Mike Tedesco’s RAW Review
April 28, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
The Extreme Rules PPV came and went this past Sunday with little fanfare and, judging by this episode of RAW, very little resolved at all. WWE Payback in three weeks figures to have a card very similar to Extreme Rules minus Big Show vs. Roman Reigns. We also saw the return of the King of the Ring Tournament after a five-year hiatus. I recapped the semi-finals and finals earlier tonight, so I’ll include some thoughts on those as well. Ok, let’s get to the review!
Seth Rollins and Kane continue to tease a break-up
The show kicked off with Seth Rollins coming out with J&J Security and Kane to gloat about his victory over Randy Orton at Extreme Rules the night before. There was a lot of confusion coming out of that match since the RKO was banned, but Rollins used it to score the victory. A lot of people weren’t sure if it was banned only for Orton or for both of them. It wasn’t specified, but it was addressed in this. After Rollins gloated about the victory and how he did it all on his own, he insulted Kane, who was the gatekeeper for the match. Good lord there were too many stipulations in that match. Kane then admitted that Rollins’ use of the RKO was illegal before calling him Justin Bieber, which the crowd loved. Rollins was great in his delusional cocky heel role, and Kane was equally great with the comeback at him.
Randy Orton came out to interrupt, and he basically said he deserves a rematch because someone in The Authority admitted that what Rollins did at Extreme Rules was illegal in the match. Roman Reigns interrupted Orton and came out to a decent reaction, but he wasn’t selling anything from the night before. For the life of me, I can’t understand what the issue is with people selling injuries coming out of grueling matches. The only thing that relatively comes close was Rollins limping the next night after Hell in a Cell in October. There’s no question that Reigns is having an issue connecting with the fans (though he is doing much better on promos), so why not garner some sympathy by selling some injuries and having the commentators talk about how tough he is to be walking and competing the next night? How could that hurt the cause? WWE is so weird sometimes. Reigns ran with Kane’s Justin Bieber line before saying he should be the one going for the title, which got hardly any reaction. Kane mentioned that both men made good points, and he’d leave it up to the WWE Universe.
I have to say that I think they missed another good opportunity with Reigns at Extreme Rules. The Reigns/Big Show feud has been going on for a long time, too long in my opinion. They actually managed to have a good match, but Reigns failed to decisively beat him. The spear through the commentary table should have ended it. Instead, Big Show got up. Why? Who knows? You have to keep Big Show looking strong, I guess. Reigns tipped the table over on him and stood on top of it. It may not seem like a big deal because he wins the match, but he didn’t beat him straight up. It was a cheap tactic to beat him. If they’re really trying to peg Reigns as the “next guy,” he needs decisive victories, not this gray area crap they did on Sunday. Having him sell an injury and not overly scripting him would go a long way, too. The win ultimately does nothing because he’s put into a title match in three weeks that he’s not going to win. Reigns should be winning on every PPV until he’s ready to get the title. Multiple failed attempts do nothing for him.
The main event saw Orton and Reigns team up to face Rollins and Kane, which was met with groans when it was announced and even less reaction as it happened. The match was devoid of any real heat, and the face team won. Kane did go nuts on J&J Security and Rollins after Rollins accidentally hit him with a suicide dive, so there’s that. After that, they announced that the WWE Universe had chosen the obvious choice of a triple threat for Payback with Orton and Reigns facing Rollins for the title. Rollins wasn’t happy, and Kane looked pleased as Rollins got a spear from Reigns.
The King of the Ring Tournament is back after five years
No one was happier than I was that the King of the Ring Tournament was making a comeback after a five-year hiatus. The King of the Ring is very near and dear to my heart. My very first PPV event was the 2001 edition of WWF King of the Ring. Heck, it was my first wrestling event ever. I was a young lad at fourteen years old sitting next to my dad watching Edge become King of the Ring, Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon have an all-time classic, and Booker T making his debut. Oh yeah, and I was FRONT ROW in front of the Tye Dye Guy!
That’s me in the red shirt and backwards hat (it was 2001) at the event:
I have to give credit to my dad. The guy is not interested in wrestling, and he sat through that event like a champ. His disinterest in the product was hilariously caught in a slow motion replay of Jeff Hardy’s Swanton Bomb on X-Pac, seen here:
Needless to say, when the King of the Ring was suddenly brought back, I was psyched. They did the right thing putting a bunch of mid-card guys in it to give them an extra shine. Out of the eight competitors, only one really needed a big shine, and it’s not Stardust and R-Truth because they’re both wasted roster spots at this moment. It’s Bad News Barrett, and he ultimately became the King of the Ring the next night on the WWE Network special.
The Quarterfinal matches on RAW were pretty hit or miss. I was disappointed with the Dolph Ziggler/Bad News Barrett affair. It never got going and ended with a cheap distraction by Sheamus. Ziggler said in a promo that he was having trouble concentrating on this match because of his anger over having his face rubbed on Sheamus’ ass, but he didn’t seem to be any different in the match itself. Later on, Ziggler attacked Sheamus during a very good match against Dean Ambrose. I get that Ziggler is furious with Sheamus, but Sheamus was out in that match for like ten minutes. Why did he wait until the very end of it to run out? I hate when crap like that happens. Every face looks like a moron in these types of finishes. Would have been nice to see Ambrose follow up his first win on PPV in nearly a year with a win here.
R-Truth/Stardust was what it was. Nothing good about it and nothing wrong with it. I did enjoy the Neville/Luke Harper match. That’s a clash of styles, but it totally worked. There was a mistimed spot or two, but I thought it was a success. Neville looked strong with the clean victory over Harper.
The King of the Ring special on the WWE Network was well done, I thought. They did a real good job hyping up the importance of it. Unfortunately the show went about fifty minutes and the matches were kept short. A lot of promos and time wasting, but there was an awesome video about Verne Gagne’s life. The Neville/Sheamus match was decent, but featured an identical ending to the Ziggler/Barrett match the night before with Ziggler doing what Sheamus did. I loved the brawl with Ziggler and Sheamus afterward that saw Sheamus’ eye get totally busted open.
The Barrett/R-Truth match was what it was. I don’t think anyone thought that finish was in doubt. I’d have had that on first so there would be some intrigue as to who Barrett would face. Also it’s better for the face to be the one having the unfair position of wrestling another match quickly after. That’s just a minor thing. The Barrett/Neville match was good, but far too short in my opinion. Barrett picked up the victory, which was the right thing. Barrett has been pinned more times this year than I care to remember, so this should be a nice way to offset a lot of those embarrassments. I didn’t like the promo Barrett delivered after being crowned. It lacked substance and was very short. Hopefully they treat this as a huge deal and not like the André The Giant Trophy winner where it’s talked about for a little bit before being dropped after a few weeks. This gimmick should carry Barrett through the summer.
The John Cena/Rusev saga continues
I said in my predictions piece that Rusev shouldn’t be pinned until at least SummerSlam to keep him strong. One thing he should not be doing until at least SummerSlam, Survivor Series, or ever is quitting. This feud should have ended at Extreme Rules, but we need to have a fourth match for Payback. I just hope they have a great plan for Rusev because the wheels seem to be ready to come off. Three straight losses to Cena and a possible break-up with Lana are going to really hurt him. Rusev without Lana lacks a lot of zest. The same goes for Lana without Rusev. She’s over now, but she’ll be just another hot blonde in the Divas division without him.
Cena came out and cut the same promo he has every week since winning the United States Championship before wanting to know who was going to accept the challenge. Lo and behold it was Heath Slater, who indicated he wanted to accept it last week before getting an RKO through a table. Slater tried again this week, and Rusev attacked him. Could this be the start of a gag? Slater is the perfect dumbass guy on the roster now that Santino Marella seems like he’s done forever.
Bray Wyatt’s next target is revealed
For weeks we’ve been seeing these cryptic promos from Bray Wyatt. A lot of people speculated that it was Roman Reigns, which would be a pretty neat program, but it instead turned out to be Ryback. Wyatt attacked Ryback after Ryback defeated Bo Dallas, Wyatt’s real life brother (that hasn’t been acknowledged on WWE television). From Undertaker to Ryback. Not sure I get this, but I guess they want Wyatt to be winning matches before he’s fed to someone else.
Wasn’t a fan of the quick singles match with Tyson Kidd and Big E. The New Day was very effective though in their promo before the match, though.
Almost forgot the Fandango/Adam Rose thing happened. Talk about guys that are just going through the motions… Fandango broke up with Rosa Mendes, so why should he care if she’s with Rose now?
Brie Bella is awful at delivering lines. She makes Roman Reigns sound like The Rock.
Naomi actually impressed me with the new wrinkles to her heel persona. The match work was good. I love the new entrance music and light-up boots. This is a great presentation coming out of Extreme Rules.
Damien Sandow is back, and he cut a decent promo about winning the fan’s respect. I’m not sure where he’s going on the roster, but I’ll give it a chance to grow.
RAW itself was just another show. With only three weeks to go until Payback, it seems like they’re rushing a lot of the programs. The King of the Ring stuff was fun, but the title match stuff feels like recycled garbage. Just think about this: nothing about WWE has really drastically changed in two years. The Authority has been on top for almost the entire time and the faces look like imbeciles almost the entire time with flashes of brilliance at big shows. Every week I watch this show and think about how desperately this product needs a change in direction. It’ll never happen. WWE is happy with their status quo and press releases about pointless awards won. Oh well. One can dream.
Bump of the Night: Neville hitting Harper with a flying hurricanrana on the floor!
Match of the Night: Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose ** 1/4
Final Rating: ** 1/2
Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Also check out my recap of the King of the Ring special on the WWE Network by clicking here!
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.