United States Championship Battle Royal
The US championship needed to become fresh again, I hate that they never booked Ambrose in title matches during his reign so somebody had to take it off of him to make things feel fresh. Sheamus was a perfect choice. The roster is so loaded with people in active feuds at the moment that ever since Sheamus returned he had become sort of stagnant, there was nothing for him so now hopefully he can work to bring some prestige back to the title. Most of the men in this battle royal would make for great opponents in the coming months for the Celtic warrior so I hope he is booked as taking the ball and running with it. The battle royal itself was entertaining, high points being most of the participants working together to eliminate Big Show and Mark Henry. It’s always a decent Raw with a title changing hands that makes sense, great start.
Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro
Another great match between these two men. I’d like to see RVD’s history with Paul Heyman play more of a focal point in this program if it continues, RVD made one comment weeks ago and that’s what they are dwelling on, come guys let’s milk this thing. RVD’s moveset is more of the same every match but it never gets old, several moonsaults to the outside, he’s been dubbed the ‘king of kicks’ and he lived up to that in this match. Cesaro has a new patented routine to show off his natural power in which he performs three consecutive side suplexes, deservedly gets a nice pop when he performs those. The match ended in disqualification while RVD was tangled in the turnbuckle, with Cesaro repeatedly striking RVD until the ref had no choice but to call for the bell. It’s interesting what they’ve decided to do with Cesaro. The fans obviously want to cheer the ever loving shit out of him, but his pairing with Heyman and his heelish tactics make it harder for some. But it’s gonna be huge when the alliance is severed down the road.
Bray Wyatt Promo
I’ve read several comments from several fans saying that Bray is repetitive, that he says the same thing over and over. A couple points, I can see how some may think that to be true, but Bray always has ways of making his promos feel fresh, and always captivating. Second point, when there is a specific theme surrounding a feud, such as John Cena’s fans turning on him, I find it important to stay consistent and Bray is nothing if not consistent in his promos, and it’s appreciated. I mean when Bray started talking about who he does what he does for, the beggar on the street, the teenage girl who doesn’t feel beautiful enough to be prom queen, I ate that shit up man. Bray furthered the feud in this promo and solidified his position as one of the best microphone men in the company at the moment, maybe THE best. I can’t get enough of this guy.
Ryback vs. Cody Rhodes
I’ve always been a fan of Cody Rhodes, for his ability in the ring and the intensity he brings to his matches. The dude really brings a hell of a lot of energy to his matches. His match on this night with Ryback was entertaining and also served as feud development, in the closing moments Curtis Axel attempted to get involved while Cody was ready to pounce on the top rope, Goldust came to intervene and was shoved into the post knocking Cody off his game to allow Ryback to hit his finisher and pick up the victory over Rhodes. Cody wasn’t as visibly upset with Goldust this week, but we all know where they are going with it and I for one am looking forward to the feud. Brother vs. brother is always tops, especially if daddy Rhodes gets involved.
El Torito/Hornswoggle Segment
This was a harmless segment to give a respectful nod to Cinco De Mayo, while furthering an entertaining comedic feud between El Torito & Hornswoggle. It’s also given the original 3MB more to do than they ever have since they got together. 3MB made their way to the ring to make a mockery out of the celebration by claiming they wanted a truce, things slowly escalated and a brawl ensued. While these are entertaining segments to watch, I think the time slot would have been better served to see our Tag Team champions get some air time.
Rusev vs. Kofi Kingston
The aspect I like most about Rusev’s matches thus far is that they are not completely one sided. Every opponent after Rusev’s debut match has been allowed to get in some short lived offense before Rusev prevails, and that gets me behind the guy a little more. Lana is a great manager and even has the decency to show some concern for Rusev when his opponent is getting the upper hand. That said, didn’t take long for Rusev to take control and lock on his submission move for the victory. Also love that stomp on the lower back before he locks it in, so animalistic.
Daniel Bryan vs. Alberto Del Rio
Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio put on the match of the night, folks. A gimmick used throughout the match is that Bryan is a bit off his game her as his mind is on Brie and Kane who has been playing mind games with the newlyweds all night. It really amped up the drama in the match, and Del Rio was in top form here. I love when Del Rio hits those enziguiri’s throughout the match, that man is lethal with his feet, as is good ol D-Bry now that I mention it. After his patented enziguiri off the top rope on Bryan, Del Rio set up his cross arm breaker that was countered into a headlock, giving Daniel Bryan the victory.
After the match, storytelling through backstage vignettes culminated in Kane finally making the move to attack Brie and Bryan in the backstage area as Bryan and Brie were trying to make their getaway. Have to say, it was a cool moment when Bryan lowered that hood to see Kane in the backseat. Bryan got the upper hand on Kane by accelerating his car seemingly leaving Kane out cold. Kane sat up, and Bryan got the hell out with his screaming wife in tow. I’d be a liar if I said Brie’s screams weren’t a little grating, but the segment served its purpose. And did it well. Was it right to have the babyface Bryan actively run from a heel? You could debate no, but I thought hey the dude brought his wife with him he has to get her to safety. Next week I want a just bring it attitude from Bryan though.
Intercontinental Championship: Bad News Barrett vs. Big E
Another great showing for Bad News Barrett and Big E. One spot I absolutely loved which now seems to be a staple in Big E’s moveset is the spear to his opponent to the outside as they are standing on the ring apron, brutal spot. In an ending to the match that reminded me that technically Bad News Barrett is a heel, Barrett rakes Big E in the eyes as Big E set up his finisher then hit a bullhammer for the win. Barrett is an extremely physical competitor and I can’t wait to see his opponents vary throughout his reign, I want an IC match on the main card at Payback, set up a number one contender battle royal next week for a shot. It would make the belt feel important, the IC title is something wrestlers used to pursue. Let’s get back to those glory days.
Adam Rose Debuts
Zeb Coulter and Jack Swagger make their way to the ring to cut one of their controversial promos in the form of a desired deportation list that included Cesaro, Paul Heyman, Emma, Santino, Sheamus, etc. Adam Rose interrupts the tirade with his party people in hand. He stares down Coulter and tells him not to “be a lemon, but a rosebud.” Swagger attempts to attack Rose to no avail and Rose parties in the ring, would rather have had Rose’s debut be a match, but I remain pumped that he’s here.
The Shield vs. Evolution
Whenever these six are in the ring together, it’s magic. We started with their signature stare downs before a brawl ensued to heighten the excitement. All men got their just due as far as ring time goes, Wyatt’s took a page out of Evolutions handbook and isolated Seth Rollins from The Shield’s corner to add some suspense. The table was in play a lot here, this match was actually pretty damn hectic. At one point Harper hit a suicide dive onto the table, and later on as Rowan and Harper are intervening Ambrose and Rollins send both men outside onto the table. When it looks like The Shield has it in the big in setting up a triple powerbomb, Evolution makes their way out to the ring. The Shield use the Wyatt family as weapons against Evolution and Rollins dives over the top rope onto each man outside. Triple H makes his way into the ring and gets met with a Superman punch from Reigns, allowing Bray to blindside him and pick up a victory. Though underhanded, I’m glad the match ended with a Wyatt family victory rather than a disqualification. After a bit more of a fit from The Shield, Evolution overpowers them and stands tall as Raw closes. I’m glad that apparently the feud between these factions isn’t over. I’m hungry for more.
Overall Raw Grade: B+