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WWE Monday Night RAW - April 6, 2015

by Scrooge McSuck

- LIVE! from the Univeristy of Texas. Byron Saxton is filling in for the “injured” Michael Cole, but Booker T and John “Bradshaw” Layfield are back from being buried under the 30-pound table. I’m shocked, SHOCKED, they’re giving Saxton another shot at Raw, considering the rumors that Vince McMahon was furious with his performance, and we all know one bad night from a newbie is all Vince needs to forever give up on people.

- We join the NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, along with the usual Authority lackeys, already in the ring. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are “on vacation”, so that means we’ll get a lot more wrestling and a lot less talking… hopefully. Rollins shamelessly spouts “facts” about WrestleMania that no one in their right mind, unless they own the company and/or have insecurity issues with their own success, would give a crap about. Did last week not happen or something? What is with the big recap of WrestleMania? Funny spot with Seth putting over everyone, then getting to Kane. “Kane… Kane was there too!” Randy Orton interrupts and I type this as he arrives… I bet he is booked into a match with Big Show. To begin immediately. Just like on SmackDown. We continue to ignore last week happened, as we rehash booking Rollins vs. Orton at Extreme Rules. DESPITE IT ALREADY BEING BOOKED. That is some WCW levels of ignorance and lack of continuity. Kane books a Triple Threat to determine the #1 contender for Extreme Rules… Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Ryback. Why not book Big Show and himself vs. Orton to protect Rollins? Oh, and all three have to compete in singles matches… and Randy gets to wrestle next… against THE B… Kane!? Dammit, I had money on that being Big Show!

Randy Orton vs. Kane:

Where’s the smart crowd to chant “same old shit”? Orton pounds away to start and connects with a pair of corner clotheslines. He gets a boot up on a charge, but gets knocked off the ropes, to the floor with an uppercut. We return from commercial break, with the two exchanging blows. Whip to the corner, Kane follows in with a clothesline and hits the side slam for a two count. Suplex for another two count. Orton boots out of a goozle and snaps Kane over with his signature powerslam. Orton with a dropkick, sending Kane to the apron, and the hanging DDT follows. He sets up for the RKO (he’s hearing voices, MAGGLE… I mean Byron!”), but Kane rolls to the floor. Orton follows and lays him out with a clothesline. Kane with a chair to the midsection, and we get a DQ at 6:55. I bet it won’t be the last crappy finish tonight. Post-match, Orton counters the Chokeslam, but Kane escapes an RKO attempt… end scene. Really, that was it? DUD I’m not feeling generous tonight.

- Later tonight, Ryback faces Luke Harper, and Roman Reigns gets Big Show. Woooo?

- A.J. Lee’s retirement is announced, and to my surprise, she isn’t completely buried.

- BRAD MADDOX is back, unannounced, for literally a 3-second cameo. Seth Rollins chews out Kane for not having his back. They squabble like a couple of teenagers. Seth thinks Kane needs to step down as Chief Operator of something. Apparently Triple H and Stephanie are somewhere without Wifi or telephones. Even dirt-poor Mexico and Africa has cell phone service now. Kane puts Seth Rollins in a match… NEXT… because it’s best for business.

- Last week on Monday Night Raw, Brock Lesnar fucked some people up in probably the greatest Raw segment I’ve seen in years. He’s also suspended indefinitely (or until SummerSlam, whichever you prefer to recognize), so the top star won’t be seen for a minimum three months.

Neville vs. Seth Rollins (w/ J & J Security):

So Rollins’ “punishment” is a match with the newcomer, Neville?! Oh God, please don’t bury him already. Decent reaction for Neville’s first appearance in front of a non-smark crowd. Seth with trash talk, so Neville hits a spinning kick to the midsection. Neville with a quick roll up. Whip to the ropes, Rollins knocks him down with an elbow. Rollins with a snapmare and kick to the back. Rollins keeps treating Neville like a punk. Whip to the corner, Neville does some acrobatic stuff to avoid Rollins, and takes him out of the ring with a flying head scissors. Twisting suicide dive over the top rope! We return from another commercial break (the first was during Seth’s entrance), with Neville getting thrown face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Neville with blows to the midsection, but Rollins sends him hard to the opposite corner. Rollins with his signature enziguri for a two count. Whip to the ropes and knees to the midsection, a move I don’t recall seeing much since the days of Val Venis. Neville counters a third attempt with a roll up for two. Rollins with a takedown and punching, then back to the chinlock. Neville with a jaw buster, followed by a pair of forearms and spinning kicks. Rollins comes back with a big clothesline, turning Neville inside out. Rollins slaps Neville around doing his best Brock Lesnar impression. Powerbomb to the buckle is countered with a hurricanrana! Heel kick to the side of the head! Neville to the top rope but Jamie Noble with the distraction. Neville with a victory roll instead, for two! Neville counters a roundhouse kick, but his hurricanrana is countered with the Powerbomb to the corner. Curb Stomp finishes at 11:39. Post-match, Neville eats another curb stomp, because he’s just another geek. ** Some might spin this as making Neville look strong by going long with the WWE Champion, but most of the match was Rollins controlling with his secondary offense, and Neville only had an occasional hope spot.

WWE United States Championship Match:
John Cena © vs. ???:

The Open Challenge Series continues, despite Rusev invoking his rematch clause for Extreme Rules. Last week, Dean Ambrose tried and failed to defeat the preacher of Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect. This week’s challenger (or victim)… STARDUST. Ugh. Honestly, why didn’t they put Neville in this match, instead? Stardust’s get-up looks like someone took Bam Bam Bigelow’s old flame vest and shredded it. Lockup, Cena grabs a headlock, then goes to the arm. Stardust escapes with rights. Whip to the ropes, and Stardust takes Cena over with a sunset flip for two. Stardust skins the cat, but walks into a slam. Cena with a shoulder tackle and hard whip to the corner. Cena with a delayed vertical suplex for two. Cena hooks a chinlock, and the crowd clearly gives zero shits about Stardust. We return from commercial, because the WWE Universe DEMANDS this match go two-segments long! Cena is still in control. Stardust escapes the AA and hits the Disaster Kick for two. Cena meets boot on a charge, and Stardust comes off the top rope with a face-buster for another two count. Stardust springs off the ropes and gets caught with a Powerbomb. Stardust avoids another AA and hits a Bob Holly inspired Alabama Slam for two. Cena counters Cross Rhodes with a Powerslam for two. Stardust with a sunset flip for two. Cena with the back suplex, but Five Knuckle Shuffle is countered and a DDT gets two. Stardust with a moonsault for another two count. Cena picks the ankle of Stardust and hooks the STF but foolishly let go. Cross Rhodes connects, but it only gets two! Cena springs off the ropes with a Stunner, and the AA finishes at 13:08! **3/4 First half was total death, but the crowd got into it once we came back from commercial. I guess we should ignore how easily Stardust lost to fellow scrub Damien Mizdow last week? Notice the crowd cares more when Cody Rhodes acts like himself instead of a goofy character that can’t get over?

Paige & Naomi vs. Nikki & Bie Bella:

Will Nikki do a third job in an 8-day span? Odds are strong for that one. I’m pretty sure we’re getting Naomi vs. Nikki at Extreme Rules. Hopefully this crowd will politely not come up with disgusting, sexually suggestive chants like last week’s obnoxious fans. That “Somebody Call My Momma” music sure won’t die. Paige and Brie start with some dueling hair pulls and slaps. Paige with a series of short clotheslines, but a distraction from Nikki allows Brie to knock her out of the ring. Is Booker T serious about not telling the Bella’s apart? Other than their ring attire being completely different, hair color completely different, and chest and booty size being completely different, yeah, I guess they are hard to tell apart. Brie Mode and chinlock by Nikki… or Brie. I can’t tell, I’m stupid. Double slingshot suplex by the Bella’s. Nikki with a body scissors, but Paige finds a way to escape the pressure. Nikki with shoulders to the midsection, but a charging clothesline misses. Naomi with the hot tag, but the crowd I guess isn’t aware. Naomi with a spinning head scissors… blown. Double boot to the chest and a kick to the back of the head. Rear View connects, but Brie breaks the cover. Paige in with a Super-Kick to Nikki, then tackles Brie to the floor. Naomi with the head scissors face-buster with ZERO impact, and it gets three at 4:59. *1/2 Naomi looked awful and blew every single thing she tried, but Paige and the Bella’s worked hard.

- The Prime Time Players continue cutting promos on the New Day (“if the hair’s nappy, then nobody’s happy!”), then mock the Ascension by wearing LOD knock-off shoulder pads, complete with falling apart traffic cones wrapped in tin foil. The crickets chirping is pretty funny. I’m glad to see the PTP back together. Young is doomed on his own, and Titus O’Neil needs a partner to make him look good, and that partner isn’t Heath Slater.

Ryback vs. Luke Harper:

I guess it’s another job for Luke Harper. Maybe they should just reunite him with Erick Rowan and bring the Family back together. Everyone knows all three men (including Bray Wyatt) are dead in the water right now and have zero direction. Last week on SmackDown, Harper whooped Ambrose’s ass. Lockup to the corner, Ryback pounds away. He hits the ropes, and Harper retaliates with a big boot. Ryback with a press slam, but the Meat-Hook Clothesline is countered with a Super-Kick. Harper beats on Ryback around the ring, throws him back in the ring, and catches him with a sloppy twirling Boss-Man Slam for two. Harper with the Gator Roll, but Ryback powers out. Harper meets post on a charge and the Shell Shock finishes at 2:46. That makes Ambrose look even more like a loser by comparison. * This was OK, considering how short it was. We still have three matches to go, plus other talking segments, and closing in on 10-pm. Shorter is better with what we have left that is already being advertised.

- Renee Young is backstage with The New Day. Are you telling me the entire basis of their heel turn is CLAPPING? At least someone got the message and is no longer pushing them as goofy, smiling babyfaces (again… goofy characters don’t get over unless you give them a reason to be cared for). One has to wonder how the militant-inspired version would’ve been, had they gone with that original plan…

Lucha Dragons vs. The New Day (w/ Kofi Kingston):

(Kalisto & Sin Cara vs. Xavier Woods & Big E.)
Good to see Lucha Dragons again after an impressive debut last week on Monday Night Raw. That would be their RAW Debut, as we’ve seen them a few times on the C-Shows in equally decent showings. Big E. and Woods take turns stomping a mudhole in Sin Cara in their corner. Big E. with a whip assist, sending Woods into Sin Cara with a basement dropkick. Meanwhile, Cesaro, Kidd, and Natalya are WATCHING. Sin Cara gets the boots up on a charge and makes the tag to Kalisto. He springs off the ropes with a twisting body press, then rolls through a body press with a roundhouse kick. Head-scissors face buster connects for two! Big E. gets sent to the floor, but Kofi cheap shots Kalisto, and Woods rolls him up… for only two! Has Kofi ever been a heel? Kalisto with a no hands moonsault over the top rope and onto Big E. and Kofi! Sin Cara with the tag, and he finishes Woods with a senton at 3:03. *1/2 I honestly expected a cheap roll up finish with Kofi’s interference, but I guess we can expect the Lucha Dragons vs. Cesaro and Kidd at Extreme Rules.

Roman Reigns vs. Big Show:

Have we not seen these two wrestle enough for the last 4 months?! I’m hoping for something quick, but I expect a bullshit finish to protect that youngster Big Show. Can’t make him look too bad, because the current fanbase wasn’t around for 2000-2002 where he was a glorified Jobber at times. Reigns gets a decent reaction, and I hate to say it, but it’s nice to see fans react how they’re supposed to… most of the time. I guess Big Show is paid to do the stupid pose to replicate the Andre Trophy as many times as possible. Reigns with rights, but Big Show throws him around and bulldozes over him with a shoulder tackle. Reigns continues to attack, but gets planted with a slam. Show with a double choke throw across the ring… I remember hating that move in the original Smackdown on PlayStation 1. Show chokes and Reigns says a naughty word. They take it to the floor and manage to blow an Irish whip spot. Reigns sends Show to the post and hits the jumping front dropkick. Show shrugs it off and hits the Spear as we take a break. We return with Show still in control. Reigns gets a boot up on a charge and comes off the ropes with clotheslines until Show counters with a side slam. Show heads to the second turnbuckle and comes down with a Show Bomb for two. Reigns gets sent to the floor and Big Show actually hits a sliding dropkick. Reigns is doing the same thing he did with Lesnar at Mania, laughing in Show’s face. He unloads with a flurry of rights, hangs Show across the top rope, connects with three Superman Punches, and finishes with a Spear at 10:39. **1/4 Not as bad as I expected, and a clean finish to make Reigns look strong. The real question is why is Show doing all this high effort offense? Splashes from the top and baseball slides? At his age and weight, you’d think he would refrain from this stuff.

- Kane is backstage, STILL toweling off. Here comes Natalya, Summer Rae, Cameron, and Alicia Fox to suck up to him for something. He doesn’t see through their ruse. They want a Diva’s Battle Royal to determine a true contender for the Diva’s Championship. Kane books it for next week to get them out of his (lack of) hair.

- Sheamus is WALKING!

Mark Henry vs. Sheamus:

New theme music for Sheamus, finally. I guess it sounds more appropriate for a heel. His Red Rooster hairdo is still ridiculous looking. Before the match, Sheamus tells everyone to appreciate what a real man looks like. This prompts the crowd to chant “You Look Stupid.” Maybe Mark Henry can help split his wig. Sheamus teases a walk-out, but Henry throws him back in the ring and pounds away with clubberin’ blows. He tosses Sheamus across the ring with a hip throw, but Sheamus quickly takes control with forearms and an overhead wristlock. Henry counters, sending Sheamus to the floor. He quickly regains control and does his clubbing forearms, but stops when the crowd starts counting. He drives a series of knees to the chest of the World’s Strongest Man, clips the knee, and finishes with the Brogue Kick at 2:33. ½* Nothing to this one. You’d think a Zack Ryder or Jack Swagger would’ve been used, but I’m not complaining too hard.

- For the second week in a row, they promise us Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett and Sheamus on SmackDown. Will they be accused of false advertisement for two weeks in a row?

- Bray Wyatt cuts another promo to start an angle that will surely end with him losing. “Do I have your attention now?” Maybe he’s calling out CM Punk. Who knows, who cares.

Damien Mizdow vs. The Miz:

It’s the blowoff 7-months in the waiting! I’m sure we’ll get a rematch at Extreme Rules, unless this match bombs like Stardust vs. Goldust. Miz quickly escapes the ring and does his stupid hand-waving deal to remove his sunglasses. Mizdow knocks him off the apron and puts the boots to him. He does the sunglasses spot to a mild pop, and the crowd dies again. Miz gets a boot up on a charge, Mizdow doesn’t sell it, then Miz boots him again. Miz with more punchy-kicky. Mizdow with a snap suplex and knee drop as we speculate if Mizdow can keep the name. Miz runs and takes advantage of Mizdow giving chase. He finds himself on Mizdow’s shoulders and gets dropped, Electric Chair style… I wonder how they came up with that name. Mizdow with the back breaker/neck breaker combo and nip up. Skull Crushing Finale is blocked and countered. Mizdow catches a boot, sweeps the leg, and pounds away with rights. Miz avoids a kick and rolls Mizdow up with a handful of tights for three at 5:00. ¾* JBL reminds us exactly what makes Mizdow a loser. I guess you can’t argue with facts.

Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Ryback:

The winner (Randy Orton) gets to face Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules. I could’ve sworn it was announced, but I guess I was wrong. Intros are done during the commercial… except Reigns. Hmm… maybe I have things backwards. Ryback quickly goes for Shell-Shock on Reigns, but Orton interrupts with a back breaker. Reigns comes off the ropes with a big clothesline on Ryback for two. He pounds away on Orton, but gets laid out with a clothesline. Suddenly, the entire Authority Goon Squad™ makes their presence felt at the top of the ramp. Ryback with a powerslam on Reigns. Orton with clotheslines and a snap powerslam on both opponents. He goes for the DDT on Orton, but a pissed off Reigns gets up and nails him from behind. Reigns with a flurry of clotheslines to Ryback until Orton rolls him up for two. Superman Punch to Orton! Ryback with a spinebuster to Reigns, followed by the Meat-Hook Clothesline! Orton goes for the RKO, but Ryback counters with a spinebuster. He goes for the Shell Shock, but Reigns hits him with a Spear! Here comes the Authority, and there goes Roman Reigns flying over the top rope onto the pile of bodies! Show is still standing and kills Reigns with the KO Punch. Orton pulls Rollins into the ring, but J & J make the save. Ryback tosses them around, but eats an RKO, and Orton covers for three at 5:14. Before he can celebrate, Rollins connects with a Curb Stomp! **1/2 Surprisingly fun and energetic, and short enough to not start to fall apart. I could’ve done without Big Show getting his heat back by KO’ing Reigns, but I guess this means we get Reigns vs. Show… again, and on PPV.

Final Thoughts: Raw went by surprisingly quick, although there was the occasional hiccup. The less smarky-crowd meant there wasn’t much distraction from the actual show, and for the most part, everything clicked. We got a handful of good matches that were given plenty of time to develop, the Diva’s looked good, and Extreme Rules is starting to take shape (officially). I still am not crazy about the way Neville was used. I can see some arguing it as a pro, but it came off as “plucky underdog gets a few hope spots, but doesn’t belong” vibes. To my surprise, Miz vs. Mizdow was practically heatless, with a few exceptions. The commentary was awful, mostly for JBL and Booker. Saxton wasn’t “good”, but better than them.

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