On Monday night, Paul Heyman revealed his “Plan C,” and Triple H decided to make the returning Brock Lesnar the No. 1 contender to the WWE World Heavyweight championship.
While this was no surprise, the story that ran during the night to build to his return was done quite nicely.
To kick off the show, Triple H said he would announce who would face John Cena at SummerSlam that night. Various people, from Randy Orton to Kane to Roman Reigns to Cesaro all campaigned for that spot, and they tried to prove their worthiness in matches throughout the night.
At the end of the night, Triple H came out and seemed ready to announce Orton would get the match when Reigns came out and chased Orton to the back. As Triple H looked confused, Heyman came out.
Heyman pointed out that Triple H's plans to get the belt off of John Cena weren't working. Orton was too busy with Reigns. Seth Rollins couldn't cash in because of Dean Ambrose. He said Triple H needed to go to Plan C, which was taking a dangerous chance and give the shot to the returning Lesnar.
As the two came down the ring, Triple H shook both of their hands, making it official. After the two shook hands and Triple H went to the back, Heyman cut one of his better promos recently, highlighting Lesnar's domination.
He talked about what happened to the wrestlers who Lesnar put his mind to conquering, like The Undertaker. He said that Cena's 15 championships in 10 years seemed like something that would be worthy to conquer, and then did a modified Pledge of Allegiance to Lesnar.
To me, this emphasized that Lesnar could win the title and hold the belt, even with his limited schedule. Heyman is so good at his job that Lesnar didn't say a word during this return.
If he's not at every show, Heyman can just fill in and say what needs to be said for him. If he shows up for say, one or two Raw episodes between every pay-per-view, it could work.
Would it be ideal? Of course not.
What would be ideal is to have him there for every show. But since that doesn't seem like it will happen, Heyman is more than adequate to fill in the missing time.
The rest of Raw:
-- Besides Lesnar's return, the biggest development was in the Stephanie McMahon/Bellas storyline.
Early in the night, McMahon put Nikki Bella in a 4-on-1 handicap match. As Nikki Bella made her way down to ringside, she hugged Brie Bella, who had bought a ticket to the show.
That brought McMahon out, and she used the opportunity to run down Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan. Brie Bella reached out, grabbed the microphone out of McMahon's hand, and called her something that can't be printed here. This earned a slap from McMahon, as Brie Bella was escorted out.
Later in the show, as McMahon was out to introduce Flo Rida to the crowd, police showed up, and arrested her for battery. Clearly this is leading to a McMahon vs. Brie Bella match, but dropping McMahon down a peg as she was led, handcuffed, out of the building added another layer to the feud.
-- In his first match since winning the Intercontinental title, The Miz lost to Dolph Ziggler after a fairly good match. Now, I get that this is an easy way to set up a match between the two at SummerSlam, but this is a reason why the WWE has had so much trouble making the Intercontinental or United States titles relevant.
They consistently have the titleholders lose in nontitle matches, making it especially hard for them to get any momentum going. Even if they have a decent-length title run, they're losing half of their nontitle matches. It's really a practice that needs to stop.
-- Paige officially turned heel as she attacked AJ after a tag team match. After the two won against Natalya and Emma, it looked like they were on the same page again, when Paige ripped AJ down by her hair.
Her attack was especially savage from a diva, including multiple headbutts and throwing AJ around the ringside area, into the barrier, ringposts and over the announcers' table.
It's a side we haven't seen from a diva in quite a while, maybe not since Victoria was there, and it's refreshing. It will be interesting to see exactly what they do with Paige from this point.
-- Rybaxel beat Big E and Kofi in a rather unremarkable match. However, after the match, Xavier Woods came out to the ring. He said this is what he has been talking about, that you can't get ahead by shaking hands and kissing babies. He said they need to find a purpose, and they need to take what they want.
Big E and Kofi agreed, and it seems like they are doing some version of the Nation of Domination, something that Xavier Woods actually teased on Twitter a couple months ago. This could be fascinating, both to see who else joins, and to see how much they get pushed.
-- Ambrose faced Cesaro in a physical match. Before the match, Cesaro re-emphasized that he was no longer a “Paul Heyman Guy," but that he might want to be part of The Authority. Triple H put him in a match with Ambrose so he could prove himself.
Ambrose's loose-cannon persona really showed through in this match because he could give a beating, and Cesaro is a guy who can take it and dish one back just as well. In the end, Ambrose just took a chair and waffled Cesaro with it.
-- Reigns beat Kane and Orton in a handicap match after Kane and Orton had trouble working together.
-- Bray Wyatt was supposed to be a guest on Jericho's Highlight Reel, but he attacked Chris Jericho in the locker room before the segment. He came out and cut a promo about how one match doesn't matter, because he will win the war.
-- Zack Ryder won on Raw for the first time in 15 months, against Fandango. Layla and Summer Rae accompanied him to ringside.
-- Bo Dallas beat Damien Sandow. Sandow was dressed as LeBron James, as they were in Miami. It was weird to match these two up, as Bo was getting big cheers just for beating Sandow.
-- Rusev squashed The Great Khali.
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