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Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - The Best Monday Night RAW of 2013, No Doubt About It!
By Mr. Tito
Jun 18, 2013 - 12:35:31 AM

FOLLOW Mr. Tito on Twitter: @titowrestling

Typically, the Monday Night RAW after a Wrestlemania Pay Per View is extremely important to the WWE and for the wrestling fans. Wrestlemania is usually the ending point for major storyline points of the year and the WWE has counted on the RAW after Wrestlemania to be the kickoff for the next season of the WWE. For 2012 by example, we were treated by Brock Lesnar's major return on the RAW following Wrestlemania 28.

For Wrestlemania 29, the RAW following Wrestlemania 29 was a letdown. Reportedly, the Rock suffered an injury and disallowed for a possible Rock and Brock Lesnar segment to possibly set-up Wrestlemania 30. Instead, what ended the show was the beginning of the Ryback vs. John Cena feud. On the RAW following WWE Payback Pay Per View, I'm honestly glad that feud is over. The WWE pushed the Ryback vs. Cena feud hard over the past 2 Pay Per Views and possibly damaged the Ryback character in the process. For much of 2012 and the early part of 2013, the WWE was pushing Ryback hard as a Goldberg-like babyface and did a 180 during the feud with Cena.

So now, here we are... The RAW after WWE Payback. To me, this FELT like the RAW-after-Wrestlemania. Christian and Mark Henry came back from injuries (or time off). Mark Henry's segment with John Cena was AMAZING. CM Punk made his first RAW appearance since the week after Wrestlemania 29. Brock Lesnar made a surprise appearance and attacked former "Paul Heyman Guy", CM Punk. The thought of possibly getting CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar has me very excited as a wrestling fan. Meanwhile, the rest of RAW was damn good. Shield, Divas, and other stuff... Pretty damn good.

I'm excited for Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk and I hope it headlines SummerSlam 2013. That show would draw HUGE and the WWE would have a full 2 months of CM Punk having to endure trouble from Paul Heyman. Think of all the mind games that could be played while Lesnar isn't there. Heyman could throw the John Cena/Triple H defeating Curtis Axel at CM Punk for a punching bag or Heyman could find another flunky to do his dirty work. The WWE developmental system is reportedly stocked with talent and there are WWE veterans out there that could be a perfect Heyman fit (I'm looking at you Shelton Benjamin). Having Lesnar vs. CM Punk headline SummerSlam would sell like crazy. With CM Punk hitting his strides as a top level WWE performer, Punk vs. Lesnar has become a legitimate DREAM MATCH.

I loved that Mark Henry segment with John Cena. Henry sold that retirement speech like a champ and had tears in his eyes the entire time. Certainly, it's a cheap way to generate heat, but it was effective. Those fans were completely fooled with the "One More Match" chants and cheering loudly for a guy appearing to show genuine emotion. I should have known with the way he was praising John Cena and admitting that he never won the WWE Title, but I was fooled. Mark Henry should be praised heavily for that segment and that should be an example for other wrestlers to follow. He sold real emotion to the fans and the fans either bought it or were willing to play along. That's pro wrestling.

And I hope Mark Henry wins the WWE Title. I'm beyond amazed at how much he's improved since the WWE blew their money in 1996 on an Olympic power lifter. That was almost 17 years ago when he joined the WWE after the 1996 Olympics. I feel really old now... Just think about the "Sexual Chocolate", the birth of a hand, Mae Young, and other awful booking this guy had to endure while struggling to become a good wrestler. The guy "gets it" now and is a credible person to become World Champion. With the fans going bonkers over his attacking of John Cena, it should be interesting to see the reactions moving forward. My luck, Vince McMahon will still express his love for the Ryback gimmick and make it a TRIPLE THREAT match at Money in the Bank 2013. God, I hope not...

Christian returned... Honestly, I'm not that crazy about it as I still can't see his worth beyond his early 2000's midcard role but that's probably how stubborn of a wrestling fan that I've become. I know a lot of fans were happy to see him return, so I'll just leave it at that. I know many fans are happy about Rob Van Dam's return, too. To me, they are wrestlers that I've watched for over 15 years and I don't know what's left in either guy to move the meter in the WWE. WWE has a talented young roster, in my opinion, and I suppose that both RVD/Christian can be used to help that talent. We'll see... I want to see newer, younger talent succeed in the WWE and worry that too many veterans around could get in the way.

Makes me wonder what is going on with AJ Lee and Stephanie McMahon. It felt to me like they were trying a "wrestler vs. boss" angle with AJ Lee playing the role of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Stephanie playing the role of Vince McMahon. I wouldn't doubt that's the type of reaction that the WWE Creative Staff was looking for and probably got it. Once Stephanie gets on television once, it becomes intoxicating to her and she'll stick around. We may see her as an authority figure who pushes around the women wrestlers, much like her father did during the late 1990's against Austin and other face wrestlers who wanted some. It could work... But it has to result in GOOD Divas matches. Many fans enjoyed the AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn match and keeping that kind of momentum would be in the WWE's best interest.

Odd pairing of Zeb Colter and Antonio Cesaro, and the fans acted accordingly with a "stunned" reaction to this matter during Cesaro's match with William Regal. Holy William Regal sighting, by the way. Even more shocking, Cesaro won a freakin' match!

In my "WHY ARE THEY NOT HYPING THIS IN ADVANCE" and/or "WHY ARE THEY GIVING THIS AWAY FOR FREE" nitpicks, I don't understand why the WWE couldn't wait for 1 week to have Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton. Why not announce that it's happening on 6/17 RAW, hype it during the week, and then have lots of hype heading into 6/24 RAW? I just don't get why the WWE hotshots great match-ups. Then, you have the WWE giving us CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio with again, no hype. The match was slapped together during the opening segment and with Vickie Guerrero's blessing. Again, why not hype CM Punk's FIRST RAW APPEARANCE in a while for next week's RAW? Consider that when RAW episodes after Pay Per Views don't need much hype. I just feel that the WWE goes out of their way to be disorganized and it's costing themselves easy hype in the process.

And lastly, I don't know what happened with Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan. Some early reports indicate that Bryan suffered a stinger when he landed on the outside after being kicked off the apron by Orton. WWE doctors came down and checked on Bryan, eventually helping to result in Bryan forfeiting due to injury. Not sure... With the way the match abruptly ended and the announcers not making too much hay about the matter, I suspect it was real. Bryan did have a puzzled look on his face as if the nervous shock to the system may have given him an out-of-body feeling. Who knows? We'll find out more as this week develops... But at the very least, the WWE is going with Mark Henry vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank 2013 and Bryan won't have to be ready for his biggest match of his career against John Cena until SummerSlam 2013.

LAST WORD: I'm granting this the "BEST RAW of 2013" so far award, as this show did more to benefit many superstars and future storylines than any other this year. Punk vs. Lesnar, Mark Henry getting a serious shot against John Cena, WWE being serious about United States/Intercontinental Champion, Divas segment being decent, and maybe an attempt at a serious push from Bryan by continuing to work with Randy Orton. Things are looking up for the WWE. Shows like this make me feel good and proud to be a wrestling fan. When wrestling is clicking on all cylinders, there are few sporting events and forms of entertainment that can top it. A+

So just chill til the next episode...

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: @titowrestling

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