4/22 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Undertaker, Kane, and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield, John Cena vs. Ryback build for Extreme Rules continues, Divas battle royal determines No. 1 contender
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Taped earlier today in London, England at the O2 Arena
[Q1] Raw opened with a recap that set up The Undertaker, Kane, and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield, and recapped the John Cena and Ryback segments that concluded with The Shield attacking Cena...
Paul Heyman stood in the ring and introduced himself and said he was there as the advocate of Brock Lesnar. Heyman recalled Lesnar destroying 3MB last week, and then the challenge that was issued to Triple H for a cage match. Heyman directed the live crowd to check out recap footage on the big screen. Meanwhile, Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in on commentary.
In the ring, Heyman said the moment had arrived for the first ballot Hall of Famer Triple H to deliver his response to Lesnar's cage match challenge. Heyman said the only issue was that Triple H was not in the building. Heyman said he had the reputation as a liar and said he will never know how that happened.
Heyman said he received an email from Triple H saying that he would give his response next week. Heyman recalled saying he would stand in the ring and shake Hunter's hand and tell him he respects him. He said that like all the fans, he was also disappointed because Triple H was too cowardly to appear.
Triple H's music played and he headed to the ring. Cole said it was a sellout crowd of 16,603 was in attendance. Heyman told Triple H it was well played. Triple H pointed to his email on Heyman's phone. "See right there?" he asked. "I lied. And I want you to go home and tell Brock Lesnar that I accept." Triple H performed the Pedigree on Heyman to a big pop...
Cole hyped Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho for later in the show and said it's the renewal of a great rivalry... [C]
Powell's POV: Why does the hype for Triple H vs. Lesnar matches always start with Hunter beating up Heyman followed by me saying I think there would be money in WWE making viewers wait for that moment? Anyway, Triple H looks like he outsmarted Heyman, and the Triple H vs. Lesnar cage match is on. I like the added hype for the the Ziggler vs. Jericho match. It should have started last week along with bigger hype for Taker's return to the ring on Raw.
[Q2] A graphic noted that the WWE App has been downloaded 5 million times...
Powell's POV: The Prowrestling.net App (available on iPhone, Android, Amazon) has not been downloaded 5 million times yet, but it should be. Do your part by downloading it for free right now.
1. Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth. Truth did his full "What's Up" entrance routine and then Cole acted like a jackass by yelling "What's Up" at ringside a few times. Cesaro yodeled on his way to the ring. The London crowd started singing "Ole" briefly. In the end, Truth caught Cesaro with his finisher and pinned him clean...
R-Truth pinned Antonio Cesaro in 2:15.
A helicopter was shown landing. The Shield emerged from the helicopter and then climbed into an SUV that drove off. The announcers put over their match as the biggest of their careers...
Brodus Clay and his posse performed their entrance routine... [C]
Powell's POV: Why the sudden resurgence of the one dimensional R-Truth character? Why is Cesaro yodeling and losing? Do The Shield have their own helicopter? Was that Sting flying the chopper? No, not really.
Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes made their entrances after the break...
2. Damien Sandow (w/Cody Rhodes) vs. Brodus Clay (w/Sweet T, Cameron, Naomi).
[Q3] Sandow rolled up Clay and held the tights while scoring the pin...
Damien Sandow defeated Brodus Clay in 3:35.
Highlights aired of Dolph Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank contract to win the World Hvt. Championship...
Powell's POV: My apologies for the poor coverage of the Sandow vs. Clay match. I had to take a phone call from my softball coach, who told me that our first game is Wednesday night. As I was taking the call, I was looking outside and watching the snow continue to accumulate. I was too busy laughing at the idea of playing on Wednesday to focus. I used to say that all the talk about Minnesota weather being the shits was overstated. I was wrong (at least this godforsaken year).
Anyway, Dolph Ziggler was shown talking about how beautiful A.J. ,er, his title belt was. A.J. entered the picture and he told her to imagine how hot the Divas title would look around her waist rather than her former BFF's. After insulting Kaitlyn, they started making out. Dolph told Big E Langston to stop creeping and walk away.
Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox entered the picture. Vickie informed Ziggler that if he loses his match later, Chris Jericho will be added to the match at Extreme Rules, which would make it a Fatal Four Way... [C]
Powell's POV: The best idea I've heard in a while came from a Dot Net Member in a recent Q&A and it called for Langston to win the Money in the Bank contract while Dolph is champion. The dynamic would be classic. Keep an eye on how Ziggler treats him going forward as that could be what they have in mind.
A commercial featuring John Cena's and Make-A-Wish was shown. It concluded with Cena asking viewers to text WISH to 80088 to donate $10 to the cause...
At ringside, the announcers set up footage of C.M. Punk walking out last week. Cole said no one knows what's up with Punk, but they would keep digging...
A Shield promo aired with the three of them taking turns talking in a backstage area. Dean Ambrose said that for 20 years, Taker has been the judge, jury, and executioner of WWE. He questioned how gave Taker that right. Ambrose said The Shield is the law now. Seth Rollins said they will make a statement tonight. Ambrose said Taker will know for the first time what justice tastes like...
Powell's POV: One of the better Shield handheld camera promos we've seen lately. I like the way they played up the theme of how they have replaced Taker as the law in WWE.
Chris Jericho made his entrance to a big pop. A graphic hyped Fozzy's appearance at The Garage in London on Wednesday night...
[Q4] [C] 3. World Hvt. Champion Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee, Big E Langston) vs. Chris Jericho in a non-title match. The announcers said Ziggler had to win this match because there was no way he would retain his title in a four-way match. There were dueling chants for the two wrestlers early on. Ziggler headed to ringside and kissed AJ, but Jericho caught him with a kick through the ropes before the break. [C]
After the break, Jericho dove at Ziggler in the corner. Ziggler moved and Jericho hit his head on the post and tumbled to the floor.
[Q5] Jericho came back and set up for the Lionsault, but AJ distracted the ref while Langston took a shot at Jericho. Ziggler covered Jericho, who kicked out at two. Dolph applied a sleeper hold. Jericho eventually slammed onto his back to break the hold. The fans started a wave as Ziggler performed a DDT for a two count.
WWE production embraced the crowd reaction by doing a wide screen shot of the wave. Jericho endorsed it in the ring before going for the Lionsault again, only to have Ziggler put his knees up. Ziggler performed the Fameasser for a good near fall. Jericho knocked Dolph onto the top rope.
Jericho performed a superplex on Ziggler. Jericho covered Ziggler and got a two count. The crowd started Fandangoing. Jericho hit the Codebreaker and looked to the crowd before going for a cover. Ziggler put his foot on the bottom rope to break up the pin. Jericho went to the ropes as Langston was standing on the apron. Rather than perform the Lionsault, Jericho springboarded into a kick that knocked Langston down.
Jericho put Ziggler in the Walls of Jericho. Jericho released the hold and the crowd got fired up with the Fandangoing antics. Ziggler kicked Jericho in the knee and then caught him with the Zig Zag for the win...
Dolph Ziggler pinned Chris Jericho in a non-title match in 16:45.
Powell's POV: A really good match. Ziggler's title matches are going to be great. He's excellent with the near falls and sells so well that he's going to have viewers on the edges of their seats when he works with the right opponents. I don't know what Jericho has planned with Fozzy this summer, but I really hope we get more of these two.
Highlights aired from Monday of The Shield performing the Triple Powerbomb on John Cena while Ryback watched... The announcers hyped John Cena vs. Ryback for the WWE Championship. Cole noted that the WWE Championship is 50 years-old...
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Mick Foley and congratulated him on the success of his new DVD. Foley said he's proud of it and did a London cheap pop bit. Foley addressed Ryback by saying it's not in man's nature to look in the mirror and blame himself. Foley said there will be no time for excuses when Ryback faces Cena "on my favorite night of the year - Extreme Rules"... [C]
[Q6] 4. Cody Rhodes (w/Damien Sandow) vs. Sweet T (w/Brodus Clay, Cameron, Naomi). T played to the crowd and got a response before doing a cannonball in the corner. Sandow climbed onto the apron. Brodus took care of Sandow, then Sweet T performed a back splash on Cody for the win...
Sweet T defeated Cody Rhodes in 4:30.
Powell's POV: Tensai worked hard and is clearly doing his best to make the most of this gimmick. Right when I start to get impressed by his power moves, he goes back to doing the ridiculous dancing and it just kills it for me.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan asked Kane if he was there yet. Kane said that when he is here, Bryan would know it. Bryan questioned how they could go over strategy. He corrected Kane by saying it's Team Hell No and Undertaker, not The Brothers of Destruction and Daniel Bryan. Funny.
Kane said Undertaker doesn't take orders. Bryan said he had diagrams. Kane got upset and told Bryan not to try to hug Taker. Suddenly, someone attacked the duo. The camera went to the ground along with them and a chair. Black pants and shoes were shown...
Powell's POV: That's the funniest Kane and Bryan skit we've seen in months. I brought diagrams!
A graphic noted that WWE talent signed over 50,000 autographs during WrestleMania week... Footage aired of Kane and Bryan being attacked. The announcers questioned whether Taker would have to fly solo against The Shield if Kane and Bryan can't compete... The Smackdown Rebound was shown...
Powell's POV: Wow, that was a lengthy Smackdown recap video. It's about time they treat Smackdown like it matters on Raw.
[Q7] Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Ryback, who complained that "John Cena wasn't there for me like I was here for him." Ryback asked Cena if he felt vulnerable, helpless, and violated when The Shield attacked him. Ryback admitted he enjoyed it. He said some people don't understand. He said he doesn't see shortcomings, he says he sees the next WWE Champion. He suggested he and Foley discuss it in the ring, then closed by saying "Ryback Rules"...
Big E Langston made his entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: Cena wasn't there for me? Vulnerable, helpless, and violated? Good lord, someone check this guy's estrogen levels. Oddly enough, he sounds like Connie from "Brickleberry" when he talks now.
5. Big E Langston vs. Zack Ryder. Langston dominated the match and finished off Ryder with The Big Ending.
Big E Langston pinned Zack Ryder in 1:45.
Powell's POV: I'll let you in on a little secret. I wrote the match description before the bell rang. Langston looked impressive and the announcers put him over, but the live crowd wasn't very responsive. It's interesting that Dolph and AJ were not at ringside for his match.
The announcers hyped the six-man tag match for after the break... [C] A recap aired of The Shield and Undertaker segment from the night after WrestleMania 29...
[Q8] Undertaker made his entrance. Once he entered the ring, the fans chanted his name.
Powell's POV: Many of you have seen the Taker entrance hundreds of times over the years. I don't know about you, but I definitely stop and appreciate it a little more at this late stage in his career.
The Shield made their entrance through the crowd and then surrounded the ring. JBL said this might be The Dead Man's last dance. The Shield members entered the ring and quickly outnumbered Taker. Kane's music played and then Kane and Daniel Bryan ran out to even the sides. The two teams brawled. Taker cleared Roman Reigs from the ring and then Kane and Bryan cleared the other two. Cole said the match was coming up next... [C]
Powell's POV: An excellent hook heading into the commercial break.
6. Undertaker, Kane, and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield. The fans chanted "Yes!" as Bryan started the match with Ambrose. Kane checked in and caught Ambrose with a kick and then worked him over with shots in the corner. JBL said he's been in the ring with The Road Warriors and The Dudleys and other great teams, yet The Brothers of Destruction are the toughest of the bunch.
Taker checked in and the "Undertaker" chants fired up again. Taker went to the corner for Old School and the crowd roared, but Ambrose cut if off. Taker caught him with a boot and then went to the corner and performed Old School. He stumbled a bit, but recovered nicely. The crowd chanted "You've Still Got it" at Taker.
[Q9] The match slowed down as The Shield members worked over Kane. He eventually made the hot tag to Bryan, who continued to be really over with the London crowd. Bryan picked up the pace with his frantic offense and rapid fire kicks on Rollins. Bryan covered Rollins for a two count after a series of kicks at 8:00. The crowd chanted This is Awesome at one point. Bryan performed a missile dropkick on Rollins and then missed a running dropkick in the corner. [C]
After the break, The Shield isolated Bryan and took turns working him over in their corner. Bryan eventually made a hot tag to Taker, who cleaned house. He had Rollins and Ambrose by the throat when Reigns speared him out of nowhere for a two count. That one should have packed more of a punch since it's been a finisher of Shield matches.
Taker came back and eventually tagged in Kane, who took a big kick to the head for Rollins. Seth tagged Ambrose into the match. Ambrose went to the ropes and jumped toward Kane, who caught him and chokeslammed him. Kane tagged in Bryan, who set for a missile dropkick, only to be tripped up by Reigns.
Taker attacked Reigns at ringside. Kane and Rollins fought. Inside the ring, Bryan went for a top rope head butt on Ambrose, who rolled out of the way and then pinned Bryan to win the match for his team. The announcers marveled over The Shield remaining undefeated...
The Shield defeated Undertaker, Kane, and Daniel Bryan in 19:20.
Powell's POV: Slow a couple of times, fast paced and fun at times, but never dull. Kane rubbed Bryan's head afterward and Taker looked more surprised by the loss than anything. The announcers did a good job of raving about The Shield afterward. That match easily could have closed the show. I'm curious to see whether the segment they chose to go with was ultimately the right call.
[Q10] [C] Cole recapped The Rock's surgery tweet. Cole said Rock suffered the abdominal injury while performing The Rock Bottom on Cena...
Backstage, John Cena spoke with Mick Foley. Cena was heavily booed when he was shown on camera for the first time. Cena tried to talk Foley out of meeting with Ryback face-to-face in the ring. Foley said Ryback said he wanted to talk face to face and he tries not to back down from challenges like Ryback.
Cena said he thinks Foley is making a mistake. Foley said he's had a career filled with mistakes. He said he has pride and it's his decision to make, so he asked Cena to respect it. Cena asked Foley to do him a favor. He handed him a chair and told him to take it to the ring with him...
Fandango's music played and the crowd erupted with Fandangoing. Fandango was accompanied to the ring by his blonde dancer (Summer Rae from NXT). The crowd sang along as the duo entered the ring. Cole said Fandango would be in action after the break... [C]
7. Fandango vs. William Regal. Regal also received a big ovation from his hometown fans. Cole said it's the only place in the world where Regal gets a standing ovation.
[Q11] Regal mocked Fandango's dancing a bit to start the match. The picked up the Fandangoing again. Regal threw shots at Fandango in the corner and then played to the crowd. He walked into a kick from Fandango, who followed up with his finisher and picked up the win. The crowd sang along with the theme song.
Fandango pinned William Regal in 1:40.
After the match, Fandango's dancer did the splits and held up the mic for him. Fandango said his name. They headed up the ramp together and did their pose. Chris Jericho ran out and attacked Fandango from behind and threw him off the stage. The fans chanted Y2J. Jericho looked at Fandango's dancer and stuck out his hand. She took his hand and they danced together while Fandango seethed on the floor...
The announcers hyped a Divas battle royal to become No. 1 contender to the Divas Championship, and the Ryback and Foley confrontation...
Powell's POV: It's always an nice treat to see William Regal in the ring even it was only for 100 seconds of match time. I'm also happy to see the Jericho vs. Fandango feud is alive and well. Jericho is only a part-timer and the guy has two feuds that have my interest more than 99 percent of the full-timers feuds.
An ad for Smackdown focussed on Randy Orton... Cole hyped Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger in a No DQ match for Friday's Smackdown television show...
8. A battle royal to become No. 1 contender to the WWE Divas Championship. Kaitlyn sat in on commentary. The participants were AJ Lee, Aksana, Naomi, Tamina Snuka, and Layla. Cole said The Bellas were disqualified from the battle royal because of using Twin Magic last week.
Tamina caught AJ with big super kick early in a cool spot. Layla caught Aksana with a kick to knock her off the apron and eliminate her from the match. Cole thought Naomi was eliminated, but he corrected himself. Naomi was out next, so Cole probably read ahead.
Layla caught Tamina with a series of kicks and then eliminated her from the match. Kaitly noted that they were in Layla's hometown. Kaitlyn was wearing the British colors, but the live crowd didn't seem to care. AJ was still acting like she was out cold from the super kick. Layla struggled to get her to the ropes, but then AJ came to life and kicked her through the ropes to eliminate her...
A.J. Lee won a battle royal to become No. 1 contender to the Divas Championship.
Powell's POV: I would say it's interesting that Dolph and Langston didn't accompany AJ to ringside, but that would be a lie.
The announcers set up a trailer for the WWE Studios film "No One Lives"...
Mick Foley was shown walking backstage with a chair in hand. The announcers said his segment with Ryback was up next...
[Q12] [C] Mick Foley was introduced as the first member of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013. He did the cheap pop routine again and eventually got the "What?" treatment as he said he didn't come to London looking for a confrontation, yet he found one. He said the only thing missing was Ryback.
Ryback made his entrance and questioned how the chair Cena gave Foley was going to help him. Foley said he was initially insulted when Cena told him to bring the chair. He said he realizes that his days "came and went a long, long time ago." Foley said that if Ryback unleashes on him, he will go down and probably won't get back up.
Foley said he had things to say and he hoped they would sink in. He asked Ryback to take a look at some footage on the screen. Footage aired of the Ryback and Cena confrontation from last week, which included Ryback backing down and then watching as The Shield attacked Cena.
Ryback said he knows what he did and he liked it. "Hell, I loved it," he said. Foley asked what happened to the man who showed no fear and demanded respect. Ryback said Foley better be careful what he wishes for or he might just get it. Foley said he thought about the six times he was left lying with no one there to help him.
Foley asked if Ryback has any idea how many times he's been left lying. Foley got excited and said he doesn't know because he didn't count them. He said he did the best he could and it was good enough for him to win the WWE Championship three times. Foley said Ryback is destined to be WWE Champion and he has all the physical tools to dominate.
Foley asked if Ryback really wants to become champion by walking away from Cena's challenge or by watching The Shield attack Cena. Foley said Extreme Rules is coming up very soon and Ryback needs to wake up. Ryback told Foley to shut up. He said Foley comes out year after year and sticks his nose in other people's business.
Foley tried to talk, but Ryback told him to shut up again. He questioned why Foley comes out and tries to relive his glory days. "For what, Mick, for what?" he asked. "To sell more DVDs?" Ryback said it's a result oriented business and he gets what he wants. He said he wants to be WWE Champion and at Extreme Rules he will be.
"So if you, Super Cena, and these stupid people have a problem with that, I don't care," he said. "I do not care anymore." Ryback mocked the idea of Foley telling him how to be a man. Ryback told the crowd to shut up and look at Foley. "There you stand holding a weapon," Ryback said. "So I'm going to ask you one more time, you fat, pathetic, lazy bastard, how does John Cena giving you a chair help you standing in the ring with Ryback?"
Foley responded by saying, "You tell me." Foley dropped the mic and held up the chair. Ryback told him to look into his eyes. Foley leaned in. Ryback took the chair away from Foley and threw it to ringside. They went nose to nose.
John Cena's entrance music played and he ran to the ring. Foley ducked out to ringside. Cena removed his hat and shirt and held up his fists for a fight. The Shield's music played. Cena ducked through the ropes and stood on the apron while Ryback stood in the middle of the ring.
[Overrun] Cena dropped off the apron as The Shield arrived at ringside. Cena backed up the ramp and stood and watched as Ryback stood his ground. The Shield and Ryback fought. Cena returned and struck The Shield members with a chair and cleared them from the ringside area.
Ryback and Cena stood in the ring together and Cena had the chair in hand. There were dueling pro and con Cena chants. Cena dropped the chair and then approached Ryback. He picked him up and put him down with an Attitude Adjustment. Cena stood tall over Ryback, looked down at him, and said "The Champ is Here."
Cena left the ring as JBL said he got a little payback. Cole hyped Cena vs. Ryback for Extreme Rules as Ryback recovered and glared at Cena from the ring. Cena did the salute on the stage and then the "You Can't See Me" hand gesture to close the show...
Powell's POV: I guess The Shield vs. Taker, Kane, and Bryan couldn't go on last because they had to show that Cena with a chair is tougher than the three of them, and that Cena is badder that Ryback on the same night they officially announce that the two will meet at Extreme Rules. Fortunately, there's still plenty of time to build up the match. Unfortunately, Ryback is really struggling on the mic and I don't get the sense that fans see him as a threat to win the championship that Cena won earlier this month.
Overall, this was a better show than usual with a flat ending. The Undertaker return, and Ziggler vs. Jericho were very entertaining. The London crowd was either overhyped, muted a bit in post production, or they did a lot of chanting during the commercial segments. This was no night after WrestleMania, but they were definitely livelier than the average Raw crowd.
Dot Net Members will be listening to my audio review of Raw later tonight. Check back on Tuesday for the WWE Raw Hitlist, Will Pruett's Pause review of Raw, and Ryan Kester's Raw Rundown.
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