Mike Shannon’s WWE Raw Review – April 7, 2014
-One hell of a Wrestlemania last night was slightly ruined for me by the worst possible booking decision of all-time with Taker’s streak ending. I understand that it was Taker’s call to lose the match and he looked like a senior citizen but what does that win do for part-time Brock? However, the Daniel Bryan booking was absolutely fantastic and 100% the right move. Hopefully, Bryan carries the momentum forward and gets a decent run with the belt over the summer.
-We are, once again, LIVE from New Orleans.
-Daniel Bryan of course kicks us off to a gigantic reaction and gets a prolonged chant until he’s finally forced to start his promo. Bryan credits the fans with making him world champion until Triple H and Stephanie interrupt. Hunter refuses to get into the ring, so Bryan gloats a bit by posing with both titles in Triple H’s face in a nice touch. Triple H books himself against Bryan tonight for the title and promises to end the chants once and for all.
-After a break, Batista and Orton complain to the Authority and demand rematches. Hunter blows them both off and says he will handle it tonight. Stephanie makes it up to them by booking Orton and Batista against the Usos for the tag titles. Of course, they treat the tag titles like they mean absolutely nothing but that’s nothing new.
-The Wyatts make their entrance while we get some disturbing images from the Cena-Wyatt match last night, namely Cena pinning Bray to win.
The Wyatt Family vs. John Cena, Big E, and Sheamus
John Cena does not have a whole lot of fans in New Orleans tonight. A big brawl erupts as the babyfaces clear the ring, leaving Bray alone with Cena. A huge “let’s go Wyatts” chant erupts as Cena takes over on Bray and Sheamus slingshots in with a shoulderblock. Sheamus slugs away on Rowen and lays in some strikes before bring in Big E for a trifecta of backbreakers. The crowd roars their approval for that spot then goes right back to cheering for the heels. Harper tags in but gets caught in the babyface corner and Cena tags in for the usual stuff. Harper counters the AA to a front suplex and Bray tags in as we take a break. I love this post-Wrestlemania crowd.
We return with Harper working a headlock and the crowd chanting for him like he’s 1987 Hulk Hogan. Harper plants Cena with a DDT for two. Rowan comes in with a legdrop while the crowd sings “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and Bray tags in to a huge babyface reaction. Bray stomps a mudhole but Cena fires out of the corner with a clothesline for a double KO. The crowd invents a new “John Cena sucks” chant the heels continue to beat down Cena to the delight of the males in the crowd.
Cena finally reverses Rowen and gets the hot tag to Sheamus, who cleans house on Bray’s minions and hits them with a double forearm from the top. Sheamus looks to finish but Bray distracts him and Rowen nails Sheamus with a clothesline. Bray gets the tag but gets run over by Big E and all Hell breaks loose as the Wyatts take out Sheamus and Cena with dives to the outside. Bray does his creepy crab walk and hits Sister Abigail on Big E for the clean win.
Winners: The Wyatt Family
-WWE probably should have booked this at Wrestlemania last night. The Wyatts came off looking great, it continues the feud with Cena, and really, who cares about Big E Langston? The Wyatts are definitely developing quite the following and this was another good display of their talents, **3/4.
Fandango and Summer Rae vs. Santino and Emma
You knew Fandango was going to make a post-Wrestlemania appearance just to appease the crowd. Santino preps the Cobra early so Fandango runs away and Summer Rae takes on Emma. Summer misses a blind charge and Emma applies a tarantula in the corner then applies the Emma Lock for the quick submission.
Winners: Santino and Emma
-Nothing to see here, DUD.
Brock Lesnar Promo
Brock, sporting a nice shiner, soaks in the admiration of the crowd as Heyman does his usual introduction. A fecal matter chant erupts while Heyman delivers his usual good, coked up promo that gets the crowd worked up. Heyman says he’s going to “shoot from the hip” and relays the story of Undertaker collapsing backstage and requiring medical attention. Heyman is just a master of this type of promo. He calls the crowd a bunch of wannabes and mocks all the wrestlers who never could master MMA or NCAA wrestling like Brock. How perfect would it be if Kurt Angle’s music hit right now? I think my heart would explode.
Two things: Paul Heyman might be the best promo in the business today and Brock Lesnar cannot lose a match before next year’s Wrestlemania. Heyman just spent 7 minutes calling Brock the most dominant force in professional sports, make sure your booking reflects that.
World Tag Team Titles
Randy Orton and Batista vs. The Usos
Jey gets caught in the heel corner and Jimmy tries to save but gets dumped by Batista. Big Dave dumps an Uso on the ring barrier while Orton slams the other into the ring steps. Randy hits a draping DDT off of the crowd barrier and the ref calls for the bell. Batista hits a powerbomb on the ring steps as this booking confirms that the tag teams are indeed useless.
-If you want to see the Usos getting beat up for three minutes, then this is the match for you, DUD.
Rob Van Dam vs. Damien Sandow
I’m not liking Sandow’s chances in this one. Damien interrupts the RVD pose to earn some heat and hits a neckbreaker before adding an Elbow of Disdain. RVD stops him with a kick to the face then adds a spinning heel kick to send Sandow to the floor. An ECW chant starts as Van Dam lays Sandow on the crowd barrier and hits his legdrop from the apron. Back inside, RVD floors him with another kick and hits Rolling Thunder. The Five Star Frog Splash finishes things as Sandow continues his career as a jobber to the stars.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
-Squash City, population: Damien Sandow, *.
Rey Mysterio vs. Bad News Barrett
The crowd really likes Bad News Barrett but he gets quickly dumped with head scissors. Barrett catches Rey going up and punts him in the chest in a cool spot. Barrett catches Rey with a Black Hole Slam for two and places Mysterio on the top rope for some punishment. A running kick stuns Rey and Barrett tries a superplex but Mysterio headbutts him down. Rey drops the dime and hits a DDT for two then follows with the 619. Rey soaks in the boos but that allows Barrett to crotch him and hit the Bull Hammer forearm for the win.
Winner: Bad News Barrett
-Well, Rey, I think it’s over. Thanks for coming and for winning one of the lamest Royal Rumbles in history but it’s time to pack it in. The match was decent but too short to be worth anything special *1/2.
Alexander Rusev vs. Zack Ryder
I think Lana might overtake Kelly Kelly as the future ex Mrs. Shannon. Rusev kicks away in the corner and Ryder fights back before being floored by a superkick. Fallaway suplex puts Ryder down and he applies the Camel Clutch for the submission.
Winner: Alexander Rusev
-It’s a good night to be a heel on Raw, 1/4*.
The Ultimate Warrior Returns
Warrior, the nemesis of my childhood, makes his return to Raw and uses a child’s Halloween mask to morph into the Ultimate Warrior. This was incredibly stupid in 1990 and it’s still stupid in 2014. Thankfully, his promo is kepty short as he talks about legends and thanks the crowd before taking his exit. Do you think Warrior held Vince up for more money right before going to the ring?
AJ Lee Promo
Really, Diva promo time? AJ brags about her long title reign and the crowd responds with a CM Punk chant. Paige from NXT finally interrupts and the crowd gives her a big reaction. Paige tries to congratulate AJ but gets slapped down and challenged to a match.
AJ Lee vs. Paige
AJ attacks immediately and beats Paige down. She tries for the Black Widow right away but Paige fights it off and hits a sloppy Paige Turner to get the win and the Divas title.
Winner and NEW Champion: Paige
-Well, you definitely can’t say that they aren’t putting the new faces over tonight, DUD.
-I’m really not liking Bo Dallas’s chances of getting over on the main roster.
Andre the Giant Trophy Presentation
Hulk presents the trophy to Cesaro but, before Antonio can speak, Zeb Coulter grabs the mic to take credit for all of Cesaro’s success. Coulter proclaims Cesaro to be a “Zeb Coulter guy” but Cesaro cuts him off. Cesaro says he is not a “Zeb Coulter guy”, he’s a “Paul Heyman guy.” That gets quite the pop. Heyman attempts to get the “King of Swing” over as Cesaro’s new nickname but Jack Swagger attacks from behind. Like every wrestling angle ever, Swagger destroys the Andre trophy before Cesaro chases him off. I have to say, I’m pretty excited for this Cesaro-Heyman pairing.
Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger
Apparently this match started during the commercial break because we come back and the crowd is signing the Real Americans theme song. They brawl on the outside with Cesaro getting the better of it but he gets slammed off the top rope for two. Swagger throws some knees in the corner and tosses Cesaro across the ring. Cesaro fights back with European uppercuts but gets caught with a belly to belly for two.
Swagger tries a Vader Bomb but gets hit with a boot in the face and Heyman yells encouragement from the outside. In an amazing spot, Cesaro hooks Swagger for a suplex while he’s on the top rope and Swagger is on the apron and actually gets him over for a superplex rather easily. My God, that man is strong. Cesaro beats Swagger from corner to corner and wants the Big Swing but Swagger takes a powder. Jack takes a walk for the lame finish but really, who cares about Jack Swagger anyways?
Winner by Count Out: Cesaro
-Cesaro looked good as usual but they need to get him away from Swagger fairly quickly so that he’s not seen as on someone on Swagger’s level. There wasn’t much of the match shown but what I saw was pretty good **.
-Backstage, Stephanie orders the Shield and Kane to ensure Triple H wins the title tonight. The Shield mock Kane and he freaks out until Steph shouts him down.
WWE World Heavyweight Title
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H
Before the match can start, Orton and Batista attack and beat Bryan down. Orton hits an RKO and Dave hits a Batista Bomb so Kane makes his way out. The announcers stupidly presume he’s here to keep order but of course he hits Bryan with a chokeslam. Triple H makes his smug entrance and tells the referee to ring the bell but the Shield’s music hits. The Shield face down the heels and Triple H tries to play peacemaker. Roman Reigns responds by spearing Hunter and the Shield destroy the Authority’s goons to a huge reaction. Daniel Bryan takes out Triple H with a running knee and the babyfaces stand tall as we head off the air.
A solid show top to bottom as new faces went over during the entire show and the matches were pretty good as well. It’s shows like this that frustrate me because it shows WWE can book good shows and place new workers in spots to succeed but they don’t for whatever reason. The Daniel Bryan vs. Authority can continue and branch off now that the Shield are involved and Batista has gone full heel finally. We’ve got Cesaro as a new babyface(?) and hopefully Brock Lesnar as a world killer who won’t be doing unnecessary jobs. I’d argue this was a better show than last year’s Raw and it actually makes me excited to watch next week.
Until next time…