punk-axel-nexusSo now that the MITB matches for the PPV are set, focus can turn to the builds for show’s card. What about the World title matches? How will Dolph follow up on his crashing of Del Rio’s fiesta? Will Henry deliver another A+ promo? Will Ziggler or Punk make their full turns to being faces or stay as tweeners? How will Punk handle teaming with McGilliAxel? Most importantly of all will the announcers make any mention of the fact that Darren Young was Punk’s Rookie on NXT season 1 or that Punk and Axel were in The New Nexus together?

Wrasslin’: Do not adjust your television set, there is no need to go get your eyes checked or pinch yourself. There is actually good, quality wrestling on RAW. The Bryan-Orton Quadrilogy, Punk-Del Rio and Jericho-Del Rio from the last few weeks are just a few examples of this trend. There are still the short squash matches but the other bouts on the weekly card have been noticeably better. It’s an encouraging sign from Creative and helps fill the time of the extra hour in the 3 hour RAWs.

MITB: Raw being WWE’s flagship show gets the MITB match stacked with stars, but they made a great decision with the Smackdown match by basing it around the future, plus an interesting one by naming all heels. Barrett, Rhodes, Ambrose, Sandow and Cesaro are all guys who could play major roles down the road. That is if Creative doesn’t botch their trajectory. However, this is the RAW after the match participants are announced, which means its time for the promo where every guy comes out and says that they’re going to win the briefcase. It’s a cliche that could’ve followed the usual script, but when you throw in great talkers like Punk and Bryan in addition to good ones like Orton, Sheamus, Christian and Kane, it actually made the segment entertaining.

What He Does: So WWE creates a  ‘career retrospective’ video promo for Make Henry. It or his later live promo might not have been as great as The Retirement Swerve, but it was still high quality and Henry has never looked better or more intimidating. Showing him using Big Show to destroy a steel cage wall or the ring itself just reinforces how vicious he is in the squared circle. This video package not only shows how great WWE’s editing people are at their job, but with the extra emphasis being placed on the WWE title being the only one Henry hasn’t won, it makes it a little more likely that Henry might actually beat Cena for it, because That’s. What. He. Does.

BONUS: When it looked like Orton was about to start pounding the ground for the RKO, JBL says ‘Cole get ready to say your only catchphrase!’ Absolutely hilarious.

The Shield: So these guys have beaten teams consisting of guys like Sheamus, Jericho, Orton and Big Show, yet are now losing to…Christian and The Usos? This is probably to build up Jimmy and Jey enough so they seem like a credible enough threat to Rollins & Reigns, but Creative isn’t stupid enough to have them drop the titles. The Hounds of Justice are entering that zone where their initial momentum from their debut is almost worn off and the real test of remaining relevant begins. Part of this falls on Creative, who don’t exactly have the best record when it comes to this kind of thing (see Nexus, The). Having them defend the Tag Titles on the MITB pre show does little to help them, nothing to say of the fact that Cole just threw in that little bit of news during the 6 man tag match.

Champ v Champ: Cena v Del Rio is something we’ve already seen, but not with each guy having a World Title. Announcing it at the top of the show and then hyping it by highlighting former champs of each belts is a nice touch. However since a majority the WWE ‘Universe’ is under 12, would they even know who guys like Harley Race or Sting are or their impact on wrestling? That might be the closest Sting gets to being on WWE TV and how could they not have included Edge in their highlights? Most WHC reigns ever and 11 world titles overall. Then what was otherwise a great match tonight is marred by the Henry/Ziggler distractions. They were to be expected which meant that there wasn’t going to be a decisive finish even before the match started.

(C)ryback: So The Ryback is at a bit of a crossroads in that no one takes him seriously as a main eventer since he keeps losing PPV matches. So Creative’s idea of getting back that credibility is to have him stop a match against The Miz due to his ‘injury’? How’s that going to help? Yeah it’s definitely a heel tactic, but it only damages his standing and makes him look cowardly. This is not something you want to with a so-called monster. On a side note, Jericho coined a great new nickname for him, ‘Cryback’.