Live from London, England this is the Raw Deal for episode #1039. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you're on Facebook please "Like" this post as well. Thank you.
The unique thing about this week's Raw (other than being taped several hours earlier in England) is that half of the crew was at a Smackdown house show in Wales on Monday night. That means a lot of people we usually see on Raw like Randy Orton, Sheamus, Big Show, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger and guys like that are not on this week's episode of Raw.
The opening video package focused on the match pitting The Shield against Undertaker, Kane & Daniel Bryan. It also featured the new rivalry between John Cena and Ryback.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield, which appears to be the permanent team on Raw now. As I've said the last couple of weeks I'm all for it because I think JBL is the best announcer in WWE right now.
Paul Heyman was shown in the ring. He introduced himself. The crowd cheered him for it. He spoke about Brock Lesnar attacking 3MB last week as well as the challenge to Triple H. There was a video that showed the Lesnar attack on 3MB that I loved so much. The match is Triple H vs. Lesnar in a steel cage match. Heyman said Triple H was not at Raw. He read an email from Triple H saying he'd be there next week. He called Hunter a gutless coward. It turns out that Triple H was there after all. Heyman was shocked when Triple H's music started to play. He sold it with a surprised look on his face.
Analysis: Heyman has always been a master of telling a story with his facial expressions. That's a big part of the wrestling business that fans don't focus on a lot. Selling means more than just what goes on in a match. You can "sell" during promos too.
Triple H told Heyman that he lied in that email. He also told Heyman to tell Lesnar that he accepts the steel cage match at Extreme Rules. Hunter ended it with a Pedigree on Heyman. The crowd loved it.
Analysis: I'm glad that Triple H didn't talk a lot there. He said a few things. Then he dropped Heyman face first into the mat. We don't need a 10 minute promo to go over the same points. This delivered a message without running too long. I liked it.
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match is coming up later. Love that.
The "Did You Know" told us that the WWE App has over 5 million downloads. Remember those episodes of Raw where they promoted the App dozens of times through the show? Now they barely do. I like it better that way.
Before the next match, R-Truth did his rap song on the way to the ring. Cesaro said "this is how it's done." Then he started yodeling. Is this the first rap vs. yodeling feud in wrestling history? I don't even want to know. My brain hurts just thinking about it.
R-Truth vs. Antonio Cesaro
I almost said this was non-title, but then I remembered that Cesaro lost the US Title last week. Cesaro hit an uppercut followed by a hard clothesline. Knee to the gut by Cesaro as the fans chanted "ole ole" since they're a rowdy bunch. Truth came back with clotheslines. A big right hand to the face set up a front suplex for two. Cesaro missed an attack, so Truth countered with the Little Jimmy after three minutes.
Analysis: * Too short for my liking. Cesaro didn't even get to hit some of his signature spots that I love seeing. I'm not sure what Cesaro did to piss off management because he's lost way too many matches in the last few months after he was pushed strongly. Truth got the non-title win on Barrett last week. He got another win this week. Truth is just an average babyface performer. He's not going generate that much interest from the audience. I wish they invested that kind of time in newer people or at least different ones that we don't see as often. Where's Christian? He has to be healthy by now. I'd rather see him in this spot in the midcard.
Outside the arena, a helicopter was shown arriving. It was The Shield. That's a creative way to give them an entrance. They hopped into a car that would take them to the arena.
Brodus Clay, Sweet T and the Funkadactyls made their entrance. Clay's in singles action after the break.
Damien Sandow (w/Cody Rhodes) vs. Brodus Clay (w/Sweet T, Cameron & Naomi)
There was a guy in the audience dressed like Sandow. It was great. Cole admitted that 00 was his number in basketball, so JBL said that was Cole's scoring average too. Well played. Clay hit a body slam on Sandow. The fans chanted "Albert" early on in the match. The crowd started humming the Fandango theme song too. Good for them. Sandow hit a neckbreaker variation to regain the momentum. The Elbow of Disdain drew a good reaction. Clay hit an overhead suplex. The crowd was chanting "JBL" because Clay is not an exciting performer. Rhodes distracted Clay, Sandow used the top rope to stun Clay and then he followed up with a rollup using the tights to win the match after four minutes.
Winner: Damien Sandow
Analysis: 1/2* I was hoping this feud would be finished following the Raw after WrestleMania, but that didn't happen. It was a boring match. I don't think Clay has ever had a match that I enjoyed. At least it was short.
There was a video from two weeks ago when Dolph Ziggler won the World Title from Alberto Del Rio by cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase. It's official at Extreme Rules: Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Title. Ziggler will retain.
Backstage, Dolph was chatting with his girlfriend AJ Lee while the World Title was placed on a ladder. Big E Langston was there making things awkward, so he left. Dolph kissed AJ as Vickie Guerrero showed up with her assistant Brad Maddox. Vickie told Dolph that if he lost to Chris Jericho later on Raw then his match at Extreme Rules will be a fatal four way rather than a triple threat match. Vickie and Brad left while Dolph and AJ weren't happy with that.
There was a video about last week's Raw when CM Punk walked away. I wrote about it in the Monday Headlines column on TJRWrestling.com. Basically, we don't know when he'll be back. On this week's Raw, Cole just said they don't know what's going to happen with Punk.
The Shield cut a promo. Dean Ambrose talked about how for 20 years the Undertaker has been handing out his brand of justice. He didn't know when he was given that right. Ambrose mentioned it was the first time Undertaker was going to have a match on Raw in three years. He said they're the law. Seth Rollins said they're going to make their greatest statement. Ambrose said that Undertaker will know what justice tastes like for the first time in his life. Reigns just said "believe in The Shield." That was the end of that.
Analysis: Ambrose spoke for about 80% of the promo, which is smart. He's definitely the best talker in the group. Reigns barely said anything. Rollins spoke a bit more than him. Of course we've seen Undertaker get destroyed many times over his career, but like usual we have to forget about all of those attacks.
Chris Jericho made his entrance to a very loud reaction from the crowd. Jericho is one of the most beloved wrestlers among the casual fans as well as the "smart" internet crowd that was at this week's Raw. We appreciate hard work. It also helps that he's been interacting with fans online since the late 1990s. I've been a Jerichoholic going on 15 years. It's always great to see him in action. His match with Dolph Ziggler is after the break.
Dolph Ziggler got a huge reaction for his entrance, so that was nice to hear.
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Big E Langston & AJ Lee)
This is not for Ziggler's World Title. They did a lot of quick exchanges early on with neither guy getting the advantage until Jericho hit a dropkick to the back of Ziggler's head. They went to break a couple of minutes into the match with Ziggler on the floor.
Back from break, Langston got a cheap shot on Jericho. The crowd was humming the Fandango song as Ziggler hit a neckbreaker. Elbow by Ziggler. The announcers said that Cole is the only one that AJ has turned down as a way to put her over as a slut. Jericho hit a backslide for two, which led to Ziggler hitting a clothesline to regain control. Jericho hit a back suplex to break out of the sleeper hold. Jericho did his comeback including a chop off the top rope. Forearm to the face by Jericho. "Come on baby!" That's vintage Jericho. Enziguiri by Jericho got a two count. Bulldog by Jericho. AJ on the apron. Jericho went for the Lionsault, so Langston hit a punch to the head without the ref seeing it. Ziggler covered for two. Ziggler applied the sleeper hold. Jericho countered by falling backwards. Ziggler hit a nice DDT for two while the crowd was doing the wave. Bad time for it crowd! This is a great match and they're doing the wave? Come on. Do it when there's something boring going on. They didn't even react to that nearfall.
Jericho made a comeback with the Lionsault, but Ziggler got his knees up. Fameasser by Ziggler got a two count. Great nearfall there. Jericho wanted the Walls of Jericho, but Ziggler fought out of it. Jericho tripped up Ziggler on the top rope. Superplex by Jericho. Jericho came back with the Codebreaker. Instead of covering right away he celebrated the move. He hooked the near leg, so Ziggler put his left leg on the bottom rope. AJ & Langston tried to interfere, but Jericho fought them off. Walls of Jericho by Jericho. That led to the music of Fandango beginning to play. The crowd was dancing along with it. It continued to play as Ziggler made it to the ropes. Jericho was looking at the entrance. No Fandango in sight. Ziggler kicked Jericho in the leg and then hit the Zig Zag to win the match after 17 minutes.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: ***1/2 Is it a surprise that this was an excellent match? No. Of course not. Their chemistry is great. There were a lot of believable nearfalls that the crowd bought into, which is the sign of an entertaining match. I'm actually surprised that a champion won a non-title match since it's so rare on Raw. I don't care if Ziggler has to cheat to win. That's part of being a heel with allies at ringside. It's better for him to win by cheating than losing non-title matches on a regular basis. Jericho isn't hurt by the loss because he had to deal with two people outside the ring plus the music of Fandango randomly playing at the end of the match. When I was looking at Fozzy's schedule about a week ago I noticed he had time off around May 19 - the date of Extreme Rules. That match finish will likely lead to another Fandango/Jericho match at that event.
It was announced on WWE.com that John Cena will defend the 50 year old WWE Championship against Ryback at Extreme Rules. The same Ryback that hasn't won a PPV match since the summer gets a title match. I don't know why they decide to build up opponents by booking them to lose so often.
Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to Mick Foley - go buy the new DVD. He said a guy like Ryback doesn't blame himself for his own shortcomings. That's why he blames a guy like Cena. Foley also said that Extreme Rules is his favorite night of the year. That's clearly a lie, but Foley's good enough that we can believe it. They went to break.
Cody Rhodes and Sweet T were in the ring for their match. At least we didn't have to watch the intros again.
Cody Rhodes (w/Damien Sandow) vs. Sweet T (w/Brodus Clay & The Funkadactyls)
The graphic actually said "Tensai" but I'm going to roll with the Sweet T name. Sweet T hit a delayed butterfly suplex. He literally held Rhodes up for about 15 seconds. I didn't time it. You have to trust me. Rhodes came back with a neckbreaker. Rhodes hit a jawbreaker followed by the Disaster Kick for a two count. Rhodes played with his mustache because you know you're jealous of it. Naomi really does have a nice booty. Don't blame me for noticing it. The camera was on it. Rhodes missed a corner attack, so he went into the turnbuckle. Clothesline by Sweet T followed by a monkey flip? Odd move for him, but it worked! Rolling senton in the corner by Sweet T. Sandow tried to interfere. Clay cut him off. Sweet T hit a Baldo Bomb followed by a running senton splash for the win after four minutes. JBL: "It's like a flying sofa." Good description.
Winner: Sweet T
Analysis: 1/2* He avenged the loss of his partner earlier in the show. It was filler basically. I really hope this feud is over. Sandow & Rhodes need a better direction than this.
Daniel Bryan and Kane were talking in the locker room. Bryan wanted to know where Undertaker was. Kane said he doesn't need to worry. Kane said that Undertaker doesn't carry a cell phone. Bryan claimed he had diagrams (DIAGRAMS!) that were part of the plan for the match. Kane said he can't show Undertaker the diagrams. Kane also said that whatever Bryan does he can't give Undertaker a hug. Bryan promised. Just as they were about to leave, they were attacked by the Shield. The camera was on the floor showing Bryan & Kane on the ground with a chair on them. It was a very quick attack that took about five seconds.
Analysis: The diagrams part was pretty funny. The attack was brief and the announcers went silent for it.
They aired a "Smackdown Rebound" video. They haven't done that in a long time. Years? I dunno. It feels like it's been years. I guess this is what you do when half of the roster isn't there and you have time to fill. If you want some thoughts on the Henry/Show vs. Sheamus/Orton match as well as the rest of the show check out Andrew Johnson's Smacking of Smackdown column on TJRWrestling because it's great.
Ryback spoke to Josh Mathews backstage. It's like a Tough Enough reunion. Ryback complained about how Cena didn't save him from The Shield so many times. That's why he didn't save Cena last week. Ryback says when he looks in the mirror he sees the next WWE Champion. He mentioned going out to the ring to discuss things with Mick Foley. "Ryback Rules" is what he said to end the promo.
Analysis: He spoke for about one minute. That's smart. We don't need to hear too much from him. What are his odds of winning the WWE Title at Extreme Rules? I'd say about 0.1%. They have a lot of time to build him up as a contender, so that's what they're going to do. I'd like to see Ryback get a manager. It doesn't have to be Paul Heyman. There are other options.
Big E Langston made his entrance alone. I thought Dolph and AJ would be with him, but they are not there. He has a theme song of his own in case you're wondering. He's in a match after the break.
There was a plug for WWE.com as they celebrate 50 years of the WWE Championship.
Big E Langston vs. Zack Ryder
Ryder got his entrance, but he wasn't wearing any merchandise on his way to the ring. A kid at ringside was, however. Back body drop by Langston. Langston hit three backbreakers in a row. Shoulder attack in the corner by Langston. Ryder made a brief comeback with a dropkick off the middle rope. Langston came back with a clothesline. The Big Ending by Langston finished off Ryder in about two minutes. Langston held the pin for about ten seconds.
Winner: Big E Langston
Analysis: The long pin by Langston is something he's done in NXT for a while although he's a babyface on that show. He encourages the fans to count to five with him. It was a showcase match to put over Langston. As for Ryder, he had a youtube video on the weekend where it looked like he might be turning heel. No sign of that here.
The Shield vs. Undertaker, Kane & Daniel Bryan is up next.
The Undertaker made his entrance to a thunderous ovation. It's cool to see him in a match on Raw because it's been three years since the last time he had a Raw match. I'm pretty sure he's only there because CM Punk is off, so they need some more star power. I doubt Undertaker will wrestle again this year. I wouldn't be opposed to it. I just feel like it's unlikely. There was a huge pop when he took his hood off. I love this crowd.
The Shield made their entrance. Why are they coming out before Undertaker's partners? I have no idea. As The Shield circled The Undertaker, Kane's music hit and the tag team champions entered the arena. The babyface team cleared the ring. The match begins after the break.
Analysis: They obviously did it that way to generate a big pop, but if they're in a six man tag match shouldn't they come out right after their partner? That's how every tag match is done. I'm not saying they failed to get a big reaction. It was huge. I just think it's silly how they entered the ring out of order. I guess the logic behind it is that Kane & Bryan were injured, so we weren't sure if they would be in the match. I still think it's a bit of a reach.
The Undertaker, Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns)
Bryan and Ambrose started off the match with the crowd chanting "yes" for Bryan's offense. Kane tagged in with a leg drop. Undertaker tagged in as I'm sure Ambrose was marking out privately at this moment. Clothesline by Undertaker. He wanted the Old School Clothesline (so did the crowd), but Ambrose fought out of it. Undertaker hit the Old School Clothesline to a big reaction for two. Crowd chanted "you still got it" for Undertaker as he brought in Kane. Bryan hit a running dropkick on Reigns, who was also the legal man for his team. The babyface team was working well together. Reigns got an elbow on Kane followed by a flying forearm. Ambrose and Rollins each hit dropkicks on Kane. The Shield isolated Kane in their corner. Reigns had Kane in a headlock, so Kane countered with a back suplex. Rollins missed with a top rope attack, so Kane tagged in Bryan. Loud "yes" chants for Bryan's kicks on Rollins. Bryan hit a leaping clothesline which Rollins sold by doing a flip because he's awesome. Hard kick to the face by Bryan got a two count. Bryan gave Rollins a back body drop over the top rope. Bryan hit the "flying goat" dive between top/middle ropes to knock Rollins down. Missile dropkick by Bryan. Corner dropkick attack missed because Rollins moved out of the way. They went to break with Bryan in trouble in the corner.
Analysis: It was ten minutes into the match as they went to break. Kane got worked over early on. Now it is Bryan's turn. It means a long match. I loved the action up to this point. The crowd was into it chanting a lot of things and showing a lot of love for the babyface team.
Back from break, Reigns knocked down Bryan with a chop. Rollins gave Bryan a hard whip into the corner. Rollins stared at Undertaker. Undertaker did the throat slash motion at him. Crowd loved that. Undertaker's the master of intimidation. Ambrose decked Bryan with a clothesline. Ambrose used his legs to position Bryan in the air so that Rollins could come off the top rope with a knee drop for two. Reigns tagged in and missed an attack in the corner. The crowd supported Bryan as he got the hot tag to Undertaker. Undertaker destroyed everybody. Corner clothesline on Ambrose followed by Snake Eyes, the big boot and the leg drop for two. He choked Rollins and Ambrose at the same time, which set up the spot where Reigns hit a Spear out of nowhere. Undertaker kicked out at two. Reigns was shocked that he kicked out. Rollins tagged in, but Undertaker hit a leaping clothesline on him. Kane hit a big boot followed by the sidewalk slam on Rollins. Top rope clothesline by Kane. Rollins escaped the clothesline and hit a leaping kick. Ambrose tagged in, but Kane ended up giving him a Chokeslam. Bryan tagged in. He went to the top. Reigns knocked him down. Four guys were brawling outside the ring as Bryan and Ambrose fought inside the ring. Bryan went for the top rope headbutt on Ambrose. Ambrose moved. He covered Bryan, held his legs and that was enough to win the match after 20 minutes.
Winners: The Shield
Analysis: ***3/4 Outstanding tag team match. They got a lot of time. They used all of the regular tricks that I like to see in tag matches. Undertaker wasn't in the ring too much, which is smart because it kept him fresh and allowed for all of his signature spots to generate a huge reaction. The finish fell a little flat to me because I think it would have meant more if Ambrose hit his finisher to win the match. It didn't hurt the match that much. I'm just saying it would have helped if there was more of an impactful finish in that situation. The Shield continues to be booked like major stars, which is wonderful to see. No complaints with how they have been booked.
All of this will likely set up a tag team title match at Extreme Rules where I expect The Shield to win the tag team titles. That would lead to them using the "Freebird Rule" that would allow them to pick any two members to defend the tag titles.
Later on Raw, Mick Foley confronts Ryback.
As we returned to the show, the announcers talked about The Rock's tweets. He's having surgery for his torn abdomen.
In the locker room, Mick Foley talked to John Cena. Cena was worried about Foley talking to Ryback face to face. Foley said he's not the type of guy to walk away. Foley said it was something he had to do. He asked Cena to respect his decision. Cena said okay and told Foley to take this (a steel chair) with you. Foley held the chair in his hand as the segment ended.
Fandango made his entrance. His dancer this week was NXT diva Summer Rae, who is very gorgeous. The crowd danced along to the music. They also hummed along with the song. He's in a match after the break.
The opponent for Fandango? England native William Regal. He got a very good babyface reaction from the crowd.
Fandango vs. William Regal
As Fandango did some dancing, Regal did some mock dancing. The crowd loved it. Regal with a back body drop. Regal hit a series of forearm shots to the head. Fandango came back with a cheap kick to the head. Fandango then hit his finisher out of nowhere for the victory. It went about two minutes.
Post match, Fandango said his catchphrase: "It's Faaaaan-daaaan-goooo!" You have to let the A's breathe, my friends.
Analysis: That could have been really good if they got five to ten minutes. Putting Regal in a match in front of the England fans is smart. Before it could get going the match ended suddenly. That's a shame. Fandango does need wins, so I don't mind that part. I just wish Regal was in a longer match.
As Fandango was dancing at the top of the ramp, Chris Jericho attacked him from behind. Jericho threw him off the ramp onto the floor beside the ramp, so it was a very short drop. Fandango went crashing into the railing by the fans. Jericho extended his hand to the dancer. The Fandango music played as Jericho dipped her. Fandango looked angry.
Analysis: That was a creative way to keep the feud going.
There's a divas battle royal up next. They only had five women pictured for it.
The Divas Champion Kaitlyn was at the announce table with the Divas Title. She looked VERY nice. The generic divas music played as five women made their entrance. Apparently the Bellas were disqualified because they cheated last week. When does that ever happen? Long term planning would be nice. I'm told that they were in New York promoting the new WWE Divas show that will be premiering on E! channel soon. I didn't miss them, but I'm sure John Cena missed Boobs Bella.
Divas Battle Royal: AJ Lee vs. Aksana vs. Tamina vs. Naomi vs. Layla
AJ jumped into Tamina's arm as if she was going to kiss her, so Tamina said enough of this and dropped her with a superkick. Layla kicked Aksana in the head to eliminate her. The announcers didn't even notice it. Naomi hit her "Rear View" jumping butt attack move. Tamina eliminated Naomi in a sloppy exchange by the ropes. AJ was still knocked out in the ring as Tamina & Layla were battling it out to no heat. I guess Layla being English doesn't matter to the fans. Layla kicked Tamina out of the ring to eliminate her. Layla tried to pick up AJ, but AJ was selling it as if she was still knocked out. Crowd is so dead for this. Layla finally got her up, so AJ kicked Layla in the ribs and knocked her out of the ring to win the match. It went about three minutes.
Winner: AJ Lee
Analysis: DUD That was not a good battle royal. There were some sloppy eliminations and the crowd didn't care even with a British woman in the match like Layla. AJ's win was crafty because she acted like she was hurt even though she wasn't, but the match was lacking in terms of action. We'll get that Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee match at Extreme Rules most likely. I think a title change is very possible. They need to give Kaitlyn a chance to deliver promos or do something to stand out because right now she's playing the same generic character that most WWE babyface divas are. Some kind of character development would be nice. The divas division is as bad as it has ever been right now. What a shame.
There were clips of the next WWE Films offering called No One Lives that features Brodus Clay. He's actually in the trailer and he dies early in it.
Mick Foley was shown walking backstage. The main event of the show is a promo.
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley made his entrance in a suit jacket (no flannel) and a steel chair in his hands. There was a brief clip from the Hall of Fame ceremony where Foley was honored two weeks ago.
Main Event Promo Time with Foley, Ryback & Cena
Foley said that he didn't come out there with the intention of getting into a confrontation, yet there he was in London, England (cheap pop). Foley said he's standing in the ring with something to say, so the only thing missing is Ryback. Ryback entered the arena.
Ryback entered the ring with a lot of intensity. They should change his music because it's too much of a babyface song. Foley said he's a Hall of Famer. He took on the biggest, baddest and best in the business. Whether it was a tooth stuck up his nose or his ear being ripped off - he found a way to get back up. And that's why we love him. Foley said if he goes down at the hands of Ryback he may not get back. He chose to reason with Ryback by showing footage up on the screen.
We saw a clip of last Monday's Raw when Cena challenged Ryback and instead of a physical confrontation we saw Ryback walk away. Then Ryback chose to not help Cena when he was attacked by The Shield. We needed to see this again? No we did not. WWE loves showing the same things over and over.
Ryback said he loves what he did. Foley wondered what happened to the old Ryback that chanted "feed me more." Ryback said "you better be careful what you wish for because you might just get it." So generic. So lame. Foley said he had no idea how many times he was left alone in the ring. He didn't spout statistics or chart graphs - he did the best he could. On three separate occasions that made him the WWE Champion. Foley said it was inevitable that Ryback will be the WWE Champion one day. He said Ryback had the physical tools to dominate. Foley told Ryback to wake up.
Ryback told him to shut up. Year after year Foley sticks his nose in other people's business. Ryback wondered why Foley was out there to relive his glory days. To sell some more DVDs? He said it's a results oriented business. Then why is he getting a title match since he doesn't win PPV matches and didn't even win at WrestleMania? He said he wants to be WWE Champion. He called Cena "Super Cena" a few times. Ryback didn't care if people had a problem with that. He told the fans to shut up. He called Foley a fat, pathetic, lazy bastard. He wondered how the steel chair could protect Foley against Ryback. Foley said "you tell me" and held up the chair. The crowd chanted for Foley. Ryback threw the chair away.
John Cena made his entrance to his music. Foley left the ring. The Shield's music started up. They walked down to the ring. Cena stood on the apron while Ryback was in the ring. Cena walked up the ramp as The Shield made their way to ringside. Why couldn't Ryback just leave too? Because it's not in the script. That's why. I'm shooting! Oh no. Okay back to the show.
The Shield attacked Ryback for a few seconds. Cena ran back into the ring with the steel chair in his hands. He knocked all three members of The Shield out of the ring. They escaped before they could do any damage. Cena threw the chair down. Ryback glanced at the chair, so Cena gave Ryback the Attitude Adjustment. Just like that? They didn't even throw punches before hit the move. That felt very rushed. Cena walked up the ramp as the show came to a close.
Analysis: I thought Ryback's promo was pretty bad. They need to get him a manager soon because he really looked lost during his speech. I don't mind him as a character. It's just that he shouldn't be out there delivering main event promos. If a guy is a below average talker then don't have him talk. You're trying to sell a PPV main event match. When he was challenging CM Punk for the WWE Title he barely spoke. I don't think he's good enough on the microphone to sell a major match.
Mick Foley's role in this is similar to his role any time they use him. He's there to get a good reaction from the fans, tell the heel that they are mean and then try to get people to like Cena because like usual Cena came out to save him. It's been done many times before. I think the fans were into the Foley/Ryback confrontation. Why? Because Foley's one of the best talkers ever and knows how to build up a match or in this case a verbal sparring session.
I have low expectations for Cena vs. Ryback at Extreme Rules. I know they will probably do the match dozens of times at house shows in the build up to the PPV, but I don’t think their styles will mesh well. It would be wise for them to have a No Holds Barred stipulation or something that allows them to brawl around the ring.
Three Stars of the Show
1. The Undertaker - It's rare to see him in a match on Raw, so he gets a spot.
2. Dolph Ziggler
3. Chris Jericho
7 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2013 Average: 5.59
2013 High: 8 (April 8)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 8, 6, 5.5, 4
It was one of the better editions of Raw this year. The only two I ranked higher were two weeks ago after WrestleMania and that 8 out of 10 score was largely because the crowd made it so fun. The other show above it was the 7.5 on February 25 that featured the epic John Cena vs. CM Punk match.
Two awesome matches carried this show. The Ziggler/Jericho match as well as the six man tag match were both outstanding. We're not used to seeing two matches of that caliber on Raw on a regular basis, so we should enjoy them while we can. I think the limited roster played a part in it because they had three hours to fill. I'm not complaining. I wish every episode of Raw had one or two matches get over 15 minutes of in-ring time because it would really help the show.
It was great seeing Undertaker in action. I'm sure some people thought he'd get taken out by The Shield to end the segment. I don't think that's necessary, though. He'll go away because he's Undertaker and he's not around full time anymore. We get it. Enjoy the treat of a Raw match while you can. Maybe that was his last Raw match ever? We don't know. I'm glad it was so enjoyable.
The crowd was a lot of fun. I expected them to react to everything very well because that's what the wonderful English fans do.
We'll bring it home with a plug.
Please visit TJRWrestling.com every day for more work from me as well as our talented team of columnists. Some of our recent columns have been about Trish Stratus, the wrestling business on the internet, tournaments in wrestling and more.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org