Originally written April 15, 2013 on hov-mma:
This episode was a lot to do with Ryback! We’re one week removed from Wrestlemania and the hottest live crowd in years for a live RAW.  We've got to hear from Cena regarding his attack at the hands of Ryback.  We're going to hear from CM Punk for the first time since Wrestlemania.  Ziggler is the World Champ.  The Shield will attack someone!  Let's get it started!  Well, instead of hearing from Punk, Lesnar or Cena addressing Ryback to open RAW, we are “treated” to an unnecessary and uninspired two on one handicap match.  It's the RAW Report.  Sheamus shows some serious power WWE Opening The Wee Baby Sheamus and Randy Orton against The Big Show Really? These guys are kicking off RAW?  Ok, I’ll bite I suppose.  Some back and forth action to start.  At one point, Sheamus give Big Show a piggy back and then dropped him to the mat, which was pretty impressive in terms of strength.  Orton also hits a nice second rope DDT on Show.  They worked a pretty decent match.  The end comes when Sheamus, or the wee baby Sheamus for you Archer fans, hit the Brogue Kick and Orton hits the RKO for the clean pinfall victory.  No heel turn, no swerve, no real reason to lead off the program. Winners: Randy Orton who got the pin, and whose music played post match. Losers:  Show got rolled, not good.  What’s Next:  Are Sheamus/Orton the new Team Hell No?  I can only assume not, but after this, and no split, it seems odd.  Lazy booking.  I’m just going to call it the Wrestlemania hangover.    3MB/Shield/HHH replay from Smackdown follwed by 3MB Challenging The Shield Anytime 3MB is getting airtime in the first hour of RAW, they are about to do a serious job.  I’m guessing they’re going to be mauled in a big way by The Shield.  Also, I just busted out my first “We want Fandango” chant of the night. 3MB takes on The Shield….nope, it’s Brock Lesnar Brock Lesnar being Brock Lesnar Well, this just got better.  Lesnar just destroyed 3MB, specifically Heath Slater.  It was a brutal assault, and then it led to a very nice in ring with Paul Heyman.  Oh, by the way, I’m very much a Paul Heyman guy.  He complimented HHH and his abilities in defeating Brock.  Brock wants a receipt and offers HHH a steel cage match at Extreme Rules. Brock always delivers in my opinion.  He instantly brings an intensity and big fight atmosphere to the proceedings.  A steel cage match with HHH could potentially be a lot of fun.  Solid segment, which seemed unlikely, given 3MB’s involvement.  Winners:  Lesnar and Heyman Losers:  Who else, 3MB. What’s Next: We’ll have to see what HHH says, but I assume we’ve got an interesting match booked for Extreme Rules.     New US Champion. Kofi Kingston Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston for US Title Given Kofi’s recent status as putting everyone over, it’s unlikely he’s going to win this match tonight.  He got the win Friday on Smackdown to get the shot, but Cesaro has been champion for 240 days, and I expect him to be champion for another 200.  Nice to see Cesaro back on RAW, even if he does continue to yodel. These two work well together, and Cesaro for his part, works well with everyone.  He’s one of the best wrestlers in the WWE, and continues to do amazing work.  Cesaro is unbelievably strong, and that allows him to do things and make it look easy.  He’s a talent who will hold the world title someday.  He and Dolph Ziggler would put on a hell of a show.  They go back and forth, but Cesaro holds the advantage for the most part.  The fact that the announcers keep putting over his 240 days as champion, makes me nervous that the belt is coming off, but hopefully, they are just giving him his due.  Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise, but Cesaro is knocked out of the ring, by the time they are back in the ring, Cesaro kicks out.  Cesaro again shows tremendous strength catching Kofi, but in the end, Kofi hits his finisher and gets the victory and wins the US Title.  Kofi says he brings the US Title home, despite being introduced as from Ghana.  Huh? Winners: Kofi Kingston Losers: Antonio Cesaro and the fans. What’s Next:  For Kofi, I’m guessing a short title run.  For Cesaro, hopefully a run with Dolph Ziggler in the world title picture.    Dolph Ziggler cashing in for World Title Review We go back and witness Ziggler’s amazing money in the bank moment from last week.  Fans went absolutely crazy for Ziggler, which in my mind speaks to how hungry the fans are for new blood and the talent turnover in the WWE.  We want Ziggler, Cesaro, Bryan, Punk, et all to carry the company, and Ziggler winning the World Title is such a great step.  Winners:  Everyone with the exception of Del Rio Losers:  Nobody with the exception of Del Rio What’s next:  Better be a lengthy and substantial title run.  He’s going to be commenting next as well.  WWE World Champion Dolph Ziggler .vs. Well, Nobody Swagger re-injures Del Rio Dolph Ziggler is out, and he’s making sure we know he’s still a heel.  He says, “It’s time to face facts, I am just too good.”  He doesn’t care if we boo.  Showing off is what you do when you’re better than everyone else according to Ziggler.  He’s doing a great little heel confirmation here.  Out comes Del Rio.  He says he wants a rematch, now.  Ziggler says no, but he’s immediately overruled by Vicky.  Out comes Zeb. Zeb comes out and says Swagger deserves shot, etc.  Now Swagger, Big E Langston, Ziggler and Del Rio are all involved, and Swagger attacks Del Rio and that’s that.  No match.  Odd segment considering the WWE said the angle with Swagger and Del Rio was effectively over.  Prime Time Players vs. Team Hell No for WWE Tag Team Titles Flying Goat Well, here we yet another match that seems pulled out of someone’s butt, this time Team Hell No who will be splitting at Extreme Rules I’ve been assured, taking on the always less than good Prime Time Players.  Next week Team Hell No and Taker will face off with The Shield on RAW.  That’ll be great.  This however, likely won’t be.  We should see The Shield intervene however. Kane cleans house, and looks to be in top form these days.  I love Team Hell No and the end comes with the Chokeslam/Flying Goat.  They handled the Prime Time Players with ease, and continue looking like a solid team. Winners:  Team Hell No. Losers: Prime Time Players (duh) What’s Next:  Expected to see the Shield here come down and set up next week’s RAW as well as the Extreme Rules PPV match.  Interesting that it didn’t happen today.  Ryback video interview Ryback talks about how WM 29 was the best night of Cena’s life, and the worst of Ryback's.  He said only one way to go for each man.  He says he was a friend, offered him a seat at the table, helped him belong etc. He said a promise of a friendship with Cena means living in his shadow.  Ryback asks, “How many times on your road to redemption did you leave me to fend for myself?” They show Ryback being attacked by The Shield. Ryback asks where was Cena?  Designing a new T-Shirt?  Ryback goes on about how many times Cena let him down.  He ends with Ryback Rules.  Great little segment their by Ryback.  Good on the mic, and he gets to be a person instead of some wild cartoon character.  I think Cena and Ryback could have a legitimately solid feud here.  We needed to see this side of Ryback eventually if we were ever expected to care about him and his direction.  Well done by the WWE.  That’s the best segment of produced television so far tonight.  Winners: Ryback and the WWE Losers: Nobody really What’s Next:  A potentially great program with Ryback and Cena.  Who’s the heel?  R-Truth beats Wade Barrett? Yep. Wade Barrett vs. R Truth Non Title R-Truth will likely win since it is non title.  They announce a match for Wedsnesday where there will be a battle royal and winner faces Wade Barrett for the IC Title.  Back and forth match, basically just some filler.  I am not sure who Wade Barrett pissed off, but they are butchering any chance of fans thinking of his as a legitimate champion. The end comes with a botched ending, and victory for R-Truth.  Um, anyways.  Winners: Nobody Losers:  I guess people who expect good booking What’s Next:  No way to know, but they are killing Barrett.  The Great Khali and Santino Marella vs. Team Rhodes Scholars Rhode Scholars win a laugher Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes are a solid team together, and would love to see them get a push, rather than work matches like these.  I also like Santino quite a bit and think he is deserving of a push.  This one had all the gimmicks, cobras showed up, Damien used all of his moves, including his incredible elbow.  In the end, Teams Rhodes Scholars get the win, despite Hornswoggle and his mini cobra.  Classic.  Winners: Team Rhodes Scholars Losers: Poor Hornswoggle and his Mini Cobra What’s next:  Hopefully better days for the Scholars? Fandango in ring and video coverage Faaandaaaangoooo We see videos everywhere of people Fandango’ing and we hear his Itunes theme song download numbers.   Very impressive.  Fandango comes down to the ring and climbs in.  Let’s just get this out of the way, Fandango is money!  He’s a damn star and I’m a fan.  Jerry Lawler talks to him and leaves when Fandango asks if his hips move.  Fandango asks the fans if they want to go fandangoing … gets a solid response.  Fandango is not happy at how the fans pronounce his name, so he said, “Go Fandango Yourself.”  Cena interviewed Cena says we all heard what Ryback said, and he’s not hard to find. In fact, Cena will be in the ring later and challenge Ryback himself.  Interesting. Jack Swagger vs. Dolph Ziggler Non Title Match Del Rio with the Armbreaker on the Stage on Swagger This is a non title match, but a Swagger victory puts him in the immediate title picture.  Back and forth action by two guys very familiar with each other.  Both wrestlers have near falls, and both nearly pull of their finishers. You have to worry about Ziggler here if he loses this.  What does it say about the WWE's feelings on Ziggler if he loses his first post victory match, even if it is non title.  I mean, Dolph was a losing streak before becoming champion, and a loss here, more of less shows the WWE still sees him in the same light.   Dolph very nearly gets the win, but Swagger counters, and ends up hitting a high impact move, and gets the 1-2-3 for the clean win.  Ugh.  After the match, Swagger is attacked and his arm injured by Alberto Del Rio.   Not a good situation for the World Champion.   Winner:  Jack Swagger and ultimately Del Rio Loser:  Dolph Ziggler, big time.  What's Next:  Time will tell, looks like Alberto Del Rio isn't out of the mix.  Swagger would likely have won the belt had he not been arrested for driving under the influence of, and possessing marijuana before Wrestlemania.   Time for some CM Punk as he and Paul Heyman head to the ring CM Punk just walked away.... CM Punk says his time spent as champion, was spent wondering what was next.  He speaks about battling the Rock and how important that was.  He said he isn't satisfied, so he looks for what's next.  It brought him to the Undertaker.  He looked to the "One thing that could be bigger than the championship" and that was The Streak at Wrestlemania.  Crowd chants "Respect and then "Undertaker/CM Punk" Punk stands there and listens, emotional.  He turns, and just hugs Paul Heyman and walks from the ring.  It looks like Punk might be walking away from wrestling, or at least teasing it.  CM Punk just "lost his smile."  Punk is super talented and might be taking some time off to heal up for a bit.   Nikki Bella vs. Kaitlyn - Divas Title Match (I think) One of the Bellas and Kaitlyn One of the Bellas taking on Kaitlyn here.  I'd be lying if I said I cared about this.  Not a bad match, compared  to some of the Divas matches we've seen.  In all fairness, how can we be expected to care about this match, when JBL doesn't care.   He actually said, "We've never had a twin champion before."  Well played Bradshaw.  The Blue Meanie says hi. The end comes when one of the Bellas, swaps with the other and gets the pin.  They call it Twin Magic.  I call it, beer break. Winners:  Bellas   Loser:  JBL  What's Next:  No more of this please.  John Cena comes to the ring to address Ryback Cena is taken out by The Shield Cena gets a little love from the crowd tonight.  Cameras cut to the Shield, had to be an accident and some  foreshadowing that they'll be out. Cena opens with "The Champ is here...and the Ryback is there...and the champ has some business with the Ryback, so the Ryback get here right now." Convoluted  maybe, but to the point. Out comes Ryback, who also gets some love from the fans.  He enters the ring, and we're off to the races. Cena says Ryback didn't do anything until his back was turned.  Said he made a list of excuses and it was boring.  Cena is giving Ryback the business.  Cena referring to Ryback as The Ryback is pretty funny.  Cena says Ryback is missing the two most important things to be champion, "The space between your ears, and a piece between your legs."  Cena says come get some face to face, but Ryback turns and walks away.  Here comes the Shield.   The Shield surround the ring, and Ryback just looks on, allowing them to attack Cena.  As Cena is beaten down in the ring, Ryback watches from the side and does nothing to intervene. Finally, he turns and walks up the ramp, as Cena is laid out and The Shield set up for the Powerbomb. RAW goes off the air with Ryback leaving through the curtain and Cena out in the ring.   Winner:  The Shield Loser:  Cena and Ryback, who looked weak. What's Next:  More Shield shenanigans and continued heat between Ryback and Cena.
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