‘WWE RAW’ rolled into London’s O2 Arena yesterday with a stacked show that included a rare in-ring performance by the Undertaker and developments for next month’s Extreme Rules pay per view. The show had some highlights and lowlights in the eyes of WWE fans, so the Pro Wrestling Examiner goes through the good, bad, and the just O.K. stuff from this week’s RAW in this review.
This 6 man tag match pitted the dangerous young faction known as the Shield against WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) with the Undertaker in his first wrestling performance on TV in a long time. The match was given a lengthy run during the second hour, and saw the Shield upset Undertaker, his brother Kane, and the bearded Bryan. The issues between the Shield and the Undertaker seemed far from over when the match came to close, with Bryan missing a flying headbutt and getting rolled up for a quick pinfall. Undertaker wrestling in from this manic crowd of English fans oozed some big fight feeling off the screen, something the Deadman seems always capable of especially now since his appearances on WWE TV are so sporadic. This match may not have been the best of year, but it felt like it was certainly best match on RAW this week.
It was a hoot to see ‘Y2J’ Chris Jerichp back in the mix with WWE again this week as his band Fozzy tours England. Jericho still fuming over his loss to the trending and dancing villain Fandango, tangled with World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler in a exciting match that saw the Show Off steal win. When Fandango’s popular entrance music played but he did not appear, it caused an effective distraction for Ziggler to get the ‘W’ on Jericho. The chemistry between Jericho and Ziggler was clear, and it feels like this two could continue to have standout matches but both men seemed to locked into separate programs at the moment.
Later in the evening after Fandango did a tap dance all over the hometown hero William Regal, he got thrown off the entrance ramp by an enraged Chris Jericho. Jericho dancing very close with Fandango’s blonde vixen of a dancer was a clever retort for ‘Dango costing him a match earlier in the night. You have to appreciate the little things in Dango’s performance here including his desperate reach out from the floor when Jericho sashayed with his dance partner on top of the ramp.
Mrs. Foley’s baby boy maybe done with his in-ring career but WWE keenly using his wisdom as a grizzled yet beloved veteran in last night’s confrontation with Ryback showed that this Hall of Famer can still bring the drama. Mick Foley’s passion and love for being an honorable competitor showed as he almost came to blows with a man who could have eviscerated him. The scene propelled Ryback’s mad quest to dethrone John Cena’s WWE Championship at any cost and made the one dimensional character a more pronounced and tangible purpose.
John Cena’s code of hustle, loyalty, and respect played out in the show closing brawl that saw Cena save Foley from a beat-down and almost leave Ryback to the wolf pack attack of the Shield. This would have been expected since Ryback left Cena to get mauled by the trio of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns last week on RAW. Cena though is above that behavior, much like he has risen ‘above hate’, he showed he was the better man when he saved Ryback by fending off the Shield with a steel chair. Cena put a cherry on top of this scene, when he slammed Ryback with an AA in the middle of the ring. The WWE Champion has reminded his challenger that he has better morals and to bring his A game into their upcoming title match at Extreme Rules.
American wrestling fans should really applaud the English wrestling fans who were the MVPs of tonight’s RAW. There soccer chanting and ‘fandangoing’ through out the night made the show reminiscent of the RAW that followed Wrestlemania 29 a few weeks ago, a show that also had a large contingent of UK fans in attendance. WWE should award these bold and charismatic masses in Great Britain with a pay per view event.
THE JUST O.K.
The ladies of the WWE really need to up their game overall, from the bottom all the way to top with WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn. This Battle Royale was a positive boost, as it saw mixture of comedy and surprisingly strong athleticism from younger divas like Naomi and Tamina Snuka. The way AJ Lee sold that super-kick from Snuka was just cartoonishly entertaining. The predictable fun continued as Aj appeared to blasted by an anvil and just laid motionless until her playing-possum act helped her eliminate Layla for the win. Now let’s see the pint-size psycho AJ can outwit Kaitlyn to her first WWE Divas title win.
This show-opening segment saw Heyman weave a strong tone to get the UK fans booing and steaming, and Triple H’s pedigree slam sent them roaring but on TV it just felt dull. This fued between Brock Lesnar and Triple H does not have anywhere near the momentum it had when Lesnar was bloodied on RAW leading up to WM29. Still both competitors can deliver an intense showing inside a steel cage at Extreme Rules and that may very well happen, but the fact remains that both times that Triple H and Lesnar have met the results have been underwhelming at best.
Antonio Cesaro can wrestle, he should not yodel
What happened to the hot commodity that once was Antonio Cesaro? Just a week after dropping the United States Championship to Kofi Kingston (who did not appear on RAW this week), Cesaro gets fed to feel-good rapper R-Truth in a forgettable contest. As if things could not get worse for the superstar from Switzerland, he has now had the albatross tied around his neck with a lame yodeling gimmick. Yep, he yodels to the ring like he’s an extra in a Ricola cough drop ad. Silly things like this may be common in the three ring circus that is WWE, but Cesaro’s proven in-ring power gets sullied by this preposterous entrance that does not click with his character at all.
Overall WWE delivered a solid showing this week on RAW in London. The atmosphere was raised by being in front of a unique audience hungry for the product, and several solid matches including a rarity of the Undertaker in a match on free TV. Now let’s just hope Friday’s Smackdown which is also being taped in England will continue with this momentum. Pro Wrestling Examiner gives the April 21st episode of ‘WWE RAW’ 4 out of 5 stars.
What did you think of this week’s WWE RAW? Did the Pro Wrestling Examiner get it in wrong in our review? Tweet your repsonse to @Kevkellam or post on the Pro Wrestling Examiner Facebook page.