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April 13, 2015

WWE Raw Roundup: The United Kingdom sees stipulations galore set for Extreme Rules

WWE’s Monday Night Raw took us across the pond to London this week, where the show emanated from the sold out O2 Arena. WWE heads over to the United Kingdom every year to tape a week’s worth of Raw and SmackDown shows and this week’s editions of Raw and SmackDown will have a little British flavor to them.

Here are some of the main stories coming out of Raw:

I can’t remember the last time John Cena opened Raw, but this week, the United States Champion did just that on Monday night. The fans in London seem to agree with the fans in the U.S. as far as their dislike for Cena is concerned, as chants of “Cena s**ks!” rang down from the audience. The crowd however was back on Cena’s side after he said the city of London should host a WrestleMania.

It was then that crowd favorite --England’s own Bad News Barrett -- interrupted Cena to monstrous cheers. Barrett challenged Cena to a U.S. Championship match, and the fight was on.

It wasn’t until after the match [a Cena win] that we saw the return of Lana on the stage, distracting Cena so Rusev could attack him from behind with a Russian chain. I’m pretty sure I said we would see Rusev attack Cena in their next interaction, and thus, it happened. Lana confirmed that Rusev would challenge Cena in a Russian Chain Match for the United States Championship at Extreme Rules.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, and Randy Orton were competing to see who would choose a stipulation for their championship match at Extreme Rules. If they were to win their respective matches on Raw, they would be able to choose a stipulation for their match on April 26.

Orton first was put in a match against one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions, Cesaro. After Tyson Kidd interfered, causing the disqualification, Director of Operations Kane made it a handicap match, which Orton won again with a spectacular RKO to Kidd. 

Rollins put himself in a match against Kane, who was instructed to lay down for Rollins so he could get the easy win. While Kane had problems with this – even going so far as to chokeslam Rollins out of anger – he eventually laid down for the champion, giving both he and Orton the ability to choose a stipulation for their upcoming title match.

The main event segment of the night was each wrestler choosing their stipulation. Rollins chose the stipulation that the RKO was banned from the match, while Orton chose that their championship match would take place inside a steel cage. Orton’s premise for his stipulation is obviously to keep The Authority out of the ring, but how many times in the past have we seen the steel cage prove no better than an invisible shield around the ring?

It almost sets up some kind of finish involving The Authority to “swerve” us. It wouldn’t be the first time, and certainly won’t be the last time.

Roman Reigns’ in-ring interview with Booker T quickly moved into a back-and-forth promo between him and Big Show on the JumboTron. This feud is rapidly becoming the most bland in WWE, as the chants of “Boring!” from the crowd were echoed by what I would estimate about 70% of the viewing audience, myself included.

There’s nothing about this feud that’s interesting, and a lot of that has to do with the Big Show. He’s simply not an interesting character anymore, and the more I see him on my television screen, the less I care about him. Even his surprise attack on Reigns, complete with chokeslam through the taxi cab on the stage couldn’t get me to care about this feud at all.

I understand Reigns needs to move onto the next story after Lesnar, but anyone other than Big Show. Unfortunately, that’s what we’ll get at Extreme Rules.

Bray Wyatt says love can be blind. He’s talking to you. We still don’t know who he will feud with in the immediate future, but I’m sure we’ll find out sooner than later. Some signs point to Roman Reigns after his feud with Big Show, but without knowing if that feud will last more than just one pay-per-view match, it’s still hard to say who Wyatt will be targeting next.

England’s own Paige also won the No. 1 contender battle royal for the Divas Championship, eliminating Naomi to capture the win. She’ll challenge Nikki Bella for her Divas Championship at the pay-per-view.

During an interview after the match, Naomi attacked Paige, cementing a heel turn for the Diva. Naomi gave an interview later in the program, basically laying out exactly why she turned on Paige after the battle royal. It was a classic old-school type promo of “I’m putting myself first instead of others,” and it really worked. This new character for Naomi could be a good one.

And Neville made his fourth appearance on WWE television since being called up to the main roster from NXT, and lost another match – this time to Dolph Ziggler. So far, Neville is 2-2 with two wins against Curtis Axel and two losses against Rollins and Ziggler. I guess we can’t expect too much too soon.

Match rundown:

     • United States Championship: John Cena (c) d. Bad News Barrett by pinfall via the Attitude Adjustment. Rusev attacked Cena after the match.

     • No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal for the Divas Championship: Paige eliminated Naomi to win the match. Naomi attacked her during an in-ring interview afterward.

     • Lucha Dragons d. The Ascension by pinfall after Kalisto nailed  Viktor with the Salida del Sol followed by a Swanton Bomb by Sin Cara.

     • Randy Orton d. Cesaro by disqualification after Tyson Kidd interfered. Kane ordered a handicap match and if Orton lost, he would lose his Extreme Rules title shot.

     • Handicap Match: Randy Orton d. WWE Tag Team Champions, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro by pinfall via an RKO on Kidd.

     • Dean Ambrose d. Adam Rose by pinfall via Dirty Deeds.

     • Stardust d. Fandango by pinfall via Beautiful Disaster. Fandango then danced to his old theme music to the delight of the British crowd.

     • Seth Rollins (c) d. Kane by pinfall after Kane laid down for Rollins on purpose. Kane teased chokeslamming Rollins, but didn’t.

     • Damien Mizdow d. The Miz by pinfall via a rollup.

     • Ryback d. Luke Harper by disqualification after Harper used part of the announce table to hit Ryback on the outside of the ring. Ambrose came out to run Harper off.

     • Dolph Ziggler d. Neville by pinfall via the Zig Zag. Sheamus attacked Ziggler and Neville after the match.