Monday, May 11, 2015

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - May 11th, 2015

Triple H makes his first Raw appearance in nearly a month to set things straight between Seth Rollins & Kane. Pretty entertaining stuff with HHH proclaiming "Daddy's home!" and alot of yelling between the three. Sets up two matches for later tonight - Reigns/Kane and Rollins/Orton. "We Want Ambrose" chants rang through this entire segment and the payoff was his match being up first.

1) Dean Ambrose vs. Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury
This actually got some time which surprised me. Ambrose rolls over them early then the numbers game gives J&J control. Ambrose makes his comeback and picks up the victory. The crowd was super hot for him with it being his hometown so this was fun. Short, sweet, and to the point. I don't think this is the last we will see of The Lunatic Fringe tonight though, at least I hope not.

Match rating - **1/2

2) Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ah. This match brought some sombering news because both men got matches set for Payback against Sheamus and Neville respectively. That basically takes care of the IC Title picture so where does that leave DB? I hope this isn't a sign of things to come later in the night. None the less, BNB vs DZ is always good and this was no different. They go to commercial pretty quickly, but when we return, a great exchange goes down with Ziggler blocking the bull hammer elbow with a drop kick. Sheamus causes a distraction which leads to a bull hammer out of nowhere. BNB with the win over Ziggler. Sheamus toys with him afterwards. Ziggler gets a nice flurry before being shut down again. Nice little build for that match.

Match rating - **3/4

3) John Cena vs. Neville - United States Championship Match

I could rave all day about how much I love the John Cena US Title Open Challenge. It has yet to produce a bad match. At this rate, I hope they release a DVD of all these whenever his reign is over because it's quality every time. Once again, another one of my favorites got a shot against the greatest WWE superstar of the past decade and it ruled. Neville didn't get as much of a pop as previous weeks, but once he got going, the crowd warmed right up to him and got into this thing. Great action from beginning to end with several extremely close falls and moves that will make you jump out of your seat. The powerbomb on Cena out of the corner, the second rope pheonix splash, Neville rolling into a pinning predicament out of the STF, this match was loaded with fantastic stuff. The only thing that I didn't like was Neville kicking out of the AA. It's the second week someone has done that and the move being hit out of nowhere and kicked out of has already started to lose it's luster. I would've preferred Cena hit the springboard stunner or something for the kick out instead. But who knows, maybe he's trying to build that up as his new finisher. That's what I love about Cena's in-ring game - he's always evolving. None the less, that was a minor thing. Bottom line is this match was awesome. Rusev interfered and caused a DQ just as Neville hit the red arrow which I completely didn't mind because it protected the hell out of Neville. Hope the finish means we'll get a rematch in the future.

Match rating - ***3/4

4) Kane vs. Roman Reigns
This was well done. The match never even got started. Kane jumped Reigns as he was coming over the rail and we got a nice brawl between the two. This is where Reigns is at his best. Looking like a beast and cleaning house. Spear to Kane over the announce table. Reigns roars after he destroyed Kane. Good visual.

Segment rating - B- (Simple, but effective)

5) Tamina vs. Brie Bella
Pretty basic Divas match. Not one of the trainwreck kind. Tamina looked good in her return match. Both women got a chance to shine though. After a few minutes, Tamina uses the superkick she debuted last week to put away Brie.

Match rating - **1/4

Daniel Bryan relinquishes the Intercontinental Championship
This was sad. It's pretty safe to say that I wouldn't be into wrestling right now period if it wasn't for CM Punk & Daniel Bryan. Over the past two years, we've seen them both fade away from WWE and it's sucked for me. This wasn't the good news everyone hoped for, but atleast there's still somewhat of a chance then DB can return. However, if this is the end, thanks for everything, Daniel. I've retraced nearly his entire career and discovered plenty of phenomenal matches & moments in the process. Not to mention, all the ones I watched unfold as they happened. I was privileged to watch his entire rise to the top in WWE and it's something I'll never forget. He'll always be amongst my favorite wrestlers ever.

6) Cesaro vs. Big E
Second week in a row that Cesaro showcases why he's a star. The audience was so so on him to begin with however he got them going after a while. He charged Big E to begin with an awesome flurry of offense that even made Michael Cole mark out. Big E gets control for awhile and applies an abdominal stretch. CESARO REVERSES INTO A DEADLIFT THROW! It begins - Cesaro makes everyone mark out. German suplexes, a vicious deadlift belly to belly throw planting Big E on his head, repeated uppercuts in the corner. It was awesome. Kofi distracts Cesaro before he can hit the swing. Tyson is here, SOCCER BALL KICK FROM THE APRON! Xavier knocks Tyson down. Cesaro comes to the ropes, Big E charges, Cesaro puts him in a sick pinning predicament for the win. I'm hyped for the 2/3 Falls Match at Payback, especially after this. Cesaro proved he not only had great chemistry with Kofi, but Big E as well. Can't wait!

Match rating - ***

Bray Wyatt/Ryback confrontation
This was decent although not much worth talking alot about. Wyatt cuts a promo that I barely paid attention because I'm pretty much played out when it comes to him. Ryback's music hits mid pose which was a nice touch. Ryback looked good here. The best thing about this feud thus far is that it's allowing Ryback to gain some ground with fans as a babyface again.

7) Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
Another good match between these two. The counters were the best part. Rollins ducking out of the rope assisted DDT and kicking Orton then hitting a dive for the first time in forever (that I can remember). I also loved the backbody drop where Rollins landed on his feet. The finish with J&J running in was annoying only because the match was so enjoyable. It made complete sense storyline wise.

Match rating - ***1/4
We all saw the closing segment, no need to do play by play. Ambrose dropping Reigns was a spectacular moment that was extremely well timed since they were in his hometown and it was the first time Dean & Roman had a physical confrontation. Dean stands tall once again which sadly makes me think he will take the pinfall at Payback. Although I still think there's a chance he should be the one who gets the victory stolen from him. Read more about that in my latest fantasy booking article by clicking here.

Overall thoughts: Last week's episode was hard to follow, but I'd say they did a solid job. There were several great matches along with an emotional Daniel Bryan segment that are worth seeing. The biggest difference was that there were more dull moments on tonight's show than last week's. The main event was the major selling point of Payback and I think most have been sold on it for awhile so WWE didn't have much to do tonight other than build the undercard which I think they did a decent job of so I'd say this was a good episode of Raw although I'm probably being a bit lenient considering I zoned out on a few occasions.

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