This weekâ€™s show was stronger at the start and finish with the middle giving the fans a bit of a breather as they were able to soak in the people who were returning to Raw after absences. The pacing of the show felt much faster during the first half hour and the final half hour.
Here are my thoughts on this weekâ€™s show:
Who Own the WWE Title
To paraphrase from Slap Shot, the big question after tonightâ€™s show is who is the real WWE Champion. The show started with Rey Mysterio facing the Miz in the finals of the WWE Title Tournament that took place last week and was interrupted by the announcement that Triple H was taking over from Vince McMahon due to some questionable decisions (one of which must not have been the WWE Title Tournament).
I thought the match between Miz and Rey Mysterio was a very good way to start the show and both men gave everything in the ring. I thought Miz did a good job controlling the early portion of the match and he was able to avoid a lot of Reyâ€™s offense. I thought Miz did a good job neutralizing Reyâ€™s aerial moves in the first part of the match and he was able to ground Mysterio.
As the match progressed, Rey was able to take control by working on Mizâ€™s shoulder but Miz was still able to fight off Rey and got more near falls. I really liked the slingshot sit out power bomb by Miz and I was a little surprised that Rey was able to kick out of the hold.
Throughout the match, none of the issues with Mizâ€™s knee that existed last week returned until Miz missed the running knee into the corner when Rey was in the Tree of Woe. With the way that Miz had wrestled for about ten minutes, I was a bit surprised that Rey got the win so easily with the 619 and dive since Miz controlled most of the match.
We almost saw our second WWE Champion crowned in the first half hour when Alberto Del Rio tried to take advantage of Mizâ€™s post match attack on Rey. However, by the time that Del Rio got to the ring and was ready to cash in the briefcase, Rey had recovered and hit a dive onto Del Rio and Alberto had second thoughts about whether he wanted to be the first man to fail when cashing in the briefcase.
The Del Rio attempt to cash in was not the final time that the WWE Title would be defended on this weekâ€™s show because Triple H announced during his State of WWE (Raw Edition) Address that Rey Mysterio would defend against John Cena since Cena never got his rematch.
The show ended with Mysterio and Cena and I thought it was a very good match and just like in the Miz/Mysterio match, both men had very strong performances.
I was a bit surprised why Rey would work on the leg so much during the match, but once he used the STF at the end of the show, it made sense. I was a bit surprised as well with the way that Rey was the one who maintained the strength advantage over Cena. There were a lot of counters that you donâ€™t normally see in a John Cena match. Speaking of counters, I like that people are starting to know when John Cena goes for his â€˜Legendary Sequenceâ€™ and Rey did a great job with the drop kick to the second shoulder tackle. Cena also did a good job trying to hit the Blue Thunder Bomb.
I mentioned the STF by Rey briefly above, but I was really surprised to see Rey use the STF during the match primarily because of his size. Cena did a good job selling his knee during most of the match, especially when he collapsed under Reyâ€™s weight when he tried for the Attitude Adjustment after getting out of the STF.
With the celebration for Rey after his win, I was not really surprised that Cena won the title back.
Regardless of how you feel about Rey, he wrestled for almost twenty-five minutes tonight when that is not something that you see from a WWE wrestler in a week.
While John Cena was celebrating his latest title reign, some people might have thought that Alberto Del Rio was going to come out and try to cash in for the second time in the night against his second opponent. Instead, the guitar riff of Vernon Reid played throughout the arena. After about a minute, CM Punk emerged with the WWE Title belt as he made his return to Raw. Punk came to the ring and he faced off with John Cena in a battle between the two men who can claim to be the WWE Champion.
Personally, I loved the fact that the WWE used Cult of Personality for CM Punk since that was what he used when he was the Ring of Honor World Champion in 2005. On my Monday audio after Money in the Bank, I thought suggested that they should find a way to get the rights to Cult of Personality so they could continue the parallels to 2005.
I almost expected to have the music play but not have CM Punk make an appearance tonight because it could have been the build for next week and whether he would show up or continue to torment John Cena.
How Did Triple H do on his First Day In Charge
Triple H made an appearance at the start of the second hour to make his State of the WWE Address. I thought Triple H acknowledging Vince McMahon for making everything that happened on the show possible was a good touch and it showed that while there might be a new regime running the show, they were not going to forget what got them to this point.
I also liked how Hunter congratulated Rey on his victory, but then later in his address, made Rey defend the title immediately.
I thought the curveball leading to the return of Jim Ross was well done. He drew people into thinking that he was talking about CM Punk only to get the sound guy to play Boomer Sooner for the return of the man who knows wrestling holds. With the return of Jim Ross, maybe it will be a return to respectability for Jerry Lawler since he is not going to be arguing with Ross.
I thought Cole handled this well because Jim Ross was coming back to claim Coleâ€™s spot as the voice of WWE. I thought he made a good point saying that Jim Ross was the past and Hunter talked about the future. Even though Cole did his best to suck up to Vince McMahon, I liked how he was suggesting that Jim Ross was going to end up kissing Triple Hâ€™s butt.
Hunter responded to Coleâ€™s comments by pointing out that he was willing to fire Cole until he saw what it would cost the company to fire him. I was thinking that they were going to make Cole do demeaning things until he quit, but I hope they donâ€™t go down that path. With the way that Hunter was explaining the situation, I am hoping that they are not going to do the three man booth on Mondays and that Cole will settle into his spot on Friday night and focus on Smackdown.
As someone mentioned either on the board or in the chat room, maybe Hunter will do some spring cleaning at the announce table on Fridays and we can see Matt Striker or Todd Grisham return to the table with Josh and Cole.
I thought they did a good job continuing the R Truth conspiracy angle into the new regime. I liked Truth going straight to Triple H and then when Truth was talking to his imaginary friends and Hunter made sure that he had his invisible men to deal with Truthâ€™s people.
I thought the segment with Truth and Triple H might have gone a little longer than it needed to and it made the segment a little too comedic when you have R Truth trying to return to the main event picture.
Hunter also did something that I did not think was possible. He â€˜re-signedâ€™ someone who was currently under contract when he talked about the return of John Morrison while dealing with R Truth.
The Other Matches on the Show
The other wrestling matches besides the two WWE Title matches were relatively short.
The Ziggler/Bourne match was okay, but it was too short to really help out Bourne in the match. It looks like Bourneâ€™s run leading up to the Money in the Bank match is over because he was on defense for most of the match with Ziggler. Ziggler was able to take control of the situation and he got the win with the Zig Zag and the sleeper. I did like Ziggler telling everyone to â€˜follow thatâ€™. Maybe this means that we are going to see the devious Dolph Ziggler that existed on Smackdown.
The Divas tag match was what you would expect from the Divas on Raw who are not named Gail or Beth. This match was more about the women trying to show their opponents up by doing their moves or gestures. Early in the match, it looked like Maryse wanted to roll out of the way while Eve was showing that her tag team partner is not the only woman in the WWE with poor rhythm but then she almost suffered more damage from the moonsault when she almost did not roll back. In the end, Kelly got the win as she will find out her opponent at Summerslam next week when all of the Divas compete in a Battle Royal.
When Triple H announced that Michael Cole would be wrestling again, I thought that they were going to have Cole wrestle Alex Riley since there is a history between Riley and Cole since Riley stood up to the Miz a few months ago. Instead it was a chance for one of the wrestlers on the Island of Misfit Superstars to make an appearance on Raw. Zack Ryder got to beat Michael Cole in less time than it took to read this paragraph. The highlight of this match took place before it started when Michael Cole came out to Triple Hâ€™s music and in Triple Hâ€™s gear and did the ColeFountain.
The other match on the show might have been the best match that was not a title match but because it was not much longer than the other non-title matches, it was hard to really gauge the match. Alberto Del Rio got a quick victory over Kofi Kingston by methodically working over Kofiâ€™s arm after Kofi controlled the first quarter of the match. Del Rio quickly worked on Kofiâ€™s arm and worked on it whenever he could to set up the cross arm breaker. I donâ€™t know if a clean loss in a short match is going to hurt Kofi, but we will see how he does when he gets another shot at Dolph Ziggler for the United States Title.
The Rest of the Show
With the importance of it being the first night with Triple H in control, I liked how they had the entire locker room there. It was also good to see some FCW wrestlers among the Raw roster.
The celebration in the back for Rey Mysterio after he won the WWE Title was a good touch. It gave the locker room a chance to stand behind one of their own because I doubt if we would have seen the same thing if Miz had won the match. It was interesting to see who the wrestlers were that were showering Rey with champagne.
I guess I should have seen the foreshadow alert signs flashing in the background when Cena congratulated Rey because when there is some major celebration, it usually means that something bad was going to happen. The only think missing would have been if Rey was wearing a red uniform from Starfleet.
I liked that Del Rio did not cash in the briefcase this week, even without knowing that Cena would be getting his rematch against Rey. While I expect to see Del Rio take advantage of the situation to try to cash in, I hope he waits a little while.
I am still holding out hope that we do not see CM Punk versus John Cena in a â€˜title versus title matchâ€™ at SummerSlam because I think the longer that Punk draws this out, the better the angle can be. I would still like to see some sort of legal action to hold up the title or have Alberto cash in against Cena and then have Cena not declared the â€˜officialâ€™ champion and the cashing in declared invalid.
While I was not a big fan of the Keith Stone, Eve Torres, and Bellas segment you have to give the man credit for being able to create an elaborate sleeve tattoo with multiple colors only using a green marker.
If the Bellas are going to continue to wear outfits that are low cut around the waist, it is going to be pretty easy to differentiate Brie from Nikki because of Brieâ€™s tattoo.
I liked Mizâ€™s promo before the main event. I liked that Miz was angry that John Cena got a title match because of what Cena had done to cause all of these problems in the company. I also liked how Miz, even though he was a heel did not mention Punk by name when it is something that you would expect him to do. Miz also got in a plug for his appearance on George Lopez while also wondering how Rey would be able to represent the company at personal appearances. Miz is not endearing himself to Triple H, but he still made some valid points because Cena should have been fired last week only to be saved by Triple H.
The weirdest thing about this weekâ€™s Raw, at least for the second half of the show was that wrestling moves were being called during the matches. That is something that you usually have to get from WWE shows on the internet.
I think Jim Rossâ€™ return while the CM Punk storyline is getting a chance to develop and expand is a good thing. I donâ€™t know if JR will reference any of the ROH stuff that Punk did, but if any of the announcers are going to do it, it would either be Ross, Striker, Regal, or Mathews and three of those men are not Raw announcers.
I wonder what Hunter is going to do on Friday night when he makes his State of the WWE Address (Smackdown edition). Will he also do the same on NXT and Superstars?
Recommended Segments: Rey Mysterio versus Miz; Triple Hâ€™s State of the WWE Address; Mizâ€™s promo in the locker room; Rey Mysterio versus John Cena; the return of CM Punk