Ryback has made a presence known based on his arrival last week. He attacked Mark Henry first, but then went after John Cena. He put Cena down and held the title up over Cena's fallen body. Will Ryback try to take a run at the WWE Championship now? Will Mark Henry try to make a run at the title too? Is there a triple-threat in John Cena's future?
Also, The Shield attempted to make history and go after Undertaker, but Kane and Daniel Bryan came to his aid. Will these six men fight in the near future?
Out of respect for the tragic events today in Boston, tonight's recap will be a much more abbreviated "Cliff's Notes" report than the usual play-by-play style report I do.
Show live in Greensville, S.C.:
We open with the standard recap video package, highlighting the closing moments of Raw. Cena beat Mark Henry by a countout, then Ryback attacked Henry. After disposing of Henry, Ryback attacked Cena. The announcer says we'll get an answer for Ryback's action.
They also hype up CM Punk's appearance tonight, and the announcer asks what Punk has in store.
Match #1 - Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. Big Show
Cole tells us it's sold out in the arena and recaps the story following Orton and Sheamus from WrestleMania into last week's show. Show attacked Orton and Sheamus at the end of their one-on-one match. This recap goes on while Orton and Sheamus make their way to the ring.
Show makes his way to the ring while JBL rants. Sheamus and Big Show start off. Show controls the early going, countering a Brogue Kick and dumping Sheamus out of the ring. He barely beats the 10-count to get back in only to take more abuse from Show. Sheamus continues to sell and take a series of near falls.
Later, Orton gets the hot tag and goes to work on Show. He hits a series of moves, including his elevated DDT. He tries to get the RKO but Show counters. Orton hits a drop kick, but gets goozled for a chokeslam. Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick, then Orton hits the RKO for the win.
JBL cries "unfair" as Orton and Sheamus celebrate on the ropes.
The match was fine, but I'm not exactly sure where this story is heading. Orton and Sheamus have beaten Show as singles on their own...
They swing to the announce position. The announcers feed it to a recap of 3MB's attempt to attack Triple H, with The Shield interfering. They go backstage, and 3MB says they're going to call The Shield out right now.
After break, 3MB is in the ring with their air guitar gimmick. Slater questions why Shield stole their spotlight. McIntryre demands a hand-written apology. The three wait for the Shield but they get Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar mows through the three men with little difficulty. He hits Slater with two F5's out on the barricade as Heyman makes his appearance and pleads with him to stop. The fans chant "one more time" and Lesnar bobs his head to acknowledge. Heyman and Lesnar get in the ring to cut a promo.
Heyman says his client is ready for a fight. He then puts over Triple H for his effort at WrestleMania and gives H credit for knocking out Brock Lesnar. He says he would shake Hunter's hand and give him credit for that match.
Heyman says Brock doesn't share that sentiment as the fans chant for Trips. Heyman calls it a problem and says there can only be one dominant alpha male in WWE. Trips only merely evened the score.
Heyman proposes solving this problem at Extreme Rules. Heyman proposes a match where a knocked out man will be brutalized and says it's time to get extreme. He proposes an old-school cage match. He says they have two words for Triple H: "challenge issued."
They run highlights of Brock destroying 3MB again. Cole asks if Triple H will accept the challenge. The announcers also hype up Ryback explaining why he attacked Cena.
Those bumps on the barrier were tough! I like the Heyman promo and I like getting Lesnar's record evened if it goes there.
Strong first half hour to have a match to start, then Lesnar's appearance (unadvertised).
They show a split-screen shot of Antonio Cesaro and Kofi Kingston walking backstage. Kofi gets a shot at the US Championship next.
Match #2 - Kofi Kingston vs. Antonio Cesaro (c); WWE United States Championship
Cole points out that Kingston won a non-title match to get this opportunity. Cesaro yodels his way to the ring as it is pointed out that his title run has lasted 240 days.
A brief "Ole" chant can be heard after commercial. Kingston hits Trouble in Paradise, but Cesaro rolls outside. Kingston gets him back in, and only gets two. Kingston goes up top but get slammed for his troubles.
Late, the two men go through some falls and reversals. Kingston hits Trouble in Paradise on Cesaro and picks up the clean win. After the match, Josh Mathews interviews Kingston and Kingston says he's proud to bring the US Championship back to home.
The match was enjoyable, but I can't get excited about the title change with the way WWE has been treating the mid-card champions.
We get an ad for the Mick Foley DVD "For All Mankind" that's coming out tomorrow. We also get an ad for WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans.
The announcers do a recap of Dolph Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank last week to win the World Heavyweight Championship. They essentially show the entire MITB match. They cut to Dolph Ziggler, AJ, and Big E Langston walking toward the ring before break.
Dolph comes to the ring with AJ and Big E. He cuts a promo about his title win. He boasts about being great and being "just too good." He says fans might boo and says he doesn't care, which draws boos.
Ziggler talks about scoring a TD in an NFL game being a show off moment. He says when you're better than anyone else, you can show off. Ziggler puts himself over as backing it up every night. He points out the perks of championship by kissing AJ.
Alberto Del Rio's music hits and he comes out with Ricardo. He still has a limp to sell his leg injury. Del Rio says he's out to invoke his rematch clause. He says he wants his rematch right now tonight in Greenville. Ziggler mocks and points out the leg injury.
Vickie Guerrero interrupts with her "Excuse Me" bit. She says the match starts now. The official comes out and the two are about to go but Jack Swagger's music hits. Colter cuts a promo as Swagger and he come to the ring.
Colter says Ziggler doesn't deserve to be champion because Swagger was responsible for Del Rio's injuries. Colter says that Del Rio doesn't deserve a rematch. Swagger gets in the ring but Del Rio clears him.
Del Rio turns to face Ziggler, but Langston stands between them. Swagger grabs Del Rio by the leg and slams it off the post then locks on the Patriot Lock. Officials pull him off. A trainer checks on Del Rio as Swagger and Colter leave.
Looks like they're going to the triple threat option here. Will both major titles have triple threat matches now? Hopefully Vickie will be a non-issue with Dolph as champion given their former dealings.
We see Kane and Daniel Bryan walking to the ring and they have the next match.
As introductions take place for this match, they put over that Undertaker will wrestle on Raw next week as Team Hell No faces The Shield in London.
Match #3 - Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. The Prime Time Players
The announcers talk about Pancake Patterson as Bryan hits some kicks.
The Players get their share of offense in, but late in this one, Kane goozles Young for the choke slam. Bryan hits the flying headbutt off the ropes to get the win.
The match was essentially a repeat of what we've seen before. It was fine, but just repetitive.
Surprising that they're not putting the Undertaker match over as a bigger deal than it is..
We get highlights of Ryback attackign Henry then Cena to close last week's show.
Ryback is shown on the Tron in a darkened area of backstage. He says WrestleMania was the best night of Cena's life and the worst night of his. He talks about Cena finding redemption while he was at the bottom. He says there's only one place for things to go - Ryback up, Cena down.
Ryback talks about the questions running in Cena's head. He says maybe Cena saw it before the clothesline. Ryback asks what choice he had and was staring up from the bottom of the ladder after WrestleMania and that wouldn't happen.
Ryback recalls Cena's endorsement and giving over his title shot when Cena was injured. He says Cena made him feel like he belonged. He says Cena promised he would have his back.
He calls a friendship with Cena being nothing more than a promise to live in Cena's shadow. He tells Cena to say hello to his kryptonite. He talks about the times that Cena left him hanging and they show highlights of the times the Shield attacked him on Smackdown and Raw, hitting the Triple Powerbomb.
"You said I could trust you and you had my back." Ryback recounts six times that the Shield attacked him. Ryback asks if Cena was designing his latest T-shirt and reiterates his "where were you?" question. Ryback says he was there every time Cena got attacked.
Ryback says Cena was focused on winning the title and got lucky at the Royal Rumble. They show Cena eliminating Ryback to win. He says Cena left him alone at Elimination Chamber again to fend off The Shield alone. They show footage of the end of the match where Cena missed breaking up the pin.
Ryback says he sat in the back watching Cena make jokes like no one else deserved to be there. "I sat in the back and waited for you to...admit that you were there because I wasn't." Ryback says he will step out of Cena's shadow and is the biggest threat to Cena's title run. "Ryback Rules."
A solid pre-tape package. Smart to have Ryback deliver it that way. He laid out a reasonable case to have issues with Cena yet not so strong that Cena fans would defect to his side. Ryback didn't play the fans at all either.
They reset what happened with 3MB and Brock Lesnar early in the show. They also show Heyman challenging Triple H to the cage match at Extreme Rules.
Match #4 - Wade Barrett vs. R-Truth
Truth is in the ring while Barrett makes his entrance. The announcers talk about The Andy Griffith Show as Barrett controls the offense early. Cole hypes up a battle royale to determine the next challenger for Wade Barrett.
Late, Truth avoids a slam and hits a DDT to get the win.
Not much of a surprise in this one, Barrett losing. I guess the goal is to make him look vulnerable, but the thing is he loses so regularly that he already is vulnerable. All about positioning.
Brad Maddox and Vickie are talking about Del Rio's condition. Teddy Long walks in and says he booked Swagger vs. Ziggler for later in the show. Maddox asks if Booker knows, and Teddy says it's his job to go tell Booker. Vickie shoos him on his way.
We get some hype for Fandango.
Match #5 - Great Khali and Santino Marella (w/Natalya and Hornswoggle) vs. Rhodes Scholars
Sandow cuts a promo on the way to the ring talking about giants and small people. Rhodes chimes in and Sandow calls South Carolina a den of ignorance.
Late in this one, Marella goes for the Cobra. Outside the ring, there's some distraction going on as Rhodes tries to attack Hornswoggle. Sandow rolls up Marella and holds the tights to get the win.
Meh. I didn't much care about this one.
Jerry Lawler says there's been an instance of someone making their debut at WrestleMania and a successful one at that. He feeds it to various video clips of fans "Fandangoing."
Fandango makes his entrance with his dancer. Jerry attempts to interview him but Fandango cuts him off. He asks Jerry how his hips are. Jerry says they're there, then excuses himself to the announce position.
Fandango asks various parts of the audience if they want to go Fandangoing. He gives a lesson in saying his name. The fans do try to get the song going, but it doesn't pick up. He says since the crowd can't say his name, they can go Fandango themselves. He and his dancer.
Flat follow up. I bet the London crowd might be more receptive.
Matt Striker interviews John Cena. Cena says he recognizes that Ryback has a problem with him and he's not a hard man to find. He will go out in the ring and wear a bright yellow shirt if he has to. He will be ready to handle his business if he has to.
Jack Swagger comes to the ring for the next match after commercial.
Match #6 - Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Big E Langston and AJ)
With Swagger in the ring, they recap what happened earlier in the show between Ziggler, Swagger, and Del Rio. The announcers talk about the backstage story between the authority figures to get to this match.
After a slap to the mouth and a chase sequence, Ziggler gets some early offense. Swagger counters with a boot and he takes control going into commercial.
Late in this one, Swagger gets Ziggler up for a power bomb. He slingshots Ziggler off the ropes then rolls Ziggler up for the win.
As Swagger exits, Del Rio attacks him from behind. He roughs him up, sending him into the WWE logo on the stage then hitting a superkick. He puts Swagger in the Cross Arm Breaker until officials pull him off. Del Rio motions to Ziggler in the ring and mouths that he wants his shot.
All signs point to a triple threat. Can't imagine why they wouldn't want Dolph to look strong in his first match as champion, but he jobbed out there. I guess this how they get to the triple threat.
The announcers talk about Rock's injuries and show some Twitter posts. They hype up Cena coming to the ring later, and show Heyman and CM Punk coming toward the ring for their segment next.
Backstage, Matt Striker goes to interview Sheamus, but Mark Henry spears him through the set. Henry yells, "That's what I do! I got more!" as officials back him off.
CM Punk's music hits and he walks slowly to the ring with Paul Heyman. The announcers talk about the match he had with Undertaker and note it's the first time he's faced the fans since WrestleMania. A CM Punk chant starts.
Punk pauses and then talks about his 434-day title run. He says he couldn't enjoy it because he was looking for what's next. He says the title meant the world to him, but he wanted to the next challenge.
He says he challenged someone who is arguably will go down as one of the greatest of all time. He looked ahead to the next hurdle though.
He says he looked to one thing bigger than the championship he loved and The Rock, and that was The Streak. He says he took Undertaker to the limit. He pauses and puts his head down.
Dueling Punk and Undertaker chants get going. Punk stares at the crowd, then looks back to Paul Heyman. Punk hugs him and hands Heyman the microphone. Heyman is surprised as Punk leaves. He pauses then exits through a side exit.
Interesting. That leaves people wondering what will be next for CM Punk. Loud chants during this segment kind of prove to me that the fans would react to something worth reacting to.
Booker T tells Teddy to consult him before booking matches. Teddy says Jack Swagger is now the No. 1 contender. Booker T says that Del Rio might be hurt but that just means he can't compete tonight. Booker says Swagger and Del Rio will get a championship opportunity in a triple threat match at Extreme Rules.
We need more authority figures...
Match #6 - Kaitlyn (c) vs. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) - non-title match
In the end of this one, the twins do their "twin magic" switch. Brie slingshots Kaitlyn into the ropes and rolls up Kaitlyn for the win. The Bellas gloat in the ring afterward.
Meh. The fans didn't care and truthfully this viewer didn't either.
They show Ryback walking backstage. Cena is calling him out, next.
The announcers give us some highlights from earlier in the night, including the show- opening match with Orton and Sheamus vs. Big Show. They show Sheamus getting speared by Henry. They then tell us Henry and Show will team up to face Orton and Sheamus on Smackdown.
Cena's music hits and he charges the ring. After posing with the title, he says "The champ is here, the Ryback is there." He says he and Ryback have business to deal with and he needs to come to the ring. Ryback's music hits and he comes out.
Ryback walks over to Cena and jaws at him. A "feed me more" chant can be heard. Cena says when the WWE Universe hears "feed me more" someone is going to get hurt.
Cena says he should be shaking in his boots and wetting his khakis but he isn't. We get a momentary glimpse of the Shield warming up for some reason.
Cena mocks Ryback's promo for blaming him for everything. He holds the title and ask if Ryback wants it. He says Ryback knocked him down one time and claims he's a big threat to the title. He asks Ryback if he knows who he's dealing with.
Cena talks of those he's beaten and says they are his friends. He says even though they're friends, they beat the hell out of each other because the WWE Championship is everything. Cena says he understands what Ryback did last week but didn't like how he did it.
Cena tells Ryback he doesn't have the two most important things to be a champion, the space between his ears and a piece between his legs. King asks if the announcers saw what he saw earlier and says "I know what I saw."
Ryback just glares while Cena says they'll do things different this week. He pulls off his shirt and tells Ryback he should make a move and see if he has what it takes to earn a championship. They glare at each other, then Ryback leaves the ring.
The Shield's music hits. Lawler fesses up that he knew what he saw, and JBL sells that Ryback and Cena are in trouble based on the numbers game. Ryback stands on the ramp and Cena readies himself in the ring. The Shield do their normal entrance through the crowd and surround the ring. Ryback watches on as Cena stands ready.
The Shield hit the ring and attack Cena. The numbers are too much for him as the Shield beats Cena down. Ryback doesn't flinch. The Shield stands tall over Cena after a beatdown and Ryback goes to leave. He stops at the stage and turns around.
The Shield hits their triple powerbomb spot on Cena and stands over him in the middle of the ring. A "one more time" chant can be heard from predominantly adult males. Ryback stares from the stage as the show ends.
Rather than let the fans decide, they go ahead and turn Ryback. That's fine. The clear explanation is that Cena left him hanging, so Ryback left Cena hang this time. Adult males will still cheer Ryback, though.
The one issue I have with Cena's promo is that he keeps turning his back on these big guys. He did it with Mark Henry last week, and with Ryback tonight. It just sends a wrong message when Cena is doing that with these guys that are to be monster heels.
I don't get Ziggler losing a week after winning the World Heavyweight Championship, and I don't get Wade Barrett losing after regaining the Intercontinental Championship. They also tried way too hard to get the Fandango theme over. Very odd booking decisions.
Next week is a taped show coming to us from London (because of the time zone differences). Let's see how the London crowd responds to what they see.
I'll have more to say on tomorrow's Raw Afterthoughts. Thanks for following along tonight.