ThunderStruck: WWE Raw Analysis 04/29/13

Ricardo Rodriguez wins the opening match no-DQ against Big E. Langston and Zeb Colter where the winner gets to pick the stipulation for the World Title match at Extreme Rules. Rodriguez rolls up Colter after involvement from AJ Lee, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger.

^This is definitely one of the most creative things WWE has done in quite some time. I enjoyed the match from start to finish, and I liked the no-DQ stipulation allowing the superstars to get involved. How much more fun could we have to kick off the show? The added bonus of the entire thing for me was seeing Ricardo Rodriguez in action. Great to Raw and nice way of keeping the importance of the World Title focused on.

John Cena brings out three kids in honor of World Wish Day who wanted to be on Monday Night Raw. Cena talks about donating to make a wish and calls the kids honorary superstars tonight. Cena pumps up the crowd and gets them to cheer for the kids.

^I can’t say enough good things about John Cena and the WWE for all the Make a Wish work that they’ve done over the years. Over 5,000 wishes in the last 31 years? INCREDIBLE! Loved this segment!

Randy Orton defeats Cody Rhodes using the RKO.

^Cody proved here that he deserves more than a lousy tag team feud against BroSai. Just solid back and forth action from both men. I wish WWE would give Rhodes an upset win in this sort of match to start raising his stock, but I’m just happy that the match even took place. Good wrestling to me in decent length matches helps make for a good show.

Brie Bella defeats Naomi after Nikki Bella swaps places with her to score the win. The ref reverses the decision when Cameron complains about them switching. The Bellas beat up the Funkadactyls.

^And the divas are treated like a joke once again with a very short match. Thanks a lot, WWE. A solid five or six minute tag team match would’ve been quite entertaining, but instead we get a heel finish squash. What’s the point?

The Shield comes down to brag about their accomplishments. The 3MB come out and they are angry. 3MB surrounds the ring before jumping in and brawling. The Shield beats them down and Team Hell No comes to the ring. They jump in the ring and Kane chokeslams Slater when the Shield retreats.

^I predict Team Hell No to drop the tag team titles to the Shield at Extreme Rules. Props to 3MB for having the cajones to come to the ring and take that beating, but I suppose that’s about the only way they can make it on tv anymore.

Ryback walks up to John Cena backstage and tells him he’s still hurt regardless of whether he tapes his ankle. Cena says he’s hurt, but not injured.

^I don’t know if the injury is kayfabe or not, but I’m still curious to see what sort of match we get from Cena and Ryback at Extreme Rules.

Dolph Ziggler defeats Kofi Kingston in a champion vs champion match with the help of Big E. Langston and AJ. Big E. lays out Kofi after the match twice using his finisher.

^Second great wrestling match tonight! As many times as I’ve seen this match, it always delivers when it’s given the right amount of time. Kofi losing here is fine; Dolph is the World Champ and should be winning matches with or without help.

Kaitlyn and AJ exchange words backstage. A gift bag is brought up and it’s for Kaitlyn, but AJ thought it was for her. It’s a matching hat for Kaitlyn’s wrist band. She apparently got a secret admirer because it came with a love letter.

^So it’s either Dolph and AJ setting up Kaitlyn, or it’s Big E. Langston who will be revealed as the surprise secret admirer. How funny would that be for Big E. to turn on Ziggler because of a crush on a diva? I’m not sure what they’ll do with it, but I hope it’s something clever and not too predictable. I expect whatever the outcome that AJ will be holding the Divas Championship by summer.

Ryback talks to Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox. He doesn’t want to face the Shield alone again. She offers Team Hell No as his partners, and he shouts no.

^Gee, I wonder who will fill Ryback’s spot if he doesn’t compete.

Jack Swagger defeats Zack Ryder using the ankle lock.

^And Ryder continues to job. I don’t really care at this point; some speculate that this booking of Ryder has been a long term plan to make him a heel, but I think WWE just doesn’t care enough about investing in his talent.

Mark Henry comes out and defeats Sweet T and Brodus Clay one at a time in a tug of war contest. Sheamus comes out and challenges Henry but lets go of the rope so Henry falls. Sheamus then nails a brogue kick on Henry.

^I liked this segment, but I wonder if WWE will come up with something other than tests of strength to promote a feud between bigger men. How about a bake off? I’m kidding, but I would definitely like to see something new with these types of rivalries.

John Cena tells Brad Maddox that he will be fighting tonight with Team Hell No instead of Ryback, despite being hurt.

^And Super-Cena saves the day! Who saw that coming?

Alberto Del Rio goes one on one with Antonio Cesaro. Del Rio wins the match using the cross armbreaker. Del Rio announces after the match that it will be a Ladder Match for the World Title at Extreme Rules.

^Three awesome matches in one night? Hell yes! I hate seeing Cesaro and Ryder both lose, but right now the goal is for WWE to put over Del Rio and Swagger as the top contenders for the World Heavyweight Championship. I would’ve preferred to see Cesaro get the ‘upset’ victory over Del Rio here and then be added to the World Title match at Extreme Rules, but that’s just a dream that won’t come true.

Khali and Fandango have a dance off. Khali and Natalya defeat Fandango and Summer Rae based on the noise of the fans. Fandango attacks Khali after and delivers his finisher.

^You want us to take Fandango seriously as a legit threat to anybody? Then stop using the ridiculous stuff and just let him kick ass like he did at the end of the segment! I half hate and half enjoy Fandango. He wrestles well enough to get by and his aggression makes him fun to watch. His dancing and talking leave something to be desired, however.

John Cena and Team Hell No take on the Shield. The Shield wins the match when Rollins gets out of the AA from Cena and Reigns delivers the spear for the three count victory on Cena. Ryback comes out and stares at Cena from the top of the stage.

^Four great matches and a clean pinfall over a ‘hurt’ John Cena? This just made my night! It was definitely a highly entertaining main event to close out the show. I’m personally glad that Cena was in the match instead of Ryback. Cena is the overall better performer hands down. Cena taking a pin from Reigns doesn’t hurt him any, but it definitely helps put over the Shield as the elite group that they’ve become. Great match to end the night!

Great wrestling from four matches with a few squash matches and an entertaining triple threat to start the night made for a great show. No, there were no major promos or huge shocking storyline advancements, but everything just clicked into place and we were treated to a quality wrestling show. As a fan, I’m happy! As a writer, I’m happy because I don’t have much bitching to do. I’ll be back with the Smackdown Analysis on Friday. Also, make sure to watch out for the first part of my top fifty WWE Title matches of all time. recently published a list, and I decided to do my own. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck! – add me! – Questions or comments? Send them here!