WWE Monday Night Raw Review - April 21th, 2014
The show started with Daniel Bryan making his return since being gone last week for his honeymoon. Brie Bella was in the ring and they did the "Yes" chant together. Cool moment. Stephanie McMahon immediatly interrupted Bryan and announced he would face Kane at Extreme Rules. Kane proceeded to come out and lay a vicious beatdown on Bryan that consisted of three tombstone piledrivers. One on the floor, one on the steel steps, and one on the announce table. This was a phenomenal opening segment and a great way to bring alot of heat to Kane and add some fire to this feud. It was also an easy way to get Bryan written off TV for the rest of the night so he could head home to his family since his father passed away earlier in the day.
1) Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus - Semi Finals - IC Title Tournament
The first match of the evening turned out to be the best bout of the whole show. Barrett and Sheamus delivered a very physical back and forth match which garnered "This is Awesome" chants from the WWE Universe. That's the second week in a row that a match involving Barrett recieved high praise from the crowd in attendance. Barrett defeats Sheamus cleanly to advance in the tournament. Loving the hot streak Barrett is on. He's more popular than ever.
2) Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal, & Hornswoggle vs. Los Matadores & El Torito
This was your typical fun/comedy match for the evening. I didn't get much of a kick out of it, but it served its purpose. I don't mind light hearted stuff like this every now and then. What got on my nerves was seeing McIntyre get pinned by El Torito. McIntyre has so much potential. Can't believe how far he's fallen. Really hope he gets back on track sooner or later. Despite that, this bout served it's purpose.
Next up was a phenomenal showdown between Evolution and The Shield. Triple H's voice was nearly gone - guess he had a cold or something, but that didn't take away from the segment. Ambrose and Rollins delivered the best promos of the night. Ambrose continues to be on the top of his game on the mic while Rollins & Reigns improve each week. All around awesome segment. Can't wait to see the two groups clash.
3) The Usos vs. Cody Rhodes & Goldust
Expected this to be really good and while it was quite entertaining, it didn't go as long as I would have liked. Very fast paced with alot of action. Fun tag bout. What I enjoyed here more than anything was Ryback & Axel on commentary. The two continue to grow on me as the weeks progress. I've always been a fan of Axel and Ryback is not as horrible as people make him out to be. Wouldn't mind them being the tag champs. Rybaxel attacks The Usos afterwards in an impressive beatdown. Also after the match, Cody shoved Goldust and ran backstage. It looks as if some dissension is happening between The Rhodes Bros although I didn't quite understand it because the commentators barely acknowledged it and they raced to the back so quickly. Could have easily been overlooked. I personally hope for this reason that the feud between them won't happen now. Too much going on. I'd like to see it be saved for a big PPV like SummerSlam. Regardless of my opinion on the matter, this was a wonderful match and segment which showcased alot of storyline development. Good stuff.
4) Emma vs. Layla
Ah the epic Santino/Fandango feud continues yet again. Thankfully it was the women in action this time. Had high hopes for this one as Emma is an outstanding talent and Layla can hold her own. Needless to say, this was a disappointment. WWE has ruined Emma. I don't mind her silly gimmick - in fact, I like it. But repeatedly making her out to be clueless in the ring? Lawler making snide comments like "Emma might need to work on her little dropkick." Come on! This is the girl who put on classics with Paige on NXT. She deserves better. Hope WWE starts putting some effort into the Divas Division instead of letting it continue to be the low point of every show.
5) Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro - Semi Finals - IC Title Tournament
First things first - Cesaro finally got new entrance music and ehh. It's okay. I wish they would have just stuck his old pre-Real American theme back with him. Regardless of that, Heyman delivers a good promo, which was rudely interrupted by an abrput commercial break, before the match. The match itself was good. Van Dam had a few botches, but Cesaro managed to cover them up as best he could. Aside from Van Dam's occasional botch, this was really good. I think if they continue to work together, they could string together an outstanding contest. The foundation is certainly there. The outcome disappointed me as Swagger cost Cesaro the match. I was hoping this would be saved for next week, but my opinion isn't relevant so it happened this week. A match between Cesaro & Swagger was scheduled for Smackdown and Cesaro confronted RVD backstage after the match about the cheap victory so I'm expecting a match between Cesaro and RVD at Extreme Rules. Probably will be an Extreme Rules match since RVD's a former ECW star. Should be entertaining. As should Cesaro's match with Swagger on Smackdown. Really looking forward to that although as a long time Swagger fan, it saddens me to see him getting the shaft once again. Doesn't look like Swagger will be making it onto the Extreme Rules card after all.
6) Paige vs. Aksana
This was a much better and longer match than we typically get from the Divas. Paige did the most entertaining job here while Aksana was decent. It wasn't a great match, but it was a solid encounter none the less. As mentioned above, if WWE really wanted to do they could make the Divas division feel important. They just need to put some effort into it. Paige and Tamina have a match at Extreme Rules and they haven't built towards it whatsoever. That's what needs to change in this area of WWE. Put some effort into it creatively and it could turn into a success. They certainly have a large number of talented women on the roster. Paige, Emma, Natalya, AJ, and Naomi are all great wrestlers. The foundation is there - make the Divas division feel important again, WWE! You have the talent to do so!
7) Alexander Rusev vs. Sin Cara
This was probably the most entertaining match Rusev has had since his debut. He actually impressed me for the first time here. Sin Cara (Hunico) is very good and fun to watch. Would love to see him on Raw weekly. Rusev actually got some competition here and it was a good match. Rusev has a match with R-Truth & Xavier Woods at Extreme Rules which was announced on Raw tonight.
8) The Wyatt Family vs. John Cena
Just your classic Cena handicap match. Wyatt's beat him down all match long only for Cena to fight back. Only thing different than the typical Cena handicap match was that he didn't win via pinfall, he won via DQ. Wyatt closes the show with Cena in his hands singing "He's got the whole world in his hands." Bray is brilliant and I'm a big fan of this feud. I just hope Cena will do the right thing and put Bray over at Extreme Rules.
Overall thoughts: Good show overall. Got a little dull in some parts. It seems like WWE is back to building two or three matches strongly and just piecing the rest together. Wyatt/Cena, Bryan/Kane, and Shield/Evolution is all being set up perfectly. Great promos and segments from those feuds. The Tag Team Divsion is doing well once again after going into a bit of a slump for a few weeks. The Divas Division needs some more effort creatively. The in-ring talent is there, it just needs better booking. The IC Title tournament continues to be very good. Brings the mid-card to a new light. Lots of good stuff going on in that department right now. If you missed the show, I'd recommend checking out Barrett/Sheamus, Cesaro/RVD, and The Shield/Evolution segment. Everything else isn't worth going out of your way to see. Although it was a step down from last week, this was a decent episode of Monday Night Raw.
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