Backstage news & notes from WWE Monday Night Raw in Sacramento…
- Some were curious about Shawn Michaels being announced as a panelist for the SummerSlam Kickoff show on Sunday. Remember there have been ideas pitched to align him with Daniel Bryan with the premise that Bryan is one of "his guys" and they both have great beards. However, with Michaels being announced, it's unlikely he'll have any involvement on the pay-per-view itself.
- The big talk backstage at Monday Night Raw this week in Sacramento was the blown finish to Natalya & The Great Khali vs. AJ Lee & Big E Langston. Basically, AJ waited too long to tap and referee Marc Harris didn't call for the bell to make it more realistic (See also - WWE Referee Addresses Critics Over Blown Finish On Monday Night Raw). We're told that Natalya ended up getting upset then AJ waited awhile the second time. Many were surprised Natalya didn't "lock it in deep."
- We're told that Vince McMahon and Triple H have "conflicting opinions" on many angles. Basically, Triple H doesn't like the fact that SummerSlam is based around two main matches and they waited so late to fill in the blanks. Hunter has made it clear that he believes a good buyrate is generated when there are 5 solid matches with great build. Vince wants 1 or 2 "home run" matches and "nothing else matters."
- Many WWE officials do not understand why they're going with the gimmick match for Kane vs. Bray Wyatt at the pay-per-view on Sunday. While there is appeal in the Ring of Fire, there is no match that can top it so it makes zero sense not to blow off the program at the pay-per-view.
- Another questionable call came with The Great Khali laying out Big E Langston on this week's show. Officials backstage were wondering why they did it even after it happened.
- There is a chance that Damien Sandow cashes in at SummerSlam rather than Randy Orton as a swerve to avoid the obvious. Nothing is concrete but given how many feel it's "obvious" that Orton is cashing it, WWE could opt to swerve.
- The ending of this week's Monday Night Raw with CM Punk laying out Brock Lesnar is what we've been writing about for the past several weeks. WWE did it to show Punk is "capable of anything" despite the size difference.