Tonight we get our show from London at the O2 Arena. We're a week removed from Ryback leaving Cena to be destroyed by The Shield to close out the show last week. What will Cena do about this whole situation? Will Ryback give additional details to us about his dissatisfaction with Cena's "shadow"?
Brock Lesnar, through his agent Paul Heyman, challenged Triple H to a cage match last week too. Will Triple H accept?
Show Taped in London, England at the O2 Arena:
We get recap video to open. They show the angle that has set up Undertaker making his first wrestling appearance on Raw in three years. They highlight the Shield trying to attack Undertaker, only to be thwarted by Team Hell No. They also recap the angle between Ryback and John Cena.
The show opens cold with Paul Heyman in the ring for a promo. He says he's there as the advocate for Brock Lesnar. He recalls the attack on 3MB by Brock Lesnar, then the issuance of the challenge for a cage match at Extreme Rules. He feeds it into a video recap of the segment. The announcers check in on commentary.
Back in the ring, Heyman says the moment has arrived for the first-ballot Hall of Famer Triple H to give his answer to the cage match challenge. Heyman says the only issue is that Triple H isn't in the building. Heyman admits having a reputation of being a liar. He admits he has no idea how that happened.
Heyman reads an email on his phone. Triple H says he will answer the challenge next week. Heyman says he would stand in the ring and shake H's hand and tell him he respects him. He says that he, like all the fans, are disappointed that Triple H is not going to appear because he's too cowardly.
Triple H's music hits and he walks out to a good reaction. Cole hypes up the sellout crowd while Triple H makes his entrance.
Heyman says that Trips played it well. Triple H points to the email on Paul's phone and says "See right there? I lied. And I want you to go home and tell Brock Lesnar that I accept." He turns and hits Heyman with the Pedigree to a big pop and leaves.
I always think they should make the fans wait for that Pedigree moment more. But, nonetheless, we get the match set up and the London faithful get a pop moment to open the show.
Cole hypes up Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho for later in the evening and says it's the renewal of a rivalry.
This is good hype. They should have done more with it last week though, just like they should have done with Undertaker as well.
Match #1 - Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth
Truth does his rapping "what's up" entrance. Cole decides to act like an idiot and do the "what's up" yell a bit at the announce position. Cesaro comes out and chides Truth about the rap and says this is how it's done. He yodels his way to the ring.
During the match, the fans get the "ole!" chant going a little bit. In the end, Truth hits his finisher to pick up the win.
I guess this is a mini-resurgence from R-Truth for some reason. Not sure why they're letting the horrible yodeling gimmick thing stick with Cesaro, though.
They show a helicopter landing. The Shield gets out and gets in a Land Rover and heads to the arena. The announcers hype up that it's the biggest match of their career.
This was a cool entrance moment.
Match #2 - Brodus Clay (w/Tensai, Naomi, and Cameron) vs. Damien Sandow (w/Cody Rhodes)
Before the break, Tons of Funk with the dancers make their entrance. Sandow and Rhodes make their entrance after commercial.
Clay gets the early advantage in this one. Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain. The finish of this one comes with Sandow rolling Clay up and pulling the tights for the win.
The announcers feed it into a recap of Dolph Ziggler cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
Dolph is worshipping his title belt, talking about how beautiful it is. AJ enters and calls him a cute name. He tells her to imagine how hot the Divas championship would look around her waist rather than her former "hippopotamus BFF" Kaitlyn. They trade Kaitlyn insults then make out. The camera backs out to show Big E standing to the side. Dolph tells him it's AJ/Dolph time and to stop creeping.
Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox show up with Vickie's "excuse me" bit. Vickie tells Ziggler she has news for him. She tells him if he loses to Chris Jericho, he won't have to defend his title at Extreme Rules in a triple threat. Instead, it will be a fatal four way with Chris Jericho added. She cackles.
Decent enough set-up. Watch the dynamic between Ziggler and Langston going forward. They could be setting the stage for a Langston MITB win and cash in on Dolph while he's champion.
They run a Make A Wish commercial that features John Cena. They end with Cena asking viewers to text WISH to 80088 to donate $10 to Make-a-Wish.
At ringside, the announcers talk about CM Punk. They feed it to a video package of him walking out last week. Cole says they don't know much right now, but they'll continue to dig to find out what's going on.
Shield Cam Promo
They show a promo with the three members of the Shield using a hand held camera. Ambrose says that for 20 years, Undertaker has been the judge, jury and executioner of WWE. He asks who gave him that authority.
Rollins says they will make a statement tonight. Ambrose says Taker will know for the first time what justice tastes like. Reigns closes by saying "Believe in the Shield."
This was a good promo from the three men. They played up the fact that they are the new "law" of WWE and how they're replaced Taker.
Match #3 - Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ and Big E Langston); if Ziggler loses, the match at Extreme Rules becomes a fatal four way
Jericho comes out to a big pop. The announcers hype Jericho's band "Fozzy" appearing at The Garage. As Ziggler comes to the ring, the announcers hype that he has to win this match, because he might not be able to retain his championship at Extreme Rules if it were a fatal four way.
Dueling chants for both men as we get started. After some back-and-forth action, Ziggler heads to ringside to give AJ a kiss. That backfires, as Jericho hits him with a kick through the ropes as the show goes to break. After the break, Jericho tries a splash in the corner but Ziggler moves. Jericho hits his head and tumbles to the floor.
Jericho battles back and he sets up the Lionsault, but AJ distracts the referee. Langston throws a right hand at Jericho. Ziggler covers, but Jericho kicks out in two. Dolph tries a sleeper, but Jericho slams him onto his back to break it. The fans start a wave and Ziggler hits a DDT.
WWE embraces the fan reaction and gives us a wide screen shot of them doing the wave. Jericho even endorsed it in the ring. He tries the Lionsault again but ends up getting Dolph's knees in the midsection. Ziggler hits the Fameasser for a good near fall. Jericho puts Dolph onto the top rope.
Jericho hits a superplex and gets two out of it. The crowd starts singing Fandango's theme. Jericho hits the Codebreaker and looks at the fans before covering. Ziggler breaks the cover by putting his foot on the ropes.
Jericho goes to the ropes to try another Lionsault, but instead hits Big E with a dropkick since he's on the apron. Jericho locks on the Walls. Fandango's theme hits and the crowd gets cranked up with those antics. Ziggler hits a kick to the knee then hits the Zig Zag to hit the win.
This was a good match. I would like to see more of these two, but it would be dependent on Jericho's schedule with Fozzy. Ziggler sells well to really make the near falls believable.
We get highlights from the Cena/Ryback segment, with The Shield hitting the Triple Powerbomb on Cena as Ryback watched. They give hype to Ryback facing Cena for the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules.
Josh Mathews interviews Mick Foley and congratulates him on the success of his new DVD, "For All Mankind." Foley says he's proud of it and does his normal cheap pop bit by mentioning London. Foley addresses the Cena/Ryback situation. He says it's not in man's nature to look in the mirror and blame himself. He says there will be no time for excuses when Ryback faces John Cena at "my favorite night of the year, Extreme Rules."
Match #4 - Cody Rhodes (w/Damien Sandow) vs. Tensai (w/Brodus Clay, Cameron and Naomi)
Tensai plays things up to the crowd. He hits a cannonball on Rhodes in the corner. Sandow gets up on the apron, but gets taken out as Brodus comes over to that side of the ring. Tensai hits his back splash to get the win.
Tensai is doing what he can to make this work. He has the impressive power offense, but when he starts dancing, it kills it for me.
Daniel Bryan asks Kane if Undertaker has arrived yet. Kane says when Taker arrives, Bryan will know it. Bryan protests, because he wants to talk strategy. Kane says one doesn't have to question the Brothers of Destruction. Bryan gets mad and says it's "Team Hell No and the Undertaker" tonight.
Kane tells Bryan that Undertaker doesn't take orders. Bryan talks about having diagrams and Kane gets upset. He tells Bryan to not show Taker diagrams and don't try to hug him. Suddenly, someone attacks the pair with chairs. They pan to the floor, and they show black pants and shoes.
The assumption is The Shield tried to pull off the attack. But that was some funny stuff from Kane and Bryan. "I BROUGHT DIAGRAMS!!!" Good stuff.
We get a recap of the attack on Kane and Bryan backstage. JBL poses that it could have been The Shield. They ask if Taker would have to fly solo against The Shield.
They recap the tag match between Mark Henry and Big Show vs. Sheamus and Randy Orton that happened on Smackdown.
Probably the longest Smackdown recap we've gotten in a while.
Josh Mathews talks to Ryback. Ryback complains that John Cena wasn't there for him like Ryback was for Cena. He asks if Cena felt helpless, vulnerable, and violated when the Shield attacked. Ryback admits he enjoyed watching Cena get beaten down. He admits Foley was right about looking in the mirror, but he doesn't fully understand. He doesn't see shortcomings, but instead the next WWE Champion. He suggests that he and Foley talk about it in the ring and says, "Ryback Rules."
Given the character, I'm not buying the "violated, helpless, not there for me" antics from Ryback, but I'm willing to give things a chance.
Match #5 - Big E Langston vs. Zack Ryder
Langston comes out first with his own new entrance music.
This is pretty much all Big E. Ryder gets a dropkick in at one point, but Big E finishes him off with the Big Ending.
The announcers really put Big E over, but the crowd didn't much respond to him.
The announcers hype the six-man tag match for after the break.
After commercial, they feed it to a recap of the night after WrestleMania, when The Shield surrounded the Undertaker before Team Hell No made the save.
Match #6 - The Undertaker, Kane, and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield
Undertaker gets his entrance first, to a big reaction from the London fans. After, the Shield's music hits and they make their entrance through the fans. The announcers question if this match will happen after the backstage attack. JBL says Undertaker won't back down from The Shield, but he won't be able to survive. They surround the ring and eventually attack Undertaker.
Kane's pyro hits and he and Daniel Bryan charge the ring. The six men brawl in the ring, with the faces getting the better of The Shield. They clear The Shield from the ring. The Shield regroups as Cole sells that the match will happen after commercial.
"Yes!" chants get started as Bryan starts with Ambrose. Kane tags in and hits Ambrose with a kick and works him over in the corner. JBL talks about all the teams he has worked with in the ring and says The Brothers of Destruction are the toughest.
Taker checks in as the fans chant for him. Taker tries Old School and the crowd pops, but Ambrose cuts it off. Taker hits a boot on him then hits Old School after a brief stumble. The fans reward him with a "you still got it" chant.
The pace slows down. The Shield works on Kane, who eventually gets the hot tag to Bryan. The London fans love him. Bryan begins to pick up the pace with rapid fire kicks on Rollins. Bryan gets a two count after a series of kicks on Rollins. The fans give the match a "this is awesome" chant. Bryan hits a missile dropkick but misses a running dropkick in the corner.
After commercial, the Shield isolates Bryan. They take turns working him over. Bryan gets the hot tag to Taker, who clears house. He sets up for a double chokeslam on Rollins and Ambrose but eats a spear from Reigns for two. He sells a bit of shock but it could have packed a bit more punch.
Taker battles back and tags in Kane. He gets a kick from Rollins. Seth tags Ambrose in, and Ambrose goes up top. When he jumps, he gets caught in a chokeslam from Kane. Bryan sets up for a missile dropkick but gets tripped up by Reigns.
Taker attacks Reigns at ringside and they brawl. Kane takes on Rollins as well. In the ring, though, Bryan sets up for the top rope headbutt. Ambrose rolls out of the way and grabs the win. The announcers sell marvel over The Shield remaining unbeaten. They show Taker selling shock.
This was not boring. The pace switched from slow to fast a couple times but it was easily a match that could have closed the show. Taker sold surprise, and Kane rubbed Bryan on the head. The announcers did a good job afterward too to make the win seem important. I wonder what closes the night?
Cole recaps The Rock's recent tweets about his surgery. Cole says the injury happened at WrestleMania when Rock hit Cena with the Rock Bottom.
Foley is talking to someone just off camera about knowing what he's doing. The camera backs out and it's John Cena, who gets a heavy round of boos. Cena tries to talk Foley out of meeting Ryback in the ring. Foley says he wants to talk face to face to Ryback and he won't back down from challenges like Ryback.
Cena tells Foley he's making a mistake. Foley says he had a career filled with mistakes. He has pride and it's his decision to make, so he asks Cena to respect it. Cena asks Foley to do him a favor and take a chair along.
Match #7 - William Regal vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae)
Summer is Fandango's dancer tonight, and she's in NXT. Fandango's music hits and the crowd goes nuts. They start singing along with the song. Regal gets a huge pop when he comes out as well from the local fans.
Regal mocks Fandango's dance bit at first. The fans pick up the Fandangoing again. Regal throws some shots in the corner then plays to the fans. He walks into a kick from Fandango. He hits his new finisher move to get the win.
After the match, Fandango backs up the ramp with his dancer. They pose at the stage, but Jericho attacks from behind. He throws Fandango off the stage, then dances with the girl to taunt Fandango.
Good appearance for Regal, and they kept the Jericho/Fandango feud going. I like it.
Cole hypes up Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger in a no disqualification match coming up on Smackdown on Friday.
Match #8 - Divas Battle Royale to determine the #1 Contender to Kaitlyn's Divas Championship
The ladies involved are Aksana, AJ, Tamina, Layla, and Naomi. Kaitlyn is on commentary. Cole says that the Bella Twins were disqualified from this event because of their use of Twin Magic last week in the match against Kaitlyn.
Aksana goes out first from a kick from Layla. AJ takes a hard superkick from Tamina and is left knocked out. Naomi soon is eliminated after some action by the ropes.
Layla eliminates Tamina after a series of kicks. Kaitlyn points out that Layla is wearing the British colors and there's some jokes there about Cole missing the obvious location of said colors.
It's down to Layla and AJ. Layla drags AJ to the ropes as she's still knocked out. Layla struggles to get her to the second rope. AJ comes to life and kicks Layla through the ropes to win.
It was what it was. To me it was obvious after Dolph said she would look good with the Divas Championship earlier.
We get a trailer for the latest WWE Films offering, "No One Lives."
Mick Foley is shown backstage walking with a chair. The announcers tell us that he'll be in the ring with Ryback next.
Mick Foley comes to the ring to a good reaction from the London crowd. Justin Roberts puts him over as the first member of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013. He does his cheap pop bit to get a cheer, but as he starts talking about how he didn't come to London looking for a confrontation but got one, he gets the "what" treatment. He says the only thing missing is Ryback.
Ryback comes to the ring. He questions how the chair Cena gave Foley would help him. Foley admits he was insulted at first by Cena giving him the chair. He says he realizes his best days "came and went a long time ago" and admits that if Ryback unleashes on him, he will go down but probably not get back up.
Foley says he has things to say and he hopes they sink in. He tells Ryback to look at some footage. They replay the events at the end of last week's show, where Ryback and Cena faced off. The Shield attacked, and Ryback just watched from the ramp as Cena got beaten down.
Ryback says he knows what he did and liked it. "Hell, I loved it." Foley asks what happened to the man who showed no fear and demanded respect. Ryback tells Foley to be careful what he asks for or he might get it. Foley says he thought about the six times Ryback was left lying with no one to help him.
Foley asks if Ryback has any idea how many times Foley was left in the same situation. Foley says he doesn't even know because he doesn't count them. He did the best he could, and that got him to the WWE Championship on three occasions. Foley puts Ryback over and says he's destined to win the WWE Championship and has all the physical tools to do it.
Foley asks Ryback if he really wants to become champion by walking away from Cena's challenge, or watching The Shield attack. Foley says that Extreme Rules is coming up and Ryback needs to wake up. Ryback yells at Foley to shut up and accuses him of coming out year after year to stick his nose in other peoples' business.
Foley goes to say something but Ryback tells him to shut up again. He asks why Foley tries to relive his glory days. "For what, Mick, for what? To sell more DVD's?" Ryback calls it a results-oriented business and he gets results. He says he wanted a WWE Championship match and he got it, and he will be the next WWE Champion at Extreme Rules.
"So if you, Super Cena, and these stupid people have a problem with that, I don't care. I don't care anymore." Ryback mocks Foley telling him how to be a man. Ryback tells the fans to shut up and look at Mick. "There you stand, holding a weapon." Ryback says, "I'm going to ask you one more time, you fat, pathetic, lazy bastard, how does John Cena handing you a chair help you standing in the ring with Ryback?"
Foley responds simply with "you tell me" and drops the mic. He holds up the chair and Ryback tells him to look in his eyes. Foley leans in and Ryback grabs the chair and tosses it up the ramp. They go nose to nose before Cena's music hits.
Cena charges the ring and Foley ducks out. Cena rips off the shirt and hat and holds up his fists, saying "I have two weapons." The Shield's music hits and they make their way through the crowd for the second time tonight. Cena ducks out and stands on the apron as Ryback stands mid-ring.
Cena drops down as The Shield makes it to ringside. Cena backs up the ramp and watches as Ryback stands ground. The Shield makes its way into the ring and the fight is on. This time, Cena runs down with the chair and starts taking out the Shield. He hits each of them, and they clear to ringside and eventually into the crowd.
This leaves Cena and Ryback in the ring. Dueling pro/anti-Cena chants get going. Cena drops the chair and faces Ryback. He hits him with the AA and stands over Ryback, then looks down at him and gives him the "you can't see me" gesture and says "the champ is here."
Cena leaves and JBL says Cena got some payback tonight. Cole hypes the Cena vs. Ryback match at Extreme Rules as Ryback gets to his knees and glares up the ramp at Cena. Cena salutes then does the "you can't see me" gesture again to close the show.
Well, we know why the big six-man match couldn't be the main event. We had to see that Cena with a chair is greater than The Shield, and he is badder than Ryback on the same night we find their match to be official for Extreme Rules. Fortunately, there's still enough time to actually give that match some build.
I hope they don't keep The Shield tied into the story between Cena and Ryback. There's more for The Shield to do that has nothing to do with the title picture, especially when most fans assume that Cena isn't going to lose anyhow. And in a live setting, Ryback just cannot cut an effective promo.
This show was better than normal and seemed to go by quickly. Undertaker's return to Raw and Ziggler vs. Jericho were both very good moments that the fans were into.
Either they did some post producing, or the London fans just weren't as hot as we suspected they would be with all the chanting and singing. That said, the fans were into the show and livelier than most Raw crowds it seemed, especially when they had something to get excited about.
I'll have more to say about tonight's show in Raw Afterthoughts, sometime tomorrow. Thanks for watching along tonight.