By Arda Ocal
7:33 AM EDT, July 16, 2013
Hardcore wrestling fans, rejoice. With the entire WWE locker room watching, John Cena, given the option to choose his Summerslam opponent by Raw GM Brad Maddox, ultimately decided on Daniel Bryan, who emphatically replied "Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes," and was applauded by a raucous Brooklyn audience who couldn't be happier with this decision.
So now we gear up for John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE title at Summerslam, which no doubt will be a classic encounter between the most popular superstar on the roster right now (Bryan) and the face of WWE (Cena). I'm looking forward to this one, as are many other fans.
While I did enjoy the fact that everyone was on the Raw ramp awaiting Cena's decision, I questioned the reasoning for having Alberto Del Rio, the World Heavyweight Champion, front and center. You could make the argument that he wanted to "unify" the titles and is greedy for all the gold in WWE, but to me that just further cheapened the World Heavyweight title. When one top champ is waiting like everyone else for a decision from another top champion, an implied higher value is placed on that person.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman sold tickets to Summerslam with a raw (pardon the pun) and genuine back and forth, followed by Brock Lesnar emerging and beating up Punk in what looked like a tough night at the office for Punk. Paul Heyman has gotten physically involved the past two nights, attacking Punk with a ladder at Money in the Bank, then blindsiding him on Raw. CM Punk will eventually get his physical receipt here, likely in the form of a GTS. I initially leaned toward seeing this before Summerslam, to make Lesnar more angry leading into their match, but former creative writer Seth Mates replied to me with a good point on Twitter: the Heyman beatdown by Punk may even be more valuable and important than him beating Lesnar, so making people pay for it would make more sense.
Other notes from Raw
** The Shield attacked Mark Henry. Yep, one night after tapping out to John Cena, it looks like the "World's Strongest Man" may take a turn for the nicer and face the vested trio.
** Dolph Ziggler broke up with AJ Lee, who then cost Ziggler a match against Del Rio. If this match stretches on to Summerslam, I wouldn't mind.
** Cody Rhodes continued to show incredible fire as a good guy, getting the Brooklyn crowd firmly behind him. You know what they say: if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, and Cody Rhodes just did that on Raw. Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes will be fun, and I hope the briefcase is on the line, backed up by a valid explanation of why Sandow would put that at stake (perhaps Cody's moustache will be in jeopardy).
** The Wyatt Family beat up R Truth, then called out Kane. Everything these guys are doing is gold right now. It's still new and fresh, but it's a departure from anything we've seen in WWE for quite some time.
** Naomi defeated Brie Bella. The Funkateer is the Divas division's best-kept secret. Her offense is sharp and impressive, and she's tremendously athletic. I'd like to see her compete more.
** RVD and Chris Jericho had a great match, with RVD landing the 5-star frog splash to win.
Follow Arda on Twitter @arda_ocal.
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