Monday, April 27, 2015

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - April 27th, 2015 - King of the Ring Returns

To give you a little backstory, I didn't catch Extreme Rules last night and from what I've heard, I didn't miss much. Despite that, I'm somewhat looking forward to this week's edition of Raw. The announcement of the return of the King of the Ring tourney got me pumped so let's see if it delivered along with what's next for the WWE Title picture.

1) Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett - King of the Ring Tournament Match - First Round
Sigh. I had such expectation for this. We've seen them face off multiple times in the past year, but it's always entertaining. For that reason, I felt like this was the perfect way to kick off the King of the Ring tournament. Two of the hardest workers in WWE that truly exemplify what KOTR is all about. Well, this was fun while it lasted then it turned to nothing more than a sour taste in my mouth due to booking. Sheamus comes out to remind us all of the atrocious "arse kissing" we saw at Extreme Rules which ends up distracting Ziggler and costing him the match. I honestly can't think of a worse way to start a supposedly prestigious tournament than with a screw job caused by a distraction in the form of a picture of Ziggler kissing Sheamus' ass. I was pumped for this entire tournament, but the fact that they can't keep this thing clean and raise the prestige of it by letting these two go out and kill it makes me wonder why they even decided to do King of the Ring again. The action was good here though so it's worth a look. The ending will make you cringe though if you pay attention to little things in booking like I do.

Match rating - **1/2

2) Big E vs. Tyson Kidd

Painfully short match here. Both men are extremely solid workers despite being polar opposites so this had alot of potential. Unfortunately, it didn't last long enough to be anything memorable. The finish made sense and got more heat on New Day so I can't complain about that. I just wish this would've went longer so we could've seen what these two could truly produce together.

Match rating - *

3) Ryback vs. Bo Dallas
Just a prolonged squash match. Bo got in a few rest holds, but that was it. Ryback demolishes him and celebrates before the lights go out. BRAY WYATT ATTACKS. I put that in all caps although I didn't get excited. This went the same as all of Bray Wyatt's rivalry starters have. Random attack after weeks of solid promos that were executed perfectly. Wyatt is oozing talent, I just totally disagree with how they've been booking him. There's never any legitamite reason behind his attacks so you never have any reason to care. Another meh segment here.

Match/segment rating - *3/4

How lame is it that this didn't happen? After a painful first hour with many letdowns and confusing booking decisions, I figured this would bring the show back up to pace. Instead it kept it around the same level. It did it's job however I feel like a more exciting segment or match should have been placed here. I am actually looking forward to the Rusev/Cena "I Quit" Match though. I was hoping Cena would choke out Rusev at Mania without him tapping which would lead to an "I Quit" Match at Extreme Rules and even though it didn't go that way, atleast we're getting the match.

4) R-Truth vs. Stardust - King of the Ring Tournament Match - First Round Bout
This went totally opposite of the way I expected. I figured we'd get a decent little match with the eventual Stardust win. Instead, we got a decent little match with an R-Truth win. It seems so odd how WWE has been booking Truth lately. He randomly gets put in the IC Title Ladder Match and now he's going to the semi-finals of the King of the Ring? I don't mind Truth at all, I just don't see what they're attempting to do with a guy who's been their favorite person to use to job to Bray Wyatt over the past year. None the less, he gets the victory in a harmless match.

Match rating - **

5) Brie Bella vs. Naomi
Naomi's heel character is certainly.. different. I'm still deciding on if I like it or not considering the fact that Naomi's high impact offense is so likeable by the masses that I feel she could've been a great face champion. This match in particular was solid. It flowed better than I expected based off the awkwardness of some past Bella/Naomi meetings. Not bad for what it was. Naomi gets the win.

Match rating - **1/4

6) Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus - King of the Ring Tournament Match - First Round Bout
I was stoked for this and once it got going, I remembered why. Both guys don't know how to go any less than 100% and that was showcased here. Alot of big strikes and stiff moves. I liked the back work from Sheamus with the back breaker which led to a vicious cloverleaf submission and made for a nice false finish as Ambrose finally got to the ropes. However, this one ended in a DQ which left me with mixed feelings. As said before, I don't like all this overbooking in the tournament matches, but this was done so well that I couldn't not enjoy it. Good match and awesome attack by Ziggler. I just question why they had Ziggler technically cost Ambrose the match just to get to Sheamus.

Match rating - **3/4

What's next for Damien Sandow?
This was the segment of the night for me. As a long time fan of Sandow through his Rhodes Scholar days to challenging Cena for the World Title, it was great to see him gain popularity as Mizdow and even more awesome seeing him have this moment to thank the fans and shift back into his own persona. The crowd didn't pop hard however they did cheer, clap, and react to his old catchphrase. His new theme music is catchy and his interaction with Axel further proved how entertaining he can be. Pumped that Sandow is getting a second chance!

7) Neville vs. Luke Harper - King of the Ring Tournament Match - First Round Bout
This stole the show as expected. It blew all the other tournament matches out of the water. Neville got a flurry early on only for his risk taking to cost him the advantage as Harper gained control. It was pretty back and forth from start to finish with both men having time to get all their signature stuff in. This made for some jaw dropping moments and exchanges. From Neville getting caught with a super kick out of nowhere when running the ropes to a sick german suplex from Neville that folded Harper in half to that beautiful moonsault from Neville. Everything here was crip, well executed, and in all honesty, just mind blowing. I'm always amazed at how smooth Neville is. Whether it's his high flying moves or his kicks, everything is impressive and looks painful. The false finishes near the end garnered "THIS IS AWESOME" chants from the audience. Great match, best tournament bout of the evening.

Match rating - ***1/4

8) Seth Rollins & Kane vs. Randy Orton & Roman Reigns
I don't think Rollins & Reigns can be in the same ring and it not be a good match. This was yet another example of that. Rollins & Kane worked well together early on and delivered several heat segments by isolating Orton. This led to a Reigns hot tag as he cleaned house only for J&J Security to allow Kane to get back on top. They isolated Reigns and worked him over until he got some separation. Reigns crawls towards Orton, ROLLINS BREAKS IT UP! Rollins sends Reigns into the corner, charges him, Reigns blocks, roll up - NO - REIGNS LIFTS HIM BACK UP - POWER BOMB INTO THE MAT! Reigns reaches for the tag again and gets it! ORTON IS IN! Orton cleans house and oh my, when he set Rollins up for the rope assisted DDT, the crowd went bonkers! So much so that I popped for that move for the first time in forever. To top it all off, Rollins sold it all so well. Crazy ending sequence of moves with the first inklings of miscommunication between Rollins & Kane being displayed without sacrificing the match with a DQ which I was extremely glad of. Rollins goes for a huge dive, Orton & Reigns move, and he nails Kane. This came after Rollins accidentally dropkicked him so Kane had already had enough. He nails Rollins and rolls him back in the ring where a superman punch into an RKO greeted him and got Orton & Reigns the win. Loved this main event! Enjoyed it way more than expected.

Match rating - ***1/2

Payback Main Event Announcement
Kane gets on the mic and shows the poll results. It's a Triple Threat Match between Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, & Randy Orton for the WWE Championship! Orton smirks, Reigns rejoices and SPEAR OUT OF NOWHERE! Reigns stands tall to close the show.

Overall thoughts: The past few weeks it's been the first hour or two that deliver. This week it was the opposite. The entire last hour is worth a look starting with Ambrose/Sheamus. From there on, everything is quality. A great Sandow/Axel segment, Neville & Harper blowing the roof off, and a highly dramatic main event. Had that third hour not delivered, this portion of the review would likely be discussing all the negatives that took place in the first two hours of this show, but this show ended on a very good note for me so I'm not gonna waste your time.

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