The Aug. 6 edition of Monday Night Raw, its third installment in its new three-hour format, kicked off with all of the show's major players on the stage.
AJ Lee, the new Raw General Manager, CM Punk the current WWE Champion, John Cena and The Big Show, both former WWE champions and No. 1 contenders.
It would appear that the WWE is doing everything they can to grab that new 8 o'clock audience by making sure everyone's favorite is there to start the show.
AJ came out to her music, skipped to the ring in her white business suit and probably did one of the best mic work since holding the spotlight. I haven't been a big fan of AJ since her escapades began with the CM Punk and Daniel Bryan angle, but last night she didn't do that bad and I give her an A for effort but overall B for performance.
While she did good on the mic, and handling CM Punk and his half-hearted apology I wasn't a fan of the skipping. If she is going to take on this role of GM she must evolve slightly as a character and since we've put aside the clothes from Hot Topic, maybe its time we stopped the skipping as well.
As I stated, CM Punk came to the ring in the midst of AJ listing the matches she had planned for tonight, The Big Show was to take on Randy Orton and John Cena would take on IWC's favorite son, Daniel Bryan.
I could almost hear the cringing across the nation from everyone out there when they knew that their boy Bryan Danielson was going to lose to the man most of the Internet hates, John Cena. With Punk's apology came his asking for the cancellation of the triple threat match scheduled for Summerslam.
With Punk's logic being he's the current WWE Champion and he deserves respect, I'm not sure why this was the route he was taking. Just last week he was saying it didn't matter which of the two he faced for the championship.
He's pontificated on how he's already beaten Cena and The Big Show and how in fact both of them are losers. That being the case, why care if you have a triple threat match or not?
Blaming the match on AJ and her revenge for being stood up by Punk seemed to be another odd comment by the champion. CM Punk up to this point I felt has been an intelligent champion, a guy who's made smart comments, real comments and kept logic at the forefront of his tirades.
While this seems to be the beginning of his heel turn, you would think that he would continue to use his logic, his real talk and 'pipe bombs' to complain on how things were being handled. I don't think Punk needs to make a heel turn, I think he just needs to go back to that same Punk that walked out of the WWE with the title. A+ for delivery but a C- on the content of the message for Punk.
John Cena came to the ring to confront Punk, to put in his two cents and to acknowledge the crowd and make statements while screaming, in other words he came out to be John Cena. But he also made a point, he couldn't believe either that Punk has become "one of those guys" who comes out whining and demanding respect, he goes on to say "You don't demand respect, you just come out here and earn it."
And while that's what Punk has been doing, it seems he's losing it slowly. The crowd at this point begins the Lets Go Cena and Cena Sucks chants, which Cena full on acknowledges and it actually plays in perfect to his speech. He states how he's been in the WWE 10 years, has 11 championships and he still has to come out here to fight for respect.
Cena tells Punk its his fault its a triple threat match and Punk continues his odd behavior by saying it was Cena's fault because he flew over the announce table into him. I know people refer to Cena as Superman but does Punk really believe Cena can fly under his own power?
Cena's work in the opening that night was typical Cena, it's passionate, it's loud with a touch of humor and while I'm not a Cena hater I have to say I think he could have done better.
The highlight for me, but probably the worst for the Cena haters in Cena's portion was when he paused for a moment to tell AJ, she smelled great and introduced himself in a very Bond-like manner. "Hi, I'm John, John Cena." I'm guessing he's glad he's divorced now.
But his overall work was average for him, so he's getting a C on both delivery and content from me, with one of those horrible comments you see on a report card, capable of better work.
Big Show's music hit, and while we couldn't hear what he was saying, it would appear that he was making comments about how the two of them want to keep running their mouths. But before he could get in the ring and grab a mic, AJ reeled everything in and took control back of the show in actually an impressive matter.
She told Cena and Show to save their aggression for their upcoming matches, this gets Punk to interrupt her and question why the champion doesn't have a match and that he should be the main event. AJ then reveals that the WWE and Twitter Universe will be the ones deciding Punk's opponent and his match would be next.
The WWE is obviously huge on people watching their show with some sort of electronic device be it a tablet, a laptop or smart phone, so that they can take part of the action. What better use of live television to gauge fan reaction and feedback than use today's tech to its fullest?
While AJ exited the ring and we were left to tweet who we wanted Punk to face, it was sad to see her music hit and have her exit the ring so that she could skip around it before she left.
Her taking reins of the show and putting a stop to the bickering of the three biggest guys on Monday Night Raw really pushed her character, but to have her revert back to the skipping dropped it way back down again.
I don't feel they should lose the "crazy" angle entirely, I liked it later on when Del Rio made a comment, but the skipping just has to go.
Overall, I thought we got a strong opening to Raw and a nice tie into Summerslam keeping the story going and strong with two weeks to go. I'd give the opening all together a B-, some more talking by Big Show would have been good, some less whining by Punk would have been great and a little more something from Cena would have been awesome.
I'll be putting up a couple more articles either today or early this week, with subjects like The Yes vs. The No and the marketing of D Bryan. Is Ryback's Popularity Growing? The Divas return and the tag division stays at three teams.
For updates on when these articles go up, follow me on twitter at @boompage or follow the Outstanding one @Captoutstanding to updates on articles here on Bleacher and my articles up on my own site, The BOOM Page, where we discuss WWE, TV, Movies, Comics and more Pop Culture goodness.
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