Monday night's Raw was Big Show's stage to showcase and establish his new persona, and in many ways, it worked.
While there have been many flaws in the early stages of Show's turn, the man behind the character has embraced the change and done his best to make it work.
He had ample time in front of the camera Monday night, and his match with Brodus Clay quickly became a dream match few had even thought of.
Show opened Raw with a promo about his motivation. He pointed out some of the bad decisions made by WWE in the wake of his firing, such as his emotional breakdown a few weeks ago being immediately followed by Clay's dancing and John Cena's reaction to John Laurinaitis later in that evening.
In some ways, it almost feels like WWE has been following the feedback from the wild bunch known as Internet fans and decided it's better to laugh with the masses than to try to appease them by fixing problems of the past.
Show continued to have a presence on TV by confronting Alex Riley and Santino Marella in the hallways, before being approached by a serious Clay.
When Clay challenged Show, I almost thought Twitter was going to shut down my computer. My timeline was blowing up with people talking about how awesome the segment was.
That's something I haven't seen with Show involved in a long time. And I tended to agree with people. I have advocated for Clay to do something more than beat jobbers, and putting his 20-plus-match winning streak on the line against a newly turned Show seemed like great storytelling.
Both men would have a chance to showcase new personalities: Show as a villain and Clay as a serious contender.
Of course, as everyone should have expected, we didn't get what we though we would. Instead, the match never even started, as both men brawled on the outside of the ring. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth tried to help Clay but were disposed of with ease.
After building so much excitement for the match, WWE pulled the swerve. But I'm not going to complain about it. As I said, Monday night's episode was Show's chance to establish himself, and he did just that.
The closing scene was effective. I wasn't a fan of the tag champs getting destroyed so easily, but it made Show look like a true monster.
Big Show is a character that works much better when dominating anything or anyone who gets in his way than he does a smiling fan favorite, and Monday night's Raw set Show's path for the future ... at least until No Way Out.
* Daniel Bryan defeated WWE Champion CM Punk in a heck of a non-title match. Matches like this are a rarity on television, both in length and style. Punk and Bryan are money when paired together, and this match was no exception. The finish, as well as the post-match happenings, played into ongoing storylines really well. AJ removed one of the turnbuckle pads, trying to help Punk, but her plan backfired when Bryan used the exposed turnbuckle to win the match. After the bell rang, Kane attacked Bryan. AJ gave Punk a chair, and he used it to assault Kane. A triple threat match at No Way Out seems more and more likely.
* Intercontinental Champion Christian defeated The Miz in a good match. Giving Christian an opponent a little more experienced and renowned than Hunico or Jinder Mahal with the former champ, Cody Rhodes, on commentary made the match -- and, by proxy, the title -- seem more important. The build-up to Rhodes' rematch is being handled well.
After that match, The Miz got on a microphone and complained about how he's been treated recently. Those expecting this to be the start of a comeback were left disappointed, though, as Randy Orton simply came out and hit him with an RKO. Will Miz be the replacement for Jericho in Orton's immediate future? I'm not sure if that's elevating Miz or downgrading Orton.
* It's nice and refreshing to see the tag team titles being defended regularly, but seeing Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger facing R-Truth and Kofi Kingston has run its course. These two teams work well together and their match was what we've come to expect. They mesh, and they're all talented, but it seemed fairly pedestrian and not like anything we haven't seen before. Tension between Vickie Guerrero's clients was teased, as Ziggler walked out in the end. Hopefully this teased break-up goes somewhere, unlike the last seven or eight times it has been teased.
* As the No. 1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, Alberto Del Rio should definitely be built up, even if it means squashing a midcarder. It does not mean, however, he should be squashing a midcard champion in less than two minutes. WWE needs to either stop treating Santino Marella as a complete joke or take the United States Championship off him.
* Sheamus essentially squashed David Otunga in a match that honestly served little purpose other than filling time. The match looked alright, but it was hard to buy into a match like this that had no real heat and no doubt about the result.
* It's always a cheesy situation when WWE is making a big cover reveal on television -- whether it be Playboy, Maxim or their new video game release -- and Monday night was no different. John Laurinaitis unveiling a cover with his own face on it was pretty funny. In reality, it's Punk who will be featured, but according to my Twitter, some people would prefer to see Johnny Ace receive the honor. Can't say I disagree; no offense to Punk.
* The Memorial Day tribute videos produced by WWE were extremely well done and respectful. Always a great thing to see.
Alberto Del Rio d. Santino Marella
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth d. Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler
Daniel Bryan d. CM Punk
Christian d. The Miz
Sheamus d. David Otunga
Big Show vs. Brodus Clay never officially started
Starting Raw with such a lengthy Big Show promo seemed like a rough way to start the show, but when it became clear that Show was the focal point of the entire episode, it made sense. The show featured some great wrestling from Punk and Bryan and a number of other matches ranging from serviceable to strong. Cena was absent from the show, except for a pre-recorded promo thanking veterans, so that was an interesting development, as well. There are some good stories being told heading into No Way Out, and it seems WWE is using the right steps to tell them.
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