Welcome to the Weekly Top Five (WTF) for the July 2 episode of Monday Night Raw. Before I rank best moments of the show, allow me to remind you that the second edition of WWE Encyclopedia is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It really is.
5. ALBERTO DEL RIO
If you’ve read my books our followed my tweets, by now you know that I subscribe to the theory of “the simpler the better.” In the wrestling world, I think it can be as easy as “good guys” vs. “bad guys,” and this week, Alberto Del Rio very simply solidified himself as the bad guy when he decimated Sin Cara. Making it even more effective was the fact that the crowd was so firmly behind Sin Cara.
All day leading up to Raw, people were lighting up Twitter and the dirt sheets claiming Diamond Dallas Page was going to be this week’s legend. So when Doink came to the ring, I couldn’t help but imagine all those “smart marks,” which is an oxymoron by the way, backtracking on their comments.
Of course, in the end, they eventually got DDP. But I appreciate the way that WWE toyed with everybody.
3. TYSON KIDD VS. TENSAI
You, me and the entire Internet Wrestling Community have been screaming for WWE to give Tyson Kidd some love. Tonight, WWE granted our wishes by giving the final graduate of the Hart Family Dungeon a convincing and quick victory over Tensai … the same Tensai who owns a win over John Cena.
While I appreciated Kidd’s victory, however, the best part is that it didn’t come at the expense of Tensai’s heat … or perceived heat, I should say. Whatever heat he had going into the match stayed in tact (or got hotter), thanks to the post-match beat down of Sakamoto and later Kidd. Again, simple and effective.
2. PAUL HEYMAN
For whatever reason, when Paul Heyman speaks, I believe him. His speaking ability owns an intangible that cannot be duplicated. And considering WWE already used a handful of Brock Lesnar’s contracted appearances, I really like how they are using Heyman to keep the storyline alive, particularly because Heyman can verbally deliver the message infinitely more effectively than Lesnar.
With that in mind, when Heyman started to spew his heelish lies about Triple H actually wanting Lesnar to end his in-ring career, I actually began to question if that was the storyline they were going with. I then came to my senses and quickly realized that Heyman was just cutting an amazing heel promo.
On top of all that, I love that they are using this storyline to promote the 1,000th episode. Promotion for this show has been excellent. It really feels like a free pay-per-view.
1. MONEY IN THE BANK / WWE TITLE PICTURE
The meshing of the Money in the Bank participants with CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and the WWE Championship was the perfect way to elevate the importance of the Ladder Match and the WWE Championship simultaneously. For a while now, some fans have voiced their displeasure over John Cena supposedly overshadowing the WWE Title. This week’s opening segment, however, used Cena to help increase the importance of the title and vice versa.
Daniel Bryan’s comments to Cena also worked well, particularly when he told Cena—the face of WWE—that he is not relevant to him. It’s a simple heel statement that goes a long way. He then told Cena that if he won, he would be the first MITB winner not to successfully cash-in the briefcase… an ironic statement, considering many insiders assumed Bryan would be the first to fail.
Bookending Raw with the same intertwined storylines again helped add importance to both the MITB match, as well as the WWE Title picture. And as expected, AJ stole the show. She is just flat-out amazing. And I know you’re probably tired of me preaching this, but I truly believe it — It was simple. Here’s a “crazy chick” who may or may not have been looking to intentionally inflict pain on herself to gain attention. But in the end, she ends of putting both Punk and Bryan through a table. We’re left with many of the same AJ-related questions as we march toward the eventual climax of this angle, but AJ manages to make the trip there so entertaining.