The Daniel Bryan Beatdown: Many of you may be wondering why Bryan was written off RAW again for yet another week? News came down earlier today that Bryan’s father had passed away and it’s pretty obvious that the show was rewritten in order to let Bryan attend to his family. It’s truly a sad moment…but at least Bryan’s father got to see his son accomplish one of the biggest victories of his career and see him get married. As someone who lost his own father shortly after his own wedding, it’s a bittersweet feeling. From an angle standpoint this is your standard injury angle and it sets up an Extreme Rules match that’ll deliver for sure.
Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus in an Tall Dudes from Across The Pond Match: Sadly, the winner of this match was known before the match even began. The WWE and the crowd, much to Michael Dworkis’ glee, are firmly behind Bad News Barrett. Sheamus is very good in the ring, he’s just missing something to make him a #1 dude. He’s always coming up with new moves — like that sweet dive to the outside or the flying high knee to the corner. The two of these guys actually had a really, really strong match. Barrett’s absence from TV has actually paid off as he’s coming off as really fresh in the ring and his new character, despite it’s weird beginning, actually has connected with the crowd. The Bull Hammer is finally over too. No one cared about that finisher for years, now, it’s a feared finisher.
Random Thought: Kudos to the WWE for bringing in history into the tonight’s show especially with the IC Title and how this tonight was the anniversary of the first ever IC title change and how Baltimore had seen its share of IC Title wins. A smart move particularly with the WWE Network in full effect.
Bray Wyatt Kills It With Another Promo: Seriously, how great is this guy?
3MB vs. Los Matadores in a Burn It, Burn It With Fire Match: I think everyone in this match and the highlight package prior to the match got hit in the nuts at some point. That’s how I felt watching this. First…Hornswoggle, really? He’s in 3MB now? I guess now that he’s a bad guy in the Leprechaun movie they gotta make him a heel. Luckily he actually does look the part of a 3MB member too (shitty tattoos and all), that’s about the only logical thing here. Jinder Mahal has a new look or at least he found some of that jacked physique he had when he first debuted. This was basically ‘Swoggle and Torito wrestling and JBL making jokes to pop himself. This match was an absolute trainwreck. Fear the bull. Ugh, shut up JBL.
Evolution Promo: My wife said, “Hey when did Pitbull become a wrestler?” I thought that was funny. Triple-H tries to cut a promo but was in dire need of a Ricola. I actually like Evolution reuniting — all three members cut better promos now and they’re the best three guys to fight The Shield right now. Their match Extreme Rules is going to be awesome. The Shield comes in and kills, kills, kills it with their promo. Dean Ambrose is money. Rollins is really improved on the mic, but its his in-ring work which speaks for itself. Reigns was short, sweet and to the point. The end of the promo where The Shield runs out to beat the asses of Evolution and then the heel contingent of the locker room stands tall with Evolution was a really cool moment.
Adam Rose Promo: I really hope this character takes off.
The Usos vs. The Rhodes Boys In a Second Generation Match: Rybaxel on commentary, they might actually be better than JBL & Cole. The match was a bit of whatever, which is a shame it could’ve been great. But when you get three minutes what can you real do? We end the match with the potential but inevitable Rhodes Brothers break-up. If this means Cody Rhodes can break out and become something huge, then I’m all about it.
Emma vs. Layla in a Hey It’s Time For a Snack Match: Emma’s really talented, one day she’ll be rid of Santino, challenge Paige and we’ll forget about this run she’s had. Emma wins with a cobra…thankfully she screams “COBRA” like she’s in G.I. Joe to at least make me chuckle.
Cesaro vs. RVD in an Old Heyman Guy vs. New Heyman Guy Match: Cesaro’s new theme song is awesome! But, as tough as that song is, it’s undermined by that sparkly ring jacket. Paul Heyman starts another great promo, but we cut to commercial. WHAT. I think that having RVD vs. Cesaro in the semi-final, is a big mistake. This match should be on next week and Heyman could cut some promos on RVD playing off their history, giving the final some added heat. RVD looked a million times better than his match with ADR last week. He was really, really busting his ass in this match. Cesaro was awesome here, but his early stuff wasn’t connecting with the crowd. However, his Euro uppercut to block the 5 Star Frog Splash ignited the arena. Heyman’s facials throughout the match really sold the match…he lived and died with every move, like a good match should. In a pure OH MY GOD moment, Cesaro spiked the hell out of RVD with a Ricola Bomb. The finish was absolute bullshit, Swagger interference and a count-out? Ugh. Terrible finish.
I guess we go with Wade Barrett vs. RVD with Barrett advancing to take on Big E in the “Battle of No One Cares” where Barrett wins the IC Title, for the 50th time. I did however, love the post-match promo between RVD, Heyman and Cesaro.
Random Thought: These Godzilla commercials are awesome.
Aksana vs. Paige in a Battle of The Ladies With Jet Black Hair: Aksana has the absolute WORST theme music ever. I love Paige, plain and simple. Her springboard Sliced Bread #2 into a roll up followed by her knee strikes were a fantastic series. Sadly, Aksana has jobber written all over her (despite a minor push a few months ago) and the crowd was dead during this match. No one bought that she could win. Her move set including the “shove” on the top rope, the worst spine buster in history and her “rest hold of doom” bored the pants off the crowd. Luckily, Paige has such a dope finisher that the crowd came alive at the end.
Alexander Rusev vs. Sin Cara in a In With One Push, Out With The Other Match: “The Ravishing Russia” Lana is kinda ludicrously good looking and she knows it…could be the signs of a good manager. Sin Cara, oh how the mighty have fallen. The king of the “stop/start” push does the job here. Even though Rusev’s character is very similar to other “brutes” I have to say his work so far has been better than anything Vladimir Kozlov ever did. That guy was terrible. The crowd was bored to tears here…again who takes Sin Cara seriously, anymore? My biggest problem with this match was the fact that Sin Cara got in way too much offense and Rusev sold too often. C’mon, Rusev should be beating the hell out of these guys and no sell any offense. Despite getting the win, this match didn’t do much get Rusev over.
Random Thought: The Bo Dallas “Bo-Lieve” Promos are money. Let’s hope they capitalize on this.
Random Thought: I love the fact Hugh Jackman is coming back to RAW. He’s a legit fan and he probably has one of the most memorable celebrity moments, legit cracking Ziggler in the jaw. Of course, it’s sad to see that last time he was on RAW, he was wearing a Zach Ryder headband. Doubt that’ll happen again.
John Cena in a Lethal Lottery/Battlebowl/Spin the Wheel Make the Deal Match: If those references were too inside baseball, Google these famed WCW matches. You’re welcome. So, the WWE Universe had to pick Cena’s opponent (with Harper or Harper & Rowan or The Wyatt Family as their options) and guess what, the WWE Universe HATES John Cena. They picked all three members of The Wyatts. I like the fact Cena looked to the fans in complete disbelief and disappointment. Could we finally see that #CenaHeelTurn? No, of course we won’t.
Bray Wyatt is awesome. When he grabs Cena to dance with his limp body that shows this guy has really bought into and loves his character. I don’t know who’s been working with Rowan but in one year’s time he evolved from a big goof who was so sloppy in-ring to a guy who’s more than capable in the ring and is executing his moves crisply. As for Cena, every so often he pulls out a different move like the flying swinging DDT. He doesn’t have to do these things, but he does.
As a main event, all four of these men worked hard and told a great story in the ring. However, the finish? Weak sauce. Harper and Rowan put the boots to Cena and we call for the bell? Eh.
The crowd sing-a-long with Cena’s head cradled by Bray was super creepy but it went about 30 seconds too long. The point got across, but the editing needed to be a little tighter.
Overall, a decent RAW that featured some great IC tournament matches a whole lot of fodder.