I'm trying to get back into wrasslin' as we approach the 1000th episode of Raw and get into SummerSlam buildup. I've caught the cool stuff on YouTube, like Vader and Sid, but for the most part, I'm out of the loop on what WWE's been up to. Luckily, it's always easy to just dive right back in.
This week's review will be in the Fair to Flair WOO!/BOO! format.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara was a great hat tip to the Laredo, TX crowd and it should set up a future rivalry nicely once Del Rio moves on from Sheamus. I would wager WWE could do BIG business with Del Rio defending the World Title against Sin Cara during their next Latin American tour.
Paul Heyman, as usual, was marvelous. Few people can play the lovable rebel so well, then turn around and play the most disgusting, unlikable scumbag you've ever seen. Heyman turning the Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar narrative into HHH's secret way to be forced into retirement was a nice touch as well. I didn't really like the "Brock will give his answer in three weeks" stuff, it's good heat, but they just dragged out the "will he accept!?" stuff with HHH and The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Heath Slater finally getting a win in the Raw 1000 buildup, defeating Doink, was a nice redirection for a DDP cameo! Even if DDP did have to return with his terrible WWE theme and without his rib tape, it was great to see him. Although it is weird that most of these returns center around guys who might be considered more WCW guys than WWE guys.
CM Punk & John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan & Chris Jericho was a fun main event, but the match itself was largely irrelevant. While it was refreshing to see Cena in a main event tag match where someone else got the hot tag, the big story was AJ snapping and shoving CM Punk off the top rope, onto Daniel Bryan and through a table outside. It was an odd ending, how often does Raw end with a female wrestler standing tall over two top male competitors? But it was cool, as silly as this AJ stuff has been, I like the idea that a woman - even if she's basically playing Overly Attached Girlfriend - can get one over on the boys. And not just like Beth Phoenix occasionally eliminating a guy from the Royal Rumble or Chyna beating up midcarders, AJ outsmarted - and frankly, dominated - two of the top guys in WWE.
I didn't really dig the opening segment. Jericho whipping out the old catchphrases was a nice touch, but for the most part, it was the worst of what we come to expect in the opening "Hey I don't like you"/"Well I don't like you either!" promo.
Santino Marella, Christian, R-Truth & Kofi Kingston vs. David Otunga, Cody Rhodes, Titus O'Neil & Darren Young started off fine, and I didn't even mind Abraham Washington's guys hightailing it (they have a guaranteed title match, after all), but once it devolved to "All the good guys (and the addition of Brodus Clay) gang up on the most unlikable bad guy" bit, which is so stale, I soured on it. It also showed the very wide gap between WWE's main event scene and everyone else. All these guys are or could be strong utility players, but they just feel "lesser," which is unfortunate.
Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero vs. Sheamus & AJ didn't seem to serve any purpose other than to get AJ mad at CM Punk for not watching her match. Although that did lead to the cool finish of the main event.
I fast-forwarded through Kane vs. Big Show, don't judge me. Big Show's been great lately, but no one wants to see that match.
Tyson Kidd vs. Tensai... WTF?
I enjoyed this show. Nothing must-see (except DDP), but it was refreshing to see Raw end with something other than a ho-hum promo with Johnny Ace and John Cena trading insults. Even though the match didn't get a proper ending, the story tied into the PPV and provided a unique finish, so I'm gonna give it the thumbs up.