#threetimesthefun: Now that WWE has turned the page on their first 1000 episodes, it’s time for them to get to work on making it to 2000. Tonight should ostensibly start really building towards Summerslam, but as episode #1001, it’ll be interesting to see how they start off this new era of sorts. They finally delivered on the big summer angle in Punk’s apparent heel turn and they have a tough act to follow from last week. Last week’s 3 hour show wasn’t a one off. RAW is now permanently 3 hours…at least until Vince realizes what a mistake it was and how much more it’s diluting the product. As if a more ominous start was needed, the Tron apparently caught on fire an hour before the show.
#thedevil: I was afraid they were going to open with Cena whining about how he got robbed of the WWE Title blah how his being the first unsuccessful cash in wasn’t fair blah blah hustle loyalty respect blah blah blah. Thankfully, it’s the actual champ CM Punk who gets the time to address his actions from last week. After a brief preamble in the ring, he makes himself comfortable in his signature cross legged style not in the ring but on top of the announce table, as he confronts Lawler about his assertion of Punk turning his back on the fans. For Punk what it boils down to is that Rock showed him a huge lack of respect and tried to make the show all about him, even though he’s a part-timer who was just gifted a WWE title shot for seemingly no reason. Punk’s claim that every RAW should end with the spotlight on the WWE Champion, i.e. himself,would be a valid point, except that SuperCena is there, so Creative has to feature him over everyone else. Big Show coming out to run his mouth is an interesting play since it gives a heel for Punk to work with. Perhaps more is-Punk-heel misdirection from Creative? Speak of the devil, it’s Cena out to chase off Show, what a surprise! New GM AJ comes out to make her first GM announcement and its Cena-Show in the main event to determine who will face Punk at Summerslam.
#badday: It’s bad enough that Del Rio can’t drive his car into the arena like usual due to the Tron fire, but then he has to face Santino, who isn’t exactly the best way to prepare for Sheamus. When WWE announced RAW was going to 3 hours, many assumed that matched would go on longer to fill the time. This one was essentially a squash match that was stretched to fill 7 or 8 minutes. This doesn’t bode well for future matches.
#oursavior: Damien Sandow is growing on me the more I see him. His ‘intellectual savior’ gimmick is perfectly suited for a heel and he’s playing it well. On the other hand, he might’ve gotten some face points when he interrupted Vickie trying to show Brodus and the Funkadactyls her dance moves.
#leftatthealter: AJ leaving Bryan at the alter and becoming the RAW GM could be interesting for The Yes! Man. Clearly his whole plan blew up in his face, so will he try to suck up to AJ? Visiting her in her office and trying to put her in her place clearly didn’t work because she booked him in a non-title match against Sheamus. The fans get to decide the stipulation and it was announced as a Street Fight. It actually seemed more like Falls Count Anywhere since a majority of the action was outside the ring and the only weapons were a chair and a Kendo stick. Sheamus picked up the victory after a hard fought of the kind people would expect given the extra hour of RAW. Bryan throws a fit in the ring afterwards only to get escorted out by 4 dudes wearing white coats. AJ says he is to undergo a psych evaluation, which is quite the role reversal between the two of them. His backstage segments later with a doctor are hilarious and definitely worth watching.
#newlegendkiller: Heath Slater’s attempt to become the new Legend Killer hasn’t exactly been going to plan and last week had to be the worst for him. Even though he’s losing constantly, it’s getting him over with the fans in a way. He was just a jobber before, but now he’s jobbing with a purpose. It’s only appropriate that his next opponent knows a few things about taking on Legends. Randall Orton makes his ‘triumphant’ return as the crowd goes nuts. He gets his signature moves in before planting Slater with an RKO for the win. I suppose there are worse ways to make a return after some time off.
#fullturn: Well it looks like Jericho is now a full fledged face feuding with a heel Ziggler. He teams up with Christian to take on Mr MITB and new IC Champ The Miz. The match has an old vs young vibe with the younger guys, Ziggler and Miz, holding the briefcase and title. Jericho obviously is going to put over Ziggler in their feud and if Miz goes at it with Christian, one can only hope Captain Charisma does the same. Towards the end of the match Jericho gets a face-style hot tag which leads to an impressive sequence of moves involving all 4 men and ends with Jericho hitting the Codebreaker on Miz for the win. Ziggler gets the last laugh as after the match he smashes Y2J with the MITB briefcase to stand tall. We all know it’s going to be Ziggler-Jericho at Summerslam. The only question is whether the briefcase will be on the line.
#goingnowhere: WWE obviously has no idea what they’re doing with Tensai, so why do they keep featuring him in matches? Especially this squash of Tyson Kidd, who’s been showing some promise of late. He isn’t over in any way with the crowd, as evidenced by the loud ‘Albert’ chants. I suppose they hyped his return with those vignettes, so they have to get something out of him for it to not be a total waste.
#realentertainment: Punk is out to do commentary for the main event and the match just became 10 times more enjoyable. At minimum. Show dismantles Cena for a majority of the match until SuperCena Hulks up and comes back with some offense. By offense I mean several sleeper holds that do wear down the big man some. This was one match where I was glad the commentary was not focusing on the action. Punk continued to throw barbs at Lawler for his ‘agendas’ on his ‘rotten’ commentary and finally calls him out on his hopelessly not funny jokes. In another SuperCena feat, he has Show up on his shoulders for the AA but Punk comes in and strikes Cena to cause the…No Decision? It’s not clear what the official ruling is, but AJ comes out to announce that Punk will defend against both Cena and Show at Summerslam, which does not sit too well with Punk. Overall, it doesn’t really feel like Punk has done a full fledged heel turn. He didn’t insult the crowd or anything, he just spoke his mind. It also remains to be seen how the 3 hour RAWs will do going forward, but there was alot of fluff in this one, so that can’t be good.