April 07, 2015
The Authority opened Raw Monday night live from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. This was more of what we saw last Thursday on SmackDown, but at least we got some something out of it this time other than an Orton/Big Show match. In fact, Director of Operations, Kane, made a Triple Threat Match featuring Randy Orton, Ryback and Roman Reigns with the winner advancing to Extreme Rules to face Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Not only that, but each of those superstars would have another match beforehand and would be pulling double duty Monday night.
Confused? I was for a bit. I could’ve sworn Kane made an Orton/Rollins main event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules on SmackDown, because it sure as hell sounded like he did. But I guess he never did technically. Anyway, we had ourselves a nice little Orton/Kane match, Ryback/Luke Harper and Reigns/Big Show… again.
Smell the ratings. The winner of the Triple Threat main event was Orton, so I guess I’m some sort of psychic? It’s a good main event to have for Extreme Rules, and look for Rollins to get his win back from WrestleMania. I’ll be interested to see what kind of stipulation will be added for this match.
Rollins and Kane had some dissension throughout Raw, so that may be something to keep an eye on moving forward. Kane has also been at odds with Big Show, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him kicked out of The Authority some time soon.
Neville [sans Adrian] also wrestled in his second match on Raw since being called up permanently from NXT. His opponent? Only the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Neville and Rollins had a great match and it’s one that you should go out of your way to see. Neville is proving just two matches into his main roster push that he belongs with the big boys.
BREAKING: AJ Lee (April Mendez) has decided to retire from in-ring competition with WWE. We wish AJ the very best.— WWE (@WWE) April 3, 2015
Within the first half hour of the program, WWE publicly acknowledged on Raw not only the retirement of A.J. Lee, but had nothing but praise for her. To me, that means the two amicably split despite all the rumors swirling that WWE was unhappy with Lee for taking so much time off the last year. Lee was an amazing women’s wrestler for a generation, and she will be sorely missed in a Divas division that needs to pick up where Lee left off. I wrote a career retrospective for Lee for BleedPhilly.com, and you can read that here.
In a backstage segment, the Divas convinced Kane to book a #1 Contender Battle Royal for the Divas Championship next week on Raw. The title will finally get some limelight after being in the background for the last month plus.
John Cena continued his open challenge for the United States Championship, and this time Stardust accepted the offer. Of course, Cena won, but it was an entertaining match with no Rusev appearance. I’d expect the next Rusev appearance to be some sort of attack on Cena.
Speaking of titles, Bad News Barrett has invoked his rematch clause and will vie for the Intercontinental Championship against champion Daniel Bryan at Extreme Rules. Despite no Bryan on Raw Monday night, he will join forces with Dolph Ziggler on SmackDown Thursday night to take on Sheamus and Bad News Barrett in tag team action.
And Bray Wyatt is back! We haven’t seen Wyatt since he lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania. It sounds like Wyatt is zeroing in on his new prey, saying this person cannot compete against the greatest power of all – fear. He is the new face of fear.
The Prime Time Players produced another promo, this time aimed not only at The New Day, but also The Ascension. I’m assuming this is a way to re-introduce the PTP back into the tag team division, and using two of the most useless and boring acts is a way to get them over again. Judging by the crowd reaction, I’d say they’re kind of into it.
Speaking of The New Day, we finally got a backstage promo before their match against the Lucha Dragons that gave the group some direction. That direction seems to be on the heelish side, as Kofi intimated, “We clap, or we snap!” Now comes the countdown to when The New Day snaps, turns heel, and becomes fan favorites all in one fell swoop.
Not surprisingly, we got The Miz vs. Mizdow on this show with no build or promos. This was the type of match that could have happened at WrestleMania, let alone the next pay-per-view, Extreme Rules. But no, we get it on Raw with no build and a couple minutes, and the Miz winning to boot. This is WWE booking at its finest. It’s not the first time they booked something ridiculous like this, and it won’t be the last. Here’s hoping to a better match, with a stipulation, and a Mizdow win, at Extreme Rules.
Raise your hand if you spotted Brad Maddox. Am I the only one?
• Randy Orton d. Kane by disqualification after Kane used a steel chair on Orton outside of the ring.
• Non-Title Match: Seth Rollins (c) d. Neville by pinfall via the Curb Stomp. This was a highly entertaining match and, despite knowing the outcome, is a match you should go out of your way to see.
• United States Championship: John Cena (c) d. Stardust by pinfall via the Attitude Adjustment.
• Paige & Naomi d. the Bella Twins by pinfall after Naomi gave Nikki a headscissors slam face-first into the mat.
• Ryback d. Luke Harper by pinfall via Shell Shocked.
• Sin Cara & Kalisto [Lucha Dragons] d. Big E & Xavier Woods [The New Day] by pinfall via a Sin Cara Swanton Bomb on Xavier Woods.
• Roman Reigns d. Big Show by pinfall via the spear. Reigns hit three Superman punches before Show tried to counter, eventually getting speared by Reigns.
• Sheamus d. Mark Henry by pinfall via the Brogue Kick.
• The Miz d. Damien Mizdow by pinfall via schoolboy, using Mizdow’s tights for leverage.
• Triple Threat Match for #1 Contendership to WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton d. Ryback and Roman Reigns. Orton pinned Ryback after hitting an RKO. Rollins hit the ring and hit Orton with a Curb Stomp.