it and help create new starts to carry the torch when he's gone for good.
- How did WWE manage to miss the boat so badly on what made Heath Slater so entertaining during his various legends segments? Having him repeat the same thing but get beat by regular guys on the roster like R-Truth is a ridiculous idea and one that will only serve to kill all the heat he built during that time period. Too bad for "The One Man Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddd, baby."
- Sin Cara squashing Tensai had to be punishment for that racially insensitive Tout, right?
- As pointed out by my comrade Sergio on the Cageside Live podcast last night, the interaction between Punk and Cena during the tag match against Show and Bryan was great. The two stealing each other's moves as a form of disrespect was both funny and fitting. By the way, Punk is far better at Cena's five moves of doom than Cena is at Punk's five moves of doom. Seriously, that running knee in the corner? Ugly. The only problem with the tag match is I didn't come out of it looking forward to the triple threat match this weekend. Plus, Bryan's involvement didn't make a lot of sense. Where the hell was Kane, the guy he's having a match with at the PPV?
- I guess Charlie Sheen didn't want to do anything at Summerslam.
- Brodus Clay's fall from grace has been ugly but it's nice that Damien Sandow is getting over on him. It's also nice that WWE brought a guy in with a legitimate character, stuck with it, and booked him properly. We shit on them for blowing it, let's give them credit where it's due.
- The Prime Time Players aren't the same without A.W. but I'm still a big Titus O'Neil fan. They may not be MILLIONS OF DOLLARS anymore but there's nothing wrong with settling for THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. Unless, of course, they end up having to suffer for the sins of their former manager, which is entirely possible.
- I TOLD YA I'D GET YA!
- Can anyone tell me how it's smart for Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio to not even appear on this show? I get it that they're running an angle that Del Rio's status at Summerslam is in doubt, complete with promos for Smackdown this Friday that they'll crown a new number one contender, but this feels an awful lot like they just don't trust either of these two to move the needle at all. No Randy Orton also felt strange but if he's not working the PPV like he's said, that's not nearly as big an issue as Sheamus and Del Rio.
- More Eve, please.
This was a terrible go home show, considering it did almost nothing to make me want to purchase the PPV this weekend. Sure, the Lesnar angle with Michaels was good, and Heyman was awesome, but this doesn't feel like a show on par with WrestleMania or even the Royal Rumble.
I'm not sure I could go any higher than a D as far as a grade goes.
But that's me. Now it's time for you Cagesiders to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. What did you think of Raw last night?