Looking at Monday Night Raw this week, one might ask themselves, where did all my favorite WWE superstars go? It was promoted that Big Show was scheduled to make his big return at Raw, but a last minute decision was made to keep him off television until after SummerSlam. However, he wasn’t the only star missing from this week.
The 40 minute main event Gauntlet match that featuring Daniel Bryan, also left many superstars and storylines left out of the picture for WWE’s flagship show. The Wyatt Family was completely absent from action, The Shield were only given a five minute segment, where they battled the Uso’s and Mark Henry; also there was no sign at of Intercontinental Champion, Curtis Axel.
Those superstars weren’t the only ones that felt the time restrictions due to the the gauntlet match, Miz TV was literally reduced to a five minute segment that did nothing more than promote the Total Divas premiere this Sunday on “E.”
The segment featured a four minute clip of Nicki and Brie Bella going to meet a few of WWE’s new development divas. The segment proved to be lackluster as Total Divas cast member, Eva Marie, slapped Jerry Lawler, and then justified her actions by saying she was here to make a name for herself in the WWE.
Monday night’s match card also featured no divas action and only a brief appearance by WWE’s Divas Champion, AJ Lee, to help further the storyline between her, Dolph Ziggler and Big “E” Langston at SummerSlam.
The list of superstars that were missing in action also included WWE Championship Briefcase winner, Randy Orton. Orton not making an appearance on Raw, coupled with new reports that he suffered a low grade concussion last week against Alberto Del Rio, has to make fans wonder, what lies ahead for the Apex Predator?
At this point, it does seem like Orton is legitimately hurt, and needs to recover from the injury he sustained on Smackdown last week. The sight that becomes more troubling is if you look through next week’s Raw spoilers, you again notice that Orton isn’t scheduled for a match, and according to accounts of the taping, doesn’t even make an appearance on Raw or Wednesday Night Main Event.
In this case, the injury may actually help further his storyline at summerSlam next month. Imagine Orton being absent from television action, while fans wonder when he will recover. Then right after Bryan defeats Cena in their championship bout at SummerSlam, Orton storms the ring and becomes the five-time WWE Champion after easily defeating a beaten and battered Daniel Bryan.
By evening’s end, fans were treated to probably what can only be described as not only the match of the year, but also the biggest push given to a single WWE superstar in one single night. Bryan put on a show as he battled the real American, Jack Swagger. Ultimately capitalizing on a counter and locking in the no lock on the Real American, and forcing him to tap out.
The second challenger for Bryan was Swagger’s teammate, Antonio Cesaro. Bryan and Cesaro battled intensely for over 20 minutes, as Bryan fell victim to multiple devastating uppercuts from Cesaro. The Real American didn’t stop there, continuing to wear down Bryan with intense chokeholds and grueling moves that left fans wondering if Bryan would survive the matchup.
In the end it was a missed uppercut by a fuming Cesaro that allowed Bryan to execute a surprise roll up from behind for his second win of the evening. The third matchup however would prove to be his most grueling yet as the words, feed me more, begin to blare over the arena sound speakers, signaling the beast had arrived ready to dismantle Bryan.
Ryback and Daniel Bryan battled it out for the final 15 minutes of the show, with Ryback dominating the matchup early on with his obvious size and power advantage. In the end, Ryback cared little about getting the victory, and more about hurting the number one contender for the title, powerbombing Bryan through a table at ringside. Ending the match.
After the match Cena rushed to the ring to make the save as he chased Ryback away, before he could do anymore damage to a battle torn Daniel Bryan. Cena then grabbed a microphone and challenged Ryback to a Tables match next week, which Ryback eagerly accepted.
The camera finally switched to the titan tron where Brad Maddox and Vince McMahon discussed what kind of challenge should they give to Bryan next to prove he belongs in the Championship match at Summerslam. Maddox and McMahon quickly agreed on Daniel Bryan’s opponent next week being his former tag team partner Kane, an announcement that shocked many as Raw went off the air.