TV Recap: (Monday Night) RAW is Pre-Taped in London

In case you did not know, WWE is overseas in the UK, and that means RAW wrapped up a couple of hours ago. Tonight was taped, and the results are a bit on the anticlimactic side, so be warned, do not expect any major storyline progression but more of a continuation of the current norms.

The tone is set as The Wyatt Family begin the show, and Bray once more welcomes the live crowd, inviting them to join his herd of cattle as he, the mighty Sheppard guides them towards true enlightenment. Bray openly admits to being a sinister man with an agenda, but within his evil is the truest of intentions. Next month at Payback, he plans to show John Cena what it all means. Well, Cena does not want to wait and by fooling the Family, he sneaks from behind. He is chased off as Rowan and Harper realize the deception, but Cena has made his point.

Not bad way to start the show, interesting to see Cena in the role of the antagonist being chased off by the Wyatts.

Next up is the Rabbi of Wrestling. No, not me. Paul Heyman. He lies down, center of the ring, motionless. After a moment, he asks the crowd if it reminds them of anyone. Oh yes, The Undertaker following his defeat at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Big boos from the crowd now. Boos become cheers as he introduces Cesaro for his match against Sheamus. Great match, powerhouse vs. powerhouse. Thanks to an assist by Heyman, his charge wins the match with a gorgeous bridging German Suplex, holding the Celtic Warrior for the pinfall. Amazing, just amazing. Crowd was heavy behind Cesaro. Poor Sheamus.

Tonight is a Beat the Clock Challenge Series. Winner becomes #1 Contender to the Intercontinental Championship. Wow. IC title getting a lot of play here, first a tournament, now a contendership series? In the first match, Big E. Langston defeats Ryback. Thank Primus. I would feel really bad for Curtis Axel if Ryback got a win here. Ryback appears to be cruising along his cynical bully gimmick, probably until his contract runs out and he can go jump to TNA right before it is bought by Jeff Jarrett. Poor Big E. Langston. He is back at the bottom in everything, including fan support.

R-Truth & Naomi vs. Fandango & Layla never happens because Summer Rae comes out and makes with the smoochie on Fandango. Layla not happy and a catfight ensues. Wah.

Oh boy. WWE knows how to push those buttons. Daniel Bryan’s music hits and the crowd goes bonkers. Except they quickly go from ignited to incensed as Stephanie McMahon then struts out. She says Bryan had successful surgery. However, she’s got some bad news for the live audience as she announces she will not strip Bryan of the WWE World Championship, but he will willingly hand it over next week on RAW, and perhaps she will just hand it over to a worthy competitor. Kane? Wade Barrett? Crowd pops huge… and then she considers, Triple H. Instead of boos, we get a gigantic CM Punk chant. Steph says it is now up to Bryan to do the right thing.

Well played live crowd… Well played.

3MB rambles out all dressed as Union Jacks. This looks familiar, and I do not think this ended well last time. Turns out, it did not end well this time as the sleek as a bullet Lana brings out Alexander Rusev who crushes Heath Slater.

Remember when I said Big E. Langston was slowly working his way back up? Wrong. He gets punted from contention as Rob Van Dam defeats Alberto del Rio in just over four minutes to beat Langston’s time. It seems the ring rust has crumbled off RVD as he and Del Rio put on a good match. Not a great one. Seems Del Rio is slowing down a bit… Rumors of retirement true?

In the not-seen-it-a-mile-away match, Seth Rollins defeats Batista by DQ, as Randy Orton and Triple H are there as guest ring announcer and timekeeper. Rollins eats the beat down but is quickly saved by Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, driving off Evolution. However, it is worthy to note this was a great back and forth match, something at one time I would not have expected from the “big man vs. little guy” sort of match, but we have seen for some time Rollins can wrestle anyone or anything. Batista might qualify for the “thing” category.

Does WWE really use timekeepers anymore?

Remember all those rumors about Alicia Fox quitting WWE? Guess everyone forgot since she winds up defeating Paige in a non-title bout, but still goes whacko post-match. Took a drink from a fan and dumped it on herself. More crazy chicks needed?

In a facepalmer, Dolph Ziggler and Mark Henry go to a time limit draw, as neither man can earn a victory in under four minutes, thereby giving Rob Van Dam the clear victory in the Beat the Clock challenge. Decent match, but two minutes in you had the feeling this was not going anywhere. RVD comes out to celebrate, but Wade Barrett delivers his Bad News via clocking The Whole F’N Show in the noggin with the belt. “I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS (cue MASSIVE pop), but there is no way an Englishman is going to lose this title to a bloody Yank.” Thank you for that, but still disappointed Barrett did not get to wrestle.

Adam Rose interview. Hoo boy, this guy is a loon and the live crowd loves it. He calls out the interrupting Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger a pair of lemons, and intends on squeezing the sour out of them. Yick. Crowd is now combo-ing the Fandango dance with Rose’s music. The gimmick is warming up to me. Trust me, TNA’s attempt at the SAME GIMMICK with their “Menagerie” is a horrible failure.

In our main event crowd killer, John Cena defeated Luke Harper by DQ. Lot of that going on tonight. The Usos attempted a save, but failed. Bray Wyatt drags a lifeless Cena to the top of the stage and waffles him with Sister Abigail.

Since this was taped, I get to tell you about what happens…

Bray Wyatt makes an open challenge, which is immediately answered by the Shield. Wyatts attempt a retreat, but Luke Harper is the victim to eat multiple finishers from all three Shield members. The fun did not stop there. As Harper is still dazed, BAD NEWS BARRETT comes back and informs Harper, “he’s got some Bad News…” and decks Harper with the Bull Hammer. Suddenly, John Cena takes the mic, and in a nice turn, hands it over to Wade Barrett because “it’s his time” in a classy gesture. Barrett puts over his home country, Divas Champ Paige, and NXT Champion Adrian Neville. Very nice touch.

Once again, the fun didn’t stop there. Stephanie and Triple H then arrive to spoil the party. Crowd then does Fandango/Adam Rose singing and dancing, which Triple H then puts down. Suddenly, we get more loud CM Punk chants. Again, well played. Adam Rose comes out and Triple H winds up in the ring where he is CLOBBERED by a Raging Bull Hammer from Barrett, as the crowd shouts “BOOM!” upon connecting with it.

This stuff should have been televised, but we know Barrett is not quite set for the uber-face turn and this was more for appreciation of the WWE overseas audience. The Adam Rose gimmick is working for me. I had hesitation that it would not, but it does seem to be catching on and hopefully will progress through the summer. Party time, all the time gimmick is perfect for something special at SummerSlam.

As I said earlier, tonight did not really progress much in terms of plots, however did an excellent job of putting on top tier matches with exciting results. I have to hand it to WWE, they are kicking ass right now.

Shame though, right now their stock is having its ass kicked.