Reviews

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/06/15

Live from Austin, Texas this is the Raw Deal for episode #1140. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

The announce team for this week’s Raw is Byron Saxton replacing Michael Cole and he’s joined by John Bradshaw Layfield as well as Booker T. They said that Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are on vacation. There were images shown from WrestleMania again.

The WWE Champion Seth Rollins was in the ring with Kane, Big Show and J&J Security. The crowd was booing heavily when Rollins was trying to talk. He let us know that Hunter and Stephanie are on vacation. Fans chanted “you sold out” at Rollins as he told the crowd he thought they were over this. Rollins said what’s important about WrestleMania is not that they broke the Levi’s Stadium attendance record, that more people watched it than any other WrestleMania (that’s questionable, but heels lie) or that they were trending on Twitter over 140 times. Rollins said that what’s important is that we learned once again that The Authority always wins. Rollins mentioned Triple H beating Sting, Show winning the battle royal and Kane…Kane was there. People laughed.

Show said that he’s the greatest giant of all time and every superstar is under his shadow. Show mentioned that WrestleMania ended with a new WWE Champion…a champion of honor, dignity and respect….Seth Rollins. They kept on calling it the greatest WrestleMania of all time. Show thanked Rollins for giving us a great moment to end WrestleMania. Rollins said “speaking of WrestleMania…there was Kane.” Kane spoke up by saying The Authority was successful at WrestleMania, but the music of Randy Orton started up.

Orton congratulated Rollins on getting his WrestleMania moment and he mentioned hitting Rollins with the most spectacular RKO in history. Fans were chanting “RKO” as Orton reminded Rollins that he beat him. Rollins called Orton a whiny complainer and Orton said he deserves the change to beat Rollins, but this time for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The crowd cheered. Orton asked Kane what he had to say about it or if he had to ask “mommy and daddy if it was okay.” Kane said he’s still the Director of Operations, so Orton better show him respect. Kane mentioned there were other superstars worthy of consideration.

Kane announced a triple threat match to determine the #1 contender for Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules. Kane said the match will be Roman Reigns vs. Ryback vs. Randy Orton. He also announced all three of them will be in singles matches. Kane put Orton in a match against himself.

Analysis: The first ten minutes of the promo was so boring. They didn’t accomplish anything with it. It was as if they were out there wasting time because they know they have to waste time on a show that is too long. The mocking of Kane is likely the start of a face turn for him, which I really don’t want to see. However, this is Kane we’re talking about and he turns every year or two. Orton showed some good fire in his promo while also sucking up to the fans well, so he’s embracing the face role.

Randy Orton vs. Kane

Orton got a boot to the face on Kane, but when he was sitting on the top rope he was met by an uppercut from Kane. There’s the floor to commercial break one minute into the match.

(Commercial)

Kane controlled the action after the break with a sidewalk slam as well as more of his usual offense. Orton came back with a clothesline and a snap powerslam. Dropkick by Orton knocked Kane down. Orton hit the DDT off the ropes. Booker’s talking about first ballot Hall of Famers as if they have ballots, but yeah Orton definitely is a Hall of Famer one day as is Kane. Outside the ring, Orton with a clothesline as well as a back suplex where he dropped Kane on the barricade. Kane grabbed a steel chair and jabbed Orton in the ribs with it. The ref saw it, so Kane was disqualified. It went 7 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Randy Orton

Post match, they went back into the ring. Kane went for a Chokeslam, but Orton slipped out and he wanted a RKO. Kane was able to avoid it. Kane left, so that ended it.

Analysis: *1/4 It was a very basic match that didn’t really get to the point where it could be considered exciting. They tried to tell the story that Orton is going to be banged up going into the match later although it wasn’t a major attack. I was bored by this.

The commentary team was talking about what happened with JBL yelling a lot. Later in the show it’s Ryback vs. Luke Harper and Roman Reigns taking on Big Show.

Analysis: They have done Reigns vs. Show way too many times in the last few months. I get why they’re doing it because the idea is Show is on a roll after the battle royal win, but I don’t need to see it again.

(Commercial)

The announcers acknowledged the retirement of AJ Lee by showing her tweet. I wrote about it here last week. I don’t think she was too happy in WWE since her husband CM Punk left last year, so her leaving by saying she’s retired at 28 years old is no surprise.

Backstage in the “office” we saw Rollins discussing things with Kane. They argued about some things with Rollins telling Kane he has to do his part for The Authority. Kane said that it was his job to set up compelling matches. Rollins complained about how Kane should be removed as Director of Authority. He said he was going to tell Hunter and Stephanie. Kane told him that they were on some remote island without phone reception or internet connection. Kane informed Rollins that he’s running things tonight whether Rollins liked it or not. Kane told Rollins he’ll be in a match coming up next.

Analysis: They are definitely building to that face turn for Kane. I think he’s better off as a heel because he’s such a boring face, but maybe WWE wants to end The Authority angle soon or perhaps put a heel like Sheamus with the group.

The announcers talked about the incident last week with Brock Lesnar’s attack. JBL mentioned having a surgery on his abdomen and Booker said maybe Lesnar should have been fired.

A video package aired about WrestleMania as well as what happened on Raw with Lesnar wreaking havoc. That attack by Lesnar made me smile. Great video package of course. All of them are.

Seth Rollins entered for a match. He had J&J Security with him.

Analysis: Good timing to put him in a match in the first hour since the college basketball final is starting in hour two and should have a big audience. WWE knows people are going to tune in to basketball, so they’re trying to load up the first hour.

(Commercial)

Rollins was ready for the match. The announcers mentioned that WWE Network is free in the month of April for new subscribers. Rollins was complaining about being put in a match.

The opponent for Rollins is Neville. Good ovation for him and also a “NXT” chant from the fans. Rollins introduced us to Neville. When he asked Neville to talk about himself, Rollins took the microphone away from him. He talked some more trash, so Neville kicked him in the ribs.

Seth Rollins (w/Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) vs. Neville

This is not for Seth’s title. I may type “Adrian” a few times by accident, but blame WWE for taking away the first name. The announcers acknowledged that Neville was a former NXT Champion and so was Rollins. Neville did some incredible flips to break free from Rollins and nailed him with a headscissors. Neville hit a dive over the top rope and twisted in the air to land stomach first onto Rollins instead of back first. That was awesome. They went to break a few minutes into the match because Rollins was on the floor, so there’s the floor to commercial break.

Analysis: I love that they did this match. Great spot for Neville to push the champion in a competitive match. My immediate thought was to give them 15-20 minutes and we’ll get one of the best matches in WWE.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Rollins was in control. Neville was able to avoid an attack, but Rollins crushed him with a hard kick to the head. He continued the attack. JBL made a good point saying Rollins had to face different kind of opponents and now he’s against a guy that’s smaller like Neville. Neville avoided a suplex, hit a jawbreaker, a few forearm shots, kicks to the ribs and then Rollins came back with a clothesline that Neville sold with a flip bump because Neville is awesome like that. Neville came back with a boot to the face in the corner. Neville went up top, but Mercury distracted the ref and Noble tried to trip up Neville. Neville was able to leap off the top and got a rollup. No Red Arrow though. Rollins came back with a Powerbomb into the corner followed by the Curb Stomp for the win after about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Post match, Rollins hit a Curb Stomp on Neville. He trash talked Neville and told him he can’t touch him.

Analysis: ***1/4 Neville may be a “rookie” on the main roster, but he’s very experienced just like Rollins and they had a very good match for the time given. They did a good job of mixing their speed along with the craftiness of the heel champion. That distraction by Mercury and Noble was the difference. Rollins winning in a cheap fashion is what heels should do. What’s great about Rollins is he’s a pure heel. He’s not out there trying to make people laugh (the Kane joke earlier was a bit of comedy) or acting cool towards the fans. He’s there to be a jerk and he’s very good at it. I’m going to enjoy this championship reign. Next week’s Raw is in England, so it would be cool to see the Englishman Neville facing Rollins again. The crowd would be on fire for it.

John Cena’s up next.

(Commercial)

The top of hour two started with a congratulations for The Rock as part of the Furious 7 movie that made a lot of money worldwide. I haven’t seen it yet.

John Cena entered with the US Title. He said the good city of Austin recognized today as WWE Day. He said “The Champ is Here” like he loves to do. Cena said there’s a group of people out there that are glad that he’s the US Champ and also a group that want to see somebody else beat him for the US Title. He spoke about how Rusev wants a rematch for the US Title at Extreme Rules. Cena said that’s fine, but what about tonight? He spoke about how the John Cena US Title open challenge starts now. The opponent is Stardust.

Analysis: I like the open challenge idea. It’s fresh.

US Title: John Cena vs. Stardust

The title is on the line. There were dueling Cena chants from the crowd and Cena was the aggressor early with some punches as well as a shoulder tackle. Cena hit Stardust with a delayed suplex for two. The camera picked up Cena saying “clothesline” and there it was. Booker T was going crazy overrating Cena’s win against Rusev. Cena punched Stardust and that led to Stardust going outside the ring for the vintage floor to commercial break.

(Commercial)

Cena was still in control until Stardust connected with a springboard kick for a two count. Stardust hit a flipping neckbreaker for a two that Saxton called “watch this” while he did it. Stardust went for a top rope attack, but Cena countered to a Powerbomb. When Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, Stardust flipped out and hit an Alabama Slam for two. Cena powered out of a Stardust attack with a sitout powerslam for two. Cena hit the spinning suplex, then the Five Knuckle Shuffle was blocked by a kick and a Stardust DDT earned a two count. Stardust hit a diving top rope attack on Cena, who was standing in the middle of the ring. Cena tripped up Stardust, applied the STF, Stardust fought out and nailed the Cross Rhodes for two. Cena hit his springboard into a Stunner move and then hit the Attitude Adjustment for the win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: John Cena

Analysis: *** It was a competitive match with a lot of nearfalls for both guys. I doubt people watching the show thought Stardust was going to win, but they made it look like he had a shot. I’m really liking this “John Cena fighting champion” thing because it’s going to mean something when he loses the title. I like how Stardust came very close to winning several times. That makes him look strong and hopefully opens up the eyes of management so they can give him more opportunities in the near future. Cena’s capable of having pretty good matches when given time. I’m glad that Stardust was in a longer match too. He’s very good in the ring and just needs more chances. I still think he’s got a better future as Cody Rhodes rather than Stardust, though.

Coming up later is Roman Reigns vs. Big Show plus Ryback taking on Luke Harper.

The Bella Twins were shown walking to the ring.

(Commercial)

The divas entered for a tag match. There was a replay from last week when Naomi got the pin on Nikki last week on Raw.

Paige & Naomi vs. The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie)

I wonder how many tag matches Paige has had against the Bellas in the last four months. Too many. Brie argued with the ref, so Nikki nailed Paige with a clothesline outside the ring. Brie Mode into a knee to the face for two. Brie’s knee into the back submission move looked so bad. The twins continued to work over Paige with a double slingshot suplex. Nikki missed a corner charge, so Paige made the hot tag to Naomi. That led to Naomi hitting a headscissors on Nikki, but it looked like Nikki sold it the wrong way. Naomi missed a top rope attack and then hit the Rear View, but Brie made the save. Paige kicked Nikki down and then tackled Brie out of the ring. Naomi did her headscissors into a head slam, but that didn’t look very good. It ended the match around five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Paige & Naomi

Analysis: * There were a few points in the match where they messed things up. Either Naomi or Nikki were off because the headscissors spot as well as the finish looked bad. This is very basic booking where the champion loses a tag title match (for the second week in a row) in order to set up a title match down the road. It’s typical for the divas division. Naomi is fine as a challenger, but I don’t see her winning. I hope Charlotte gets called up to the main roster after Extreme Rules.

The Prime Time Players duo of Titus O’Neil and Darren Young did a promo backstage talking about how the made from The New Day before. Then they showed up in shoulder pads mocking The Ascension. They referenced their Legion of Doom knockoff look. They were trying to put on face paint, but Young got ketchup and O’Neil made fun of him for it. “Everybody knows the Ascension…we suck.” They ended doing the Millions of Dollars dance.

Analysis: It was mildly funny. The positive thing about the promos is that they are focusing on tag teams not in the title picture. It’s a good thing to build up the tag team division and realize that you can put more than two teams on television at once.

It’s The Miz vs. Damien Mizdow later and coming up next is Ryback vs. Luke Harper.

(Commercial)

Luke Harper entered. They showed his attack on Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania and also on Smackdown when he put Ambrose through a table. They said Ambrose was unable to be at Raw. Hopefully he’s enjoying his vacation.

Ryback vs. Luke Harper

There was a running kick by Harper while the announcers talked about how Ryback gets bigger every week. When Ryback was going for a clothesline, Harper knocked him down with a kick. They were outside briefly until Harper sent Ryback back in. Harper hit the Bossman side slam for two. Harper missed a corner charge, Ryback took advantage by hitting the Shellshock for the win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ryback

Analysis: * It felt rushed. Ryback was barely on offense and didn’t hit many of his signature spots before going to the finish. As a result, the crowd wasn’t that hot for it.

The New Day trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods were interviewed by Renee Young. She asked about the “New Day…sucks” chant. Kingston said that they clap and they snap. Big E did his preacher voice, then imitated a kid asking him to sign a breakfast menu. Big E said “I’m able to because I clap.” Then The New Day started clapping and they left.

Analysis: Is that he heel turn for The New Day? Guess so.

(Commercial)

The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) vs. The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) w/Kofi Kingston

The fans were chanting “New Day…sucks” when Kofi was hitting the mat, so that’s continuing after last week. The New Day were working on Sin Cara in their corner. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd with Natalya were watching on a monitor backstage. Sin Cara was able to break free and tag in Kalisto, who hit a corkscrew cross body on Woods and then a headscissors takedown for a two count. Kingston nailed Kalisto with a kick to the head leading to a two count for Woods. That led to Woods looking at Kingston as if he was shocked he would do that, but then he smiled at him for cheating. There was a blind tag by Sin Cara. Kalisto took down Woods with a flipping reverse neckbreaker and then a dive over the top to take out Big E as well as Kingston. Sin Cara hit a Swanton Bomb on Woods for the win after 3 minutes. The crowd was into it doing the “Lucha” chant post match.

Winners by pinfall: The Lucha Dragons

Post match, Cesaro and Kidd were shown looking at a monitor with the Lucha Dragons celebrating.

Analysis: *1/2 It was a short match to put over the new tag team. With The Usos not an option as title challengers due to Jey Uso’s shoulder injury, WWE needs opponents for Kidd/Cesaro so they’re going with the Lucha Dragons. Good choice. They can have an exciting match with the champs. As for The New Day, they are headed in a heel direction, which will hopefully be a good thing for them long term. I like that they did a few things to react to the boos of the crowd instead of ignoring it.

Reigns vs. Big Show is next at the top of hour three.

(Commercial)

Writing Plug Time: Check out my review of last week’s WWE NXT show that was pretty average with a solid Breeze vs. Itami main event…I also wrote about the retirement of WWE diva AJ Lee…My WhatCulture archive always has new content with the weekly Q&A, a ranking of the best matches between The Rock and Triple H and more.

I like how Big Show continues to do the Andre the Giant pose by the trophy that’s at ringside.

Roman Reigns vs. Big Show

Show hit a shoulder tackle early followed by a body slam. Show stepped on the back of Reigns while he was up against the ropes. Show grabbed Reigns by his vest and tossed him all the way over the top to the floor. They went outside the ring where Show sent Reigns into a barricade, but Reigns came back by shoving Show into the ring post and then hit a dropkick. Show tackled Reigns outside the ring, so they went to break there with both guys outside the ring.

(Commercial)

Back from break, they were in the ring with Show still in control. Reigns hit a boot to the face and two clotheslines, but Show stopped the comeback with a side slam. Show took way too long to do an attack off the middle rope and connected with a Vader Bomb (Show Bomb?) splash for two. Show kicked Reigns into the barricade and then tossed him into the barricade as well. Reigns came back with a series of forearm shots, then a Superman Punch when Show was leaning against the ropes. Reigns hit another Superman Punch and a third, but Show was still up. Reigns avoided a Chokeslam, ran the ropes and hit a Spear for the win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: *3/4 If you thought Reigns was losing you really don’t watch this show enough. It’s the same match they always do. Show controlled most of the action, Reigns comes back with his usual offense and finishes it off with a Spear. We’ve seen it so many times even though the announcers act like the spots they were doing were something fresh and new. Stop doing this match, please. I think Show should probably stop doing the Spear. If Reigns is going to use it as his main finisher then it looks bad when other people do it as something that’s part of their arsenal.

Kane was shown talking on a phone backstage when a bunch of divas walked up to him. It was Summer Rae, Alicia Fox, Cameron and Natalya, so I guess they’re the heel divas. Cameron’s overacting is so bad. Kane wondered what they wanted. Natalya mentioned that Naomi pinned Nikki Bella twice, but they think all the divas should be given a chance. They said they wanted a Divas battle royal to determine who is the number one contender for the Divas Title. Kane was annoyed by them, so he said they’ll have a battle royal next week. The girls were happy and left.

Analysis: Some of the lines they use are so forced and makes them sound like everybody else pushing the company’s catchphrases. That’s the problem with the writing. Nobody sounds natural. They really could have just said Naomi gets the title shot and leave it at that, but I guess they felt the need to put on a battle royal to have her beat the others to get it. If somebody other than Naomi wins it would be a surprise.

Sheamus is shown walking in a hallway, so he’s up next.

(Commercial)

The hallway camera caught up to Roman Reigns, who was interviewed by Renee Young. Reigns said that Big Show couldn’t stop him and we should wait to see what he’s going to do next.

Analysis: Wait to see what he does next? You mean lose in a main event? It’s not that exciting.

Sheamus made his entrance. In case you missed it on Smackdown, he has a new theme song to match his new hair and facial hair. I miss the old song as well as all the “too many limes” and “lobster head” jokes that we could use for it. There were replays of Sheamus’ actions last week when he attacked Bryan and Ziggler as well as beating Bryan by countout thanks Bad News Barrett’s Bull Hammer elbow smash.

Sheamus did a promo telling the fans to appreciate what a real man looks like as the fans chanted “you look stupid” at him. Sheamus talked about how he was a warrior in a world full of insects. Sheamus complained about all your heroes that are underdogs like Dolph Ziggler. He spoke about how he was a Celtic Warrior standing 6’6″ 280 pounds. He’s not that tall and he’s probably more like 260, but wrestling has always lied about weight.

Analysis: It was a decent heel promo. He mentioned Ziggler because they’re probably having a match at Extreme Rules.

Mark Henry vs. Sheamus

Sheamus looked like he was going to walk away as he called Henry a “has-been” and the ref rang the bell. Henry tossed Sheamus across the ring. When Sheamus had Henry in an armbar, Henry was able to overpower Sheamus and end him outside the ring. When they were outside, Sheamus shoved him into the steel post. Sheamus hit a few forearm shots, then running knee lifts and he yelled “Are you not entertained?” because he must have watched Gladiator a lot during his time off. Good flick. Sheamus powered out of the World’s Strongest Slam, clipped the knee and hit a Brogue Kick for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sheamus

Analysis: * Sheamus is a heel on the rise, so he’s likely going to rack up some victories because WWE needs more top heels. I like him in the heel role. His face act was getting boring. Sheamus will probably beat Ziggler at Extreme Rules and then move on to a feud with somebody like Cena, Reigns or Bryan. Henry’s nothing more than a veteran jobber at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if he retired this year or next year. It’s unlikely that WWE is going to push him in a big way ever again.

There were images shown from WrestleMania summarizing The Rock’s storyline with Ronda Rousey against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. It was a great moment.

The triple threat match between Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Ryback is the main event.

(Commercial)

This week on Smackdown it’s Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler taking on Sheamus and Bad News Barrett. Some of the roster will be flying to European for the annual tour, so that will probably be the main event tag that gets a lot of time.

Bray Wyatt did a promo backstage talking about how he’s talking to somebody that can’t compete against the greatest power of them all: fear. He said the fear of failure holds the key of his undoing. “Do I have your attention now? Behold the new face of fear.” That was it.

Analysis: It was about one minute. It’s not clear who he’s talking about.

Ryback was interviewed by Renee Young. He said it’s a big night and “The Big Guy” feels bigger than ever. Cue jokes about steroids, but I honestly don’t care if wrestlers use anything. It’s entertainment not competitive sports. Ryback said that Reigns and Orton will find out that the Big Guy is hungry for the WWE Championship. He started a “Feed Me More” chant and said it’s feeding time.

Analysis: Just a basic promo to show that he was ready for the main event even though most people watching probably know he has no shot to win.

The Miz entered for a match that the announcers said they “thought we would never see.” Yes because two allies never feud in wrestling. What a stupid comment. The announcers are produced to be stupid far too often.

(Commercial)

With Miz in the ring, they showed images of Damien Mizdow eliminating Miz from the match. Mizdow enters with The Miz’s theme song and the same kind of jacket as well.

The Miz vs. Damien Mizdow

Mizdow was in control early on and he was very aggressive. Miz was able to come back with a boot to the face. Miz stomped away, the ref made him step back and it allowed Mizdow to come back. JBL made a Clarence Mason lawyer reference when talking about if Mizdow gets to keep the name. Miz went to the floor to escape an attack. Then Miz lured Mizdow back in the ring and attacked with forearm shots. Mizdow came back with an Electric Chair drop. These announcers are barely calling any moves. Clothesline for Mizdow, then the Miz-like backbreaker/neckbreaker combo. Miz tried to kick Mizdow low, but Mizdow caught his foot. Miz avoided a kick, then got a ROLLUP OF DEATH with tights for the win after five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: The Miz

What bothered me about this is that Saxton barely said anything about the cheating. You’re the play by play guy. Show some emotion. Be mad about Miz cheating. Somebody on commentary has to do that.

Analysis: *1/2 I’d like Mizdow to get back to the Sandow name. Why keep calling him Mizdow? I get that the storyline right now is that they can say Mizdow does a better job of being The Miz than The Miz, but that’s really not much of an accomplishment. As for Miz getting the win, that was probably done because Mizdow is going to win at Extreme Rules assuming they have a match. I know Miz is going to film a Christmas movie with Paige soon, so that Extreme Rules match is probably the end of this feud.

Randy Orton was interviewed by Renee Young backstage. He spoke about how he has nothing against Reigns or Ryback, but he’s going to beat them and face Seth Rollins.

Analysis: The other two guys spoke, so makes sense that Orton would say something too. Very basic like the others.

(Commercial)

Ryback and Orton were already in the ring as Reigns made his entrance by entering via the crowd. It’s weird to see a main event without the intros shown on television, but all of them had a match already.

Ryback vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns

Orton hit a backbreaker on Ryback early, but Reigns broke it up. Reigns attacked Orton in the corner and Ryback splashed him to get nearfalls on both guys. Reigns clothesline got a two count on Ryback. Orton came back with a clothesline on Reigns for two. Ryback tossed Orton outside the ring and went to work on Reigns in the corner as The Authority’s Seth Rollins, Kane, Big Show and J&J Security stood on the ramp. Ryback hit a powerslam on Reigns. Orton back in with clotheslines for Ryback and Reigns followed by a snap powerslam for each guy. Reigns nailed Orton with a forearm shot to the back, but Ryback broke up the pin. Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Orton. Ryback nailed Reigns with a spinebuster. Ryback took down Reigns with the Meat Hook Clothesline. Ryback with a spinebuster on Orton. Reigns hit a Spear on Ryback when Ryback was going for a Shellshock on Orton.

The Authority group slowly walked down to ringside. Reigns leaped over the top rope and took The Authority out with a dive. Booker: “Have you ever seen a flying Samoan?” Yes actually, The Usos all the time. Show picked up Reigns and nailed him with a KO Punch. He held up Reigns and gave him another KO Punch. Orton brought Rollins into the ring. J&J attacked Orton from behind with JBL reminding us there was No Disqualification in a triple threat. Ryback sent J&J out of the ring. Orton used that to capitalize with a RKO on Ryback for the pinfall win after 6 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

Analysis: ** Short main event. It was very basic with a lot of nearfalls and a finish that felt rushed. I wasn’t expecting some 20 minute classic, but for them to only get about six minutes was surprising. There was a lot of interference in order to not have anybody lose totally clean. Reigns was protected because he was taken out by Big Show and wasn’t pinned. I didn’t really like the blatant interference, but I get why they did it. If a match is No DQ why doesn’t anybody use weapons? Because they’re booked to be stupid, that’s why.

Post match, Orton barely had time to celebrate because Rollins was there to hit a Curb Stomp on Orton. Rollins held the title over Orton, who was knocked out in the ring. They showed some highlights from the match.

There was a plug for John Cena being interviewed by Chris Jericho on WWE Network. It’s Tuesday afternoon as I write this and I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll get to it later in the day.

Rollins held up the WWE Title to end the show. Raw ended at about 11:03pmET. That’s much better than 11:15pmET when it sometimes ends.

Analysis: The win from Orton means he faces Rollins at Extreme Rules. No surprise. Their WrestleMania match was 14 minutes. I think they’ll get 20-25 minutes at Extreme Rules, so it could be a match of the year contender.

I would assume that Big Show’s KO Punch on Reigns means their feud is still going on and could lead to ANOTHER match between them at Extreme Rules. Can you hear me groaning? No, but trust me I am.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Seth Rollins

2. Neville

3. John Cena

 

The Scoreboard

4.5 out of 10

Last week: 7.5

Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 6, 6, 5, 5.5

2015 Average: 5.5

2015 High: 7.5 (March 30)

2015 Low: 4 (Feb 9)

 

 

Final Thoughts

I’m giving it a 4.5 out of 10. The first half of the show was much better than the second half, which dragged.

Orton’s win in the main event was no surprise. They basically announced Orton vs. Rollins for Extreme Rules on Smackdown and we all knew it was coming. I’m fine with it. I just wish they had more direction for a three hour show.

There were a lot of talented people not on this show including Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Rusev. I realize you can’t include everybody every single week, but having people work twice and leaving out others is a bad decision.

Brock Lesnar is missed so much. I know he’s got the part time schedule that means we won’t see him for three or four months, but there’s nobody else with his star power. Paul Heyman should have been there to complain about Lesnar’s suspension.

The in-ring action was pretty good thanks to Rollins vs. Neville and Cena vs. Stardust. Raw is such a long show that every week they should be able to have at least two matches that good.

I’m glad The New Day is finally headed in the heel direction although it’s not like they were really pushing it that hard. They’ll have to do a promo about the fans hating them and be more aggressive in the ring.

I don’t mind Byron Saxton on Smackdown and I didn’t mind him on NXT, but he’s not a play by play guy. He did a poor job of calling moves as well as getting excited at the right time. Tom Phillips would have been a better choice for that spot. Saxton as an analyst is fine, but not play by play. Michael Cole is good most of the time although can be very annoying and sucks at calling moves although I also know that he’s just doing it the way Vince McMahon wants him to. I miss Jim Ross.

In terms of storyline development, nothing major was furthered along except for Kane likely turning face. I respect what he’s done in his career, but that’s not exciting news at all.

The matches at Extreme Rules should be pretty good. It’s just that Raw felt very average this week. They need to do a better job of getting people more excited for it. Maybe they knew people were going to watch the college hoops final and didn’t put on an exciting second half of the show. However, you should always put on your best effort. It felt like they mailed it in during the second half.

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That’s all for this week. Check out my feature column archive that’s exclusive to WhatCulture.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton –mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter@johnreport

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