This week’s opening thoughts has to do with the announcement of Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H Number 3. While the contest has not yet been made official, the match will certainly be made so this Monday Night Raw. I am intrigued to see Brock Lesnar in a Steel Cage Match with Triple H at Extreme Rules, but I question this decision for one reason and one reason only. This would be because a third Brock vs. Triple H match could mean another Dwayne vs. Cena match. If this would be the case, I hope World Wrestling Entertainment gets it over with by the end of the summer. If Dwayne and Cena fight each other again in the Main Event of WrestleMania, then I will refuse to buy it, even if the card happens to be incredibly stacked. I am probably making more out of this announcement than I need to, but I would not put it past Vince to look for ways to fill his bank account with another Dwayne vs. Cena match and Brock vs. Triple H Number 3 could be his way of setting up that.
The 2 on 1 Handicap Match was a good way to start off this week’s Raw. The match went pretty well and I thought all three superstars made the finish look great with Big Show getting Brogue Kicked, before Orton hit him with the RKO.
3MB calling out The Shield made sense due to The Shield attacking them last week, but was absurd when looking at the fact that nobody takes 3MB as a serious threat to anybody. I loved Brock Lesnar coming out and destroying 3MB, especially Heath Slater who got not one, but two F5s onto the barricade.
Paul Heyman then cut a promo saying Lesnar wants Triple H, again, only this time in a Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules. As I have discussed in my opening thoughts, I question this match taking place due to a possible third matchup between Dwayne and John Cena. However, if Lesnar shows up to Extreme Rules like he did at last year’s event, then this could be a hell of a matchup.
The United States Championship Match between Antonio Cesaro and Kofi Kingston was a very competitive match and I loved the back and forth finish. Nevertheless, I am not a fan of Kofi winning the strap. The only reason I could fathom for why Creative took the belt off Cesaro was because fans have lost interest in what he has done over the past few months. I just think that keeping the belt on Cesaro and having a good title feud with Kofi could have brought back the good heat Cesaro was getting before his feud with The Miz.
I also really liked Dolph Ziggler’s promo about being too good. It was short, but to the point, and reminded us that Dolph is not only one of the best workers in WWE, but one of the best speakers as well.
Speaking of promos, I loved the one that Ryback cut on John Cena about why he attacked the new WWE Champion. It was so much better than I thought it would be, although Ryback’s breathing can get a little irritating and takes some emphasis off of what he is actually saying.
R-Truth defeating Wade Barrett was very shocking to me as I just expected Wade to get the victory here. In a way I am glad because this victory helps R-Truth stay somewhat relevant and makes Wade Barrett look like a beatable champion, which as stated a long time ago by the great Jim Ross, “Is never a bad thing.”
Thank goodness Team Rhodes Scholars defeated the team of Santino and The Great Khali. If they would have lost, then I would have had a huge bone to pick with Creative. Even so, I hope that Creative does something interesting with these two up-and-coming stars as they need to do something meaningful sooner rather than later.
I loved seeing the instances of Fandangoing across the country as it certainly was a phenomenon, which was started because of the bizarre, but awesome crowd from last week’s Monday Night Raw.
I also thought it was a good move for Fandango not to Fandango with the fans as you can clearly see that he is trying to use the phenomenon to establish his character as a heel, despite people imitating him and dancing to his song.
We are then treated to Jack Swagger vs. Dolph Ziggler in a match made by Teddy Long, not Booker T. I loved the slap by Ziggler to start the match because nobody expected Ziggler to do anything like that after the bell sounded. One of the best spots of the match was a beautiful dropkick by Ziggler that occurred midway through the contest. I was shocked by the finish of the match as I figured Ziggler would win, but it looks like they most likely did it to setup the triple threat for the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules, which they did in fact announce later in the night. Another noteworthy thing would be Del Rio putting Jack Swagger in the Cross-Armbreaker on the stage. I felt that this was a fitting way to end their segment on this week’s Raw.
Mark Henry attacked Sheamus for the second time and they clearly want to bring this old rivalry back. Even though I was not the biggest fan of their first feud, this new feud is a good way to keep both stars busy until both Ziggler and Cena need fresh challengers for their respective titles in a few pay-per-views.
The Divas match on Raw featured the Divas Champion, Kaitlyn, vs. Nikki Bella. Nikki standing on Kaitlyn’s hair was cool to watch as I have not seen that in a Divas match in a while. I thought it was funny how Jerry Lawler mentioned Nikki’s boob job on the air and the fact that JBL and Cole would not let it go. In the end, the Bella Twins performed “The Switch” on Kaitlyn and got the victory.
I will say that I look forward to the 6-Man Tag Match featuring The Brothers of Destruction with Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield. This will be the first free Undertaker match we will be witnessed to in what seems like a decade. I am curious to see if this match somehow still takes place at Extreme Rules, but I venture that Taker gets triple bombed through the announce table by The Shield and we do not see him until next year’s Road to WrestleMania.
CM Punk’s promo was the total opposite from what I thought it was going to be. I thought that he would come out and go on a massive rant where he would say that he has nothing left to do in the WWE and he would just walk out. However, the promo he gave on Raw was that of a man that had been humbled and I found it very interesting considering the cocky heel he has portrayed over the past number of months. Nevertheless, I am glad that Punk will be off television for a number of months because he needs time to heal from nagging injuries. However, I must say that his absence could make these three hour long Raw programs feel just that much longer.
To close the show, we are witness to the John Cena/Ryback confrontation. I did not like that Cena kept calling him, “The Ryback,” as it came off as sounding odd. I will say that I liked Ryback not helping John Cena as he got beat down by The Shield as this was a very heel thing for him to do. However, I would not call Ryback an official heel just yet, but I definitely like how his character has been tweaked over the past few weeks. Just do not bury him John Cena and Creative, please!
This Raw was just above average, but only because of the appearance by Brock Lesnar. I look forward to seeing the London crowd next week when Raw rolls into the O2 Arena.
The Battle Royal to see who faces Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship later in the night was a good way to kick off the show. I always love a good Battle Royal match because it is why The Royal Rumble happens to be my favorite Pay-Per-View of the year.
It’s always a treat to see guys like Khali get teamed up on and be eliminated by five to six guys because that would be the only realistic way they could be eliminated. Justin Gabriel winning was the right thing to do and I am happy he won as I have been a fan of his athletic ability since Season 1 of NXT.
I loved Wade Barrett killing Matt Striker’s entire professional career during his interview with him as it was not only a heel thing to say, but also registered some laughs as well.
What a battle among former Nexus members, Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel, with the Intercontinental Championship on the line. It was nice to see Gabriel hang with Barrett on Main Event as fans were able to see his impressive and unique move set. The best spot of the match was easily Gabriel’s moonsault onto Barrett for a two count. I also liked the old school eye rake finish, which led to Barrett getting the victory with the Bull Hammer elbow.
Fandango’s interaction with Lilian Garcia to start the night was both creepy and hilarious. Fandango dropping her was a good way to get some heat for Fandango’s character, which is a heel, or at least trying to be, which we tend to forget. Santino annoys me, but he is funny in a goofy way.
The Santino vs. Fandango matchup was about as good as you would have expected it to be. The best part of this match was Fandango’s move to put Marella away for the three count as it came off well on television.
We are then treated to Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston in a “Champion vs. Champion” Match. The match itself was decent, but the ending, which featured Kofi reversing a lackadaisical cover by Barrett, to get the win. I liked Kofi winning here as he should have won this match, since he just came off of winning the United States Championship on Raw.
Sheamus attacking Mark Henry in the backstage area was a good way for Sheamus to get some revenge as well as helps to build this vague rivalry between him and Henry.
The Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger match was highly competitive and without a doubt, better than their WrestleMania Match. The ending was okay for me as I would have liked to see something else, and I do not know if I like seeing Del Rio defeat Swagger, again, especially with Del Rio supposedly being kayfabe injured.
The Main Event consisted of Big Show and Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton and Sheamus. This was a nice little match to end a show that consisted of more Raw highlights than actual segments/matches. The ending saw Big Show winning the match for his team after a Chokeslam to Orton. I liked Big Show and Mark Henry winning as they will most likely lose their singles matches to Orton and Sheamus at Extreme Rules.
Clean Finish(Final Thoughts)
I just would like to extend my condolences to the victims of the Boston Marathon Tragedy. I am happy that the perpetrators have been apprehended, with one being shot and killed, as they can no longer harm anyone. I would also like to highlight the Boston and United States Authorities who quickly found these criminals and have enabled Boston to begin to move on from this tragedy.
Match of the Week
Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel for the Intercontinental Title(Main Event)
Photos and Videos Courtesy of WWE.com
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I see Punk turning face. With Ryback turning heel, Orton rumors, Henry and Big Show and Jericho disappearing there is actually a lack of top good guys.
He could easily blame his long reign as a demon overcoming him resulting in his thirst to face Undertaker at his best the reason for the Bearer storyline.
Also Ryback needs a mouthpiece, Ryback needs Paul Heyman
I didn’t mind Del Rio beating Swagger the way he did. It was fluke-ish and remember that Swagger is still being punished for getting arrested. In fact, he was supposed to win the title at WM until he got in trouble.