CM Punk lands a hard kick on Randy Orton.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Vickie Guerrero Addressed the WWE Universe
This was a very effective opening that gave the fans plenty to look forward to. From the announcement of the John Cena and Mark Henry showdown to the three matches featuring the participants of the All-Stars Money in the Bank Ladder match, Vickie gave viewers a number of hooks and incentive to tune in for the rest of the show.
Daniel Bryan def. Sheamus
In what was by far the match of the night, Bryan and Sheamus clashed and put on an absolute clinic. It showcased both Superstars' abilities and the crowd was extremely hot for it. This was reminicent of their string of matches last year and exceeded my expectations of being a great match. It was awesome to see Bryan cleanly defeat Sheamus for the first time ever, thus scoring major momentum going into Money in the Bank. This was an exciting opening bout and set the tone for the remainder of the night.
WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns def. Tons of Funk (Non-title)
While there were a few sloppy spots, Rollins and Regins bounced back nicely with some strong offensive moves towards the end. Tons of Funk is one of the few face tag teams in the division, so I guess there wasn't many other options. Nonetheless, it was a nice tune-up match for The Shield with a cool finish.
WWE Champion John Cena and Mark Henry Met Face-to-Face
This was a vast improvement over the final confrontations between Cena and Ryback prior to WWE Payback. In fact, this whole feud between Cena and Henry has been ten times better than anything Cena and Ryback did during their feud. I like how they're saving Henry's first match back until Money in the Bank, which probably should have been acknowledged. Aside from one comedy line from Cena, this was a strong segment that made me even more excited for their match on Sunday. Not only did Cena show signs of fear for the first time in a great while, but Henry managed to score the upper hand one final time. Cena also made their upcoming match feel extremely important, especially if Henry comes up short of winning the title.
Chris Jericho def. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (Non-title)
The match itself was good, but it didn't serve much of a purpose. I understand that Axel losing was done in order to make him look vulnerable going into his title defense against The Miz on Sunday, but the Intercontinental Champion shouldn't be losing non-title matches to people that won't be challenging for the belt. Granted, it was only one match, but that's what was said about Wade Barrett before his reign started to go downhill. Axel's first loss under Paul Heyman's tutelage should have occurred on a bigger stage and not in a throwaway match on Raw. I was also surprised that Ryback didn't make an appearance since he'll be facing Jericho at Money in the Bank.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara Ended in a Double Count-out (Non-title)
The action was fine for what it was prior to Dolph Ziggler's interruption of it. We've seen them have better matches in the past, so I was disappointed with their latest encounter. As for Ziggler's promo, it was decent, but it wasn't all that entertaining and I'm sure he could have done better. If nothing else, it helped hype his upcoming title match with Del Rio at the pending pay-per-view.
Vickie Guerrero Received Her Performance Evaluation
Personally, I found this segment to be absolutely hilarious. Everyone involved was hysterical, and I'm not sure if that was supposed to be intentional. However, I will say that it was 10 times better than anything I've ever seen in a TNA Gut Check segment. Anyways, I'm glad Vickie was fired due to the fact that she's been in a position for far too long and is better suited for a manager role at this point. Mr. McMahon assigning Brad Maddox as the new Raw General Manager was predictable, but I'd rather see him in the new role than Vickie at the moment. From the looks of it, Vickie might be headed for a pairing with Ryback, which I wouldn't be opposed to whatsoever.
Kane def. Christian; The Wyatt Family Attacked
I was surprised on how flat the live crowd was for the Christian vs. Kane match. The bout was actually well wrestled, but was ruined by the audience in attendance. Thankfully, the debut of The Wyatt Family more than made up for it and was excellently executed. Having them attack Kane was a bit generic, but aside from that, their arrival on Raw was very well done. The "Husky Harris" chants were humorous, but were unnecessary and killed the moment.
Kaitlyn and Layla vs. Divas Champion AJ Lee and Alicia Fox Went to a No Contest
This was one train wreck of a match. Firstly, The Bella Twins on commentary were pointless aside from plugging the new Total Divas show. Secondly, the action was all over the place and the finish of the match was never clearly established. The spear Kaitlyn delivered to AJ was a cool visual and it gives Kaitlyn momentum going into Sunday, but the match was odd to say the least.
CM Punk def. Randy Orton
These two had far better matches during their feud in 2011, so I was bit letdown by this bout. Then again, it might have something to do with the fact that the live crowd was essentially dead for the main event. Regardless, Punk and Orton put forth a great effort and attempted to have the best match possible. Punk going over clean was a nice touch and I'm happy only Daniel Bryan came out to close the show rather than every Money in the Bank participant. Bryan is the clear favorite going into Sunday, so I'm anxious to see if he ultimately emerges victorious or if this was WWE's way of swerving us.
Not every match and segment on this show was worth watching, and there were definitely points of the show that I felt bored by. However, it was successful in maintaining my excitement for the pending pay-per-view and hyping most of the matches on the card. Sure, the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Ladder match didn't get much focus on this show, but there's still SmackDown on Friday. As a whole, the firing of Vickie Guerrero, the debut of The Wyatt Family and opening and closing matches were all entertaining enough to make this a solid edition of Raw.