Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
June 18, 2013
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
RAW kicked off in a big way with the completion of the double turn started at Payback. Alberto Del Rio officially turned heel. The promo was pretty basic. He competed for the fans, but they never respected him, and he got nothing from the deal. Now he competes for himself, and he gets the World Heavyweight Championship. The funny thing was, he’s really not wrong. He was defending his culture against a racist, and the fans were cheering the racist. The fans are kind of the heels in this thing. Anyway, I said a week ago in my Smackdown Thoughts feature that Del Rio’s face run was on life support. This needed to happen, and it was great.
CM Punk then came out after Del Rio finished ragging on the fans and bragging about himself. They had a great interaction together, and Punk essentially completed his face turn. Punk as a face doesn’t excite me as much as Del Rio as a heel. The last time Punk was a face, he was the WWE Champion, but he didn’t main event a single PPV. There wasn’t much that was compelling about him as a face. I understand it’s time for a change of pace, and he did a lot as a heel, but I’m just not feeling it. I’m sure they can get some good life out of him after breaking it off with Paul Heyman and the Brock Lesnar feud, which I will get to, but what is it going to be like after Summerslam? Only time will tell, I suppose. I hope I’m wrong about this run. In any event, this was a strong opening segment, and the crowd was red-hot for it.
Wade Barrett was set to go against Curtis Axel in a rematch for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, but Vickie Guerrero nixed those plans and put him against the returning Christian instead. Christian has been ready to go for quite a while, and it was good to see him back. I think the midcard for WWE has been pretty strong as of late, and the return of Christian will only make it stronger. Chris Jericho has done some great things with some midcard guys, but who knows how long he’ll be around in this current run? Christian will be a steady force, and he always has a solid TV match. I’m glad he’s back.
Sheamus took on Team Rhodes Scholars in a handicap match booked by Vickie Guerrero. It was ok. Damien Sandow got his revenge for the preshow loss by rolling Sheamus up as he went to give Cody Rhodes a Brogue Kick. It was what it was.
I really enjoyed the match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton. Bryan is on fire. Everything he touches is gold. These two had a great, hard hitting, and intense match. I thought the injury that Bryan sustained that caused the referee to call it off was a means to not having anyone lose clean, but reports are swirling today that it was legitimate. Hopefully he’ll be able to pull through the stinger. He’s molten hot at the moment and easily one of my favorite things going in wrestling right now.
I loved the AJ Lee segment as she gloated about winning the championship and how brilliant her plan was. AJ has made me love the Divas again. If you’ve followed my work for the past five years on this website, you’ll know that I’ve been hard on the Divas. It’s not that I hate them – I don’t. I just didn’t care for them because it was so apparent that WWE didn’t care about them, and they were going through the motions in matches as well. AJ has reinvigorated my love. She’s up there as my all-time favorite Divas.
I was pretty surprised when Stephanie McMahon came out. I just wasn’t expecting it at all. Stephanie was talking about how AJ has reinforced stereotypes of women as being vicious, conniving, and manipulative. I liked how AJ went back at her about marrying a superstar, and then Stephanie cropped up on her and did the “authority figure” thing. Kaitlyn came out soon after, and Stephanie warned her not to ever interrupt her again. Who exactly does it help by having Stephanie talk to the Divas like they’re chumps? It was a cool surprise for her to come out, but what does it really do? I’ll have more to say about the McMahons in a little bit.
Speaking of Kaitlyn, we saw a lot of her in that segment. As I was recapping, I didn’t notice the nip slip, but my Facebook soon blew up with pictures of her ample areola. Anyway, the brawl between AJ and Kaitlyn was great, and I can’t wait to see more from them. No pun intended.
The Dean Ambrose/Kane match wasn’t really much of a match. The Shield was quickly in the ring, and they took care of Kane with a Triple Powerbomb. Earlier in the night, Triple H ordered Vickie Guerrero to make an example of The Shield if they interfered, but nothing happened. In fact, Vince McMahon praised them after the match.
I guess now would be a good time to talk about the McMahons. I know some people like their interactions on TV, but I’m not one of them. I am not amped up to see another McMahon family feud. It was interesting twelve years ago because Vince wasn’t a million years old and looked like he can still go, but now he’s got that old man turkey neck thing going on. It’s not his fault. That’s just Father Time. I just don’t know how interesting the power struggle will be. The segments, particularly on last week’s RAW, bore me to tears. To me, it’s just not compelling to watch an old man struggle for power against his in shape son-in-law and his daughter.
Man, I was cracking up at the hypocrisy of Zeb Colter as he introduced Antonio Cesaro as his newest client. Cesaro doing the “We the people” thing and then reciting the Pledge of Allegiance after the match was great. This can only be good stuff.
Now, onto an all-time classic RAW segment. I don’t care what you say. Mark Henry had you. I thought he was going to attack John Cena at the beginning, but when he started crying and bringing up his family, as well as Cena being on the apron, I thought it was legit. That was awesome. John Cena cut a great promo before that as well. It was simple and to the point, even though his 2012 wasn’t as bad as he’s made it out to be. Henry’s range of acting skill is so damn impressive. To call on the tears so easily and joke with the crowd, it felt so damn legitimate. What an incredible way to kick off a feud. That was a classic segment and one of the all-time great things Mark Henry has done in WWE.
Chris Jericho beat Heath Slater in a quick match. He also took out the rest of 3MB with a pair of Codebreakers. Not much mention on where Jericho goes from here. I assume he’s going to be in a Money in the Bank match, but from what I’ve read, he’s nursing a knee injury at the moment.
Curtis Axel took care of Sin Cara in quick fashion. Axel experimented with another finisher – the spike DDT. That looked pretty nasty. I still like the Perfect-Plex, however.
CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio had a really good main event match. Del Rio just looks so much more comfortable working as a heel. His offense just makes sense for a heel. It never translated well to face offense. Who wants to watch a good guy work an arm the whole match? Punk also did a good job playing to the crowd a bit. They went hard at each other, and Del Rio decided he had had enough as he bailed from the ring for a count-out loss.
After the match finished, Dolph Ziggler ran out and attacked Del Rio. Ziggler was said to have not been there because of the assault by Del Rio at Payback. Ziggler got a tremendous reaction when he took him down. I’m interested to see how Ziggler does as a face.
Then the really big news happened. Brock Lesnar came out to the ring to confront Punk. I can only assume he was out there because Punk made the line to Heyman that he’s not like Brock Lesnar in that he doesn’t need Heyman’s help to win matches. Heyman was noticeably absent during this. I’m sure he’ll say he had nothing to do with it. This was a hot segment to close the show. Lesnar did a great job. He went like he was going to say something, but he threw the microphone aside and gave Punk an F-5. That was killer. This looks like a Summerslam feud all the way. I think Punk would do a great job with this. The verbal matches between Punk and Heyman during the buildup will be great. After it’s over, who knows what happens for Punk. For now, this is great, and I’m totally excited about it.
This was a tremendous RAW. It had a little bit of everything and never really felt dull at any point, which is big for a three-hour show. It was easily the second best RAW after the one the night after WrestleMania, which I was in attendance for. I was not expecting such a strong follow-up to Payback.
Bump of the Night: Daniel Bryan missing a suicide dive and hitting the barricade headfirst!
Match of the Night: Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk **
Final Rating: ****
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To read about the episode of RAW I’m talking about, click here. Also be sure to check out my Smackdown recap this Friday!
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Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.