Mark this one down on your calenders, folks, The General doled out back-to-back "A" ratings for consecutive WWE shows and probably would have scored the hat trick if not for a tepid main event on the July 8 edition of Monday Night RAW.
It helps, of course, when you have an incredible show like last Sunday's (July 14) Money in the Bank (MITB), which delivered a litany of terrific matches, established a changing of the guard and jump-started a couple of new programs to close out the summer.
And what started on the pay-per-view (PPV) continued on RAW.
Chief among them is the CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar feud, which we all knew was coming, but still delivered in spades thanks to the level of talent involved. Randy Orton, who won the MITB "All-Stars" match, got his moment to come out and confront WWE Champion John Cena, effectively putting him on notice.
And let's not forget Daniel Bryan.
Sure, he didn't win a guaranteed shot at the title in Philadelphia last weekend, but he's so over, the organization was forced to give him a SummerSlam main event anyway. I'm just happy the Brooklyn crowd canceled out the fact that it was clumsily-handled by Cena and his dopey one-liners.
Even the break-up of AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler felt meaningful.
Then came the curious case of Damien Sandow. Not many of us expected him to win the coveted briefcase in "The City of Brotherly Love," but he did, in a match that saw Cody Rhodes establish himself as a verifiable star with enough heat to make the magic happen.
But it didn't.
That's okay by me, as the booking doesn't always have to color within the lines and I, like many pro wrestling fans, was interested to see how this thing plays out. True, Sandow hardly lifted a finger during his World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match, running in at the last moment and dumping Cody on his keister, but you can work that into his persona.
Work smarter, not harder.
But what I can't get my head around, is the decision to trot him out to the ring on RAW with very little fanfare, only to have him lose to a mid-card crusader. I guess I found it strange that what many fans voted to be the MITB: "Match of the Night" produced the least-compelling segment in the entire follow-up show.
It's almost like the smartest kid in the class was put in the corner with a dunce cap.
The WWE landscape is very competitive right now and that's a good thing. New stars like Bray Wyatt and his family are getting a lot of attention, while established veterans like Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam are tearing the house down, simply because they can.
What's not to like?
Very little, as far as I'm concerned, but momentum is a genuine phenomenon in THIS BUSINESS and the time to capitalize on Damien Sandow is now. Otherwise, what was the point in even giving him the briefcase? So he can carry it around for a few months while corporate waits to see if he "catches on" with fans?
Reactive booking is important, but shouldn't come at the expense of proactive booking.
The decision was made to split up the Rhodes Scholars, turn Cody face and put Sandow in a position to make a run for the gold. That was the easy part. The hard part, as we've seen from the company's history of stop/start booking, is actually following through.
The "Intellectual Savior to the Masses" was supposed to "usher in a new era of enlightenment," but over these past few days, he's been booked like nothing more than an ignoramus.