The Shield entered the arena to open the show. Dean Ambrose had to defend the US Title in a 20 minute battle royal to start the show. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were not in the match. They watched from outside the ring.
20 Man Battle Royal Match for the United States Championship
There were some big names in the match like Big Show, Sheamus, Mark Henry and Dolph Ziggler. Big Show tossed out Xavier Woods as the first elimination. Zack Ryder was the next one out. Lawler doesn't think anybody can eliminate Henry, who never seems to win any battle royal yet Lawler has been saying that for like 20 years. Big Show eliminated Titus O'Neil and then he threw Sin Cara by pressing him above his hand before tossing him out. Sandow was close to being eliminated by Sheamus, who moved away from a Slater attack and that led to Slater knocking Gabriel out. They went to break 7 minutes into the match.
I turned on the WWE App during the break. Sheamus eliminated Slater after his ten forearm shots to the chest. Not much else happened.
Back from break, Big Show and Mark Henry had to deal with others eliminating them, but they fought out of the corner. Henry faced off with Show, which led to Show hitting a Chokeslam. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Show, so everybody else worked together to eliminate Big Show. Then they all gathered together to eliminate Mark Henry. Fandango and Kofi Kingston were both eliminated by Ambrose. Goldust and Cody each got tossed out. Cody knocked out Goldust by accident (according to Cole) and then Rybaxel got rid of Cody. Santino eliminated Ziggler after the Cobra Strike. Axel knocked out Santino, so five are left.
The final five are Ambrose, Axel, Ryback, Sheamus and Swagger. Sheamus was destroying Rybaxel, but then Ryback nailed Sheamus with a Powerbomb. Ambrose eliminated Axel with a back body drop. Ryback brawled with Ambrose on the apron, which was won by Ambrose after a dropkick to the knee. Swagger was eliminated by Ambrose following a battle by the ropes. When Ambrose turned around, Sheamus destroyed him with a Brogue Kick. He dumped Ambrose over the top to win the match after 16 minutes.
Winner and New US Champion: Sheamus
Sheamus celebrated with the US Title and walked up the ramp quickly. It's his second time as US Champion.
Analysis: **1/2 It was a good battle royal. Ambrose's 351 day US Title reign is over. There were some cool moments when they eliminated Big Show as a group and also Mark Henry. Ambrose looked like he was going to retain it, but after Sheamus nailed him with the Brogue Kick that was it. Sheamus is an interesting pick. I don't have a problem with it. Now that there's only one World Title a guy like Sheamus holding the US Title gives it some credibility. Hopefully they book him as a credible champion. He's rumored to turn heel in a month or two, so it'll likely happen while he's the US Champ.
Triple H showed up on the entrance ramp to tell The Shield that those three were extremely lucky at Extreme Rules. Hunter said it would be The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family later on Raw, so Hunter told them maybe their luck has run out.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield were talking about things that have happened of late. We'll get more on Bray Wyatt's story and also Bad News Barrett vs. Big E in an IC Title rematch.
There was an Adam Rose video. It's party time all the time. He debuts on Raw tonight and he's even on the Raw Deal banner, so congrats to him.
Backstage, the lovely Renee Young interviewed new US Champion Sheamus. He said since he returned from injury things haven't gone according to plan, but tonight was the perfect time for the Celtic Warrior to step up. She asked if he had anything to say to Dean Ambrose. He said: "No hard feelings, fella" and walked away smiling.
Analysis: That's just a subtle way to suggest that the heel turn is coming.
They showed pictures from Extreme Rules. They can't show a video when it's on their own WWE Network?
Daniel Bryan was talking with his wife Brie Bella when Stephanie McMahon showed up. She mentioned that what happened at Extreme Rules angered Kane. Stephanie told Bryan to stay in the locker room until his match. After she closed the door, Kane's red mask was hanging on the back of it.
Analysis: The Bryan/Kane feud isn't over. Apparently we're supposed to think he only has one mask too.
Rob Van Dam entered for a match. His opponent is Cesaro after the break.
The WWE App won a Webby Award. I have the WWE App. It's really not that special.
The great Paul Heyman appeared on the stage to mention that his client Brock Lesnar conquered The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania. He introduced "The Swiss Superman, The King of Extreme" Cesaro.
Cesaro w/Paul Heyman vs. Rob Van Dam
RVD has a black eye on his left eye due to the garbage can that hit him during his match on Sunday. Cesaro hit a backbreaker for two. RVD came back with a jumping kick off the top and then the Rolling Thunder. Cesaro came back by targeting the left eye of RVD, but then RVD dumped him over the top rope. RVD hit a somersault dive over the top to take out Cesaro on the floor. Standing moonsault by RVD and then a leg drop in the ring got him a two count. Cesaro dumped RVD face first into the top turnbuckle. The crowd was chanting for CM Punk. Clothesline by Cesaro sent RVD over the top to the floor. You know it's time for that vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Cesaro was still in control of the action. RVD got a couple of nearfalls. Boot to the face by RVD and he went for a springboard attack, but Cesaro hit an uppercut to knock him down for a two count. A running uppercut in the corner by Cesaro got a two count. Cesaro did three gutwrench suplexes in a row for two. Cesaro tripped up RVD on the top, but RVD kicked him in the head. With RVD hanging upside down, Cesaro destroyed him with a series of punches to the face for the DQ because he wouldn't stop and then he hit a boot to the face. The match went 12 minutes.
Winner by DQ: Rob Van Dam
After it was over, Heyman told him to stop because he might get suspended. RVD was selling it like he had a tough time seeing after the match. Doctors tended to him while Cesaro went up the ramp with Heyman.
Analysis: ** They were on their way to having a solid match, but the finish wasn't well done. It was a flat ending. The crowd didn't react well to it. It's rare to see a DQ finish like that with a guy going after an eye. At least it led to Cesaro getting booed, which is the goal for a heel. Apparently this feud is continuing even though Cesaro beat him in the triple threat on Sunday.
The announcers talked about a $25 gift card option for WWE Network if you can get a friend to sign up.
The Wyatt Family logo appeared on screen and Bray let us know that they're here.
Bray Wyatt was in the ring in the rocking chair with Erick Rowan & Luke Harper at his side. The lights were off aside from a light shining on him. He believed Abigail when she told him that Bray would change the world. Wyatt said the world they lived in had wicked ways about it. People in his life referred to him as a "nobody" so he started laughing. Those people made this glorious day so sweet for him. "Last night I, Bray Wyatt, became somebody." Wyatt said Cena was personified by a singing child. They showed the clip of the creepy kid singing to Cena at the end of the match. It was reported that the kid is the son of former WWE employee Jameson, so if you were wondering there ya go.
Wyatt said Cena couldn't fool the children. Their ears are eager to hear and minds are eager to learn. Wyatt said Cena's right when he calls him a monster "and oh how cruel I can be." Wyatt claimed that he wishes to watch the world burn. He said the world will be reborn in his image. He kept on ranting about how he did this for everybody and every day forward "John Cena stands alone and alone he shall fall." Wyatt told the children they never had to be alone ever again. They'll remember him not as a monster, but for what he truly is: a God. It was singing time: "He's got the whole world in his hands..." and so on.
Analysis: That was about five minutes of Wyatt talking. Like usual he did a great job with it and showed why he's one of the few guys in WWE that can pull off a monologue style promo. Calling himself a God is similar to something other heels have done over the years. That will get him booed as long as he keeps doing it. The feud with Cena will likely lead to a third match at Payback.
Coming up later it's Barrett vs. Big E and Shield vs. Wyatt Family.
Cody Rhodes w/Goldust vs. Ryback w/Curtis Axel
Rhodes ducked down, so Ryback went over the top to the floor. The announcers talked about Rybaxel being on a roll even though they lost a tag title match on Raw last week. Ryback hit a back elbow to Cody's face and then he hit three suplexes including a third one that was delayed. Ryback whipped Cody hard into the corner and then he hit a splash for two. The crowd was dead for this, so Goldust got the crowd fired up. Spinebuster by Ryback. Cody avoided a splash out of the corner and made his comeback with a running clothesline. He wanted a Disaster Kick, but Ryback caught him. Cody fought out of that and connected with a Disaster Kick followed by a springboard dropkick. Cody was on the top rope, Axel tried to interfere, Goldust tried to stop him, Axel drove Goldy into the post, Cody lost his balance and Ryback hit Shellshock to win after 6 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ryback
Analysis: *1/2 The match wasn't that great. Ryback's offense is very boring. The crowd just doesn't care. Cody's comeback was nice with the well placed Disaster Kick, but it couldn't save it. Another week where Cody and Goldust have a problem, which will likely lead to Cody going back into the heel role. I'd rather see Cody as face. He's done the heel thing enough.
Backstage, more acting with concerned wife Brie Bella. Bryan told her to just stay close to him. The lights went off. A light shined showing Kane's mask. Bryan and Brie walked out of a hallway where they walked into Stephanie McMahon. She noticed Brie was shaking, so she said she would have their car brought up to the building.
Analysis: Angle alert with the car! That scene in the dressing room was pretty cheesy.
Los Matadores and El Torito were in the ring celebrating Cinco De Mayo. They were there to celebrate Torito's win from Extreme Rules. Torito threw some candy into the crowd. 3MB's music hit.
Heath Slater said you can't have a party without 3MB as he arrived with Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal and Hornswoggle. He was there to call a truce. Jinder told them to speak English. There was a "USA" chant. McIntyre said if they don't choose to accept their offer of peace they will have to spoil the party. Torito gave Hornswoggle some candy, but Hornswoggle punched him. They brawled again. Los Matadores dumped all three 3MB guys out of the ring. Torito put Hornswoggle on his shoulders, did a spin and gave him a Gore to the back to knock him out of the ring. JBL did the over the top thing of saying how great of a rivalry this is.
Analysis: What's there to say? It was bad. I wish I had those five minutes back. I'm not saying that because they're little people. I'm saying it because it was an awful wrestling segment that was a waste of time. There are 20-30 guys back there that would love those five minutes on TV, but instead that's what we get. Why? I don't know. It wasn't even funny.
They plugged other stuff coming up that will thankfully better than that.
Kofi Kingston was in the ring looking ready to lose a match. At least he's ready for it.
The ravishing Russian Lana appeared on the ramp to put over Vladimir Putin by saying he made fools out of everyone. They put Putin's face on the video screen. She introduced Rusev. It said only "Rusev" during his entrance so maybe he's dumping his first name.
Rusev vs. Kofi Kingston
He destroyed Kingston early on with an impressive belly to belly suplex. Kingston got some kicks in and even a cross body block for two. Rusev hit a fallaway slam, but Kingston landed on his feet. He went for a cross body block, Rusev caught him and gave him a fallaway slam. Lana called for the crush. Powerslam by Rusev. Accolade submission by Rusev and Kingston tapped out after about three minutes.
Winner by submission: Rusev
Analysis: The ring announcer Justin Roberts said "Alexander Rusev" when he announced the winner, so maybe the first name is there. Just another typical win for Rusev. At least looking at Lana for a few minutes helped make me forget that terrible Cinco de Mayo segment from earlier.
The announcers mentioned WWE Network is now on Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Bryan walked with Brie and she entered the passenger seat. He slowly entered the driver's seat. There was a camera in their car. Stephanie showed up, which freaked out Brie and she told him he had to have a match right now. If he didn't he'd be in breach of contract and would be stripped of his title. Bryan told Brie they should go.
Analysis: There's a camera in the car? At least they did a good job of teasing that Kane was going to show up. Not yet.
Alberto Del Rio was in the ring to face Daniel Bryan. Bryan entered along with Brie. She's getting a lot of screen time tonight. It's like an episode of Total Divas. Loud "yes" chants from the crowd during his entrance.
Daniel Bryan w/Brie Bella vs. Alberto Del Rio
This is non-title, of course. Del Rio was in control for a couple of minutes. Bryan unloaded with a series of kicks and even stumbled after doing his backflip off the top rope. Clothesline by Bryan. Kicks to the chest by Bryan, but Del Rio came back with the Backstabber for two. Low dropkick by Del Rio sent Bryan to the floor. Del Rio threw Bryan into the barricade. It's time for the vintage floor to commercial break four minutes into the match.
Back from break, Del Rio hit a German suplex. Del Rio was softening up the left arm of Bryan. Del Rio went to the top for nothing and Bryan chopped him in the chest to counter. The fight went to the floor where Del Rio dropped Bryan chest first onto the barricade. Del Rio hit a DDT, which isn't a move he always does. Del Rio lowered his knee pad to deliver the side kick, but Bryan moved. He removes the knee pad for what reason? Always found that odd. They exchanged punches and kicks, which was a battle Bryan won and a drop toe hold gave him control until Del Rio fought back. Corner clothesline. They battled on the top rope, which Bryan won by knocking Del Rio off. Top rope headbutt for two as JBL kept talking about how Bryan was hurting from the night before. Bryan hit two corner dropkicks in a row. Flying Goat dive by Bryan outside the ring. Bryan went to the top, but Bryan nailed him with an enziguiri kick for two. Del Rio wanted the Cross Armbreaker, but Bryan applied the Yes Lock and Del Rio tapped out. Bryan won after 16 minutes.
Winner by submission: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ***1/4 This show needed a really good match like that. There were so many boring segments before it that I really liked this match a lot, possibly more than normal because of what happened earlier on Raw. Del Rio barely gets to be on TV yet they booked him to go 15 minutes with the champ. This probably should have been a five minute win for Bryan. They did push the idea that Bryan was hurting, so that's why Del Rio was close to winning. Nobody believed Del Rio had a chance.
As Bryan was celebrating with Brie, Kane's music started up as the arena went to black. Kane didn't show up. Bryan and Brie ran backstage to their conveniently placed car. Bryan jumped into the car. The car wasn't starting. He opened the hood to see that there was a wire unplugged. Kane was in the back seat of the car. Brie screamed like a crazy woman. Bryan tried to fight him off. Brie just kept screaming. Kane was trying to grab him on the roof of the car, so Bryan drove away and Kane went smack onto the cement. Bryan looked back at him. Brie kept screaming. Bryan drove away.
Analysis: Poor Daniel Bryan getting booked in a bad segment like that. Just put him in matches. It's not that hard. This "story" is hurting him. His title reign is going to suffer because of it. Brie's acting was bad. She's a woman in her 30s that just screamed for about three minutes. That was so annoying. Kane just lost clean to Bryan on Sunday. The feud should be over. Instead, he's going to get another title match because they don't have any heels ready.
There was another Adam Rose video.
They recapped that Bryan/Kane screaming. Brie's screaming was annoying. Lawler: "Can anything stop Kane?" Yes Daniel Bryan did on Sunday. Feud should be over.
Big E made his entrance. Bad News Barrett said there'd be some changes, but we're going to need cosmetic surgery to be worthy of our new champion Bad News Barrett.
Intercontinental Championship: Bad News Barrett vs. Big E
Big E with three backbreakers in a row. Big E attacked outside the ring as the fans chanted "Bad News Barrett" even though he's the heel. Big E went for a charge while on the apron, Barrett moved and Big E hit the steel post. Clothesline by Barrett outside the ring. Big E rolled into the ring, so they went to break three minutes into this one.
Barrett was still in control after the break as he hit Winds of Change. Big E ran the ropes and Big E hit him in the face with the knee. Big E clothesline followed by his running Spear that sent Barrett to the floor with Big E going along for the ride. He's doing that move all the time now. It looks cool. Two overhead belly to belly suplexes by Big E. He wanted the Big Ending, but Barrett fought off and gouged him in the eyes while the referee was behind him. Bull Hammer elbow by Barrett finished it off after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bad News Barrett
Analysis: **1/2 They worked hard, but the crowd doesn't care about Big E anymore. He was booked so poorly for months that there was barely any reaction to anything he did even though his comeback was impressive. Barrett's eye gouge to set up the finish was very crafty. This feud is over. Where does Big E go from here? Hard to know at this point.
Tomorrow on WWE Network, John Cena responds to Bray Wyatt.
There were clips of the US Title battle royal from earlier with Sheamus becoming the new US Champion. The Shield vs. the Wyatt Family coming up later.
There was a special Mother's Day message from Mr. T. He mentioned his mom a lot during his Hall of Fame speech, so they showed clips of the speech. They mixed in clips from the women dancing at WrestleMania 28 during Brodus Clay's appearance. Happy Mother's Day from WWE.
Analysis: It was a comedy video that basically made fun of Mr. T's HOF speech because of how much he mentioned his mother. It was sort of funny, but I can see people getting upset about it.
Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger entered the ring for a promo. He had a deportation list that said Cesaro, Heyman, Emma, Santino, Sheamus and Paige. He ripped on Emma for poisoning the mind of their children.
The party crew of Adam Rose showed up on the ramp including the guy in the bunny costume, a guy with clown hair and plenty of girls as well. They were the Rosebuds in his party crew. His friends carried him around the ring for his match. The crowd was singing along with his song a little bit. Not too much. Rose offered his lollipop to Colter. Rose told Colter: "Don't be a lemon, be a Rosebud."
Rose kicked Swagger and gave him a back body drop over the top to the floor. Rose's friends all went in the ring for a dance as they surrounded Colter. Swagger pulled Zeb out of there. Rose danced with his friends. Michael Cole danced at ringside.
Analysis: My assumption was that Rose would have a match. He did not. All he did was clear the ring of Swagger and make things uncomfortable for Colter. No idea if the gimmick is over or not. It's not a good thing to have Michael Cole dancing. That hurts the cool factor of the Rose character.
The announcers talked about the gift card deal for WWE Network again.
It's The Shield vs. the Wyatt Family up next. Thank you. This show needs this.
This week on Smackdown, Sheamus defends the US Title. Against who? They didn't say.
The Wyatt Family entered first. The Shield followed.
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan)
It's starting at 10:45pmET so they should have plenty of time. The heels isolated Rollins in their corner, which is what usually happens in Shield matches. The crowd wasn't that loud for it. Rollins hit a jump kick to Rowan's head and he tagged in Ambrose. He was on fire as he attacked everybody and hit a nice clothesline on Rowan. He applied a Figure Four Leglock. Wyatt and Harper saved their partner. All six guys were in the ring staring at eachother, which meant time for a break.
As they returned from break, Ambrose was isolated in the corner, but he was able to get free and tag in Rollins. Rollins hit an amazing somersault dive over the top that took out Rowan & Harper while landing on his feet. Forearm shot in Harper followed by that snap neckbreaker he does that sent Harper's head into the middle rope. Great somersault dive. He went for a springboard, but Wyatt distracted and Harper shoved him to the floor. That's a dangerous bump. Harper hit a dive between the top/middle ropes. They isolated Rollins again as Wyatt hit a corner splash. Rollins tried to flip to get out of the corner, but Harper hit a superkick on Rollins since Harper was legal. Ambrose went after the other two, but he received a beating. Rollins knocked Harper off the top rope and hit his flying knee to the face. Hot tag to Reigns, who has been on the apron for about 16 minutes.
Reigns faced off with Wyatt and hit a leaping clothesline on him as well as Rowan. He decked Wyatt with a punch and a clothesline sent Rowan outside the ring. Running dropkick by Reigns on Wyatt by the ropes. Leaping clothesline on Harper. All six guys ended up brawling. Ambrose and Rollins each hit dives outside the ring that sent Harper and Rowan flying onto the announce table. In the ring, Reigns hit a Superman Punch. He wanted the Powerbomb, but Evolution's music started up.
Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista walked down to the ring. Rollins & Ambrose knocked Harper & Rowan out of the ring. Rollins & Ambrose hit dives to take out those two plus Orton & Batista. In the ring, Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Triple H. Wyatt hit a running body attack on Reigns. Sister Abigail by Wyatt on Reigns for the win after 18 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Wyatt Family
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match, but their battle at Elimination Chamber was a lot better. The crowd was part of it because this Albany crowd wasn't into much all night long. That could be the fault of the crowd, but it wasn't an exciting show either. It's hard to know who to blame. It's very rare for Reigns to get pinned. He's the one they push the strongest. However, it's not like it was clean. There was that blatant Evolution interference that really should have been a DQ (Triple H was in the ring!), but instead they decided to put Wyatt over. I don't mind seeing Wyatt getting a win like that. It's another cheap one for him.
Post match, Evolution attacked The Shield. Evolution were wearing their new t-shirts. Batista threw Ambrose into the steel steps. Orton hit the DDT off the top rope to Rollins. Triple H went for a Pedigree on Reigns, but Reigns fought out of it. Orton hit the RKO on Reigns. Then Triple H hit the Pedigree. It was almost as if Triple H told him to get out of the first attempt. Orton and Triple H picked up Reigns, put him in Batista's arm and Evolution did the three man Powerbomb on Reigns. There was blood on Reigns' mouth. Evolution did The Shield's pose over a fallen Reigns.
The show ended with Evolution celebrating the destruction of The Shield. Raw went off the air at 11:08pmET.
Analysis: It was a typical heel beatdown that is WWE's way of saying there will be a rematch at Payback. I don't mind that because their Extreme Rules match was excellent. This storyline still has a lot of steam. Another month of build isn't a bad thing.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Bray Wyatt - Loved his promo.
2. Daniel Bryan - He's here for the match. Not the car segment.
3. Sheamus - Battle royal win was cool.
4.5 out of 10
Last week: 5
2014 Average: 6.41
2014 High: 9 (April 7)
2014 Low: 4.5 (May 5)
Last 5 Weeks: 5, 5, 6.5, 9, NR
It gets my lowest rating of the year. It was such a bizarre show to watch and write about. There were times when I felt like falling asleep because of how boring it was at some points. Normally that doesn't happen, but it just dragged.
The in-ring action was solid. It just felt like a lot of things were off, though. Bryan vs. Del Rio and Shield vs. Wyatts were both above average matches. The battle royal was okay. Everything else just didn't click with me.
There was nothing announced for Payback in four weeks although rematches of Bryan vs. Kane, Evolution vs. Shield and Cena vs. Wyatt are expected.
Some segments on the show were downright awful like the Cinco de Mayo bit and I really felt like they messed up on Adam Rose's debut. It should have been a match.
The Bryan/Kane stuff really didn't work. I don't think Brie Bella's presence is helping anything with him. It's hurting his likability factor. Does Kane really need another title shot? He didn't even deserve one at Extreme Rules, then he lost clean and they're doing it again. Build some other heels. Have a feud about the title. A "monster" trying to stalk Bryan and his screaming wife is annoying. It makes me want to turn it off instead of watching the best wrestler in the world actually wrestling.
It felt like a flat edition of Raw. If you missed it there really wasn't that much worth talking about.
This Tuesday night it's TJR Radio time with my buddy Brandon Stroud of WithLeather joining Matt Seagull, The Ace and myself at 10pmET for about 90 minutes of wrestling discussion talking Extreme Rules, Raw and taking some questions too.
Check out my feature column archive that's exclusive to WhatCulture. I write there every day and I'm having a blast doing it because I get to write about current things in wrestling as well as moments from the past. It's a lot of fun.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org