By Ryan Kester
Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella
Coming out of Battleground, if you would have predicted that we'd be seeing Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella having a verbal exchange as the main even segment of Raw to set up a SummerSlam showdown, I'd have called you insane. However, that's exactly what we got, and I have never wanted to see a Bella match more.
McMahon and Bella played a perfect foil for one another and did a wonderful job of building up to the challenge for their SummerSlam match in a way that drew the crowd in and got them fired up. The overall build for this match has been similarly solid, and one can only hope the match they have can deliver to the degree that the hype has.
Paul Heyman and John Cena
Much like McMahon and Bella closed the show strong, Cena and Heyman did an excellent job of getting the show off to a hot start with their verbal exchange. WWE is doing a much better job of presenting Brock Lesnar as a force to be reckoned with since his victory over Undertaker at WrestleMania, and it went a long way for Cena to echo that sentiment.
It's interesting that even Cena is saying that he's destined for a beating at SummerSlam. Not only does it help build up Lesnar, but it is a great way to hook viewers that may be disenfranchised by seeing the belt around Cena's waist.
Randy Orton and Roman Reigns
It's absolutely amazing how little Orton means in WWE. Everything seemed to align for the character late last year when he was finally able to turn heel again, but it's as if WWE forgot everything that made Orton's last run as a heel work so well. He's been presented as weak and cowardly ever since, and his whining to The Authority did little than make him look like a midcard henchman.
That's why last night's attack was so important. With how little Orton has been presented as a threat up until this point, he needs a vicious streak going into SummerSlam, especially against a guy that's been built up so well in Roman Reigns. As a side benefit, Reigns' fans now have a reason to order to see their guy get some degree of vengeance, whereas before the match had almost no heat outside of a chance to see Reigns perform at a PPV.
This week's Raw was solid. There was certainly some filler present, but the show had a good flow and managed to make me more excited for SummerSlam than I was going in. They simply need to keep up this momentum in the coming weeks and SummerSlam will be a hot show.
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