The commentators basically summed up my thoughts on this show at the beginning. It’s absolutely stacked.
Surprised to see Cena starting out the show, considering it’s stacked with big matches, but I didn’t really see where he’d fit at all. The whole losing streak definitely isn’t about dropping him down the card (rather an amazing looking heel turn), so it makes sense to keep him in the spotlight by having him open the show up. Even though it’s simple, I really liked the start to this promo. It did a really good job hyping up how big tonight’s show is, and also really summed up where Cena is right now, not being involved in any of that type of stuff. I also found it interesting that he smirked at the mixed reaction, as I imagine that will slowly change with time. Right now he’s comfortable with it, but after what Vince said about the fans turning against him when he’s down, and Cena going through a stressful time due to being out of the title picture, I get the feeling that’s going to start getting on his nerves as he starts to struggle more and more. Hopefully that happens slowly, as this turn (if it is indeed happening), looks like it could be great. Cena summing up where he is, before going through what we’d normally see from Cena by pledging to fight through it is good to see, because it’s what you’d expect from him to start with. Capitalising on this show being in the same place as WrestleMania is great too, with the whole talking up of how Cena’s going to get back into it and walk into Phoenix as champion next time. Not only does it give Cena motivation to get out of the slump and back into title contention, but it gives him an aim to meet, one way or another. Bischoff coming out and playing the party pooper is interesting, as one moment he’s playing the face, the next he’s playing the heel. Having him antagonize Cena is a nice use of his character though, really summing up the position Cena is in well. Cena responding with his motivational stuff was nicely done, keeping him looking like that man on a mission, while Bischoff throwing Cena a nobody to show where he is in the pecking order is a great way to rub in Cena’s face all that he’s going to have to go through to get back to the top. Really nice first promo to sum up where Cena is at right now, and where he’s going next.
Cena running right through Ortiz is fine, starting him off at the bottom. I’m honestly surprised he’s winning so soon, but it takes the storyline the way you want, with Cena having to try to work his way back up. Have to say, I’m glad Ortiz won’t be coming back too, because he really is quite awful.
Having Straight Edge go on the attack right from the beginning is a clever way to show that they want to finish the match early before any rubbish is pulled, capitalising on the immediate past of these two teams well. The match itself went nicely from there, with the ending being nice. On one hand, I like how this leaves us one obvious rematch, with Straight Edge now aware of everything that MNM can pull due to both Melina and the entourage being around. At the same time, I’m not sure this feud has the legs. It’s up to you to see how it plays out, I guess.
The British Lions making the save here is nice, at least keeping in mind that they are a fresh face in amongst the title scene.
The world tour concept is interesting, as it could create some big matches if you really play up the gimmick while overseas.
This angle is something that continues to surprise me. I remember when you first started this and I said I thought it was crap and it seemed stupid, and you told me to have patience. Loving it now. Cody almost controlling Dustin and making him shun his past just because Dustin wants to control him is great, and the entire idea that Cody is having Umaga destroy Dustin, just like he did to Cody when Dustin entered him in King of the Ring is really clever. I originally just expected last week to mean these two would form a team, but this is so much better. Big thumbs up here for turning what seemed like a ridiculous midcard angle that had no real direction into, well, this. The final message there from Cody, having him say Dustin had to compete to protect him was just great. This character you’ve given Rhodes with the bitter twist is brilliant. Loving it.
Random and pointless, but this was one of my first wrestling DVDs, so I smiled at the use of SummerSlam ’99 here.
Clever use of the video package as a segue into the question, with the intense Angle promo that followed being just fine. Nothing absolutely spectacular, but that basic Angle intense promo that you do well is wheeled out again.
Even though it shows how personal this feud is, I have to say I find it odd to imagine Rey jumping someone the size of Rhyno from behind. Still, it does kick off the extreme element well. I really liked the brawling through the crowd to really give the ECW Rules Match that ECW feel, and the nearfalls built nicely. Having the 619 not get the win here is a good move, because so many other moves look so much more painful in a hardcore environment without getting the win. I was a bit surprised Rhyno went over so convincingly, but I’m kind of glad he did, as I’m interested to see what kind of role he can play in this thread. Neither have obvious feuds to move into, so I’m not quite sure what you’ve got planned for either man.
While I’m not sure I like the idea of Miz getting too much screen time when he, well, quite frankly sucked back in 2007, I like the ideas you’re using with him, really pushing the whole reality thing, while also having him talk up how much he works and how the boys in the back don’t like him, playing off stuff that actually happened really well. I’m not sure how much of a role he’ll have in the future of this thread, but for now you’re using him in quite a clever way.
Giving Mickie a squash win is a nice way to keep her momentum going, and the Phoenix connection was expected, but I’m surprised you had Kim watching also. I guess it throws something extra into the Women’s Title scene to make things interesting and not as straightforward as we had believed.
A nice promo from Kennedy, mixing his smartass attitude in well with the seriousness of the title match to come.
\Nice way to continue to keep Matt Hardy connected with Benjamin here, despite them not facing ahead of their seemingly inevitable match at SummerSlam, while getting Regal in there for a win is never a bad thing either, keeping his credibility up.
I’m not sure what Hatton will be involved in at SummerSlam, but I do like the idea of having him involved to give the show that extra “big event” type feel. You do seem to like your boxers too, following up on Tyson at WrestleMania.
The British Lions were a bit generic here, but they did have a bit of that UK characterization (well, Burchill did) to at least give them something. Setting up the tag title match for next week isn’t a bad idea either. It makes the title scene seems a little more fresh, and also gives The Brish Lions a chance to shine.
Loving the addition of Hardy/Regal to next week’s card for a shot at the IC Title too. It gets Matt to actually earn his shot at the title, while it also cleverly plays on the King of the Ring tourney with it being a rematch from there. Just a clever little piece of booking, showing how everything ties together so well in here.
Loved the serious element to this interview from Christian, really building up the match as big and talking up what the world title means. The way he reacted to Umaga being mentioned was great too, showing that Mags has gotten under his skin. Seems like you’re perhaps hinting at a feud there.
Honestly, I don’t like Cena coming out on commentary here. Having him work from the bottom to the top is a good storyline, but it feels like he just shouldn’t be connected here yet. Give him some time away from the main event entirely. I know it’s odd, with SummerSlam about to happen and Cena one of your bigger stars, and I know he wants the title, but I really enjoyed what I thought we were getting earlier. As you’ve shown with the Rhodes angle though, you always make things work, so I guess I’ll wait and see what the point of this is.
Really liked the opening to this match, with the heels working together. The early Angle Slam on the outside set the pace too, as you really managed to keep things going frantically, making for a very exciting and long final stretch. The finish caught me a little off-guard, as I thought we’d be getting a decisive fall after all of the big moves, but the pin works well to set up the attack from Kennedy. The interaction with Cena was interesting too. Cena/Kennedy at SummerSlam? I guess a loss for Cena could restart this storyline, in a way, and Kennedy certainly would look good going over Cena.
The ending to the show was great, plain and simple. Umaga has been teasing it for weeks, and to have Christian/Umaga at SummerSlam seems like a worthy main event right now. The build has been there, and with this segment, you’ve really sold the match perfectly. Great stuff.
Great show as usual, Wolfy. SummerSlam definitely looks like it’s going to be big on the RAW side, and everything on this show was developed well. I really shouldn’t need to tell you the writing was good too. Keep it coming, please.