Monday Night Raw
July 22, 2013
Austin, Texas

We go back to the last two weeks and the saga between CM Punk and Brock Lesnar to open the show, followed by John Cena picking his opponent for Summerslam. No opening animation, we go live to the arena and Raw GM Brad Maddox is in the ring. We have a desk and microphones, and Maddox says we will have the contract signing for our WWE Title match at Summerslam. Maddox babbles about his greatness and then introduces our WWE Champion John Cena. I for some reason like Cena tonight. I’m not in an anti-Cena mood. Well until he starts what will be a bad promo. We’ll see. Maddox was about to talk but Cena has him wait until the crowd stops chanting. Maddox then asks why he chose Daniel Bryan. Cena says it’s Maddox. Cena says “I chose it because of you Brad. The WWE Universe helped as well.” Maddox then starts berating Bryan about his size, his hair, beard and past mental and relationship issues and that’s why Cena picked him. Cena was going to answer but we’re joined by the new #1 contender to a raucous applause. Bryan says “Seems Brad you’re saying I don’t deserve this title shot.” Brad pretty much says yes. Cena then tells Maddox “Let me tell Daniel Bryan why I picked him. Because Brad’s dumbass bosses wouldn’t see the talent that I did.” He tells Brad then if size matters just hand the title over to the Great Khali. He continues to put Bryan over, but says “just because I chose you, doesn’t mean I’m handing the title over to you.” He does say “You are the best in the fans eyes, but I will prove at Summerslam that even the best isn’t good enough.” Then he signs the contract. Good line. Bryan signs it, then when he’s about to comment Maddox cuts him off and is about to end the segment. Bryan cuts him off and says “I’ve waited for this opportunity my entire life.” Maddox says John Cena and a “minority” of the WWE Universe may believe in him, but others don’t. So Maddox is giving Bryan a chance to prove him tonight with a match. Oh wait, multiple matches. Interesting, Bryan in a gauntlet tonight? Nice. Good opening segment and some of Cena’s best stuff in a while.

MATCH: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
I wonder if this is a prelude to the next Summerslam feud. Sheamus has a new t-shirt. His nasty bruise is still on his left thigh from the MITB ladder match. This has been a pretty good match with both guys really pummeling each other. As much as Sheamus’ character makes me vomit in my mouth, at least he’s remained a tough bastard in the ring. The guys mention Damien Sandow possibly cashing in, but I honestly can’t take it seriously like I do other years when guys’ names are mentioned. Really he’s not RVD or Edge or even Jack Swagger. Great strategy by Del Rio to keep kicking Sheamus’ leg. There’s “SI SI SI” chants in this match. So now he’s getting cheers? He actually rolls Sheamus over after the leg collapsed during White Noise to win the match. Very entertaining but great strategy there. The crowd gave Del Rio some pops. This is where the WWE Universe keeps fucking shit up. They hated this guy, so the bookers turned him heel, now they’re cheering him (a little) again. What the hell?

Oh Christ, the cast of Total Divas on Miz TV tonight. Don’t expect me to watch that crap.

Renee is with Booker T and Teddy Long. We go back to Friday when Vince McMahon made Vickie Guerrero the GM of Smackdown, again. Booker is taken aback and shocked. Teddy is pissed at Booker because he was left holding the bag on Smackdown while Booker was home, and then when Vickie threw him out of the building. Teddy says maybe, Vince made the right decision about Smackdown’s new boss.

MATCH: Christian vs. Titus O’Neil
It’s Shawn Michaels’ birthday today. Maybe he will be one of Daniel Bryan’s matches tonight. Ah, one can dream. Titus uses his size early but Christian’s smarts take over. Sometimes Christian tries too hard to get the crowd pumped up, like he’s thinking “Wow this crowd is quiet. No one cares.” Christian goes for the Killswitch but O’Neil pushes out and hits a boot to the head. Christian reverses a move and then hits the Killswitch for the win.

We go back to Friday night when Ryback beats Jericho down after a long match with Curtis Axel. This is writing Jericho out of the show for a while as Fozzy is touring. Josh Matthews is with Ryback. Josh says Ryback enjoys intimidating people. Ryback says “I do. Like you Josh, you twirp. I hate average.” Ryback gets in Josh’s face and he runs off. So this is Ryback’s new storyline? A bully?

Back from break and out comes Mark Henry, fresh off the ass kicking the Shield gave him. We go back to last week and the beatdown. Henry says “I’m proud of the fact that I am a born and raised Texan, down the street in Silsby.” This is the beginnings of a babyface promo. He says “I’m not gonna lull y’all to sleep.” He calls the Shield out for more. The music plays and out they come through the crowd. They surround the ring, and get on the apron. Henry starts the fight but the numbers game plays out. Out comes the Usos to help out. We may see a Summerslam match being created here. Henry and the Usos clean the ring out except for Reigns who eat a Henry splash. The Shield retreat.

Backstage Cena and Bryan are chatting, and Cena says “Maddox isn’t making the decisions on his own.” Bryan says to Cena “Thanks for the opportunity, but don’t help me tonight. Or else all the compliments you gave me earlier in the night was a load of crap.”

MATCH: Darren Young vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggy gets a huge pop from the Longhorns fans. We go back to Friday night when he announced he dumped AJ and rubbed some salt in the wound. Then Big E was going to try and steal a smooch but he didn’t. Weird. That’s the basis of this storyline? In my opinion this match is more for Young than Dolph. He hasn’t had many solo opportunities. He did hit a reverse Electric Chair for two. They DY starts jawing with Dolph and out of nowhere Dolph drills the Zig Zag and gets the win.

After the match Big E Langston comes out and tries to beat Dolph down but Zigs escapes.

Miz TV is with the Total Divas cast and we get a sneak peek at the show. It’s great to watch on fast forward.

Back from break and Brad Maddox is on the phone when Triple H. He says Maddox doesn’t think Daniel Bryan is championship material. HHH thinks Maddox had words put in his mouth. Hunter says “I don’t care what the old man thinks. Daniel Bryan could be the future of this company and he is so driven it doesn’t matter what you throw at him.” He also tells Maddox “There’s two trains leaving the station. One is the future. The other is a dead end.” He leaves and Stephanie arrives. She feels for Brad at the battle he has to juggle, but she has an idea and she’ll let him know what it is. More train references.

We go back to Raw two weeks ago when the Wyatt Family debuted and took out Kane, then last week when they took out R-Truth and then Heath Slater’s beatdown on Main Event.

MATCH: Fandango vs. Cody Rhodes
MITB winner Damien Sandow joins the announce table and we go back to Friday when he offered Cody “protector of the case” and Cody beat the shit out of him. I’m not paying attention to the match as much as I’m enjoying the lunacy of the commentary. Sandow says he wants Cody to be his butler. He takes the usual heel role and says he carried Cody in their tag team run. Sandow tries to interfere but Cody gives he and Fandango the Disaster Kick, then he hits Cross Rhodes on Fandango for the win.

Back from break and IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME. Out comes a hobbled CM Punk. No hoodie. I wish they’d sell that “Gracie Jiu-jitsu” hoodie. Awesome. We go back to last week and Brock Lesnar’s beatdown of the Best in the World. He gets down to business. “Last week I got my ass handed to me by Brock Lesnar. He beat me down with his best shot over and over and over.” He says he has many messed up body parts but he says “I’m still standing. He can beat me down, but not keep me down.” He puts over Lesnar’s championship resume. He says “Brock Lesnar’s biggest strength is fear. It’s what made him a WWE and UFC Champion.” Punk does say “I’m not afraid of Brock Lesnar.” Now we talk Paul Heyman. He says “He and Brock can do whatever they want whenever they want. THIS IS MY RING.” He lists all the guys he’s faced.” He says “Monsters were brought on this earth for one reason. TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” Punk calls out Brock Lesnar for Summerslam. “The Best vs. The Beast.” Paul Heyman shows up via satellite. He likes the moniker. Punk says that “via satellite” better be real because he will find him. Paul says “Brock says everyone hates Texans. So Punk, for every hero is either a coward or a fool. Which one are you?” Punk says Brock will be one of them at Summerslam. Paul says “It bothers you that my strategy made you WWE Champion for 434 days. Brock Lesnar is in prime fighting form, so your challenge is accepted.” Paul calls Brock Lesnar “his best friend in the world.” Another great promo from two awesome stick men. Brock-Punk at Summerslam. Fuck yeah.

Friday night on Smackdown, Alberto Del Rio will face Rob Van Dam. Nice.

MATCH: Wade Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam
Poor Wade Barrett. Is this what he’s been relegated to? Poor bastard. Not that a match with RVD is a bad thing by any stretch. However is he now paying for his IC Title reign with jobs? Oh wait a minute, HE JOBBED AS IC CHAMPION TOO. Ugh. Solid TV match, with RVD hitting the Froggie for the victory.

MATCH: Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger
So this is possibly Daniel Bryan’s first match tonight. I fast forward Zeb Colter’s comments. They’re boring now. He talks about Stephen F. Austin and the birth of Texas and makes fun of Texans. Swagger works him over but he’s spending too much time doing that “We the People” stuff and Bryan catches him in a Yes Lock for the victory.

MATCH: Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro
That makes sense. They start after the break and after Cesaro had the early advantage Bryan takes over until Cesaro powers a suplex. This is just for all the Bryan junkies to see non-stop action in the ring. I’m starting to think Cesaro joining Colter is a mistake. His matches are so boring now. His workrate has been dummied down since his run as US Champion. Cesaro hits a European Uppercut with Swagger’s help while the ref is with Colter but no three count. He’s getting more time with Bryan than Swagger did. So that says something. Lawler says it’s either Maddox or a “Higher Power” that wanted this gauntlet. Haha great inside joke there. Bryan tries to fight back with uppercuts but Cesaro hits a Samoan Drop. This match has picked up, I might have jumped the gun on Cesaro. We get the “This is Awesome” chants. Bryan to the top rope but Cesaro hits the rope and Bryan’s crotched. Bryan eventually gets Cesaro tied up in the corner and boots his chest about ten times. Bryan goes for a superplex but Cesaro turns it over in mid air to a splash for two. I definitely jumped the gun, this is fantastic. They start cracking each other with European Uppercuts. Cesaro takes over and just bludgeons him. He can’t pin Bryan. Bryan know starts hitting the Uppercuts, then he ties Cesaro’s legs and more uppercuts. Cesaro goes for the flying uppercut but Bryan reverses midair into a small package for the victory. That was a great match.

Maddox is backstage with Alex Riley. Maddox says we’ll see how he does against this next one.

MATCH: Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback
Bryan starts fast on him but Ryback takes over. Ryback pretty much beats the crap out of him, since Bryan has wrestled for almost 30 minutes so far. The crowd chants “You Can’t Wrestle”. It’s, not really but kind of true. Ryback overcompensates for a move and Bryan hooks a single leg Boston Crab. Bryan hooks it good but Ryback makes the ropes. Ryback regains control but when he charges Bryan drills him with a knee to the jaw. Bryan starts throwing drop kicks to get back into it. Ryback eventually heads outside to open up a table and Bryan runs through the ropes and spears Ryback into the announce table. They continue to go back and forth in the ring with kicks and power moves. Bryan makes a crazy comeback and gets the Yes Lock on Ryback. The big guy is battling and Ryback crawls across the ring and finally gets to the rope. Ryback rolls outside, and Bryan runs at him but Ryback catches him and power bombs him to the floor. He picks Bryan up and power bombs him on the open table. Ryback gets disqualified.

Ryback looks to pick Bryan up but Cena runs down and takes Ryback out. Cena calls Ryback out and wants a Tables match right now. Ryback says fine. So maybe it’s not tonight. Who knows when, maybe next week. Cena’s music plays and he helps Bryan who’s still down. Backstage Maddox is happy when Vince McMahon comes in. Maddox will book Cena/Ryback for next week. Vince wants more from Daniel Bryan, so Maddox has Bryan against his best friend Kane. With that we’re out.

SCOTT’S TAKE: Vince showing up at the end did nothing other than to complete the family trifecta with Triple H and Stephanie on earlier. Cena was fine tonight with his promos. The matches were great, one of the best workrate Raws in a while.

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