Monday Night Lessons: What I learned from needing attention, The Wisconsin IWC and Raw in general (8-5-2013)

So. Here we are. Another Raw in the record books and we’re that much closer to Summerslam.

That being said, I’m not even going to pretend that I enjoyed this week’s show. I didn’t. From the virtually silent wisconsin crowd, to the abundance of countouts and DQ’s, yesterday’s show was a baffling viewing experience.

Let’s go over the good (and bad) together.

1. An inferno match??!??

The Wyatt Family

The best news coming out of last night’s Raw is that Kane and Bray Wyatt might be competing in a ring of fire match at Summerslam.

While matches like The Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank are familiar territory, WWE deciding on an inferno match with Kane and The Wyatt Family is the best match type that any of us could imagine.

Kane, when he isn’t cuddly, is a brutal monster. Like when he threw Rob Van Dam through a wall and set Jim Ross on fire. Unpredictable, crazy Kane is super entertaining.

Bray Wyatt is Jim Jones and every psychologically intimidating cult leader you’ve ever read about wrapped into one big package. Add in Kiran and Rowan s’s his silent but brutal partners (numbers!) and you’ve got a match with the potential to put the Wyatt’s on the map. Targeting Kane is one thing, but making me think that you have a chance of beating him when all the evidence says you shouldn’t is what makes The Wyatt Family so special.

Get excited, everyone. This match is going to be HUGE.

2. The Best vs Paul freakin Heyman next week!

This right here is one of the few things that I enjoyed last night. Punk vs Brock was sold for me when Heyman threw the ladder at Punk at MITB, but there’s always that little something extra when you get to hear Brock and Heyman speak. This promo solidifies that this Summerslam match will be as brutal as anything we’ve ever witnessed.

I can’t WAIT!

And I’ll be praying for Paul Heyman in his match next week against Punk. He’ll need all the positive energy he can get to get through that match. Our will Brock be the equalizer that we expect him to be?

3. Everything is wrong with the Diva’s division. Again.

Layla

I don’t know what it is that I don’t like about Layla teaming up with AJ, but it’s rubbing me the wrong way.

Perhaps it’s because I thought that AJ’s problem with Kaitlyn was taking her title and playing mind games with her until Kaitlyn cracked. That hasn’t happened yet, and I’m puzzled as to why that aspect of the story is off the table.

Another problem is Layla’s reason for betraying Kaitlyn. Layla simply wants attention. Okay, terrific.

Almost every single divas storyline revolves around someone wanting attention. Layla, who is beautiful and quirky, should get attention. But this story just doesn’t feel right. I like my own AJ/Layla/Kaitlyn story much better. Because my story builds to something interesting.

Layla also has zero momentum right now. How is this possible? Someone ad talented as she is should not be greeted by the sounds of crickets chirping.

These girls have the chance to make me eat my words with matches, promos and a little more betrayal. Let’s hope that happens.

I’d like to see more stuff like this only with Layla involved somehow:

4. Another awful Divas segment.

This promo is everything I hate about WWE’s attempts at writing for women. Hate, hate, hate it!

E, a network that has nothing to do with wrestling, is making stars out of these girls, but the WWE brass can’t seem to climb out of their enduring hole of sexism long enough to match a minute and thirty second diva segment worth more than a bucket of chicken at KFC.

You can only blame the talent for so long until you take a cold hard look at the situation and realize that sometimes these girls are sat up to fail. It’s an infuriating realization.

4. Daniel Bryan eating meat doesn’t make him more corporate

I understand what WWE is trying to do with Daniel by making him the guy who does what he wants and he’s the best (and hopefully will win) because of that. I get it. But I’ve been sold on Bryan vs Cena since Cena said ”I choose Daniel Bryan”

How about we spend less time on this and more time doing something other than finding sneaky ways to humiliate Wade Barrett?

5. Cody Rhodes has a present for Damien Sandow

Damien & Cody

This absolutely and totally bombed in front of the live crowd in Wisconsin last night, but I don’t care. Nothing in the world can make me hate Cody vs Damien at this point.

That being said, I’m tired of seeing my perfectly coiffed MITB pick as a disheveled mess. I can only hope that our savior has something up his sleeve next week.

6. Alberto Del Rio kicks the bucket.

Del Rio

I have big problems with WWE’s decision to break up Alberto and Ricardo. The main problem is that this little beatdown was completely unnecessary. Why did Alberto suddenly decide to beat Ricardo so viciously? It’s just bizarre.

If this leads to Ricardo interference that will eventually lead into Alberto vs Ricardo, I won’t be so upset. But I doubt that’s where this will end.

Raw overall: I hate to be the overly negative smark, but I didn’t like this show. Raw is starting to feel more and more like a burden at a three hour viewing time, and all that extra time is focused on super lengthy Cena promos and Stephanie McMahon crying backstage. You know, the stuff I don’t want to see.

Thank goodness that next week is the Summerslam go home show, because I’ve got to have a good Summerslam experience this year. WWE has some strong matches on tap for this PPV, so there’s no reason to be squandering interesting stories this late in the game.
And those are your Monday lessons.

Stay tuned for my NXT Review, and other interesting observations from the world of wrestling.

Until next time.

Monday Night Lessons: What I learned from constant losses, TWO diva matches, and Raw in general (7-29-2013)

While the rest of the world cries into its collective coffee about another week of work/school/life, come Monday night, wrestling fans are given a much-needed reprieve. Raw, whether good or bad, always gives us something to talk about. Yesterday’s show was no exception.

Last night’s episode gifted us a Table match, Daniel Bryan vs Kane (!!!!!!), TWO divas matches, and a whole lot more.

With Summerslam approaching, the need for some good old fashioned entertainment becomes more prevalent by the episode. Because who wants to watch a boring Summerslam? Nobody, that’s who.

Let’s find out if this is a Raw for the record books, or one to forget.

1. Daniel Bryan vs Ka OH PLEASE DON’T DO THIS YOU GUYS JUST STAY FRIENDS or A BIG BOOT TO KANE

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Daniel Bryan vs Kane happened last night, and boy did this match not live up to my expectations.

I heart DB and Cuddly Kane, but Kane’s current wrestling doesn’t work for me.

Back when he was diabolical Kane throwing Rob Van Dam through walls and forcing Lita to marry him, he could do singles. But this is not that same Kane.

Something about him wrestling DB didn’t click with me despite the fact that this was THE match that I wanted to see. Perhaps Daniel moved too fast and it made Kane look slower and plodding by comparison? Perhaps.

Maybe Kane bring destroyed by The Wyatt Family a few more times will get my sympathy.

Speaking of the Wyatt’s. These people are something ELSE. From their entrance to the way they destroyed Kane, they sure know how to make a statement.

Another little thing I appreciate is the little touches given to the family to differentiate them from everyone else. When Bray screamed FOLLOW THE BUZZARDS and we got a quick flash of that sheep mask, then blackness, it reminded me why I love wrestling so much. Weird characters beating people and horror movie style fades to black make me SO HAPPY.

2. Is Fandango ever going to win a match?

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I would love to know the thinking behind having Fandango lose in the exact same way for weeks and how that equals entertaining. Because I don’t get it.

And no, FANDANGO IS A HEEL!!! is not an acceptable answer. Watching him lose by count out once or twice was fine. But this recent losing streak is on Groundhog Day levels of ridiculous. He’s been doing the same exact thing for weeks, and it’s getting old.

The Fandango character is hilarious and can do silly. For example: Why is Fandango not giving dance lessons to unsuspecting superstars? (Damien Sandow?)
Literally, someone should do something wrong, have to report to GM Maddox, and have their punishment be Fandango dancing lessons with him constantly berating that superstar for not doing the moves to his standards.

Also, I’m SHOCKED that Summer Rae hasn’t provided some kind of distraction that allows her to SASHAY away like she was too busy dancing to be grabbing anything or distracting anybody.

So. Less pointless Fandango countouts, more backstage fans lessons and Summer Rae sashay, please.

3. AJ finally gets her hands on Dolph.

AJDOLPH2

And, for lack of a better term, who gives a shit?

This whole thing with AJ and Dolph is really bugging me. AJ is our Diva’s champion who reduced Kaitlyn to a sobbing mess and made Kaitlyn so angry that she still can’t get it together enough to do anything besides spear AJ on site. This same AJ ran into a match FOR NO REASON, and got her sweaty bodyguard DQ’ed. What?

So, the AJ that singlehandedly took out her former best friend is now a mess over Dolph and cannot come up with a way to one up him?

Seems Legit.

In any event, is a good thing that AJ will soon be pair….. Oh. That’s a spoiler. Never mind.

4. CODY, DAMN YOU!

Damien Sandow


Reasons number 1 and 2 for why I love Damien Sandow so much.

5. The Bella’s win using a KAZOO BAH GAWD.

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While I normally can’t wait to rip something I hate in this show into tiny verbal shreds, there wasn’t much to hate about Brie Bella vs Natalya. Brie managed to pull out a decent match. She really showed some spunk in this match, and that effort deserves to be acknowledged.

But, we have to talk about the Kazoo. When I first saw it last night, I was annoyed and wanted a better finish. But let’s all take a moment to remember that we got two diva matches on Raw, and that the success of Total Divas means that we might see more diva action of this type in future shows. That is not annoying.

Let’s also take a moment to remember that this match had Natalya wrestling, and her farting or awkwardly dancing with Khali. Win!

6. Cocky Daniel Bryan?

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With everyone and Vince McMahon doubting the capability of Daniel Bryan, he’s got more to prove than ever. But a Daniel Bryan chasing a belt will only make that eventually victory that much sweeter.

I know people think that Daniel may lose at Summerslam, but I am hoping beyond hope that he wins. He is beyond deserving of a championship, can carry it well, and he’s believable in just about everything he’s done in his career.

But after Ryback vs John from yesterday, I still have my reasons for doubting John will lose.

Raw in general: While this show didn’t have Brock Lesnar, I still enjoyed it. Not as much as previous shows, but there’s enough action in this episode to keep me satisfied until next week.

But as we move closer to Summerslam, things should be kicked up a notch. There’s only twenty or so days left until we get there!

And those are your Monday lessons. Stay tuned to Absolute Smark for more wrestling goodness through the week.

Until next time.

Where to go next with AJ Lee.

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I understand that it takes time for a story to build, but seeing AJ Lee’s segment on Smackdown from last week has me concerned for the future for my favorite wrestling character. Because if my assumption is correct, I’m already disinterested in seeing where this story will go.

AJ, storyline wise, has already been paired with Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, John Cena, Kane (sort of), and Dolph Ziggler. She’s also broken up with all of them, and each break-up makes AJ go nuts until she’s eventually paired with someone else. And don’t get me wrong, it’s been fun watching AJ evolve over the past few months, and her latest dismissal of Dolph Ziggler was devious AJ at her finest.

But, she’s capable of more than this. We all know it.

I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to see WWE rehash the same story of AJ running headfirst into another relationship. And no, it’s not because AJ won’t be believable. AJ is a solid character actor who knows how to make her moments on TV count. Big E has crazy charisma and is also convincing. These two will make wherever this story eventually goes fun and exciting to watch.

The fact that we’re about to see AJ paired with another guy, yet again, doesn’t make me happy.

I really hate to jump the gun and assume that what I’m about to say is the exact direction they’ll go, but for the sake of my point, I will assume that AJ hugging on Big E is a thing that will happen.

Besides her love life, AJ has some interesting stuff going on in her world that could use some focus. Like the fact that she beat Kaitlyn twice in a row. Or that she has yet to be taken down by any other diva. Or the fact that we haven’t seen Kaitlyn since she tapped out at MITB. She said she was going to beat Kaitlyn and she did. That point shouldn’t be lost in the noise of Summerslam buildup.

From the time she’s been on tv to now, she hasn’t interacted with the other Divas much. I was hoping her being champion would mean more interaction with the other girls, but no. That will probably happen, but it will take a backseat to Big E and AJ’s awkward stroll to the big show.

Also, does it make anyone else slightly uncomfortable to think that AJ has been linked to 5 separate tv boyfriend’s? Because that’s making me very uncomfortable. But only because it brings ”AJ’s a slut” to the discussion. I’m not down with that.

And while were on the subject of TV boyfriend’s, let’s go over those failures for a second.

Her pairing with Daniel Bryan was intriguing and helped to cement their status as stars. This eventually led to a Daniel Bryan proposal, a wedding, and AJ ditching Daniel at the altar to become GM of Raw. Which was fun because it was fresh, interesting, and had an ending.

CM Punk was also brought forth as a potential suitor, and while they had solid interactions with each other, they never truly went anywhere.

Kane was spellbound by AJ at first, but he eventually went his own way after telling AJ he was a brute and too unstable for her.

Her pairing with Cena was unremarkable, and that ended after she pushed Cena off a ladder.

Dolph was the best of all of them, but that ended in dramatic fashion last Monday.

The descriptions I just gave you shows that AJ as a character is versatile. I never pictured her, Dolph and Big E forming a stable, but they did and it worked. Now that she’s done with Dolph, I’d like to see AJ be by herself and running rampant in the Divas division.

Let’s all shut off the part of our brain that nitpicks, and fantasy book AJ’s next move that doesn’t involve a romantic pairing.

Here’s 3 from me.

1. Kaitlyn is broken. She’s now lost two separate opportunities to win back the divas title, and thanks to AJ, is ignored by the other divas after AJ revealed those humiliating texts she sent to her secret admirer at their MITB contract signing.

Kaitlyn, because she has nobody else to turn to or has some twisted change of heart, decides to make up with AJ. She admits she was wrong in being upset at her and says that AJ had her best interests in mind by breaking her down.

AJ and Kaitlyn make up, and Kaitlyn plays the role of bodyguard while AJ remains champ and wrestles other divas. When the time is right, it will be revealed that Kaitlyn tricked AJ to get her guard down, A SPEAR happens, and that sets up Kaitlyn vs AJ, part 3: Diva’s championship ladder match.

2. Layla is tired of AJ and the games she plays with Kaitlyn. She confronts AJ and vows to get revenge on Kaitlyn’s behalf. Meanwhile, Layla helps Kaitlyn rebuild her relationships with the other divas, and generally acts like Kaitlyn’s friend.

The evil GM of the moment decides that no two competitors can truly be friends and books a Summerslam triple threat match for the Divas title. During that match, Layla viciously turns on Kaitlyn, takes out AJ, and wins the title. Layla cuts a promo on Raw about how being champion means more than being friends, Kaitlyn attacks, and we have a triple threat scenario for the title.

3. AJ (with Big E) decides that since she can take down Kaitlyn, she can take down anyone. Her next target is none other than Stephanie McMahon. AJ and Stephanie go back and forth for weeks until Stephanie makes a match at Summerslam with Kaitlyn wrestling on her behalf. That eventually leads to AJ vs Kaitlyn, part 3: ladder match at Summerslam with Stephanie in Kaitlyn’s corner.

Naturally, most people will have differing opinions on what they’d like AJ to be doing, but these are my suggestions. Virtually anything is possible in WWE, but for once, I’d like to see possible romances take a backseat so that AJ walk alone and defend her title in exciting matchups.

If you were booking AJ, what would you like her to do?

Monday Night Lessons: What I learned from The Big Ending, YES! and Raw in general (7-15-2013)

Money in the Bank is now in the dust, and it’s time for WWE to build to the biggest wrestling party of the summer.

With a month and counting to Summerslam, WWE is planting the seeds of stories that’ll keep our minds (and eyes) on their shows until August.

But will this Raw be entertaining?

Let’s find out together.

1. The Big Ending, part 1.

In the middle of a particularly intense match between Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler, the bell rang.

At first I was like ”LOL BOTCH”, but then someone at ringside pulled off a hood and revealed herself.

Guys, AJ’s crazy again. And this time she has a big sweaty black man running security.

I sometimes forget that WWE is ”the longest running weekly episodic program” in history, so when AJ and Big E attack Dolph, OF COURSE AJ isn’t grabbing a mic and spilling all her hurt. Nor is Big E going to reveal why he decided to big end his former friend Dolph, or why he likes crazy AJ better than the showoff. We just have to let their faces and actions tell the story.

AJ was dumped and humiliated by the one true love she thought she had finally attained. So she sent Big E out to destroy him at a time where it would hurt him the most. TWO THUMBS UP.

It’s looking like it’ll be Big E Langston vs Dolph Ziggler at Summerslam. YES!

2. I was wrong about The Uso’s.

One of the best things about top shelf pay per views like Summerslam is they give us fans a chance to see talent we wouldn’t normally see. And it looks like it’s time for The Uso’s to give us all they’ve got.

I don’t know what the hell I was smoking that made me believe The Uso’s lacked personality. That isn’t even close to the case. They haven’t been given the chance to show off how great they are.

The past two days have given us The Uso’s at the top of their game. Their pre show match with The Shield at Money in the Bank was so good, all I could say to express my joy was 4 MAN SUPERPLEX HHHJJYTRDSFGHI or OH MY GOD THIS IS SICK.

Their match with The Real Americans from Raw was also great. The action wasn’t long enough, but we got a solid look at them wrestling another team and doing a great job. Plus they have some crazy energy that I love seeing.

It wouldn’t surprise me if they ended up facing The Shield again at Summerslam, but we shall see if my fantasy booking becomes reality.

3. Didn’t I tell all of you to believe in The Shield?

TRIPLE POWERBOMB TO MARK HENRY!!!

And to top it all off, they basically told Mark Henry to go back home and get reacquainted with his couch because he don’t want none of The Shield.

I love these guys.

4. The Big Ending, part 2.

Have you ever had a moment when watching wrestling that feels so real that you wind up staring at your laptop screen for half and hour trying to figure out how to write it? Yeah, that was me.

The segment between Paul Heyman, CM Punk was so vicious I had some trouble putting how I felt about it into words. Watching this felt like stumbling into someone else’s private argument. This was just as bad, if not worse, than watching your own family fighting.

Then Brock’s music hit and things really got intense.

The Paul Heyman we all thought we knew was gone. Replacing him is this evil man who cowers behind Brock. The Heyman we knew would’ve never allowed Brock to beat Punk so viciously. But that Heyman is long gone.

This Heyman is not the man holding up Punk’s WWE championship and heaping praise and guidance on Punk. This was not the Heyman from Wrestlemania that held ”that urn” for Punk and clumsily danced to Punk’s theme. This is not the man who mentored Punk like a son and helped him nurture his talent. This person is gone and will not be back.

As Heyman screamed for Punk to stay out of his life, I knew that the one happy and successful relationship between Punk and Heyman had reached its big ending.

For this alone segment alone, WWE can have my money for Summerslam.

5. John Cena’s chooses….

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Daniel freaking Bryan to wrestle at Summerslam for the WWE title.

YES!

I can only hope WWE does the smart thing and has little disagreements pop up tween Daniel and John that don’t necessarily turn anybody, but make the match more intense than it would be if they respected each other. This is not the time the Daniel to be a full fledged bad guy.

6. The Big Ending, part 3.

Damien Sandow is still Mr. Money in the Bank, but now he’s got a bigger and more angry problem than keeping that briefcase. That problem is Cody Rhodes.

Despite his attempts to pretend that his former tag partner’s betrayal didn’t phase him, Cody ambushed his former partner after his loss to Christian and tried make him pay.

For the few minutes that this was on my screen, I left with one major thought. These two are going to have one excellent match whenever they finally do cross paths.

A little part of me still hurts at the loss of Rhodes Scholars, but Cody Rhodes is slowly breaking out of his shell and showing us a new side of himself. He wanted that briefcase and to have it ripped away from him when he was so close to winning it has put more fire into Cody and I’m liking what I see.

Damien Sandow will likely cower until he has to face his former partner, but don’t be surprised if the briefcase takes a backseat while Damien and Cody punch out their issues.

I’m looking forward to seeing Cody eventually get the upper hand. Maybe at Summerslam?

And on that big ending, those are your Monday lessons.

Until next time.

Sunday Night Lessons: Money in the Bank is BETRAYAL

From the time I woke up on Sunday morning, to the time the PPV started, I could not contain my excitement.

Money in the Bank has long been one of my favorite shows, and the little shivers of excitement I felt during the day told me this would be a great show.

MITB did not disappoint. All in all, it was a night of thrills, spills and BETRAYAL. It could not have been a more perfect PPV.

But enough rambling. Let’s get right to those Sunday lessons.

1. Believe in The Shield. And The Uso’s.

To start off what would be an epic night of wrestling, The Shield and The Uso’s performed like someone was getting released. The pre-show match between them started off slow, but built to an almost hysterical climax. It could easily be one of the best pre-show matches I’ve ever seen, and it all ended with The Shield retaining their tag team titles. It was clear that all the participants intended on proving their worth. And they did so in epic fashion.

I debated about whether or not I wanted to watch the pre-show, and boy did I make the right decision. This was the perfect way to kick this show off, and I was blown away by how amazing this match actually was. I was expecting it to be good, but when I saw a 4 man superplex pulled off, it instantly became something special.

2. Damien Sandow betrays his best friend, but attains a chance at greatness.

As I predicted, the WHC MITB stole the show. Some may disagree with my opinion, but I believe the WHC MITB was better than the MITB All Star match. Like, it isn’t even a close contest for me.

The WHC MITB, a gift from heaven, was excellent from start to finish. All the participants in this match took some insane bumps off of ladders, the floor and each other. Cody Rhodes gave Antonio Cesaro a MUSCLE BUSTER into a ladder. I’ve seen that move in WWE games, but in real life!?

But the real star of this match is our NEW Mr. Money in the Bank, Damien Sandow!

Let’s talk about Damien Sandow for a minute.

You see, I picked him to win the briefcase. I love the guy. But when I picked him, I didn’t think he would win. As the match kept going and Cody Rhodes was doing WORK, I became okay with the idea of him or Dean Ambrose getting the big win.

But when Damien came out of nowhere and pulled Cody Rhodes off the ladder, I went into shock. And when Damien unhooked the briefcase and held it in his hands, I screamed and clapped like a complete fool.

And then I saw Cody’s face.

That hurt in Cody’s expression silenced me. And with the two of them looking at each other, one with hate and the other with superiority, I was reminded of what we just lost. No more Rhodes Scholars.
Note: If breaking up a team, this is the way it should go.

Believe it or not, this was just the start of the episode of MITB I like to call BETRAYAL. Read on, folks. There’s more.

3. AJ Lee wins in definitive fashion.

I was kind of confused about this Divas match. The match itself was satisfying because you had stuff like what’s going on in the picture above, but after AJ won, that was it. There was no reaction from Kaitlyn. No post match crying or screaming. Nothing. That could’ve been because of time constraints, but the powers that be at WWE could’ve given us SOMETHING besides a shot of Layla holding Kaitlyn.

Either way, AJ is still the champ. But that isn’t enough for her, is it?

4. AJ Lee, mind your business.

Despite Dolph screaming at her multiple times to go to the back because Dolph’s got this under control, AJ Lee hit Alberto Del Rio with her Divas title, and helping Alberto win the match by DQ.

I’d consider AJ to be one of the more popular divas, and the hate directed at her last night was just amazing. Even I can admit that the match was going great until she hit Alberto.

I expected something, but seeing that was still shocking. It solidifies that ZigLee is on borrowed time. It should be one epic breakup and I can’t wait to see more.

5.  BETRAYAL: The Paul Heyman edition.

The Raw MITB is everything you thought it would be. More action, more spills to the outside, more insane bumps and a whole lot of excitement. There were a few moments where it seemed like anybody could’ve won. Or at least I wish it was that way.
When the Raw MITB started, I was nearly exhausted from screaming during the first MITB, and the subsequent solid wrestling. We had our matches that slowed things down, but it wasn’t as much breathing room as we all needed considering what was coming.

Like Sandow betraying Rhodes, I was floored when Heyman turned on Punk. The thought of that happening never even crossed my mind. But you know what? It was one of the most real moments of the show. The crowd, who had been beyond responsive and fun the whole night, was stunned into silence when Heyman threw the ladder at Punk’s legs. Punk’s facial expression as he laid bleeding on the mat is one that I won’t soon forget.

With this betrayal set in stone, this sets up what should be an intense Brock vs Punk at Summerslam. Here comes the pain!

Oh, and Randy Orton won the Raw MITB. *shrugs*

6. The meh matches were just that.

Jericho vs Ryback, Miz vs Curtis Axel, and John Cena vs Mark Henry were all solid matches, but I don’t have enough in me to care about the results. Which sounds awful, but that’s just how I felt.
This show was all about the briefcases, and those two matches did not disappoint.

And those are your Sunday lessons.

I cannot wait for Raw. The road to Summerslam starts now!