WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (June 3, 2013) from the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, featuring all the latest build to the Payback pay-per-view (PPV) in just a few weeks. Plus, it featured Daniel Bryan's continued inner turmoil at being the weakest link.
Even when the reality is the exact opposite.
Click here for full results and the live blog from the show if you missed it. Let's get right to reactions. Remember, these were written as the show moved along with real time reactions to everything that occurred hour-by-hour.
- Stephanie McMahon is grating, a little annoying, and her shrieking voice is enough to drive us all crazy. So, in other words, she's a phenomenal heel who draws one hell of a reaction when she wants to.
- Vince McMahon is a cocky, brash, manipulative son of a bitch. So, in other words, he's a phenomenal heel who draws an evven bigger reaction when he wants to. He can also draw babyface reactions. Really, Vinny Mac is one of the best performers who ever came through a WWE ring. The fact that he's the owner and the man with the most responsibility when the product is in the shitter doesn't matter. Strictly speaking, as a performer he's one of the best in history, hands down.
- The Shield interrupting Vince and Stephanie? God, yes. That feeling you get when the music hits and they come walking down the ramp, slowly making their way to the McMahons ... there's nothing better than that.
- Unfortunately, it didn't go anywhere and we were supposed to watch the WWE App to see Vince and Stephanie leave "without incident." Ugh. Some of us, like myself, are stuck in the stone age and still rock flip phones that only text and make calls. I've never used an App in my life. I am not spending an ass load of money to buy a high tech phone just to get the WWE App so I don't have to be left in the dark on something like this. Which sucks, because I was legitimately excited about The Shield coming out while Vince and Stephanie were in the ring.
- Why does Team Hell No come out to Kane's music and entrance? You could argue it's done more for fans at the arena to enchance the live experience, what with the lighting and ambience and all that, but I would much rather experience Bryan's entrance for the music and the ability to chant "YES!" while he skips sideways to the ring pumping his fists. WWE should take the hint too because that's exactly what the crowd started doing immediately after Kane's music stopped.
- Naturally, Bryan was awesome all throughout the six-man tag match alongside Randy Orton against The Shield. Kane's double suplex on Ambrose and Rollins was the ugliest thing I've seen in a WWE ring this year, though.
- Did Orton do a bunch of cocaine before this match or was he just feeding off the awesomely hot crowd? His primal howls before the draping DDT to Ambrose and Rollins was the most ridiculous thing.
- Well, it was the most ridiculous thing until Roman Reigns hit him with a heart punch coming off the ropes and the two combined for the most terrifying scream in history before Orton collapsed to his ass and folded up like a cheap lawn chair.
- DANIEL BRYAN, DESTROYER OF WORLDS.
- That brings up a good point of debate I saw on Twitter last night during this match: What wrestler is the best in the hot-tag-house-of-fire spot? Bryan has to be up there, right? Who else would you say deserves consideration?
- Man, I just want a Shield six-man tag on every episode of Raw until I'm tired of it, which won't be for a very long time as long as Bryan is wrestling like a god and the crowds are this hot and the booking is this good and the and the and the, god this was good.
- Stephanie called Triple H "Paul." OH GOD, SHE'S SHOOTING! Also, I liked Vince saying "he's good" in regards to Curtis Axel when earlier in the evening Stephanie said "he's beneath" Triple H and that he's "not worth it."
- Anybody else like The Usos face paint? Crazy to think they might actually be getting a bit of a push now and the face paint is probably a big part of that. It's the little things and all that.
- I've been enjoying the series of matches Big E. Langston and Alberto Del Rio have put on lately but there comes a point when enough is enough and it's time for a change. The match was fine, but there's no need to keep running it. Save us, Dolph Ziggler.
- My brother while watching the match: "I'm tired of this dude because every time he wrestles his ass starts flopping out. My question, though, is who talked him into that haircut?"
- Damien Sandow did more to add to the Cody Rhodes vs. Sheamus match than any of the three full time commentators. That's ... sad. I won't say much of anything else about anyone else here because it's the same old tired refrain. Sheamus isn't interesting to me, Sandow has a lot of untapped potential (need a GIF of him shaking his head in disgust at the commentary desk after Sheamus won), and Rhodes is good but not great with seemingly less upside every week.
- Actually, I will say this: Sandow not wanting to shake Sheamus' filthy, sweaty hand is grounds for a slap in the face? Gotta love those heelin' babyfaces.
- Triple H left so his kids didn't have to see him beat up their granddad on live television yet he openly talked about the fact that he's a "crazy old man" and cursed at him? Then he continued yelling at and kind of berating his wife before slamming a door in her face and driving off in a tantrum. That makes sense. Think of the children and all that.
- Ryback calling Bryan a "little puke" was great. Actually, the entire interaction between those two was good -- save for Ryback's little snafu on Kingston getting surgery last Thursday when SmackDown didn't air until Friday -- and, I'll be damned, got me relatively excited for their match.
- Oh, look at this: Vince is putting over Axel. It's about time someone other than Heyman did that.
- I don't know who thought Fandango vs. Great Khali was a good idea but the former selling slaps from the latter was actually really fun. This after Khali mocked him by dancing mid-ring. They were having a decent match, actually, before Fandango just decided to deuce out because wins and losses have never and apparently will never matter in WWE.
- What's worse is that moderately entertaining match led right into The Miz vs. Wade Barrett, one of the worst mid-card feuds ever. Fandango should be happy about it, though, because he looks far more interesting in comparison.
- Doing a contract signing for CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho when Punk isn't even around? I mean, I guess it works, if only because Heyman is so very good at pushing whatever it is he's supposed to be pushing at that given moment. Plus, it was nice to see him call out how ridiculous it is to hold a contract signing in front of everyone like that. Still, we didn't know what we had with Punk before he left us and went on tour of every sporting event he could find in whatever city he's currently in.
- Heyman swiveling in his chair with that shit-eating grin was phenomenal, though. So was his terrified look when Jericho told him to open his jacket. I'm confused, though: why was "Y2J" so intent on filing the contract in Heyman's pants? To be demeaning? He's the babyface, though. Oh, that's right, WWE and all. Whatever.
- After watching Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell at Slammiversary on Sunday night, that weak effort from the Divas last night was impossible to get into. Just hard to care about the match when the work was what it was and the angle wasn't altogether interesting with yet another heel walking out on yet another match.
- I want Kane to give me motivational speeches during difficult times in my life.
- Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit Bray Wyatt promo oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit.
- I still like Ryback coming out in an ambulance and think he should make it a permanent part of his entrance. I don't understand all the comparisons to Scott Steiner, too. Yes, there's a siren, but Ryback actually has a good reason for a siren, you know, seeing as he's coming in riding in a fucking ambulance. Come on, people. Let's not be silly.
- Actually, it's pro wrestling, let's always be silly.
- It actively hurts watching Bryan lose anymore. He's just so much better than everyone else, it feels wrong to watch him lose time and time again. It's kind of funny to see John Cena make the save for him because this is kind of the storyline we could have seen with Cena leading towards WrestleMania 29 if he was willing to lose and WWE was willing to book him that way. Bryan is getting beat left and right and -- GASP -- it's not killing his heat. If anything, it's adding to it and that's a testament to the story they're telling. If only they had gone this route with Cena.
- It still hurts to watch Bryan lose.
- I really, really, really hate the WWE philosophy of booking sometimes. How they can be so great with The Shield and so terribly bad with Axel is beyond me. I just wonder if there are actual discussions that involve someone saying it's okay to book finishes the way they do because, hey, Cena will sell big for him and that will get him over, even though he'll lose by DQ because of Ryback. It's not that I don't understand protecting champions; certainly, I do. That's been happening for a long time and Ric Flair made Sting a star without needing to lose to him. John Cena is not Ric Flair and Curtis Axel is not Sting. Simple as that.
As usual, The Shield were great and Daniel Bryan almost single-handedly made this show worth watching. He's a real treat, and we're lucky to get to see him perform like this on a weekly basis. Plus, this story is so good, it's hard not to feel invested enough to want to tune in next week.
Lots of good with a few glaring flaws.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show.