WWE Champion CM Punk demands respect from Jerry Lawler.
Strong opening segment featuring Jerry Lawler and WWE Champion CM Punk. Both guys played their roles excellently and delivered solid mic work. It gave viewers a hook for the rest of the show as to whether Lawler would fight Punk or not, thus setting up the main event effectively. As much as I don't dig Punk's new bald look, I guess it was necessary now that he's a full-fledged heel.
Fine match between Ryback and Jack Swagger. This was what I wanted to see following their mini-match last month, so I was glad we finally got it. It didn't last long, but that was expected. Despite the obvious outcome, Swagger was able to score some offense while Ryback picked up a major victory over a former World Heavyweight Champion. Ryback needs a legitimate feud, but it was nice to see the commentators reference Swagger's recent losing ways.
Nice match between Divas Champion Layla and Natalya. They're two of the best women wrestler on the roster today, and while the match was only a mere two minutes, it at least featured some fun spots from both Natalya and Layla. My only complaint was that they made the entire match feel meaningless with all of the focus being on Vickie Guerrero at ring-side. I'm not exactly sure what the point was of AJ clobbering Vickie, but it was a pleasant surprise and showed some fire in AJ that we haven't seen since she took the reins of Raw General Manager.
Good match with John Cena defeating Intercontinental Champion The Miz. It didn't exactly feel fresh since we've seen it nearly a thousand times, but they were given a sufficient amount of time and made the best of it. There was some fun action, but the predictable finish took away from it a bit. It made Miz look weak and the Intercontinental title even weaker, so I'm not sure as to why they had Miz face Cena rather than someone else who could've taken a loss and not be harmed by it.
Hilarious anger management segments throughout the night featuring Daniel Bryan and Kane. In recent months, Bryan has been flourishing in his role and has become an absolute riot in the process. Kane was also great here, whose story was extremely entertaining and was the highlight of the night for this viewer. I hope to see more of these segments in coming weeks, or even a potential Bryan-Kane tandem.
Meaningless match with Santino Marella and Heath Slater. With focus being put on Slater's newfound "winning" streak, I thought there was a chance he would win here, but sadly, that wasn't the case. It contained comedy that was found funny by no one, especially since there were a number of "boring" chants throughout a majority of it. Antonio Cesaro didn't even appear, so this whole thing felt like one giant waste of time.
Dolph Ziggler attacks World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.
Decent opening segment featuring SmackDown General Manager Booker T, Alberto Del Rio, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Randy Orton. We've been seeing the same people open the show for weeks now, so it's grown repetitive. Nonetheless, it set up the main event nicely and reintroduced Orton into the World title picture.
Fine match between Ryback and Jinder Mahal. Mahal was able get in some offense before being ultimately squashed by Ryback, so at least he didn't like completely weak. The feud has served its purpose in giving both Superstars something to do for awhile, but it's time to move forward and allow Ryback to feud with a more credible mid-carder that is legitimate competition.
Passable match with Divas Champion Layla defeating Alicia Fox. This contest was definitely better than most Divas matches we've usually accustomed to, but it wasn't anything too great. It gives Layla her first singles win in a very long time as far as I know and puts over her feud with Kaitlyn, who was on commentary for the match. Obviously, Eve isn't turning face, as she's more than likely acting nice in order to get a promotion or get a title shot for herself.
Typical match between Sin Cara and Heath Slater. It was everything you'd expect from these two, with Cara showing off his flashy offense and Slater on the receiving end of it all. Pleasant surprise with Slater going over, as it also helps progress the Rhodes-Cara feud going forward. I've been certainly liking what they've doing with Rhodes as of late, and hopefully this leads to a rematch between the two at Night of Champions or sometime soon.
Good match between World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler. Of course, we've seen this contest numerous times in the last few months, so it was nothing out of the ordinary. However, both guys worked hard and put on an entertaining match for the most part. Smart booking with Ziggler losing via disqualification and not by pin-fall, thus protecting him in the process. It also made Ziggler look strong following the bout by beating down the Celtic Warrior, which will only help his credibility.
John Cena stands across the ring from WWE Champion CM Punk.
Solid promo from Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman to kick off the show. They were straight to the point and capitalized on Lesnar's momentum following his victory over Triple H at SummerSlam. It put him over as a force to reckoned with, which will be beneficial when he eventually comes back in a few months. Heyman was great on the mic here as always, and although the Scott Armstrong bit felt a bit long, it was effective and painless. Lesnar quitting the WWE didn't make all that much sense since from what I know, he wasn't hired back (in story-line) anyways following his initial quitting in April.
Fun six-man tag team match with WWE Tag Team Champions R-Truth and Kofi Kingston and Sin Cara defeating Cody Rhodes and Prime Time Players. It furthered two respective feuds, but it didn't do much besides that. The heels here have been lacking momentum as of late, so they should have scored the victory instead. Rhodes hasn't been featured on Raw in quite awhile, so I'm glad to see his feud with Sin Cara exposed on Monday nights.
Typical match with Ryback defeating two local athletes by disqualification. Why not face an actual contracted jobber like he's been doing in recent weeks? This certainly felt like a step backward. I appreciate the fact they wanted to further his feud with Jinder Mahal by exposing it on Raw, but Mahal has gotten zero momentum. Mahal has no credibility anyways, so Ryback needs to look somewhat vulnerable in order for people to believe he might actually lose. If nothing else, this feud at least gives Ryback something to do for the time being.
Good match between Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio. It was better than their boring encounter a few weeks ago on SmackDown, so I enjoyed this one a bit more. Sheamus involvement's doesn't help anyone, as Del Rio losing again doesn't make him look like a threat to Sheamus or the World title whatsoever. If they're trying to get Orton into the title picture, I understand that, but Del Rio needs to be built to look strong regardless. I initially wanted to see a feud between Orton and Del Rio at some point, but they've done the match so many times now that it would feel tiresome.
Decent match between Damien Sandow and Brodus Clay. I've been liking this feud since it started, but I'm also glad this match was featured on Raw and not SummerSlam. The action was fine what it was, but the crowd was flat throughout the contest. Sandow maintains his momentum with a victory, while Clay is protected and strikes back with a splash of his own. Smart booking here.
Fantastic promo from Shawn Michaels. He convinced the fans that Triple H could very well be done for good, despite the fact most of us already know that he more than likely isn't. Michaels has the tendency to make any Triple H ten times more interesting with his mic work, and this promo was no exception. The tears he nearly shed were a nice touch and really hit home for many viewers. This rivalry will obviously be put on the back burner for the next few months, but this promo from HBK was a nice cliffhanger going forward.
Both CM Punk and John Cena lock Big Show in submission holds.
Fine match that saw Antonio Cesaro defeat Santino Marella to win the United States Championship. It contained some comedy, but not enough to bother this viewer or harm the match itself. I'm glad Cesaro went over clean, and even more glad he captured the U.S. title. If booked correctly, he could make a great title holder and do wonders for the dying championship. Having the title change occur on the pre-show was a smart move, as it will attract more viewers in the sense that anything can happen on the pre-show.
Entertaining match between Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler. This was a perfect position in the opener and really set the tone for the rest of the night. Both Ziggler and Jericho looked great here, and both were able to get in their signature spots. Their chemistry is spectacular, so I hope we see more matches between the two down the road. Both guys had a reason to win, so I have no problem with Jericho going over here. Ziggler looked strong in defeat and takes absolutely nothing away from his credibility.
Decent match with Daniel Bryan defeating Kane. The action was fun for the most part, and Bryan was able to keep the crowd interested. I was happy to see Bryan go over here in clean fashion, as that's rare for Bryan and his first important victory in months. He needed it way more than Kane, so I hope this marks the end of the feud that should've never been revisited to begin with. On a side note, I was also shocked to see Charlie Sheen not involved or even mentioned during the course of this match.
Fun match with The Miz defeating Rey Mysterio to successfully retain his Intercontinental Championship. This is a match I wanted to see occur at last year's event, so I'm glad they were able to made it happen this time around. Sure, the crowd was flat early on, but that's understandable given the fact the rivalry was poorly built. The crowd came alive for the near-falls down the stretch, which made for a nice, brief match as a whole.
Good match with Sheamus defeating Alberto Del Rio to successfully retain his World Heavyweight Championship. We've seen these two battle a handful of times, but their matches always seem to contain solid action. The ending result was inevitable, so there wasn't really any doubt in mind that Sheamus would emerge victorious. The finish was weak with Sheamus using dirty tactics to win while Del Rio's foot was on the rope, meaning the feud will more than likely continue. There's plenty of other World title contenders, so why continue this dragging rivalry that's been occurring over the last four months?