Tuesday, April 14, 2015

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - April 13th, 2015

Taped Raw's from London are usually a bittersweet affair. The crowd is always hot, but if you spend much time on social media, you'll likely run into spoilers. Whether it's a troll posting them to be funny or you see the link to them and can't resist, it's hard to go into a show like this without knowing what's going to happen. However, I managed to do so last night for the first time. Despite not having any clue what was going to happen, I still couldn't get fully invested in the show because it was taped. I'm starting to think that's why Smackdown has such a stigma. It's so much easier to gain viewers when something is live and happening as you watch.

None the less, the show kicked off in fun fashion with John Cena's US Title Open Challenge. As I've stated previously, it's easily one of my favorite things in all of wrestling at the moment. A fifteen minute Cena match every week? That's something I'm all in for because he simply can't have a bad match. This week he went to battle with hometown guy, Bad News Barrett who got his biggest pop since he returned on the Raw after Mania last year. As you'd probably expect, this was a great match to get the show going. The crowd was hype which made the close falls feel epic and the action feel more meaningful. Cena sold the bullhammer unbelievably well here and also continued to showcase his innovative offense by breaking out the springboard stunner once again. BNB kicking out of the AA, which doesn't happen often, was a nice touch as well.

After this the show really began to settle down. I admittedly missed the Divas Battle Royal because those are usually a disaster. I did catch the Naomi attack though and I'm kind of confused by it considering The Usos are babyfaces. Who knows, maybe they will return as heels and we get some sort of family stable along with Roman Reigns to play off the rumored disgust that his family had over his Mania loss. Also during this part of the show, the Lucha Dragons had another fun showcase against The Ascension. Hope WWE is prepping them to challenge Cesaro & Kidd on PPV because that's bound to be a MOTY candidate.

Roman Reigns did an in-ring interview with Booker T during the final part of the first hour and it honestly went well. I think he's finally found his voice and while the promos he delivered still sound rehearsed and corny with the typical cheap pops similar to how Cena used to do, it's better than the extremely forced stuff we've gotten from him in the past 6-8 months. The involvement of Big Show here is something that I didn't expect to enjoy, but I did. Their feud is stale and they've wrestled a ton this year however this segment was very good, in my opinion. It wasn't dull or boring. Reigns did his thing, Show delivered another heat garnering promo, and then the post-match assault was one hell of a visual and for the light hearted, made for some extremely funny jokes as Big Show somehow managed to climb on top of a car without falling off/through it.

When Orton/Cesaro was announced, I was beyond pumped because I knew it would rule. Their match last year on Smackdown is a gem and considering Cesaro won it, I figured we'd see Orton get his win back here. Turns out I was completely wrong and we got our first bad occurence of the evening. Firstly, this became a handicap match. That alone is a negative, but to make things worse, we witnessed the TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS LOSE A HANDICAP MATCH WHICH WAS IN THEIR FAVOR. No logic.. AT ALL. I don't have much else to say about this because it was really a letdown for me and the careless booking was just meh. Cool RKO spot here though which made the audience pop.

Then came time for Rollins/Kane which was originally supposed to be Rollins/Ziggler. I was bummed we didn't get the original singles encounter although I was optimistic about this segment because Kane is just gold at what he does (and Rollins too of course). Therefore, this was pretty hilarious. Kane's facial expressions told the entire story and him taking out J&J was fun for all. Kane chokeslamming Rollins then laying down for him anyway made me laugh very hard even though it didn't make alot of sense. I can't really complain though because I enjoyed this and it did what it set out to do.

The disappointment that came with Rollins/Ziggler not happening was made up for by Dolph facing Adrian Neville instead. Jeez louise, this was another awesome performance from Neville that once again reaffirmed by confidence in how he will do on the main roster. 450 splash off the barricade, a beautiful moonsault, the handsprings, red arrow where he lands on his feet, his selling of Ziggler's DDT - A++++++ stuff from Neville here. Ziggler delivered on his end as well and as you may expect, this was a great match. Sheamus' attack afterwards was intriguing and makes me glad because it looks like we're gonna see Neville in a somewhat relevant story. The midcard is super hot right now and this is one of the reason's why.

The Ambrose/Luke Harper story that began on Smackdown a few weeks ago got some continuation last night as we saw Ambrose attack Harper after his match with Ryback. It was simple yet effective as the crowd will pop for just about anything Dean does. Not anything must-see, but I'm glad they touched on this during the show.

The closing segment was pretty basic and went as many expected however that's not something to really complain about because as WWE has shown us in the past, things could be much worse. The stipulations are set for Extreme Rules. Rollins/Orton in a cage with the RKO banned. Can't wait to see that Phoenix Splash off the cage ;) - I kid, I kid.

Overall, I felt like this week's Raw was a step down from last week's. It wasn't a disaster however it felt like it could've been better. BNB/Cena, Neville/Ziggler, the Reigns segment, and both Rollins segments are the stuff I'd check out if you missed it. Despite the fact that I got bored at several points during the show because we got a few really short matches and stuff I just wasn't interested in, there were still several things that I listed above which had me glued to the screen. Solid episode of Monday Night Raw.

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