This Raw saw two championships change hands, one major heel turn, two in-ring television debuts, a re-united Brother of Destruction (with added goat) and a match that was supposed to happen at Wrestlemania. Somehow however the major talking point of the show was the crowd. For the entire evening they were absolutely wild and made the show ten times better with their random chants and sheer energy. Let's take a look at the show.
John Cena Vs. Mark Henry (If Mark Henry Wins He Recieves a WWE Championship Match)
This match was made in the opening segment of the show, with Cena coming out to talk about his WWE Championship win over The Rock at Wrestlemania, Cena goofed around for som time with some dancing, which swiftly lead to a deserved "BORING" chant from the New Jersey faithful. The WWE Champion announced that he would be having a WWE Championship later tonight, Mark Henry answered Cena's call, to a massive pop, stating his case to why he desereved a shot at the title. Cena agreed and the WWE Championship Match was set.
This however was not to be the case as Smackdown General Manager and new WWE Hall of Famer Booker T interupted the pair. I'm not quite sure what power Booker T has on Raw but it seems he can book matches now, making it a little confusing with so many match makers around. Booker said that The Rock was still Number One Contender due to the trusty rematch clause, however Rocky was injured and couldn't be there tonight, a clear "BULLSHIT" chant could be heard in the IZOD Centre. Booker said he'd make a match where if Mark Henry won against Cena he would recieve a Title shot. I'm not quite sure why WWE decided to set them selves up to fail with this one by offering a WWE Championship and then taking it away, this would become a theme throughout the night.
The match itself was quick and ended in a count out victory for Cena after he pushed Henry into the steel steps. But the real talking point came after the match. With Henry seeking revenge for his loss by attacking Cena, the now familiar FEED ME MORE pre-empted the save from Ryback. After quickly seeing off Henry with a Meathook clothesline and an impressive spinebuster. The Human Wrecking Ball lifted Cena to his feet before allowing him to celebrate his victory, as Cena turned around he went face to face with Ryback, suddenly lifted The Champ into his Shellshocked manuever, stomped around the ring and delivered the move to a rapturous aplause from the crowd.
Personally I think the heel turn is good move by WWE, it gives them someone new for Cena to fued against and the two seem to have some definite chemistry. Obviously, the two aren't going to deliver five star matches but if WWE can get their Universe to stop chanting Feed Me More, this could be a very interesting fued going forward.
Handicap Match: Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter vs. Alberto Del Rio w/ Ricardo Rodriguez
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio Vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Big E Langston & AJ Lee
So the Handicap match, which really didn't use it's handicap stipulation all that much, with it basically meaning that the referee didn't have to be distracted for interference from Colter, which was still used sparingly. The match was another solid encounter between these two, which I would hazard a guess featured a few of the spots that were cut from Wrestlemania due to time constraints. Swagger focussed on Del Rio's ankle throughout, including a lengthy spell in the Patriot Lock, before Del Rio used a beautiful reversal into the Cross Armbreaker, where after some struggle Jack Swagger finally tapped out. It seemed weird to me that Colter did not break up the submission, maybe it would have been worth, taking him out of the match, either via Del Rio or his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez.
Del Rio sold his ankle injury well, with both Rodriguez and a trainer checking on World Heavyweight Champion. The IZOD Center once again began a "We Want Ziggler" chant, they were not to be let down on this occassion. As Mr. Money in the Bank strutted to ring accompanied by girlfriend AJ Lee and tag partner and current NXT Champion Big E Langston. The Show Off indicated he was cashing in on his chance at the World Heavyweight Championship and the bell rang and we were underway.
Although it was short, this was one of my favorite Money in the Bank cash ins. This is because they managed to make it look like Ziggler was in real peril of losing the match. Firstly with a huge corner enziguiri for a two count and then the Cross Armbreaker. This move have been pushed so heavily by WWE in recent months, that with Ziggler in the centre of the ring in genuinely looked as if he may tap out. Lookily, the Del Rio's ankle injury was not forgotten, as after what felt like an age in the hole, Ziggler pulled at The Mexican Aristocrat's ankle, before hitting a superb Zig Zag for the win. The crowd absolutely loved it and so did I, although I can imagine WWE will be less than pleased with the face reaction that Ziggler's win recieved.
I was extremly surprised to see The Undertaker on Raw last night, and even more so when it seemed that he was being a manuevered into a future angle. As The Undertaker began his speech to do with his match the previous night, he was interupted by The Shield who began to enter through the crowd. As Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins encircled the ring, one of the biggest and loudest flame pyros I have ever seen erupted from the ring posts as Kane's music hit and Team Hell No sprinted to the ring to stand side by side with The Undertaker. The Shield, seemingly being led by Roman Reigns, decided to wait to fight another day and scarpered through the crowd.
It was great to see The Brothers of Destruction back together again, and felt like a great moment for Daniel Bryan as well and shows how far he has come in the eyes of WWE management since last year and rightly so.
This is another intriguing rivalry, The Shield have be pushed to the moon in recent months, and continually deliver in the ring every time they team, whilst in The Undertaker they have a true legend to bounce against during promos and defeating him would surely cement their place as three of the companies top heels and a WWE Championship match for one (if not all of their members) would surely soon follow. When that six man tag happens, expect it to be an absolute barn burner.
The Best of the Rest
Now onto the complete shambles that was the Randy Orton/Sheamus/Big Show debacle. Firstly, Sheamus asked Vickie Guerrero for a shot at Big Show for revenge for the after the match attack at Wrestlemania, then Randy Orton asked the same of Booker T, again throwing up the question of who is really is in charge, which is more confusing that anything. Orton and Sheamus both pleaded their case to the WWE Universe with crowd cheering for both men, Jerry Lawler then announced a WWE Active fan Twitter poll, which saw the Viper win with almost three quarters of the votes.
Only for then Vickie Guerrero and Booker T to come out and announce that Orton would face Sheamus next and the winner would face Big Show at some undertermined date. This made very little sense, it would have been fine if Sheamus and Orton's votes were anywhere near close but they clearly weren't and WWE decided not to listen to it's fans. The crowd quickly turned on the match, which all in all wasn't a bad contest between the two, but after WWE once again teasing one match, only to give away another coupled with the bad feeling towards Big Show's safe heel turn the previous night, the fans deserverdly decided to make their own entertainment, with a number of random chants such as "Randy Savage" "RVD" and a chant for each of the three commentators, leading to massive Mexican wave which seemed to last forever. Meanwhile in the ring, it was obvious both Orton and Sheamus had no clue to react to what the crowd was doing.
Once Big Show came in and rescued the match for the fans, he recieved a "Thank You Big Show" chant, as he destroyed Randy Orton, delivering a Knockout Punch, a Spear on the outside before launching Orton over the top of the announcers tables. Big Show began throwing the announcers chairs around ringside. Hopefully WWE will listen to what they heard during the match and learn from the mistake that they made during the show, although I wouldn't hold your breath, WWE can be very stubborn and will only do anything when it is on their terms.
Another talking point of the night was Wade Barrett's Intercontinetanl Championship rematch against The Miz. This match was miles better than the one they had at Wrestlemania, as the two had a little longer and brought a few more interesting moments to the match, such as Barrett's homage to Cactus Jack with a Cactus Elbow to outside. Eventually, Barrett won back his title with a sick Bullhammer Elbow, a move which was seriously over with that crowd. As a Brit it was great to see Barrett win back his title, and have such a quality match on Raw, the length of the match really helped to make the title regain something that was lost during Wrestlemania. Although I'd question having The Miz win the title with very little fanfare, and then go onto to lose it the very next day.
We also finally got the Eight Person Mixed Tag that had been scheduled for Wrestlemania. The match was quick and simple between the eight people involved. It did feature a nice Hurracanrana from Naomi to Cody Rhodes, before Tons of Funk eventually picked up the victory with a double splash. As I have previously noted, this would have been nice changed of pace during Wrestlemania and allowed some of the more serious matches a bit of time to breath.
Elsewhere in the show, Paul Heyman announced CM Punk wanted to speak to the WWE Universe, and would do so next week, whilst Brock Lesnar wanted to fight but Heyman wouldn't let him do so for free. Fandango's Raw debut against Kofi Kingston was interupted by Chris Jericho, who placed the dancing rookie in the Walls of Jericho. The fans contiuned to sing along to Fandango's theme for the rest of the night. Big E Langston won his Raw debut in a short but impressive bout with Daniel Bryan, closing out the Team Hell No/Ziggler & Big E rivalry for now, with both parties moving onto bigger things later in the night. R-Truth, Zack Ryder and Santino Marella picked up a win over Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal of 3MB in a match that won't be remembered by many in a hurry, despite their being a lot of talent in the match.
This Raw was one of the most enjoyable for me in a long time, partly due to the crowds antics throughout, but also due to some good moves on the part of WWE, including Dolph Ziggler's Money in the Bank Cash In and Ryback attacking John Cena. There was also some throughly enjoyable matches such as Wade Barrett Vs. The Miz and Alberto Del Rio Vs. Jack Swagger (& Zeb Colter). However, WWE also made some vital errors throughout, teasing the fans with one match, only to give them another, with John Cena's WWE Championship Match and Randy Orton Vs. Big Show, especially when they have asked the Universe to vote on a match, is never going to go down well with the fans. WWE had a red hot crowd in the IZOD Center and at times instead of giving them what was needed to get the desired reaction, WWE completely lost control and the fans decided they would control the show from there on in. If this trend continues WWE could have a problem on there hands.
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