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Hot start with Edge and a nice way to get Christian off TV if his concussion is still causing problems. It’s also a great way to re-introduce him into the storyline if he is ready to return. The personal jabs between Hunter and Edge gave a sense of reality to the exchange that really worked. Sadly it's still Hunter getting heat, but maybe we'll see something tonight.
Kofi Kingston defeated Curtis Axel by disqualification at 2:17.
They're trying too hard with Axel now. He looks like a complete chump going into Sunday. Maybe that's what they want, but I don't think you can pull back at this point. If they somehow screw Punk out of getting his hands on Heyman with how bad Axel has looked I think fans check out on the story. It's the proverbial "jumped the shark" moment. And yet how is Axel going to get any boost out of this? A competitive match with Punk screams "predetermined" because Axel looks totally incompetent and Punk is the "best in the world." This feud is losing steam fast with Axel as the proxy. I hope this is the blow off on Sunday.
Obvious fake injury is obvious. I realize it's Heyman's character, but what a weak choice. And what the hell was Booker going on about? Is he telling Show to do what Hunter says? It was a rambling promo that left me a little confused.
Bray Wyatt defeated Dolph Ziggler at 6:29.
This Raw has been a snooze fest since the opening segment. I don't understand why you would blow through these two facing each other for the first time on a go home Raw when they aren't facing each other in any way at the PPV, That total lack of story made this completely missable.
Half Way Thoughts
We will be roughly 75 minutes into this show when we get back from commercial and we have had roughly 9 minutes of wrestling. I'm all about storytelling, but do something in the ring, guys. I'm glad we got the payoff to the Heyman injury angle quickly, but it was still a weak way to sell the PPV match. Toronto was hot for Punk, and I don't think they hurt their sales in the least. I'm just underwhelmed compared to other things we have seen.
Brie Bella, Naomi, and Natalya defeated Aksana, Layla, and Alicia Fox at 2:56.
Another underwhelming attempt to sell the PPV. There might be a story here ultimately, but they haven’t settled on what it is yet. I was being 100 percent honest when I said the Sharpshooter was more over than any of the women. That's not a sign you’re your characters are very compelling now. Goldust is getting the star treatment tonight. He should get a big pop from this crowd. Good on him.
Alberto Del Rio defeated R-Truth at 4:48.
Another meaningless match that didn't help their PPV sales. It looks like they are once again taking it lightly on the Monday Night Football doubleheader Monday, even with a go home show. There hasn't really been one compelling thing since the opening segment. Even if you like Punk and Heyman, it wasn't compelling.
Santino Marella defeated Antonio Cesaro at 3:43.
Did they really just announce a tag team match and then job one of the participants out to a comedy act? What the hell? For what it’s worth, the Players had the biggest picture on the graphic. Oh, and welcome back Santino.
Damien Sandow defeated Miz at 3:48.
I guess it's going to be Fandango vs. Miz at Night of Champions. More heat for Hunter. There were some subtle hints there at Dustin's drug use, including the added pressure stuff. I hope that's coincidence and not something they meant to play into. I don't think it’s smart to use real life demons as storyline fodder.
Randy Orton Def Goldust. If Goldust wins, Cody Rhodes can get his job back
A mediocre match that made up for it in the last five minutes with some fun action. Dustin looked good, but they didn't do that much either. They took their time and hit the big flurry at the end and it worked. I don't think it did much for the story, nut it was a fun moment.
RVD defeated Ryback by disqualification at 2:58.
That looked like a big TV that Show threw down, and it was one of those old school tube types. Those things are heavy.
Main Event: Daniel Bryan defeated Dean Ambrose at 14:08.
Well that didn't make a bit of sense. I get the idea of closing the show with Bryan over Orton, but they could have figured out how to do that with it making sense. Where did Stephanie and Hunter go? I don't think they did a very good job of selling Night of Champions with that moment because I still don't believe Bryan has any chance at all, even after tonight. They needed to give us that hope and they simply failed to deliver.
Overall it was a disappointing go home show. Only the pre-show match was added, and I almost missed it from how little fanfare there was. The top two feuds didn't have good nights--with the exception of the opening segment--and the rest of the card was barely given lip service.
Writer: Chris Shore
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