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Ring Rap Audio: 04/14/15 – Jey Uso Injury Update, New WWE Performance Center Hires, WWE Raw, Extreme Rules, Plus a Discussion on Kicking Out of Finishers, and more!

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Bill is back to feeling like a human being again, which is great news, because we are fired up about this episode.

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WWE Smackdown Results for 04/16/15 (Spoilers)

WWE Smackdown filmed earlier today in London, England.  Below are the results/spoilers for the event.  If you attended the show, and would like to send in your thoughts, please email me at dkoscelek@ring-rap.com.

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WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage for 4/13/2015 – Jolly Olde England Show, The Build to Extreme Rules Continues, Orton vs. Rollins and Cena vs. Rusev Stipulations, Diva’s Battle Royale, More

Tonight’s Raw broadcast comes to us from the UK, where the show has already happened.  Extreme Rules is just a short two weeks away, and the hype is in full swing.  Rusev will challenge John Cena for the US Championship, and they will get their stipulation set.  Also, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins will face off for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  They too will get a stipulation, and tonight they set that course as well.  The Divas battle to see who faces Nikki Bella for her Divas Championship and a whole lot more.

Show Open, Taped Earlier Today at the O2 Arena in London, UK:

Then, now, forever.  The Raw intro rolls and it’s got a British theme to it.  Pyro explodes inside O2 Arena and the show gets a rousing ovation.  Michael Cole has made the trip to tell us that over 16,000 fans are there to see Raw.  Here comes John Cena to open the show, to a chorus of boos and “John Cena Sucks” sing song.  He just smiles and charges the ring.  He holds up the US title to a chorus of boos.

JBL asks Cole how his neck is, and Cole tells him to hold off on that.  He feeds it to some shots around London and they talk about being able to sight-see.  Cena gets a mic.  He tells the fans to not adjust the volume as “Raw is live from London, and London is loud.”  He waits out a series of chants.  He says that there are times where he and London don’t get along, but there are people as far as you can see in the arena.  He says London has more passion and excitement than any audience they work in front of.  That draws a “Yes!” chant.

He says he got heat for saying it last time, but he says it again: “I think London deserves Wrestlemania.  Tell me I’m wrong.”  Those who make those choices have decided London will wait. “Just like Rusev, we could fight right here right now, but he wants to wait til Extreme Rules.”  He says the fans would rather see a fight than listen to him talk, and he says the John Cena US Open Challenge starts now.  “You want some, come get some.”

Bad News Barrett answers the challenge to a big ovation.  Barrett smiles as the fans chant for him, then thanks them but “I haven’t done anything yet.”  He says he agrees with Cena, saying “why should I wait to face Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Championship when I can beat you for the US Championship in front of the greatest nation in the world, England.”

Wrestlemania in London is pretty unlikely, but it makes the fans happy when Cena brings it up.  They should at least get a pay per view.  Anyhow, a solid promo that got us to the opening title match.

Match #1 – John Cena (c) vs. Bad News Barrett; WWE United States Championship

JoJo handles the introductions once Barrett gets to the ring.  Barrett gets a pop, and Cena of course gets booed.  The match will start after the break.

Back from break, the two tie up.  Cena controls Barrett with a headlock then knocks him down with a shoulder tackle.  Cole talks about how Rusev is watching on with interest.    Cena goes back to a headlock.  Off the ropes, Barrett kicks Cena, who rolls out.  Barrett plays to the fans as the announcers rant about Barrett sucking up.

Cena gets back in the ring and goes behind Barrett, hip tossing him to the mat.  At their feet, they exchange strikes then Barrett lands a big boot.   Cena starts to fire back with a shoulder tackle, but Barrett ducks the second.  Barrett knees Cena, who is tied up in the ropes.  He drives him to the floor with a big boot.

Off the apron, Barrett yells ‘bang bang” and drops an elbow from the apron a la Mick Foley.  That gets him two back in the ring.  Barrett charges Cena in the corner but he moves and hits a drop kick.  Cena hits a cross body for two.  He lands the side slam and poses for the Five Knuckle, but Barrett rolls out.  The fight spills outside where Cena eats the steps.  Back in the ring Barrett gets a two count.

Barrett goes up top to drop an elbow, but Cena rolls out of the way.  Side slam and a Five Knuckle for Cena.  He loads the AA but Barrett counters and hits Winds of Change for two.  Strike exchange ensues.  Cena whips Barrett to the corner, but on the charge Barrett lands a suplex off the ropes.  Cena turns it into the STF but Barrett breaks it in the ropes.

Mule kick from Barrett, then a low superkick for two.   Strike exchange enuses again, with the fans chanting “yay!” “boo” with each strike.  Barrett hits a kick to the midsection then hits Wasteland for a near fall.

Barrett calls for the Bull Hammer.  Cena catches him coming in and loads the AA for a good near fall.   Cena quickly tries for the AA again, but Barrett counters and hits the Bull Hammer for a good near fall of his own.  Booker says “Tell me I did not just see that.”

Barrett cues it again, but Cena ducks and hits his springboard stunner.  He follows with the AA to get the victory and retain his title.   Cena kisses the belt and poses as they run through a recap of the finish.  Rusev’s music plays and Lana comes out to a big cheer.

She talks about how Cena despises Rusev for his waiting for the rematch.  She says “by waiting we have had time to negotiate.”  Rusev blindsides Cena with a chain in the ring.  She says that she has talked to the Authority and their match at Extreme Rules will be a Russian Chain match.  Rusev poses with the chain and the title belt as the Russian flag falls.

This was solid, and the live crowd rolled right along with it as well.  They bought into the near falls by both men as well.  The post match attack by Rusev was done pretty well too, but what’s the difference with a Russian Chain match compared to anything else?  The broadcasters were pretty underwhelming thoughout this one too.

At the announce position, JBL asks Cole to discuss the situation with Brock Lesnar and the possible  lawsuit that he is filing.  Cole says it’s a personal matter and he will discuss it at another time.  He feeds it to a recap of last week’s triple threat match between Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, and Ryback.  He says that both Rollins and Orton will compete tonight, and whoever wins their match will get to pick the stipulation for their match at Extreme Rules.  Orton will face Cesaro, and Rollins will face Dolph Ziggler.

The Bella Twins’ music hits, and they make their way to the ring for commentary for the Divas Battle Royale.  The winner gets Nikki at Extreme Rules.

Match #2 – Diva’s Battle Royale, winner gets a title shot at Extreme Rules:

Natalya is signing autographs as we come back.  Paige gets a big reaction from the home town fans.  Summer Rae, Cameron, Rosa, Alicia Fox, Naomi, Emma,

Natalya and Summer pair off and battle on the apron.  Rosa eliminates both of them with a kick.  Rosa got  eliminated but I missed by who.  Alicia hits a drop kick to eliminate Emma as she climbs the ropes. Cameron and Alicia pair up on Paige then try to eliminate her.  Paige fights back, but the two stay on her with Cameron hitting a low kick.

They send Paige to the apron but she hangs on.  Naomi hits the two with a Rear View.  Alicia and Cameron get sent packing, so it’s Paige and Naomi.  In the ropes, Naomi drags Paige out to the apron.  Nikki asks if both fall out, will there be a title match.

Paige stays alive then knees Naomi in the ropes.   Naomi kicks her and tries to shove her away, but Paige works back in.  Naomi hits an enzugiri.  Paige hits a superkick then sends Naomi to the floor.  Nikki stands up and holds her belt up as Paige talks at her from the ropes.  Cole says we’ll hear from Paige when we come back, but we’ll hear Roman Reigns talk tonight about the Wrestlemania main event.

Very surprised they didn’t go with Naomi here, given the wins she has been getting lately.  This was what it was.  The final pairing action with Paige and Naomi was the highlight.

Byron Saxton is with Paige.  She is now the #1 Contender for the Divas Championship.  She says she won the title her first day in WWE, then teamed up with AJ to win for the first time at Wrestlemania.  She says nothing feels better than to win the battle royale in front of her home country.  She talks about working carnivals and small shows to get to WWE.  She points out her dad “and the best friends in the world.  This is my house!”

Saxton asks if she has anything to say to Nikki Bella, but Naomi attacks her.  It rolls outside and Naomi roughs her up at ringside, throwing her into the barricade a couple times.  The official backs off Naomi  and she leaves to a chorus of boos.  The announcers call it “out of character.”

A surprising heel turn, but one that might work out because Naomi was in need of change.  I am guessing her marriage to Jimmy Uso will get ignored a la Daniel Bryan/Brie Bella rather than turn the Usos as a tag team as well.

Wyatt cut-in.  He talks about obsession to the point of it becoming sin.  He says love can cost one everything they’ve worked so hard for.  He says “you’re in luck, friend” because he has decided to reach in and rip out the love and fill it with fear. “Sooner or later, you’ll have to watch everything fade away.”  He says he is doing “friend” a favor.  He tells the person to pay attention, and “behold, the new face of fear.”

Match #3 – Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension:

No televised entrance for the Ascension.  Cole points out the Spanish announce team as the Lucha Dragons make their entrance.  Conor goes to work on Sin Cara early, and the Ascension works quick tags on him.  Brits chant “NXT!”  There’s some commenahatin’ going on as Sin Cara hits a drop kick to create space.

Kalisto gets the tag and he fires off with some fast offense on Viktor.  Spinning back springboard elbow from Kalisto, then he poses on the ropes for Sin Cara  to hit a dive.  Late, Salina Del Sol from Kalisto leads to a swanton from Sin Cara to net the win.  The announcers recap it for us, and the Ascension lick their wounds.

Cole hypes the WWE Network being free in April, and JBL touts the on-demand video library and pay per views.  Cole hypes up that Roman Reigns will talk about Wrestlemania’s events, next.

Back with the show, Cole credits Fall Out Boy for the Extreme Rules theme.  Booker T is in the ring and he welcomes Roman Reigns for the interview.

In-Ring Segment:

Reigns makes his way through the crowd.  Cole talks about what happened at Wrestlemania and if it affected Reigns at all.  JBL credits Reigns for weathering the storm against Brock Lesnar, but Seth Rollins took it away with a cash-in.  Cole recounts the night after Mania attack and JBL says he has been “justifiably suspended.”

Booker talks about Reigns’ “opportunity of a lifetime” at Wrestlemania, and it was all ripped away.  He asks how Reigns’ mental state is.  Reigns says he is mentally strong for a reason.  Fans chant “suplex city!” and Reigns says he went there but woke up the next day.  He says it didn’t feel good to go to Suplex City, but he said they didn’t lie because they said it would be a brutal fight.

He says that he said he would hit the Beast in the mouth, and make him taste his own blood.  He said that he would win, and he came “this” close.  He credits Rollins for “doing what he was supposed to do by capitalizing on the moment.”  He says he had punches yet to throw, but Seth Rollins took the moment away from him.   Reigns says he has beaten Rollins, so he will eventually become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Booker says he believes him, but if it weren’t for Big Show, Reigns would be facing Rollins at Extreme Rules.  Reigns says that Big Show screwed him.  He wishes he could credit Show for his accomplishments, but he says lately Show seems to be Seth’s Giant Bitch.  “Am I right?”  There were some “thank you Big Show” chants.

Show is on the tron, laughing and saying that he needs to stop Roman before he says something really stupid.  He says that Reigns failed at Wrestlemania.  “While you were losing the biggest match of your life, I won the Andre the Giant battle royale, making me the most dominant giant in history.”  He tells Reigns he failed.  Whether making orders or following orders, Show says that his pleasure will be making Reigns the most epic failure in WWE.  Show says that Reigns won’t even get a sniff at the WWE Championship.

“Every time you get up, I’ll be there to knock you down.”  Reigns calls Show a jumbotron giant.  He says there are two types of guys – guys who come out and fight and kick ass, and “guys like that.”  He says that Show is either too lazy, or doesn’t have the balls to say these things to his face.

Reigns tells Show that if he continues to stick his nose in his business, he will take the trophy, shove it down his throat, retire him, “and you can believe….that.”  Reigns shakes hands with Booker and plays to the fans.   Reigns heads up the ramp as Cole recounts some of Reigns’ comments.

At the stage, Show attacks Reigns, tossing him into the set and the taxi.  Live crowd is chanting “please retire” I think.  Show throws Reigns into the taxi again to “you sold out” chants.  Show hits a running knee against the car, then puts Reigns up on to of the car.  He climbs up there and choke slams Reigns on the car.  More “you sold out” chants as Show leaves and Reigns sells on top of the car.

That wasn’t a bad promo.  Reigns came off much better – or at least less grumpy – than he was after Wrestlemania.  The attack was decent, but I just don’t give a damn about this feud.  This needs to be the end of the line for Reigns and Big Show.

Back with the commentators, they recap the attack.  They hype the damage to the cab and talk about how Reigns refused medical attention and walked off on his own.

Match #4 – Randy Orton vs.  Cesaro (w/Tyson Kidd and Natalya)

As Orton comes to the ring, Cole says that Kane has come up with some unique stipulations regarding Randy Orton and Seth Rollins’ match at Extreme Rules.  Orton poses and JBL asks what happens if both men win.  Cesaro comes out with Tyson Kidd and Natalya.

They tie up early as Cole again reminds us that this is to determine stipulations at Extreme Rules.   Cesaro lands a kick in the corner then a series of uppercuts.   Orton returns them in kind.  Cesaro tackles Orton down then drives a shot to his midsection.  Cesaro talks to Kidd at ringside briefly.

A counter from Orton sets up the elevated DDT, but Cesaro counters back.  Kidd gets involved and pulls Orton off the apron, and he doesn’t take kindly.  Orton clotheslines Kidd down, and that throws the match out.  Orton wins by DQ, but Kane stops the celebration.

He says that the enthusiasm of the Authority to return to work is not strong enough for them to come to London.  He says he is still in charge and is fair and impartial.  With the stipulation for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at stake, Kane says it’s important that the match not end with a disqualification.  He says that the match will re-start as a 2-on-1 handicap match.

Kidd and Cesaro attack Orton from behind going into break.

Match #5 – Randy Orton vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya)

Back on the show, Kidd controls Orton in the corner.  Cesaro gets the tag but Orton sets up the elevated DDT.  Kidd stumbles but breaks it up.  Kidd tries the Sharpshooter but Orton kicks him away.  He lifts Orton over into an uppercut by Cesaro.

A bit later, Orton sets up and hits the elevated DDT, and he’s hearing voices.  Cesaro drags Kidd to ringside for the save.  Orton goes after them, dropping Cesaro off the barrier.  Kidd hits him with a move off the barrier himself.  Kidd hits a big elbow drop for two.  Kidd chokes Orton on the ropes.

Orton hits Cesaro with a scoop slam.  Kidd tries a springboard move, but BAM!, RKO out of nowhere.  Orton picks up the win, and the announcers talk about Orton’s options now that he has won the right to select the stipulation for Extreme Rules.  They recap the finish sequence as Orton poses for the fans.

Backstage, Rollins is watching on a monitor.  Rollins asks Kane if he has any brilliant ideas.  Kane tells him that he should win his match against Dolph Ziggler so that he can also pick a stipulation.  Rollins says that he won’t face Ziggler.  He wants to face Jamie Noble, saying Noble will lie down for him.

Noble rants, saying it was Kane’s idea for the triple threat match last week and to let Orton get a win to pick a stipulation.  Kane tells him that he might have something that involves car batteries and testicles.

Rollins tells him to calm down, and admits that Jamie might be on to something.  Kane tells Rollins he will be at ringside to watch his back as always.  He asks if Rollins is afraid of Ziggler.  Rollins laughs and says he isn’t, but he needs the victory tonight.

Rollins says he needs to fight someone who knows what is  best for business.  Kane asks if Rollins is implying that he will lay down for Rollins.  Rollins says that the number one priority is to protect him and his championship, so maybe Kane is the man for the job.  Rollins says he could get Triple H on the phone.  Kane scowls and leaves.  Rollins laughs and tells J&J that Kane knows he has no choice.

The Authority angle needs to die a quick, painful, and once and for all death.  I’m not really interested in seeing Kane go babyface but I guess I can live with it if Kane is going to hang it up soon.  I hate “I’m going to tell” stuff in wrestling – even a chickenshit heel doesn’t need that one.

Match #6 – Adam Rose (w/Rosebuds) vs. Dean Ambrose

The Rosebuds are dancing at ringside as we come back, then Ambrose gets his entrance.  During his entrance, the announcers recap the rough bumps that Ambrose took at the hands of Luke Harper at Wrestlemania and the Smackdown after.  Ambrose hits Rose with a suicide dive as the Rosebuds look on.  Back in the ring, Ambrose hits his slingshot clothesline then finishes Rose off with Dirty Deeds.

Backstage, Kane is on the phone then Big Show walks up.  He recalls Survivor Series, saying he knocked Cena out not because he liked it but he did what he had to do to be on the winning side.  Show calls The Authority the winning team.

He says that “best for business” is something Triple H and Stephanie hold dear.  He says that Randy Orton becoming champion is not best for business.  He pleads with Kane to do what needs to do.  Kane says he will do what is best for business.  Show pats him on the back and leaves, with Kane deep in thought.

Match #7 – Stardust vs. Fandango:

Fandango got no entrance, and Stardust finishes his as we come back.  Stardust goes to work on Fandango early, clubbing on him and hitting him with a forearm off the ropes.  He hits a front suplex, then whips Fandango to the corner hard.  Fandango comes back with a heel kick then goes up top.

Fandango tries his leg drop but floats over when Stardust gets up.  Stardust comes back with the disaster Kick to get the win.  Fandango gets a mic and says he realizes what the problem is.  He says he has been sharing his gift of dance with “you” when he should be sharing it with the world.  He breaks out the old music and walks across the barrier and dances a bit on it.  The UK loves it and dances along, and Fandango plays to the fans.

I wonder – one night deal, or a permanent move of some sort?  One thing is that there will be the removal of the awkward role Rosa has with him.

Backstage, Kane is in his locker room.  Daniel Bryan asks Kane what he’s doing, but Kane tells him to leave.  Bryan asks what has happened to him.  Bryan says he gets it – Kane is going to lay down for Seth.  He says that Kane thinks one of the best things for business is to emulate a move that put WCW out of business.  Bryan tells Kane that he should go out and tombstone Seth on the steel steps and nearly end his career.

Kane screams at Bryan to leave.  Bryan tells him if he has any pride, he won’t be a stooge, but he will be a man.

I suppose this was pretty well done.  I’m not all that locked in to anything concerning the Authority, so it’s kind of already a miss, but the story is the most compelling thing they’ve done with Kane in a while.

Match #8 – Kane vs. Seth Rollins (c, w/J&J Security)

Rollins comes out first to a rousing ovation of boos.  Kane gets applauded by Rollins as he comes out in his suit and tie.  Rollins and J&J have a bit of fun with the title and his t-shirt.  Kane pulls off his jacket and tie off as the bell rings.  Rollins wonders what he’s doing.

Kane confronts Rollins mid ring.  Rollins says “lay down, and let’s get this over with.”  Kane kneels to boos, then sits down as the jawing continues.  Rollins covers but Kane kicks out with authority.  Rollins begs off to the corner as J&J gets in the ring.

He goozles the two of them and shoves them from the ring.  Rollins yells at him that this is his WWE and demands Kane to lay down.  Kane slaps Rollins down and cues the chokeslam.  Rollins yells at him to think about his job and begs Kane to back down.  Kane pulls his hand down and closes his eyes.

Rollins demands he lay down as London chants no.   Kane kneels again as Rollins tells him this is his WWE.  Kane hits the chokeslam and calls for the tombstone.  He lays down and pulls Rollins’ arm over him and the official counts.  JBL says he lost all respect for Kane.  Rollins laughs as Cole recounts that Rollins also has the right to select a stipulation for their match at Extreme Rules.

Backstage, Mizdow is walking toward the arena.  He is up next.

Rollins is a good wormy heel, and admittedly I’m curious as to where the whole thing with Kane is going, but this wasn’t compelling for me.  If Kane would have gone through with the tombstone the place probably would have come unglued live though.  JBL was off on his call of it too.  Very odd for the heel announcer to condemn Kane as he did when he normally commends the heel’s actions.

Match #9 –  The Miz vs. Damien Mizdow (w/Summer Rae):

Miz gets booed out of London, Mizdow gets a hero’s welcome.  Mizdow hits the neckbreaker/backbreaker combination at one point, and one of the announcers says he does it better than Miz.   In the end, Mizdow rolls Miz up for a quick three count win.  He and Summer taunt Miz from the ramp.

Backstage, Prime Time Players cut a promo on New Day and The Ascension.  They say they have something special, and then turn around and put on matador hats and say that they are Los Matadores.  They say they forgot something, and hoist up a rainbow bull.  Young says his favorite color is rainbow.  O’Neil throws the mask off and says they should be Lost Matadores, because they lost their pride and dignity.  He asks who even heard of Puerto Rican bullfighters. They do the millions of dollars dance.

So, they gave the Prime Time Players a chance to cut that lousy promo, but can’t build a good feud for Miz and Mizdow, something that fans cared about?

Match #10 – Ryback vs. Luke Harper:

Off the ropes early, Harper hits a wicked superkick to disorient Ryback.  He follows with a gator roll then comes off the ropes, but Ryback greets him with a powerbomb.  Ryback sets up the Meathook, but Harper ducks out of the ring.  Ryback follows and takes the announce position top plate to the face.  The match ends in a DQ.

Dean Ambrose’s music hits.  Ambrose charges the ring and hits a Thesz Press.  He tries to set up Dirty Deeds, but Harper escapes through the crowd.  Ambrose poses to the crowd as the announcers recap briefly that Harper has roughed Ambrose up.

These quick matches are doing NOTHING for any story they are trying to tell among them.  It’s not that the action is poor, it just not compelling.

Cole sets up a recap of Naomi turning heel on Paige earlier on.  Backstage, Byron Saxton interviews Naomi.  She starts to say she’s sorry for the attack but laughs.  She says it’s not about where they are, it’s about her.  She asks why they had to have the battle royale, and says it doesn’t make sense.  She asks if wins and losses mean anything.

She talks about AJ briefly, saying that she was in the same class but she’s retired now.  She says she’s over it and people have been mistaking her kindness for weakness.  She says she won’t wait for her opportunities anymore, she’s going to take them.

Dolph Ziggler makes his way to the ring and Cole says that it will be interesting to see what he has to say about being booted out of his match with Seth Rollins earlier.  Back in the ring, Ziggler tells Kane that if he thinks that laying down for Rollins was best for business, then he should change his name to the Devil’s Favorite Dumbass.  He takes a page from Cena’s playbook and issues an open challenge to anyone in the back.  The man that answers is Neville – to a big reaction.

Match #11 – Neville vs. Dolph Ziggler:

Early tie up with Ziggler and Neville returning arm bars as the announcers talk about Neville’s history.   Ziggler hits a drop kick and Ziggler goes back to working on the arm.  Neville floats over a Ziggler corner charge, flips his way to the opposite corner, and hits Ziggler with a boot to the face when he charges.  Neville controls Ziggler with a headlock.  Ziggler comes back with a big DDT going to break.

Back from break, Neville hits a big moonsault onto Ziggler out on the floor.  Ziggler sells at ringside as Neville walks down the barrier and hits a big 450 splash off the barrier.  He drags Ziggler back to the ring to get a two count.  Ziggler has a small cut on the bridge of his nose.

Neville sets up  his next move.  Ziggler fights out but takes a kick.  Ziggler comes back with a superkick of his own for a two count.  Ziggler charges but Neville ducks.  Neville goes up top for the Red Arrow but Ziggler rolls out of the way.   Neville lands on his feet and charges but Ziggler runs him into the post.  Ziggler hits the Zig Zag to get the win.

The announcers put over Neville as being “great someday” and Ziggler helps him up.  Sheamus hits the ring and assaults Ziggler then hits the Brogue Kick on Neville.  Sheamus poses then pie faces Ziggler.  Ziggler attacks Sheamus, taking the fight to Sheamus with a forearm shot.  It spills outside and Ziggler continues to rough him up.  Sheamus comes back with a Brogue Kick to put Ziggler down, then he poses on the announce table to boos.

The action between Ziggler and Neville was pretty good.  Neville hasn’t lost anything but I really would liked to have seen a cheap finish here to protect him, especially since Sheamus got involved anyhow.  I hope they’re not saving Neville for that spot where his offense is needed to wake up live crowds.  Sheamus’ heel run is off to a good start too.  The brawl was well done, and Sheamus is carrying himself like a badass.

Cole talks about Show and Reigns’ confrontation earlier.  He feeds it to a recap of Show’s attack on Reigns where he roughed up Reigns against the taxi and the LED board.  Cole hypes up the Extreme Decision segment for next, where Orton and Rollins will select their stipulations for their title match at Extreme Rules.

Back with the show, Cole says that Triple H will have an announcement for us next week on Raw regarding Tough Enough.  Seth Rollins’ music is playing as he comes to the ring.

Extreme Decision Segment:

Rollins and J&J Security come to the ring.  Rollins is walking gingerly to sell the chokeslam.  There are chairs in the ring for Rollins and Security to sit in.  Rollins lounges in the chair and says the fans can boo him all they want but it doesn’t change the fact that he is the future of WWE.  He says he is the greatest WWE World Heavyweight Champion of all time.

He says at Wrestlemania, he beat Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar on the same night.  He says he beat Kane earlier, and Kane should be out there handling business.  He says Kane relieved himself of his duties for this segment and Rollins will take care of it.  He addresses those that question Kane’s actions, saying that a real man knows when to lay down for the good of the team.

He says because he beat Kane earlier, he gets to pick a stipulation for Extreme Rules.  He says that he has a doozy and calls Orton out.  Orton makes his way to the ring.  Cole reminds us that Orton also gets to pick a stipulation and JBL says Orton has a vivid imagination.

Orton eyes up Rollins sitting in the chair.  He calls it “one hell of a set up” and asks if he’s comfortable.  Orton says that Rollins makes everything so complicated.  Orton proposes getting rid of the furniture, fighting right now, and one man gets to pick the stipulation over the other man’s unconscious body.  “You would be the unconscious one, in this scenario.”

Rollins says that he likes things complicated, and says that it creates opportunities which is where he thrives.  He says “this is what power looks like.”  Rollins gets up and says that his stipulation will eliminate Orton’s greatest weapon.  Rollins says without it, Orton doesn’t stand a chance. “At Extreme Rules, the RKO is banned.  And Randy, let me remind you, the Authority always wins.”  Rollins laughs.

Orton credits Rollins for the way he thinks.  He says that he was going to take away Rollins’ greatest weapon, but what is that weapon.  He asks if it’s Rollins’ strength or speed and says no.    “Despite what you think, it’s not your intelligence either.”  He says his greatest weapon is his connection to the Authority.  Orton says that his stipulation will be to have their match inside a steel cage.

Rollins asks Orton if he thinks that scares him.  “I’m Seth Rollins.”  Rollins asserts that he isn’t afraid of Orton and says that Orton is simply going to be his first victim.

Orton says “well, since the RKO is banned at Extreme Rules, I guess we have to give the people what they paid to see right now.”  He dumps Rollins’ La-Z-Boy over, then attacks J&J.  He throws Rollins into the chair again, then continues to pound on him in the corner.  J&J try to help Rollins get away, but Orton catches him again and tries for the elevated DDT.  Mercury pulls Orton off, but takes the RKO for his troubles.  Rollins grabs his title belt and runs for the stage.

Orton stares at him from the ring as Rollins looks back clutching the belt and yelling “it’s my time.”  Orton poses on the ropes for the fans as Cole sends the show home with hype for the Ultimate Warrior special on WWE Network airing now.

I thought this was a decent closing segment.  It got to the stipulations both men wanted without a lot of unnecessary pomp and circumstance.  Rollins did really well with his part of it, showing the right looks at the right times (like the close-up after Orton announced the cage stipulation where he looked rattled but tried to remain confident), and Orton did a good job with his promo as well.

The live crowd seemed drained by the end of this show, and it felt like a marathon for me watching as well.  This was an up and down kind of show.  There were things about it that were good, and there were some good in-ring matches.  There were other things about it that just felt inconsequential and meaningless (the Fandango bit comes to mind).  It wasn’t hot by any stretch of the imagination.

Drew and I will be by tomorrow night to talk Raw, all things wrestling and more as we record Ring Rap Audio.  Be sure to ask us questions or weigh in with your thoughts via our Facebook page, Twitter @RingRap, or comment below.  Thanks for watching along tonight.

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TNA Impact Wrestling 04/10/15 – Angle vs. Lashley vs. Young, Kong vs. Kim, The Rising vs. The BDC, and more!

TNA Impact is coming at us from the Impact Zone in Orlando, FL.  There’s heavy focus on The Rising and the BDC in the opening montage, which seems to indicate they will be a main focus of the evening.  We’ll see.

The opening segment of Impact seemed like a forced way to get Eric Young into the title picture.  While Bobby Lashley has a legitimate complaint, Eric Young’s case for being a contender is a little… flawed.  Hear me out now – he has won a number of matches lately, but they’re all against the same person.  To me, they should have him win against other opponents, but then again, being a heel, well he’s looking for any way into the title picture.

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Ring Rap Audio: 04/07/15 – WWE Raw, John Cena on Talk is Jericho, Smackdown goes to the USA Network, Tough Enough, AJ Lee, Steve Austin Addresses Rumors, plus more!

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Bill is a little under the weather this week, so we’ve kept this show a little shorter than most.  But frankly, there hasn’t been a wealth of topics to talk about in great length.  WWE Raw has some high points, but was mostly a drag.  The John Cena appearance on Chris Jericho’s podcast was entertaining, but hardly newsworthy.

Perhaps the biggest news from last week, however, was the departure of AJ Lee from WWE.  Bill and Drew take a look at her career.  Was she a trail blazer?  Is she Hall of Fame worthy?

All this, plus a look at WWE Smackdown moving to USA, Tough Enough returning, Steve Austin addressing rumors, plus more!

Follow all of us on Twitter as well: @RingRapAudio and @RingRap.  Bill is on Twitter @Bill_SoonerFan.  Matt is on Twitter @bigmat75.  Drew is on Twitter too @PsionStorm.

Be sure to tune in to our shorter, more frequent solo audio show, Around the Ring with Ring Rap! (iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS)

You can also follow us on Facebook and Google+!

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WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage for 4/6/2015 – Extreme Rules Hype Begins, John Cena vs. Rusev III, Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Fallout of Brock Lesnar’s Rampage, and More

We begin the road to Extreme Rules, the April pay per view offering, tonight on Raw.  Rusev wants another shot at John Cena to try and reclaim his United States Championship.  Will that happen, and what will the stipulation be?  Seth Rollins will have Randy Orton breathing down his neck for a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  How will Rollins try to stay one step ahead of the Viper?  Chris Jericho will be interviewing John Cena after tonight’s Raw broadcast as well, which could play out throughout the show.

All this and more tonight as we bring you live coverage of Raw right here on Ring-Rap.com.  Follow along with us on Twitter also @RingRap to discuss the show live.

Show Open, Live from Austin, TX:

After the standard intros, Byron Saxton welcomes us in joined by Booker T and JBL.  They talk about the chaos of last week, with Michael Cole convalescing at home yet.  JBL says this is Raw and we should expect chaos.  I believe in there they said Triple H and Stephanie are “on vacation” tonight.

They then recap Sting vs. Triple H from Wrestlemania, then Seth Rollins cashing in his MITB briefcase.  Back live, Big Show is guarding his Andre the Giant trophy while Seth Rollins and J&J Security, along with Kane, are in the ring applauding.  Rollins tries to start a promo but Austin boos him hard.  Big Show demands they show Rollins respect, but they boo harder.  Rollins says he would be jealous of himself too so it’s okay.

He sends well wishes to Stephanie and Triple H, who are on vacation.  “If anyone deserves a vacation, it’s those two.”  He calls Wrestlemania “one of the most incredible of all time.”  Austin tells him he sold out, but he says he thought they were over that.

Rollins says we’re a week removed from Mania and he’s the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.  He says the biggest takeaway was not breaking attendance records or being the most watched Mania of all time, or the record 142 trends that night.  He says the biggest takeaway was “the Authority always wins.”

He says The Authority created moments all night.  He puts over how Triple H put the final nail in the coffin of WCW when he singlehandedly beat “that face painted freak” Sting.  He puts over how Big Show cemented his legacy by winning the Andre Battle Royale, then says “Kane…was there!”

Big Show says that he finally emerged from Andre the Giant’s shadow, though he never was there because he is the best giant of all time.  He says the roster is now under his shadow.  He says that we also got a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion in Seth Rollins.  Rollins says “the future is now” and says he is the greatest champion of all time.

Big Show says they should thank Rollins for giving an epic moment at Wrestlemania, one that will live forever on the WWE Network.  Rollins again tries to search for something that Kane did at Mania.  Kane says that the Authority was successful at Mania, because….”I hear voices…”

Randy Orton emerges to the stage, with a mic.    Orton congratulates Seth on getting his Wrestlemania moment.  He says that Rollins’ cash in doesn’t eliminate the fact that Orton hit him with the most spectacular RKO in Wrestlemania history.  “It doesn’t change the fact that a week ago, I beat you.”

Rollins mocks him, saying that Orton is a complainer and upset that it’s not all about him.  Orton says he’s not complaining.  He says it doesn’t change the fact that Orton won at Wrestlemania, and he deserves a chance to beat Rollins again, and this time for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  He says it will be best for business. “What do you say, Director of Operations?  Or do you have to call mommy and daddy and see if it’s okay.”

Kane gets indignant and says that he is still in charge.  He tells Orton that while he does have claim to a title match, there are other superstars that are worthy.  He tells Orton that he will compete in a triple threat match to determine Seth Rollins’ next challenger.  He says that Roman Reigns, Ryback, and Orton will face off to determine the new #1 Contender.

Kane goes on to say that the three men will also face singles competition tonight.  He tells Orton that he will have the first match, and it’s against Kane right now.

I was hoping we’d see that promo from Rollins, and we got it.  Sadly, I think the fact that Triple H and Stephanie are away, they will somehow be the focus of the show.  I do think it’s a plus that Michael Cole is not on TV so that he sells that F5 some more.  Stupid that he’d only take a week off.

Match #1 – Kane vs. Randy Orton:

Orton starts fast with some corner clotheslines and clubbing shots while seated on the buckle.   Kane lands a big uppercut that sends Orton to the floor going to break.

Back live, Kane and Orton exchange shots.  Kane delivers a big boot to get a two count, then drags Orton to the corner to throw some more shots.  After a corner splash, Kane hits a side slam.  Orton mounts a rally, hitting a drop kick.

JBL puts over Orton’s athleticism, saying he has lost more than many superstars have.  Booker says Orton will be a first ballot Hall of Famer.  Orton sets up the elevated DDT, but Kane counters and ducks out to ringside.  Kane gets a chair and catches Orton in the gut with it.  That throws the match out.  Kane tries to continue the assault with a chokeslam in the ring on the chair.  Orton counters and teases an RKO, but Kane ducks out.  The announcers say that Orton got the win, but he’s damaged goods.

I can’t understand why they protected Kane here, but I guess they want to leave people wanting to see the RKO.  I thought the beatdown angle would put sympathy on Orton, but instead, Orton looked had recovered by the time he went for the RKO on the chair.

The announcers hype that Luke Harper will take on Ryback, and Roman Reigns will take on Big Show.

Back live, the announcers mention AJ’s retirement briefly.  They show her tweet with her boots about chasing the dream.

Backstage, Brad Maddox is talking to Kane, and Kane yells at him asking “who the hell he is.”  Rollins runs in and asks who the hell Kane is.  He says that Kane’s job is to protect him as the champion.  Rollins tells Kane he is sick of Kane not pulling his weight.  Kane tells him that it’s good business for Rollins to defend his championship against a viable contender.  Kane muses that Orton might be right that Rollins is scared of him.

Rollins yells at Kane that he isn’t scared, and is beginning to think that what is best for business is for Kane to step down as Director of Operations.  Rollins says that Triple H and Stephanie would agree.  Kane says they are on vacation at a private island and can’t be reached, so he is in charge of tonight’s show whether Rollins likes it or not.

Rollins runs back in and says that when Triple H and Stephanie return, Kane will have a lot to answer for.    Kane tells Rollins that his attitude is bordering on disgusting, and it’s best for business to put Rollins in a match, coming up after the break.

The announcers talk about the chaos of last week.  Saxton says that Cole is recovering at home with a bulging disc and is considering legal action.  JBL talks about his abdominal tear surgery, and Booker says that Lesnar should have been fired.  Saxton feeds it to a recap of the events of last week.

Seth Rollins makes his entrance, and he’s got the next match.

Match #2 – Seth Rollins (c, w/J&J Security) vs. Neville

Rollins rants in the ring about this match.  Saxton hype up a free month of April for WWE Network.  JBL notes that Extreme Rules is free to new subscribers in April.  Rollins is getting Neville as his opponent which gets a pretty good reaction.  Big “NXT” chants for Neville as Booker hypes this is “the big leagues with the WWE Champion.”

Rollins gets a mic and says he wasn’t expecting this and asks for the fans to welcome him.  He says that Neville is in the ring with the WWE Champion and asks if it feels good.  He offers the mic to Neville to cut a promo but yanks it back and says Neville might be nervous.  “I’ve been a rook too, and being in front of a live audience might make you nervous.  How about you sit this one out, pipsqueak.”

Neville attacks Rollins and lays him out with a spin kick.  The bell rings, and Neville turns Rollins inside out first.  Rollins returns the favor on a shoulder block then lays in some chops.  Rollins piefaces Neville then beats him down in the corner.  Rollins throws Neville to the opposite corner, but Neville floats over and cartwheels across the ring.  He lands a boot on Rollins and sends him to ringside with a headscissor.  Neville connects with a dive and charges back into the ring before J&J can get him.  Neville is in the ring as Rollins sells frustration at ringside going to commercial.

Back live, Rollins is controlling the action.  Rollins stands on his head in the ropes as JBL talks about how Neville showed up last week and is now facing Rollins. Neville starts a comeback with strikes and kicks.  Rollins counters with a hard whip to the corner and drops some knees.  JBL tells us where Triple H and Stephanie are vacationing.

Yup, lots of talk about Triple H and Stephanie.  They’re not on the show – SHUT UP!

Neville starts to pick up the pace with some rope running, but Rollins hits an enzugiri to slow him down.  Rollins continues to control the offense as Booker says he can make himself a marquee player whether he wins or loses.  Rollins drops some hands and pie faces Neville, taunting.

Rollins slows things down with a headlock.  Neville starts to fire some strikes but Rollins lands a belly to back.  Neville lands on his feet and starts throwing strikes.   Off the ropes, Neville lands a double axe and several kicks before Rollins turns him inside out with a clothesline for two.

Rollins is frustrated, and he rains in some hands and taunts with slaps to the face.  Neville starts firing back, but Rollins loads a buckle bomb.  Neville counters with a huracanrana into the corner, then goes up top for the Red Arrow.  J&J sticks their nose in, and Neville can’t set it up.

Rollins gets up and Neville floats over him.  Neville sets up another move, but Rollins counters him and hits a buckle bomb.  Rollins finishes him off with the Curb Stomp.  After the match, Rollins hits a second Curb Stomp and stands over him and taunts.  He tells Neville “you can’t touch me.” before leaving.  The announcers run some highlights, putting over some of Neville’s offense before narrating the finish.

I enjoyed this.  Rollins played the overconfident heel champion, and Neville got in some good offensive work that would help fans not familiar with him to become familiar and impressed by his offensive style.  He looked strong here.  Next week, in London, it could be a really fun crowd in front of Neville’s countrymen.  If WWE positions him well, Neville can come out of it looking like a real star.

Rollins glares from the ramp.  The announcers move on to sell the triple threat main event with Randy Orton, Ryback, and Roman Reigns.  JBL says that Rusev has invoked his rematch clause for Extreme Rules, but John Cena will continue to defend the title weekly until then in open challenges.  He’s up next.

Back live, the announcers congratulate The Rock for his part in the success of Fast 7.  John Cena’s music hits, and here he comes with that “Champ is here” T-shirt pointing at his dingaling.  Cena poses with the belt in the ring as Lilian Garcia introduces him.

Match #3 – John Cena (c) vs. Stardust; WWE United States Championship

Byron Saxton hypes that Cena will be on the Talk is Jericho live podcast after Raw.  Cena cuts a promo.  He says in Austin it’s WWE Day, and says the fans sound fired up.  He says “the champ is here” and says there are a group of fans happy that he beat Rusev for the title, and a group that wants to see someone walk the aisle, shut him up and take it away.

He says that the belt is a symbol of opportunity.  He says he gave the first John Cena Open Challenge for someone to have the chance “to go face to face with the man who runs the place” to see if they can get their name in the record books.  He talks about how Rusev wants his rematch but he wants it at Extreme Rules.

He asks where that leaves things for tonight.  “What about tonight?  What about us?  What about you?”  He says that Rusev wants to sit and relax until Extreme Rules, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have a US Championship right now tonight in Austin, TX.

Cena cautions that anyone who steps up is merely getting an opportunity.  He tells whoever challenges him to step up or get stepped on.  “The John Cena US Challenge starts now, and if you want some, come get some.”  Stardust’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring for the match.  The fans chant “Cody” and he yells back “it’s Stardust!”

After some basic offense early, Cena teases an Alabama Slam.  Stardust slides through into a roll-up, but Cena quickly escapes and throws him to the ropes.  Stardust skins the cat, but Cena slams him.  Cena keeps up with the offense, throwing Stardust hard to the corner as JBL discusses Stardust’s family history with the US Championship.

Cena throws a long delay vertical suplex for two.  Cena continues to keep up the offense, controlling Stardust.  Stardust rolls out to ringside and plays up on the barrier to draw heat going to the break.

Back live, Cena tries to load the AA.  Stardust counters out, then follows with a blockbuster out of the corner for two.  Stardust poses at the apron and tries a move off the ropes but Cena counters with a powerbomb in a neat spot.   Cena loads the AA but Stardust lands sort of on his feet.  He follows with the Alabama Slam for two.

Stardust loads Cross Rhodes but Cena turn it into a slam for two.   Cena again tries to load the AA but Stardust rolls it through to a sunset flip.  Cena hits a side slam and tells Stardust he can’t see him, but Stardust kicks him in the head and lands a DDT for a near fall.

Stardust goes top rope and hits a moonsault for a near fall.  Stardust staggers to his feet and yells at Cena  Cena trips him coming off the ropes and locks on the STF.  Stardust gets to the ropes to break it, and Cena tries another move but gets caught in Cross Rhodes for a near fall.

Stardust yells about the count. Cena comes back with his springboard Stunner and the AA to get the win.  JBL puts him over as “big match John” and talks about his new move.  The announcers recap highlights of the match.  Cena poses in the ring with the belt.

I like this “open challenge” concept and the emphasis we’re seeing be put on the title.  This match was strong and the live crowd enjoyed it.  It’s a bit hard to buy in that Cena will lose given the title match is already made with Rusev, but fans did buy in to the near falls.

The announcers again talk about the triple threat main event.  Roman Reigns will face Big Show first though, and Ryback will face Luke Harper.  They show a shot of the Bellas making their way to the ring, and they’re next.

Match #4 – The Bella Twins vs. Paige and Naomi

The Bellas got the jobber entrance during commercial and play to the fans back live.  Paige comes to the ring first, then Naomi gets her entrance.  They recap the six-diva tag from last Monday, where the twins misfired and Naomi go the pin successfully.

Brie against Paige to start.  They tie up then back off at the ropes.   Another tie up leads to a standoff.  Paige comes back with some short armed clotheslines.  Nikki distracts Paige, which lets Brie send Paige to ringside with a shot.  Nikki takes advantage of the distraction and throws a clothesline outside the ring.  Paige beats the count back in, and Brie yelle “Brie mode!” before landing a running knee.

Brie stretches Paige out, then throws her down by her hair.  Nikki tags in and they hit a double slingshot suplex for Nikki to get a two count.  Nikki uses a leg lock to control Paige. Naomi leads a chant.  Paige rolls Nikki back into a cover but Nikki quickly kicks out.

Nikki drives Paige to the corner and lands some shots.  She tries a splash but Paige moves.  Paige crawls into the hot tag to Naomi, and drives Nikki face first to the corner.  Naomi hits a bit of a sloppy huracanrana then goes top rope.  Nikki ducks the top rope offense, but takes the Rear View.

Another miscommunication between Brie and Nikki.  Nikki gets laid out and Brie looks shocked.  Paige spears her and takes her out of the ring.  In the ring, Naomi hits her leg-scissor face plant to get the win.  Paige and Naomi celebrate their win.

This started out good, but it fell apart.  Naomi is not connecting with fans, and she is probably the challenger of the month to Nikki.

They run a pre-taped promo from the Prime Time Players.  They mock the New Day first, then say they’re moving on.  They duck and stand back up with cheesy shoulder pads.  They mock the Ascension and do their “millions of dollars” dance.

This was awful.  Sorry.

JBL hypes up Luke Harper vs. Ryback for next.

Match #5 – Luke Harper vs Ryback

As Harper comes out, they show the ladder spot between Ambrose and Harper at Wrestlemania, then highlights from their match on Smackdown where Harper powerbombed him through an announce table.  Saxton tells us Ambrose is not on Raw tonight.  Ryback gets his entrance to a decent reaction.

The announcers remind us that Ryback will also be in the main event later.  After a brief tie-up, Ryback throws some hands.  Harper takes him down though and throws a couple of wicked chops.  Harper throws an uppercut, but Ryback slams him.  Ryback teases the Meathook but Harper hits a superkick.

The fight spills outside where Ryback takes a couple clotheslines.   Harper teases tearing apart the announce table but doesn’t.  Back in the ring, Harper teases the discus clothesline but Ryback ducks it.  Harper comes back with his Black Hole Slam for a near fall.  Harper locks on a submission, then does the Gator Roll.

Harper charges, but Ryback moves.  Quickly, Ryback loads Shellshocked and picks up the victory.  Ryback plays to the fans as the announcers hype his opportunity later.

Ryback has typically been getting some good reactions in front of live crowds.  He had to work for it tonight with this crowd.

Backstage, Renee Young is with New Day.  She addresses the “New Day Sucks” chants.  Xavier says it hurts and Kofi says it’s disappointing.  He says people won’t find disappointment in their dancing, chanting, or clapping.  “We clap, or we snap.”

Big E talks about running into a kid at the airport asking for an autograph.  He says “of course I can buddy boy, because I clap.”  They clap and walk away.

I guess the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one.  I see a heel turn in these guys future because of how they acknowledged the chants.

Match #6 – New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods, w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Lucha Dragons

New Day gets booed as they clap their way to the ring.  Lucha Dragons get a nice reaction.  The “New Day Sucks” chants start early, but are answered by “Lucha” chants.  Early on, Big E and Xavier control Sin Cara.  They show Kidd and Cesaro watching on from backstage.  Xavier covers for a near fall after a kick.  New Day continues to control the offense.

Big E sets up a body drop but Cara flips over and gets the hot tag.  He fires up on Big E and Xavier, hitting a beautiful springboard spin kick. Kofi hits him with a cheap kick and Woods smiles.  Kalisto tags out, but hits Kaliso Del Sol, then a dive onto Big E and Kofi at ringside.  Sin Cara hits a swanton to get the win.  The announcers narrate highlights as the Lucha Dragons celebrate.

This was fun and a way to get the Lucha Dragons some shine.  The arm pumping “lucha” chants feel a bit indy-riffic, but they were fine here.

They hype up Big Show vs. Roman Reigns, next.

Match #7 – Roman Reigns vs. Big Show

Reigns makes his entrance through the fans to a decent reaction, then plays to the crowd from the turnbuckle and the reaction is more mixed.  The announcers debate Reigns’ performance at Wrestlemania, calling it impressive.  Here comes Big Show to almost no reaction.  Show poses by the Andre trophy with a smug grin before getting in the ring.

Reigns throws some quick strikes to start, with Show countering.  Show chops him in the corner, and Reigns comes back with more strikes.  Show shoves a charging Reigns to the mat and yells at him to stay down.  He tells Reigns he can’t outpower him as he keeps up some plodding offense.

He throws Reigns halfway across the ring then smiles.    He picks Reigns up and clubs him down, then steps on him.  Show chokes Reigns on the bottom rope by standing on his back.

Reigns starts to fire in some strikes, but Show throws him over the top rope to the floor.  Show goes out after him and throws him to the barrier.  He sets up a run into the posts, but Reigns counters and shoves Show face first to the post.  Reigns follows up with his running apron kick, but Show knocks him back down with a spear going into break.

Back live, Big Show is controlling the action.  He continues the slow plodding offense on Reigns, pie facing him with his boot then playing to the fans.  Reigns starts to fire back with strikes and running clotheslines, but takes a side slam.  Show sets up a Vader Bomb for a two count.  Show argues with the official over the count.

Reigns crawls outside as the announcers talk about his work ethic.  Show hits a sliding kick that sends Reigns to the barrier.  Show goes out and throws him into it again for good measure.   Reigns barely beats the count, with some help from Big Show.

On the apron, Reigns starts throwing hands, then drapes Show over the ropes.  He hits the Superman Punch at the ropes, then two times in the ring.  On the third, Show goozles him for a choke slam.  Reigns escapes, runs  the ropes, and hits a spear to get the win.  JBL says the real opportunity comes next for him though.  They hype up the triple threat match main event.

There’s an hour of this show left – draining and daunting with how I feel right now (fighting an upset stomach).  I hope we hear from Reigns.  He hasn’t said a word since Wrestlemania.  There’s protecting a guy, then damaging him by continued silence.  As for Reigns, his masochistic ways continue on.  The fans were into his comeback though, and Show did a good job with the big man offense.

Backstage, Kane is on the phone.  He tells someone on the other end to tell Triple H and Stephanie that everything is under control.  Enter Summer Rae, Natalya, Cameron and Alicia Fox.  They play nice with him and tell him he looks stressed out.  He asks what they want.  They admit that Naomi has pinned the Divas champion (Nikki Bella) and is deserving of a match, but they want a battle royale to determine the real #1 contender.  He relents and books it for next week.

Sheamus is walking backstage.  He will be out  next to discuss what he did to Daniel Bryan on Smackdown.

Backstage, Reigns is walking.  Renee Young approaches him and asks if he has momentum coming out of his win over Big Show.  He says that Big Show couldn’t stop him, and wait to see what he does next.  He cocks his fist.

Sheamus comes to the ring.  They roll recaps of his appearance on Raw last week and his destruction of Daniel Bryan last week on Smackdown.  “Before my next victim comes to the ring, I want you to appreciate what a real man looks like.”  That gets a “you look stupid” chant.  He shushes the fans and says the grownup is speaking now.

He says he has always been a warrior and everyone else are insects.  He talks about how fans say he should pick on someone his own size, but says there is no one his own size.  He says the smaller guys give false hope.  He puts over his stats, saying he’s a 6′-6″ Celtic warrior and there aren’t many guys his size to pick on.

Before he can say more, Mark Henry’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring.

Match #8 – Sheamus vs. Mark Henry

A hometown pop for the Silsbee, TX boy as he makes his way to the ring.  Henry and Sheamus jaw at each other mid-ring, then Sheamus waves him off and leaves the ring.  Sheamus can be heard off mic saying he has no time for has-beens before Henry drags him back over the ropes with a toss.

Henry starts off with a series of strikes, then throws Sheamus out of the corner.  Sheamus lands a kick and some strikes of his own, then locks on a key lock to focus on Henry’s arm.  Henry powers Sheamus over the top rope to ringside, where Sheamus rips the announce position apart.

Henry goes out after him and gets rammed back first into the ring post.  He hits Henry with some of his “battern” shots but Henry counters.  Sheamus lands some knee shots on Henry as he re-enters the ring.    Henry scoops him for the World’s Strongest Slam but Sheamus slips out.

Sheamus clips Henry low, then hits the Brogue Kick to get the victory.  Sheamus poses as Booker says “Vikings love to fight.”  The announcers narrate highlights and JBL says if he were Dolph Ziggler he would stay retired and play on Twitter.

I actually kind of dig the idea of teaming Barrett and Sheamus.  Add Kidd and Cesaro, and that could be fun.

At the announce position, they recap the Rock/Rousey segment from Wrestlemania.  They focus on Stephanie slapping Rock, then Rock inviting Ronda Rousey to the ring.

Coming back,   The announcers hype Bryan and Ziggler vs. Sheamus and Barrett for Smackdown.

Wyatt cut in.  He starts “you know who you are.  I’m talking to you.”  He says the person’s entire life has revolved around dedication, but he cannot compete with the forces of nature.  “You most certainly cannot compete against the greatest power of them all, fear.”  He says it’s the fear of failure that drives him.  “Behold, the new face of fear.”  Cut out.

Who is this that Wyatt is calling out?  Is it Reigns?  I’m trying to think of a babyface without a partner going to Extreme Rules right now.  Both men need wins, but if you put Wyatt with Reigns, it would keep him busy for a bit.

Ryback is backstage with Renee Young.  He says everything is bigger in Texas, and he does big things in big places.  If he wins he goes on to face Seth Rollins for the championship.  “Tonight, Randy Orton and Roman Reigns find out why the Big Guy is hungry for the WWE Championship.”  He leads a brief “feed me more” chant.

Match #9 – The Miz vs. Damien Mizdow

Miz comes out first to not much reaction.  Saxton hypes that “we never though we would see this match” as Miz enters the ring.  We go to commercial.  Back live, they recap how Mizdow eliminated Miz at Wrestlemania.  Mizdow gets a big reaction when he comes out.

Miz ducks out immediately when the bell rings. Miz gets on the buckle and pulls off his sunglasses to boos.  Mizdow knocks him from the apron and the fight is on.  Mizdow kicks Miz as he re-enters the ring then beats him down in the corner.

Miz hits a big boot then rains in right hands.  He follows with a boot off the ropes then chokes Mizdow on the ropes.  Miz continues the beating, working Mizdow in the corner.   Mizdow fires back with back elbows in the corner then snaps off a suplex.

Miz rolls to the apron and Mizdow retrieves him.  He lands several knee shots and Miz rolls to ringside.  After a short chase, Miz takes control and lands several clubbing shots before playing to the crowd.  In the corner, Mizdow sets up an electric chair and drops Miz hard.

Mizdow lands a headbutt after saying “I still work for you.”  Mizdow lands the neckbreaker/back breaker combo and sets up the Skull Crushing Finale.  Miz counters out and tries for a low kick, but Mizdow catches him and rains in right hands.  Miz rolls Mizdow up and grabs a handful of tights to get the cheap win.  Miz escapes up the ramp before celebrating.

This fell flat and went on longer than it needed to.  As a result, it lacked heat.  If Miz would have cut a promo, it might have worked better.  He has a knack of making people want to see him get his ass beat.

Backstage, Renee Young interviews Randy Orton.  She says it would seem natural for him to face Seth Rollins for the title.  Orton says it’s true, but the Authority is making him jump through hoops.  He says he has nothing against Reigns or Ryback, but he will do what he does and that’s mow through all of the competition.  He says that he will go on to face Rollins and beat him like he beat him at Wrestlemania, and this time he will take the title with him.

Match #10 – Randy Orton vs. Ryback vs. Roman Reigns; Triple Threat Match to determine the #1 Contender to Seth Rollins’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Ryback and Orton get no televised entrance, and Reigns is finishing his when we get back live.  Ryback tries an early Shellshocked but Orton stops him.  Reigns gets some offense, then Ryback comes back with a few moves.  Reigns hits a big clothesline off the ropes, then fires up on Orton.

Orton lands some shots on Reigns then covers.  Ryback throws out Orton as The Authority makes their way to the stage.  In the ring, Ryback hits a powerslam on Reigns and loads the Meathook.  Orton enters the match and hits a couple clotheslines and a scoop slam on Ryback then on Reigns.  He plays to the fans.

Orton tries to set up the elevated DDT on Ryback, but Reigns clubs him and breaks it up.  Reigns goes to work on Ryback in teh corner with shots, but gets rolled up by Orton.  Reigns hits the Superman punch on Orton, but gets taken down by Ryback.  He loads the Meathook and delivers to Roman.  He calls for Shellshocked, but Orton counters and tries to set up the RKO.

Ryback hits a spinebuster,

The Authority makes their way down to the ring.  They stand over Ryback, but Reigns hits a dive on all of them.  Reigns picks up Rollins, but Show hits him with the WMD Punch.   He goozles Reigns and hits a second one, leaving him out on the ramp.

Back in the ring, Orton grabs Rollins.  He sets up the elevated DDT, but J&J Security jumps the ring.  Ryback takes them out with spinebusters, but he turns around into Orton waiting for the RKO.  Orton picks up the win.

Afterward, Seth Rollins hits Orton with the Curb Stomp, and grabs his title belt.  He poses over the falling Orton as the show winds down.  They show a shot of John Cena sitting down to talk with Chris Jericho on the Podcast is Jericho special happening now on WWE Network.

Back in the ring, Rollins poses and mugs for the camera as the show ends.

This main event was a bit forgettable.  The finish sequence was good though.  Ryback came off looking strong, but got distracted and hit with the RKO from an opportunistic Orton.  Everyone who didn’t go over got protected – Reigns was taken out by Show, and Ryback of course off the distraction.  Orton got to hit the RKO, which made the fans happy and it was true to character to have him strike at any time.

I’m fighting a stomach bug right now, and I don’t know if it is that or if this show was just a marathon.  Maybe a little of both.  It was laced with some good action, but some otherwise forgettable segments and moments as well that left me wanting.  They still have a couple weeks to build to Extreme Rules, so we’ll see how it goes – but I fear we might be heading to a quick post-Wrestlemania lull.

Be sure to join me and Drew tomorrow night as we record Ring Rap Audio where we discuss Raw, the news of the week, and all things pro wrestling.  Get your questions in via Twitter @RingRap or post them on Facebook (facebook.com/RingRap) and we’ll be sure to include them on the air.  Thanks for following my flu  bug around tonight.

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The WWE NXT Report: 04/02/15 – Breeze vs. Itami 2-out-of-3 Falls, Bayley vs. Emma, plus more!

WWE’s NXT comes at us fast and furious this evening, with a number of great matches to be hyped about.  Our main event features Tyler Breese and Hideo Itami tearing it up in a 2-out-of-3 falls match.  Plus, Sami Zayn finally returns to NXT after his devastating beat down at the hands of Kevin Owens, and Bayley takes on Emma.

Let’s dive right in!

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Ring Rap Audio: 03/31/15 – WWE WrestleMania 31 Review, The Raw After, Global Force Wrestling’s First TV Tapings, Tommaso Ciampa, WWE Conference Call, Hall of Fame, plus more!

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WrestleMania has come and gone, as has the Monday Night Raw after (equally notorious).  Now that the biggest moment of the year has come to a close, we can take a deep breath, and look at the culmination of all the major stories, and the start of new ones.  Bill and Drew sit down to hash out the best and worst of both WrestleMania and WWE Raw.

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WWE Raw Live Reaction and Results for 03/30/15 – WrestleMania 31 Fallout, Seth Rollins’s First Night as Champ, Reigns and Lesnar React, Cena, Bryan, Sting, Rock and Rousey, and more!

It’s the night after WrestleMania, and that usually means a pretty hot WWE Raw.  I’m excited.  Are you?

We have a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion in Seth Rollins, who cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase last night to turn Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns into a Triple Threat match.  Lesnar didn’t get pinned.  Reigns got screwed out of his opportunity.  What will both men have to say?

Plus, we have two new champions – John Cena is our WWE United States Champion, and Daniel Bryan is our WWE Intercontinental Champion.  Who will be their first challengers?

Will Ronda Rousey make another appearance?  Will Stephanie McMahon call her and The Rock out?  Will Sting appear again?

Lots of questions as we head into one of the most anticipated episodes of WWE Raw of the year.  Join us starting at 8pm Eastern as we cover the show LIVE!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for our livestream, @RingRap!

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WWE WrestleMania 31 Afterthoughts for 03/30/15 – Seth Rollins Cashes In, The Undertaker Wins, Ronda Rousey Impresses, Daniel Bryan, Sting, Triple H, and More.

Another year, another WrestleMania.  It seems like everything that happens builds towards this moment, and in a way, it does.  We constantly analyze the landscape of WWE, looking for hints of things to come, and ways events play out, so they can ultimately lead to WrestleMania.

Last night, WWE presented the biggest show of the year on “The Grandest Stage of Them All.”  They pulled out all the stops and gave it their all.  Did they deliver?

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