Monday Night Raw just went off the air and emanated live from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma tonight. I think Raw did a good job in continuing down the road to Summerslam but before we get into some of the highlights on the show, there were some news bits that came out of Raw that set us up for the weeks to come in WWE that I’ll briefly touch on. At the top of the show the Authority announced that WWE Summerslam will now be four hours long. I know this was announced earlier in the day but I think it’s a great idea as it makes Summerslam a big deal and almost like the Wrestlemania of the summer. I really think WWE can move Summerslam to a stadium show soon enough and wouldn’t be surprised to see Summerslam held at the Red Bull arena next year, or hell, maybe even Metlife Stadium. Also on Raw it was announced that Stone Cold Steve Austin’s WWE Network Podcast will be returning after a one month hiatus. His guest will be none other than Paige! I saw some stuff on Twitter surprised it wasn’t Sting or Undertaker (would have been a good time for Taker with Summerslam a few weeks away) but I think Paige is a really unique guest and I’m interested to see the chemistry between her and Austin. If Austin is going to do these podcasts more frequently, it can’t be a top guy every time and with the give divas a chance initiative, I’m glad to see Paige as the choice here. Truth be told, I believe that f4wonline reported that Hulk Hogan was supposed to be the guest this time around, and obviously that isn’t going to happen. Let’s get into Raw!
John Cena is Beyond Tough- First things first, I thought that Seth Rollins and John Cena had one helluva match and if this is the direction that they’re headed for Summerslam, then I for one can’t wait. I wasn’t crazy about Seth Rollins tapping out but if the story is that Cena beat Seth when defending his title so he deserves a shot at Seth’s World Title, well then it made sense. With that out of the way, kudos to John Cena for wrestling the last ten minutes of the match with a brutal looking broken nose. His nose looked contorted with blood gushing everywhere from his nose after an errant knee to the face from Rollins. Say what you will about Cena but he’s as tough as they come and showed that old school “the match must go on” mentality last night. Even if Cena requires surgery, and I assume he’s going to, I don’t expect that anything is going to keep John Cena off of the Summerslam card.
The Opening Segment– I loved the way that they did the opening segment last night as it reminded me of segments from back in the attitude era. Having Triple H and Stephanie come out to set up the entire night full of matches (I believe they listed the four matches for the night) was a great idea as it gave the viewer a reason to remain tuned in and a lot to look forward to over the course of the show. Say what you will about the Authority but when they’re on the screen, it does bring an extra added level of importance.
The Divas Revolution Is In Full Effect- Other than the main event between John Cena and Seth Rollins, the match of the night belonged to the Divas as Paige took on Sasha Banks. I thought the match was very good and they ladies got about 14 minutes to really let their match unfold and the story develop. It made sense for Sasha to get the win as it continues to establish her and doesn’t hurt the more established Paige to take the loss. I also thought the tag match was very good in that Becky Lynch was profiled, I believe for the first time on Raw since being called up. It was also cool to see Lynch (again no relation, sadly) get the win and then moments later WWE put up a graphic for a one on one match between Nikki Bella and Becky Lynch for this week’s Smackdown. This made the whole room of people I was watching the show with go “oh wow set the DVR for Smackdown”, which has to be what WWE was going for. All in all, the divas got about a half an hour of Raw and two matches again this week. The divas division continues to have a renewed focus and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.
Overall, i really enjoyed Raw this week as they continue to focus a good portion of Raw on more of the in ring product which is nice to see. We also saw many of the stories going into Summerslam progress with Bray Wyatt cutting a promo reestablishing the Wyatt Family, the continued tease that perhaps Arrow will get involved in the Stardust and Neville feud, the buildup of the tag team division, the Kevin Owens-Cesaro feud and the Randy Orton and Sheamus feud. I like the focus that WWE is putting on every match heading into Summerslam, it makes the show feel like the Wrestlemania of the summer. I honestly had no problem with the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar not being on the show this week as the brawl from last week was so good that I feel it was OK to have a week reliving the brawl. At the end of the day, Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker were both taken out of the building in handcuffs last week, so having them return this week would have been too much. Besides, WWE already did a good job in promoting that Brock will be back next week, then you have Taker return the week after that and have both of them return the week before Summerslam.
That’s going to do it for me today but what did you think of Raw? Are you excited for Summerslam? I’ll be back later today with the Tough Enough Power Rankings. Tough Enough airs tonight on the USA Network and it’s being promoted that Sasha Banks, Tamina Snuka and Naomi will all be on hand.