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Chair Shots: AJ steals the show again on WWE Raw

It's the week of Fourth of July, but there was a lack of fireworks on WWE Raw this week -- literally and figuratively. The show opening pyro was nowhere to be seen, and there was nothing about the content of the show itself that made you go "ooh" or "aah," with the exception of that 95-pound firecracker AJ.

OK, enough with the Independence Day puns. But seriously, let's talk about AJ. Last week, she was the star of the show in the sense that she was involved in nearly every segment. This week, WWE not only featured her in the all important 10 p.m. slot, but she was the featured member of the overrun. It took her to get CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in the main event of Raw. Think about that.

Her actions on last night's show put into question how she will call the WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank, where she is the special guest referee, something we learned on Smackdown last Friday. Daniel Bryan tried sucking up to AJ backstage, even bringing her a rose. But her affections seemed to lie with CM Punk, except he didn't bother to watch her match, which saw her team with Sheamus and score the winning fall in their mixed tag team match against Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero. When AJ realized this, she got angry with Punk for not paying attention to her.

Then, with the main event tag team match between Punk and John Cena against Bryan and Chris Jericho degenerated into a one-on-one match between the Champion and his challenger in two weeks, AJ skipped her way to ringside, only to realize neither man was paying her any attention. With both men down, AJ set up a table outside the ring, climbed the ropes and prepared to jump onto the table. Bryan was the first to try to stop her, standing in front of the table. Then Punk climbed the rope to talk some sense into WWE's resident crazy chick.

For his efforts, he got a kiss, then was shoved by AJ onto Bryan and through the table. AJ smiled sinisterly and started immitating Bryan's "Yes!" chant from the top rope as Raw went off the air.

Good storytelling, which combined with the usually suburb in-ring work from Punk and Bryan, has made this the best angle in WWE right now. ...

Cena was in the main event spot once again, but his involvment was somewhat minimal. In fact, I thought it was interesting in a backstage segment before the tag match began that Punk told Cena he was going to take the lead tonight. Perhaps it was a bit of a torch-passing moment.

Cena and Jericho's "TV feud" seems to be a way to keep Cena and Big Show apart until the PPV, which is fine by me. I like the involvement of all four Money in the Bank participants this week, particularly the opening segment that could've turned into a total cluster, but was entertaining because of strong mic work from all involved. Kane's simply stated, "otherwise," to Jericho's boasts made me chuckle. Kane is at his best in his 'tweener role, where he's neither a heel or a babyface, just whatever the situation calls for. He's one of few guys who can pull that off.

Big Show, of course, destroyed all five other competitors when he hit the ring, then defeated Kane in a No DQ match later on Raw that continued to make him look dominant. I'm convinced he's being built up to challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, regardless of whether he wins the Money in the Bank match.

I also hope this leads to Cena-Bryan at SummerSlam. When those two did interact Monday night, I thought it was gold. ...

Anyone paying attention probably didn't think much of Paul Heyman's "via satellite" interview about Brock Lesnar responding to Triple H's SummerSlam challenge. I think most of the hardcore fans (like the ones reading this blog) knew Lesnar was going to be on the 1000th episode of Raw. When Heyman started talking about Triple H's motivation for the match, I didn't expect him to go down the path he did, but it's an intriguing idea. Of course, the next long-winded Triple H promo we get will dump all over it, so it was all for naught. ...

WWE used up nearly its entire mid-card in the opening match, an 8-man tag that turned into a 5-on-1 beat down of David Otunga. The psychology of the match made sense. The Prime Time Players, under the guidance of AW, took a walk because they had nothing to gain from winning the match. That's a classic heel tactic from the 1980s and early 90s that you don't see used nearly as often today. Cody Rhodes had the same though, and considering he blames Otunga for not being part of the World Championship Money in the Bank match, it made even more sense.

Brodus Clay joining the fray to exact some revenge on Otunga also fit their ongoing storyline, although I thought Clay might be written off TV for a while after his kayfabe knee injury and WMD at the hands of Big Show last week. ...

Del Rio was officially made the No. 1 contender to Sheamus' World Championship at Money in the Bank. Anyone else find it amusing that both of last year's Money in the Bank match winners -- Del Rio and Bryan -- are getting title shots for the opposite championships they won contracts for a year ago? I don't know that it means anything, I just find it interesting.

Teddy Long booked Del Rio against a surprise opponent, which I thought for certain would be a returning Rey Mysterio. Instead it was Sin Cara, and we didn't get a match out of it, just a beat down by Del Rio. Lots of speculation as to why this happened after attempting to build up Sin Cara again, but I assume it was just an angle to get heat on Del Rio and set up Sin Cara's first top-level feud. Del Rio vs. Sin Cara at SummerSlam sounds like a fun time to me. ...

Hopefully, Sheamus has officially closed the book on his feud with Dolph Ziggler after Monday's mixed tag match. The Celtic Warrior got the better of the Show-Off for what seemed like the sixth week in a row, kicking him off the apron with a thunderous Brogue Kick after Ziggler tagged out to Vickie Guerrero. I still think the best match of the series was the non-title match at Smackdown in Baltimore a few weeks ago.

Ziggler upped his stock during this feud, but a victory in a non-title setting over Sheamus probably would've boosted his profile a bit more. Personally, I still don't view Ziggler as a main eventer right now. He should, however, be a lock for a spot in the World Championship Money in the Bank match, and a favorite to win. ...

Speaking of rising stock, has anyone's gone up more in the past week than Tyson Kidd? The last graduate of the Hart Family Dungeon is an impressive worker in the ring, although I'm not sure he's World Championship quality right now. Still, he's an interesting story to be part of that match. I wonder if Tensai's backstage attack of Kidd will write him out of the match and lead to a feud with Tensai instead? ...

Heath Slater shocked the world by finally beating a returning Legend ... sort of. The "Legend" was Doink the Clown. WWE kind of trolled the IWC with this one, as word has been leaking about these Legends lately. The real returning Legend was Diamond Dallas Page, who's return had been spoiled online much earlier in the day. He still came out to deliver a Diamond Cutter to Slater after his victory. ...

Tonight, it's Super Smackdown Live -- The Great American Bash. We already know two matches that will take place, a mixed tag pitting Khali and Divas Champion Layla against Antonio Cesaro and Aksana and a 20-man battle royal. Yup, you can tell Teddy Long is running things.

The winner of the battle royal will be the guest GM of Smackdown next week. Heavy-hitters Cena, Punk, Sheamus, Bryan, Del Rio and Big Show are slated to be part of the battle royal, but I'd like to see someone unexpected win and be put in charge of the show (not to mention get the rub of winning a battle royal with those top names involved). Of course, that means it'll probably be Santino or Hornswoggle victorious. I was thinking Ziggler or Cody Rhodes.

Apparently the reason for making this person the guest GM of only Smackdown is because WWE has a huge name planned to be the guest GM on Raw, who can only work one night (or who they are only willing to pay for one night). However, I'm surprised they didn't make that announcement already if that's the case. I suspect that will come tonight on Smackdown, as has been all the other recent general manager announcements.

Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on Super Smackdown - The Great American Bash.

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