PG Rant: Raw is War…rior

When last we left our heroes, they
produced a night of ultimate excitement. The Shield loaded the YES
Movement’s spaceship with the rocket fuel of muscle and backup. A
diva from Parts Unknown (okay, NXT) stormed into the cockpit and sent
the whole division into chaos with a victory. The skeletons of the
Real Americans made the sacrifice, as one was left as nothing but a
normal while the other took himself to places he shall never have
been. And as one legend’s lungs breathe their last breath, the
stories and the memories are being made to keep all warriors, past
and present, alive. Our heroes’ essence and spirit will run forever
in this new era. But are we headed for excitement – or is the next
step the road to Destrucity?
This report and this show are dedicated
to the memory of the Ultimate Warrior.
The PG Era Rant for Raw, April 14,
2014.
Live from Birmingham, AL.
Your hosts are the usual.

Pre-Game highlights:
  1. This, too, is dedicated to his
    memory.
  2. Your guest panelist is Sgt.
    Slaughter, who as always is wearing a camouflage print suit.
  3. That YOU DESERVE IT chant is going
    to go into Raw lore.
  4. Titus O’Neil has a match on
    Superstars against Big E Langston.
  5. There will be an Intercontinental
    Contenders Tournament starting tonight. Christian’s injury is worse
    than originally thought.
  6. Paige and John Cena will do stuff
    on Raw tonight.
  7. Los Matadores have a Superstars
    match against 3MB. Ratings.
  8. Warrior Week on the Network.
  9. Your brackets: Henry/Cesaro,
    RVD/ADR, Sheamus/Swagger, Dolph/Barrett. (See #5.)
We open with the entire roster on the
stage to honor Warrior. They’re all wearing the Warrior facepaint
shirts as we get a Warrior chant. Jerry Lawler tells the fans to
join us in tribute as we open with a video in his honor. After the
video, we get the final ten count. Lawler then asks us to join them
tonight to celebrate the life of the one and only Ultimate Warrior!
Warrior’s music plays as the crowd, many of them in Warrior
facemasks, give his memory a standing ovation. The roster leads a
Warrior chant.
Cole tells us that throughout the
night, we will look back on Warrior’s career. Plus, we have some
great matches! Usos get their rematch against Orton/Batista! Plus,
will the Authority punish Roman Reigns and the Shield? And there
will be a tournament – winner faces Big E Langston for the
Intercontinental Title, and the opening match is Rob Van Dam against
Alberto Del Rio!
Andy’s thoughts: It’s a little dusty
in here. That final 10 count… it gets me every time.
I-C Tournament Quarterfinal: Alberto
Del Rio v. Rob Van Dam.
Hey,
remember when this was a main event match six months ago? Del Rio
doesn’t even get an entrance. As a reminder, the winner of this
match will face the winner of Mark Henry v Antonio Cesaro. All
quarterfinals tonight. ADR with kicks and headbutts to start as he
floors RVD. Whip is reversed, and RVD with a rolling monkey flip.
Spinkick in the corner and twisting crossbody gets two. ADR is sent
to the floor with a clothesline. Back in, ADR with a quick kick and
he works RVD over in the corner. RVD fires back, but ADR corners RVD
and gets the step-up enzuigiri for two. Snap suplex gets two.
Drive-by boot by ADR on the outside, and back in, ADR charges but
gets dumped (as Big E Langston watches in the locker room). Baseball
slide, but RVD backflips off the apron only to get hit with a lariat
and sent into the barricade as we go to a break.
Del Rio/Van Dam, part two.
Back with both men down, and RVD gets two. ADR with a back kick (as
we missed Rolling Thunder during the break), and a DDT gets two. ADR
with a slingshot, but RVD lands on the buckles and kinda sorta hits a
flying kick. Split legged moonsault hits the knees, and ADR with a
Backstabber for two. Crowd is fully behind RVD. ADR goes up top,
but gets caught with a roundhouse kick as he comes down. Langston
approves as RVD goes up, but ADR catches him on the top and lands the
step-up enzuigiri for two. ADR is frustrated now, but he calls for
the armbreaker. RVD counters to a leg-scissors cradle for two. RVD
sweeps ADR off the ropes and goes up, and the Five Star connects for
the pin at 10:33. **1/4
Update your brackets, kids.
Daniel
Bryan is on his honeymoon and not in town this week, but last week he
got to celebrate his WrestleMania win. At least, until HHH ordered a
title match against himself. Things went downhill from there as
Orton and Batista, then Kane, softened up Bryan. But before anything
could happen, the Shield more or less called the match off.
This
leads to backstage, where HHH, Stephanie, Randy Orton, and Batista
are shaking hands and making plans.
Moment
Of Destrucity #1: Warrior is the mystery opponent for the Honky Tonk
Man and steamrolls him in 30 seconds to win his first gold. It’s a
win so memorable that it still gets invoked to this day. Just look
at the commentary on AJ/Paige. For those who don’t recognize the
voice, that was Superstar Billy Graham calling the match with
Gorilla.
Andy’s
thoughts: The heck with the tournament; that Toys R Us ad made me
laugh.
We
continue backstage as HHH says he knows they both want to be champ,
but the champ isn’t in the building. The Shield’s the bigger issue,
anyway; if they’re willing to attack HHH, they will attack anyone who
comes after Bryan. The Shield remind HHH of Evolution, and he
doesn’t know who can stop them. Stephanie knows: Evolution. HHH
re-iterates: if the three men are on the same page, no one can stand
in their way, Shield included. Batista says, sure, great, but he
just wants to champ. Orton agrees: this is HHH’s problem, not anyone
else’s. The two leave.
Goldust
and Cody Rhodes v. Ryback and Curtis Axel.

Axel and Goldust start. Axel with attacks to the gut and punches,
but Goldust runs him over and gets an inverted atomic drop out of
leapfrog. Armdrag follows, and Cody’s in off the top rope. Front
suplex and bizarre rollup gets one, and Cody works the arm some more.
Goldust back in with a kneeling punch, then a snapmare and kneedrop
for one. Axel with a knee to the gut, but he puts his head down and
Goldust with a kneeling uppercut. Shot to Ryback, too, but Axel
knocks Goldust over. Axel works over Goldust in the corner, and he
and Ryback get a double-team sequential clothesline for two. Ryback
chokes Goldust against the ropes, then works him over in the corner.
Slam by Ryback, and he gets a falling splash as Axel adds a Hitman
elbow for two. Axel with a kneelift, and Ryback in with a snapmare
and running attack for two. To the chinlock, as Jerry Lawler fails
at math on commentary. (Don’t ask.) Goldust tries to elbow out, but
Ryback stays on top as the crowd gets bored and chants for JBL.
Goldust fights out a second time, getting a second-rope elbow. Hot
tag Cody, and he gets a Hotshot before escaping a press slam with a
sliding uppercut. Axel is dumped, and Cody gets a moonsault press
(sort of). Ryback bails, so Cody gets the double jump dive to the
outside. Ryback is thrown back in, and Cody with a springboard
dropkick for two, Axel saves. Goldust enters and is low bridged, but
Axel eats Disaster Kick. He tries one on Ryback, but gets Meathooked
instead for the pin at 5:58. 3/4*
Sorry, Rhodeses, I know you had heat when you formed, but you’re
nowhere now.
Another
one week trial is on the offering this week! WrestleMania 30 and its
Fallout are highlights! Plus, on Thursday, it’s the first episode of
Legends’ House!
Yesterday
is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is your day to shine.
Today is a gift, if you Bo-lieve.
Non-title:
Paige v. Alicia Fox.

We look back at how AJ Lee got stupid and lost the title. Paige
shoves Fox into the ropes, so Fox shoves her back until she gets
knocked over. Paige with a headbutt, but Fox gets a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker. A second one follows, then a third, which causes Paige
to roll out of the ring. Back in, Fox with back elbows and a
Northern Lights Suplex for two. Fox to the chinlock, and when Paige
gets up, she gets hit with a hairpull slam. Fox mocks Paige and adds
forearms in the corner. Paige recovers with a huge mule kick, then
fires off her own forearms and a short clothesline. Another one
follows as Paige shrieks at Fox, then a third. Dropkick off the
ropes, and the Scorpion Crosslock ends it at 3:28. 1/2*
Way too much offense for Fox.
We
look back at Orton and Batista destroying the Usos, but the Usos
aren’t ready to let it go – there will be a rematch next!
Non-title:
The Usos v. Randy Orton and Batista.

The Usos still have their Warrior shirts on, and their half-pain is
also Warrior style. The Usos don’t wait and jump the bell to start,
clearing the ring and getting a double pescado. Jey shakes the ropes
in tribute, too. Orton starts the match proper against Jey, pounding
him and getting headbutts. Jey slides out of a whip and gets an
uppercut before backing Orton into the corner and tagging in Jimmy
for a flying forearm for two. Slugfest, won by Jimmy, but Orton with
the back-to-back backbreaker to take over. Batista in, and he kicks
away and drops his weight on Jimmy’s back. Hammer Throw to Jimmy,
and a suplex follows for two. Orton in, and he does the Garvin Stomp
to the legs before cutting off a tag. Jimmy fights back to stagger
Orton, but Orton throws him down and brings Batista in. He stomps
away on Jimmy but puts his head down, and Jimmy kicks Batista only to
run into a spinebuster for two. Batista gets caught in a Samoan
Drop, Orton saves and dumps Jey. Jey eats table and apron, but the
Shield jump in out of nowhere to ambush Orton for the DQ at 4:09.
Orton is dispatched into the barricade, and the Shield surround
Batista. Well, except for the exit up the ramp. Batista, though,
doesn’t take that exit and instead fights, running into a Superpunch.
Orton pulls Batista away and helps him up as the Shield get the
crowd wild. Well, guys, I guess the Shield is your problem after
all. *1/4
Up
next, a tournament quarterfinal as Antonio Cesaro faces Mark Henry!
Moment
of Destrucity #2: WrestleMania VI sees Warrior win his only world
championship by defeating Hulk Hogan clean in the middle of the ring.
At a time when no one pinned Hogan cleanly, this was a star-making
moment. Warrior can owe his Hall of Fame appearance to this.
Andy’s
thoughts: The Shield really need to work on their surrounding the
ring. Batista had a wide open exit. He didn’t take it because he
thinks he can beat up everyone, sure, but it’s the little details
that get my eyes rolling.
Backstage,
Orton and Batista are not happy. HHH finds them and more or less
gives them the I told you so.
Paul
Heyman arrives without music and to a mixed reaction. He introduces
himself, reminds us about Brock Lesnar, and continues. We expect him
to keep saying over and over about the Streak until hell freezes over
– you know, like at WrestleMania? When Brock Lesnar beat the
Undertaker? Which he says over and over. This gets him heel heat.
And now, Lesnar has asked Heyman to show photos from WrestleMania of
the Undertaker’s final walk from the stage. Brock Lesnar is why –
Lesnar tore the Undertaker apart and got the win. Three seconds
later, the Streak was conquered. Heyman has to stop so the crowd can
boo him, and he says boo it all you want, but isn’t it ironic how a
loss made the Undertaker more immortal than the Streak? So when
Heyman speaks, YOU LISTEN. So now he’s anointed someone new to be
the next top talent in WWE, and that person is Antonio Cesaro!
Cesaro (who also has no music) heads to the ring.
I-C
Tournament Quarterfinal: Antonio Cesaro v. Mark Henry.

JBL on Henry’s Warrior shirt: “That’s at least a 5 or 6 X.”
Henry tells Heyman to stay the heck out of the match. A long lockup
begins, as Cesaro jumps onto the second rope but loses the lockup
anyway. Henry clobbers Cesaro and gets tossed over the top. Heyman
tells Cesaro to take his time getting back in. Langston is watching
(still), and Cesaro returns with forearms and uppercuts. He boxes
Henry down in the corner, but Henry just shoves him away. Cesaro
returns with another uppercut and more boxing, but Henry shoves him
away again. Cesaro with the running uppercut and Round 3 ends the
same way, but this time Henry with a clothesline before he slumps to
one knee. Eventually, he gets two. Henry chases Cesaro to the
apron, but eats a Hotshot for his trouble. Cesaro escapes a World’s
Strongest Slam and goes up with a discus uppercut. Netrualizer ends
it at 3:18. Heyman announces the winner. They need to get him music
– maybe bring “C’est Un Miracle” back? 1/2*
Langston approves.
The
WWE Thanks the Fans video airs. The meme-verse has had fun with the
shot of Bryan in an empty arena. “Did I go to a TNA taping by
mistake?”
Andy’s
thoughts: If they wanted to elevate Cesaro without turning him,
wouldn’t it have made more sense to have Colter sell his contract to
Paul Heyman? That way, capitalism – an American thing – helps
get more money for Colter, and there isn’t this desire to cheer
Cesaro for dumping the heel group.
Backstage,
HHH asks Brad Maddox to tell the Shield about their main event match,
but he won’t tell him (or them) who the opponents are.
Lana
is introduced, but doesn’t make that “Russian word for Excuse Me”
phrase. Crowd is sick of her already.
Alexander
Rusev v. Xavier Woods.

Woods tries a kick and is caught as Rusev throws knees in the
corner. Crowd with a USA chant (good sign) as Rusev lands a
roundhouse. Lana gives the order to crush, so it’s the Sambo Slam
and Camel Clutch for the win at 44 seconds. R-Truth races in to
break it up and gets shoved aside, but Lana calls him off. Until she
sends him after Truth. Rusev with a superkick and he poses with
Lana. Rusev shows zero emotion.
The
tournament continues! In the semifinals, we know it’ll be Antonio
Cesaro against Rob Van Dam, but our next match is Sheamus against
Jack Swagger!
Moment
of Destrucity #3: SummerSlam 1990, as Warrior defeats Rick Rude in a
steel cage match in the main event. See as much Warrior as you want
with a one-week free trial. Also, watch Daniel Bryan’s Journey to
WrestleMania documentary.
I-C
Tournament Quarterfinal: Jack Swagger v. Sheamus.

Swagger’s Nexus-print singlet: yay or nay? Swagger with shots to
start in the corner, including a running knee. He misses a short
clothesline, and Sheamus pounds away in the corner. Sheamus with a
lariat of his own, and he gets a punt to the head and Irish Hammer.
Swagger is dumped to the outside, and when he tries to re-enter, Ten
of Clubs is set up. Colter distracts, and Swagger gets a high slam
on the floor. WE THE PEOPLE! Langston watches on. Back in, it gets
two. Surfboard lock by Swagger, but Sheamus headbutts out of it.
Swagger catches Sheamus with a belly-to-belly for two. Swagger
chokes Sheamus in the ropes, then gets a short lariat for two.
Swagger jams Sheamus’s head against the middle buckle with his knee
before adding a snapmare and back to the surfboard lock. Sheamus
fights out and clotheslines Swagger down for a double KO. Both men
get up at about the same time, but a blind charge by Swagger misses,
and Sheamus with Irish Hammers. Kneelift by Sheamus, then a running
knee to the head and soccer kick to the spine. Kneedrop gets two.
Swagger is caught in the ropes, and it’s Ten of Clubs time. To the
top, and Sheamus with a Battering Ram tackle for two. Swagger with a
back elbow to get separation, but Sheamus lands on the apron. He
dives straight into the Patriot Lock, though, and Swagger drags him
to the middle of the ring. Sheamus kicks out of it, but Swagger
bowls Sheamus out of the ring. He follows and drives Sheamus into
the barricade, then throws him into the steps. Back in, and Swagger
charges… into a Brogue Kick for the pin at 6:55? Wha? **
Wait, what? So we’re not getting Cesaro/Swagger after all? Well,
unless… hm… I think I know where they’re going now. Maybe.
Anyway, here are the brackets. But Sheamus can’t get to the back on
the first try due to his ankle.
Adam
Rose wants to party! Enjoy the Exotic Express and be ready to party
at all times! Adam Rose is coming soon.
Andy’s
thoughts: I like the guy, but if you’re going to make him a jobber,
just cut Swagger. Now. He’s too talented to be like this.
Warrior
Week on the WWE Network. Begins tomorrow at 10PM Eastern.
Damien
Sandow has been lecturing the fans. He says he is the most deserving
person… but doesn’t say for what. Big Show comes out, but Sandow
refuses to stop talking. He will be heard, he won Money in the Bank,
so he has something to say and they will listen. Sandow tells Show
to keep what he has to say to himself, because Sandow is not
finished! You’re going to boo Sandow? And cheer Show? WHY?
Because he panders to the crowd? Sandow says people should be bowing
to him every time he arrives. Sandow deserves that! He has earned
it! And if you think otherwise (which they do)… well, what does
Show think? What does Show have to say? Nothing. Sandow:
“Exactly.” He deserves it, and no one can say otherwise. Deep
down, Show knows Sandow is telling the truth (you might want to stop
poking the giant, Damien). Sandow is the future of the WWE and a
future Champion. Look at Sandow and see Greatness.
And
Show knocks him out. End segment.
But
before we have fun, here’s the Wyatt Family interrupting. Harper
whistles “Whole World In His Hands”. The Wyatts are next.
Your
main event main event will be Big Show against Jack Swagger.
They’re
here. Bray is in the ring, speaking in the dark, about how society
has become putrid. The Man tells people to do as they’re told. You
see what They want you to see, but Bray is Different. He doesn’t see
a blank canvas, he sees a painting. He has 1,000 faces and a million
names. Seducer. Accuser. Destroyer. And you can call him by any
of those names, but he has never once lied. But John Cena HAS lied.
His career is a lie. He earns trust by hiding behind a smile; but he
is no man, just a beast. But don’t worry, kids; he won’t let it keep
happening. He has him where he wants him – up against the ropes,
and all Cena needs is one more push to go over. Bray says that
Abigail is his sword, but he won’t slay the monster… yet. Right
now, he just wants to play with it. So John, we know you’re here.
Come on out.
And
as Cena’s music hits, the lights go all on. He emerges from the
back, but stays at the stage. Playing’s a great idea, but no one
wants him pushed. He wants to have fun. The Wyatts come down to the
ring and act serious. WHY SO SERIOUS? Bray tried to bring out the
beast at WrestleMania, but there is no beast. So Cena wants to
change the game; he wants to have fun. The crowd approves. Cena
doesn’t judge, but he sees the Family, and he thinks if he could just
get them to Happy Hour, they’d be the life of the party! He bets
Rowan has jokes for days, and that Harper would go streaking through
the quad. As for Bray – hey, it takes a man to wear white pants
and a Hawaiian shirt with a Michael Jackson glove. I bet Bray’s a
ladies man! If you got him drunk and around the ladies, we all know
what would happen next. “Roll tide!” Crowd is divided between
Bama and Auburn fans. See, the fans want to have fun, so Cena will
make Bray smile. Which leads to the Family. Sure, Bray talks about
Sister Abigail, but is Sister Abigail real? Yes. Cena found her on
MySpace. And here’s a picture… and it’s Bray in drag. There’s a
definite resemblance. What could their mom look like? We found her
on Tinder… and it’s Bobby Jo Wyatt – by which I mean a Photoshop
of Luke Harper. Cena would take her out for a steak dinner. But
hey, the Wyatts have a new member. A beautiful baby girl. TMZ has
the first ever photos… no points for guessing what that is.
Bray
calls John hysterical and loves how he laughs off serious threats
because that’s all he knows how to do. Cena’s reply is to be
serious. “You want serious. Fine.” Cena can be as serious as
the next guy. See, at Mania, Bray made Cena be serious, but when
Cena gets serious, Bray Wyatt gets BEAT. So be careful what you wish
for, Mr. Wyatt; you’ve got it. And this time, the tables are turned.
So what happens if he loses again? Now Wyatt would become
desperate. And John Cena would force Bray to do something he’s never
done in WWE. See, every single week Bray talks and fills the room.
But without the Family, he can’t back it up. So take the Family out
of the equation, and he’s nothing but a fat man. So Cena will force
Bray to fight on his own with no help, “like a man.” This is
serious: Extreme Rules, Cage Match.
Bray
laughs: “I like that, John! Oh, I like that!” See, Bray and
Cena are paying catch with knives, and at some point, someone gets
hurt. And it will be bad. Bray’s question: how can Cena be sure
that it won’t be him? You wanna see fun? You want Bray to have a
good time? Well, this is Bray’s world and it belongs to him. He
commands the crowd to follow him… and they sing along. Some of
them, anyway. And with that, we go to black.
Your
main event tonight is the Shield. But who’s their opponent?
Andy’s
thoughts: why is no one pointing out the elephant in the room? The
Wyatt Family has been full of sound and fury, but they signify
nothing. They went after Kane; he just joined the Authority and
became more powerful. They went after Bryan; not only did he
outsmart them (with the help of Kane, no less), they couldn’t even
stop him from his dream of a WrestleMania main event. They went
after the Shield; and the end result just made the Shield even
stronger. Now he’s going after John Cena… and so far, he’s failing
there, too. But people want to cheer him because he talks funny. If
you want him to be an effective heel, burst his bubble.
The
ugly part is: he’s done just fine as a wrestler. But he doesn’t care
about wins and losses, so why should I? He cares about corrupting
the innocent… in which he’s done nothing.
Santino
Marella and Emma v. Fandango and Layla.

For those who don’t follow Twitter religiously, Fandango dumped
Summer Rae and picked up Layla, because if Summer Rae is going to be
a Total Diva, she has to be a face. In an inset promo, Fandango
insists that their relationship was supposed to be professional, and
it’s too bad she fell in love. The men start. Fandango with a
headlock, but Santino shoves off only to be run over. Santino kips
up with an armdrag, then stops a kick and gets an arm wrench into a
dance sequence into a splits hiptoss. Cobra’s here, but Fandango
tags out. Emma runs over Layla, but a blind charge by Layla misses
and Emma gets the Tarantula. Santino dumps Fandango, but Layla pulls
Emma down off the ropes and gets the pin at 1:38. That’s it?
Stephanie
is not happy with Kane, chastising him for letting the Shield get
under his skin. Kane, on his knees, is apologizing, but Stephanie
doesn’t want to hear it. Stephanie thought they had a man with no
moral code. She thought he would take no prisoners, but he stoops to
the level of others. And he failed to take out Daniel Bryan three
times. She cuts off Kane and chews him out for being a shell of
himself. Kane used to make children scream and women cry, but NOW
WHAT? What happened to the Devil’s Favorite Demon? Kane vaults to
his feet, ready to show just what happened. And then he looks at his
mask as the crowd yells YES and chants for him to put it on. Kane
lifts off the glass and grabs the mask. He shows it to Stephanie.
“I’m going to eviscerate Daniel Bryan and send him to the depths of
Hell.” Oh, it’s ON now. Stephanie smiles as Kane looks at the
mask.
Andy’s
thoughts: there’s your Extreme Rules match.
You
can’t spell CHALLENGE without C-H-A-N-G-E. An egg needs to be a bird
to learn to fly. Be inspired. Be a Bo-liever.
Warrior
Week will be on the WWE Network all week, as we celebrate the life
and career of the Ultimate Warrior.
Moment
of Destrucity #4: Warrior’s final public words.
You
must show no mercy, nor have any belief whatsoever in how others
judge you, for your greatness will silence them all. – Warrior
Tonight’s
main event: The Shield against… who knows? But up next: it’s Dolph
Ziggler against Bad News Barrett in the tournament!
Adam
Rose is on the Exotic Express playing Hungry Hungry Hippos. How can
you be a lemon when he’s around?
I-C
Tournament Quarterfinal: Dolph Ziggler v. Bad News Barrett.

Winner gets Sheamus in a semifinal. The tournament winner will face
Langston at Extreme Rules. Dolph with a waistlock, holding it in
spite of a ride attempt by Barrett. An elbow misses, and Dolph
stalls on the outside. Barrett tries to lead a chant, but to no
avail. Dolph tries a single-leg, but Barrett knocks him down. Into
the corner, and Barrett stomps away. Suplex gets one. Barrett with
a kneedrop, but the second one misses. Dolph works the arm into a
headlock, but Barrett sends him into the corner and gets a Hammer
Throw for two. Barrett kicks Dolph in the gut and puts him against
the second rope, choking away. He then chokes Dolph on the top rope,
but Dolph fights out and gets a dropkick after a long criss-cross.
Cactus clothesline follows. A brawl on the outside leads to Barrett
throwing Dolph into the post as we go to break.
Dolph/Barrett,
part two.

Barrett has the chinlock on Dolph. Dolph fights out of it, but gets
whipped into the corner. Blind charge hits the post as the crowd
gets restless and wants CM Punk. Both men slow to get up, but Dolph
with a crossbody and ten-punch countalong into the Rude Awakening for
two. Famouser misses, but Barrett catches Dolph in Wasteland for
two. Barrett with a pumphandle, but Dolph flips out the back and
gets the Famouser for two. Stinger Splash misses, and Barrett goes
for the middle-rope elbow only to get uppercutted by Dolph.
Superplex try, but Barrett sends Dolph down and goes all the way up
only to get caught with the flying facejam for two. Crowd is now
fully into the match. Zig Zag try fails, and Winds of Change
connects for two. Barrett is baffled, but he loads up the Bull
Hammer. Dolph ducks and cradles Barrett for two, but his leaping
DDT… no, Barrett shoves him off and lands the Bull Hammer for the
pin at 12:13. Definitely picked up late. **3/4
But Barrett has some bad news for all us: he’s going to be the next
Intercontinental Champion.
Daniel
Bryan is on his honeymoon, but he’ll be back next week. And when he
comes back, The Monster that is Kane will be waiting for him. And
here’s a look at all the evil stuff he’s done.
So
in our main event: who are the Shield facing? We’ll find out NEXT.
Andy’s
thoughts: if this were March and not April, I’d expect Kane to turn
face. But the Authority suffered enough last week, and Kane turning
face also wouldn’t fit in the battle lines. Besides, Daniel Bryan
facing Kane in a no-DQ match will be a great main event.
Your
SmackDown main event is going to be Sheamus against Batista.
Main
event: Shield.

No sign as to whether it’s a six-man tag or a handicap match or
anything. We look back at last week. And their opponents… Alberto
Del Rio. And Jack Swagger. How you get these two to co-exist I
don’t know. And Fandango. And 3MB. And Titus O’Neil. And Rybaxel.
And Alexander Rusev. And Bad News Barrett. So it’s 11 on 3 –
which is a familiar match from before. Shield throw Slater in the
ring to start, and he and Rollins want to start. Rollins kicks
Slater and backs him into the corner, with Ambrose helping out.
Reigns enters next and headbutts Slater. Backfist by Reigns on
Slater, and they work him over in the corner. Rollins in, and he
facewashes Slater. Slater fights out, but Rollins gets an enzuigiri,
Barrett saves. Ambrose takes Barrett out and attacks the entire heel
contingent. Slater smashes Rollins and McIntyre’s in. He beats
Rollins down and brings in O’Neil. Rib breaker and fallaway slam by
O’Neil, and he brings in Rusev. Rusev drops elbows and a headbutt,
then corners Rollins as Swagger comes in. Swagger with knees to the
gut as Del Rio adds a shot. Swagger tags in Ryback, and they
double-team. Press slam into a powerslam follows. (“What’ll you
do about it?” Ryback’s in-ring talk is great.) Ryback dumps
Rollins, but Reigns arrives with a spear and it’s an 11-on-3 beatdown
as the bell rings at 3:09. *1/4
Rollins
with a somersault plancha onto the world. Shield returns to the ring
to hold off the numbers, but there’s just too many. A massive
beatdown ensues, with all three Shield members flat. 3MB holds
Ambrose open for a Del Rio superkick. Barrett punches out Reigns.
But then…
…Evolution’s
music hits? It’s official: the crew is back together. HHH calls off
the lower card, and they leave the Shield down in the middle of the
ring. Orton kicks at Rollins as they triple-team him first. But
Reigns is up and fights back, only he can’t survive as an RKO floors
him. They almost play Evolution’s music too soon, but first it’s a
Batista Bomb to Reigns. Rollins tries to fight back, but HHH and
Orton mug him down again. RKO to Rollins as the crowd wants Daniel
Bryan to appear. Ambrose pops up and tries to save Rollins, but to
no avail. Batista Bomb to Rollins, then Ambrose gets the
powerbomb/cutter combo. HHH asks for the microphone as he stands
over the Shield, begging Reigns to keep fighting. Reigns can’t pull
himself up, so Batista and Orton do it. HHH: “Believe in
Evolution.” And it’s a Pedigree to send Reigns out. Evolution
stand tall over the fallen Shield as their music plays. JBL: “Get
used to it, boys.” And we’re out.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
This
show did what it had to do. It advanced the story and made Evolution
the Shield’s next big challenge. The 11-on-3 match, although the
announcers missed it, was a good callback. Meanwhile, with Swagger
out, it seems clear you need to remove Cesaro so they can meet at
Extreme Rules in a rare heel/heel match the fans want. This would
clear a path for Wade Barrett to challenge Langston.
Without
their champion, the WWE had to establish something. Without the face
side having their talisman and leader, the heel side was going to
win. In the long run, a very businesslike Raw. I have no
complaints.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 52:05 over ten matches
BEST
MATCH: Barrett/Dolph
WORST
MATCH: Mixed tag
NIGHT
MVP (kayfabe): Bad News Barrett
FINAL
SCORE: 6. Nothing really stood out, but all the stories were
advanced as they had to be. New stars kept getting pushed, and
bigger names kept getting into the top story. More of this would be
just fine. The build to Extreme Rules looks good.
See
you next week, everyone! We’ll have all the TV shows (Main Event,
Impact, NXT, SmackDown) reviewed as the week continues. Keep it
clean but let’s come out dissecting the show.