John Cena collides with Daniel Bryan on "Miz TV".
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Wade Barrett def. Daniel Bryan with Brad Maddox as the Special Guest Referee
Once again, the match between Bryan and Barrett was cut short and should have gone on longer than it did. I probably sound like a broken record by this point, but it's mind-boggling to me that WWE doesn't allow these two to go out and have an excellent match like they did at 2011's SummerSlam. If nothing else, it was nice to see Barrett score a victory for once, even if it was due to a fast count from Maddox.
Randy Orton def. Damien Sandow
Similar to their SmackDown match from a few weeks ago, Sandow held his own against Orton and scored enough offense to look strong in defeat. That being said, it was exactly the same match we witnessed the first time around. Cody Rhodes distracted Sandow from ringside and cost him the match, so this was nothing new. Speaking of Rhodes, his commentary was strange, but at least it helped hype his upcoming match with Sandow.
The Great Khali and Natalya def. Big E Langston and Divas Champion AJ Lee
I was hoping this match would be used to get Langston and AJ over as a cohesive unit before SummerSlam. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case whatsoever. The in-ring work of any match involving Khali will always be medicore, so I wasn't surprised by that. Rather, the finish was what irked me, as I expected AJ to battle back and pick up the win for her team. It appeared to be a major botch that left viewers (myself included) confused out of their minds. This was an absolute waste of a match that made me even less excited about the mixed tag team match at SummerSlam.
Mr. McMahon Named the Special Guest Referee for the WWE Title Match at SummerSlam
I couldn't care less about the McMahons' involvement in the WWE title match at SummerSlam, but this segment was better than I thought it would be. Everyone played their roles well and it helped establish HHH as the referee for the upcoming title matchup. I don't think HHH being appointed as the referee for the bout is necessary, especially since it might mean we're getting a screwy finish. Also, doesn't anyone remember when Triple H blew a call in the WWE title match at 2011's SummerSlam?
Kane def. Titus O'Neil
O'Neil definitely has potential as a singles competitor, but this match was all about Kane. The Big Red Monster dominated most of the match and it was over within mere minutes. Kane outsmarting The Wyatt Family by making his way to the stage while they made their entrance was clever and helped further the feud between the two as their Ring of Fire match approaches.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Kofi Kingston (Non-title)
These two always have great matches together and their latest clash definitely didn't disappoint. It was pretty predictable who was going over from the start, but the crowd bought into the near-falls and the final few minutes were suspenseful. This was a nice win for Del Rio, who has lost countless non-title matches as of late. As for Kingston, it's sad to see him back to where he was before he left: jobber status. At least he went down swinging. Del Rio and Christian had an enjoyable exchange backstage in what was probably the most hype that SummerSlam match has gotten thus far.
The Usos def. The Real Americans
Of all the matches these two teams have had in recent weeks, I would argue that this was their best one yet. The commentators made mention of the fact that this a rubber match between the tandems, so it wasn't completely pointless. It featured entertaining action and it was good to see The Usos pick up the win after coming up short last week. I don't know what the future holds for Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro, but there's no denying they are the perfect pairing and have great chemistry as as a team.
The Miz Hosted "Miz TV" with WWE Champion John Cena and Daniel Bryan
Did The Miz seem heel-ish to anyone else in this segment, or was it just me? Anyway, this was a super strong segment. As previously noted, I'm not a fan of the McMahons being involved in the WWE title match at SummerSlam, so I'm glad they were kept out of this segment. Both Bryan and Cena delivered great promos and told the simple story of the wrestler trying to take the title from the sports entertaining. Cena's slap on Bryan was an intriguing tease for the event, as well as HHH and Orton making their presence felt. They've been mentioning the possibility of Orton cashing in quite a bit lately, so it makes me think he might not go through with it or possibly even lose upon cashing in. I guess we'll see on Sunday. Either way, this segment was more than enough to have me highly anticipating the pending pay-per-view.
Fandango vs. R-Truth Went to a No Contest
Neither one of these guys mean anything at the moment, so what purpose was this segment supposed to serve? The match didn't even occur, and Fandango wasn't even on the winning end of the subsequent brawl. They crossed paths in the battle royal later in the royal, but I can't say I'm excited for a feud between these two. What happened to Fandango's apparent feud with Kofi Kingston? Is that over already, too?
Rob Van Dam Won a 20-Man Battle Royal to Become the No. 1 Contender to the United States Championship
While it started out slow and the live crowd had a hard time getting into it, the action picked up the pace down the stretch. The Real Americans had a nice showing, and Kingston had a very cool spot outside of the ring as well. Things started heating up when it came down to the final three participants: Mark Henry, RVD and Ryback. It took both RVD and Henry to eliminate Ryback, so at least Ryback didn't come out of this looking extremely weak. RVD was a good choice to win the match, as he and Dean Ambrose are capable of putting on a clinic at SummerSlam. I, personally, am not a fan of Big Show, but it was nice to see him back and his return was logical. Having him and Henry challenge for the WWE Tag Team Championships will be a solid addition to the SummerSlam card.
CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman Went to a No Contest
It was rather obvious from Heyman's promo that Punk was going to find some way to outsmart Heyman and Brock Lesnar, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Punk attacking Lesnar from behind and getting the better of both him and Curtis Axel was smart booking, as it gives viewers the idea that there's a chance of Punk emerging victorious at SummerSlam. Lesnar has been booked dominantly in recent months, so Punk being the last man standing here was an awesome cliff hanger going into SummerSlam. I say this every week, but this is the hottest feud in all of WWE right now and I'm surprised how well it has been handled thus far. Kudos to everyone involved for making it such an entertaining angle.
While there were some parts of the show that I could have done without (the mixed tag team match, Fandango vs. R-Truth), most of this Raw was successful in building the stacked SummerSlam card and adding last minute matches to the event. The hype for the two top main event matches was excellently done, which will only improve the pay-per-view buys for Sunday. This SummerSlam has the potential to be one of the best we've seen in years and definitely feels like WWE's second biggest show of the year for the first time in a great while. Here's hoping the event can manage to meet or even exceed my lofty expectations.