Live from Hartford, Connecticut this is the Raw Deal for episode #1045. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you're on Facebook please "Like" this post as well. Thank you.
The opening video package focused on the Ryback/John Cena story as well as Triple H's head injury from two weeks ago.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield.
Stephanie McMahon opened the show. It's been a while since I've been able to type that. She talked about her husband Triple H facing Brock Lesnar and then Curtis Axel the next night. She said that even though Triple H has been medically cleared to compete she has made the executive decision to not let Triple H compete. The crowd didn't like it. She said the decision is not up to the fans and that they shouldn't be selfish about it.
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon entered the ring. He asked the fans to not boo his daughter Stephanie. "She's got feelings just like each and every one of you." He said they care about Triple H. Vince announced emphatically that Triple H will not compete tonight on Raw. The crowd chanted "Triple H" in response to that. Vince: "WWE is family entertainment - it's not a blood sport." He talked about how Kofi Kingston was put through a table and the fans chanted "one more time" about it. They chanted it again, so it's not happening. He said Curtis Axel was beneath Triple H anyway. Just as he was about to wrap it up, the music of The Shield started up. They went to break there.
Analysis: It's certainly a newsworthy beginning to raw with Stephanie and Vince opening show. That's likely because the NBA game 7 between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers starts at 8:30pmET, so they want to start out the show with a big feel. I think it makes sense that Hunter's family doesn't want him wrestling. It's funny how the crowd boos it so much without understanding.
During the Stephanie speech, you may have noticed a sign in the crowd that said "Hire John Canton" on it. Hire me for what? Creative team? Only if I get to work with Paul Heyman. Then I'm in.
Thanks to Eric (@ericbss77 on Twitter) for bringing the sign. That's very cool.
If you had the WWE App you could have seen that the McMahons leave when The Shield entered.
The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan, Kane & Randy Orton
It's smart to put this match on early before the NBA game begins. Cole mentioned "McMahons" were trending. I'm sure they're proud of that. Bryan was on fire early on and the crowd was interested in everything he did. If you have the WWE App you can watch Tons of Funk watching this match. Who would watch that instead of the match? Sidewalk slam by Kane for two. Rollins was able to knock down Kane off the top rope as The Shield seized control. They went to commercial three minutes into the match.
Analysis: That was an odd commercial break. It wasn't the usual kind of spot before a commercial.
Back from break, Orton was in the ring for the babyface team and he hit the double DDT off the middle rope on Ambrose and Rollins. The crowd was going crazy for Orton's offence. He wanted the DDT on Reigns too, but Rollins got a kick to the back of the head. Now it was his turn to take a beating in the corner of The Shield. Ambrose grounded Orton with a knee to the gut. Reigns tagged in to deliver some punches to Orton's head. Cole said this is just the beginning of what The Shield may do in WWE. Reigns gave Orton a Full Nelson to ground him in the center of the ring. The crowd chanted "yes" so that Bryan could tag in, but Orton was still grounded in the corner of The Shield. Orton countered Reigns with a suplex. Rollins quickly tagged in, he went to the top for the attack and Orton countered with a dropkick to the ribs.
Bryan got the hot tag for his team while Ambrose also tagged in. Loud "yes" chants for Bryan, who was on fire like usual with a flying clothesline. Bryan hit his kicks on Ambrose including a final roundhouse kick to the head. Hurricanrana on Rollins, who went crashing onto Ambrose. Dive onto Reigns on the floor. Missile dropkick by Bryan on Ambrose. Great nearfall there as Ambrose kicked out. No Lock by Bryan. The action broke down as Reigns hit a Spear on Kane. Orton hit a RKO on Rollins. Reigns shoved Orton into Bryan as they butted heads and Orton was sent to the floor. Bryan was dazed, so Ambrose dropped him with the Headlock Driver to win the match after 17 minutes.
Winners: The Shield
Analysis: ***1/2 It was another awesome match involving The Shield and also the Daniel Bryan/Kane duo. They always seem to have great matches when they get close to 20 minutes. I feel redundant in writing about it because it happens nearly every week now. The crowd gets into it especially when the action breaks down and it's really fun to watch. Is there anything more fun in WWE than when Daniel Bryan gets the hot tag? The guy is on fire and the crowd absolutely loves him.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E Langston later in the show. Again?
In the locker room, Daniel Bryan was arguing with Kane and Randy Orton about how everybody thinks he's the weak link. He said that since they don't respect him he's going to have another match. He'll beat the respect out of his opponent in order to get their respect.
Analysis: The character of Bryan is that of the babyface who constantly feels the need to prove himself. It will hopefully lead to him becoming more of an aggressive babyface who kicks ass and earns the respect of the fans. It reminds me a lot of Kurt Angle's babyface run in 2001.
Triple H showed up. He talked to Stephanie and Vince. She called him "Paul" because we're supposed to think this is a real situation instead of a guy playing a character on a television show. It's WWE "logic" at its best, or maybe its worst. I can't decide. Stephanie told him not to wrestle. Vince told Hunter to take his ego out of this. Hunter said he'd wrestle Axel. Vince said no. Vince told him not to do something that he's going to regret and then he left.
Analysis: It's been a few years since we've had McMahon family drama. They're such a private family aren't they?
The Usos made their entrance for a tag team match.
The Usos vs. The Prime Time Players
Titus O'Neil was in there for his team with a backbreaker. The Usos have face paint now, which Cole says helps motivate them as they get ready to do battle. O'Neil drove his knee to the ribs of Jey Uso. Then Titus missed a corner charge, so that led to Jimmy making the hot tag for his team. Samoan Drop by Jimmy on Young. Running butt splash like his dad Rikishi got a two count. O'Neil missed a kick on Jey. Jimmy hit a kick on Young. Jey tagged in and hit a top rope splash to win the match for The Usos in about four minutes.
Winners: The Usos
Analysis: *1/2 It's about time they build a babyface team for The Shield to face in the near future. The announcers suggested they could get a tag title shot soon. I hope so. I've always been a fan of the Usos. The crowd always responds to them well because they're good at getting them involved.
Big E Langston and Alberto Del Rio were shown walking for their match.
Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Big E Langston (w/AJ Lee)
They are 2-2 in their recent series of matches. I'm not sure why we've seen so many matches between them, but here we are. Del Rio quickly took control with a clothesline that sent Langston to the floor. Langston was able to come back with a shoulder tackle outside the ring. Langston threw Del Rio into the security wall outside the ring. Clothesline by Langston got a two count. Three backbreakers by Langston got a two count. Corner enziguiri by Del Rio and then a side kick to the face got a two count for him. Cross Armbreaker by Del Rio although Langston was able to get out of it. German Suplex by Del Rio on Langston was very impressive. Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker, but Langston wouldn't stay down so Del Rio held Langston's legs to keep him down for the three count. The match went about five minutes.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: *1/2 It was a decent match. Nothing special. Langston never looked like a threat to win. I like the way Del Rio always finds a way to keep fighting back. He shows a lot of heart like a babyface should. Is this the end of their series of matches? Hope so. There was no sign of World Champion Dolph Ziggler, by the way. He was back on the road at house shows, but wasn't at ringside for this match.
Sheamus was shown walking backstage.
Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes
Damien Sandow was on commentary. He's been feuding with Sheamus on Smackdown of late. He was reading the book "Fate of the States" written by JBL's wife Meredith Whitney. Sheamus hit a clothesline. Rhodes came back with a kick to the head while Sheamus was on the apron. Sandow complimented Rhodes' skill in the ring just as Sheamus powered out of a headlock. Sheamus made the big comeback with the running high knee and the shoulderblock off the top rope. Sandow: "He's embarrassing himself on television." Sandow is great. Brogue Kick missed as Rhodes hit a neckbreaker for two. Rhodes went for a moonsault, Sheamus moved and Rhodes was in pain after that miss. White Noise by Sheamus. Sandow: "Cody's playing possum. He's brilliant!" Like I said, Sandow is awesome. Brogue Kick by Sheamus ended the match after about five minutes.
Analysis: ** Sheamus beating a midcard heel isn't anything new. It happens all the time. It's nice that he's feuding with Sandow now, but does anybody think Sandow is going to win the feud? I don't think so. Of course I'd love to see it. I just don't think it's very likely. It would be nice if Rhodes had a bigger role too. That's the tough thing about the WWE roster right now. It's really deep. You can't push everybody at the same time.
Post match, Sheamus went over to Sandow, who wouldn't shake his hand. Sheamus hit Sandow in the face to knock him down. Sheamus is the biggest bully of a babyface I've ever seen in the wrestling business. That's not being a star, fella. It's a different kind of feud with Sandow rarely getting the upper hand. Why can't WWE build up Sheamus in a sympathetic way? It would be nice.
Chris Jericho and Paul Heyman are signing a contract for Jericho vs. Punk at Payback.
There was a commercial for the Total Divas show that is coming to E Network in July.
Triple H was shown leaving the building with his wife. He said he was leaving because he was tired of being told what to do and didn't want to kick his kids' grandfather's ass on live TV (he's referring to Vince). He said that next Monday night on Raw he's going to be in that ring wrestling Curtis Axel. He left while Stephanie simply said "Paul" as the limo pulled away.
Analysis: Poor Triple H leaving in his limo. Maybe if he was driving a Kia we'd feel sorry for him. It sounds like we'll get Triple H vs. Curtis Axel at the start of Raw next week. Or they could change their mind again.
Last Friday on Smackdown, Ryback destroyed Kofi Kingston with three powerbombs through three separate tables. Kingston is out for a couple of months with elbow surgery. It's a good way to write somebody out while putting Ryback over.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage. Ryback walked up to him trash talking. Ryback said Kofi had surgery "last Thursday" even though Smackdown airs on Friday. Oops. Technically he did have the surgery last Thursday since Smackdown was taped on Tuesday, but I doubt he was supposed to say Thursday there. Ryback said that when he throws up it's bigger than Daniel Bryan. That's trash talking? Weird. Ryback said Bryan had lost his mind. He wanted him in a match. He called Bryan the weak link and after their match later he's going to be the missing link.
Analysis: I am a huge fan of Daniel Bryan having multiple matches in one night. As for Ryback's promo style, it involves a lot of grunting and he tends to breathe loudly. It's unique. That doesn't mean good.
Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel were in a dressing room backstage as Vince McMahon showed up. He told Axel he had a hell of a future. He said he won't wrestle Triple H next week either. Heyman wanted to leave, but instead McMahon put Axel in a match against John Cena. It will be a No Disqualification match. Heyman seemed upset about it.
Analysis: Heyman is great at going from happiness to anger in an instant. His facial expressions are always perfect.
Fandango was shown walking with Summer Rae.
This week on Miz TV he'll be joined by Daniel Bryan, Kane and Randy Orton. That airs on Smackdown.
Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. The Great Khali (w/Natalya & Hornswoggle)
They aired a clip of last month when they had a dance off. I didn't want to be reminded of that crap. JBL: "I've seen some incredible segments in WWE. This was not one of them." That's true. Khali hit a chop as Lawler said that Khali got fan mail from Jay Leno, which was a pretty funny chin joke. Back elbow by Khali as well as a big boot. Clotheslines by Khali. Fandango left the ring one minute into the match. He wanted to go to the back, but The Miz showed up at the top of the ramp. When Miz turned around, Wade Barrett was there to knock him out with a Bull Hammer elbow.
Winner: The Great Khali by countout
Analysis: DUD That was really bad. Please stop putting Khali in matches. The angle furthered the three way IC Title storyline with Barrett/Miz/Fandango, which will probably lead to a Payback match. Fandango will get the match despite walking out of this match with Khali. Why don't they have him win matches to make it seem like he actually deserves a title match? It's not hard to book people to win matches.
They went to break with Barrett staring at Fandango while Miz was knocked out. They didn't really announce the Great Khali countout win. I just put it there because that's how the match ended.
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz
This is not for Barrett's IC Title. He rarely defends it. Even though Miz was knocked out by Barrett three minutes earlier, he was aggressive early on. Barrett knocked him down with a hard kick. Miz pulled down the top rope as Barrett went crashing to the floor. Barrett missed a running knee attack in the corner, so Miz hit a dropkick to the knee. Winds of Change slam by Barrett got two. Fandango's music started to play (I hate when that happens during a match) as he danced on the ramp with Summer Rae. Barrett was distracted by it. Miz applied the Figure Four Leg Lock. Barrett tapped out, so Miz won by submission in a four minute match.
Winner: The Miz
Analysis: * What a bizarrely booked match. Barrett's holding a title, yet his finishing move barely hurt a guy who ended up beating him in a three minute match. They're likely doing this feud as a way to put the IC Title on Fandango. Like most secondary champions in WWE, Barrett has been booked poorly and when he loses the IC Title it won't be a big deal because we see him lose matches all the time on television anyway. It's the same thing they did with Antonio Cesaro as the US Champion.
Coming up later is Ryback vs. Daniel Bryan. Also Paul Heyman's contract signing with Chris Jericho is up next.
PLUG TIME! I wrote a column about the 10 Career Defining WWE Moments in Chris Jericho's career early on Monday. The cool thing is that Jericho tweeted about the article and called it a "must read" too.
It's very humbling to get feedback from somebody I like and respect so much. I'll have another Jericho article next week. It won't be a list or a career bio. It will be more about what makes him so great. For those expecting the 10 Career Defining Moments in Great Khali's career, I'll write it in 2025. Maybe.
There was another recap of Stephanie McMahon's speech earlier in the show. To the dude with the "We Want Two Hours" sign in the crowd I support you strongly. It was the second best sign of the night after the "Hire John Canton" sign. Hunter ended up leaving the show. As mentioned earlier, Stephanie called him Paul because this is "real" unlike everything else on the show. That's the best way I can try to make sense of it for you.
Contract Signing for Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk at Payback
Jerry Lawler hosted this segment. Chris Jericho entered first to a big reaction. Paul Heyman was second with no theme song. No sign of CM Punk, of course. Heyman said they could have signed this backstage, but instead he'll just say it to Jericho out there in the ring. As Heyman did his usual speech about CM Punk's 434 days as WWE Champion, Jericho cut him off. He referenced Punk's fine array of tattoos including a pizza, a donut and an ice cream sandwich. Classic Jericho as he called Heyman "Mr. Walrus" and then there was a "Y2J" chant. All Jericho cares about is Heyman bringing Punk to Payback in Chicago on June 16. Heyman signed the contract.
Before Jericho could sign, Heyman wondered if Jericho was ready to face Punk in Chicago where Punk has the hometown advantage. Heyman said that Punk makes liars of people that think they are the best in the world meaning Jericho. Jericho acted as if he was nervous about the match while asking if they should have the match in Los Angeles, Madison Square Garden or right there in Hartford, Connecticut (cheap pop). Heyman said no. Jericho signed the contract saying he guesses he'll have the match in Chicago. Jericho said that when you act like a jackass like Punk you will get treated like a jackass. Jericho wondered where they should file the contract. Jericho told Lawler he looked good tonight. True, but also funny and awkward. Jericho got in Heyman's face and demanded he stand up. He told Heyman to unbutton his jacket. Jericho said he knew where the contract should be filed and he stuffed it in the front of Heyman's pants. "See ya in Chicago." Then Jericho left.
Analysis: Last week's promo between them was outstanding. This week? Not as good. It was a bit awkward at times. It felt like it dragged on with them standing out there filling time. You can only do or say so much in a contract signing when one of the guys in the match isn't even there. It was weird with Jericho asking Heyman to unbutton his jacket. At least it only led to Jericho stuffing the contract down the front of Heyman's pants. Of course the question is does CM Punk really want to have the match and will he show up for the match? All of this could lead to a face turn for him. I'm not sure where it's headed. I'll have more about it in a 20 Questions & Answers column about Payback later in the week.
There was a commercial for the WWE App. They haven't plugged it as much this week, but they still do it too much. Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro on Main Event this week.
The Bella Twins & AJ Lee vs. Naomi, Cameron & Kaitlyn
Apparently Kaitlyn's "secret admirer" angle is still going on. Yawn. Cole mentioned that Kaitlyn and AJ will meet for the Divas title "down the road." They still don't know when that will be? Naomi hit a butt splash and then Cameron hit a flipping legdrop on Nikki. Naomi missed a dive and went crashing into the ropes. The crowd is dead for this match. I kept hoping it to end, but there was Brie giving Naomi an armbar as nobody cared. Kaitlyn and Cameron clapped enough that the crowd woke up a bit. Kick by Naomi freed her. Kaitlyn got the hot tag and hit a shoulderblock on Brie. Reverse DDT by Kaitlyn that Brie sold poorly by falling too soon. Knee to the face by Brie, who went to tag in AJ. AJ ended up dropping down and left. Kaitlyn hit a Spear on Brie to win the match. It went about five minutes.
Winners: Naomi, Cameron & Kaitlyn
Analysis: 1/2* I can't believe they got five minutes. If any divas match deserved two minutes it was probably this one. The crowd was hot most of the night, but they didn't care about these girls. The story of the match is that AJ is apparently scared of Kaitlyn, which is why she left. Why can't they announce a date for this title match? Odd.
Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback is coming up.
Bryan was in the locker room. Kane showed up to tell him that wrestling Ryback was a mistake. Kane said he's never seen anybody with Bryan's heart and desire. He said he didn't have anything to prove to anybody. Bryan said that Kane's wrong. He claimed that beating Ryback will prove it and he didn't want Kane to be anywhere near him. Kane said he got it loud and clear. Kane said he was leaving. He told Bryan to call him when he gets his mind back because he's clearly lost it. I don't think either guy is going heel. I just think they won't be teaming up on a regular basis anymore.
Michael Cole mentioned the Wyatt Family video from last week. There was another Wyatt Family video this time with even more members of the "family" shown this time. It ended with Bray Wyatt saying "we're coming" following some maniacal laughter. I'm excited about them showing up on the main roster, especially Bray Wyatt. He has a gimmick that will allow him to stand out from the pack and if he's booked right he'll shine.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance. It's worth nothing that he yelled "yes" on his way to the ring. No more yelling "no" for his entrance. He's embracing the chants now.
There was a replay of what happened earlier when Bryan took the loss for his team against The Shield. This followed a sequence where Bryan was on fire during the match.
Ryback entered the building in an ambulance as a way to promote his Three Stages of Hell match against John Cena at Extreme Rules. The first stage is a Lumberjack Match, the second fall is a Tables Match and the third fall is an Ambulance Match.
Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback
These guys used to be travel partners. I doubt they still are since Bryan's girlfriend Brie Bella is back on the road. There are some funny stories that Bryan has told on radio shows about Ryback's appetite among other things. Ryback dropped Bryan with a boot to the face. Ryback used a series of punches and kicks to knock Bryan down as the crowd chanted "Goldberg" at him. Bryan avoided the Thesz Press and applied the single leg half crab. Great counter. Bryan used his leg to tie up Ryback's legs and then he hit Ryback with a series of forearm shots as the crowd chanted "yes" during that. Ryback came back with a clothesline that sent Bryan over the top rope to the floor.
Analysis: They went about four minutes before the break. I was glad Bryan didn't lose the match that quickly.
Back from break, Ryback hit a running shoulderblock on Bryan as he was up against the turnbuckle. Bryan tried a comeback, but Ryback knocked him down with a back elbow. Ryback's corner charge missed as Bryan moved out of the way. Ryback's left shoulder hit the steel post. Bryan hit a dropkick to the back and then another running dropkick. He hit a third running dropkick for a two count as Ryback shoved him off. To the top rope, Bryan hit a missile dropkick. Back to the top rope again, Bryan hit a top rope headbutt all the way across the ring. Two count. That was a spectacular nearfall. Bryan was slapping himself in the face and JBL talked about how he loves that Bryan has gone nuts. Bryan hit a series of kicks, but Ryback prevented the roundhouse kick with devastating powerbomb. Ryback took so much time that Bryan came back with the No Lock. After about 30 seconds, Ryback got to the ropes. Bryan hit a dive between the top/middle rope except when he landed, Ryback avoided it and shoved Bryan into the announce table. That was an awesome counter. Ryback drove Bryan into the steel ring post. Ryback brought a table into the ring. He set it up. Ryback gave Bryan a powerbomb through the table just like he did to Kofi Kingston on Smackdown. The ref disqualified Ryback in this match that went 15 minutes.
Winner: Daniel Bryan via DQ
Analysis: ***1/2 Is this the best match in Ryback's career so far? I think so. They did an awesome job of telling the story with Bryan as the fiery babyface making the big comebacks against the powerful heel. What I love about Bryan's comeback is that he's not doing anything special or out of the ordinary. He's doing dropkicks as well as kicks to the head. The crowd loves it. It's not about the moves that you do necessarily. It's about how you do them, the intensity on your face as you do them and the reaction of the crowd. The audience is emotionally invested in everything Bryan does. It's such a great thing to see. As for Ryback, he was very good as the powerful bully. He showed more heel charisma here than in any match I've seen him have. I think it's probably because Bryan can bring out the best in him, but Ryback does deserve credit for working hard too. It wouldn't surprise me to see WWE go back to Bryan vs. Ryback as a pay-per-view match in the future. The chemistry is definitely there.
Ryback set up a table outside the ring. He put it up against the security wall. The WWE Champion John Cena made the save. I guess when you're dating Bella Twins you have a bond. Crowd chanted "Cena." As Ryback was about to square off with Cena, the music of Curtis Axel started up. He entered the arena with Paul Heyman. His match against John Cena is up next. They replayed the table spot as Ryback left through the crowd. Cena vs. Axel after the break is next.
There was an ad for the new WWE Films movie called "12 Rounds 2: Reloaded" starring Randy Orton.
No Disqualification: John Cena vs. Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman)
This is not for Cena's WWE Title obviously. The match started as they returned from break. Heyman tripped up Cena early and that led to Axel knocking Cena outside the ring with a dropkick. Axel with a clothesline off the apron to the floor. In the ring, Axel hit the running snapmare that his father Mr. Perfect used to do. Backbreaker by Axel. Heyman handed Axel a chair, Cena blocked it and hit Axel in the back with it. He threw Axel over the top to the floor. Cena threw Axel over the announce table. Even though it was a No DQ match, the ref counted them out because you can get counted out in a No DQ match. Back in the ring, Axel jabbed Cena in the ribs with the chair. Cena avoided two chair shots and then dropkicked the chair into Axel's face. Axel hit a clothesline to the back of Cena's head. Axel got a two count, so Heyman congratulated him for getting "two on the champ." He's such an encouraging manager. Cena made his comeback with the shoulder tackle and spinning suplex. Five Knuckle Shuffle by Cena. Axel avoided the AA and then Cena charged into the corner where Axel moved, which meant that Cena went shoulder first into the steel chair that was wedged in the turnbuckle. Cena beat the count by getting back into the ring at the count of nine. Axel hit Cena in the back with a chair three times for a two count each time. Axel hit him with the chair three more times. Axel hit a running neckbreaker, which used to be his finisher, for a two count. Cena's head hit the chair or at least came close to it. Axel wanted the Perfectplex (his new finisher), but Cena countered into the STF submission hold. Heyman handed Axel an iPad and he hit Cena in the head to break the hold. What an odd weapon to use to break the hold. I guess he wanted to teach Cena how to get the WWE App. Outside the ring, Heyman blocked Cena from putting Axel through the table that Ryback set up. Cena brawled with Axel outside the ring, which led to Ryback showing up. Axel rolled back into the ring as Ryback drove Cena through the table that was against the security wall. Referee Scott Armstrong counted to ten meaning that Cena lost the match and Axel won via countout. The match went about 13 minutes.
Winner: Curtis Axel via countout
Analysis: **1/2 Why the No DQ stipulation? Because they wanted Axel to beat Cena without pinning him or making him submit. As soon as I saw that stipulation was announced I figured Ryback would do something to cause Cena to lose the match. I thought they had an entertaining matchup. Axel's offense looks credible. It will take the fans some time to get used to his moves to react properly, but everything he does works well. That neckbreaker spot onto the chair was really well done. The problem is this guy hit Cena with about six chair shots, yet the crowd didn't believe he could pin him. He's now "beat" Triple H once and Cena twice, but none of those wins were pinfalls or done in a convincing manner. It's cheap heat for him. By the way, I did hear Cole nearly say "Kurt Angle" a few times. He didn't go all the way with it, but he came close.
The show ended with Ryback standing over a fallen Cena as he said his catchphrase: "Ryback Rules."
Analysis: If you're keeping track of wins and losses, just remember they don't really matter. Ryback lost by disqualification while Cena lost by countout, so that should tell you how important wins are. What mattered in the end is that Ryback stood over the fallen Cena and he's the one that got the upper hand in their feud as we get closer to the WWE Payback pay-per-view in two weeks. I like that they didn't have a tag match or something where they brawled a lot. It keeps the story fresh if they are apart as they were most of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan - No question about it. Love that he's getting so much TV time.
2. Ryback - Definitely one of his best matches.
3. Randy Orton
7 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2013 Average: 5.64
2013 High: 8 (April 8)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 6, 4, 4, 6
I give it a 7 out of 10, which means it was an above average show. Last week got a 7.5 and the week before was a 6. That should tell you that I'm pretty happy about where things are going in WWE. It's not perfect, but things are getting better.
It was a show full of Daniel Bryan matches and segments, so of course I liked it. He's my favorite performer in WWE. The more screen time he gets the better.
In terms of entertaining matches, the two Bryan matches were a lot of fun and the main event was pretty solid too. The only ones that I really didn't like were Fandango/Khali and the divas tag that had no crowd heat.
It would have been nice if they made some more matches official for Payback because right now the only official matches are John Cena vs. Ryback and Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk. That's it. Hopefully they can add some more on Smackdown because next week is the last Raw before Payback.
I wrote a review of TNA Slammiversary on Sunday night. There were some solid matches on the show, but the booking of the main event didn't interest me that much.
Also, if you missed the blatant plug earlier in the review you can read my column about the 10 Career Defining WWE Moments in Chris Jericho's career that I posted early on Monday too.
I'll be back on Wednesday with my regular Headlines gig on TJRWrestling.com and then on Friday or Saturday I'll have a column where I answer 20 Questions going into WWE Payback, which has been a regular column for me these last few months. Then next week I'll have another Jericho related column (not a list) and the Raw Deal column will likely be live at TJR as well. In other words, I'm writing a lot. Thanks for all the support.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org