WWE Champion John Cena takes control of Seth Rollins.
Harmless Triple Threat match to kick off the show with Ricardo Rodriguez defeating Zeb Colter and Big E Langston. It was silly at times and stupendously stupid as well, but it was a logical way of establishing the stipulation for the World Heavyweight Championship match at Extreme Rules. I hoped it would be made a Ladder match, so I'm glad that was the stipulation they ultimately went with. Although I was fine with this bout, I question the move to have it open the broadcast, as it was somewhat strange and not announced ahead of time.
Classy segment featuring WWE Champion John Cena and the kids from the Make-A-Wish foundation. Regardless of whether you love or despise Cena, you have to admire and respect just how dedicated he is to the organization. It was a memorable moment in the lives of those young children and definitely a feel-good moment for those watching at home. Furthermore, I'm glad WWE played it straight and didn't have Ryback or anyone interfere merely because they wanted to keep it kayfabe.
Great match between Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes. These two have awesome chemistry with one another and were given quite a bit of time to shine in the squared circle. The final few moments were well done and the ending sequence with Orton reversing the Beautiful Disaster kick into an RKO made for a cool finish. It's a shame that Rhodes doesn't mean much anymore, as this would have been a marquee match at one point in time. His loss to The Viper was set in stone from the start, but he surely looked strong in defeat.
Mediocre match between Brie Bella and Naomi. The bout lasted a mere minute before ending with the tiresome Twin Magic act, which caused for the decision to be reversed moments later. Naomi is an impressive competitor, but she wasn't given enough time to truly showcase her athletic abilities. This bout didn't serve much of a purpose outside of plugging the new Divas reality show debuting on the E! network this upcoming summer.
Standard promo from The Shield discussing their path of destruction since their debut late last year. It was a nice momentum booster, but it wasn't anything we haven't heard before. 3MB interrupting was an unpleasant surprise, as I have no desire whatsoever to see them turn face to feud with the faction. We've been seeing Team Hell No fend off The Shield for weeks now, but it was still an effective way of setting up the inevitable WWE Tag Team Championship match at Extreme Rules.
Fun match between World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler and United States Champion Kofi Kingston. Their matches are always very well wrestled, but the match itself has grown so stale that everything else rendered irrelevant. The action was entertaining down the stretch, but the Champion vs. Championship stipulation lost its luster long ago. Kingston is only two weeks into his U.S. title reign and he's already been relegated back to enhancement talent status, which shouldn't come as much of surprise to anyone.
Jack Swagger dominantly decimates Zack Ryder.
Basic squash match with Jack Swagger dominating Zack Ryder. The fact Ryder actually received an entrance and mic time for once was a bit of a shocker, but it sadly amounted to nothing. This sole purpose of this match was to further Swagger's strong momentum, so at least it was successful in that aspect. I can't imagine him winning the World Championship at Extreme Rules, but it's important that they book him as a threat to the title going into the event.
Throwaway segment with Mark Henry hosting a Tug of War. It was used to showcase Henry's unadulterated strength, but it was poorly executed to sat the least. It was an absolutely asinine concept that did nothing to get me excited for the pending program between Sheamus and Henry. Needless to say, this segment felt like filler more than anything.
Good match between Alberto Del Rio and Antonio Cesaro. These two have great chemistry with one another and engaged in an enjoyable exchange. However, it was yet another solid match that had a predictable outcome with Del Rio going over. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the match went as long as it did, but what's the point if the outcome never changes ever time they clash?
Meaningless dance-off between The Great Khali and Fandango. Dance-offs are rarely ever entertaining in WWE, and this train wreck of a segment was no exception. I'm happy for Fandango's success and such, but I'm getting the feeling WWE has no idea what to do with him. Chris Jericho will be on hiatus for the foreseeable future, so they better find something for him to do fast before his 15 minutes of fame expire.
Solid match with The Shield defeating WWE Champion John Cena and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No. Since Cena was legitimately injured, I commend him for actually competing in this bout and they did a nice job of working around it. The Shield pinning Cena clean to score the victory came as a huge surprise and I couldn't be happier with the decision, as it's not too often we see The Champ lose in such a fashion. Additionally, Ryback entering at the end to indicate that he was indeed in the arena the whole time was simple and effective.
Overall, a mediocre show that was a significant step down from last week's edition, but it certainly wasn't the worst show of the year, either. There were a number of excellent matches over the course of the three hours, but almost every one of those bouts had a finish that could be seen coming from a mile away. There were also segments on this week's Raw that were painful to watch and downright absurd, which made it feel like the script for this show was written five minutes before it went live. Nonetheless, with less than three weeks remaining until Extreme Rules, I have hope that the next two episodes of Raw will do an effective job of building up the under-card for the event.
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