Tuesday, May 5, 2015

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - May 4th, 2015

The opening segment of this week's Raw was a pretty nice change of pace. Orton & Reigns have an exchange that gets heated and out comes.. The New Day? I love mixing the mid card with the upper echelon of the roster. I wasn't a fan of how WWE handled New Day's push failing originally however as the weeks go by I'm starting to dig it. They get a ton of heat and all three guys ooze talent. With that being said, it was cool seeing them get a chance to go at it verbally with two main event guys. The verbal exchange was just the beginning though as they face off in a handicap match to start the show.

1) The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, & Xavier Woods) vs. Randy Orton & Roman Reigns
I had a big fear that this would be another case of two randomly paired together top talents squashing the tag champs like we've seen in the past. Most recently with Orton defeating Cesaro & Kidd ON HIS OWN. I was pissed when that took place however WWE would rectify that wrong here by giving New Day a good showing followed by a massive victory. New Day isolated Reigns and talked alot of trash. They really are embracing their characters. Orton gets the hot tag and we get a pretty exciting closing sequence. RKO OUT OF NOWHERE ON XAVIER! Kofi is up, Reigns goes for the spear, Kofi moves, REIGNS NAILS ORTON! Kofi takes advantage and gets the pin on Orton. This was fun. Speaking of fun, here's a fun fact for you: Kofi Kingston defeated Randy Orton on Raw last January when he was WWE Champion and it went nowhere. Hopefully this time it does and I think it will.

Match rating - **3/4

Ryback responds to Bray Wyatt
Smarky crowd remarks aside, this was a strong segment for Ryback. His promo game is stronger than most think and he proved so once again here by actually getting me interested in this feud with Bray Wyatt. Not much else to say, good promos from both men.

2) Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. The Ascension
All I have to say is this, Cesaro can't get over with the audience? CESARO CAN'T GET OVER WITH THE AUDIENCE? Vince is completely oblivious and that was proven once again here. Not even one week into Cesaro & Kidd working as faces, they are getting huge pops. Cesaro went into pure babyface mode here and demolished Konnor with running uppercut after running uppercut after running uppercut after running uppercut AFTER - RUNNING - UPPER - FUCKING - CUT! It ruled. He & Kidd go through all their stuff and get the win. Awesome prolonged squash with one of the best babyface comebacks I've seen recently from Cesaro & Kidd.

Match rating - ***

3) Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

When Kane added the stipulation saying that if Ambrose won, he'd be added to the championship match at Payback, I knew this would be another classic between Ambrose & Rollins and sure enough, it was just that. I honestly don't think these two can have a bad match together. The crowd was hype for Ambrose as it was, but the high stakes here added even more interest and ultimately pushed this one over the top. Ambrose came hot out of the gate and rolled Rollins up immediately for a close fall. The Lunatic Fringe cleaned house early with a vicious lariat where he slid under the bottom rope back to the outside which has become a signature move of his nowadays. Rollins would end up getting back control and slowing things down as a way of gradually breaking down Ambrose. After a period of working over from the WWE Champion, Ambrose began mounting his comeback which is where things went into overdrive. The exchanges and counters here were unbelievable. Ambrose goes for the rebound lariat, Rollins ducks, enzuguri to the head of Ambrose! The near falls here were incredible as well. The action spilled to the outside and got even more awesome. Rollins with the powerbomb to Ambrose INTO THE FUCKING BARRICADE! That earned the second holy shit moment of the match. The first came with Ambrose's sensational dive during his inital comeback that sent HIM over the railing. None the less, the ref begins the ten count. AMBROSE GETS BACK IN AT 9.5!!! The action picks back up and Dean finally nails the rebound lariat! MONTREAL COMES UNGLUED! This match was just simply unreal. The interference didn't hurt it a bit as Ambrose cleaned house on J&J and rolled up Rollins for the huge victory. This takes the cake for the best WWE TV Match of the Year thus far. It's gonna be hard for anyone to top this, that's for sure.

Match rating - ****1/4

4) Rusev vs. Fandango
On paper or in print, I guess you could say, this may look horrible, but it was honestly a ton of fun. The rumors of Lana being pushed big time are seemingly true and watching it unfold is a treat. She's a star, Rusev has been extremely well booked, and Fandango is experiencing a slight career resurgence, what's not to enjoy? Lana gets a huge pop which infuriates Rusev. The match gets going and everyone starts Fandangoing including Lana! Rusev gets pissed and makes her leave which garners huge boos. Rusev taps out Fandango.

Match rating - **1/2

5) R-Truth vs. Stardust
This is a rematch from last week's King of the Ring tournament. It's not necessarily something that I really wanted to see although it turned out to be pretty entertaining. They played off Truth's fear of spiders that hee has brought back to the forefront for the first time since 2011 which was a nice touch for someone who loved his heel run in '11. Truth flips open a bag of fake spiders and gets scared. Stardust capitalizes and wins. Harmless comedy match.

Match rating - **1/2

6) John Cena vs. Sami Zayn - United States Championship Match
Where do I start? This was such a phenomenal moment. In the past few years, I've went back and watched the majority of Zayn's entire pre-WWE career so just like with Adrian Neville, it's really special seeing him debut on RAW. I'm sure it's the same for those of you who have been watching him on NXT over the past year and a half. Seeing a legend like Bret Hart put him over as "a great wrestler" was a monumental moment for the hometown boy Sami Zayn. So much so that I almost forgot that this is a dream match of mine. Things get going and Zayn floors Cena which sends him to the outside. Zayn fakes a dive and bounces off the ropes into his signature stance. For some reason, Cena hits tow of his signature spinning side suplex things in a row and one of them appears to have hurt Zayn's shoulder. A doctor at ringside comes up before Zayn pretty much shakes it off and gets back into the match. Once things get going, it's awesome. We see alot of signature Sami Zayn stuff in the through the turnbuckle spinning DDT on the outside and a blue thunder bomb. Both got huge pops. There were also some awesome nearfalls here including Zayn KICKING OUT OF THE AA! That legitemately made me jump out of my seat. Zayn is a made man after this performance. Its a shame he had to get hurt early or this match could have been even better, let's hope he recovers soon.

Match rating - ***1/2

Naomi & Tamina attack The Bellas
YES! This was so well done that I almost thought it wasn't real. It also took me a minute to realize the full brilliance of it. Naomi is becoming a fantastic heel and Tamina's return was way more impactful than I expected. HOWEVER, this segment goes beyond that. I realized Naomi & Tamina were together only to not even notice the fact that they are family until Naomi mentioned it in her promo. I really hope this means The Usos return as heels and we get a full family stable out of them. This is getting extremely interesting and I hope it's leading to something. I love all the directions this could go.

7) Dolph Ziggler & Neville vs. Sheamus & Bad News Barrett
This went on late in the show so I was unsure how much time it'd get. Luckily, they got around 10 minutes and were able to deliver a very entertaining match. BNB & Sheamus isolate Ziggler which builds towards Ziggler's vicious superkick out of nowhere which led to Neville's hot tag. It was the definiton of a hot tag too! Neville gets more and more comfortable on Raw every single week and it shows in his performance. Just when you think he can get more crisp, he does. All the other guys were on their game here as well. Sheamus dumps Ziggler into the time keepers area, Neville running dropkicks Sheamus from the apron, Neville is on the top rope - MID AIR BULLHAMMER FROM BNB! Strong ending to a highly enjoyable contest.

Match rating - ***1/4

8) Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns
Orton & Reigns go through their stuff pretty quick although it's not too rushed despite the time constraints. The eventual interference takes place. Rollins, Kane, Jamie, & Joey attack Orton which cues a huge dive from Roman that I go crazy for every single time. The odds are still against Reigns & Orton though as Rollins avoided the bump. The Authority dominates until Dean Ambrose hits the ring to clean house. Reigns, Orton, & Ambrose are left standing. Reigns roars after nailing Rollins with a spear. Orton turns him around, RKO OUT OF NOWHERE! Orton has struck! Ambrose looks pissed! THROWBACK TO THE SHIELD DAYS! Ambrose turns Orton around, DIRTY DEEDS TO RANDY ORTON! Dean Ambrose is the last man standing. In one night, they've made him into the favorite to win the WWE Title at Payback, a match he wasn't even involved in when the night begin. OUTSTANDING booking and the perfect way to close the show.

Overall thoughts: So, yeah, this show ruled. It honestly could be the best Raw of the entire year as a whole. So many new stars were created and advanced into the next stage of their current runs. The New Day, Cesaro & Kidd, and Naomi & Tamina all entered the next phase of their careers on this night. New Day defeated Randy Orton & Roman Reigns, two top stars. That's something we haven't seen the tag team champions do in a LONG time. Cesaro & Kidd had their first night as babyfaces and got huge pops. Naomi & Tamina began a partnership that I feel is the start of something big in the form of a possible family stable also include The Usos and eventually, Roman Reigns. It's a stretch, but who would have ever thought that WWE would come up with the idea of putting Tamina with her sister-in-law Naomi and mentioning it in a promo? With that being said, I'm putting my faith in WWE on this one. Also on this night, Sami Zayn made his debut in front of his hometown where he was endorsed by Bret Hart and took John Cena to his limit. All of that was awesome however it was just the start. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins chronicled another chapter in their feud with yet ANOTHER MOTY candidate bout that saw Ambrose earn himself a WWE Title shot. After this show, everything feels right at the moment in WWE. I hope they keep this up and realize what a goldmine of a roster they have on their hands. They had 3 hours and it was packed with awesomeness. There was rarely a dull moment. It was so stacked that the final two matches including the main event were pushed for time and to think names such as Daniel Bryan & Luke Harper weren't even included on the show makes you realize how much potential WWE has to make an amazing show every week. Bottom line, check this week's episode out if you missed it. Although I'm sure I already sold you on it by now by giving it such high praise. Go ahead, WWE, you're doing fantastic right now.

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