Upon The Shield's inaugural attack on Team Hell No in December of last year, I could see money in an eventual singles showdown between Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins. Now, some six months later, I finally got my wish. Bryan was going to face either Rollins or his fellow tag team title holder Roman Reigns on this week's episode of Raw, where the decision was left in the hands of the WWE Universe. After Rollins stole a whopping majority of the votes, the dream match was official. As expected, these two lit the arena on fire with their exciting offense and hard-hitting action. In their first ever encounter in a WWE ring, both former Ring of Honor stars showed that they were indeed the future of the industry. Needless to say, they made magic in the squared circle on Monday night. After a brawl between Randy Orton and Reigns ensued at ringside, Bryan took advantage and forced Rollins to submit to the No Lock, which of course was very well received by the audience.
SUPERSTAR OF THE WEEK: DAMIEN SANDOW
As much as I loved Team Rhodes Scholars, it was time for Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes to part ways. During his most recent feud with Sheamus, Sandow has shown he has true potential as a singles star. That was definitely the case this past week, as Sandow furthered his red hot momentum on all three of WWE's televised programs. On Raw, Sandow soundly defeated R-Truth. Two nights later on WWE Main Event, Sandow scored yet another victory, this time over Yoshi Tatsu. Although he wasn't in action on SmackDown, he was still able to shine on the blue brand by ambushing Sheamus from behind following his match with Antonio Cesaro. I realize Sandow virtually has zero chance of winning at Payback, but it's important that he looks strong in defeat.
SHOW OF THE WEEK: MONDAY NIGHT RAW - JUNE 10, 2013
With this being the final week before WWE's newest pay-per-view entitled Payback on Sunday, it was crucial of the company to heavily hype the card to make it feel worth watching. In typical WWE fashion, almost all of the matches taking place at the event were confirmed for the card over the course of this past week. However, each bout was given enough attention and focus going into the pending pay-per-view. Monday Night Raw did an excellent job of building towards the event, so it managed to succeed in that aspect. There wasn't much to write home about aside from the stellar Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins match-up, which was fine given the fact that it was a go-home show. Friday Night SmackDown has been an absolute roll the past two months. While this week's edition wasn't terrible by any means, it wasn't as entertaining as it usually tends to be. Nonetheless, I look forward to Payback and hope it meets or even exceeds my expectations.
Team Hell No and Randy Orton vs. The Shield: Brilliant booking all the way around. Not only was the match itself entertaining as always, but the finish was very hot and the live crowd ate it up. I have no problem with The Shield's undefeated streak in six-man tag action coming to an end, as it was treated like a big deal and it was only a matter of time. Daniel Bryan continues to garner strong reactions and I truly hope he isn't the one to turn in his upcoming feud with Randy Orton.
John Cena and Ryback face-off: This wasn't off the charts great, but it was an improvement over the promos they have been having since the start of their feud. Both Cena and Ryback showed good intensity and took a trip down a memory lane by mentioning their past from late last year. However, I'm anxiously awaiting the conclusion this feud and hope it occurs Sunday at Payback.
Chris Jericho vs. Big E Langston: A fun match that was effective in furthering the feud between Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. Their styles meshed nicely during their Raw encounter, which was also on display during their tag team match on SmackDown. Speaking of such, I have no problem with Ziggler getting pinned, as Booking 101 says he retains his World Heavyweight Championship on Sunday.
AJ Lee and Kaitlyn: After months and months of waiting, we're finally going to see AJ challenge Kaitlyn for the Divas Championship in a face-off of the former friends at Payback. Their segment on Raw was predictable, but it was also the best Divas segment we've seen in a great while. It's nice to see a story actually developing in the division for once.
Antonio Cesaro: While he may not of been on the winning end of his match with Sheamus on SmackDown, he still put forth a strong effort against The Celtic Warrior. Additionally, he picked up a nice win over Sin Cara on Raw in what was an enjoyable contest. Based off Zeb Colter's comments on commentary, I would love to see him manage Cesaro and get his career back on the right track.
THIS WEEK'S LOW POINTS
McMahon family drama: Weeks of family affairs leading up to a hug? Well, that was a disappointing outcome, to say the least. The worst part of it all was that the whole purpose of this whole angle was to get over Curtis Axel, who was nowhere to be seen at the end of the show. There's still time for this story to take a turn for the better, but I'm not entertained by it at this point in time.
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes: I enjoyed their match on WWE Main Event this week, but we've seen it too many times for it to matter. Rhodes hasn't been relevant in the longest time, so Miz defeating him virtually meant nothing. I'm a fan of both competitors, but neither guy seems to have any real direction at the moment, which is shame given the fact they are both tremendously talented.
Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns: I had high hopes for this match and was ultimately let down. It wasn't bad whatsoever, but it lacked excitement and was forgotten about once it concluded. The awkward finish with it ending in a no contest didn't help matters. I would have rather seen Reigns score the victory to boost his credibility as a singles star.
Fandango concussion: To my knowledge, this is the third or fourth concussion we've seen from a Superstar in the last month. What the hell is going on inside the squared circle that everyone is getting injured all of a sudden? I commend WWE for pulling the injured stars from wrestling, but Fandango was bound to be the next Intercontinental Champion, so his presence at Payback will be sorely missed.
The Great Khali vs. Heath Slater: On a show dedicated to building towards Payback and hyping the card, why did this match even bother taking place? I couldn't care less for either competitor and this served zero purpose. I guess it's cool to see Slater defeat a former World Heavyweight Champion, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this match was utterly meaningless.