WWE Monday Night Raw took place last night (July 16, 2012) from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and featured all the fallout from the Money in the Bank (MITB) pay-per-view (PPV) that took place this past Sun., July 15 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Not to mention all the build to next week's 1,000th episode. Because, really, that's where all the attention is at present time anyway.
John Cena promised to cash in his briefcase for a shot at CM Punk's WWE championship, setting up a huge main event. It's also big because of The Rock's promises and we know he'll be in the building next week.
Oh, and a wedding! A pro wrestling wedding is the best wedding and AJ and Daniel Bryan are making it official in just six short days, folks. Get ready.
This was actually a damn good show, with plenty of good build to next week.
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.
- These complaints of John Cena winning all the time and being in the main event all the time and going over all the time and having the briefcase all the time and all this and that should probably come to an end. Sure, sometimes it's fun to hate on the guy, but let's reserve that for times that he may actually deserve it. WWE making smart booking decisions isn't one of them. The guy is the biggest star on the roster and they set him up for a match against arguably the second biggest star on the roster at present time in a WWE championship match in the main event of the biggest Raw of all time. If you expected anything less, you were lying to yourself or willfully being ignorant. That's fine if you want to watch WWE that way but you had to know better. And, again, let's try to be sure to applaud the company when it gets it right instead of ignoring it just to bitch when they get it wrong. John Cena vs. CM Punk at Raw 1,000 is the right call and announcing it one week beforehand was simply smart business. Plus, the rematch can happen at SummerSlam. That's a win-win-win.
- I like the idea of Big Show doing a sort of Sean O'Haire thing where he tries to get his enemies to give in to temptation, whatever that temptation may be at any given time. He'll need some added depth like that because WWE is booking him into a corner with this monster heel gimmick. It's like Punk said during their solid back and forth to start the show -- he beats the shit out of everyone but always loses in the end. That should lead to the natural growth into a conniving heel who finds ways around that to avoid continued losses. This brute force thing clearly isn't working out for him.
- Daniel Bryan actually did a good job seeming sincere in his marriage proposal to AJ. She also seemed sincere after finally deciding on saying yes to him. The only problem I see is what WWE hopes to accomplish with this. Are they a heel team? A babyface team? Or is this just a way to tease a big swerve at the wedding? I tend to think it's the final option but I'm not sure exactly what that will entail unless Kane -- noticeably absent last night -- shows up to once again profess his love for her and AJ turns to join him. But that might make he and AJ heel and Bryan face and I'm not sure WWE wants that because babyface Bryan wasn't very good but heel Bryan has been fantastic. There a million ways this could go but the one thing we know for certain is it will be entertaining. The major players here are all awesome and this is awesome and don't you feel awesome? Awesomeness, E & C style.
- Analyzing the tag team division seems like an exercise in futility but WWE has managed to do something truly amazing -- they've actually devoted time to creating a few teams to feud with each other but through the course of doing this, made all of them but the champions look like shit. The Primetime Players look woefully inept as challengers and while A.W. is wildly entertaining, Titus O'Neil and Darren Young are really struggling to find their voice in this current arrangement. Is the plan to eventually put the belts on them? If so, they've gone about this all wrong. Perhaps the most tragic part of all this is it means R-Truth is trapped in a tag team and unable to be his usual entertaining self. Then again, it handcuffs Kofi Kingston and that's not so bad. If he was a singles wrestler, he would be needlessly chasing the Intercontinental or U.S. titles with no story behind it and jumping all around the ring having mediocre matches. So whatever.
- Want to get Zack Ryder over again? Have him die on every show. Remember when we were all seemingly on board with that plan and they actually did it for a few weeks? That was a nice run, wasn't it? Why not bring it back?
- Rey Mysterio's back and that's cool. That's about all I can muster for his return.
- RIKISHI! HEATH SLATER! CON-FRON-TATION! (Sup, Bradford?)
- Eve could the one who crashes the AJ-Bryan wedding and at least that would make sense. She's been inserting herself into their business and has had little to do since John Laurinaitis bailed (RIP People Power). If she shacks up with Miz, that would be terrible, but if they find a good way to introduce her into the AJ-Bryan wedding, it will be for the best.
- What was the point of having Ryback murder a bunch of choads? To build him up strong, right? Then why make him look like shit in consecutive matches against Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks and Jack Swagger, of all people? Is this a rib on someone? I truly don't understand what's happening here anymore.
- The Internet has been pining for some time now, and I've certainly been a part of that contingent, for Vickie Guerrero to shut her yapper and let Dolph Ziggler get some time on the microphone. And WWE finally pulled the trigger on that last night, allowing the Show Off to cut a promo before letting him absolutely run down Chris Jericho. He buried Y2J for the better part of a couple minutes until Jericho planted him with a Codebreaker. Ziggler was good in his role, though he circled during his promo, and Jericho was good reacting to him. This feels like yet another program Jericho might have asked for just so he can put over another guy on the way up because Jericho is on his way out. Absolutely sign me up for that, too.
- Brodus Clay has now officially gone from being entertaining on TV to simply a live show attraction. If you're in the arena, it might be fun, but watching at home it's just filler.
- Quick -- what prominent member of the roster was absent last night and you hardly even noticed?
This was a good episode of Raw and it did its job of building towards next week's monumental 1,000th episode where they will pull out all the stops to make it something truly special.
That's enough from me, though, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to let us know how you felt about last night's episode of Raw in the comments section below.