Tonight’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw was not their best offering, for sure. This Sunday night WWE will present Summerslam, which is being headlined by a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Brock Lesnar and the Champion, John Cena. To say that there hasn’t been much build to this would be an understatement. Both Brock and Cena’s schedules have meant limited time for them to appear on television to hype this up, instead with them coming up with a few decent video packages.
Tonight promised both men at Raw, with the potential for them to finally meet in the ring being high. Of course, WWE promoted Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration as the main point of watching Raw, which is fine, but Hulk Hogan isn’t main eventing Summerslam, is he? Maybe I’m just an old school wrestling fan, but I prefer my feuds to have some build to them.
The other big matches for Sunday are Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz and, of course, Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella, which they’ve been promoting like crazy.
Let’s look at the highlights.
Paul Heyman Cuts a Promo, Brock Has a New Shirt
Paul Heyman promos will almost always be the best part of WWE programming these days. That isn’t a knock against WWE as much as it is praise for Heyman. Heyman is a master promoter and has been working years to make his character as slimy and repugnant as he can. Was this his best work? No. Was it still great? Yes.
Stephanie McMahon Outs Daniel Bryan as a ‘Cheater’
They are really pushing Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella as one of the biggest matches of the show for Summerslam. This has been getting a huge amount of television time over the past few weeks, which has been both good and bad. More Stephanie? Good. More weird Brie promos? Eh.
The highlight of this angle was really Stephanie’s reaction to his “trainer” saying that she slept with Daniel Bryan. It was one that you imagined her not only faking upset for Brie, but also that she legitimately found it funny that someone would have sex with Daniel Bryan. This woman is a pro. Apparently they’ve allotted 15 minutes of time for Brie vs. Stephanie at Summerslam and they’ve been working really hard to put together a good match for the show. I sure hope so.
Sheamus and Randy Orton Hoss it Out
I’m really not a fan of either guy right now, but I gotta say that Sheamus is a lot better than whatever they are doing with him right now. It really seems like it’s time to pull the trigger on his long-rumored heel turn because I really think that he could be a great, great heel. If not, fine, just give him time to breath and work like a match like this.
Brock Lesnar Pisses on Your Nostalgia
Was it confusing as hell that WWE chose to end the go-home show for Summerslam with a Hulk Hogan birthday celebration? Yes. The only way to redeem that would be for Brock Lesnar to come out and just annihilate everyone in the ring. Paul Orndorf coming out was awesome, same with Nash and Hall coming out, both looking moderately healthy. I kind of wish that Scott Hall could cut a non-drunken promo every week on live television, honestly.
Sometimes, just sometimes, WWE gets it right.
Perhaps the best part? That Lesnar and Cena didn’t get into a scuffle. That nobody was laid out. Lesnar keeps up the aura of being a bad ass monster, Cena keeps the image of being the ultra babyface to the rescue at all times and nobody looks stronger going into Summerslam. There was no F-5, there was no FU.
Brock Lesnar walks away with a knowing smile on his face, that smile saying, “I can destroy you whenever I want.” Beautiful.