5/6 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman invade WWE Headquarters, the build to Extreme Rules continues
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Roanoke, Va. at the Roanoke Civic Center
[Q1] The show opened with the narrator discussing the "Twitter Bombshell" from Paul Heyman. Still shot photos showed the duo at WWE Headquarters, and there was some grainy camera footage as well. The narrator also recapped last week's main event...
John Cena's music played and he walked onto the stage. He pointed to his foot and said, "We're better than we were last week, that's what I'm talking about." Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JLB checked in from ringside and said the Achilles' injury is still an issue. "It's there and it's going to be there when that match takes place," Lawler said regarding Cena's Extreme Rules match with Ryback.
Cena listened to his usual mixed crowd reaction and said you can sense the unrest in WWE. Cena said his injury won't cause him to back out of the match with Ryback at Extreme Rules. Cena said that after Ryback refused to compete last week and then he stared into his eyes from the stage, he was a little confused by his intentions.
Cena "answered questions" he said he received throughout the week. He said Ryback is ready to DTF - Do The Fandango. He said someone photoshopped photos of he and Betty White. He said some freak even added a spatula to make it extra frisky. "And, yes, I do do it, only when I'm alone, bored, and know no one is watching," he said. Ugh.
Cena said he's not a teacher, lawyer, or doctor, he's the current WWE Champion. "On a very serious note, as long as I am medically cleared, as the WWE champion, it is my job to get in this ring and do my best." Cena said he hasn't been 100 percent since 2002, but that won't stop him from begging in the ring to defend the WWE Championship. Cena said Ryback will realize The Champ is Here.
Cena's line was interrupted by Vickie Guerrero's "excuse me" but he spoke over her. Vickie walked out and said she's excited that Cena will be defending the title. She said the pay-per-view won't be ordinary, it will be extreme. Vickie said she would never choose a stipulation for a match without input from the champion and the challenger.
Ryback made his entrance and joined Cena and Vickie in the ring. Vickie gave Cena a chance to give his idea for a stipulation. Cena said that in order to be fair to Ryback, they could give the win to the person who runs out of the ring like a screaming little girl. He also suggested a whine off and impersonated Cena (and also sounded like the lesbian forrest ranger on Brickleberry).
Cena said he doesn't care what the stipulation is and said they could even have a Vickie Guerrero's granny panties on a pole match. Then he stopped himself and said no man, woman, or child should have to see that. Cena said he just wants a fight and a chance to shut up the world's largest complainer.
Vickie told Ryback that Cena has elected to let him pick the stipulation. Ryback said that since Cena can't even take a step without grimacing, letting him pick the stipulation was stupid. Cena took a step and said it hurt, but it would hurt Ryback a lot more if he took another one. Ryback told him to take it easy because he wasn't fighting him tonight.
Ryback said that after Extreme Rules, everyone will know Ryback rules. Ryback announced that the match will be a Last Man Standing match. Cena actually showed a bit of concern. Ryback left the ring to conclude the segment...
The announcers spoke about Lesnar and Heyman invading WWE Headquarters and showed Twitter photos of the duo doing so. Cole said Heyman would join them via satellite, and Triple H would respond. A shot aired of Randy Orton walking backstage. Cole said Orton would be seeking retribution for what Damien Sandow did on Smackdown...
Powell's POV: A lousy verbal segment between Cena and Ryback. Actually, Cena was the problem. He once again told cornball jokes that the live crowd wasn't laughing at. Vickie was her usual self, and Ryback is a mediocre promo at best, and Cena mocking him isn't helping. At least Cena showed some sense of concern at the end rather than smirking when the stipulation was announced. Of course, that should be a lock, but you never know with Cena. It's also good to see them continue to play up that Cena is hurting going into the match, as it makes him look vulnerable.
[Q2] [C] 1. Randy Orton vs. Damien Sandow. Sandow sang a version of Orton's theme song as he walked to the ring. Orton dominated the first few minutes of the match and was in the process of hitting a dropkick when the show cut to commercial. [C]
Sandow got some offense in after the break, but he ate a dropkick while jumping off the second rope.
[Q3] Orton followed up with a hanging DDT. Orton played to the crowd. The cameras cut to the fans and then Orton hit the RKO after Sandow stumbled toward him. Orton covered Sandow and pinned him...
Randy Orton defeated Damien Sandow in 9:20.
They cut to the announcers speaking at ringside and then Cole flipped out and pointed to the stage where Orton was knocked out and Big Show was standing over him. They replayed the footage of Show coming out and knocking out Orton with a punch. A few referees came out to check on Orton. Isn't there someone more qualified than the referees?...
Backstage, Fandango was shown dancing with his brunette dancer. Lawler said Fandango would be facing R-Truth after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: As much as I normally enjoy Sandow's entrance promos, his singing bit did nothing for me and did not feel right for his character. There was an awkward cut to the crowd just before Orton's RKO, but I think the idea behind not catching the Show punch live was by design to make it seem like it came out of nowhere. Meanwhile, Fandango continues to switch dancers. NXT's Summer Rae was used last week and on the house shows over the weekend, but they went back to the nameless brunette for this clip.
A Did You Know graphic touted that Raw was the top show on cable TV last week and that it topped the NBA and MBL games...
Chris Jericho's music played and then the lights went out. Jericho walked onto the stage wearing one of his awesome light bright jackets. Jericho headed to the ring as highlights aired from two weeks ago of Jericho throwing Fandango off the stage and then dancing with Summer Rae.
The fans chanted Y2J as Jericho stood in the ring and welcomed them to Raw is Jericho. Jericho referred to Fandango as Fandumbo, FanDodgeDurango, FanDimple, FanDingleBerry, FandanBlow, etc. He said he was putting together a judge's panel to critique Fandango. He pointed to a table that was set up at ringside.
Brodus Clay's music played and then he, Sweet T, Cameron, and Naomi made their entrance. Clay and Sweet T joined Jericho at the judge's table. Fandango made his entrance with his brunette dancer. The judges gave them low scores. Fandango tok the mic and asked who "Christopher" was to judge him. "Just because you competed on Dancing with the Stars and failed doesn't make you an expert.
[Q4] 2. Fandango (w/dancer) vs. R-Truth. Jericho and Tons of Fun held up number cards with low scores for Fandango's offense. Truth had an offensive flurry, so Fandango ducked to ringside. Truth did his usual dance and splits. Jericho and T gave him tens, Clay gave him 42. Fandango slipped away and was counted out...
R-Truth defeated Fandango by count out in 1:35.
Powell's POV: They brought out a judge's table for that? R-Truth was protected for what reason? Anyway, it was a nice surprise to see Jericho, who was not advertised for this show. Here's hoping that this means Jericho vs. Fandango will be added to Extreme Rules.
Triple H was featured in the Susan G. Komen commercial. He said he has a beautiful wife, three daughters, and a mother who survived breast cancer. He said the women in his life mean everything to him and that's why he donates to Susan G. Komen. He invited viewers to visit Komen.org/WWE to donate to the cause. There were black and white photos of Hunter with Stephanie McMahon, as well as with his own parents...
The announcers spoke at ringside and plugged the charity again and then shifted their focus to the rough night that Daniel Bryan had on Smackdown. They showed him losing to Ryback and being attacked by The Shield...
Powell's POV: A good spot and a wise move to get the wrestler/executive/future face of the company involved in a charity spot, especially since his mother being a breast cancer survivor, which I did not know until tonight.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Bryan and asked how he is physically. Bryan said he's not exactly good, but he's fine. He said The Shield used the word justified, but he questioned how they justify a three-on-one attack. He said one one is buying it. Bryan said he was challenging "The Ryback" to a rematch.
Ryback was right there on the interview set behind Bryan. Ryback said Bryan is injured and therefore he turned it down. He said even if he wasn't healthy, he's half the man that he is. Kane showed up and spun around Ryback and asked whether he thinks he is half the man that Ryback is. Ryback told Kane that he's not the monster he was and that he is the only real monster left in WWE...
Ricardo Rodgriguez handled the introduction of Alberto Del Rio. JBL said Ricardo is going to drop an O-ring one of these days. Funny. Cole said Del Rio would be facing Dolph Ziggler after the break... [C]
[Q5] Lawler said Vickie Guerrero has made Kane vs. Ryback official for later in the show...
3. Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee, Big E Langston) vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) in a non-title match. After a few minutes of action, Jack Swagger's music played and he walked out with Zeb Colter. [C]
After the break, Colter was on commentary. Highlights were shown of AJ distracting Del Rio, leading to Ziggler performing a facebuster on Del Rio off the top rope. Back live, Ziggler was in control of the match. As the match continued, Colter said Swagger was going to win the ladder match even though Del Rio has experience using a ladder. He said he wouldn't go any further with those comments.
[Q6] JBL asked Zeb whether he celebrated Cinco de Mayo. He said he did not and he isn't even sure why it's celebrated. Meanwhile, Ziggler bumped like mad inside the ring for Del Rio. After the big buildup, Del Rio hit the mini superkick (to the kneeling Ziggler) for a two count.
Del Rio applied the Cross Arm Breaker. AJ climbed onto the ring apron and distracted the referee. Langston grabbed Del Rio and pulled him out of the ring, but the referee saw him throw Del Rio into the seated Swagger and called for the bell.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Dolph Ziggler by DQ in 14:55.
After the match, Swagger attacked Langston and then pulled a ladder out from underneath the ring. Ricardo got involved, but Swagger used the ladder to run him into the barricade. Swagger entered the ring and struck Ziggler with the ladder, then threw it at Del Rio's face. Swagger stood tall over both of his opponents and Colter raised his hand.
Powell's POV: A good match with entertaining commentary from Colter, though I wish the announcers would have just called the in-ring action for this match. Swagger looked like a beast. Seriously, I don't know if he's ever looked like more of a badass than he did here, as he destroyed everyone other than AJ. Strong setup for the ladder match, which currently leads our poll for the Extreme Rules match that readers are most looking forward to.
Highlights aired of Ryback picking the Last Man Standing match for his Extreme Rules match with John Cena. The announcers discussed that match and then discussed the Lesnar and Heyman angle, and hyped Kane vs. Ryback for later in the show... [C]
Cole set up footage from the Yahoo uprfront event where Stephanie McMahon announced the 30-minute Raw preview show that will air weekly beginning this summer...
Backstage, Cameron and Naomi asked Kaitlyn about her mystery man. She said she doesn't know who it is. Natalya showed up and she wants to know who it is. She read a text that the mystery person man sent saying that not every woman can squat 300 pounds, look hot in a little black dress, and quote every episode of The Simpsons.
Natalya asked The Great Khali to find out who the mystery man is. Kaitlyn questioned the idea of having a seven foot giant go undercover. Natalya said he used to be a police officer in India. They all wandered off and The Bellas emerged with smiles on their faces. Cole said Cody Rhodes told the WWE website that he is not the mystery man...
The Shield made their entrance as the announcers recapped their recent actions...
Powell's POV: So, um, how does Kaitlyn keep this mystery man separate from the mouth-breathing lunatic lover boy fans who bombard her social media with similar tactics? Cyber stalkers, I guess the lesson here is that giving the gift of an atrocious studded hat is more effective than sending unsolicited photos of your junk. Who knew? Man, if only Brett Favre and I could turn back time.
[Q7] [C] 4. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns) vs. The Uso Brothers and Kofi Kingston. The Shield isolated one of the Uso brothers on their side of the ring and worked him over. Later, one of the Uso's hit a Samoan Drop on Seth Rollins and then made the hot tag to Kofi Kingston.
Kingston got the better of Ambrose and dropkicked Reigns off the apron. Kingston set up for his finisher, but Ambrose backed into the corner, so Kingston went for a splash instead. Kingston fought off Reigns and performed a cross body block on Ambrose and had him pinned, but Reigns broke it up.
Later, Ambrose caught Kingston on the top rope, but Kingston knocked him down. With the referee distracted by Reigns, Rollins shoved Kingston off the top rope. Ambrose performed a front DDT-like move and pinned Kingston to win the match...
The Shield defeated Kofi Kingston and The Uso Brothers in 6:45.
More still shots were shown of Lesnar and Heyman at WWE Headquarters, and of Triple H's trashed office... The announcers hyped Kane vs. Ryback... [C]
Powell's POV: A very good television match. Kingston's presence helped the match as they were able to build up to his hot tag and the live crowd took his offense seriously. I can't even complain about the U.S. Champion being pinned, as he looked strong and was simply a victim of the numbers game at the end.
[Q8] Cole hyped Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro as the featured match of WWE Main Event for Wednesday night...
5. Antonio Cesaro vs. Zack Ryder. Cesaro wore a beret and shades during his entrance. No yodeling beforehand. Cesaro won the squash match with The Neutralizer...
Antonio Cesaro defeated Zack Ryder.
After the match, Cesaro said he doesn't always ask for the microphone, but when he does he has something important to say. He pointed to Ryder and asked if that's all the competition they have for him. He said he puts the W in WWE. He said there's nobody in NXT, Superstars, Main Event, Smackdown, or Raw that can hold a candle to what he can do in the ring...
Powell's POV: Decisive win, a boastful promo, and no yodeling. Much better. Of course, his call for competition would have been better had he not lost countless matches in recent weeks and been shown losing to Kofi Kingston in the pre-match video session, but it's all about baby steps, folks.
More photos were shown of Lesnar and Heyman at WWE Headquarters. Heyman was shown live flashing a look of disdain at the person putting a microphone on him...
Powell's POV: WWE has played it up that WWE employees were responsible for all of the still shot photos they've shown of Lesnar and Heyman at WWE Headquarters. It's kind of a clever explanation, but it does leave you wondering whether that means the employees mark out and take photos and then tweet the photos whenever one of the wrestlers walks into the building. This better be some killer footage given all this buildup for an office trashing. Hell, it better make what Peter, Michael, and Samir did to the Initech printer look tame by comparison.
Heyman appeared via satellite and said he and his client took a self-guided tour of WWE Headquarters. Heyman set up the video footage that he shot at headquarters. Lesnar looked at the building and smiled, then he and Heyman entered. They noticed the Extreme Rules poster and Heyman questioned why Sheamus was featured. Heyman also noticed a tribute to Andre the Giant and questioned why since "he's been dead for 150 years."
Heyman and Lesnar got into the elevator. Heyman whistled and a guy on the elevator couldn't get off fast off. Heyman said no one seemed happy. "It's a poor working environment," Heyman said. Funny. Heyman pointed Lesnar down the hall. Lesnar stopped and stared at the Royal Rumble poster with The Rock featured. Heyman pointed out that there wasn't a single poster of Lesnar.
[Q9] They looked into the board room. Heyman said it will be a wonderful place to be once Triple H and Stephanie take over. They found Paul Levesque's office. Heyman greeted Triple H's secretary. "You're not Stephanie," he said. "You're much prettier than she is." A man told Lesnar he couldn't go into Hunter's office. Lensar face planted the guy.
Lesnar and Heyman entered Triple H's shitty make believe office. Lesnar took down a replica title belt, put it over his shoulder, and then sat down in Hutner's chair while putting his feet up on the desk. Lesnar broke a laptop, the keyboard to his desktop, and then punched a monitor off his desk.
Lesnar walked over to the wall where a sledgehammer was hanging. Brock slammed the shammer down on the replica title belt and Triple H's lousy make believe desk. Lesnar threw chairs and other objects at a WWE logo on the wall. He pulled a television off the all and threw it at the logo. Heyman said the office was trash, which is appropriate since Hunter married into trash. Heyman left Triple H his business card.
Back live, Heyman said he happens to know a little bit about the words extreme. He said it's ironic that he ends up being the voice of reason for Lesnar. He said he's the one who begs and pleads with Lesnar when he's on a path of destructions. He said he always has to discourage Lesnar. Heyman said Triple H made the mistake of giving him a Pedigree on Raw.
Heyman said he will no longer discourage Lesnar, he's going to encourage Lesnar. Heyman put the destroyed title belt on his shoulder. Heyman said he is going to beg Lesnar to hurt Triple H inside the cage. "Brock Lesnar is going to take Triple H to the extreme and then Brock Lesnar is going to go further and further and further and further and further and further and further and further..."
Triple H's music interrupted Heyman. Triple H headed to the ring while Heyman's mug remained on the big screen. Hunter told Heyman to call the guy who was fixing his mic earlier back into the room to fix his hair. He asked if Heyman ever opens his mouth without a bunch of crap falling out of it. He said Heyman talks extreme, "but do you know who the hell you're talking to?"
Hunter said he started DX, tore through the Attitude Era with an iron fist, and knocked Brock Lesnar out cold at WrestleMania. Hunter said he's not buying that Heyman and Lesnar went to WWE Headquarters to find him on a Monday when everyone in the world knows that he's at Raw.
Triple H said he has two offices - the one they tore up, and the one he was standing in. "Paul, this office has one hell of a view," Hunter said. Triple H said this office is more like his home because it's where he became a man, something Lesnar never became. "If Brock Lesnar has something to say to me, then tell him to be a man and say it to my face," Hunter said. "I'm not real hard to find."
Hunter paused for a modest Triple H chant, then said that if Lesnar thinks he can walk into this office and do what he did to his other office, the bad news for Brock is that "we fight back." Hunter's music played to conclude the segment...
Footage aired of the Kane vs. Ryback setup... [C]
Powell's POV: Heyman had some witty lines and watching Brock destroy shit is always entertaining, but it was hard to suspend disbelief when it comes to Triple H apparently having a worse office than Dwight Schrute just took over last Thursday. Hunter's promo was going along nicely until he paused so that three people could get the Triple H chant to grow.
[Q10] A Total Divas ad aired for the E! Network show that premieres in July...
6. The Bella Twins and AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn, Cameron, and Naomi in a six-Diva tag match. The live crowd sat on their hands until Kaitlyn tagged in while A.J. was down. Lee slapped her and then tried to tag out, but both Bellas dropped off the apron. Kaitlyn speared A.J. and pinned her...
Kaitlyn, Cameron, and Naomi defeated AJ Lee and The Bella Twins in 2:40.
A shot aired of Mark Henry walking backstage. Lawler said Henry was livid and would be out next... [C]
Powell's POV: Here comes Henry, cue Sheamus with the whoppie cushion.
Sean Combs was featured in a spot for Be A Star. He even has a clothing line for the WWE campaign. Yes, really...
[Q11] Mark Henry made his entrance and said that Sheamus would come out in just a couple of minutes. He said Sheamus would be acting really tough and would beat his chest, then do the Celtic pose. Henry said the problem is that Sheamus will be acting. Henry said he doesn't have to act tough because he is tough.
The crowd Henry him the "What?" treatment so he repeated Sheamus's name a few times and then called the fans puppets. Funny. Footage was shown of recent Henry attacks on Sheamus. Back in the ring, Henry was smiling. He told the cameraman to zoom in close. "Sheamus, if you have any pride in that pasty body of yours, you'll face me...at Extreme Rules." Henry said it's been a long time since he got extreme. "I promise you, people will remember this match for the rest of existence."
Sheamus, who had some bruising around his eye, made his entrance. Footage aired of silly Sheamus getting the better of Henry recently. Henry said Sheamus isn't serious about anything but he better be when they meet at Extreme Rules. Sheamus said he's all about business when the bell rings. He said his business is Henry at Extreme Rules. Henry said they don't have to wait until then. Sheamus agreed.
Before they could fight, Wade Barrett's music played and he came out. Cole said Sheamus had a match scheduled with Barrett and they would meet one on one... [C]
7. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus in a non-title match. Mark Henry was on commentary and the match was joined in progress. Sheamus knocked Barrett to ringside, then teased throwing him at Henry, who flinched enough to fall out of his chair. Henry stood up and ate a Brogue Kick.
Sheamus returned to the ring and continued to get the better of Barrett, who finally came back with a sidewalk slam. Trainers tended to Henry on the floor as Barrett got some offense in. Barrett set up for the Bull Hammer, but Sheamus recovered and put him down with White Noise. Sheamus followed up with a Brogue Kick for the win.
[Q12] After the match, Henry entered the ring and whipped Sheamus with a belt and then performed the World's Strongest Slam at ringside...
Sheamus defeated Wade Barrett in a non-title match in 4:35 of television time.
A tale of the tape was shown for the Ryback vs. Kane match... [C]
Powell's POV: They showed footage of Henry taking the belt he used off of one of the trainers. The trainer's eyes must have flashed before his eyes if no one bothered to smarten him up beforehand. Congrats to WWE for continuing their streaks of making Henry look like a fool (initially) and making the Intercontinental Title seem worthless.
Footage aired of Brock Lesnar destroying Triple H's make believe office, which is probably like every shitty insurance salesman's office you've ever sat in... Cole hyped that Ryback will be the special guest on Chris Jericho's "The Highlight Reel" on Friday's Smackdown television show...
8. Ryback vs. Kane. Ryback threw Kane into the barricade at ringside at 1:30, which is one of the heel setups for a commercial break. [C]
[Overrun] Cole told viewers that the match was very physical during the commercial break. Ryback was still in control of the offense until he ran into a big boot from Kane, who went for the chokeslam afterward, but Ryback powered out of it. Kane DDT'd Ryback and covered him for two.
Ryback came back and yelled Finish It. Kane had other ideas. Kane suplexed Ryback and got another two count. Kane went to the top rope, but Ryback cut him off. Kane knocked him down with punches, but Ryback fell onto the ropes and crotched Kane in the process. Ryback picked up Kane on his shoulders and performed Shellshocked for the win...
Ryback pinned Kane in 8:40.
After the match, The Shield's music played. Daniel Bryan entered the ring and stood in front of Kane. Ryback left the ring before The Shield made it to ringside. John Cena's music played and he ran to the ring and stood next to Bryan (Kane had rolled out). Ryback returned to the ring with a chair.
Bryan performed a suicide dive. Cena had Roman Reigns up for the Attitude Adjustment, but Ryback jabbed Cena with the chair and then slammed it over his back. Ryback yelled "Ryback Rules" and posed over Cena to close the show...
Powell's POV: WWE just can't seem to get this Cena vs. Ryback match going. The most excited I was for the match was the night after WrestleMania. They took a step back after that and have been spinning their wheels ever since. One of the problems is that he went from being a badass babyface to seeming fairly cowardly as a heel. I thought that whatever money there was in a a premature match between the two would have been for a match with Cena at his strongest after beating The Rock against badass Ryback. The formula they have going now just isn't working.
Overall, this is another one of those long, plodding episodes of Raw. By the end of these three hours, I'm not feeling excited about Extreme Rules, I'm feeling numb to the WWE product. They rarely leave most viewers waning more after a three-hour marathon. The three-hour format is a problem, but so is there inability to change the way they do things. They simply stretched out the old two-hour formula.
I'll have more to say in Dot Net Members' audio later tonight and in Tuesday's WWE Raw Hitlist. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
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