Welcome to another edition of Raw Afterthoughts. This is our look back at last night's show in more detail than we can bring you in a live recap. Feel free to ask questions, give your own thoughts, and comments below.
This Just Ain't Working...
I hate to tell WWE, but the build to John Cena vs. Ryback reached its peak the night it started. On the night after WrestleMania 29, Ryback took Cena down with the Meathook then hit Shell Shocked. Ever since then, it's been downhill.
The opening segment was absolutely terrible. Cena decided to break out the cornball comedy, making fun and mocking Ryback's voice and quipping about the images of him with Betty White and a spatula. These are the exact things that John Cena detractors don't like and are tired of. The live crowd - even Cena fans - didn't even enjoy it that much either based on their reaction. There was no response to his humor.
Ryback is still trying to find his way as a heel character. He is also still struggling on the microphone as well, though last night he did show some improvement over past weeks. Vickie may be a heat magnet, but sometimes it just feels like "go away" heat to me and not heel heat. Put these three elements in the ring and it created some bad television.
At least Cena wiped the smile off his face long enough to sort of sell the stipulation. For most, that's a given but with Cena, unfortunately it's not a sure thing. Unfortunately, the Last Man Standing stipulation points unanimously to a Cena win, so it doesn't make me excited for this match at the pay per view.
Adding to That...
Ryback vs. Kane also failed to do anything for me as a viewer to create interest in Cena vs. Ryback. If the goal is to make Ryback a monster, then have him dominate opponents and look like a monster. This would make him look stronger heading into the title match.
Instead, we have Ryback ducking The Shield whenever possible and we got a back-and-forth affair with Kane. I guess it could lead to Ryback using The Shield as "guns for hire" to help him win the title, but it's doing nothing for the hype for the match.
I really was hoping that when they elected to go to a showdown match between Cena and Ryback after WrestleMania 29, we'd really get a big-match feel. Instead, Cena has treated Ryback like the flavor of the month, Ryback hasn't developed enough to feel like a real threat, and it seems like just another match because there has to be one.
In my live coverage I pointed out that it was clearly obvious that the "office" was not actually Triple H's office at WWE Headquarters. That said, Brock going in and destroying everything was effective. It wasn't a huge heat generator, but it got the point across that Lesnar is a beast.
Paul Heyman continued to be an effective talker, throwing in some good one-line comments making fun of the McMahon family ("You're not Stephanie, you're much prettier...") and commenting on the work environment ("these people don't look happy, this is a hostile work environment..."). Triple H also cut an effective, though not white-hot, promo.
I can't say this angle really got me going for this match. That said, it was effective, served its purpose, and watching Brock break stuff on TV is just fun.
The One Thing that Mattered...
We got a very strong television match between Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler. They did a really good job of advancing this story last night as we get ready for the triple-threat ladder match at Extreme Rules. This seems to be the only story that got any positive momentum last night.
Along those lines, Jack Swagger ended up looking like a total badass last night. He delivered a solid post-match attack, leaving Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Big E Langston, and Dolph Ziggler all laying. He delivered some really vicious-looking ladder shots at the end of the match. This is the Jack Swagger I've been wondering if he'd ever arrive and it was good.
- I'm okay with Kofi Kingston taking the loss against The Shield in the six-man tag. The Uso Brothers unfortunately haven't mattered for so long that Kofi taking the pin gives some heat to The Shield's win.
- I was thrilled to see that Antonio Cesaro left the yodeling gimmick behind and has become a bit more serious. Let's see where this goes.
- My guess on Kaitlyn's mystery man is now a "catfish" by the Bella Twins.
- Khali in a Sherlock Holmes hat = Ratings. Book it, WWE. No, not really.
- Brock destroyed Triple H's "replica belt" in the office segment. WWE Creative does that to Wade Barrett and the Intercontinental Championship every week without the sledgehammer.
- I really like Jericho feuding with Fandango. Jericho is good at putting talent over so it makes sense. Including Tons of Funk (Brodus and Tensai) seemed silly though.
- There is no impact in putting R-Truth over as the first guy to beat Fandango when he did it by countout in 90 seconds. And why was Truth protected?
That's it for this week, folks. Join us next week for more Raw coverage on the go-home edition into Extreme Rules.