David Stephens reviews WWE RAW for 6/24/13

Dave’s RAW Thoughts
June 25, 2013
By: David Stephens of Wrestleview.com

On the heels of one of the strongest RAWs of the quarter the WWE had to figure out a way to keep the fans interested and thirsting for more. Several angles were continued which will push their participants into a new life of feuds. Current feuds that were growing stale have either grown new legs or have been mercifully amputated.

Daniel Bryan and Orton kicked off the show with a brawl that would set up one of my favorite main events of the past several months. Bryan was furious that his match was stopped and Vickie was ultimately forced to give him another shot against Orton. One of the most striking aspects of this angle was the fact that Orton was nearly completely missing from the build. It was obvious that Bryan was the one gung ho about the encounter. It was Bryan who felt as though he had a small man complex. This episode of RAW was about understanding the drive and desires inside of Bryan’s head. It was about Bryan overcoming his psychological misgivings and proving that he was not the weak link.

The street fight that closed the show was flat out enjoyable. There were many elements that clicked perfectly without the street fight gimmick being hokey. I’m glad that we avoided the typical trashcan full of stop signs and such. No disrespect to New Jack, cause he’d kill me, but Orton and me told a story in the ring with their foreign objects. I’m not usually the guy to harp on ring psychology because it is such a subjective phrasing. It’s a term used far too often and far too vaguely. Regardless of what you want to call it, these two competitors told an incredible tale in the ring on RAW. Bryan continues to showcase his versatility.

Even on a show that featured John Cena embarking on a new feud, the McMahons returning to dominance, a video game cover revealed, and the ever-unfolding drama of Punk/Heyman/Lesnar, Bryan was the overarching theme and figure. As RAW faded to black the first words out of my mouth were, “wow what a story they just told”. Orton resisted an RKO that could have turned all of the attention onto him. Instead, he respectively shook Bryan’s hand and acknowledged that on this night Bryan was hungrier for the victory.

Vickie and Brad, or Team Brickie, are becoming quite the dynamo. The drama with the McMahons could suggest that Vickie’s time is running out as the GM but there are still several months of drama to reveal before she is thrown to the wayside. I know Brad Maddox isn’t the most popular guy but he always makes me chuckle. His delivery and little smirks crack me up every time. He’s playing his part to perfection. Maddox is playing the assistant role far stronger than Johnny Nitro accomplished for Eric Bischoff. But in the end it will be all about the wrestling.

People need to stop getting twisted up about Sheamus beating Damien Sandow or Cody Rhodes on a weekly basis. Obviously if you are a fan of those men it is going to hit you hard, but at least they are being used on the show. The fact of the matter is that the WWE has three hours of programming to fill on the Monday show alone. Several major storylines were progressing tonight. The company was mindful that Sheamus needed to be featured as the company considers him one of the tope five guys. While it is frustrating to consistently watch someone lose each week, as has been the case with Sandow or Rhodes, I’d caution that a bit of perspective will take the sting away. Sandow’s time is coming. The fact that he is being used each week in more than a supporting role illustrates that fact. Patience is tough when it comes to wrestling, but he will have his time.

Kaitlyn and AJ continued the first Divas feud that I have paid attention to in years. I even found a chuckle in the lame muscle suit. And let’s be real the entire segment was worth it because we got to see Big E. Langston in his swag clothes bringing out another bouquet of flowers. I can only imagine what Langston would have been like as a prom date.

Jericho’s victory of Alberto Del Rio should have in the very least thrusted him into the WHC Money in the Bank match. I was even seeing the seeds of a Triple Threat for the Title being sown but Ryback had other plans. If I remember correctly Jericho took on Goldberg back in 2003 and it was a pretty rough and enjoyable match. If anyone can give Ryback a much-needed boost after his constant defeats it will be Jericho. Chris has come out on top more during this latest run than he has in the past several years. He is poised to put a younger talent over before his next singing tour. It appears that that young talent will be Ryback. Chris Jericho will lose this PPV match you can bank on it.

The Rock is featured on the cover of the WWE 2K14 game. Before everyone gets super upset I would remind that it’s just the cover of the game. It’s what is inside that counts. While I understand that is the kind of advice most people give for dating, it holds true for this game. The cover doesn’t matter, it’s often even out of sight when the game is actually being played. It’s not worth the angst. Rock on the cover will hopefully sell more games which will allow greater investment in the gaming engine and a better game for 2015. It’s a long haul for those processes.

John Cena and Mark Henry has turned into an intriguing feud. The sheer volume of the 17 years that Henry has spent in the company is staggering. He is not going to take the belt from Cena, but he will put on a great feud. Ever since Henry was able to reinvent and find himself on ECW the man has been a force of destruction.

The Usos picked up a victory that is no doubt connected to their upcoming appearances on the Total Divas show on E. One of them is dating one of the Funkadactyls so they will be on a few episodes. As for which Uso I’ll just be honest – I can’t tell the Usos apart in the ring so I sure as hell can’t tell them apart in their dating lives.

CM Punk cut a fierce promo on Paul Heyman. There was a passion in Punk’s words that he rarely showcases. The hugging embrace was a nice touch though a bit awkward. From an outside perspective it was a rather odd sequence of events. Heyman said he wanted to walk Punk down the aisle one day, Punk told Heyman he loved him and then they embraced for a full minute. To a wrestling fan it was perfection. To an outsider it was another example of why they will never understand why we watch this product. I’m okay with that.

Darren Young’s showing against Punk was easily his best RAW match. Punk was his mentor back in the days of NXT so they had some spunk stored up in the tank. Darren Young has often been take-him-or-leave-him for me, but tonight I was undoubtedly impressed. Maybe Titus O’Neil is not the only one to deserve a singles chance out of the group. Maybe not a singles push, but at least a chance. Young took the moment in his hands with the guidance of Punk. If he can continue at such a level he just may find himself employed for a few more years.

Curtis Axel’s assistance was an unexpected but logical touch. Heyman loves his homeboy Punk and sent a lackey down to help him out. It’s an interesting storyline as Punk tries to steer clear of such heels and their tactics.

It’s tough to keep people entertained for three hours straight in an age where 140 characters or 10 second Vine videos seem to be the extent of this generation’s attention span. The WWE managed to do just that for most of the show so I consider it a success. If there was a rubric that determined what makes a good show, the WWE hit most of them on Monday Night. The build for Money in the Bank lingers, as one of the most anticipated and landscape-changing PPVs of the year grows ever closer.

David Stephens

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