By Graham "GSM" Matthews
John Cena Attacked Bray Wyatt
Needless to say, Wyatt is an absolute god on the mic and while I enjoy all of his promos, this had to be his best in recent memory. The London crowd was the perfect audience and waving their phones back and forth during his entrance was simply phenomenal. They proved the point that he is slowly "brainwashing" the WWE Universe. Granted, it wasn't characteristic of a heel and made him more of a babyface than anything else, but it was fitting of his cult character and made for an excellent moment. I initially wasn't a fan of Cena getting a one-up over Wyatt, but that changed by the end of the night once Wyatt evened the odds.
Cesaro def. United States Champion Sheamus (Non-title)
These two had a very good matchup on Main Event last week and this was no different. They developed great chemistry together and produced a quality contest. Though I love England crowds, I was a bit annoyed that they began chanting the announcers' names whenever Sheamus was on offense. I realize Sheamus is no fan favorite in England, but that was disrespectful to the performers in my opinion. Nevertheless, I was fine with the finish, as it makes Cesaro more of a heel (something he was lacking only a few weeks ago) and sets up a rematch for the title at Payback. Sheamus has won enough non-title matches in recent weeks that this one loss won't damage him or the belt.
Big E def. Ryback in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
It's sad to think that this could have been a big matchup only a year and a half ago. Both guys have fallen so far that the crowd couldn't care less about either competitors. Even still, they put forth a good effort and had a decent matchup. Big E is very talented and more could be done with him, but because fans know hardly anything about him, I can see why it's difficult for them to get behind him in any form or fashion during his matches.
Fandango and Layla vs. R-Truth and Naomi Went to a No Contest
I figured it was only a matter of time before Summer Rae returned to TV, as the filming of The Marine 4 was rumored to be wrapping up around this time. That said, expect The Miz back soon as well, but whether he aligns with Summer remains to be seen. I certainly hope not because I have no desire to see Miz and Fandango feud yet again. I will say, however, that the crowd responded nicely to the brief brawl between Layla and Summer. I don't think Summer should turn face, but I guess I'm mildly intrigued as to how they'll handle her apparent feud with Fandango and Layla.
Stephanie McMahon Addressed the Status of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Stephanie is such a troll during her promos that it is absolutely hysterical. From her coming down to Daniel Bryan's entrance theme to her calling the fans predictable for cheering Bad News Barrett, she was great here. In essence, this segment served no purpose since all she did was invite Bryan to Raw next week to surrender the WWE World Heavyweight title, but at least it kept viewers looking forward to what's next in the ongoing story. I could very well see The Authority stripping him of the belt, but only time will tell.
Rusev def. Heath Slater
I questioned why 3MB would be positioned as babyfaces, but it made sense to position them as such given that they came out as The Union Jacks. Mark this down as the only day I will ever cheer for the group. In all seriousness, it was a simple squash for Rusev that garnered him good heat, but he appears to be in a holding pattern at the moment. He was set to feud with Big E based off what happened last week on Raw, but apparently not. At least his streak of attacking African-Americans is now over.
Rob Van Dam def. Alberto Del Rio in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
Del Rio has never been more irrelevant. As great of a wrestler as he is, he's seemingly done it all in WWE, so I'm content with him not having anything to do right now. I suppose it's better than him being shoved down our throats as world champion again. Anyway, he worked a fun match with RVD that wasn't much different from the matches they've had in the past.
Seth Rollins def. Batista by Disqualification
The first matchup between these two a few weeks ago on SmackDown told a better story, but this match had the better in-ring wrestler. The action was entertaining and the inevitable brawl between The Shield and Evolution was well built toward. It seems like every match involving a Shield and Evolution member as of late has ended in a non-finish, but as long as the matches themselves are good, then I'm not complaining. The Shield has been so dominant over Evolution during the course of this feud that I fear fans won't buy into the possibility of Evolution winning at Payback, but the newly added No Holds Barred Elimination stipulation definitely peaks my interest.
Alicia Fox def. Divas Champion Paige (Non-title)
I really don't see why Fox beating Paige in her home country of England was a bad thing. It wasn't WWE's way of embarrassing the champion on her home turf as they have done with people in the past (I'm looking at you, Jim Ross). Rather, it was a smart way of establishing Fox as a credible challenger to the Divas Championship. Her post-match antics weren't as effective as they were last week, but she garnered good heat in beating Paige in England. If given enough time, the expected Divas title match between Paige and Fox could be solid.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Mark Henry in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match Ended in a Draw
I was glad to see Ziggler actually get an entrance on Raw for once, especially in England where the fans in attendance took a liking to him. He and Henry had a passable bout, but it had a weird dynamic to it. Is Henry supposed to be a face or a heel? Do officials care enough to even bother establishing that? The live crowd was upset that Ziggler lost, but I'm looking forward to RVD vs. Bad News Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship at Payback. Speaking of whom, I was worried WWE wasn't going to have Barrett appear on the show at all, but they were smart in saving his appearance until this moment. He played to his home country crowd, which is fine since they were going to cheer him, regardless. He's been cheered everywhere else anyway and I think a face turn for him could be on the horizon.
Renee Young Interviewed Adam Rose
I figured Rose would be massively over in England, or I should say that his entrance theme would be. I'm still very much a fan of the act, but I don't think the humming of his entrance theme will catch on with future crowds and this segment should that the character has much lasting power, similar to Fandango last year. Nonetheless, this segment was a logical way of furthering Rose's feud with Jack Swagger if WWE is keen on keeping him out of action until the Payback pay-per-view.
John Cena def. Luke Harper by Disqualification
As expected, Cena and Harper worked a great match with both Superstars shining in their respective efforts. Harper had a highly impressive outing once again and proved that he could very well be the breakout member of The Wyatt Family when all is said and done. Meanwhile, Cena continues to prove to people that he can indeed wrestle. By this point in the show, many matches had already ended in a questionable way with a draw or disqualification, so the DQ finish here was repetitive yet understandable. What was really noteworthy was the beat down on Cena on the stage by The Wyatt Family afterward. After Extreme Rules, I didn't wish to see this feud continue (and part of me still believes that), but they've sold me on their Last Man Standing match at Payback, especially with Harper counting to ten as Cena laid motionless on the stage to close the show.
The show didn't have the same unpredictable feel it usually does, which is understandable given that it was taped earlier on in the day. That said, the always awesome England crowd made for an excellent atmosphere and made this show more fun than it probably should have been. Cena vs. Harper, Rollins vs. Batista and even the Beat the Clock Challenge matches were all highlights that laid the foundation for the Payback pay-per-view in two weeks. This would have been a decent edition of Raw any other week, but the England crowd made it more enjoyable and fun than it would have been had the show not emanated from across the pond.