TheRawLibrarian’s Monday Night Raw Review: All AJ, All the Time

Location: Ft. Wayne, Indiana
Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler

RAW starts off with a beautiful soliloquy from AJ Lee. It was assumed that she was having a conversation with all three men in her twisted love quadrangle, but when the camera pulled back, it revealed she was just talking to a mirror. @BKMambino’s suggestion of a cardboard cut out of each would have been way funnier. Imagine AJ Lee having a conversation with a CM Punk Fathead

And in stark contrast to AJ Lee……”EXCUSE MEEEE!” Out comes Vicky Guerrero. The heat that woman gets is amazing, as the crowd booed her ENTIRE speech. She announces a triple threat match to start off the show. This is still RAW right? When I saw on Twitter that John Cena had a “major announcement” to make, I resigned myself to sitting through a fifteen minute goofy Cena promo (…which, no worries, we still got one later on). 

Triple Threat Elimination match
Daniel Bryan vs Kane vs CM Punk

What’s this? RAW starting off with an actual match? No fifteen minute in ring promo by HHH or John Cena? Has Vincent K. McMahon been reading my RAW reviews? Consider Vicky Guerrero to have my vote as permanent general manager of RAW.

A mid-match commercial break at 9:12! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? RAW routinely leads off with twenty minute in ring segments and this match is interrupted after just a few minutes in?

Enter Skipping AJ Lee which distracts Kane for just long enough, enabling Punk to hit the Go To Sleep. Bryan immediately follows up with a kick to the head on Punk. D Bry has pinned the WWE champion. 

Bryan vs Punk announced shortly thereafter for Money in the Bank. It’s shaping up to be a solid PPV. 

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. I LOVE elimination matches. That being said, having the eliminations occur within seconds of one another, completely defeats the purpose. Kane has been a great addition to this feud. All three wrestlers add something diverse in the ring and they play off one another brilliantly. They all have to be commended for their ability to adapt to completely different styles.

Ziggler and Del Rio backstage

Vicky announces a Dolph Ziggler vs Del Rio pole match later on or something like that. Interesting stuff with Ziggler throwing the flowers against the wall. Could be the start of a his face turn, which I think would be a BAD idea at the moment. Let him keep doing his thing.

Vickie Guerrero is Bringing Back Pole Matches?!? Or Is This Just Some Magic Mike Cross Promotion?

The Big Show vs Brodus Clay

When was the last time we were treated to TWO straight matches to start off RAW? Well this match was only three minutes long, but it still counts. Show gets the victory after Brodus Clay’s bad knee gave out and Show fell on him.

Let’s be serious, The Big Show should not have to target Brodus Clay’s “injured knee” in order to defeat him. 

Recap of Heyman/HHH

Give me recaps of Paul Heyman verbally running laps around HHH every week instead of pointless Sin Cara or Ryback matches. Brock Lesnar announced to appear next week on RAW.

Kane/AJ Lee backstage

Mr. Tito ‏@titowrestling

“Even I find you mentally unstable” -Kane to AJ, just moments ago on#WWE #RAW.

I say this in complete seriousness, AJ Lee is THE most compelling person on RAW right now. Wow.

United States title match
Jack Swagger vs Santino Marella

Pre-match Michael Cole informed us that Santino has not defended his US title on RAW since April. And people gave Cody Rhodes shit for never defending his Intercontinental title.

Continued burial of Jack Swagger. Santino wins in a short match up. Too short to really review. Cobra strike and it was over.

John Cena in ring promo

Remember that goofy John Cena promo that I was afraid of? No worries, Cena paid in full. We were treated to the Doctor of Thugonomics relating his Big Show struggles to a Star Wars analogy. We then got (seriously) Yoda impressions until BREAK THE WALLS DOWNNNNN! 

This was Chris Jericho’s best in ring interruption since his WWE debut. John Cena’s big announcement was that he was entering himself in the Money in the Bank ladder match. You can do that? What has stopped Yoshi Tatsu, Husky Harris, or Ezekial Jackson from entering themselves into the match in the past? Chris Jericho announces that he too is entering himself in the Money in the Bank ladder match. 

Vicky comes out and announces only former WWE champions can compete in the Money in the Bank match. So we’ll just nix that whole plan about creating new stars. Kane, Cena, Big Show, and Jericho have been announced for the match so far. Vicki also makes John Cena vs Y2J as our main event. 

I’d rather see Cena vs Kenny Dykstra in a Mickie James On a Pole Match #Raw

Sycho Sid vs Heath Slater

Big surprise as Sycho Sid comes out as Slater’s opponent. Somewhere Arn Anderson is in hiding. So Heath Slater is the new inverted “Legend Killer” I suppose. It was great to see Sid back in a WWE ring. Last time I saw Sid was when he was taking on both Dudley Boys at ECW Living Dangerously 99.  Power bomb this man now! 

Number 1 contender for the World Championship
Alberto Del Rio vs Dolph Ziggler

Both of these men are heels, yet there were prominent “Let’s go Ziggler” chants from the crowd. Why would the announcers ignore this on commentary? It’s not like acknowledging this would make Alberto Del Rio look bad, like it would for a face wrestler. The match ended with no victor. Sheamus interrupts and announces a triple threat match this Friday on Smackdown for his title. To be fair that does sound good, but titles don’t change hands on free television so I probably will not be tuning in. 

Divas Summertime Battle Royal

Everybody but Kelly Kelly and Kharma involved in this one. Vicky Guerrero entered herself as a late participant. If I’m going to be completely honest with myself, Vicky is looking way better than she did a year or two ago. Don’t get me wrong, she is still no Maryse Ouellet or Christy Hemme but she is looking like she’s getting herself into much better shape (Editor’s note: Gross, bro. Gross). Eventually AJ eliminated Vicky, so she wins the divas battle royal and we are treated to the sexiest version of Daniel Bryan’s Yes! Yes! Yes! chants I have ever seen. 

Main Event
Chris Jericho vs John Cena

Solid match up between these two men. They have excellent chemistry from wrestling each other many times in the past. They wrestled for a bit before The Big Show’s music interrupted this match up. At least AJ Lee has the common decency to wait until the matches are ending before she interferes.  Slight Jeri-Show reunion as The Big Show attacks Cena while Jericho has him locked in the Liontamer. The two do not exactly embrace and Jericho leaves the ring to let the Big Show do his thing. RAW came to a close with the Big Show applying the Colossal Clutch. What the hell was that? Please do not give that man a pathetic excuse for a submission hold. I’d rather just see him punch somebody as his finisher. 

Grade: A An excellent episode of RAW this week.

This is exactly what I want from RAW. Emphasis on the matches, minimal in ring interviews, a dash of nostalgia, and AJ Lee, AJ Lee, AJ Lee. 

FINAL THOUGHTS: If the three hour RAW is going to use this format, but with longer matches, RAW will be great. Trust me, I am cognizant of the fact that Vicky Guerrero had nothing to do with the way RAW was booked, but seriously, if this was a real job interview, Vicky nailed it. This is how RAW needs to be booked every week. More focus on matches and less boring in ring promos. Jericho’s return provided a big spark as well.

Top 5 Completely Arbitrary 

5. Vicky Guerrero – Best RAW in a long, long time. Credit has to go somewhere, even if she is just the figure head general manager for the week. 

4. The Big Show – Gave Brodus Clay his first official loss. Interfered in the main event, named as a Money in the Bank participant. Hopefully he doesn’t “Big Show” his opportunity. 

3. Sid – Another exciting return on RAW from a past face. Sid was pretty bad in the ring but he was never Kurt Angle. All that matters was that he hit his power bomb!

2. Chris Jericho – Returned from suspension, immediately booked himself in the Money in the Bank ladder match. All hail the Ayatollah of rock and rolla. 

1. AJ Lee – No seriously, I’ll say it again: most intriguing person in the WWE right now. She is being booked brilliantly. AJ was featured in the pre-show recap, started off Raw backstage talking in a mirror, was featured in backstage segments with Kane and CM Punk, interfered in the triple threat match AND won the divas royal rumble. Yes I know if John Cena had this much screen time I would have crapped all over it. Deal with it. 

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