On Monday night, the WWE was looking to continue its momentum after a spectacular previous week of entertainment.
Live from the North Charleston Civic Center in North Charleston, S.C., it was once again a thrilling, jam-packed slate with plenty of in-ring action and even more important storyline development and interesting twists.
We got more of Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton. We got the much-anticipated—and brilliantly worked—showdown between CM Punk and Paul Heyman. We got a very clear outlook for Money in the Bank, and despite the pay-per-view still being three weeks away, it already looks absolutely loaded.
And that was just a fraction of the action.
Let's take a look at what went down.
Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton fight to a double countout.
Sheamus and Christian defeat Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow.
Kaitlyn (with Layla) defeats Aksana. Afterward, A.J. Lee mocks Kaitlyn while dressed as Kaitlyn.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler is announced for Money in the Bank.
Chris Jericho defeats Alberto Del Rio via DQ. Afterward, Dolph Ziggler attacks both of them.
Jerry Lawler reveals The Rock as the cover athlete for WWE 2k14.
Ryback defeats The Great Khali.
John Cena gives a promo.
The Usos defeat Tons of Funk and Jinder Mahal/Drew McIntyre in a No. 1 contenders match.
Paul Heyman and CM Punk talk it out inside the ring.
CM Punk defeats Darren Young via submission. Afterward, Young and Titus O'Neil attack Punk, but Curtis Axel makes the save.
Stephanie McMahon announces the MITB ladder match participants: CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Christian, Kane, Rob Van Dam.
Vickie Guerrero books Ryback vs. Jericho.
Mark Henry gives a promo.
Daniel Bryan defeats Randy Orton via submission in a Street Fight.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton Round 3...and 4
There was a ton going on during this week's Raw, but it was Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton who both (deservedly) started and finished the show.
In the night's opening segment, Bryan talked about how he needed to beat Orton cleanly, and soon after, he got his shot.
The match lasted just over a minute before a double countout, but somehow in that time, Bryan and Orton had the intensity high and the viewers wanting more:
And the only problem with their second match, which ended the night, is that it wasn't able to go longer.
In what a true Street Fight match should be, Bryan and Orton busted out several weapons, including tables and kendo sticks, and really went after each other during the scintillating, physical match:
There's little question that Bryan is the best in the world right now, and his win over Orton—accompanied by a handshake from the Apex Predator—should only mean good things for him in the future.
With how completely over he is right now, Bryan has to be considered the favorite (along with Punk) for the ladder match at Money in the Bank, although the company is doing a terrific job of keeping the wrestling world on its collective heels right now.
Don't forget about Orton, either.
Although he didn't yet turn heel like many were hoping, he continues to put on terrific matches and is also headed for the ladder match.
Is Paul Heyman Lying to CM Punk?
There was no actual wrestling for most of this segment, but it was an example of just how important microphone skills can be.
Punk got it started by demanding the truth from his manager. Did Heyman sic his other client, Brock Lesnar, on Punk last Monday? Or was it simply Lesnar's doing?
The Miami Herald's Scott M. Fishman tried to put into words just how impressive the promo was:
And, of course, any time you get an endorsement from legend Mick Foley, you know it's something special:
Heyman then took over the mic, saying that he had no idea about Lesnar's actions and that he would never represent someone who is against his "best friend."
After it all, the two hugged it out.
Overall, it was the perfect interaction. It didn't feel like they were entertainers. It didn't feel like they were actors. It simply felt like they were two friends airing dirty laundry, and it had the wrestling universe buzzing about whether or not Heyman was telling the truth:
Afterward, things got even more interesting when Curtis Axel, the third "Heyman guy," made the save when the Prime Time Players were attacking Punk two-on-one.
However, Punk wasn't happy about it, and although it's pretty clear a breakup is coming, this entire storyline as a whole has been fresh, unpredictable and incredibly engaging.