Mike Shannon’s WWE Raw Review – April 8, 2013
-So WrestleMania weekend was an awesome experience and those of you who had the pleasure of following me on Twitter (@MikeShannon22) saw that.
-I took over 100 pictures of the whole experience and I will be publishing a photo journal on this site in the next few days. I figure that should be a cool way to go through the whole weekend without boring you with tons and tons of text.
And now…TONS AND TONS OF TEXT!
-Apparently, The Rock has gone home with an injury, leaving the creative team to scramble to rewrite the entire show…this has train wreck potential and it excites me.
-We are LIVE from the IZOD Center in New Jersey (absolutely filthy).
-Cole and King recap last night’s main event and Cena hits the ring first. Don’t let other online reports fool you either, the crowd last night was 90% anti-Cena but it seems a little more mixed tonight (more kids). Cena is, as usual, a pompous ass on the way to the ring and soaks in the reaction of the crowd. The over-18 crowd immediately gets on Cena with a “boring” chant and John eggs them on.
Cena actually gets a FANTASTIC line when he talks about various dance moves he’s going to do tonight, with the crowd booing them all, until Cena mentions he might do a “heel turn.” That got a big pop from me and the crowd, so I’ll give him props. Cena promises he will defend his title tonight and that draws out Mark Henry. The crowd starts a “sexual chocolate” chant and Cena questions why someone would want to have sex with chocolate.
Henry is all serious in his promo and Cena plays a clown, which is exactly the reason most people hate him. Cena accepts his challenge for tonight and Booker T heads out to remind John that the Rock gets a rematch for the title (which the crowd boos, apparently knowing that the Rock isn’t here tonight). The crowd starts a very non-PG “BS” chant so Booker books (get it?) Henry vs. Cena and, if Henry wins, he becomes #1 contender.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big E Langston
Langston really needs some new tights or a bra. Bryan tries to attack quickly but gets slammed down and hits a spear in the corner. Langston dumps him again and hammers away in the corner but Bryan rolls him up for two. Bryan hits some stiff kicks and heads up top but Dolph crotches him from the outside, triggering a brawl with Kane. Langston tosses Bryan on top of Kane in a neat spot and Langston hits the Big Ending for the easy win.
Winner: Big E Langston
-I understand them wanting to put Langston over but I don’t get squashing Bryan…ah well 1/2*.
-Kurt Warner talks about his new show and I fast forward.
WWE Intercontinental Title
The Miz vs. Wade Barrett
Yeah, screw you guys who ordered the pre-show, we’re going to give the rematch away for free! Barrett attacks early but gets caught with a clothesline and a boot to the face gets two. Let’s just say that the Miz is not a favorite of this smark crowd.
Barrett drives Miz to the corner and throws some right hands but the Miz dodges around and rolls him up for two. A 10-punch in the corner doesn’t get a positive reaction but a right hand from Barrett does and he follows with an elbowdrop for two. Miz flips out of a suplex attempt and dumps Wade to the floor before hitting a double axe from the apron. Call me crazy, but I don’t think the Ric Flair rub is working.
Back in, Miz whiffs on a forearm attempt and gets caught with a kick to the face while in the ropes. In a cool spot, Barrett heads out to the apron and delivers a neckbreaker, earning a standing ovation from the smark crowd and taking us to commercial.
We return with Barrett dumping Miz to the floor and he hits the Cactus Jack elbow from the apron (complete with him saying “Bang bang!”). He’s totally playing to this crowd and that’s very smart. Back in, they have a slugfest and Miz makes his babyface comeback but they screw up a neckbreaker spot and the crowd KILLS them for it. This is great.
Miz hits a clothesline in the corner and another double axe from the top but it only gets two. Miz goes to work on the knee but Barrett fights back and Miz has to hit a DDT for two. Miz blocks a boot in the corner and applies the Figure Four but Barrett sucks it up tonight and fights to the ropes.
Miz eats a boot on a blind charge but Barrett gets crotched on the top rope. They battle on the top and Barrett gets the better of it, slamming Miz’s head into the ring post. Miz is all loopy so Barrett nails him with the Bull Hammer and reclaims the title.
Winner and NEW Champion: Wade Barrett
-I loved Lawler trying to explain the smark crowd by saying “well, there’s a lot of British people here tonight.” What was the point of changing the title last night? Seriously, it’s just the pre-show match, just do a non-finish or something. Anyways, this was actually a really good TV match, helped by the really hot crowd ***1/4.
-Backstage, Sheamus demands and receives a match against Big Show tonight from Vickie Guerrero.
-Still backstage, Randy Orton sucks up to Booker T and says he wants Big Show tonight. Booker says he can’t do that because Vickie gave the match to Sheamus but Orton plays to Booker’s ego and gets the decision overturned.
-Zeb Coulter and Jack Swagger head out to cut yet another Tea Party promo. This angle sucks but “Dirty” Dutch is really good in his role.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger & Zeb Coulter
Seriously, this feud is going to continue? The crowd immediately goes into a loud “we want Ziggler” chant as Swagger and Del Rio battle over a lockup. Del Rio wins a slugfest and clotheslines Swagger to the floor, where he follows with a dive through the ropes. Back in, Del Rio hits a high cross body for two as Cole pretends the Ziggler chants are actually pro-Del Rio ones.
Coulter distracts Del Rio, allowing Swagger to chop block him from behind and go to work on the knee. Alberto becomes trapped in the heel corner and they screw up an enzuigiri spot in the corner, resulting in Swagger getting the ankle lock. Del Rio rolls to the apron and, when Swagger gives chase, Del Rio applies a cross armbreaker over the top rope. When even that doesn’t get a reaction from the crowd, Swagger tosses him to the floor and takes us to break.
We return with Swagger still in control but he hits the post on a corner charge. Del Rio makes his babyface comeback with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and both guys are out. Superkick to the face gets two and he ties to finish but Swagger counters with a belly to belly suplex. Swagger locks in the Patriot Act while Lawler pretends the Ziggler chants are for Coulter, completing the circle of stupidity. Del Rio counters the Patriot Act to the cross armbreaker, earning a tapout and getting the win even though he (kayfabe) injured his knee.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
-BUT WAIT…here comes Dolph Ziggler (HUGE pop).
World Heavyweight Title
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler has instantly become the biggest babyface in the company. Ziggler stomps the hell out of Del Rio’s knee and hits the Rocker Dropper for two. Ziggler whiffs on a corner charge though and Del Rio hits an enzuigiri for a near fall. Del Rio quickly goes to the cross armbreaker and the crowd has a collective heart attack but Ziggler smartly wrenches Del Rio’s bad leg, forcing Alberto to break the hold. Ziggler slams Del Rio down with the Zig Zag and becomes the new world champion to a huge reaction.
Winner and NEW Champion: Dolph Ziggler
-Totally the right booking move there as Del Rio was doing nothing as world heavyweight champion. Now why didn’t they do this exact same thing last night at WrestleMania? 80,000 people would have exploded. Anyways, that’s already two title changes on Raw, I wonder if that was the original plan before the Rock tapped out?
-LONG LIVE THE SPIRIT SQUAD!
Taker tries to dedicate last night to Paul Bearer but the Shield immediately interrupt and surround the ring. The Shield creep in to strike but Kane’s pyro explodes and Team Hell No run out to stop the attack, earning a big reaction. The Shield decide that discretion is the better part of valor and head back through the crowd to regroup. I swear, if you put facepaint on him, Undertaker would look almost identical to Road Warrior Hawk.
-Backstage, Ziggler cuts a promo celebrating his world title victory.
Santino, R-Truth & Zack Ryder vs. 3MB
They should call the babyface team “Barely Employed”. Truth hits a shoulderblock on Slater and brings in Santino for some dancing. That’s it for him, as he brings in Ryder (a hometown favorite) and he htis a facebuster on Jinder Mahal. He gets distracted by the other 3MB members though and gets dumped to the floor. McIntyre hits a dropkick and Ryder gets beatdown in the heel corner. Slater works a resthold while the announcers ignore the match and Ryder hits a neckbreaker. He gets the hot tag to Santino and Marella goes through his usual goofy stuff. Mahal saves and that triggers a big brawl, leaving Santino to hit the Cobra on Slater for the win.
Winners: Santino, R-Truth & Zack Ryder
-This was the definition of a time-filler *1/2.
-Backstage, Orton and Sheamus argue about the Big Show match and Sheamus blows him off. Wait, guys actually WANT to wrestle the Big Show? Why?
-Sheamus hits the ring and calls out Big Show but Randy Orton is the one who answers and demands he wrestle the Big Show. Well, according the Michael Cole, there is only one way to decide this…Twitter.
-So, after a break, Vickie and Booker hit the stage to book Sheamus vs. Orton with the winner facing Big Show.
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
They start really slow so the crowd entertains itself by doing soccer chants. Orton responds with a takedown but he misses a kneedrop and Sheamus gets two. Now, the crowd starts chanting for referee Mike Chioda, drawing a smile from Chioda and a dirty look from Orton. Clothesline puts Orton down for two and Sheamus works the arm. Orton goes into his boring offense, which the crowd has no patience for, so Sheamus suplexes out of a chinlock.
So the announcers are sticking with the story that there are a lot of “Europeans” here, which is why we are getting “weird” chants and reactions to people. Orton hits yet another back suplex as the crowd chants for Rob Van Dam and then JBL. I don’t think they like this match very much. White Noise gets two and Sheamus gets caught with a dropkick coming off the top rope. Oddly, they go to commercial immediately after this spot, probably so the crowd can calm down and Vince can scream at the announcers in their headsets. I love this crowd.
We return with Orton still in control and the crowd chanting for ECW. The live crowd is more entertaining than this match, that’s for sure. Sheamus hits an Irish Curse backbreaker while the crowd does the Wave. This inspires Sheamus to make his comeback and land his clubbing forearms on the apron. Orton responds with his own backbreaker and the crowd goes nuts for Randy Savage.
Orton makes his own comeback now and hits the draping DDT, going closer to full heel mode. Orton looks to finish but Sheamus hits the Celtic Cross and looks for the Brogue Kick. Big Show’s music interrupts everything though and he tosses Sheamus into the post. The crowd launches into a thunderous “Thank you Big Show” as this show has turned into ECW TV in the mid-90s. I love it. Show knocks out Orton and drags him to the floor where he hits a huge spear and earns a fecal chant from the crowd.
-Well, the match was nothing special but the crowd chants were the most entertaining things on Raw in the last six months. Every single Raw crowd should be a “day after WrestleMania” crowd because they are making this show fantastic. Vince was probably losing his mind backstage the entire time and that’s just fine me. Give the match the usual ** but the crowd earns *****.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
Something tells me this smark crowd is not going to be particularly receptive to Fandango’s act. It’s actually the total opposite though, as the crowd actually hums Fandango’s theme song through the entire opening part of the match…unreal. Chris Jericho immediately runs in though and destroys Fandango and dumping him to the floor.
Winner by DQ: Fandango
-Odd, they never announce winners by DQ anymore. They continue to brawl to the announce area (JBL: “Where’s the Spanish announce table?”) and Fandango hits the ring steps. Back in the ring, Jericho locks on the Walls of Jericho and finishes with a Codebreaker. No match, total angle. Funny moment as the entire crowd sings and dances along with Fandango’s theme as he limps out. Have I mentioned I love this crowd?
-Backstage, Paul Heyman (huge babyface pop) puts over Brock Lesnar huge because Triple H and Shawn Michaels are hurt while Brock is ready for a fight. Also, CM Punk is not here tonight but will address WWE next week.
Rhodes Scholars & The Bellas vs. Brodus Clay, Sweet T & the Funkadactyls
Do you think they actually issued any refunds to people who bought WrestleMania just to see this match? We return from break with the crowd still dancing to Fandango’s music and Naomi hitting Cody with flying headscissors. Sweet T goes in and destroys Cody in the corner with a flipping senton but Cody flattens him and Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain.
Sweet T manages to get the hot tag to Clay and he runs through his normal offense and hits a t-bone suplex, saved by the Bellas. A huge brawl erupts between everyone but Sandow ends up being sandwiched between both fat guys and a double splash quickly ends things.
Winners: Brodus Clay, Sweet T & the Funkadactyls
-This is like an arena full of insane people at this point *.
Mark Henry vs. John Cena
If Henry wins, he gets a shot at Cena’s world title at an unnamed point in the future. Cena dances with the crowd to start but gets clotheslined down and Henry badmouths him. Henry hammers away in the corner but misses a splash off the ropes and Cena slugs away. A shoulderblock puts Henry down but Mark rolls to the outside, forcing Cena to give chase. Henry catches him with a kick to the gut and preps the announce table for some pain. Henry tries for the World’s Fattest Slam through the announce table but Cena wiggles free, so Henry settles for slamming him into the ring post. Cena runs Henry into the ring steps and…beats the count? Seriously? That can’t be it.
Winner: John Cena
-I give Cena credit for wrestling the night after WrestleMania but this was short and had a really flat finish made this one not too great *.
-Henry lays out Cena after the match but Ryback hits the ring and hits a spinebuster, forcing Henry to head for the hills. However, Ryback turns his attention to John Cena and suddenly the crowd is very interested in the next move. Ryback wants to be fed more…and he flattens Cena with a clothesline. A Shellshock hits and Ryback poses with the belt as we fade to black.
I swear, I might skip WrestleMania next year and just go to the Raw the day after. This was awesome fun because of the crowd and was booked great. Give this one a big thumbs up and check out your DVR if you skipped this one.
Photo album to come later…