Before I begin this week, a quick message about actor/comedian Robin Williams. He passed away on Monday at the age of 63 and it was reported about an hour before Raw started. He had nothing to do with wrestling, but was one of the most talented comedians and actors of the last 30 years. The fact that he could go on stage to do great standup, then take on a role like he did in a serious movie like Good Will Hunting shows what kind of gifts he had. I think about how great he was in other movies like Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire (not many actors could pull that off!), Awakenings, Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, Patch Adams and countless others. He had a gift. He shared that with us. It’s such a shame that his depression as well drug & alcohol issues caused him to take his own life. He’s a man that will be missed by so many of us. Thoughts and prayers to his family. Thanks for the memories and for all the laughs. Rest in peace.
It’s tough to think of other stuff right now, but I can watch clips of Robin later. Time to write about a three hour wrestling show. I don’t know if it helps. I just know it’s the right thing for me to do right now.
Live from Portland, Oregon this is the Raw Deal for episode #1107. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Raw began with Brock Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman walking alongside him. Lesnar’s shirt says: “Eat Sleep Conquer John Cena.” It has Cena’s name over “Repeat” and on the back of the shirt it says “Paul Heyman Beast.”
Heyman told us his name and said that in six days he will be the advocate for the new WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. He told us that bad things happen to good people like John Cena when they get in the ring with Brock Lesnar. Heyman showed another reminder of Lesnar beating Undertaker at WrestleMania 30. Heyman also mentioned that Lesnar was a rookie and he beat The Rock. That was SummerSlam 2002. He also brought up the point that Lesnar also destroyed Hulk Hogan when he was a rookie. That was on Smackdown in the summer of 2002.
Heyman told fans of John Cena that they shouldn’t miss SummerSlam. “After SummerSlam when Brock Lesnar gets his hands on John Cena…you know you’re not going to see him anymore.” Heyman showed photos of Cena at Extreme Rules 2012 when Lesnar beat up Cena although Cena won the match. That led to Heyman talking about how Lesnar was still dealing with diverticulitis and that Lesnar was only at 50%, but now Lesnar is at 100%.
The speech continued with Heyman saying that Cena’s the 15 time champion, but not at Lesnar’s expense. Heyman did a rhyme and worked in a great line about being an “advocating Jew.” He really nailed it with that. I wish I could get it all, so I’ll just say it was really entertaining. Heyman said that “this is Brock’s house now.” He went on to tell us that we were Brock’s servants and this is Brock’s house. Heyman said he’s going to take Lesnar out to eat, but when the “man of the house is done eating dinner he’s coming back home.” In other words, Lesnar will be back later.
Analysis: That “rap” that Heyman did was tremendous. It was really hard to get it all because I found myself laughing and enjoying it, but if you watched the show then you know how awesome it was. Basically, it was another promo from Heyman hyping up Lesnar while tearing down Cena. It was exactly what it needed to be. It sends the stage for a big confrontation later in the broadcast. Lesnar didn’t have to say a word. He just stood there looking tough.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & John Bradshaw Layfield talked about WWE Network. Cole held up a $9.99 sign to reflect the price of it.
Coming up on the show is John Cena and Brock Lesnar face to face as well as Hulk Hogan’s birthday. There were video messages for Hogan from Flo Rida and Weird Al. Roman Reigns in action up next.
Roman Reigns made his entrance. Kane’s music started up and he was back to wearing his suit. He said he was back to being the Director of Operations for The Authority. At one point he said “six weeks” instead of “six days” for Roman’s match at SummerSlam with some fans reacting to it. No big deal. Roman’s opponents are Curtis Axel & Ryback.
Roman Reigns vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel
Axel started for his team. Ryback tagged in. Axel was distracting Reigns, so Reigns pounded on him a bit. That allowed Ryback to capitalize and dropped Reigns with a Powerbomb. They went to break a few minutes into the match.
Back from break, Ryback was dominating Ryback in the ring, but Reigns fought back. The action spilled to the floor where Reigns got a brief comeback. Ryback tossed Reigns into the steel post and then Axel did it. The ref warned them not to do it again. Then they both did it. The ref called for the bell. The match went about eight minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Roman Reigns
Post match, Axel with a dropkick and then Ryback with a clothesline. They posed like a bunch of idiots, so Reigns came back with clotheslines and a Samoan Drop on Axel. He sent Ryback to the floor with a clothesline. Axel put his head on the bottom, so that’s the cue for the running dropkick by Reigns. Ryback was sent into the ring post by Reigns. Superman Punch by Reigns on Ryback and then one for Axel too. Ryback got up and he was taken out with a Spear. Axel got up and he was met with a Spear too.
Analysis: * That was a boring match. A bad mix of talent. The post match beating that Reigns provided was well done and the crowd was into it. They could have done that in the match, but I guess they wanted to keep Ryback & Axel strong for whatever reason. What’s worth nothing about this is that there was a report in the Wrestling Observer or somewhere that said WWE wanted to put Reigns on early in the show because they know the crowd is hotter earlier in the show. If they put him on in the second hour or early in the third hour they might not be as loud for him. It’s all about making him look like a bigger star.
After some replays, the lovely Renee Young went into the ring to interview Reigns. He took a while to talk, so the fans chanted “Roman” for him. Reigns asked Portland if he looked ready. They cheered. Reigns said Orton got him two weeks and how Orton said he stole from him, but he never did steal. He wondered what a Viper was when you knocked its fangs down its throat: “A worthless little worm.” He said “believe that” and that was it.
Analysis: It wasn’t too long of a promo, which is fine for him. He doesn’t need to be a guy that does 10 minute promos. The line about the viper turning into a worm was well done. Reigns still has a long way to go as a talker, but I didn’t mind that at all.
Kane was walking backstage. Randy Orton went up to him. Orton told Kane that at SummerSlam he’s going to end Roman Reigns. Kane informed Orton that he was going to have to prove he was ready by having a match with Sheamus. Kane said it was best for business. Orton said that was fine and he left.
Analysis: There have been a lot of Sheamus/Orton matches over the years. He’s a good opponent to get Orton ready for SummerSlam.
Coming up is a Stephanie McMahon confession as well as a “one on one” interview with Jericho & Wyatt that Michael Cole conducted earlier in the day.
Rob Van Dam entered the arena for a match.
Seth Rollins vs. Rob Van Dam
The entrance of Rollins wasn’t shown on television, but the bell rang as he got into the ring. Spin kick by RVD in the corner followed by a standing moonsault for two. Rollins was able to slow it down with a chinlock. RVD tripped him up, then got a two count and did a standing side kick. Rollins rolled to the floor, so RVD dropkicked him into the barricade. RVD did his usual spot on the barricade where he hit a spin kick off the apron…except Rollins moved out of the way. RVD’s leg hit the barricade and it was time for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Analysis: It’s about time somebody moves out of the way from that move.
Rollins had control of the action as we returned from break, but RVD kicked him in the face. Body slam by RVD and then a Rolling Thunder into a splash for two. Side kick by RVD and then a split legged moonsault for two. RVD wanted to go for a monkey flip, but Rollins held onto the ropes. Rollins ended up hitting the Curb Stomp for the win after 9 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ** We saw all of RVD’s offense in that match. Rollins was barely on offense during the majority of the match. He won after countering a RVD move and then hitting his finisher. They should have had Rollins face Heath Slater to get his win back from the week before. RVD is a much bigger name, though, so that’s why they went with him.
There were red and yellow presents on the stage. Rollins looked at them. One of the presents was as tall as him, so he thought Dean Ambrose might be in it. Then Rollins laughed about it. Then as Rollins walked by, Ambrose broke out of the present to attack him. Ambrose chased Rollins down the ramp. Rollins ran away into the crowd.
Ambrose grabbed a microphone. He told Rollins he can’t run in a Lumberjack match. Ambrose then said “Nine Ninety Nine” to plug WWE Network and said he’s going to get his money’s worth.
Analysis: So he’s a crazy, unstable employee that hides in six foot high presents and he happens to mention the price of WWE Network. Sounds like a good employee to me. Good segment.
Stephanie McMahon was shown walking for a segment at the top of hour two.
The announcers plugged WWE Slam City.
Here’s Stephanie McMahon for a promo. They replayed her attack on Brie & Nikki Bella last week on Raw.
Stephanie talked about doing what’s best for the WWE Universe. She mentioned Daniel Bryan having neck surgery several weeks ago. Stephanie introduced us to Megan Miller, who is Daniel Bryan’s physical therapist. She pointed her out in the crowd and brought her into the ring.
Stephanie mentioned that Megan had something to confess. Megan said she’s gotten to know Daniel and Brie. She said she’s had dinner with them several times and she even mentioned having a boyfriend. The crowd was chanting “what” at her. Good for them. Megan mentioned Bryan was working hard. Megan was all sad as she said she can’t be Bryan’s physical therapist anymore and her boyfriend left her. Eventually Stephanie got her to say what she wanted her to say. Megan: “I’ve been having an affair with Daniel Bryan.” The crowd booed.
Brie Bella entered the ring. She confronted Megan. Stephanie said that Megan told her that Brie “was a dead fish.” Stephanie mocked the situation by saying that after every physical therapy session, Megan would say “yes yes yes” and so on. Brie slapped Megan. Then Brie attacked Stephanie. Brie put her in the Yes Lock although it wasn’t on that great. Brie was pulled off by agents to break it up.
Stephanie said they’re not going to wait until SummerSlam. That was the end of it.
Analysis: That wasn’t a great segment. They’re probably going to have this Megan woman admit it was all a lie because saying that about Bryan would be foolish. I made a joke on Twitter that it’s now “Stone Cold” Brie Bella since it’s a feud against a McMahon. There’s nothing wrong with Brie. I just think this feud has become average now due to the overexposure. They were doing fine weeks ago. Now it’s just too much. I don’t think “Megan” was a very good actress either. Yes I had TNA flashbacks with Claire Lynch too although that angle was much worse.
There were birthday wishes for Hulk Hogan by Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Aaron Rodgers & AJ Hawk of the Green Bay Packers. Less than four weeks until the NFL regular season is back. Thanks for the reminder, WWE.
Here’s the Retro Raw Deal review column from August 10, 2009. What I do is go over the show that I wrote about five years ago and add in current thoughts. This show was held in Canada with Sgt. Slaughter as the guest host that did promos ripping on Canada. There were matches like Big Show taking on Randy Orton and John Cena against Chris Jericho in the main event.
There was a replay of Stephanie’s segment with Brie.
Cesaro’s in the ring for a match. Jack Swagger is the opponent. Replay of Rusev dominated Swagger last week.
Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Cesaro
Swagger missed a corner charge as I wonder what the hell happened to Cesaro. There’s a Gutwrench Suplex by Cesaro. Backbreaker by Cesaro for two. Swagger caught Cesaro after an attack off the middle rope and hit a belly to belly suplex. Clothesline by Swagger. Cesaro sent Swagger into the barricade and it’s time for a vintage floor to commercial break four minutes into the match.
Cesaro had Swagger in an abdominal stretch and Swagger had his ribs taped from getting attacked by Rusev last week. Cesaro went after the injured ribs. Swagger turned it into a side slam. Clothesline by Swagger, then a running knee and big boot. Seeing a babyface comeback is so weird since he was a heel for about five years. Swagger Bomb for two. Cesaro came back with a punch to the throat and a boot. Cesaro hit a back splash off the middle rope for two. Swagger powered out of a superplex attempt and hit a clothesline. Cesaro drove his knee into the ribs of Swagger and then hit a running uppercut for two. Swagger nearly got the Patriot Lock, but Cesaro fought out of it. Cesaro went to the top rope. Swagger went after him on the top rope, then brought him down by the left leg and Swagger applied the Patriot Lock in the ring. Cesaro tapped out after 12 minutes.
Winner by submission: Jack Swagger
Analysis: *** It was nice to see Cesaro in a longer match since he only got three minutes last week. He’s not getting the reactions he used to get because of all the losses of late. Swagger getting the win wasn’t a surprise since he has a match at SummerSlam and Cesaro does not. They had some good spots here too. I really liked the finish with Swagger bringing him down off the top rope by grabbing his left leg. It would be nice if Swagger actually worked on the leg during the match to weaken it for the finish. Other than that, I enjoyed it.
Post match, Swagger celebrated with the American flag. Colter did a promo saying they’re in Portlandia, but Sunday they’re going to be in SummerSlam and he calls it “Deportlandia.” Colter told Lana that everybody is going to remember the 50 stars and 13 bars waving proudly in the ring. Colter said that Swagger is going to own Rusev. As Colter led the crowd in saying “We the…” they were interrupted by the Russian flag in the ring. Rusev appeared on the stage. He waved the Russian flag with Lana by his side.
Analysis: That’s it? Not strong enough for me. Another brawl would have helped. Or at least have Colter make sure the crowd said “We the People” with them.
Jericho and Wyatt in a sitdown interview up next.
There was a reminder of Jericho vs. Wyatt at SummerSlam.
Interview with Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt
Michael Cole was standing between Wyatt & Jericho, who were seated. Wyatt told him to leave.
Wyatt said he remembers Jericho as the little boy that wanted to live up to the expectations of his daddy. He told Jericho that the only way he could save it is for Jericho to become a savior for himself. Wyatt said he knew about Jericho, but Jericho knew about him. Wyatt talked about how when he closes his eyes all he hears is “their” screams. He never claimed to be a savior. The only thing he lives for is to help people who can’t help themselves. Wyatt said that he has hurt a lot of people and for this he is not the least bit sorry. He can’t resist hurt. There are no consequences because he has no conscience and he doesn’t believe in laws. He also doesn’t believe in heaven or hell. Wyatt said that he was a monster. The human race is decimated in its lack of fortitude. Wyatt encouraged him to smile and open his eyes. Wyatt called Jericho a savior again.
Jericho told Wyatt that he’s not a savior. After 15 years he’s proven he’s a survivor. One of the reasons he’s been a survivor is because you never know what Jericho you’re going to see. He’s going to follow the buzzards, he’s going to grab them and shove them right down his throat. Jericho said he’s going to be the first man to leave Wyatt speechless and shut him up for good. The Wyatt Family logo appeared. That was it.
Back to the announcers, JBL congratulated Cole on a great interview. Well played, John.
Analysis: It was about five minutes with Wyatt talking for 70% of it. There was nothing here that was really groundbreaking, but I liked the sitdown interview format. We don’t get to see that very often anymore. That’s all I want. Give us something different once in a while. The same thing gets boring. Wyatt’s point was that he didn’t care if he hurt people and that he has no conscience. It makes him unlikable to say stuff like that. Jericho got a nice reaction from the crowd when he said he was going to shove the buzzards down Wyatt’s throat. All in all it was an effective way of building to their match. I enjoyed it.
AJ Lee entered the ring for a match. The announcers reminded us that the WWE Network is expanding globally tomorrow. It’s in the UK on October 1 too.
AJ Lee vs. Eva Marie
AJ’s Divas Title is not on the line. Ten seconds into the match, Paige skipped down to the ring. AJ got in a bit of offense and then Eva Marie did the rollup for the win. The match went under one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Eva Marie
Analysis: They had the Divas Champ lose to the worst woman on the roster using the same “distraction into a rollup” finish that is the worst finish that WWE does. Typical to have a champ lose a non-title match. I just don’t like how it was done.
Post match, Paige did a promo from the top of the ramp. She did “Roses are red” type of story for AJ. This was one of the verses: “It’s not that I hate you, I like you a bunch, but your face is something I just want to punch.” She ended it by saying she wanted the Divas Title.
After Paige left, AJ attacked Eva Marie at ringside. What was Eva Marie doing there still? She won the match and was selling like she was in some 20 minute battle. AJ hit her with a forearm shot to the back. AJ threw Eva into the barricade at ringside. Then AJ skipped around the ring in celebration of that.
Analysis: I enjoyed that Paige promo. Between Heyman and Paige, lots of rhyming promos this week on Raw. Maybe the writers went to a class last week. Lee’s post match attack was not like a babyface at all, but I guess it fits her crazy gimmick.
There was a replay of Paul Heyman’s promo from earlier and WWE Champion John Cena was shown walking backstage. He’s up next as we near the top of hour three.
This week on Main Event, The Usos get to have an open challenge since they got left off of SummerSlam. Way to reward them after one of the best matches of the year at Battleground.
John Cena entered the ring with his new red, yellow and white gear. Go buy it kids. He has more cars to buy. Cena said “ladies and gentleman” in a way that mocked Paul Heyman at the start of his promo. Cena mentioned there would be pain and punishment. Cena did his serious face as he said that Lesnar will not win. Cena: “This Sunday, Brock Lesnar will not win.” He continued: “He will have to make me lose and I’m not going to lay down for him.” He’s not saying he’s unbeatable. One day he’ll undoubtedly lose this championship, but it won’t be this Sunday. Cena thinks Lesnar is arrogant, he’s a bully and doesn’t give a damn about anybody but himself. He called Lesnar a selfish SOB and everybody in the back knows that. He said that Lesnar’s view of the business doesn’t mean he deserves this (the WWE Title).
Cena mentioned he’s heard the cheers and boos, he’s been told he can’t wrestle (the crowd chanted that), he’s heard “Let’s Go Cena” and also “Cena Sucks.” He talked about how you’re going to see a Cena we’ve never seen before, but we’ll see a Cena that’s necessary to beat Lesnar. He got mad about Heyman saying that the house belonged to Lesnar, so Cena reminded the fans that “this is your house.” Cena said that if this is Brock’s house he should know that there’s a stranger standing in his living room. He suggested that Lesnar come down there to kick him out.
There was no Lesnar. Cena called him a bitch. He even did a rap of his own saying he was giving Lesnar his middle finger although he didn’t actually hold it up. Cena said: “Sunday I conquer the conqueror. This Sunday I am the one that beats the one. This Sunday the champ is here.” Then his music played.
Analysis: That’s the typical fired up promo by Cena. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just that he usually does it the week before a PPV match or two weeks before a PPV match. He’s good at those kinds of promos. Like I say all the time if he did those kinds of promos all the time it would benefit him more than doing the poop joke promos that he does sometimes.
The announcers said that after Raw on WWE Network there’s a video all about Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena.
Brie and Stephanie are up next.
There was a Hulk Hogan video wish by Larry King. It’s nice to see them find somebody older than Hogan. There was also a greeting from the two guys from Florida Georgia Line. They are musicians. I don’t know much else about them.
Brie Bella walked to the ring. Stephanie McMahon showed up on the stage in her regular clothes. She wasn’t dressed to wrestle.
Stephanie replayed the incident from before with Brie slapping Megan in the ring. Stephanie said that Megan was pressing charges. Two cops put handcuffs on Brie Bella and took her way. Stephanie said “what goes around comes around” in reference to Stephanie getting arrested a few weeks ago. Stephanie said if Brie makes bail she’ll see her at SummerSlam.
Analysis: That’s a way to give sympathy heat to Brie, who apparently needs it because she barely got a reaction when she came out. As I said earlier, this feud has suffered a bit from overexposure. The “Bryan is cheating on Brie” angle is also dumb even though it’s likely going to be revealed as a lie. Saying that an injured guy that is arguably the most popular guy on the show is cheating on his wife is not a good idea for an angle.
The announcers talked about Stephanie’s angle with Brie trying to make bail.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Heath Slater
The Miz was on commentary. There was a “push Ziggler” sign in the crowd that I liked. The microphone of Miz was unplugged briefly and they laughed about it. Ziggler hit a dropkick for two. Slater went for an inside cradle that earned him a two count. Ziggler missed an elbow drop, so Slater hit a knee drop for two. Miz said that in Cleveland you think about people like LeBron James, Johnny Manziel and The Miz. They asked about Jim Brown. He didn’t know he won title. Then they corrected him. Yes the Browns won with Jim Brown prior to the Super Bowl era. Back to the match, Ziggler with a clothesline and dropkick. Ziggler missed a corner splash. Slater missed a neckbreaker. Ziggler hit a Zig Zag on Slater. Miz tried to distract him, so Ziggler chased after him. Ziggler threw Miz into the barricade. Miz tried to get away. The ref counted Ziggler out just before he could get back into the ring.
Winner by countout: Heath Slater
Post match, Ziggler went into the ring and the crowd did a “Slater” chant. Ziggler wanted a handshake, so Slater tried a kick and Ziggler blocked it leading to a Zig Zag. Ziggler’s music played to end the segment.
Analysis: *1/2 It’s another win for Slater! The streak continues! Remember he won over Seth Rollins last week. This Ziggler/Miz feud has been solid although I wish they got more time. At least the crowd reacted well to everything they did, so that’s something to be happy about. I don’t think Ziggler will beat Miz on Sunday although it’s a tough one to predict.
The announcers plugged WWE Network again. Orton vs. Sheamus up next.
This Friday on Smackdown it’s Miz TV with Roman Reigns as the guest.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
This is not for the US Title of Sheamus, which has been forgotten of late. Orton with some clotheslines early, then Sheamus nailed him with a boot and body slam. A knee drop off the middle rope earned a two count for Sheamus. Orton avoided the ten forearm shots to the chest by going to the floor and of course it’s time for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Orton gave Sheamus a back suplex onto the announce table although it wasn’t strong enough to break it. It didn’t seem like he wanted to break it. Back in the ring, Orton got a two count. Sheamus made a comeback with forearm shots, a shoulder block, a knee lift, a running knee in the corner and a suplex for two. Orton had control briefly, but then Sheamus came back with the ten forearm shots and then a rolling senton for two. Orton came back with his modified backbreaker followed by the DDT off the middle rope for two as Cole called it “vintage Orton” like usual. Sheamus avoided the RKO because Orton took so long. Powerslam by Sheamus for two. Sheamus wanted the Brogue Kick, but Orton got out of it. Sheamus went to the top rope. He jumped off the top rope right into Orton’s arms for the RKO. Very good finish. Orton celebrated the move a bit and then he covered for the win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match to put over Orton heading into his SummerSlam match with Reigns. The finish was excellent with Sheamus jumping off the top with a shoulder block attempt only for Orton to drive him into the mat with the RKO. It came out of nowhere a bit. The last five minutes of the match were excellent. I actually thought Reigns might attack Orton after the match, but he was nowhere to be seen. He wants to wait six days apparently.
The Hogan birthday celebration is coming up next.
There were superstars and divas on the ramp ready for the Hogan birthday celebration.
A preview of the WWE Network special about Cena/Lesnar airs on WWE Network after Raw.
Hulk Hogan’s Birthday Celebration
There were red and yellow balloons in the ring along with a red carpet. “Mean” Gene Okerlund and Jimmy Hart were in the ring hosting this. Gene introduced Hogan. He received a big reaction from the fans. Hogan did his trademark poses as the crowd went wild for him.
There was a video package for Hulk Hogan that showed highlights of his career in WWE and also WCW. The NWO heel turn was highlighted as well. The song that played was “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan. That’s a great choice. There was also a clip of WrestleMania 30 with Steve Austin and The Rock in the ring with Hogan. The video was outstanding.
Hogan said the video was amazing and that this is the first time he’s ever been speechless. Gene said a reception like this has to do his heart good. Hogan did his classic “well let me tell you something Mean Gene” promo talking about things and said that WWE Network was $9.99. Vince McMahon gave him a birthday card that was just $9.99. Vince wanted to make sure that Hogan was subscribed to WWE Network. Hogan said it was the greatest day of his life and the greatest birthday of his life. To all the WWE Superstars and even you Pat Patterson, he wanted to thank us. He spoke about reflecting back on things in his life. He hopes he’s been able to touch their lives just a little bit compared to how “you guys” have touched his life. Hogan said he loves you, he loves the Hulkamaniacs and he loves the WWE Universe.
It’s time for a guest. “Woo” signaled the arrival of Ric Flair. He walked to the ring to greet Hogan. They hugged. Next up was “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff who had an amazing mustache. Roddy Piper was next and he got a huge ovation because he was a legend in the Portland area especially. Cue the New World Order theme music as Scott Hall & Kevin Nash made their way down to the ring. They also greeted Hogan. It’s great to hear that theme song again.
Hall said “hey yo” and said that The Outsiders are there to say happy birthday to Hogan on his brother. Hall wanted to take a survey to see if we wanted to see Hogan in the red and yellow or in the black and white. Hogan ripped off the red & yellow shirt to show the black & white NWO shirt.
Nash grabbed the microphone and said he’s done a lot of things in his career, but never this. Nash led the crowd in singing “happy birthday” to Hogan.
Brock Lesnar’s music hit. Oh yeah. Lesnar walked down to the ring with Heyman. The announcers were worried that Lesnar was going to do something bad to crash the party. Lesnar stared at all the legends in the ring. He had a long staredown with Hogan. Heyman wondered what Hogan was going to do. Lesnar: “Party’s over, grandpa.”
John Cena ran down to the ring to confront Lesnar. Cena stood across the ring from Lesnar, but Lesnar chose to walk away. No contact at all. Cena was yelling at Lesnar: “I’m in your house!” Lesnar just fired back by saying he was a mercenary. The announcers plugged that the birthday celebration continues on WWE Network. The show ended at 11:15pmET. That’s about eight minutes later than usual.
Analysis: It was cool to see all the legends in the ring together. Hearing Scott Hall do his old promo routine was cool too. Hogan seemed like he was genuinely happy to be there and hearing him tell the crowd he loved them was pretty cool. I’m not a huge Hogan mark, but I respect him for what he’s done in his career.
The arrival of Lesnar at the end was predictable because they weren’t going to end the night without another appearance by him. Cena showing up to confront him also made a lot of sense. No physical contact might upset some people, but I don’t mind it too much. They’re saving it for Sunday night.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Paul Heyman
2. John Cena
3. Brock Lesnar
6 out of 10
Last week: 4
2014 Average: 6.21
2014 High: 9 (April 7 & June 30)
2014 Low: 3.5 (June 2)
Last 5 Weeks: 4, 7, 7.5, 5.5, 6
It was an average show that did an okay job of promoting SummerSlam in some instances, but some feuds could have been built up better too.
They did a good job of building Cena/Lesnar without doing a brawl. I thought it might happen although I’m okay with them holding off. It will make Sunday mean that much more. I’m picking Lesnar on Sunday.
The Stephanie McMahon/Brie Bella feud became overexposed with two segments built around a stupid angle.
A lot of the other midcard feuds got some attention, but none of them really stood out.
I’ll have the SummerSlam PPV preview posted either late Friday after Smackdown or early Saturday morning. It should be a pretty good show. I like the lineup for the most part.
That’s all for me.
Check out my feature column archive that’s exclusive to WhatCulture. I write there every day and it’s a lot of fun for me. Some recent posts include a look at Steve Austin compared to Hulk Hogan and the things that WWE wants you to forget about Alberto Del Rio.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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