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WWE Monday Night Raw Live Report for 5/25/2015 – Memorial Day Edition, Go Home Show for Elimination Chamber, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose Hype Their Title Match, John Cena Has Words for Kevin Owens, More

On this Memorial Day (here in the United States), it’s the “go-home” edition of Raw as we get ready for Elimination Chamber this Sunday on WWE Network.  On a very short turnaround, we’ve seen Dean Ambrose rise to challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship.  He forced his way into the picture last week, roughing up Seth Rollins during the “Architect of a Dream” segment that closed the show.  How will these two hype what should be a good in-ring match?  Kevin Owens, the NXT Champion, got the better of John Cena last week.  Word is that John Cena has words for Owens – what will he say?  Nikki Bella prepares to defend her Divas Championship against two competitors, the Intercontinental Championship contenders square off, and much more.

Show Open, Live from the Nassau County Coliseum on Long Island, NY

The show opens with a Memorial Day tribute video (that you may have seen earlier in the day as it was publicized).  Eden Styles is in the ring, and asks for fans to please rise and observe a moment of silence in honor of those lost.  The bell rings ten times.  They move on to the standard Raw open and Cole welcomes us in.

The familiar “King of Kings” refrain hits, and here comes The Authority to open the show with a talking segment.  They run footage of last week’s closing segment.  Rollins asks for a round of applause for Ambrose, but gets “you sold out” chants also.  Rollins says this isn’t about him, but it’s about Ambrose.

Rollins says that The Authority made a decision to give Ambrose his title match under duress.  Rollins says that Ambrose didn’t earn, nor does he deserve, a title shot.  He encourages Hunter and Stephanie to take the title match away.  “In fact, given your position you could even fire him.”

Rollins calls himself a benevolent human being, and says that Ambrose isn’t on his level.  “To be honest, he was riding my coat tails the whole time we were in the Shield.”  He says it was obvious why they picked Rollins over Ambrose to be a part of the Authority.  Hunter says that it was an easy choice.

Hunter goes on and says that they have something verbal, but they need something “a little more concrete.”   Hunter tells Ambrose that if he wants his world title shot, all he has to do is come down to the ring and sign a contract.  Booker says “yeah, Ambrose, come down to the ring and get your brains beaten in.”

Ambrose’s music hits and he makes his way to the stage to a good cheer.  He says that there must be something wrong with him, because he can’t sleep.  He says that instead of counting sheep, he counts how many times he punches Seth Rollins.  Once he gets to about 200 punches, he sleeps like a baby.

Ambrose talks about becoming the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion and face of the company.  He says that J&J Security will be barefoot like respectable hobbits.  He says Kane will wear a collar like any good obedient lap dog.  He adds that Rollins will drunk dial Selena Gomez, since he “will always be our little Justin Bieber.”

That draws a “Justin Bieber” chant.  Rollins yells at them to shut up.  Rollins praises Bieber for being rich, famous, and needing to fight off women.  Rollins calls Ambrose a cockroach, and says they can survive a nuclear holocaust.  He says that cockroaches never win.  They never thrive, they just survive.

Ambrose says that he would rather be a cockroach than the wrong end of the Authority’s centipede.  He ponders his options, and says that he might be crazy, and he might be stupid, but it might be worth a shot.  “I guess there’s only one way to find out.”  Ambrose drops the mic and makes his way down to the ring.  JBL says that Ambrose is walking to the gallows.  Roman Reigns’ music hits, and he makes his way down through the crowd.

Reigns jumps the barrier, and Stephanie says that it’s so cute that the “Shield boys” get together and that everyone loves it.  Stephanie tells Ambrose that he has until the end of the night to sign the contract, but in the meantime she is going to book a match.  She sets up Reigns and Ambrose vs. Kane and Rollins as the main event.  “And you don’t have to wait for the end of the night because that match will happen right now.”

Good move to label it as a main event, but have it happen right after the break.  The live crowd didn’t seem to like it, but when Steph said it would happen right away, they cheered. 

We’ll see how this goes tonight.  They have work to do to get to Elimination Chamber, so they might not mail this show in tonight.

Match #1 – Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (w/J&J Security) and Kane

Early on, Booker makes a comment that if Ambrose doesn’t get the title shot without signing the contract is a case of the Authority being an “Indian giver.”  The heels get the better of the faces in the early going.

That’s a pretty shocking line from Booker.  Who is producing him?

Reigns and Kane get the hot tags after the break.  Reigns goes to work, beating Kane down.  In the corner, Reigns stomps Kane down but Mercury gets involved.  Reigns takes him out, cues the Superman Punch, but unloads it on Jamie Noble instead who got on the other apron.  Reigns runs into a big boot, then Kane sets the chokeslam. Reigns fights out of it, backing into the ropes where Ambrose tags him  Reigns hits the Superman Punch and Ambrose comes off the ropes to hit the flying elbow.

Later, Ambrose takes a flying knee from Rollins.  A bit later, Ambrose sets up Dirty Deeds.  Rollins counters out, hitting an enzugiri.  Ambrose staggers backward into the ropes, then sets up his pendulum clothesline.  Rollins ducks and hooks him at the same time, looking for a move.  Ambrose turns it into a backslide and picks up the win.

Rollins is shocked, and protests to the official that it was only a two count.  JBL  puts over how he can’t believe this happened and hopes it doesn’t on Sunday.

Logical to have Ambrose go over on Rollins here.

The announcers hype a free month of WWE Network and also the Entourage stars appearing tonight.

Backstage, Renee interviews Dean Ambrose.  She congratulates him on his win and says he still has to sign the contract.  He says not to worry, and by the end of the night he will have a signed contract.  J&J Security appears and says they have the contract for him to sign.  Mercury pats himself down.  “Well slap my head and call me Sally, he forgot it.”

Ambrose laughs, calls Noble Sally, then slaps him.  The three men scrum, with Ambrose letting them lying.  Unfortunately, a camera man also got tagged.  Ambrose checks on him.  JBL points to it as a case of Ambrose being completely unstable and shouldn’t be the champion.

Cole switches gears to talk about the John Cena open challenge from last week.  He says there was no challenge but Cena had a run-in with Kevin Owens.  They run a video package highlighting Kevin Owens.  Back live, the announcers hype Cena vs. Owens for Elimination Chamber.

Here comes Rusev for the next match.  He’s no longer Russian, apparently as he brings the Bulgarian flag to the ring.  He will be in action, next.

They show the cast of Entourage getting out of a limo backstage.

Match #2 – Rusev vs. R-Truth

Back live, they show the Intercontinental Championship on a table at ringside.  R-Truth makes his entrance and gets a few early shots in, but Rusev locks Truth in the Accolade for the submission win.

Afterward, Rusev gets a mic.  “Lana!  Lana!  We need to talk.  Lana, can you please come to the ring, we need to talk.”  Rusev says he won’t leave until Lana shows up.  Back from break, Rusev is still pleading with Lana to come to the ring, breaking between Bulgarian and English.  Lana has her own entrance now and she comes to the ring.  Rusev holds the rope, but she uses the opposite corner.

“You asked me to come, I came.  Now I’m waiting.”  Rusev says he knows Lana cares despite her actions at Wrestlemania and mistaking his “I quit” at Payback and because she kissed Ziggler.  He says he knows why she’s doing all these things is to make him pay attention.  She says that all she has done is because she cares.  He says “I know you want to crush America and the American spirit as bad as you do.”  That draws a “USA” chant.

Rusev asks her to take his hand, and all will be forgotten.  “We can make America fall down before Rusev, and his Ravishing Lana.”  Booker says he’s lying.  The fans chant no.  Lana takes his hand and the fans boo, but Rusev and Lana hug.  Rusev and Lana pose in the ring.  Rusev says “all I need you to say is the three little words – the three magical words – ‘I was wrong’.”

Lana shoves him off and walks to the apron.  He says all she has to do is admit it was her fault.  “I was not wrong, you said ‘I quit’.”  Rusev says she’s a liar and she needs to know her place.  “I own you, so get back in here now.”  Lana gets back in the ring.

Lana gets in Rusev’s face.  “You’re a liar and a quitter.”  She says she won’t listen to his “cruel, caveman, brutish, thick headed, moronic mouth again.”   Lana leaves the ring.  Dolph Ziggler’s music hits and he makes his way to the stage.  He motions at Lana, then the two kiss.  Rusev flips out in the ring as Ziggler smiles with Lana.

The only woman who could have taken all of the steam off of Rusev better is Stephanie McMahon.  Was waiting for her to come out  and continue the abuse.

Backstage, Ambrose is sitting in his locker room when Triple H and Seth Rollins walk in.  “Let me guess, you two brought me my contract, or are we trying to do this the fun way.”  Hunter says there’s no fun in what’s about to happen.  In walks two officers and the cameraman from earlier.

Hunter asks him if this is the man who assaulted him earlier.  “Yes, but I could have sworn I felt a shove from my side.”  Rollins tells him to shut up, and says Hunter asked a question.  The man looks at the floor and says “yes.”  The officers arrest Ambrose and read him his rights.  As he’s led away, Ambrose says “I guess we’re going to do this the fun way.”  Hunter and Rollins laugh.

Back from break, Ambrose is led to a waiting police vehicle.  Rollins, J&J, and Kane mock Ambrose and say that he’s not good enough for jail and should be taken to the zoo.  As the vehicle drives off they laugh and celebrate.

Remember the Corporation days with Austin?  Yup, exact replay.  Yawn.  Fuck this booking.

Match #3 – Ryback vs. King Barrett

Barrett is in the ring already, eyeing up the title belt.  Ryback still has taped ribs.  Early on Ryback hits a Thesz Press and controls the offense.  He slams Barrett then teases the Meathook clothesline.  Barrett rolls out and Ryback gives chase.  Barrett takes a shot at Ryback’s ribs, then throws him into the barrier.  On the apron, Barrett runs Ryback into the corner then delivers shots across Ryback’s ribs as he lays on the buckle.

Barrett hits Winds of Change for a near fall.  He cues up the Bull Hammer, but Ryback’s not getting up.  Barrett bad mouths, and Ryback pops up.  He hits Shellshocked for the win.  Ryback plays to the fans, then looks at the Intercontinental Championship and chants “Feed Me More.”

Backstage, Triple H is on the phone.  He thanks whoever he’s speaking with then hangs up.  He tells Stephanie that Dean Ambrose is on his way to central booking and probably won’t make it back to sign the contract.  Stephanie says that Rollins won’t have an opponent.  In walks the cast of Entourage.  They share greetings

They ask if Ambrose will be on the show.  “Turtle” talks about getting his ass handed to him by Ronda Rousey and says Stephanie can relate.  He asks if her arm is okay and thought it might have gotten snapped in a couple places.  Stephanie didn’t care for the humor and sent them to their dressing room down the hall.

They run an ad for Steve Austin’s interview with Paul Heyman on June 1 after Raw.  They then show Tough Enough tryout videos.

Stardust is making his way to the ring back live.  He spies Steven Darnell at ringside (star in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and mocks him.  The two exchange words.  Neville makes his way to the ring for the next match.

Match #4 – Neville vs. Stardust

As Neville comes to the ring, they hype that Neville will face Bo Dallas at Elimination Chamber.  As the match starts, there’s NXT chants.  After some early jockeying, Stardust drapes Neville’s knee over the ropes.   He holds Neville up for a delay vertical suplex, then focuses on the knee.

Bo Dallas makes his way to the ring.  Neville starts to deliver shots, but Stardust attempts a belly to back suplex.  Neville sells the knee as he lands on his feet.  Stardust perches him on the ropes and tries a superplex.  Neville fights out then hits a tornado DDT.

Neville sets up the Red Arrow.  He delivers for the win.  Dallas gets in the ring and says “come on buddy, you can pick yourself back up.  All you have to do is Bo-Lieve!”  Dallas hits a low drop kick to the bad knee and leaves.  Dallas takes a victory lap.

Fine enough and got some hype on Dallas going into the match with Neville on Sunday.

Backstage the Entourage guys are talking about their faux-pas with Stephanie earlier.  They come across Divas, and start playing to them.  One of them is talking to Zack Ryder, which gets a mild pop from the hometown crowd.  He says “you gotta do it, bro, this is the last time WWE is going to be in the Coliseum.”  The others introduce him to the ladies, and Ryder says “really bro?”  The Entourage cast convenes with Ryder and tells the ladies they will see them later.

Dolph and Lana are shown, and he’s up next against Sheamus.

Back live, they show the history surrounding Seth Rollins and Money in the Bank.  They hype the Money in the Bank pay per view on June 14.

Match #5 – Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler is playing to fans and the announcers recap his history with Money in the Bank.  Sheamus comes to the ring next and the announcers hype that he has never held the Intercontinental Championship.

Sheamus controls the early going.  About 3 minutes in, Ziggler clotheslines Sheamus to the floor and both men tumble to ringside.  Ziggler tweaks his knee a bit and Sheamus hits a tilt-a-whirl slam on the floor.  Lana makes her way to the stage for a look at the action.  Sheamus yells “Are you not entertained!” as we go to break.

Later in the match, Ziggler hits a superkick for a near fall.  Rusev comes out.  He smiles as he passes Lana, but Ziggler sees him.  Ziggler hits a superkick, but the distraction lets Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick.  Sheamus wins.  Sheamus leaves the ring and eyes Rusev.  He motions toward the ring and Rusev gets in.  Lana heads to the ring.

Rusev eyes up Lana then knees Ziggler a couple times in the head.  Lana watches on stoically.  Ziggler starts to fight back, but Rusev cuts him off, stomps on him then locks him in the Accolade.  Rusev taunts Lana, yelling “kiss him now!”  He jumps out of the ring and walks away as Ziggler sells.

Fine enough again, but Sheamus and Ziggler have worked so often that I sort of checked out.  It’s not the guys in question – I like what both guys are doing, but the fact is that they’ve worked too often and it takes a lot off the match.

Cole moves right on to hyping the John Cena US Open Challenge, up next.

I wonder – Zack Ryder?

They recap last week’s US Open Challenge segment, where Kevin Owens interrupted John Cena and hit him with the pop up powerbomb.

The John Cena US Open Challenge:

Cena’s music hits and he makes his way out.  He says “apparently the remix is a popular song” as the fans sing “John Cena Sucks” along with his song.  Cena charges the ring as the announcers hype Owens vs. Cena at Elimination Chamber on Sunday.  They’re calling it “Champion vs. Champion.”

“For over ten years now, you, the WWE Universe, can be summed up in five words – Let’s Go Cena, Cena Sucks.”  He says there are fans who fight with him, and fight against him.  He pauses to listen to the various chants that solidify into “Let’s Go Cena, Cena Sucks.”

He addresses his supporters, saying they believe in what he believes in – hustle, loyalty, and respect.  He says that they believe that no matter the odds they never give up.  Over ten years they have shared in the agony of defeat and the triumph of victory.  “Most importantly…”  Cena waits out a “We want Ryder.” chant.  He says over ten years they have formed a bond that allows them to survive an atmosphere no matter how hostile.  He thanks those who support him.

He then addresses “the others” who chant “Cena sucks” among other things.  He asks why, and says that for ten years they have clamored for someone to knock him down and keep him down.  “Here is where the story gets difficult for those who chant Cena sucks.”  He says name after name has tried and failed.

He says he was forcefully introduced to “the newest hopeful” last week on Raw, referencing Kevin Owens.  He recounts Owens debuting, breaking the internet, then going to the NXT special and breaking Sami Zayn in half.  He says that those who chant Cena Sucks believe that Kevin Owens is the man to create change around here.

He says on Sunday they will be able to chant “Fight Owens Fight.”  He says for the first time you  might not hear “Let’s Go Cena – Cena Sucks” but you might hear “Let’s Go Cena – Fight Owens Fight.”  He says it doesn’t promise “Win Owens Win.”  He says Owens proved he knows how to start a fight, but let’s see if he can finish one.

He moves on to talking about Monday Night Raw, hyping the final WWE event in the Nassau County Coliseum.  He says it gives him great pride to put the US Championship on the line on Memorial Day.  He says Long Island is the place to be, and by looking at the hardware John Cena is still the man to beat.  “You want some, come get some.”

The cast of Entourage makes their way out.  Cena eyes them up then introduces them to a chorus of boos.  He tells them the challenge is open to anyone and asks who it will be.  One of them speaks up and says that as much as they would like to fulfill a childhood dream, they’re there to introduce a superstar, “a Long Island Boy, just like me,” Zack Ryder.

Match #6 – John Cena (c) vs. Zack Ryder; WWE United States Championship

Back live, the match gets underway.  The commentators talk about the history of Nassau Coliseum with the Nets and Islanders.  Ryder cues up the Broski Boot but Cena escapes.  Cena hits his shoulder blocks, the side slam, and sets up the Five Knuckle.  Someone on the movie cast gets in the ring and Cena turns to him.

Ryder uses the distraction to roll Cena up for two.  A bit later, Ryder hits the Unprettier for a two count.  He comes back with the Broski Boot for two, then hits the Rough Ryder for another two count.  Ryder goes up to the top and goes for a 450, but Cena rolls out of the way.  Cena hits the AA and picks up the win.

Cena gets the belt back, but hands it back to the official.  He helps Ryder up and raises his arm in the ring.  the two men play to the fans, then the movie cast gets in the ring and also plays to the fans.  Ryder and the movie cast exit and Cena plays to the fans a bit too.

Kevin Owens pops up through the fans.  He hits the ring and kicks Cena, throwing him off the rope and hitting the Pop Up Powerbomb again.  Owens stomps on the US Championship and poses with his belt.  The adult males cheer for Owens, the women and kids are silent.  Booker says Owens is good at taking the cheap shot but he’ll have to face Cena eye to eye on Sunday.  Owens struts up the ramp and poses with the belt again.

Ryder got his moment and it was fun for the hometown fans and I’m sure for him since it’s the last time in Nassau Coliseum for WWE.  They missed a chance to make some money with Ryder when he was hot and that’s a shame.  WWE beat us into submission with the way they handled him for him getting himself over.  The Owens angle was a simple rinse and repeat from last week.

Backstage, Stephanie says that Owens is impressive and it’s scary.  Rollins says that he is great, but no one should get ahead of themselves, because he’s still the present and future of WWE.    Renee Young asks for an update on Ambrose.  Stephanie says that he will have every opportunity to come to the ring and sign the contract by the end of the night.  Renee asks if it’s a formality because they had Ambrose arrested.

Rollins speaks up and says that Ambrose got himself arrested.  “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”  At the announce table, Cole feeds it to a recap of the story through the night.

The Bella Twins’ music hits and they head to ringside for the next match.  Tamina will take on Paige in a one-on-one match.

Jobber entrance for Tamina, who is waiting in the ring.  Paige gets an entrance.  They recount Naomi and Tamina beating Nikki down before Paige made the save.  Paige then turned on Nikki and hit the RamPaige.  Cole hypes the three ladies facing off in a triple threat.  Nikki says she’s ready for it.

Match #7 – Paige vs. Tamina (w/Naomi)

Tamina throws some shots at Paige.  Cole talks about the counseling that Brie got sent to last week. Brie says Bryan is in good spirits and the counseling was good for her.  Tamina controls the offense on Paige in the early going while the announcers talk about Tamina and Naomi “taking over” the Divas division.

Paige fires up with strikes, and hits a kick off the ropes.  Naomi gets on the apron but because of the distraction Tamina ends up getting rolled up.   Paige hits a drop kick, then a senton off the apron to a nice reaction.  Coming back in, Tamina throws some shots.  Naomi backs Tamina off, and Naomi  hits a cheap shot.  Tamina hits a Samoan drop to get the win.  Booker says it reminds him of Twin Magic, and Nikki says it’s not as good.

Naomi and Tamina pose in the ring and the Bellas stand up, with Nikki holding the belt up.

The announcers hype Elimination Chamber and say the WWE Network is the only place you can see the event in the US.  Big E’s voice rings out and he says to not be sour and tells us to clap for the tag team champions.  Nassau greets them with “New Day Sucks” chants.  They’re up next.

Back live, the announcers hype The Rock’s new movie, San Andreas, and his moment at TCH Chinese Theater.  San Andreas opens May 29.

New Day complains about having to face five other teams in the Elimination Chamber.  Kofi says the fans don’t want to see it and the fans chant yes.  Big E says that even the fans in this decrepit old building that is about to be torn down can recognize champions.  They make fun of Long Island for losing their hockey team and calls them losers.

Kane comes out.  He says that all the teams have a 1 in 6 chance of winning, and that’s very fair.  What’s not fair is the match he books for him next.  He sets up New Day against the other competitors of the Elimination Chamber on Sunday.  Each team gets an entrance, then we go back to break again.

Match #8 – New Day vs. The Ascension, The Prime Time Players, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya), Los Matadores (w/El Torito) and The Lucha Dragons; 10-on-3 Handicap Match

Woods is controlling Kalisto in the early going.  He talks trash at the other teams, and they jump the ring and mug him.  That’s the end of the match right there.  It breaks down into a full on brawl, with The Ascension hitting a double team move.  The teams end up out on the floor, and Lucha Dragons hit a big dive on the remaining men on the floor.  New Day climbs back in the ring to celebrate winning by DQ.

Tyson Kidd and Cesaro attack them, hitting their swing into kick move on Woods.  Kidd, Cesaro, and Natalya pose in the ring.

Cole again hypes Elimination Chamber, then sells a Daniel Bryan special airing on WWE Network tonight after Raw.  He feeds it to preview.

Miz TV will return on Sunday at Elimination Chamber, and his guest will be Daniel Bryan.  Cole feeds it to a recap of the segment where Ambrose accidentally roughed up the cameraman (by Rollins pushing the cameraman in the way) and shows the footage of another worker showing Rollins shoving the cameraman into the mix.

In-Ring Segment:

“King of Kings” hits again and here comes Triple H, Stephanie, Rollins, Kane, and J&J.  JBL tries to defend what Rollins did.  Rollins says what some idiot did with a cellphone doesn’t matter and Ambrose was justifiably arrested earlier tonight.  Rollins calls him a common thug and says he takes pride in the Lunatic Fringe nickname.

He says that it sometimes pays off, and it almost got him a shot at his championship.  Instead, he finds himself behind bars.  Stephanie gets on the mic (AAAHHH!) and

Roman Reigns’ music hits, and he makes his way to the ring.  He attacks Rollins, but it quickly turns into a five on one beatdown by J&J, Rollins and Kane on Reigns.  Reigns hits one Superman punch, but Kane chokeslams him.  Sirens ring out.

Dean Ambrose is driving the paddywagon from earlier, a la Stone Cold driving a Zamboni.  I know there’s nothing new in wrestling these days, but geez.  He drives the paddywagon out into the arena then gets out, wearing a cop jacket and hat.  He heads to the ring with billy clubs in hand and the fight is on.

He and Reigns work together to clear Kane and J&J out.  They each have clubs, so they take turns jabbing Rollins in the gut with them.  J&J and Kane hit the ring again, and Rollins escapes.  They scrum some more, with Reigns hitting a double spear on J&J.  Kane throws Reigns out, and Reigns hits him with a Superman punch at the ropes.  Ambrose hits a wobbly Kane with Dirty Deeds.

Reigns gets back in the ring with the contract, smiling.  Rollins, Vin…errr, Triple H, and Stephanie stand on the stage with disgust.  Reigns laughs and hands it to him.  JBL says “quick, end the show” but Ambrose signs.  He plays to the three of them as Rollins grabs his head in disgust.  Cole gives a final sell for Elimination Chamber as the show ends.

Well, all we needed there was Jim Ross yelling “STONE COLD! STONE COLD!  STONE COLD!” and a legitimately hot crowd.  Ambrose has a unique character that is fun and interesting and something I really like.  But they’re booking him in a way that is a total rehash of the Corporation angle from 1998.  This was just not inspiring at all.

This show killed my interest in Elimination Chamber.  Nothing felt important – it was “just okay” at best.  I thought the Owens/Cena angle was decent enough, but it was a repeat more than it was something fresh.  I think Elimination Chamber will be good, but this show didn’t do it any favors at all.

Drew and I will be getting together tomorrow night to talk Elimination Chamber, Raw, and everything else wrestling on Ring Rap Audio.  Be sure to comment, and ask your questions for discussion either in the comments, on Twitter @RingRap, or on our Facebook page.  Thanks for watching along tonight.

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WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage for 5/18/2015 – Payback Fallout, Nikki Bella Defends the Divas Championship, John Cena’s Open Challenge, Stephanie McMahon Returns, and More

It’s the night after Payback, and all of the buzz on social media today seems to be about….Stephanie McMahon returning.  Steph has been away for about a month and now she will make her first appearance on Raw since Mania.  What does she have to say about the recent goings on?  Also, WWE is advertising that Nikki Bella will defend her Divas Championship against Naomi.  Naomi pinned her last night – will she be able to get the job done in a singles match?  Also, John Cena has promised that he will issue another open challenge on the fallout show last night.  Who will answer?

Show Open, Live from Richmond, VA at the Richmond Coliseum:

Editorial Note:  First hour is very much “Cliff’s Notes” version as I wipe the grease and dirt from my hands.  Truck show season is rapidly approaching.

Raw open hits, and Cole, JBL and Booker T check in on commentary.  Eden introduces Triple H and Stephanie to the ring, where there’s a table with what looks like a belt covered up on it.  Stephanie asks if the fans missed her.

Steph talks about being a winner, and says the fans can’t relate.  Seth Rollins, though, can as he beat three other men at Payback.  Hunter says that Rollins has proven to be everything they say he is.  They begin to address the belt on the table, and Stephanie asks for a drum roll.  She uncovers the Intercontinental Championship.

Stephanie mentions Daniel Bryan, which makes her pause for a “Yes!” chant.  Stephanie tells the fans that Bryan doesn’t own a television and “is picking berries or chopping wood or whatever it is that you do.”  She says Bryan has proven her right, having to give up two different championships because his body couldn’t hold up.  “How heartbreaking,” she mocks.

Hunter says they will crown a new IC champion who will be the most resilient and durable champion in history because the champion will be determined in Elimination Chamber.  The announcers mention the match briefly, with JBL saying he hates it because there is no part of the structure that doesn’t hurt.  Booker mentions that if he walked out, he felt like he won.  Hunter again sells how brutal and unforgiving the chamber is.  He say that six men will enter and one will leave as the new IC Champion.

Sheamus’ music hits and he makes his way to the ring.  He apologizes for interrupting, then responds to a “you look stupid” chant, saying that the fans have no taste.  Sheamus says there’s no need for the match, because he ended Bryan’s career.  They roll footage of his match with Bryan on Smackdown.  Sheamus basically asks the Authority to hand over the title to him.  Ryback’s music interrupts, and he comes to the ring.

Ryback’s ribs are taped to sell from last night.  He tells Sheamus he looks stupid, then says Bryan has more heart, determination and passion than Sheamus could ever have.  He waits out a “Yes” chant.  Stephanie makes a comment about predictability, but Ryback tells her “big guy has the microphone, big guy is talking, Steph.”  Ryback talks about how Bryan nearly ruined his body to become IC champion.

Ryback says that Sheamus likes picking on little guys, and challenges Sheamus to a match.  Before they come to blows, Stephanie says both men will be in the Chamber match.  Hunter says he likes the vibe and they will let the two men to fight.

When I heard Stephanie would be back on this show, I immediately thought “long talk segment to start the show.”  This wasn’t as long as I expected, but of course they had to trot her out there right from go.  She had some good lines, and Ryback did a nice job of standing up to her.  They did a decent job of making the IC Championship match feel important and got to the opening match logically.

Match #1 – Sheamus vs. Ryback:

Cole discusses the rules of Elimination Chamber.  Sheamus hits Ryback with a backbreaker.  Ryback shoves him off and yells “dammit!” as he rolls to ringside.  Sheamus follows and kicks him in the ribs.  After commercial, Ryback hits a powerbomb and sells his ribs.  He hits a spinebuster then sets up for his Meathook but Sheamus runs to ringside.  Ryback goes out after him, catches him and gorilla press slams him on the announce table.

In the ring, Ryback loads Shellshocked, but Sheamus throws a punch in the ribs and Ryback drops him.  Sheamus grabs his eye, and Ryback attacks.  The official pulls Ryback back, but Sheamus blasts him with the Brogue kick to get the win.  Sheamus sells the eye for a moment, then acts as if he recovered miraculously.

Right call to have Sheamus win.  He and Bray Wyatt could be those upper-tier heels with winning streaks that WWE needs right now.  Ryback has the out of Sheamus’ shenanigans and his ribs being hurt.

They show a graphic of the IC title match for the Elimination Chamber, with Sheamus and Ryback filled in and four open slots.  The announcers hype Seth Rollins’ “Architect of Dream” segment.

Backstage, Hunter and Stephanie praise Kane for what he did at Payback.  Kane says that he thinks Seth Rollins has grown up.  Seth enters with J&J Security to boast about his win and hand out champagne.

Dean Ambrose enters and tells Rollins they are tied at 1 win a piece against each other.  He say he will grant Rollins a rematch if he puts the title on the line.  Hunter and Stephanie exit, and Rollins asks if Ambrose has heard of the back of the line.  Kane backs up Rollins, and then Rollins leaves.

Ambrose tells Kane it’s sad to see him neutered and asks what Paul Bearer or his brother (The Undertaker) would think.  Ambrose calls Kane a glorified butler, which Kane doesn’t like.  He books Ambrose against Bray Wyatt.  “Okay.” And Ambrose takes a drink of Kane’s champagne.  He tells Kane he shouldn’t drink on the clock.

Looks like we’re going Ambrose vs. Rollins at Elimination Chamber.  I wonder if they somehow get Reigns in the picture, since he didn’t really lose either last night.  If they go Shield triple threat, they should save it for something like SummerSlam.

In-Ring Segment:

Renee Young interviews Neville.  Cole says that King Barrett wanted nothing of him at Payback in order to sell the count-out.  Booker says he would have done the same thing if he were Barrett.

Young asks Neville about his debut after Wrestlemania.  Neville says he’s been fortunate enough to compete all over the world, but nothing compares to being in WWE.  He says he’s not the biggest guy and has his share of doubters, but he enjoys proving the doubters wrong.  He says when he flies through the air, he is ten feet tall and invincible.

Young asks him about going from NXT Champion to main roster but Bo Dallas interrupts.  He talks as he comes to the ring, and Neville points out that he beat Bo to start his record breaking NXT Championship run.  Bo attacks Neville at the knee, and Neville catches Bo with a kick to send him to the floor.

King Barrett’s music hits and he comes to the ring for a match.

Match #2 – Neville vs. King Barrett:

Bo sits in on commentary and complains about how he was trying to help Neville.  Barret controls the offense, working Neville’s knee.  After break, Barrett stays on offense and works over the knee.  Neville tries to hit a suplex but sells his knee buckling.  He tries a springboard and does the same.  Barrett hits the Bull Hammer for the win.  Afterward, Dallas gets in the ring, smiles at Barrett, then attacks Neville by going after the knee.  He wraps it around the ring post a couple times.

Dallas in the IC match?  Possible.  At least he got rid of the scraggly goatee.

They acknowledge that Titus O’Neil won the Mega Dad of the Year award.

In-Ring Segment:

Rusev comes to the ring to cut a promo, without Lana.  He tells the fans that there is no Lana, and she needs to learn her place.  The fans chant for her and he yells “There is no Lana, shut up.”  Rusev says he crushed John Cena to the point that he passed out.

“And then Lana quit.  Lana quit because she’s weak.”  Rusev demands that Cena come out and the Authority come out to restart the match from last night.

Lana comes to the ring, and Rusev chastises her for disobeying.  She says that Rusev is misunderstood and she believes in him.  She talks about their history, saying she has been with him every step of the way and believed that Rusev could be the man to make John Cena say “I quit.”  She says it didn’t happen.  She says that she quit because she cares for Rusev.  Lana says that she did the right thing “for you, and the right thing for us.”

Lana says that Rusev was screaming “I quit” in Bulgarian, which draws “you quit.” chants from the live crowd.  Rusev calls Lana weak, and says she makes him weak.  He tells her to go back to where she came from and get out of the ring.  Rusev yells at her in Bulgarian or Russian as she leaves, and Cole calls Rusev a horrible human being.  JBL says Rusev needed to cut the deadwood.

This angle was good, but the announcers and show format did nothing to help it.  This is a perfect time for heel JBL to say that heel Rusev went too far and act outraged by what he saw.  Also, they really should have gone to break and let the impact of this moment sink in but instead they rushed on to the next thing.

The announcers move on to talking about the Payback main event, and Dean Ambrose makes his entrance for the next match.

Match #3 – Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt:

Wyatt controls early on.  I’m eating dinner, and it’s really good.  Anyhow.

Ambrose starts a comeback after break, and sets up a suicide dive.  Wyatt punches him and hits a suplex from ring to floor going to break again.  A bit later, Wyatt and Ambrose exchange punches, then Ambrose hits Wyatt with a running cross body block.  He follows with punches and a  bulldog.

Wyatt charges, but tumbles to ringside when Ambrose holds the top rope down.  Ambrose hits a suicide dive, and the announcers make some comment about Wyatt trying to counter.  In the ring, Wyatt and Ambrose jockey for position and tease finish sequences.  Ambrose tries his running clothesline but Wyatt connects with one of his own for two.

Ambrose slaps Wyatt, and Wyatt fires back.  Ambrose leans into the ropes and hits his clothesline.  Ambrose slams the mat after getting two, then gets Wyatt on the ropes for a superplex.  Wyatt fights him off and knocks him down.  Wyatt tries a second rope senton, but Ambrose rolls away.

Ambrose goes top rope, but J&J Security runs out.  Mercury distracts the official, Noble shoves Ambrose off the ropes.  Ambrose lands on his feet but goes right into Sister Abigail and Wyatt gets the win.  J&J celebrates with Seth Rollins on the stage.

Good match, logical finish to protect Ambrose and give Wyatt the win.  Looks like Ambrose is heading to a match with Rollins, so you want to protect him.

The announcers hype up the Divas Championship, the Tag Team Championship match, and the US Open Challenge with John Cena.

Nice hook to keep viewers locked on the show by holding the title matches for the later part of the show.  And they’ve given some consistent hype to the matches, so that should keep people interested.

The announcers set up the Tough Enough hype, showing entry videos.  A graphic shows Hulk Hogan, Chris Jericho, Booker T, Paige, Daniel Bryan, Lita, Billy Gunn, and Daniel Bryan being part of the show.

Match #4 – Big E and Kofi Kingston of New Day (c) vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya); WWE Tag Team Championship

Xavier Woods got barred from ringside for his action last night.  Kingston calls it a “trumped up controversy” that got him banned.  Big E says the fans are “simple, illiterate people in this backwater state.”  Kingston says they will persevere through the power of positivity.  Early on, Big E gets held up in a vertical suplex.  Kidd hits a clunky hurancanrana on Big E as we go to break.

Kidd fires up and hits a cool clothesline spot, and locks in the Sharpshooter.  Big E breaks it up, so Cesaro and E trade punches.  All hell breaks loose with E tossing Cesaro to the floor.  Kofi and E beat up Kidd in the corner, so the official calls for the bell.

Kidd and Cesaro hold their own in the post match scrum until Xavier Woods comes out to help.  The Lucha Dragons run out and start beating on whatever moves.  Los Matadores, The Ascension, and The Prime Time Players also run out.  The Players clear the ring, then the Dragons dive on the remaining teams.  The Players drag Woods in the ring and rough him up.  Cole says the teams will be participating in the Elimination Chamber tag match.

The match seems to have been a no contest – c’mon, gimme a result.  The run-ins were a big hit with the live crowd it seemed.  I would liked to have seen Harper and Rowan involved here, but I guess if there’s no plan to put the title on them, no sense running them out there.

Cole hypes up Cena’s Open Challenge for next.  He also hypes the return of Roman Reigns for Smackdown.

John Cena’s US Open Challenge:

John Cena comes to the ring, and the fans chant USA.  He leads them in another round of chants.  Cena talks about how proud he is as an American, and points out some military members and says that they make the US Championship different.  “This is our championship, and the champ is here.”  Cena says it’s time to give the competition an opportunity.  “Richmond is the place to be, John Cena is still the man to beat, and the John Cena US Championship Open starts…now.  You want some, come get some.”

Kevin Owens’ music hits, and Richmond pops for him.  He has the NXT Championship on his shoulder.  Cole talks about Owens being self-centered, vulgar, cold, and vile as he makes his way to the ring.

“Hello John,” Owens says.  He congratulates Cena on his win at Payback, calling it impressive.  He says he would introduce himself, but Cena knows who he is.  He says if people otu there don’t know, then they aren’t worth his time in the first place.

Cena stops him  and says they have to do it right.  “NXT Champion, Kevin Owens.”  Owens thanks him and says it was nice.  Owens brings up Sami Zayn, saying that Zayn was injured going into the match against Cena, and he knows that because he was the one that injured Zayn.  Owens talks about the live NXT Takeover event on Wednesday and says he will finish what he started.

Cena calls it a fine speech but Owens has a lot to learn.  He tells Owens to listen closely, and says some of the people don’t know him but not a single person there should be called a waste of time.  Cena goes preacher man node and says without all of them, there is no Owens, no Raw, and no WWE.  “This is why we are here.”

Cena offers Owens “veteran advice” but Owens cuts him off.  He says “I may not have been in WWE, but I  have been doing this longer than you, so you don’t get to give me advice.”  Cena talks about Zayn again, saying he blew his shoulder up but fired up and gave his best shot.  He says he doesn’t see the same fire in Owens’ eyes.  He calls Owens a scared boy about to crap his pants after realizing he bit off more than he can chew.

Cena tells Owens that the US Championship Open is still open, and if he wants some to come get some.  Owens says he’s a prize fighter and he already has a prize in the NXT Championship.  “When it comes to your little US Open Challenge, my answer is no.  But trust me, you and I, we are going to fight some day, but it’s going to be on my terms, not yours.”

Owens starts to tell Cena that if he thinks he has him all figured out…then turns and boots Cena in the gut.  He throws Cena off the ropes and hits the pop up powerbomb on Cena.  He holds up both title belts, them drops the US Title and steps on it while posing over Cena and holding up the US Championship.

I thought for a moment that they would have Owens put on a game performance and lose here, but that doesn’t make much sense.  A good talking segment that got heat on Owens for what he did, and made a lot of casual viewers familiar with Owens in a hurry.  Great first impression for the NXT Champion.

They run footage of Daniel Bryan surrendering the IC Title again.  They update the match participants now, which are Sheamus, R-Truth, Rusev, Ryback, and King Barrett.  The last entrant will be named later.

Putting the IC Championship on Rusev is a good bounce back move.  I think they put it on Sheamus though, personally.  Why is R-Truth in this match?

Match #5 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust:

The announcers point out the stitches that Ziggler got as a result of his match with Sheamus last night.  Stardust points at his eye as a threat to Ziggler.  Dolph fights out of Stardust setting up his finish and hits the Zig Zag to win.

Afterward, Cole asks Ziggler how he’s feeling.  Ziggler talks about the stitches, saying it’s the NHL Playoffs and chicks dig scars.  Not much hockey love in Richmond, I don’t think.  Anyhow, Cole tells him he is the last man in the IC Championship match at Elimination Chamber.  Ziggler says it’s about time.

Ziggler says he will take on all comers if he wins the championship.  Speaking of all comers, here comes Lana.  The fans chant for her, and she smiles.  She pulls Ziggler in and kisses him.  The fans cheer, Ziggler and Lana smile, and the fans chant “one more time.”  Lana obliges.

Rusev storms out.  Booker says that someone will die.  Rusev gets in the ring and yells at Lana.  Lana slaps Rusev, and he’s not happy about this.  Rusev gets all bug-eyed like he plans to attack her, but Ziggler hits him with the Zig Zag.  Ziggler escorts Lana backstage.

I suppose they could turn this into an angle where Lana sucks in Ziggler like this to have her turn and help Rusev win the title at Elimination Chamber.  Then again, we said these same kinds of things about the match last night with Cena, and none of it happened.

Backstage, Kane barks orders about wanting something sparkling.  He sees Adam Rose and Rosa Mendes making out, because love is in the air on this show tonight.  He shakes his head and walks off.

Match #6 – Erick Rowan and Luke Harper vs. Fandango and Zack Ryder:

Harper and Rowan control this early.  There’s a brief chant for Ryder that Cole points out.  Ryder checks in but immediately eats a superkick and lands in Rowan’s slam.  Ryder takes the loss.

Backstage, the Bellas are walking down a hall when Stephanie shows up and applauds.  She wishes Nikki luck in her match, then tells Brie she is sincere in wishing Daniel Bryan the best.  She says that the health and well being of the superstars is of utmost importance to the Authority, so she sets Brie up with some counseling.  She says she doesn’t think that Brie should accompany Nikki to ringside.  The Bellas sell frustration, and the rest of us change the channel.

They show still shots of the Divas tag match from Payback before the next match.

Match #7 – Nikki Bella (c) vs. Naomi (w/Tamina); WWE Divas Championship:

Cole immediately points out that if Brie is banned from ringside, why isn’t Tamina.  Picture in picture promo from Naomi asks why the people are so behind the Bellas.  Tamina says the division belongs to the two of them now.  Eden handles the in-ring introductions.  The fans actually do respond to Nikki’s early offense, clearing Naomi from the ring.  Nikki hits a dive on Tamina and Naomi going to break.

Out of the break, the trainer is tending to Tamina.  Nikki finally mounts a comeback and takes control of the match.  She gets Naomi up for the Rack Attack but Tamina hits the ring and lands a superkick to cause a DQ.  The duo beat up on Nikki until Paige runs out for the save.  She hits clotheslines on the heels, then superkicks Naomi.  Paige grabs the belt and poses, then smiles at Nikki.  She grabs Nikki and hits her with the RamPaige and poses with the belt some more.

They recount Kevin Owens interrupting John Cena’s Open Challenge earlier in the night, and hitting him with the pop-up powerbomb.  They show Owens talking to Triple H, who pats him on the shoulder to congratulate him and walks away.

Renee Young gets a word with Kevin Owens.  She talks to him about attacking Cena, then saw him talking to the Authority.   He says that he would face Cena on his terms, and the Authority agrees.  He says that in two weeks at Elimination Chamber, he will go one on one with John Cena.  “And Renee, the champ isn’t there…the champ, is, here.”

Wow.  Owens on a roll right now.  I have no idea how they’ll book it, or if it’s a US Championship match, but I just hope it comes off with Owens looking good.  Always a concern going up against Cena.  The Elimination Chamber card looks fun, suddenly.

“The Architect of a Dream” Segment:

Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Kane all are in the ring.  Stephanie gives the big over the top introduction for Seth Rollins, who comes out in a suit and is flanked by J&J Security.  Hunter tells Rollins he got the goosebumps when Rollins delivered the Pedigree on Randy Orton to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  Hunter tells Rollins the Authority was there for him.

Hunter says that the members of the Authority want to say a few words about Rollins.  Kane asks where he could possibly begin.  He says they haven’t seen eye to eye, “but what do you expect, I’m a foot taller than you.”  Kane says he’s kidding and says they wouldn’t be out there without each other.  Kane says he is happy that Rollins is still the champion, and he is best for business.

“That’s all you have to say?  There’s nothing else you’d like to say to me, Kane?”  Kane thanks Rollins for saving his job and sets up a video package that shows how sincere the Big Corporate Monster really feels.  After the video package, Jamie Noble talks about the cream rising to the top and says it’s an honor to protect Rollins and the most important title anyone can hold in WWE.  Mercury is too choked up to say anything.

Dean Ambrose’s music hits and he heads out.  Stephanie says he has a lot of nerve coming to the ring.  Ambrose apologizes for being late but was trying to find the perfect Justin Bieber outfit for Rollins.  That draws a Justin Bieber chant.  He says he is giving Rollins another shot at facing him in a title match.

Rollins tells Ambrose he’s dreaming if he thinks he is getting another shot.  He, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton are at the back of the line now.  Ambrose says  he’s a line jumper and he wants his shot, or else.  Stephanie asks who Ambrose thinks he is to enter the ring and make demands.

Stephanie says Rollins is a fighting champion who won’t be intimidated by threats.  “Seth, get him.”  Rollins looks shocked but Triple H assures him.  Rollins takes his jacket off, and Ambrose jumps.  He gets the better of Rollins but J&J jump him from behind.  Rollins and Ambrose fight to ringside.  Ambrose suplexes Rollins then takes out Security.

Ambrose backdrops Rollins on the table, then Rollins flips over and slams his head off the barrier.  Ambrose reveals a stack of cinder blocks.  He puts Rollins on them, then puts his foot on him while holding a chair.  Stephanie pleads with Ambrose to let him go, then gives him the title match.  Ambrose winds up for a chair shot, but Mercury grabs the chair.  Ambrose roughs up security while Rollins crawls off.  Ambrose chases Rollins into the ring, but J&J gets back involved again.  Ambrose clears them out.

Kane tries to choke slam Ambrose, but he slips out and hits his big clothesline.  Ambrose tries for Dirty Deeds, but Rollins jumps him and hits the Pedigree to put Ambrose down.  Rollins poses with the belt and talks smack to end the show.

Quick thoughts on the whole show – this was good, even admitting my sole focus was not as laser sharp on the show as normal.  There wasn’t a lot of filler – WWE came out with purpose because of the Elimination Chamber special in two weeks and they got to some newsworthy announcements for that show.  Kevin Owens showing up was the moment of the night.

This closing segment did nothing for me in terms of Ambrose vs. Rollins, but the two have a history of strong matches so I’m not concerned about it.  WWE did what they needed to do to put eyes on Elimination Chamber in two weeks in one night – so kudos to them.

Drew and I will talk Raw, Elimination Chamber, Payback, Kevin Owens, and NXT Takeover:Unstoppable tomorrow night on Ring Rap Audio.  Got questions or thoughts of your own?  Be sure to hit us up with them either here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @RingRap.  Thanks for watching along tonight.

 

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WWE Payback Afterthoughts for 05/18/15

WWE’s Payback hit the airwaves last night, bringing us three hours of pay-per-view goodness.  It was a mere three weeks away from the previous event, Extreme Rules, and two weeks from now, Elimination Chamber surprises us with it’s network-exclusive appearance.  Three pay-per-views.  Five weeks.  My goodness.

And, I’m not even including NXT Takeover on Wednesday.

Payback had it’s own set of special challenges.  Being the middle child in the series of three, and the only one without a major gimmick hook, the roster had to bring us a show that didn’t rely on “toys” or smoke and mirrors.  They needed to rely on the wrestling and the stories that were told.  So, how was the show?

I think the phrase that sums it up best is: Fine for what it was.

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WWE “Payback” Pay Per View Live Coverage for 5/17/2015 – Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, John Cena vs. Rusev, The Bellas vs. Tamina and Naomi, and More

Tonight, live from Baltimore, MD it’s WWE’s latest pay per view (and WWE Network) offering, Payback.  The second of three special events in roughly seven weeks, tonight puts an end to the feud between John Cena and Rusev as they square off in an “I Quit” match.  Will Rusev make Cena say he quits, or will Cena somehow manage to make the big Bulgarian-turned-Russian submit?  Seth Rollins defends his WWE Championship against three other men – two of which were former teammates in The Shield.  Will he walk out champion, and will Kane make sure of it?

The full card is as follows:

  • Pre-Show:
    • The Meta Powers (Curtis Axel and Damien “Macho Mandow” Sandow) vs. The Ascension
  • Main Card:
    • The Bella Twins vs. Naomi and Tamina Snuka
    • King Barrett vs. Neville
    • Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
    • New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods, c) vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya); WWE Tag Team Championship, fought under best 2 out of 3 falls rules
    • Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt
    • John Cena (c) vs. Rusev (w/Lana); WWE United States Championship under “I Quit” Rules
    • Seth Rollins (c, w/J&J Security) vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose; WWE World Heavyweight Championship under Fatal Four Way Rules

Pre-Show:

The opening shows fans entering the arena, and Renee Young welcomes us to tonight’s show.  She introduces each of the panelists, who are Byron Saxton, Corey Graves, and Booker T.  Corey won money at yesterday’s Preakness in Baltimore, and Booker T shills his comic book “GI Bro” coming out soon.

They start by hyping the pre-show match between the “Meta Powers” vs. the Ascension.  She moves on to talk about the Fatal Four Way WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.  She emphasizes that Kane will be fired if Rollins loses the title.  The panelists discuss Kane’s role in the match, with Booker T saying that Kane will still have notes showing up in the mail despite not needing a paycheck from the Authority.

Eden Styles interviews Dolph Ziggler about his match with Sheamus.  She asks what fans could expect to see from them tonight.  He says fans will see the same Dolph they always do, but isn’t sure which Sheamus will show up.  He says it’s not about stealing the show tonight, but it’s instead about payback on Sheamus.  He says it’s personal and Sheamus has gotten in his head.  He says when he sees Sheamus, he will end this, tonight.

Tom Phillips is in the Social Media Lounge, and says that Sheamus will be a guest with him later.  He hypes #AskSheamus as a hashtag for fans to ask questions later.  He also shills the #Payback hashtag to talk about the show.  He sends it back to the panel.

Renee Young feeds it into a hype package for Cena vs. Rusev and their I Quit match.  Renee says that Cena has never lost one of these, and asks if it changes.  Corey says it doesn’t change tonight and talks about how Cena has momentum through the US Open Challenges.  He says that there’s dissension between Rusev and Lana and the only time Rusev has beaten Cena was when Lana was firmly at his side. Byron Saxton recounts a fan experience with Rusev and Lana and says that Rusev is dangerous tonight.

Booker says Cena will go out and represent America tonight.  He says that the title has been in obscurity but Cena has brought the title to prominence.  “Can John Cena come out here tonight and do it again under the bright lights.  He’s John Cena.”  Corey says getting Cena to say I Quit will be a resume in and of itself.

Renee notes that we will recount what Daniel Bryan had to say, next.  They air a commercial for Elimination Chamber.

Back live, they roll the Daniel Bryan segment from Raw.  Once with the panel, Renee hypes that there will be a new Intercontinental Champion crowned at Elimination Chamber.  Booker talks about how the fans got a lot of hope from Bryan and it is a loss.  He says Bryan will not lay down or quit and can’t wait to see him back.

Renee sends it backstage to Eden, who is with the Bella Twins.  She asks Brie how Daniel is doing and how she’s been holding up.  Brie says it’s been tough and Bryan has a lot of heart.  She says it’s not the first time they’ve been down this road, and Bryan will do all he can to come back “to what he’s passionate about.”  She says they are grateful to the fans and that Bryan is her inspiration for tonight.

Nikki says that Naomi has been talking about family, and says that they are “real” family.  She says that tonight, Naomi runs out of excuses as to why she isn’t the Divas Champion.  Back with the panel, they discuss it.  Renee says the family connection between Naomi and Tamina is not the same as it is between the Bellas.  Booker says that he has twins that are “on the same level.”  Saxton makes some turkey analogy about slicing and spicing that even Corey wonders about.

They run an hype package for Tough Enough, with entry videos shown.

Renee sends it to the ring for the pre-show match.  Cole welcomes us and here comes R-Truth singing his way down the ramp.  Truth plays to the fans a bit with his “What’s up?” bit

Match #1 – R-Truth vs. Stardust

They tie up as fans chant “Cody.”    Truth yells “What’s up!” and gets slapped by Stardust.  They exchange slaps and the fans start chanting “Cody” again.  Truth mocks him, ducks a clothesline, then lands a hand.  Running the ropes, Truth hits an armdrag takedown.  Stardust comes  back with some strikes then throws Truth off the ropes.

At the ropes, Truth tries to suplex Stardust in.  Stardust counters and drapes Truth across the buckle.  He tumbles to the floor.  Truth crawls back in and Stardust takes over, jamming Truth face first to the buckle.  The announcers hype other matches on the show.

Truth counters a suplex.  He comes back with a face first suplex of his own but runs into a Disaster Kick for two.  A bit later, Truth lands a big boot.  More slaps, then Truth hits the Lie Detector and picks up the win.  Truth plays to the fans as Stardust sells at ringside.

Winner: R-Truth

It was fine for what it was, but it wasn’t must see television.

They hype the return of the Stone Cold Podcast with Paul Heyman.  With the panel, they talk about the crowd filing in, then Renee feeds it into a hype video for the match between Ryback and Bray Wyatt.

In the Social Media Lounge, Sheamus joins Tom Phillips.  He says that the questions better be good.

Back with the panel, Renee hypes that we will see The Ascension against the Mega-Powers next.  They run an ad to hype NXT Takeover:Unstoppable for this week.

Of course, I will have live coverage for you of “Unstoppable.”

Match #2 – The Ascension vs. Curtis Axel and Damien “Macho Mandow” Sandow

The announcers recap the angle that got this set up.  JBL says Randy Savage is rolling in his grave.  Sandow comes out first with his Macho Man gimmick.  Axel comes out with a full-on Hulk Hogan gimmick.  Sparing no expense.  The live crowd reacts to it though.

Axel rips the shirt off and the match starts off with him hulking up.  He hits a big boot and a leg drop for a near fall.  The Ascension takes over on offense.  Hot tag to Mandow, who runs Conor (I think) into the buckle a couple times.  He drapes him over the top, then slams Viktor.  Mandow teases the elbow up top.

Conor pulls Axel off the apron, then pushes Mandow off the top.  Ascension comes back with the Fall of Man and gets the win.

Winner: The Ascension

I’m sure Vince and Kevin Dunn think this was awesome.  But aside from the entrances, the fans didn’t react much to this match.  It’s a fun gimmick, but let’s be honest, all of these guys are above this.

The panel hypes Rollins’ title defense against Orton, Reigns, and Ambrose.  They focus the video package on the issues between Kane and Rollins.  Back with the panel, Renee reminds us that this is no disqualification and the champion does not have to be pinned.  Graves says Rollins will retain because he knows the three men better than they know themselves. Booker says it’s every man for himself.  Renee sends the pre-show home.

WWE “Payback,” Live from the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD

They roll the opening video.  Pyro goes off and Cole welcomes us in for tonight’s event.

Match #1 – Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler:

They focus on the announcers as they hype the first match.  They show Sheamus getting beaten at Extreme Rules, but not living up to the Kiss Me Arse stipulation.  JBL calls Dolph “Suzie Chapstick” as he comes to the ring.  Cole feeds it to the Spanish announcers momentarily.

Sheamus pie-faces Dolph early but Dolph unloads on him as the bell rings.  Ziggler hits a drop kick and clotheslines Sheamus to the floor.  Cole says Sheamus might have hurt his knee as Ziggler flies out onto him.  Sheamus gets draped across the top, then Ziggler comes back with a cross body for two.

Sheamus teases White Noise, but Ziggler slips down and rolls Sheamus over for another two.  Ziggler tries to land a superkick, but Sheamus catches him and drops an elbow on his knee.  JBL comments that a couple of clubbing blows will stop all that “flippity-floppity” stuff.  Sheamus focuses his offense on the right knee, but locks on a headlock to slow Ziggler down.  JBL snipes at Cole, saying that kissing ass is why Cole has had a job so long.

Sheamus continues to control the offense.  He stops to yell “Are you not entertained?”  Ziggler starts to fight back but Sheamus hits a jaw jacker that leaves Ziggler selling his knee.   Sheamus charges  the corner, but Dolph sidesteps and Sheamus takes the post.  The two start exchanging hands mid ring.

Sheamus throws Ziggler off the ropes.  Ziggler ducks a clothesline and lands a series of forearms.  He hits Sheamus with a drop kick in the corner then fires away with right hands.  He tries a neckbreaker, but Sheamus shoves him off.  Ziggler comes back with a DDT for a near fall.

Ziggler hits a corner splash then lands more hands and knee strikes.  Ziggler pauses, then yanks his tights up and makes Sheamus kiss his ass.  Sheamus ducks to ringside and sells, grabbing a drink of water.  Back in the ring, Sheamus drapes Ziggler over the rope then tries the Brogue, but Ziggler ducks.  Ziggler comes back with the Fameasser for a good near fall.

Ziggler tries the Zig Zag in the corner, but gets shoved off.  He mounts the corner and lands corner punches, but Sheamus walks him out and hits a powerbomb for a good near fall.   JBL rants about Ziggler making Sheamus kiss his ass.   Sheamus hits a running power slam for another good two count.

Sheamus hoists up Ziggler and hits White Noise.  Sheamus locks on the Cloverleaf rather than cover.  Ziggler struggles into the ropes to get the break.  Sheamus uses the whole five count to break though.  The announcers wonder how much Ziggler has left as the fans chant that it’s awesome.

Sheamus slaps Ziggler, then picks him up and taunts.  Ziggler lands a headbutt then hits a superkick for a good near fall.   Sheamus cues up the Brogue Kick again.  Ziggler’s bleeding and never makes it to his feet.  Sheamus hits the Brogue low, and this one’s over.  Sheamus plays to the crowd.

Winner: Sheamus

The headbutt was not needed, but this was a quality opener.

Backstage, Kane is on the phone saying that everything is under control and “I”ll see you soon.”  Rollins enters, saying that he knows this is a big night for both.  He asks to put their animosity behind them.  Kane and Rollins recount their problems.  Kane says that he might lose his job, but Rollins will lose the title.  He tells him that maybe losing the title will make him a man and make him realize the value of the championship.

Kane says he doesn’t need his job though he loves it.    He says he might just stand by and watch like he did on Raw.  Kane says he hasn’t made a decision about what he plans to do tonight, but “trust me, you’ll be the first to know.”

Rollins says he appreciates his honesty.  He says if Kane does anything that is not in Rollins’ best interests, losing his job will be the least of his concerns.  J&J steps between Kane and Rollins, and Kane just laughs.  Rollins and Security walks off.

The main event is focused more on what Kane is going to do than anything else.  Sigh.  The title should feel more important than this.

New Day comes out for the next match.  Xavier Woods says we can do anything if we just think positive.  Kofi says “what better place than Baltimore to show the power of positivity.”  Big E asks if their tired of being fat, unattractive, and having no friends.  In the ring, they spot Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles.

They ask Jones if he’s sick and disgusted of the fact that the Orioles haven’t won a World Series in 32 years. “All together now, think positive.”  Woods tells the fans to clap along with them and show the world they can change.  They try to lead the “New Day Rocks’ chant but Baltimore tells them they suck.

Match #2 – New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston w/Xavier Woods, c) vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya); WWE Tag Team Championship under 2 out of 3 falls Rules:

Kidd and Cesaro make their entrance as the announcers hype downloading WWE Immortals.  Kidd works with Kofi early.  Cesaro gets the tag and catches Big E and slams him.  Big E returns the favor and hits Cesaro with a gorilla press slam.  Woods gets involved momentarily with a cheap shot.  Kidd and Cesaro team up for their swing-drop kick finish to get the first fall

Kidd and Cesaro up 1-0

Woods jumps up on the apron and screams about Freebird rules but the referee says no.  Natalya pulls him off the apron, then Kidd hits him with a flip dive.  He tries another dive but Big E catches him and hits a belly to belly out on the floor.

Big E spears Cesaro to the floor.  Cesaro sells, as does Big E.  Kofi goes to the top but Kidd greets his dive with a drop kick.  Kidd crawls to the corner but Cesaro isn’t there to tag.  They set up Kidd and hit their finisher to knot up the score.

Tied at 1-1

A quick cover on Kidd starts the third fall.  Big E tags in and hits a belly to belly and follows with a corner charge but Kidd uses the buckle as a partner with a drop toe hold.  Cesaro finally gets to the apron and gets a hot tag.  He unloads on Kofi with uppercuts from corner to corner.  He tries for the Steiner powerbomb on Big E but can’t quite get it.  He hits a BIG uppercut on Kofi for a good near fall.

Cesaro gets Kofi up in a backbreaker then Kidd tags to get a big springboard elbow for a good near fall.  Kidd teases the Sharpshooter.   Big E gets sent over the announce table outside.  Kofi takes a flip into a huge uppercut from Cesaro.

Big E breaks up the fall.   He collides with Kidd and sends him out. Cesaro hits Big E with a drop kick.  In the chaos, Woods rips his vest off and rolls in to roll up Cesaro and steal the win.  New Day celebrates out on the ramp as the announcers recap the finish.

Winner: New Day to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship

This was good.  I don’t think it needed the 2-out of 3 falls though since the match went normal one fall match time.  Good pacing though given what the men had to work with, and the finish was creative and continues to solidify New Day as heels.  No damage to Kidd and Cesaro, and the titles stay on New Day.

Backstage, Tom Phillips interviews Ryback about his match.  Ryback says he doesn’t know what to think of his match with Wyatt.  “If he thinks I’m some experimental lab rat in his maze, he’s sadly mistaken.”  Ryback says that tonight the Eater of Worlds gets eaten.  “Feed me more.”

The announcers credit Imagine Dragons for tonight’s theme.  Cole sets up a video package for the match.

Match #3 – Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt:

Wyatt makes his entrance, with an arena full of cellphone lights.  When the lights come up, Wyatt plays to the fans a bit.  Ryback comes out and Lawler says he looks hungry.

The two start off early exchanging strikes.  Ryback hits a Thesz Press, then Wyatt slides out to get a breather.  Ryback follows and drives him into the barrier.  Back in the ring, Ryback drives Wyatt to the corner, but Wyatt comes back off the ropes with his crashing block.  Wyatt takes over, clubbing on Ryback at the ropes.

Ryback starts to build momentum with forearm shots and a slam.  Ryback charges Wyatt in the corner, but Wyatt sidesteps him and Ryback takes the post.  Wyatt hits a DDT on Ryback out on the apron.  Wyatt follows with a senton splash off the apron.  Both men sell out on the floor.  Wyatt gets back in the ring as Ryback continues to sell, just barely breaking the count.

Wyatt goes right on offense, splashing Ryback in the corner.  Wyatt goes up the buckle, but Ryback walks him out and  hits a powerbomb.   Ryback ducks a clothesline and hits a power slam for a two count.    Ryback gets up in the corner and calls for the Meathook.  Wyatt ducks to the floor and Ryback goes out to greet him.  Wyatt hits a clothesline of his own. JBL says “come here little rat, look at the cheese.”

Wyatt hits a throw, then a running knee to the midsection in the corner.  Ryback splashes Wyatt.  He tries to set up a move, but instead kicks Wyatt.  He hits a spinebuster for two.  Ryback calls to finish it but Wyatt counters and perches up Ryback on the corner.  A “Let’s Go Wyatt”- “Wyatt Sucks” chant starts.

Ryback clubs Wyatt down then hits a big splash off the ropes.  Ryback crawls into a poor cover for a good near fall.  The two men sell.  Wyatt tries to set up Sister Abigail, but Ryback counters.  Ryback tries for Shellshocked, but Wyatt gets into the ropes by the corner, yanking off the turnbuckle pad.

Wyatt drives Ryback to the corner with the exposed buckle then hits Sister Abigail for the win.  The announcers recap it.  Wyatt poses after the match.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

This was fine.  It’s hard to get too invested, because I just fear they’ll come back with Ryback getting a win in the near future.  Wyatt needs to be built up if they’re going to treat him as the “new face of fear,” so here’s hoping he wins this feud with Ryback.

They roll an ad for Money in the Bank, in theme of a Home Shopping Network ad, for June 14.  They also hype the Stone Cold Podcast for June 1.  Back live, they roll the hype video for John Cena vs. Rusev.  The I Quit match is up next.

Match #4 – John Cena (c) vs. Rusev (w/Lana); WWE United States  Championship under I Quit Rules

Rusev gets his entrance first, and the announcers focus on Lana and how she has taken to certain western customs of late.  Fans chant for Lana, but she looks distressed.  Cena comes out to a standard mixed reaction and his “John Cena Sucks” serenade.   As he comes to the ring, JBL talks about his experience with Cena in an I Quit match.

Dueling chants as the bell rings.  Rusev grabs the mic from the official and speaks.  He yells something in Russian first, then addresses Cena.  He says half of the people already hate him.  “Do them a favor, swallow your American pride and say you quit now, and spare yourself the pain.”  The chant goes to a unanimous “USA” chant.

The official dutifully asks Cena if he quits.   Cena thinks about, charges, and fires off on Rusev.  Rusev hits a big kick then splashes Cena in the corner a couple times.  The fans chant for Lana now.   Rusev slides out of the ring, barks at the Spanish announce team for a chair, then sits Lana down at the announce position.

Back in the ring, Cena hits Rusev with a suplex then whips him across the ring.  Cena goes for a follow up charge but Rusev sidesteps it.  Rusev starts to open up on Cena with stomps.  Full throat dueling chants.  The official asks Cena if he quits but Cena pushes the mic away.  Rusev continues the assault, landing a hard right hand then a drop kick.

Rusev continues the assault, but Cena comes back with a clothesline.  They recap the drop kick from Rusev.  Rusev comes back with a spinning heel kick, then goes out of the ring to berate Lana for the fans chanting at her.  Cole says that Rusev better focus on Cena.

Rusev continues to club away on Cena.  Rusev then demands Lana go and get his flag and hand it to him.  Rusev takes the time to play to the fans with the Russian flag.  Cena starts up his comeback, hitting the shoulder blocks, side slam, and Five Knuckle Shuffle.  Cena tries to load the AA but gets caught in a fallaway slam.  Cena rolls to ringside where the official asks if he wants to quit.

Rusev throws Cena into the steel steps and demands the official ask again.  Rusev gets frustrated when Cena says no.  Cena rolls in, and Rusev throws the steps in.  He sets up the steps in the corner as Cena sells in the opposite corner.  Rusev demands that the official ask if Cena wants to quit, then throws Cena into the ring steps propped in the other corner.    Rinse and repeat.

Rusev grabs the mic and yells at Cena, but the official takes the mic back.  Rusev resets the steps mid ring and sets up a move but Cena backdrops out of it.  Cena starts unloading right hands, then tries something off the ropes but Rusev catches Cena and hits a black hole slam onto the steps.  The official asks and Cena says no.  Rusev is frustrated.

Rusev yells “Rusev, CRUSH!” and sets a stomp up, but Cena moves.  Cena hits the AA on the steps.  The official asks Rusev if he quits but Rusev can’t answer.   Cena gets the steps.  He whips them toward Rusev, but Rusev ducks. Outside the ring, Rusev tries to set up a whip but Cena reverses it and Rusev eats the post.  Cena yells at him that if he doesn’t, Cena will put him through the wall.  Rusev says no, and consequently eats the wall as Cena spears him through the barricade.

The referee asks again, and Rusev refuses.   Cena goes looking for something and comes up with an equipment case.  He tries to roll it into Rusev, but Rusev is able to kick him over top of the case.  Referee asks and Cena refuses.  The  brawl continues out by the technical area, with the two men exchanging strikes.  Cena tries to load the AA, but Rusev counters and tries a weak Alabama Slam.

Cena perches a table up, then grabs a monitor or some other form of equipment and slams it over Rusev’s back.  Cena continues the assault, beating Rusev up with various pieces of equipment in the technical area.

Rusev counters and sends Cena through the table that is perched up.  He starts eyeing something up with the pyro, but his eyes spot something. He runs over to Cena who is by the stage.  He eyes up a big kick  but Cena hits the AA into the pyro behind the light board.  Sparks fly, Rusev crawls away, and Lana wanders out to see what happened.  Rusev still doesn’t quit.

Cena goes over to get a piece of the security railing.  Rusev crawls over to the ramp and the official asks him.  He says no, so Cena runs him over with the barrier.  Cena perches the railing against the ring and demands the official ask him again.  Rusev again says no.

Cena loads the AA, but Rusev counters out and hits a suplex that crushes the railing.  The official asks if Cena wants to quit and gets “hell no.” in return.  Back in the ring, Rusev poses, then hits his big thrust kick.  He stomps, then locks on the Accolade.  JBL reminds us that Cena is the only man who has broken the Accolade.

Cena gets to his feet, driving Rusev into the buckle twice.  Cena fades, and drops back to his feet.  The announcers ask if his luck may have run out.  Cena fades out and the official doesn’t get an answer.  Rusev celebrates, thinking he won, but Cena never answered.

Rusev rips the cover off the turnbuckle, then starts undoing the top rope.  He rolls out and grabs water then wakes Cena up with it.  He cues up hitting Cena with the buckle, but Cena trips him down and locks on the STF with the ring rope.  The official asks Rusev if he wants to quit, but he starts rambling in foreign tongue.

Lana crawls up into the ring and yells that he quits.  Cena retains the championship, and the American flag drops.  Cena slowly walks away as Lana tends to Rusev in the ring.  The announcers debate if it’s legal that Lana did what she did, but know that the referee can’t speak Russian.  Cena exits.

Winner – John Cena to retain the WWE United States Championship

It was hard to fathom that Lana would not be involved in the finish somehow.  We talked on Ring Rap Audio about various scenarios, and this was one of them.  The match itself was pretty good and I was entertained by it.  The finish was creative and yet I’m sure it will be with its critics.  I’m looking forward to how they treat the championship going forward.

Cole sends it up  to the panel, and they talk about the various events of the night.  They hit on Cena defeating Rusev, as well as Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt.  They recap the pre-show match with The Ascension taking the win over the Meta Powers.

Byron Saxton is with New Day, who is celebrating with milk.  He says they don’t spit, curse, or get down.  Kofi says they don’t care who they face next.  Saxton says he has breaking news, saying that the New Day will defend the titles in the first ever tag team Elimination Chamber match.  They say it’s not okay and it’s not happening.  Saxton says he guesses it’s a new day.

Match #5 – The Bella Twins vs. Naomi and Tamina

During the entrances, Cole plugs Wednesday’s NXT special on the Network.  Early on the official is tied up with Naomi.  Tamina blasts Brie with a kick that knocks her to the floor.  The Samoans isolate Brie in their corner (I don’t know who the heel or face is here).

Brie tries for the tag, but Naomi catches her and holds her back.   Brie slips over Naomi’s shoulder and falls on her head, but makes the tag.  Nikki hits clotheslines, then hits an Alabama Slam on Naomi.  She hits a drop kick that looks just awful.  They then do a clunky spot where Nikki takes a swing at Naomi on the apron, but turns into the Rear View from Naomi for two.

Brie takes out Tamina at ringside.  Nikki looks to see what’s going on, but Naomi attacks her.  A bit later, Nikki goes top rope.  Tamina throws Brie into the barrier, and Nikki turns to look.  That lets Naomi grab Nikki by the hair and throw her off the ropes.  She covers and that’s it.  Tamina and Naomi pose, with Naomi yelling “We run this now.”  The Bellas sell as the heels leave.

Live crowd didn’t care, and I can’t blame them.  Nothing is a talking point to make the fans care about the Bellas other than Daniel Bryan.  No real turn, so no real reason to invest.

Backstage, Rusev is pacing and Lana is watching him, solemnly.  Rusev rants in Russian or Bulgarian and gets the “WHAT” treatment.  He tells Lana to get out, which draws boos.  He throws a chair in disgust.

They recount the Daniel Bryan segment from Raw.  Cole sends it to the video package that they aired during the pre-show as well.  Cole hypes that a new Intercontinental Champion will be crowned at Elimination Chamber in two weeks

Match #6 – Neville vs. King Barrett

As Barrett comes out they recount him winning King of the Ring by defeating Neville.  The commentators mention the Twitter exchange between the two of them as Neville comes to the ring.  Neville gets an early two count off the roll up, then hits a cross body and a huracanrana to send Barrett to the floor to regroup.

Neville follows him outside and lands a kick.  Barrett springs Neville against the ropes and lands a kick.  Neville gets draped across the buckle and Barrett lands more shots and a kick that gets him a two count.  King calls Barrett “King Toucan Sam” if his nose gets bigger.

Barrett tries a charge, but eats a boot.  Neville sets up a springboard move but eats a boot from Barrett.   Barrett continues the offense, setting up a slingshot backbreaker then choking Neville in the rope.  Barrett ties Neville up in the ring and lands a series of knee shots, sending Neville to the floor.

Barrett goes out after him and tosses Neville back in.  Barrett controls Neville with a headlock as the fans start to wake up a bit.  Neville starts to mount some offense, hitting a standing shooting star press for two.   Neville teases going top rope but sees Barrett coming for him.  They fight at the ropes with Barrett flipping Neville over into the ring.

Barrett teases the Bull Hammer, but Neville ducks.  Off the ropes, Barrett hits Winds of Change.  A bit later, Neville sets up the Red Arrow, but Barrett ducks out of the ring.  Neville changes course and hits a big dive to ringside, but lands a bit funny and holds his knee.  Neville jumps in the ring, but Barrett sells to the point of being counted out.  Neville wins.

Barrett isn’t done though, and he runs back in to attack Neville.  He roughs up Neville, sending him to ringside.  He throws Neville into the barrier.  Barrett gets his crown and robe and poses.  Neville grabs him from behind and hits a German suplex on him.  Neville sets up the Red Arrow and hits it to a good reaction.

Winner – Neville

I like the Winds of Change move, and wish Barrett would get some wins off of it in “enhancement” matches on TV so it actually felt like something that could lead to a finish.  No one reacts to it now because no one feels like it’s a finish.  The count out loss here sort of served a purpose to protect Barrett and still give Neville a win, but Barrett wasn’t saving a title or anything, so it wasn’t really all that hot of a finish.

Cole works in a cheap segue to Tough Enough hype.  He feeds it to fan submitted video entries.

Backstage, Seth Rollins is with J&J Security.  Kane approaches and says he has one thing to say.  “Good luck!”  Kane laughs and walks away.  Cole hypes that the title will be decided next in a fatal four way.  He sends it to the video package to hype it up.

Kane makes his entrance first to come to ringside and watch this match.  JBL says the odds are against Rollins unless Kane does the right thing and helps the Authority.

Match #6 – Seth Rollins (c, w/J&J Security) vs. Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose; WWE World Heavyweight Championship under Fatal Four Way Rules, and if Rollins loses Kane loses his job as Director of Operations

Orton makes his entrance first of the challengers, playing to the fans on the ropes.  Ambrose is second to a big reaction.  He heads to the ring with purpose.  Reigns is next, making his way through the fans.  The announcers recap Roman Reigns’ year to date.   JBL says Reigns’ performance against Lesnar was “one of the greatest things he has ever seen.”  Rollins is last and gets a rousing cheer from the adult male demographic.  Old school in-ring introductions.

The three challengers all stare at Rollins as the bell rings.   Early going, J&J Security drags out Ambrose and Reigns, and Rollins and Orton exchange blows with Rollins dumping Orton to ringside.  The battle spills to ringside.  Reigns hits a big dive on everyone else.

Rollins and Reigns end up in the ring.  Reigns hits a tilt-a-whirl slam on Rollins, but Rollins comes back with a DDT style move into the buckle.  Dean Ambrose enters the match with a flying elbow.  Orton breaks up the cover.  Orton and Ambrose battle as Reigns and Rollins disappear from the match.  Reigns and Ambrose take turns punching Rollins a bit later on.

I can’t help but think how different the dynamic would be if they hyped the Shield being against each other in this match.

Reigns sets up a corner move.  Kane pulls him from the ring and throws him into the barrier.  Lawler says he’s disappointed with Kane for doing that as he didn’t expect it.   Cole tells King that Kane is loyal to Triple H.  Cole fails to bring up the issues Kane has with Reigns.  Back in the ring, Rollins hits a buckle bomb on Ambrose, then hits a superkick.  Rollins covers for two.

Ambrose gets the better of Rollins, setting up Dirty Deeds.  Kane gets in the ring and hits Ambrose with a chokeslam.  Reigns boots Kane in the head, then Orton clotheslines Reigns.  Orton hits clotheslines on Rollins and Ambrose, then hits a t-bone suplex for two on Rollins.  The fans didn’t buy into the finish.

Orton hits a big superplex on Rollins for two.  No reaction as to whether or not this was the finish.  Orton roughs up Rollins at ringside, then rips apart the announce table.  Reigns runs Orton into the ring post.

A bit later, Ambrose, Reigns, and Rollins surround Orton.   It’s a Shield reunion, if just for a moment, and the three of them rough up Orton, then hit Orton with the triple powerbomb.  The live crowd pops for it.  The three of them pose and Rollins wants to make the fist pose they had in the past.  Reigns and Rollins aren’t having it, and they start beating on Rollins.  They set up the double powerbomb on Rollins.

Kane interferes, and Ambrose and Reigns are up to the task to rough him up.  Rollins gets laid out on the Spanish announce table, then Ambrose and Reigns do a double powerbomb on Kane.  Baltimore loves it and asks for it one more time because the table didn’t break.  So, Reigns and Ambrose give it to them, and the table breaks.

Ambrose and Reigns look at each other, with Reigns asking if the loser should buy some beers.  They duke it out in the ring.  The two exchange strikes.  Reigns catches Ambrose with a powerbomb for two, then Ambrose comes back with a roll-up on a re-entering Orton for two of his own.

Reigns blasts Ambrose with the Superman punch for two.  Reigns smiles and sets up in the corner for the spear.  Ambrose hits him with a boot though.  Ambrose sets up for his pendulum clothesline off the ropes, but Reigns ducks and runs the ropes himself.

Off the ropes, Reigns hits a spear and covers.  Rollins crawls in and breaks the cover up.  Reigns looks at him in disbelief then chases Rollins out of the ring.  J&J jumps Reigns, and he fights them off.  Rollins gets in the ring and takes a shot from Ambrose after shedding Reigns’ grip.

In the ring, Reigns hits a Superman Punch on Ambrose but gets taken out.  Ambrose hits Rollins with Dirty Deeds and has him beat, but Kane pulls Ambrose out and hits him with the ring steps.  Reigns gets involved, but he also gets struck with the steps and gets slammed on the base of them for good measure.  Orton attacks Kane from behind.

The fans chant for the RKO and Orton lights it up.  RKO’s for Noble and Mercury.  Rollins tries a flying knee but Orton turns it into a powerslam.  Orton hits the elevated DDT then teases the RKO.  Kane tries to get involved but Orton hits the RKO on him.  Rollins uses the opportunity to set up the Pedigree on Orton to get the win.

Rollins rolls out of the ring as the announcers recap the various high spots of the match.  Triple H enters, walking to Rollins to help him to his feet and raise Rollins’ hand and celebrate with him.

They close the show with a hype package for Elimination Chamber, happening in two weeks.

This was fun.  If in any way you bought in to Rollins losing, I think it was foolish.  The fans got into the moments where The Shield reunion was teased.  WWE needed to do more with that history – more so than focusing on what Kane would do during the match.  They got that out of the way fairly early, so that was a plus.

Where to go from here?  I don’t really know.  I guess they could go with the Shield triple threat for the next go around for the title, but it’s hard to say.  Orton vs. Rollins has little mileage left, and I think Reigns vs. Rollins one on one might not be believable with Reigns having lost 4 title matches now.  Ambrose?  Hard to say.  That’s what Raw is for, I suppose.

All in all, a solid effort tonight.  The in-ring effort was there throughout the night, even if the backing stories weren’t all that great.  I do have worries about where they go with Rusev now that he has lost to Cena three straight times and the whole Lana angle doesn’t grab me that much.

We will bring you the fallout tomorrow night in a modified live Raw report.  Between Drew’s work schedule and some commitments I need to keep, we’ll have to make some sort of shift in how we bring you the show.  Not sure what that looks like just yet, but we’ll see you in some form, tomorrow night.  Thanks for following along.

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WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage for 5/11/2015 – The Authority Returns, Payback Go-Home Show, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton and Roman Reigns Prepare for their Title Match, More

Show Open, Live from the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH

The show opens with a limo pulling in backstage at the US Bank Arena.  Out steps Triple H, and Cole says the atmosphere is about to change.  Roll the Raw intro and pyro out in the arena.  Cole hypes that we’re six days out from Payback.

Cole hypes the John Cena US Open Challenge and says that Daniel Bryan is also in the building to address the status of the Intercontinental Championship.  Triple H’s music hits and he heads to the ring as Cole runs down these items among other things for the night.

“Daddy’s home.”  Hunter says that he says the same thing to his children when he comes home from a trip.  He says they automatically fall in line and behave.  Hunter says that he has the same feeling returning to Raw, and that some people can’t follow orders.  “Namely, the Director of Operations, Kane, and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins.”

Hunter asks both of them to come to the ring, and Rollins makes his entrance with J&J Security.  Rollins applauds as he’s walking.  Rollins welcomes Hunter back, and immediately says that he and Hunter are on the same page.   The fans chant for Dean Ambrose (he’s from Cincy) and Rollins waits them  out.  Rollins tells Hunter to ignore the chants and says that he doesn’t know why Kane has been acting like he is.  “I kinda feel like Kane has made it his personal mission to make sure that I lose my WWE World Heavyweight Championship.”

The fans start another Ambrose chant.  Rollins runs down the decisions that Kane has made, including setting up the App vote for Rollins’ title defense, then booking Dean Ambrose in a match to make it a fatal four way.  Rollins addresses the Ambrose chants with “there, I said his stupid name.”  Rollins asks if Kane is still fit to be the director of operations and asks if it’s time to take him out  back and put him out of his misery.

Kane comes out.  He jaws at Rollins in the ring about the “old dog” comments.  Hunter gets between the two of them and says that it’s enough.  Hunter tells Kane that he needs to get on the same page.  He concedes that Rollins is annoying and “makes you want to ball your fist up and punch him in the face, but you don’t.”  Hunter tells Kane that if Rollins doesn’t walk out of Payback as champion, “then maybe your services as director of operations are no longer required.”

Kane tells Hunter that it’s a shame he feels that way, but it might be worth it to eviscerate Rollins.  Rollins yells at Kane about subordination but Hunter tells him to shut up.  Hunter tells Kane that he needs to tell him whether he could do this or if they need to amicably part ways.  Kane doesn’t respond, and Hunter assumes that means Kane doesn’t want to split.

Hunter says he needs to know if they are all on the same page, so he sets up matches with all four Payback main event participants.  Hunter books Kane vs. Roman Reigns, then Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton.  Jamie Noble gets the mic and protests the booking.  He says that Seth Rollins is the man around here.

Hunter glares at him and says “Oh, I’m sorry, were you two still here?”  He says that there is another guy in the fatal four way that needs competition tonight, and he needs it now.  Hunter makes fun of J&J’s height, then says they will face Dean Ambrose, next. Hunter tells Kane and Rollins to go with him and they make their exit.

Kinda surprised they ran Ambrose out there right off the bat.  Hunter’s return didn’t seem like a big deal since he was just around a couple weeks ago hyping Tough Enough.

Dean Ambrose’s music hits and Cincy comes unglued.  He makes his way to the ring, playing to the fans and walking smugly past Hunter, Rollins and Kane on the ramp.  He plays to the fans in the ring as we go to break.

Match #1 – Dean Ambrose vs. J&J Security

The bell rings as we come back.  Ambrose toys with both men to start, then clotheslines them to the floor.  Mercury pulls Ambrose’s arm over the rope and that gives J&J the momentary advantage.  Ambrose comes back with a bulldog but Mercury grabs his leg to stop it.

Ambrose hits a dive on the two of them at ringside.  In the end, Ambrose puts Noble away with Dirty Deeds for the win.

That was fun.  A nice treat for the hometown fans to see two men working, as Ambrose and Noble both have history working in Heartland Wrestling in the region.

Cole hypes up Daniel Bryan appearing to discuss the Intercontinental Championship and his health later.

This feels like a big deal, given Bryan’s  health concerns.

Match #2 – Dolph Ziggler vs. King Barrett

Sheamus is on commentary for this one.  As Ziggler comes out, Cole hypes the match between Sheamus and Ziggler at Payback.  Cole tells Sheamus that he owes Ziggler from the Kiss Me Arse match at Payback, and Sheamus says that he was never planning to go through with it.

Barrett cuts a promo as he comes to the ring.  He says that a “common peasant” Neville has tried to rise up against the king.  He says that gravity may have forgotten Neville, but he will bring him to earth with a royal bull hammer at Payback.  He tells Ziggler that he will make Ziggler a royal ass kisser. Barrett calls for the bell.

Ziggler pops Barrett right off the go with a superkick, then hits a drop kick as we go to break.  Back live, Barrett covers for a two count.  Ziggler hits a Fameasser for a two count.   Ziggler tries for a superkick again, but Barrett catches him and tries to load Wasteland.

Ziggler counters out.  Barrett cues up the Bull Hammer but Ziggler ducks.  He goes for a roll up but Barrett kicks out. Sheamus gets up from the announce position and gets on the apron.  Ziggler runs Barrett to the post then tries to superkick Sheamus.  Ziggler turns around into a Bull Hammer and Barrett gets the win.

Afterward, Sheamus gets in the ring and pie faces Ziggler around.  He tells Ziggler he’s not fit to clean his shoes, and that gets Ziggler pissed.  He rains in hands on Sheamus, but as they get up Sheamus delivers the Brogue Kick.  He poses over Ziggler and yells “Are you not entertained?”

They did a decent job here of putting heat on Sheamus and Barrett as they go into the matches with Neville and Ziggler on Sunday.  A Neville appearance would have helped a little, but perhaps they have a plan for later.

Cole hypes the matches with Reigns vs. Kane and Orton vs. Rollins for later in the show.

Coming out of break, they show a storyboard hyping the entries for Tough Enough.  Booker T says he is excited to be a coach.

Luke Harper’s music plays, and he makes his way out to the ring, with Erick Rowan.   They roll highlights from Smackdown where Harper and Rowan both attacked Fandango, posing that they’re back together and it might be the most fearsome duo since Hanson and Brody.

Match #3 – Fandango vs. Erick Rowan (w/Luke Harper)

JBL says that there are people in the crowd doing the Ickey Shuffle (for former Cincy running back Ickey Woods).  This doesn’t last long, with Fandango getting a couple early shots in but Rowan puts him away with his finisher.  Harper and Rowan get in the ring afterward to splash Fandango then Harper hits a big clothesline.  “The brothers are back together,” Booker says.  Cole puts over how dangerous this is for the locker room.

This is instantly better than these two men’s single runs.  They never should have broken this duo up, at all. 

Cole hypes that the John Cena US Championship Open is up next.

They recap John Cena vs. Sami Zayn from last week, emphasizing how game Zayn was in the match.  John Cena makes his entrance to a mixed reaction from Cincy.  Cole hypes the I Quit match between Cena and Rusev on Sunday at Payback.

He says it’s different than last week and there might be some Cena fans in the house.  He says there are also some folks who are not John Cena fans too.  He says regardless of who people like, there’s one thing that all can appreciate and holds up the US Title belt.  That draws “USA” chants.

He says he believes the US is the greatest country on earth, and “this right here is its trophy.”  He says ever since he has the title, he has been renewed with passion and purpose.  He says the fans have given it life.  He talks about the WWE Championship and calls it “so guarded and protected.”  He says there are superstars who will work their entire careers and never get a shot at that championship.

He says the US Title is one he believes in.  He calls it a symbol of excellence, sportsmanship, and opportunity.  He says every week he gives someone a chance to make history.  He says regardless if you’re a WWE star, a member of the Authority, or “like last week, an NXT guy,” everyone has a shot.

He talks about Rusev and the “I Quit” match.  He says that Rusev has vowed to confront him in the ring and tell him how he will make Cena say he quits.  Cena says he has been advised to cancel the challenge.  The fans boo a little bit, but Cena says this is a democracy and asks if they want a match.  They cheer, and Cena says it sounds like Cincy is the place to be, and Cena is still the man to beat.  “You want some, come get some.”

Neville answers the bell for the challenge to a pretty nice reaction.  Cole says that he has really taken over now that he is on the Raw roster.  JBL recounts that Neville was the longest reigning NXT Champion and the only man to hold both the NXT tag championship and NXT championship at the same time.

Match #4 – John Cena (c) vs. Neville; WWE United States Championship

Eden gives us the ring introductions.  JBL credits Cena for putting the belt up just before the pay per view.  The two men tie up as Cole debates that the odds might catch up with Cena eventually.  JBL says that “win or lose, the I Quit match will still happen at Payback.”  Dueling chants get going in full throat.  Neville hits a suplex into an arm bar in the early going.  Neville hits Cena with a thrust kick and Cena goes to ringside to regroup.

Back live, Cole says Neville gave Cena all he can handle.  Cena hits his trademark shoulder blocks, but Neville comes back with a German suplex.  Cena rolls out for a regroup, but Neville hits him with a baseball slide kick.  Neville hits Cena with a springboard dive, and both men sell on the floor.  Back in the ring, Neville covers for two.

Neville goes back up toward the corner but Cena catches him.  Side slam, and Neville can’t see the Five Knuckle.  Cena waits to load the AA and does, but too close to the ropes.  Neville boots Cena in the face on a charge then goes up for the Red Arrow.  He hits, but Cena kicks out in a good near fall.

Good near fall, but UGHHH!!! Not a good place for that.

They start exchanging strikes.  Cena hits a driver for another good near fall.  Cena loads the AA but Neville counters out with a crucifix pinfall for two.  Neville floats over a corner charge then backflips across the ring.  He tries a second rope cross body, but Cena rolls it through and loads the AA.

Neville lands on his feet out of the AA and hits Cena with a leg lariat for two.  Neville positions Cena for the Red Arrow, but Cena counters and locks on the STF.  Neville rolls Cena over for a two count.  Cena comes back with a stiff clothesline that turns Neville inside out.

Cena charges but Neville side steps.  Neville hits a kick but Cena lands the AA for a good near fall that the fans react to.   Both men sell.  Neville pulls himself toward the corner as Cena gets to his feet.  Dueling chants try to get going again.

On the ropes, Cena loads the AA but Neville slips out.  Neville slips down and carries Cena out for a powerbomb for a two count.  Neville goes back up top for the Red Arrow a third time.  He hits it perfectly, but Rusev hits the ring and attacks Neville and tosses him to ringside.  Rusev stares at Cena.

Cena weakly gets to his feet where he’s greeted with a thrust kick.  Rusev stomps on Cena’s back and locks on the Accolade.  Officials try to break it up but Rusev won’t let go.  Cena fades out as the fans chant that they want Lana.  That makes Rusev go nuts.  He grabs the title belt and poses over Cena as the Russian flag fall.

The announcers recap the finishing sequence of the match and ask if Rusev’s Accolade can make Cena say he quits.  Rusev jaws at Cena after the highlights are over.  Cole continues to hype how JBL and Booker know how tough Cena is and asks if Rusev can make Cena quit.  They move on to hype the WWE Network.

This was a good match, but it got on my nerves to see so many finishers kicked out of.  I gave it a pass last week if you listened to Ring Rap Audio, because it helped tell the story of the match.  This time, it was unnecessary and really came off flat.  The crowd didn’t even react all that strongly to it.  That aside, a quality match.  They got some heat on Rusev too in the process.  I am hoping that, no matter who wins the title on Sunday, they continue to defend the title as they are because it feels like a big deal.

Match #5 – Kane vs. Roman Reigns

Kane makes his way to the ring, looking all business.  Cole resets how Triple H questioned if Kane would continue to be director of operations.  Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring through the crowd.  Kane greets him at the barrier and takes the fight to Reigns with punches and shots to the midsection.

Kane drives Reigns into the ring post, then keeps firing away with shots.  He rams Reigns face first into the steps then tosses him in the ring.  Reigns lands a punch and starts to fire back, but Kane again drives him to the apron, then off the barrier repeatedly.  He throws Reigns over the steps then follows with a big boot.  This isn’t a match, folks.

Kane tears the announce position apart.  Reigns starts to fight back, countering Kane trying to whip him to the steps by jumping over.  Reigns tries to land a Superman punch, but Kane goozles him.  Reigns counters the chokeslam and hits a Superman punch.  Reigns spears Kane across the announce position and poses on the table.  Kane is motionless at the feet of the announce position.

Booker mentions that Reigns was truly the leader of the Shield.  Cole sets up a recap of how this all went down.  Reigns looks down at Kane and shakes his head.

This was more angle than match, obviously.  Kane came off looking determined to please Triple H, and it made Reigns look strong to fight back and overcome.

Cole hypes that we will hear from Daniel Bryan, and he will address his health and the Intercontinental Championship later.

There are times where the announce team lays it on really thick, but this time it’s hard to tell what’s going on here.

They recap the attack by Naomi and Tamina Snuka on the Bellas last Monday.

Match #6 – Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) vs. Tamina Snuka (w/Naomi)

In the picture in picture promo, Naomi says that she would be Divas champion had it not been for Brie.  Tamina says that Payback comes early, tonight.

Tamina starts off quickly with power.  The announcers chat about how the Bellas have been served notice with the new pairing between Tamina and Naomi.  Tamina pulls Brie off the ropes and Brie lands on her feet.   Brie lands some shots but takes a clothesline.

Brie starts on a run, hitting a missile drop kick then her running knee against the ropes.  Brie tries it a second time, but Tamina turns her inside out with a superkick.  Tamina escapes as Brie tends to her sister in the ring.  The announcers recap it quickly.

This was what it was, and not terrible, but the backing story is horrible.  The Bella Twins are faces without a turn, and you have the heel Naomi cutting promos that make sense about the twins getting a taste of their own medicine.  Weird.

Cole hypes the main event of Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins for later.

These guys do good work, really.  But this match feels over exposed already.  It was my fear of Cena vs. Rollins, and now we’re getting there with Rollins vs. Orton.

Curtis Axel is in the ring.  They set up a highlight clip where they show Curtis Axel and Damien “Macho Mandow” Sandow exchanging words backstage.

Match #7 – Curtis Axel vs. Damien “Macho Mandow” Sandow:

They play Macho Man’s theme and here comes Sandow, dressed like the Macho Man.  He poses on the ropes and the fans seem kinda into this.  Axel rips off his shirt like Hulk.  They exchange some early offense, but they’re interrupted by The Ascension’s music.

They come out and make fun of the pair, saying they’re two nobodies imitating a couple of relics.  Odd, given they’re Road Warrior knockoffs.  They say “Welcome to the wasteland” and charge the ring.  Sandow clears out Connor, then attacks Viktor.  They get him down, and Axel hits the leg drop a la Hulk Hogan.  Sandow sets up for the top rope elbow, but they clear.

In the ring, Sandow and Axel tease a handshake like the Mega Powers did back in the day, and eventually shake hands.  Cole says “that was a thing.”

Yes, it was a thing.  Some dumb stuff was said there by the announcers, and I didn’t cover it here.  It was a segment, and I guess it’s setting up Mega Powers vs. Ascension somewhere.

Cole hypes that there has been a lot of speculation about Daniel Bryan and his health.  He is up next to address that situation.

Back live, Cole hypes Tough Enough and feeds it into a series of submitted videos.

In-Ring Segment:

Daniel Bryan’s music hits, and he’s in street clothes.  A smile as he leads “yes” chants to ringside.    Booker says the last time we saw this it wasn’t good news.  Cole recounts Bryan’s win at Wrestlemania.  Hard to tell by the face as he waits out “Daniel Bryan” chants.

“So, last couple of weeks I’ve been in and out of doctor’s appointments, and other than that I’ve had a lot of down time.”  He says he needs to be where there’s action, excitement, and energy.  He waits out a “yes” chant.  He says he needed to be standing back behind the curtain and waiting for his music, to be a part of the reaction he got.

He asks how long the fans have been treating him like he’s something special.  He says that the fans have treated him better than “anyone in the back” has.  He says that’s why it was so crushing to him, almost a year ago, when Stephanie came out and stripped him of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  He says he felt like he let the fans down because they gave him that chance.  “They weren’t going to give me that opportunity, you guys gave me that opportunity.”

But the hard thing he admits is that Stephanie was right to do it, because no one knew how long he would be out nor knew if he could defend the championship.  He says the fans deserve a fighting champion, and that’s why he asked to come out tonight.  The fans chant “no.”

Bryan says that he had an MRI last week and the results show that there’s no sign of when he will be back.  “Maybe weeks, maybe months…they say I may never be able to wrestle again.”  But, despite the uncertainty in his career he says he knows what need to happen with the Intercontinental Championship.

He tells the fans they deserve to have men like Barrett, Ziggler, and Dean Ambrose fighting for the title.  He says it should not be sitting on a therapist’s chair, it should be in the ring, and in the ring is where he will leave it.  He says he relinquishes the IC title.  The fans chant “Thank you Daniel.”

He tells the fans they have it wrong, and for all they have done for him he has one thing left to say.  “Thank you.”  He lays the belt and the mic down and exits the ring.  The fans chant “thank you, Daniel” as he leaves the ring.  He stops at the stage and leads a “Yes” chant as his music plays, then exits to the back.

Wow.  I wasn’t having a good feeling in terms of how there was such a lack of medical report on Bryan.  Now it seems like we might not be seeing Bryan for an extended period of time.  I had hopes that Bryan would be the guy to give prestige to the Intercontinental Championship, but of course his health is first and foremost.  Best wishes to Bryan in his recovery, whether or not he comes back to the ring.

The announcers talk in somber tones about the segment that we just saw.  JBL says he can relate, and says he would rather see Bryan competing than in a flannel shirt.

New Day comes out.  They tell the fans to not dwell on the negativity.  “Daniel Bryan is gone, so now it’s time to embrace the positivity.”  They try to get a New Day Rocks chant going, but got “New Day Sucks” instead.   Once in the ring, Kofi says that the fans will someday get the chant right.

He says they’re all about giving opportunities and second chances.  Big E says the only exception is Pete Rose, and they make fun of his gambling situation.  New Day says they will give Kidd and Cesaro a second chance in a two out of three falls match at Payback.  “That’s Authority approved.”  Woods tries to start the “New Day Rocks” chant again, but got the usual result.  Kidd and Cesaro’s music hits and they come out for the next match.

Match #8 – Cesaro (w/Tyson Kidd and Natalya) vs. Big E (w/Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston)

Big E starts off with shots to the midsection then throws Cesaro off the ropes.  Cesaro catches him and slams him then stomps on his chest.  The announcers take shots at the NFL about the #DeflateGate situation with the New England Patriots.  Cesaro splashes E for two, then stomps away on him in the corner in rhythm of “New Day Sucks.”  Big E tumbles to ringside as we go to break.

Cesaro mounts a comeback, hitting two German suplexes then a belly to belly.  He goes on his run of uppercuts off the whip, then hits a spinebuster.  Cesaro sets up the swing, but Xavier Woods gets on the apron to distract him.  Kidd takes Woods off the apron then kicks him.  Kofi trips Kidd up.

In the ring, Big E sets a move up but Cesaro counters with a crucifix style cradle to get the win.  New Day rants from the ring as Kidd and Cesaro pose on the ramp.

Cole hypes the return of Elimination Chamber, which will take place on May 31 in Corpus Christi, TX.  This event is exclusive to WWE Network, and will not be on pay per view as I understand it.  They also hype Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow vs. The Ascension for the Payback pre-show.

I like the “network exclusive” event as an incentive to get people to tune in to WWE Network.  Though I am not thrilled about covering a second live pay per view event this month…

Cole hypes up Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins for the main event as we go to break.

Back live, Cole hypes Roman Reigns vs. Kane on Smackdown, and there must be a winner by pin or submission.

The Prime Time Players do a pre-taped imitation of the New Age Outlaws.  They mock their entrance gimmick and proclaim themselves to be the next tag team champions of the world.  Young teases the Ass Man line but Titus stops him and says it’s a PG show.  They did the Millions of Dollars dance to end it.

Ugh.  So we’ve seen the Mega Powers, the Road Warriors, and the New Age Outlaws in mock form this evening.  Sad.

In-Ring Segment:

Wyatt sounder.  Bray Wyatt’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring for a promo.  He’s greeted by cellphone lights as he comes out to the ring.

Wyatt says he feels sorry for the fans and wishes he could wake them up from the nightmare but he can’t.  He says fear has engulfed the world.  He says it’s not hard to find and all one has to do is open a news paper or turn on a television.  Yet, there are still those who refuse to accept the power of fear.  He says some have accepted the man’s way that if you work hard enough you can overcome the odds. ‘Ryback must be an inspiration to all of you.”

He recounts how Ryback shattered his ankle and the doctor told him that he might not be able to wrestle again.  Wyatt laughs.  Ryback did not accept that fate lying down and fought through the injury to do what he loves once again.  “My hero.  But then along came the spider.”

Wyatt says Ryback hasn’t seen anything like him before.  He says he’s sure that Ryback is asking himself “why me.”  The answer is simple – “He was in my way.”  Wyatt says, “hey kids, want to hear something your parents will never tell you?  These nightmares won’t stop and sometimes, the bad guy just wins.”

Ryback’s music hits and he heads to the ring with purpose.  Ryback slides in and Wyatt jumps him, but Ryback comes back with a spinebuster.  Ryback hits the Meathook and Wyatt slides out.  Ryback leads a “Feed me more” chant as Wyatt sells on the ramp.

I think Ryback beating up Wyatt took an edge off his promo.  I would rather have seen Wyatt duck out before Ryback could lay a hand on him.

Cole gives us some final sell for the main event, up next.  Randy Orton takes on Seth Rollins, next.

Match #9 – Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

Orton gets a good reaction for his entrance.  JBL bellyaches about how unfair the title match is to Seth Rollins on Sunday.  Cole says J&J isn’t with Rollins because they’re still spinning from their match with Dean Ambrose earlier.

Early tie up leads into a shoulder block to knock Orton down.  Off the ropes, Orton clocks Rollins with an uppercut to knock him down.  Rollins starts landing shots on Orton, then whips him across.  Orton yanks him down by his hair then sends him to the corner on a whip.  Orton takes Rollins down mid ring and the fans build.  Orton lands some stomps on Rollins.

Orton tries a knee drop, but Rollins rolls out of the way.  That lets him take control of the offense while the announcers bicker over Rollins’ run as champion and Orton being excommunicated from the Authority.  Going into break, Rollins lands a knee to Orton’s back, sending him to the floor.

Back live, Rollins controls the offense on Orton.  Rollins charges Orton in the corner, but Orton flips him over to the apron.  Rollins goes up top,  but Orton crotches him.  Rollins sells as Orton eyes him up.  Orton joins Rollins on the ropes and hits a superplex.  Both men sell.

On their knees, the two men exchange strikes as they get to their feet.

Orton starts some offense.  Rollins counters the sidewinder back breaker by flipping over on his feet.  He flips Orton to the apron then hits an enzugiri.  He hits Orton with a dive to ringside.  Rollins feeds Orton back in then eyes up Orton for the next move.  Rollins tries a splash but Orton sidesteps it.  Orton teases the RKO but Rollins counters with a roll-up.  Rollins comes back with a superkick on a kneeling Orton for two.

Rollins mocks Orton hearing voices then loads a piledriver attempt.  Orton flips him over then sets up and hits the elevated DDT.  Now Orton’s hearing voices as Cincy wakes up.  Orton teases the RKO but here comes J&J to break things up.  The match ends in a DQ.

Noble and Mercury put the boots to Orton.  Orton fights back, throwing Noble into the ring post then taking out Mercury.  Rollins hits a big shot to Orton’s face.  He collects Security up, but Kane’s music hits.  Kane heads to ringside with purpose.

He grabs a chair but stands down.  J&J and Rollins start beating up Orton, but here comes Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns to make the numbers even.  They dispose of security.  Ambrose hits Rollins with Dirty Deeds as Kane watches on.

Ambrose picks Rollins up and Reigns hits him with a spear.  Kane remains at ringside, watching on.  Reigns and Ambrose pick Rollins up for Orton, and Orton blasts him with the RKO.  Reigns blasts Orton with a spear, and Ambrose hits Reigns with Dirty Deeds.  Kane remains stoic at ringside.  “No friends on Sunday” screams Cole.  He asks if Rollins can remain champion, then moves on to sell Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens from NXT Rival, coming up on the WWE Network.  Ambrose plays to the hometown fans as the show goes off the air.

I hate to say this, because the match quality is good, but Orton vs. Rollins has been overexposed.  This match was fine, but you could tell the live crowd was either burned out or just content to watch rather than react.  They did get up for spots toward the end, especially those involving Ambrose and Reigns once they hit the ring as well.  They loved their hometown boy, Ambrose, especially.

The three faces exchanging finishers was pretty routine for a closing segment going into the match.  The fans popped for it, but it lacked that big feel.  Also, the drama surrounding Kane was just sort of “there” for me.  Last month they played the “which side is Kane on” game, and that payoff lacked muster.  So this doesn’t do much for me either.

All of that said, this was newsworthy.  The return of Elimination Chamber and the vacation of the Intercontinental Championship due to Daniel Bryan’s injury situation were both newsworthy moments.  A little concerned that the turnaround into Elimination Chamber might make it a bit of a dud, but it is a good sell for WWE Network.  My only other problem with it is that at what point do you over-expose your product and main players so much that people burn out on it?  Fine line to walk.

Drew and I will be by tomorrow night to record Ring Rap Audio where we’ll predict Payback, look at Raw and discuss other news in pro wrestling.  Give us your feedback and talking points by posting below, hitting us up on Twitter @RingRap, or posting to our Facebook page.  Thanks for following along tonight.

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WWE Monday Night Raw Live Report for 5/4/2015 – Payback Hype Continues, Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns Hype, John Cena’s Open Challenge, More

The short turnaround into the Payback pay per view continues, with only two weeks left to the show.  We know now that Seth Rollins will be forced to defend his title against both Randy Orton and Roman Reigns on that night.  How will Rollins try to get a leg up on this situation?  Will The Authority try to overturn the vote of the fans?  And will Kane do something to affect the outcome?  Also, John Cena and Rusev get set for the “I Quit” match they’ll have at the pay per view.  How will Rusev counter the man who never gives up?  WWE looks to set up the rest of the card, including their new “King of the Ring” Bad News Barrett.

Show Open, Live from the Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada:

Bill’s warning: Been a stressful seven days.  This might be more “Mystery Science Theater 3ooo” than Raw.  Let’s have fun.

Live in the arena, we hear voices.  Randy Orton comes to the ring more animated than I’ve seen him in a long time as he plays to the crowd.  Cole reminds us that Kane put it up to a vote as to who Seth Rollins would face at Payback, the fans picked a triple threat with Orton and Reigns both challenging Rollins.  Cole reminds us that Rollins doesn’t have to be involved in the finish to lose the belt.  Cole gives us the hashtag #Payback for social media.  How about #RingRap?

Orton proposes that Payback is a fitting name for a pay per view and he will get payback on Rollins in two weeks.  Orton recounts the fans getting the choice for the main event.  “Which added Roman Reigns to the fold…” Orton says to boos.  He says that Reigns will experience bitter disappointment because Orton will walk out the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.  “And there’s not a thing Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins can do about it.”

Cue Roman Reigns to boos.  Canada isn’t a fan.  It’s Bizzaro World anyhow.  The announcers recap how close Reigns was to winning at Mania and his win at Extreme Rules over Big Show.   Reigns tells Orton ‘It’s not going down like that’ and if anyone gets payback on Rollins it’s going to be him.  Heavy “RKO” chants.  Reigns tells Orton that the fans don’t fight for him either.

Orton asks Reigns if he thinks Orton will just stand by and watch him take out Seth Rollins.   Reigns tells Orton he doesn’t care what he does, but if Orton comes near him “you won’t be standing.”  Ooooh.  Orton runs down his credentials, saying he has been a 12-time champion and been in 12 straight Wrestlemanias.  He asks about Reigns’ credentials and says “You got some catching up to do, kid, sorry.”

Reigns reminds Orton that Reigns won at SummerSlam.  He tells Orton he wants his payback on Rollins but won’t mind breaking him in half and pinning him for the title 1-2-3 if he has to.  The two of them jaw off mic.

New Day’s music hits for God knows why.  Xavier Woods says the negativity has to stop.  Canada tells them they suck.  “Considering the fact that we’re the only champions out here right now, we must spread the power of positivity.”  Woods tells them that they’re tired of hearing the two talking about Seth Rollins and no one cares about their “Montreal Boo Hoo Job.”  Admittedly, funny.  Woods tells them it’s a new day, and Canada adds the “Sucks” for us.

Kofi tells them they know they squandered away their opportunities.  He waits out a “New Day Sucks” chant and says everyone knows New Day Rocks.  Not really.  Big E tells Reigns that he has never won the big one, and not only does Rollins have Orton’s number, but he has it on speed dial.  He says they have a chance to do something extraordinary by clapping along.  They clap, the fans tell them they suck, and Orton and Reigns stand there and do nothing.

Woods tells them in a rhyming fashion that Kane has set up a match between the three of them against Reigns and Orton.  Cole and the other announcers hype that this match will happen after the break.

I like that they’re doing this to start off the show rather than the main event.  New Day isn’t a main event act any way you slice it.  The bickering between Orton and Reigns works in the context of the title match at Payback, but they are going to hurt Reigns by putting him in this match against Orton, who is really popular right now.

Match #1 – New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. Roman Reigns and Randy Orton; 3 on 2 Match

Match joined in progress.  Reigns takes Woods down with a shoulder block then hits him with a Samoan drop.  Reigns tags in Orton, who hits a suplex and covers.  Orton stomps away on Woods and teases him about not being able to tag out.  Tag to Reigns, who uses a snapmare takedown then a big kick.  The announcers talk about the triple threat title match.  Reigns and Orton working well as a tag team with frequent tags to continue to work over Woods.

Kofi distracts Orton and Woods tags out to Big E.  He lifts weights for breakfast, according to Booker T.  The New Day gets the advantage with frequent tags and numbers game distractions.  The New Day controls the offense on Orton going into the break.

New Day continues to control the action out of break, this time on Reigns.  Kofi hits a drop kick for two on Reigns, then tags in Big E.  Big E tries to get a clap going but it baits Canada into a “New Day sucks” chant.  E hits a suplex then taunts Reigns.  He hits a second belly to belly for two.  Woods drops an elbow off the tag for two.

Reigns starts to fire back on Woods, but takes a neckbreaker for two.  The New Day keeps working the quick tags.  Canada chants for CM Punk.  The fans want Orton in the match now as Reigns continues to sell for the New Day.  Reigns tosses Woods off, then hits a big clothesline.  Both men sell.

Hot tag,  and Orton unleashes clotheslines.  Kingston catches Orton but off the ropes Orton hits his powerslam.  Big E breaks the tag up, but takes a Superman punch from Reigns.  Orton throws Woods out, then hits the elevated DDT on Kingston.  Orton’s hearing voices.

Woods takes an RKO when he hits the ring.  Kingston gets to his feet, and Reigns goes for the spear.  Kofi moves and Orton gets the spear.  Kingston covers as Woods drags Reigns from the ring.  New Day wins.  So they don’t suck!  The announcers sell it as a big win as Reigns sulks.  Orton sells the spear.

Kane comes out and tells them that there’s no shame in losing to the tag team champions.  “If you left the building right now you could do it with your heads held high.  But your night isn’t over.”  Kane says he wants to exploit the building distrust between Reigns and Orton.  He books Orton vs. Reigns for the main event “because that’s what’s best for business.”  JBL loves it, and Cole recaps the comments between Reigns and Orton.

Backstage, Kane walks past a celebrating New Day and essentially blows them off.  He approaches Seth Rollins.  Rollins says that it’s funny to him that he thinks that will make a difference.  He says Kane is acting like the spoiled little kid trying to shape up before Santa shows up.  He tells Kane to wait until his mother…err..the Authority shows up to punish him.

Kane says he’s not a Santa kind of guy, and used to sit in the chimney with a blowtorch trying to roast his chestnuts.  He talks about how the main event of Smackdown (Dean Ambrose vs. Rollins) was marred by outside interference.  Kane books Rollins vs. Ambrose again, and this time he bans J&J from ringside.  Rollins tells Kane that he was the cause of the interference.

Kane says that he made the matches he did as “best for business.”  He throws out stipulations like ankles tied together, tying Rollins to the post, or one hand behind his back.  He tells Rollins that he’s one word away from a different main event.  Rollins storms off.

Rollins could have picked any of those stipulations rather than the lame cage match they did for Extreme Rules.

In-Ring Segment:

Renee Young is looking cute as a button in the ring.  She calls out Ryback for an interview.  They recap Bray Wyatt ambushing Ryback last week on Raw.  Ryback says that Montreal sounds hungry and they chant “Feed me more.”

Ryback says he has no idea why Ryback attacked him.  The fans chant “Goldberg” and he waits it out, then says he loves them too.  That turns into a “feed me more” chant.

Ryback addresses his serious injuries, and being told he would not wrestle again.  He says he has had to face fear his entire life.  He says Wyatt doesn’t scare him, and never will. “You woke me up and I’m starving. Talking time is done, it’s feeding time.”

Wyatt cut-in.  “This human world creates human monsters.”  Wyatt tells him that Ryback is a scared little boy, scared to have his failures exposed.  Wyatt says that fear molds us all – fear of the dark, fear of the unknown.  Wyatt says he will tell Ryback a secret – everything he loves, everything he is afraid to lose, will all fade away.  “And in time, friend, so will you.  Run.”

Match #2 – Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya) vs. The Ascension

I don’t care what anyone says, “Rebellion” (the song that welcomes the Ascension to the ring) is pretty badass.  The announcers noted that Cesaro was tweeting derogatory comments during the New Day match.  Picture in picture promo from Ascension says that Kidd being married to a Hart doesn’t make him a part of the Hart dynasty.

The Ascension starts off fast, stomping away on Kidd and working fast tags. Viktor slams Kidd and drops a knee, covering for one.  A bit later, a big suplex from Connor, then a tag out to Viktor.  Viktor covers but Cesaro breaks up the pinfall.

Connor tries an elbow drop but Kidd rolls away.  Kidd gets the hot tag to Cesaro, who hits a big boot then a series of big uppercuts in the opposing corners, then a big clothesline for the cover and a two count.  Incredible run, and Canada loves it.  He calls for the swing, but Connor hits the ring.  Cesaro clotheslines him out.  Kidd hits a plancha dive.

Cesaro hits a spinebuster then loads the swing.  Kidd waits for his moment and hits the drop kick for the victory.  Cesaro and Kidd pose, as does Natalya, as the announcers run through highlights.

I would have guessed that they would have squashed the Ascension since Kidd and Natalya are home in Canada.  They didn’t go there – they made the Ascension look good with a strong start and giving them solid offense.  Not the worst effort from the Ascension.

Backstage, Rollins is walking down a hall.  Renee Young asks for his reaction.  Rollins says there’s no point to having it, and Kane is a moron.  Guess that’s all there is to that.  Commercial.

Out of break, they recap the Smackdown match between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.  Kane got involved.  It was a mess.

Match #3 – Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins; J&J Security Banned from Ringside

Ambrose gets a nice reaction from Montreal.  Cole reminds us that this has been going on since last year when Seth turned on the Shield.  They shill some sponsors as Seth Rollins gets ready to come to the ring.  He gets booed pretty hard according to my TV.

After Rollins makes his entrance, here comes Kane.  Kane says he wants Seth to know that he has taken his sentiment to heart.  He quotes Rollins saying that there was no point, and says he needs to rectify that. He says if Ambrose wins, he gets a chance at the title as he will be added to the Payback main event, making it a fatal four way.

Rollins rants, saying that the fans voted for a triple threat.  Ambrose grabs the mic and asks if they have a problem with him being added.  The fans cheer, so they don’t have a problem.  Rollins grabs the mic back and says that he doesn’t need to listen to the fans, or to Kane.  He says he is the WWE Champion and he doesn’t have to listen to anyone, especially in Canada because they don’t matter.  Kane tells Rollins he is overruling Rollins and the match and stipulation are on.  “Now ring the bell.”

Ambrose rolls up Rollins right out of the gate for a fast two count.  The fight spills to the floor.  Rollins hammers on Ambrose at ringside then tries to throw him in.  Ambrose spins out and hits a big clothesline.  The fight moves back in the ring, with Ambrose knocking Rollins down then dropping an elbow for two.

The two men trade offense back and forth.  Rollins takes control of the match for the next few moments.  Ambrose back drops Rollins to ringside after a kick as we go into commercial.

Back live, Rollins locks on a chin lock as Cole resets the stakes of this one.  Ambrose fires back and throws Rollins with an armdrag but walks right into Rollins offense.  Rollins sets up a springboard move, but Ambrose ducks then hits a tornado DDT of his own.

On their feet the two fight back and forth with strikes, with Ambrose getting the better of it.  Corner splash into a corner bulldog, then Ambrose heads to the corner.  He goes up top and Rollins ducks out of the ring, but Ambrose comes back right away with a suicide dive to ringside.  Canada chants Holy Shit, but let’s be honest, that’s an over-used spot.

In the ring, Ambrose tries his rebound clothesline but Rollins ducks.  Rollins tries a spin kick but Ambrose ducks and takes down Rollins for a near fall.  Ambrose sets up Dirty Deeds but Rollins counters.  Rollins teases a piledriver but Ambrose backdrops him out.  Rollins nearly lands on his feet and charges the corner, but Ambrose moves.  He jumps up top and hits his elbow on a standing Rollins for two.

Ole chants and Ambrose plays in.  Rollins hits him with a springboard knee for a good near fall.  Rollins yells at Ambrose to stay down as he tries to get to his feet.  Rollins jaws then gets slapped.  Rollins hits a superkick on a kneeling Ambrose for a good near fall.  Rollins argues with the official.

Rollins sets up a powerbomb that Ambrose counters and they exchange strikes.  Ambrose charges and sends both men to the floor on a clothesline over the ropes.  The fight spills outside.  Rollins throws Ambrose toward the ropes, but Ambrose counters with his spin.  Rollins ducks the clothesline but sets up the buckle bomb against the barrier.

Ambrose barely beats the count while Rollins is celebrating a win.  Celebrated too soon, Seth.  Rollins starts stomping away on Ambrose, then hits a corner charge.  Rollins hits a kick, but Ambrose hits his springboard clothesline.  Ambrose sets up Dirty Deeds but J&J Security charge the ring and try to get involved.  Mercury and Noble collide, and that lets Ambrose roll Rollins up for the win.  Ambrose escapes and celebrates up the ramp.  Rollins is pissed, JBL says that Kane has made a horrible mistake, and Ambrose celebrates.

This was fun to watch.  I am liking the addition of Ambrose in the title match too.  There’s some juice there, and now you have all three Shield members in the ring too.  This main event feels better all of the sudden now, more so than the triple threat ever would have.  At some point, they’ll go to the triple threat between the three guys from The Shield, but now’s not the time for it.

The announcers talk about the match and the implications of Ambrose’s win.  They also hype the Reigns vs. Orton main event.  They recap the earlier action with Reigns spearing Orton by accident in their match against New Day.

Back live, the announcers discuss the pay per view and the new title match.

Backstage, Rollins runs in and interrupts Kane who is on the phone.  He rants and yells about the match now being a fatal four way.  Kane tells him the fans made it a triple threat, and Rollins made it a four way when he lost.  He proposes adding more men to the match.  “Maybe seven is your lucky number.” Kane tells Rollins he knows he’s upset, but the adversity will make him the man and champion they all want him to be.  Kane says he has a plan, and Rollins mocks that idea.

Byron Saxton is with Lana.  Canada loves that.  He asks her how she likes getting such a positive reaction.  She doesn’t know what he’s talking about and she’s only here for the betterment of….Fandango?  Fandango tells her that she doesn’t need to be coy, because the feeling of the fans is euphoric.  He says he will show her.  Rusev enters, barks some words in Russian, and they leave.  He destroys…errr…faces Fandango next.

Match #4 – Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Fandango:

Fandango is dancing in the ring with almost no reaction from the fans.  Lana gets a huge pop when she comes out, but Rusev’s pimp hand is strong.  It’s all Rusev from the get-go, with the fans chanting “We want Lana.”

Fandango ducks a corner charge but Rusev tosses him out.  Rusev has something going on as the official tends to him.  Fandango gets Lana to dance with him momentarily, but Rusev sends her to the back after splashing Fandango from behind.

Fandango runs Rusev into the post twice, then back in the ring hits him with a drop kick.  He mounts for punches but Rusev throws him off.  Thrust kick, couple of stomps, then the Accolade, and this is over.  Cole puts over that Cena is the only one who has broken the hold.  Rusev poses and plays to the crowd as the announcers recap.

Will this teasing of a Lana face run be a set-up to get the title back to Rusev somehow?  I can’t see Lana being a face having a really long shelf life of any sort.

The announcers hype the main event, then say that they will be showing some of the Tough Enough entries, next.

Back live, they show some clips of a documentary that will air on ESPN.  Cole feeds it into hype for Tough Enough, and shows select video packages of various competitors.

Match #5 – R-Truth vs. Stardust

Stardust gets his entrance.  He cuts a promo, talking about how Truth cost him his place in King of the Ring.  He says he will get payback tonight and he knows how he will do it.

Truth gets the better of Stardust early, but gets hit with a front suplex.  They talk about how Truth planned to ban spiders.  They talk about a bag that Stardust brought to ringside and discuss what might be in it.  Stardust cartwheels then eyes the crowd as they chant “Cody.”  The announcers don’t give a shit about this match as they talk about anything BUT it.

Truth mounts a comeback, but the two men collide and they’re both down.  Stardust crawls toward the bag.  Truth fires up and hits clotheslines then a front suplex for two.  Truth eyes up the bag and goes to retrieve it.  Truth opens it and gets scared, which lets Stardust roll him up.  Turns out there were rubber spiders in the bag.  Truth runs away, and Stardust gathers up the rubber spiders.

So far, this is the stupidest finish by WWE in 2015.

The announcers hype John Cena’s open challenge for next, then the Roman Reigns documentary that will air on the WWE Network after Raw.  They feed it to a preview clip.

Back live, Cole hypes that the four men in the title match will be in the same ring to sign the contract for the Fatal Four Way match at Payback on Smackdown.

John Cena’s US Open Challenge:

Cena’s music hits and he comes out, to get serenaded by Montreal with “John Cena Sucks!” to his tune.  Cole puts him over as the polarizing US Champion.  In the ring, Cena simply holds the belt up, then as his music fades the sing-song goes on.  He looks disturbed by it, then teases speaking.

He says he quits.  That draws cheers.  He says those words have meaning now, and the fans break out into an Ole song.  Cena smiles and plays to them.  He says there are folks in Montreal who wish he would quit and give up.  That fires up some “Yes!” chants and a rousing ovation.

“But you know me.  You know that I have dealt with this type of adversity for years.”  He says that Montreal knows that despite the hostility, whether a critic or a supporter he never gives up.  He says that he will face Rusev in two weeks at Payback, and if he says he quits, he doesn’t deserve a rematch.  More Ole song.  He says making him say I quit is tougher than getting Montreal to stop singing, because he won’t quit.

He talks about the brutal nature of the match and how it will test a man’s will.  The fans chant for Sami Zayn I think.  He says this is passion and the fans say what they want because they’re passionate.  He says that’s the difference between him and Rusev, because Rusev just wants a title.  He says he fights for everything he believes in for the past ten years.

He says the fans are rowdy and outspoken and asks what they would say if they were backed against the wall.  They say no.  He points out some fans, and asks what they say.  He points a fan out wearing a Habs jersey (hockey jersey of a team that left town) and says that fan hasn’t given up on the team.  That leads to a “Go Habs Go” chant.

He says he lost track of time, and says it sounds like Montreal is the place to be.  He says John Cena is the man to beat, and the John Cena US Open Challenge starts now.  “You want some, come get some.”

Bret Hart’s music hits and he comes down to the ring to a thunderous ovation.   JBL runs down his various accomplishments.  Hart says he’s there to introduce a great wrestler, but he gets cut off by Heath Slater’s music.  He says “wait a minute.”  He says he will not let his moment to become US Champion get stepped on again, especially in Montreal.  They don’t like him much though.

He says in the US they refer to the fans as “les incompetants.”  “That means incompetent!  I can speak French.”  He talks about getting attacked by the RKO and by Rusev.  He says he’s getting tired of getting derailed.  Bret punches out Slater.  Bret goes on to introduce “the hometown boy” Sami Zayn!  He gets a huge reaction as he comes to the ring.

What a cool moment!  A great introduction of Zayn to the main roster fans, with Hart introducing him and the enthusiastic hometown fans.  Hopefully the match lives up.

Match #6 – John Cena (c) vs. Sami Zayn; WWE United States Championship

In progress, Zayn sends Cena to ringside.  He sets up a suicide dive, but Cena moves.  Zayn hits a springboard flip to light up the fans.  Cena hits a side slam and covers for one.  Cena controls Zayn with a headlock.    Cena hits another back suplex for two.

After the suplex, the referee calls for the doc and he checks on his shoulder.  Zayn stretches and rubs it a bit then he says he wants to go.  The two stalk each other, and Cena eventually backs Zayn back to the corner and fires shots in.  Cena sets up a run off the ropes but gets hit with a clothesline.  Zayn fires off right hands but Cena fires up his trademark moves.  Two shoulder blocks, side slam, and Zayn can’t see him.

Zayn counters the “you can’t see me” with a roll up. Zayn hits a cross body for two and Cena ducks to ringside to regroup.   Zayn doesn’t wait and hits a dive on Cena at ringside.   Back in the ring, Cena locks in the STF on Zayn.  Booker tells Zayn he needs to scramble before he taps.  Zayn makes it into the ropes.

Zayn catches Cena with a face plant then locks in the Koji Clutch.  Cena’s in trouble mid-ring.  Cena breaks the hold and tries to set up the AA, but Zayn counters with a German suplex for two.  Rusev is watching on backstage on a monitor.  Cena catches Zayn with a clothesline coming off the ropes.

Cena loads the AA, but Zayn nearly lands on his feet.  He pops up and both men hit clotheslines mid ring.  They both sell, with Cena rolling out as does Zayn.   Zayn through the corner hits the DDT on the mat out on the floor.  Back in the ring, Cena hits the AA and thinks he has 3 but he doesn’t.  Good near fall.

Zayn comes back with the Blue Thunder Bomb for a good near fall.  The announcers talk about how Zayn’s emotions are running high.  Strike exchange.  Cena hits his springboard stunner, then hits the AA to get the victory.  Cole puts over Zayn as being “game” for the challenge, as does JBL.  The official checks on Zayn, and he backs to a corner.  Cena offers a handshake, then lets Zayn play to his hometown fans.  Cena backs up the ramp and says “tough kid.”

Zayn plays to the fans briefly, then rolls out of the ring holding his shoulder.  The announcers talk about how Zayn has a shot to take the NXT title from Kevin Owens in two weeks at the next NXT special.  They shill the WWE Network and various upcoming shows.

The announcers gushed over the performance of Zayn, and Cena did a nice job of stepping aside to let Zayn have the moment and show how impressed he was with Zayn.  I would rather have seen them reset Zayn a bit and put him over as an underdog.  None the less, a cool moment and a memorable debut.  Let’s see how they follow it up.

They go back to the open of the show and the match between Reigns and Orton vs. New Day.  They focus on Reigns spearing Orton, and Kane booking the match for the main event – Reigns vs. Orton.

Backstage, Renee Young wants to get a word with Sami Zayn, but New Day walks in instead.  They ask why they would want to talk to Zayn when they won their match earlier in the night.  Kidd, Cesaro, and Natalya enter the picture.  Natalya says they won only because Reigns and Orton hate each other.  Kidd says that what he agrees with is that New Day sucks.  He leads a chant and New day exits.

The Bella Twins make their entrance.  They don’t even get to the ring before Naomi and Tamina jump them from behind and attack them.  They rough up both Bellas, then pick Brie up and hit her with a couple moves at ringside.

Naomi gets a mic and says that the Bella’s reign over the division is over.  “That’s what family is about.”  They walk away.  The announcers talk about how Tamina is a cousin to Naomi now by marriage.

Seems Naomi changed her look a little more.  The two look like a badass pairing, and I think I like it.

Rather than let the moment settle, they move right into the recap of the King of the Ring final where Barrett beat Neville.

“King Barrett” is introduced to the ring.  He cuts a promo on the way, talking about the birth of Princess Charlotte and the crowning of King Barrett.  Not that the Royal Family gives two damns about pro wrestling kings.  He says he plans to rule over WWE with an iron fist, and deliver the Bull Hammer.  He tells us to get used to these four words “all hail King Barrett.”  He will team with Sheamus, next.

Traditional heel King promo.  Nothing to get too excited over.

Match #7 – Neville and Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus and King Barrett

Sheamus’ entrance is concluding back from break.  Neville comes out first, then Dolph.  They show a promo from Ziggler, talking about how Barrett and Sheamus are being bullies.  Ziggler says he didn’t see Sheamus laughing after he dotted the eye.

Ziggler starts with Barrett, but swings at Sheamus.  That lets Barrett take over on the offense in the early going.  Barrett drapes Ziggler on the buckle then lands some shots.  He covers for two, then mocks Neville.  Ziggler comes back with a big DDT for a two count of his own.  Sheamus enters the ring, but Ziggler and Neville get him to stand down as Barrett sells at ringside.

Back live, Sheamus is controlling the offense.  Sheamus jaws at Ziggler and tells him how he means nothing, but Ziggler rewards him with a superkick.  Hot tags to both men.  Neville hits a huracanrana, then hits a big dive outside the ring on Barrett.  Springboard drop kick to Barrett then a standing moonsault nets two for Neville.  Neville tries a float over but gets caught with a kick to the gut.

Barrett tries the Bull Hammer, but Neville ducks and hits an enzugiri, followed with a German suplex for two.   Ziggler takes Sheamus to ringside, but Sheamus gets the better of him and dumps Ziggler to the time keeper’s area.  Neville has Barrett down and starts to set up the Red Arrow.  Sheamus intervenes, so Neville hits a kick.  The distraction is enough to allow Barrett to hit Neville with a Bull Hammer when Neville springboards in.  The heels celebrate.

Neville really came off like a star last week, especially with how the announcers supported him with how they raved over him.  He has an out this time, but he lost none the less.  Hoping for better for a really talented guy.

Cole hypes up the Roman Reigns special that will air on WWE Network after Raw.  Reigns makes his entrance for the main event.  Orton gets a pretty decent reaction as he comes out.

Can’t help but feel this is an angle, not a match.

Match #8 – Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton

Back live, Orton and Reigns get ready to go when Kane’s music hits.  Here comes Kane, Seth Rollins, and J&J Security to watch the proceedings.  Noble gets a mic and gets on the announce table.  He introduces himself as the special ring announcer, Mercury as the timekeeper, Kane as the “enforcer,” and “your future, everybody’s WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins.”  Rollins will be the commentator.

Orton and Reigns jaw at each other in the ring while Rollins says that Kane has a plan and he trusts him now.  Orton teases an early RKO but Reigns counters.  Strike exchange ensues as Cole talks about the fatal four way and how Rollins never pinned Brock Lesnar.  Rollins says the odds are against him and it’s unfair.

Reigns hits a Samoan drop as JBL asks if we want to see Buddy Rogers defend in a fatal four way.  “No, you want to see him one on one.”  Orton drops Reigns against the barrier, then the two exchange strikes.  Noble gets struck down and Rollins mutters “Jamie, I thought you were smarter than that.”

More strike exchanging goes on at ringside, then Mercury jaws at Orton.  Orton rolls in the ring only to take a clothesline from Reigns.  Rollins says he will prove how deserving he is when he wins at Payback.  He says he will do it by himself and he will do it without Kane, The Authority, and Triple H.  Cole brings up how Rollins didn’t get it done against Ambrose, and Rollins blames J&J and says they cost him the match.

Meanwhile in the ring, Orton sets Reigns up for a move at the apron but Reigns takes Orton down.  Reigns hits his apron kick on Orton then jaws at Rollins.  Reigns sets up for the Superman punch.  Orton slides aside of it then hits his scoop slam.  He hits the elevated DDT on Reigns, which wakes the crowd up a little.

Orton’s hearing voices.  He tries for the RKO but Reigns shoves him off and hits the Superman punch.  Reigns sets up a dive, but Kane hits him.  J&J, Kane, and Seth Rollins run to the other side and attack Orton.  Reigns hits a big dive on the group.  Rollins runs Reigns into the post then sets up an attack on Orton.

They roll Orton in, and it boils down into a 4 on 1 assault.  The fans want Ambrose, and they get him.  He charges the ring and helps take out J&J.  Reigns sends Kane to the floor.  Reigns hits Rollins with a big spear, then Orton hits Reigns with the RKO.  Ambrose hits Orton with Dirty Deeds as the rest of the men sell.  Ambrose plays to the fans as Cole sends it home and to the Roman Reigns special on WWE Network.

Reigns and Orton did alright, but because they came out early in the show and had the match they had (which was good) and the fact that this crowd started to peter out as most do after three hours of Raw, the reaction to their work here was down.  When Ambrose’s music hit they did get up for that, and it looked good when they chanted for him to appear and WWE delivered on it.

Overall, not a bad show.  Sami Zayn appearing was great and he got a superstar reaction from the hometown fans.  Bret Hart also got a huge pop and it was a nice unadvertised surprise for him to show up and put over Zayn like he did.  Ambrose being added to the main event of Payback adds some flavor, and Zayn and Cena had a good match.

Drew and I will be talking all things wrestling tomorrow night on Ring Rap Audio, and we’re looking for your thoughts and questions.  Hit us up on Twitter @RingRap, or post it to our Facebook page, and we’ll discuss what’s on your mind as well as what’s on ours.  Thanks for watching along tonight.

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WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage for 4/27/2015 – New Tag Champions, John Cena Prepares for One More Match with Rusev, Seth Rollins Gets By Randy Orton, More

It’s the night after Extreme Rules.  Seth Rollins got by Randy Orton last night, but he did so in controversial fashion by hitting Orton’s RKO to allow him to escape the cage.  How will Orton respond to this?  Is there a rematch in his future with Rollins?  Also, we saw last night on the pay per view that Rusev has gotten one more match at Payback with John Cena, this time in an “I quit” match.  Can Rusev make “Mr. Never Give Up” quit for the first time in a long time?  New tag champs were crowned, Nikki Bella retained her title, and Dean Ambrose got a measure of revenge on Luke Harper.

Show Open, Live from the Resch Center in Green Bay, WI:

We open with highlights of the King of the Ring tournament through the years, featuring Triple H, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Booker T, and others.  The tournament starts tonight with four matches.  Who will become King of the Ring?  They roll into the Raw intro, then go live inside the arena with full pyro.

Cole welcomes us in and says we’re about to brace ourselves for the fallout of Extreme Rules.  He shows a bracket with the matches involved to crown the King of the Ring.  Seth Rollins gets introduced to the ring, still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.  He gets a fair amount of heat as he heads out with Kane and J&J Security.  JBL says the future is now given that Rollins has beaten Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and now Randy Orton.  Cole narrates still shots of the main event.

Rollins has a mic as Green Bay boos him.  “Finally, last night Randy Orton learned what the entire WWE Universe has known for a very long time.”  Rollins says you cannot outsmart Seth Rollins.  He says he singlehandedly built and destroyed the most dominant faction in WWE History, The Shield.   He says he cashed in his MITB contract at the most opportune time to beat both Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

He says last night he proved what kind of champion he is – a fighting and valiant champion.  He says Orton thought he had Rollins where he wanted him, but Rollins had Orton where he wanted him.  “Randy Orton wanted me all by myself, and I beat Randy Orton all by myself.”  Rollins says he ripped him apart and had the edge going into the match by banning the RKO.  In his win, he says he added the ultimate insult – an SKO out of nowhere.  He laughs.

“Every great general needs great soldiers” and he takes a moment to thank Kane for doing what was best for business in his role of the Crypt Keeper.  “Oops, did I say that out loud?  He’s an old relic from the 90’s that no one cares about.”  Rollins backpedals from the insult as best he can.  Kane says he takes no offense, and because of his actions – including

He says he would rather be the WWE version of the Crypt Keeper than the WWE version of Justin Bieber.  “Whoops, did I say that out loud?”  Rollins gets mad and says that  Kane is jealous of him.  He says he gets to go home every night as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and Kane should just go home.  They bicker.

Randy Orton’s music hits and he comes to the stage.   He says he isn’t the kind of guy to complain about someone cheating to win, but when someone in their own administration goes on record to say that Rollins cheated to win, that makes grounds for a rematch.  Rollins says that it’s not the Kane Regime, or the Orton Regime, it’s his time and Orton only gets one shot at the title, and Orton squandered it.  Orton tells “catwoman” to shut up, and he’s addressing Kane.

Kane starts to talk, saying Orton has a point, when Roman Reigns’ music hits.  He makes his way down to ringside as the announcers talk about his win over Big Show last night.  Reigns poses on the announce table.  Rollins tells Reigns to get over himself and asks why he’s there.

Reigns says “I’ll tell you why I’m here if you’ll shut the hell up.”  He tells Rollins that he’s missing his giant, because he speared him through a table, then flipped a table over on him.  “I guess you can call me the last man standing.”  Reigns tells Orton that he had his shot, and tells Kane that if anyone deserves a shot at the title, it’s him.

Rollins mocks Reigns for winning a match.  He says Orton and Reigns have a common denominator, and it’s that they both lost to Rollins.  Rollins tells them neither man deserves a shot at the title.  Kane interrupts and says that both men make compelling arguments, so he will do what’s best for business.  He says they should put aside their differences and show them both the real power of the Authority.

“So you mean a tag team match?” Rollins asks.  Kane agrees, then says that by the end of the night the WWE Universe will decide Rollins’ next title defense.  Rollins gets upset and rants at Kane off mic.

A good segment.  You’ve got Rollins and Kane at odds, and Orton and Reigns with legitimate claims to a title shot.  I would hope they build some more momentum behind Reigns before putting him in the title picture again though.  He did well on the mic here.  There are rumors floating around that there will be a Triple Threat match at Payback, so I can assume that’s an option here.

They hype up Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler in a first round King of the Ring match.

Match #1 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett; King of the Ring Round #1 Match

In a picture in picture promo, Dolph admits that he can’t focus on the match fully because of what Sheamus did to him last night.  He tells Sheamus that payback is coming.  Barrett’s picture in picture hypes him as being the one fit to be a king.

Barrett controls the early going, using strikes, kicks and boots.  Booker says that Ziggler needs some dirt on him and needs to go out and fight.  Ziggler hits a drop kick, and Barrett rolls to ringside to regroup.  Commercial break, already.

Back live, Barrett is controlling Ziggler with a headlock.  A big kick took down Ziggler during the break.  Barrett tries a charge, but Ziggler moves and Barrett eats the ringpost.  Both men sell.  To their feet, the two start with strikes, then Ziggler gets a headlock then tries for his neckbreaker but Barrett counters.  Barrett tries to load Winds of Change but Ziggler wraps himself around and turns it to a crucifix pin for two.

Barrett loads Wasteland but Ziggler counters out.  A bit later, Ziggler tries a superkick but gets caught.  Barrett slingshots Dolph to the buckle then hits Wasteland for a good near fall.  Barrett calls up for the Bull Hammer.  Ziggler ducks it and hits a superkick for a near fall.

Sheamus interrupts and reminds us that there was a full Irish moon last night.  He asks if it leaves a bad taste of Celtic arse in his mouth.  Ziggler goes to the apron to get Barrett but ends up taking a Bull Hammer.  Barrett picks up the win off the distraction.  Sheamus smiles and Barrett celebrates.

Not a bad match, but not a hot start to the tournament.  I was hoping for more I guess.  I wonder if somehow Ziggler costs Sheamus his match later now to set up a Payback rematch.

JBL says Triple H is not present, so Kane made the main event.  They recount that Kane and Rollins will face Reigns and Orton in the main event, and the fans will get to decide Rollins’ next opponent.  They show New Day backstage clapping their way to glory, and they’re up next.

Big E cuts a short rhyme to  get Green Bay to feel the power.  New Day comes to the ring.  Xavier Woods says they want to thank the clappers who helped them achieve the title win.  He tells them to dump the “sucks” stuff and leads a new clap, saying “New Day Rocks.”  That still gets a “New Day Sucks” chant.

Match #2 – Big E of The New Day (w/Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. Tyson Kidd (w/Cesaro and Natalya)

Kidd fires away on Big E in the early going, then tries a spring move over the ropes.  Big E catches him, but Kidd works out then ducks a clothesline, following up with an enzugiri.  Kidd hits a missile drop kick.  Big E rolls to the floor for a break, but Kidd hits a big kick to take him down.

Back in the ring, Big E hits a big block on Kidd.  He covers and Xavier Woods holds down Kidd’s foot.  They steal a win.  New Day runs up the ramp as Cesaro, Kidd, and Natalya sell frustration in the ring.  New Day poses at the stage.

The match itself was forgettable, but the celebration by New Day was fun.

The announcers narrate over still shots of John Cena vs. Rusev from last night.  Lana posed at one point for the fans.  Cole hypes the Payback match between Cena and Rusev in three weeks.  Cena will still have his open challenge later tonight.

Ryback’s music hits, and he heads out to the ring.  “Wake up, it’s feeding time!”  He makes his entrance for the next match.

Match #3 – Ryback vs. Bo Dallas

Bo makes his way out after the break.  He tells Ryback that his actions at Extreme Rules were reprehensible.  He says he will be the bigger man tonight and give him a chance to clear his name in front of “all these disgusting cheeseheads.”  He tells Ryback he will give him a chance to walk away.  “Go Pack Go” chants ring out and Ryback nods along.

Dallas tells him all he had to do was Bo Lieve.  Ryback plants Dallas face first then hits a back elbow.  Dallas grabs the ropes for safety, then hits a clothesline from behind.  He clubs on Ryback at the apron then covers but Ryback kicks out with authority.

Dallas hits a kick to the face then locks on a headlock.  JBL talks about how he has been a Bo-liever since day one.  Dallas tries a move off the second rope but Ryback catches him and hits a spinebuster.  Ryback hits the Meathook and says it’s time to finish it.  Shellshocked finishes off Dallas.  Ryback leads “Feed me more” chants.

Wyatt cut in.  The screen goes dark, and when the lights come up Wyatt is behind Ryback in the ring.  Wyatt quickly hit Sister Abigail then does his crab walk.  He leans in and says something to Ryback, then kneels and yells something.  Quick cut out.

They need to choose which guy they’re going to push, and move them forward.  I think this can be a good feud, but with both of them needing to win, I am fearing that traditional “even steven” booking.  Gotta pick one and run with it.

Cole quickly moves on to hype John Cena issuing yet another open challenge for the US Championship, next.

They show a shot of the Vince Lombardi statue at Lambeau Field.  JBL notes that the Green Bay Packers have 13 championships.

That has to kill Jason Powell of ProWrestling.net, a huge Minnesota Vikings fan.

John Cena’s music hits and he charges the ring to a mostly positive reaction.  The announcers talk about him winning last night, and how Rusev’s two losses have come at the hands of John Cena.

Cena says he doesn’t know how anyone missed it, but in case they did – spoiler alert – The Champ is Here.  He says he wants to talk about the Russian chain match, but he couldn’t catch his breath before Lana was asking the Authority for another match.  He says that he has to give Rusev the credit he deserves.  “He keeps his pimp hand strong.”

Cena says he kids, but he respects Rusev for not quitting, until Payback.  He says that the rematch will be an I Quit match.  He says that if Rusev thinks that Cena will walk into a match on American soil for the United States Championship and quit, then he’s dumb and stupid.

Cena says that Payback is the final chapter of their feud.  He says if Rusev makes him quit, he disgraced the country, the fans, and the US Championship.  He doesn’t deserve a rematch.  He says he’s putting it all on the table and if Rusev wins, he wins the title and doesn’t have to see Cena again.

Cena references coaching legend Vince Lombardi, and says that he’s trying to make the US Championship the new sign of excellence and opportunity. Cena says that while Rusev decides to rest tonight, he chooses to provide opportunity.  He says Green Bay is the place to be, Cena is the man to beat, and the US Championship Open starts now.  “You want some, come get some.”

Heath Slater’s music hits and he comes out.  “Wait a minute!”  Slater says he is not only going to take advantage of a crushed John Cena, but he will become the new United States Champion.  He says he plans to start his own Discount Slater Check, kind of like the Discount Double Check with someone better looking than Aaron Rodgers.  That draws some boos.

Rusev comes out and attacks Slater, kicking him off the stage.  Lana comes out to cheers with a mic, but Rusev demands the mic and sends her away.   Fans chant “We want Lana!”  Rusev is frustrated by that chant and yells something in Bulgarian.

Rusev tells Cena to look at the people and calls them all quitters.  They have given up already, giving up on their dreams and themselves.  He tells Cena that at Payback he will be like all of “these stupid Americans.”  He says that they won’t be saying God Bless America, they will be saying “I quit.”  The Russian flag drops as Rusev has a seizure on stage (not really, he is selling his anger).

Given that there’s no suspicion that Cena will lose until possibly Payback, then I guess it makes sense for Rusev to attack each “open” challenger.  Part of the problem of setting the match up last night like they did.

Backstage, Rollins confronts Kane.  He says he isn’t mad but he needs clarification as to how Kane wants the fans to decide who Rollins will face next.  Rollins says he beat Lesnar, Reigns, and Orton, and there’s no reason any of them should have at his title.  Kane starts to explain about App voting and says he thought Rollins could handle the situation, but Rollins cuts him off.

Rollins tells Kane that he can’t wait til Triple H and Stephanie hear about all of this.  Kane takes offense, and says that since Rollins wants to be a tattle tale, the fans will now have three options to vote for – Orton, Reigns, or both men in a triple threat match.  He tells Rollins he will see him later for their tag match, and discover who the fans pick for his opponent.

Match #4 – R-Truth vs. Stardust; King of the Ring Round #1 Match

Truth says if he wins the King of the Ring, he will ban all spiders.  Stardust cuts a cryptic promo about sitting on the throne and ruling if he wins.  Early jackknife cover from Truth gets two, then Stardust takes over the offense.  The fans chant “Cody” to irritate Stardust.

Stardust continues to control the offense, wearing Truth out with a headlock.  Truth starts to strike back.  Stardust does a cartwheel then yells at Booker that he is the king.  Stardust continues with a whip, but eats an elbow on the follow-up charge.  Truth hits a couple clotheslines.  Stardust hits a Russian leg sweep for two.

The two men exchange strikes, then Stardust tries for the Disaster Kick.  Truth catches him out of mid-air with the Lie Detector to score the win.

The crowd was dead for this.  Sometimes Truth gets a reaction for that tired “what’s up” thing and that wasn’t in Green Bay.  And I think it might be time for Cody Rhodes to come back since fans aren’t eating up the Stardust gimmick anymore.

JBL hypes the main event of Kane and Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns and Randy Orton.  Cole hypes the App and says it’s up to the fans to decide who Seth Rollins will face at Payback – Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, or both men in a triple threat.

Back live, Cole hypes up the various WWE Network programming that will happen this week.

Match #5 – Fandango vs. Adam Rose (w/Rosebuds)

Rose gets the early advantage, but Fandango fights back with chops and a clothesline that sends Rose to ringside.  Fandango follows up with a nice dive onto Rose at ringside.  Rosa Mendes appears as one of the Rosebuds, and she dances a bit.  The distraction allows Rose to hit the Party Foul on Fandango for the win.

Afterward, Rosa gets a mic and says that she can’t believe that he dumped her “for them.”  She fells Fandango that he can’t dance to that music anymore.  She says now she has found someone who treats her like the sweet flower she is.  The makeout session starts and JBL calls for a commercial break.

Comedy moment.  Neither of those guys are going anywhere.

Cole swings to a more serious discussion, and says that Daniel Bryan could not compete last night due to his health.  He sends it to Renee Young, who is with Brie.  She asks about Daniel’s health and when or if he can return to the ring.  Brie says his dream came true last year at Wrestlemania, and every day he’s out it weighs on the both of them.  She says Bryan would do anything to compete.  She says they’re grateful because the fans care about Daniel and he cares about them.  Naomi interjects and knocks Brie down, then leans in and says “No one cares about you or your husband.”

Brie didn’t say much.  Certainly still didn’t reveal the health of Bryan, or when he might return.  Really odd.

Match #6 – Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) vs. Naomi

Early on, Brie clubs away on Naomi and gets the better of her, but Naomi gets in a cheap forearm shot to gain the advantage.  Naomi hits a backbreaker for two then locks on a chinlock.    Brie starts to fire back with a knee shot but gets taken back down.  Naomi taunts the fans then hits a big leg drop for two.

The announcers debate if Naomi would be champion if it weren’t for Brie getting involved last night, and discuss Naomi taking out Paige.  Brie hits a face plant to get some separation.  Brie hits a clothesline and a drop kick, then a running knee against the ropes.  “Brie Mode!”  She hits a missile drop kick for a near fall.

Naomi uses an inside cradle to grab the win.  She escapes the ring and dances in the aisle to celebrate.  Nikki consoles Brie.

Cole ended up taking away from Naomi’s win by saying Brie was distracted by all the goings on with Daniel Bryan. 

The announcers hype up the main event again.  JBL says Rollins and Kane aren’t on the same page at all.  Cole hypes the app voting for the Payback championship match.

Dean Ambrose’s music hits, and he’s on his way to the ring.  He has the next King of the Ring match.  Cole says to hide your car, because he took off with an SUV last night at the pay per view.  He gets Sheamus in this first round match, after the break.

Match #7 – Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus; King of the Ring Round #1 Match

Back live, Cole and JBL narrate over still shots of the match between Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose.  Ambrose cuts his promo, saying there would be no tax on ale, legal disputes would be settled by street fights and he would ban pop country.  Sheamus gets his entrance and they actually made him look whiter than normal with the lighting.  They narrate over still shots of the Kiss Me Arse match, then show Sheamus’ promo.  He says a real fight entertains him and he will win the KOR again.

Ambrose and Sheamus tie up and scuffle then back off.  They work some grappling holds, with Sheamus getting the better of it.  Sheamus pie faces Ambrose, and he returns the favor.   More grappling, then Sheamus shoulder blocks Ambrose down.  Ambrose tries a drop toe hold, but Sheamus blocks it at first.  He gets Sheamus down and works a submission hold.

In the corner, Sheamus unloads a big right hand.  He follows with an uppercut as some male fans chant “Foghorn Leghorn.”  Ambrose tries a bulldog but Sheamus counters.  Ambrose manages to dump Sheamus to ringside and sets up a dive, but Sheamus runs.

Back live, they show us that Ambrose got run into the post.  Ambrose hits a headbutt but takes a knee to the gut when running the ropes.  Sheamus uses a suplex and yells “Are you not entertained!”  Sheamus continues the assault, taunting Ambrose.  After a right hand, Ambrose explodes off the ropes with his clothesline.  The announcers discuss various great Kings of the Ring as both men sell.

Ambrose fires off with strikes but gets cut off with a slam.  That gets Sheamus enraged and he backs off to call for the Brogue Kick.  Ambrose ducks it, then sends Sheamus into the post following it with a suicide dive.   Ambrose goes up top and jumps over a charging Sheamus.  Sheamus hits the Irish Curse for two.

Sheamus tries for White Noise but Ambrose rolls it through for two.  Ambrose teases Dirty Deeds, but Sheamus counters to the Cloverleaf.  Ambrose struggles to the rope to break the hold.  Sheamus sets up the Ten Beats of the Battern but Ambrose counters and hits the elbow off the ropes on a standing Sheamus for two.

Ambrose runs around ringside but gets dumped onto the announce position.  Ambrose leaps off with a forearm, then sends Sheamus to the post.  Sheamus comes back with the Brogue Kick.  Dolph Ziggler charges the ring and unloads on Sheamus.  Sheamus escapes through the fans and Ziggler stares after him.  Ziggler heads backstage, and Ambrose gets upset about losing by disqualification.

Cole gives us the brackets.  The semi-final and final will take place tomorrow on WWE Network.

They sell the app vote again for Rollins’ opponent at Payback, then hype the main event tag match for later.

They recap the God-awful way Miz beat Damien Sandow last week.  He’s in the ring to cut a promo.  He says that one thing he will never do is lie to people.  He talks about how he did the bathrobe gimmick to enlighten people. “We saw how that worked out.”  He says he was told to his face that he wasn’t entertaining.  He recalls the various characters that he worked for a period of time.

“Then came Damien Mizdow.”  He says Mizdow caused him to lose respect with his peers, but he gained something that means more and he gained the respect of the fans.  He calls it the most valuable thing a WWE Superstar could ever have.  Without the fans, he would not be in the WWE right now.   The fans chant “thank you” and he says “You’re welcome.”

Curtis Axel comes out.  “Don’t change the channel, because Axelmania is running wild.”  He says if there’s one thing he can’t stand, it’s a guy who doesn’t know who he is and tries to be someone else.    Axel mocks Hulk Hogan and asks what Sandow is gonna do, but Sandow stops him.  They engage in a mocking segment.  The fans applaud it.

Axel asks if it’s funny and Sandow retorts in kind. The fans chant “yes!” and Sandow says ‘they said it.”  Axel tells him to get out of the ring now, and of course Sandow mocks him.  The fight is on, and Sandow hits Axel with a big boot.  He drops the Elbow of Disdain and Axel rolls to ringside.  Sandow yells “welcome to the new me!” and plays to the fans.

The fans were receptive, but I hope that’s the last of the mimicking thing from Sandow.  In doses and at times it can be fun, but he needs more character than that.

Cole tells us that Kidd and Cesaro will get their rematch against New Day for the Tag gold on Smackdown.  Wyatt cut in again.

Wyatt asks “will you ever learn, will you ever realize who you are, or will you be a man obsessed with your own vanity.”  He says he can see right through, knows what drives and motivates, and what scares you.  “What you witnessed tonight, is just the beginning.  Run.”

Of course, we now know he’s targeting Ryback.  Wyatt needs to be more action than talk.

Back live, the announce team hypes up the various big programs on WWE Network this week.  They also hype the return of Tough Enough on June 23, and they show some of the entries.

Match #8 – Neville vs. Luke Harper; King of the Ring Round #1 Final Match

Neville gets the entrance first, and his video addresses the history of King of the Ring.  He talks about former winners, saying he will go out and defy the odds and gravity to be crowned King of the Ring.  Harper says if he were King he would sit on his throne of barbed wire and rusted steel and rule with pain and suffering.  His reign of suffering is coming – long live the king.

Winner of this one gets Sheamus.  Harper powers Neville up early and he tries to slide through for a roll-up but no go.  Neville hits a huracanrana and sends Harper to ringside.  He tries a baseball slide but lands on his feet.  Harper throws him through the corner, so Neville comes around the corner and hits a huracanrana on the floor.

Harper takes over with power.  He hits a big boot on a springboard attempt by Neville, then follows it by hitting a big uppercut.  Back live, Neville hits an impressive moonsault on Harper out on the floor.

Off the springboard, Neville hits a drop kick then a standing moonsault for two.  Neville looks for another rope move but he floats ov er Harper and runs the ropes.  Neville eats a big boot for a two count.  Harper loads a powerbomb, but Neville floats over then hits a German suplex.

Neville hits an enzugiri but runs into a sit-out powerbomb from Harper for two.   Neville sells and Harper drags him to his feet.  Neville and Harper exchange strikes then ram his head into the buckle a few times.    He perches Neville up top and goes up with him.  Neville fights back with strikes and a big kick.  Neville hits a sunset flip off the buckle.

Neville goes up top again, looking for the Red Arrow.  He lands it and grabs the victory over Harper to advance to the next round.  Neville plays to the fans as Cole moves on to selling the final run for the App vote for Seth Rollins’ opponent at Payback.

Match #9 – Roman Reigns and Randy Orton vs. Kane and Seth Rollins (w/J&J Security)

Reigns is the first to make his entrance and he heads through the fans to the ring.  Cole recaps the opening segment where Reigns asserted his place in a title match based on his win over Big Show.  After the break, the remaining men make their entrances for the match.  Rollins is greeted with “Justin Bieber” chants.  Reigns and Rollins lock up to start.  Reigns gets the better of it, and Rollins drops to ringside to regroup.

As the match progresses, Kane catches Orton with a boot to the face.  He works Orton in the corner, then Rollins gets the tag and puts the boots to him as well.  Rollins tosses Orton to ringside heading into the next break.  The Authority pair keep up the offense out of the break.

Reigns begins to fire up, exchanging blows with Rollins.  Rollins hits a kick to stop the offense, then backs him into the bad corner to tag Kane.  Kane feeds Rollins in for a whip and splash.  Kane hits a move to get a two count.  Kane locks on a bear hug to focus the offense on the lower back.  Fans rally behind Reigns a bit.  After breaking the bear hug, Kane hits a clothesline to get Reigns down for two again.  Kane and Rollins keep working tags and focusing the effort on Reigns’ back.

Rollins yells that no one gets a shot at him.  Kane gets the tag and he and Reigns exchange strikes.  Reigns gets the better momentarily, but Kane tries a suplex.  Reigns counters and hits one of his own and both men are down.  Both men sell, and Reigns gets the hot tag to Orton.  He starts unloading on Rollins with strikes.  Rollins hangs on counter the first powerslam attempt, but Orton gets him the second time. Kane breaks up the pin attempt.

A bit later Kane goozles Reigns for a choke slam.  Reigns breaks it up though, and Rollins hits a drop kick on Kane that was intended for Reigns.  Reigns takes out Mercury with  punch, but Rollins sends Reigns tumbling to ringside.  Orton has Rollins where he wants him.  He hits the elevated DDT and looks for the RKO.  Rollins rolls Orton up for two, then kicks Orton in the face and sends him to ringside.  Rollins is the only one in the ring.  Rollins hits a dive but Orton and Reigns split, so Rollins collects Kane.

Kane loses it.  He dumps J&J over the announce position, then unloads on Rollins with a right hand.  He rips apart the announce position, then feeds Rollins into the ring.  Reigns hits a Superman punch, then Orton hits the RKO to a big reaction.  Orton covers for the win.  The announcers recap it.

Kane says it’s now time to find out who the WWE Universe voted to face Seth Rollins at Payback.  Kane runs down the options, and it’s a landslide victory for the triple threat match.  Rollins sells frustration, Orton smiles from the stage, and Reigns hits a big spear on Rollins then poses on the ropes.  He pats his chest and says it’s mine.  Reigns turns back to look at Orton too.  Reigns plays to the fans as Kane and Orton look on.

Cole gives a sell for Jerry Springer’s “Too Hot for TV” that is coming up next.  That’s the end of the show.

The main event was good.  I will admit that I was posting about the death of long time AWA promoter and hall of fame wrestler Verne Gagne, so the coverage isn’t as good as it could be.  That said, the match was well worked, the fans got up for the closing sequences where Orton and Reigns were able to get the better of Rollins, and they enjoyed seeing the stipulation be announced.

I still feel like it’s too soon to put Reigns in the title mix, but we’ll see how it plays out.  They had a logical out to get back to a Randy Orton rematch and I think those two guys have some good chemistry together.  The match should be solid when they have it out on pay per view.

All in all, a long show.  It really seemed to drag on at points as it normally does coming out of a pay per view.  But with Payback just three weeks away, I thought they would try to set more stuff up than they did.  We at least have direction for John Cena and Rusev, and of course now the title match.

Drew and I will have more to say about Raw, Extreme Rules, and all things wrestling when we get together tomorrow night and record Ring Rap Audio.  Send in your questions on Twitter @RingRap or on our Facebook page.  Thanks for watching along!

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WWE Extreme Rules Afterthoughts for 04/27/15 – A Hot Crowd Elevates the Show, But Did the Show Live Up to It’s Name?

WWE hit us with another monthly live special last night, this one called Extreme Rules.  It was filled with gimmickry as are most of WWE’s pay-per-views lately.  But it begs the question, was it truly “extreme?”

In a word, no.  Nothing that happened on the show last night was any different than anything one might see on Raw or Smackdown.  The only difference was the frequency.  We typically get one table spot on Raw.  Last night, we had multiples.  How about backstage brawls?  Check.  Cage matches?  Check.  Short Divas matches?  Check.

But did the show deliver?

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WWE “Extreme Rules” Pay Per View Live Coverage for 4/26/2015 – Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, John Cena vs. Rusev in a Russian Chain Match, Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler, Nikki Bella vs. Naomi, and More

WWE brings us their first pay per view offering after Wrestlemania tonight in the Extreme Rules pay per view.  (Almost) every match on tonight’s card from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL has a stipulation or some sort of gimmick about it.  Randy Orton will contest for the WWE Championship inside a steel cage against Seth Rollins.  John Cena will defend his United States Championship against Rusev in a chain match.  And yes, we’ve even got a “Kiss Me Arse” match on the card.  The whole show shapes up as follows:

  • Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (c, w/Natalya) vs. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods); WWE Tag Team Championship
  • Bad News Barrett vs. Neville
  • Nikki Bella (c, w/Brie Bella) vs. Naomi; WWE Divas Championship
  • Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper; Chicago Street Fight
  • Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus; “Kiss Me Arse” match, where the loser will kiss the winner’s ass.
  • Roman Reigns vs. Big Show; Last Man Standing Match
  • John Cena (c) vs. Rusev (w/Lana); WWE United States Championship under Russian Chain Match rules (to win, winner must drag opponent around the ring and touch all four corner turnbuckles)
  • Seth Rollins (c, w/J&J Security) vs. Randy Orton; WWE World Heavyweight Championship fought under cage match rules, with the RKO banned from use.  Kane will serve as the gate keeper of the cage.

Pre-Show:

Renee Young checks in with her cohorts, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves and Booker T.  They briefly run down the card for tonight, highlighting John Cena vs. Rusev, Nikki Bella vs. Naomi, and Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus.  She points out that New Day will take on Kidd and Cesaro for the tag titles on the pre-show.  Renee notes that Daniel Bryan is not medically cleared, so there will not be an Intercontinental Championship match tonight.  Booker sends good wishes to Bryan and says he would really want to be there.

In the Social Media Lounge, Tom Philips talks about Byron Saxton being out past his curfew already.  He hypes using the #ExtremeRules hashtag throughout the show.  He will have Kane in the lounge later, and you can ask him questions with the #AskKane hashtag.

Back with the panel, Renee says that Kane has a lot of pressure on him as the gate keeper in the World Heavyweight Championship match.  She feeds it into a video package to hype up Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton, going back to when Rollins cashed in at Wrestlemania.

Back live, the panel discusses the match and the ramifications of the RKO being banned.  There are dueling Cena chants going already.  Corey says that Orton is not completely handicapped by the RKO being banned and he may have to pull something else out of his arsenal.  Booker says that Kane will be an X-factor tonight but this is about Rollins as the future of WWE against Orton as a veteran who also was influenced by Triple H.  Saxton talks about how Orton watched his title slip away at Wrestlemania 30 and he has waited a year to get a shot.

Chicago is already chanting “New Day sucks.”  Booker picks Orton to win the title, Graves picks Rollins, and Saxton picks Orton as well.  Renee talks about other things coming up on the Kickoff show as the camera focuses on the cage.  A commercial hypes the pay per view, focusing on Cena vs. Rusev.

Back live, the panel moves into discussion of the Divas Championship match.  Renee Young feeds it into a video package highlighting Naomi beating down Paige after Paige won the battle royale in London a couple weeks ago.  Eden is with Naomi backstage and asks if it’s because she dropped the nice girl persona.  Naomi asks if she should be a nice girl and stay where she was or drop that persona and become champion and take what she wants.

Naomi criticizes Eden’s attitude and asks if she has ever stepped on toes to get to where she is in the industry. She says she won’t regret what she does to Nikki Bella tonight.  With the panel, Corey puts Naomi over for being athletically gifted, but this attitude is what she’s missing.  Booker references Medusa, Lita, and Melina and says that everyone hated Melina.  He echoes Corey’s comments about attitude.

Saxton talks about the match, but Dean Ambrose sticks his face in front of the camera.   He excuses Saxton and takes a mic.  Ambrose says he didn’t come here to eat deep dish pizza, but for revenge on Luke Harper.  He says he’s here for a street fight.  He says he remembers what Luke Harper did to him at Wrestlemania then on Smackdown.  He says he will give Harper punches for every staple he had to have in his head.  “Luke Harper gets the beating of his life, right here in Chicago!”

Saxton is welcomed back to the panel as Renee says this is what this night is about.  She transitions to talking about the Kiss Me Arse match between Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler.  She feeds it into a video package.  Corey says that Sheamus has a new look and a new game plan.  They show Sheamus’ promo from Smackdown after he came back.

Renee briefly mentions the Last Man Standing match between Big Show and Roman Reigns.  They air an ad for Live with Chris Jericho and his interview with Stephanie McMahon this Thursday.  Back live, Renee hypes the announcement of Tough Enough returning, and Triple H’s video promo regarding the program.  They show various video clips submitted to this point.  Renee gives pointers on taking the video then my network feed goes wonky because of local hardware issues.

Once that’s resolved, they come back live featuring the video package that set up Big Show vs. Roman Reigns in the Last Man Standing match.  Back with the panel, Renee says this will get ugly tonight.  Corey says he isn’t sure how Reigns will take Show down for a ten count and says it’s a lifetime.  Saxton says Reigns will need a Mack truck and super glue.  Booker says that for Show is about making Hunter and Stephanie happy, and he’s a part of something now that he enjoys.

Wyatt cut in.  He says it’s about the little things in life – the simple, the mundane. “But not you.”  He says that his target wants to be larger than life, but like the mighty before him he’s a fool.  “Everyone else on this rotten world will understand that man cannot become of God, but a God can walk among men.”  He closes by saying that “you will behold the new face of fear.”

Booker says it’s about the reckoning and “this guy is scary.”  Graves says if we’ve learned anything, we will find out who he is talking about on Wyatt’s terms.  It’s up to him when we find out.  Renee sends it to the announcers at ringside – Cole, Lawler, and JBL, for the first match.  Cole hypes that we’re sold out as Bad News Barrett gets his entrance.

Match #1 – Bad News Barrett vs. Neville:

Barrett has a mic and greets  Chicago to rousing cheers.  He says he knows everyone in attendance was excited to see him “bull hammer Daniel Bryan into oblivion” and take back the Intercontinental Championship.  He says Bryan was not medically cleared and he isn’t there, and it’s because of Barrett.  Barrett says Bryan is terrified to lose the title back to Barrett and might have half a brain inside his head after all.

He says that he is the UK’s version of Michael Jordan, “minus the gambling addictions.”  He says to send out Neville so he can take the Bull Hammer destined for Bryan.  Neville gets his intro, and a rousing ovation from Chicago.

Neville tries a hip toss early that Barrett blocks.  Neville tosses him over anyhow and turns it into a pin attempt.  Barrett throws some clubbing shots, but Neville comes back with a flying cross body press then a huracanrana that sends Barrett to the apron.  Neville kicks Barrett and sets up a dive, but Barrett counters.  Barrett roughs Neville up on the floor.

After an ad for Network content, Barrett is controlling Neville on the mat with a headlock.  Back to their feet, Neville springs up in the corner and locks on a head scissor, but Barrett kicks him to break it.  He beats Neville as he’s draped across the buckle to get a two count.  He grounds Neville again with a headlock.

Off the ropes, Neville kicks Barrett in the chest but eats a big boot for two.  Barrett chokes Neville on the ropes, then hits a slingshot backbreaker for two.  Barrett locks on another headlock and Neville starts to fight back with shots.  Neville bounces off the ropes and lands some kicks, then hits a dive onto Barrett out on the floor.

Back in the ring, Neville hits a German suplex with a bridge for two.  Barrett’s in position, so Neville teases going for the Red Arrow.  After an exchange at the ropes, Neville flips in and runs the ropes into Winds of Change for two.  He teases Wasteland but Neville elbows out.  Another exchange at the apron, and Neville springs over the ropes.  He springs right into Wasteland though for a near fall.

Barrett calls for the Bull Hammer but Neville ducks and hits an enzugiri.  Neville goes top rope and sets the Red Arrow up, but Barrett crotches him.  Barrett tries for the Bull Hammer on the top rope but Neville ducks.  Another enzugiri stuns Barrett again and Neville hits the Red Arrow.  Cole puts it over as a huge win for Neville as they go to a recap of the closing sequence.

That was a lot of fun.  A quality kickoff show match from both men.  They set up some believable near falls and seem to work really well together.  I think they could set up a good program and I’d love to see them work together more.

An ad hypes up the World Heavyweight Championship match for the pay per view.  In the Social Media Lounge, Tom Phillips interviews Kane.  He’s asked when the mask comes back and Kane says that isn’t his focus.  Someone else asks if he’s relevant and Kane says he doesn’t have time to be disrespected by the fans or his tweets.  Phillips apologizes and thanks fans for their tweets.

Today is Kane’s birthday.  Perhaps he didn’t get what he wanted?  A bit testy…

They move on to talk about John Cena vs. Rusev in a Russian chain match.  They recap the story from Wrestlemania, where Cena won the title from the Russian then the rematch got set up.  They feature the open challenge as well.  Back live, Corey says that he feels Cena will retain.  Booker asks if the fans are ready to get extreme and gets “Booker T” chants.  He rips off his mic and plays to the fans.  It’s time for the pay per view proper, and it’s Harper vs. Ambrose to get it started.

WWE “Extreme Rules” Pay Per View, Live from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL:

A computerized lady says that if we follow the rules all will be okay.  The male voiceover says it’s time to get extreme tonight, and they roll an intro video focusing on various feuds for tonight’s show.

Pyro fires off inside the arena as we’re set to start.  Cole welcomes us in, saying it’s the one night a year WWE goes extreme.

Match #1 – Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper; Chicago Street Fight:

Eden lays down the rules for us, saying that there are no disqualifications or count outs, and you can only win by pinfall or submission.  Ambrose gets a rousing ovation as he comes to the ring.   Cole introduces JBL and Jerry Lawler then sets up video highlights of Luke Harper powerbombing Ambrose at Wrestlemania and at Smackdown.

Ambrose doesn’t wait and attacks Harper out on the ramp.  They get in the ring and Ambrose hits an early cross body as the bell rings.  Ambrose hits a dive outside the ring, then throws Harper into the stairs.  Ambrose drags out “toys” in the form of chairs and kendo sticks.   Back in the ring, Harper grabs a chair but Ambrose steps on it then wears Harper out with a kendo stick.

Ambrose sits on a chair then kicks Harper and sets a suplex up.  Harper counters and puts Ambrose through the chair with a suplex of his own for two.  Harper takes his turn with the kendo stick.  Ambrose sets up a tornado DDT but Harper tosses him aside.  Harper then runs Ambrose face first into a chair propped up in the corner.

More kendo stick action from Harper as the fans chant for Ambrose.   Harper gets the chair that was propped in the corner and sets up a slam but Ambrose counters and hits a slam of his own.  After a sequence by the ropes, Ambrose follows with a tornado DDT and both men sell.   The men exchange strikes, and Ambrose hits a drop kick on Harper against the ropes.  Ambrose follows with his elbow drop on a standing Harper for two.

Harper comes back with a big knee after countering both Dirty Deeds and the rope clothesline.  Ambrose counters a powerbomb and sends Harper to ringside.  Ambrose follows with a dive that Harper seems to fend off, but Ambrose comes back with a clothesline in a unique spot.

The fight spills up the ramp and to the backstage area, with Ambrose wearing Harper out with a kendo stick.  It spills through the backstage production area and into an SUV.  Harper hijacks the SUV and Ambrose dives through the window.    The SUV takes off, and the announcers debate what’s going to happen next.  They say the match has to end in the ring, but there are no count outs or disqualifications.  JBL says this might be like Curtis Axel and they’ll be fighting for months.

What will happen here?  Are we done, or is this going on?

Backstage, Triple H is texting.  Kane walks in and he tells Kane to go find Harper and Ambrose.  Rollins walks in and Triple H tells them to get on the same page.  He says that this is Rollins’ first title defense on pay per view and they need to stop being childish.  Rollins agrees, but asks why Kane threw him into the path of a Roman Reigns spear on Smackdown.  Kane says that he was protecting him.  They bicker some more until Triple H breaks them up.

Triple H says that Rollins has a point.  He says he wants to make sure that Kane is who he says he is, and he doesn’t want to regret making Kane the gatekeeper.  Chicago chants “boring” at this.  Kane says he will do what is best for business.  Triple H nods and pats Rollins on the back.

Match #2 – Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler; Kiss Me Arse Match (Loser kisses winner’s ass)

JoJo looks a bit awkward with this announcement.  After introductions, Sheamus and Ziggler jaw at each other.  Sheamus pie-faces him, and Ziggler starts firing away on Sheamus early on.  Sheamus hits a headbutt and Ziggler comes back with a drop kick.  On a charge, Ziggler and Sheamus spill to the floor.  Sheamus throws Ziggler into the steps, then tries it again but Ziggler leaps up and hits a DDT on the floor.  Both men sell.

Ziggler feeds in Sheamus, and takes a kick as he gets in.  Sheamus hits what looks like a Brogue Kick with his knee, then wears Ziggler out at the apron with clubbing blows.  Sheamus taunts Ziggler and lands a shot then controls Dolph in the ring with a headlock.

Ziggler comes back looking for a Fameasser, but Sheamus counters with a sit-out powerbomb for two.  JBL asks what it will feel like when Ziggler has to kiss Sheamus’ arse on the Network.  Chicago gets behind Ziggler with chants but Sheamus continues the methodical offense.  He taunts Ziggler, yelling that little guys don’t belong in his ring.  Sheamus locks on headlock to wear Ziggler out.

Ziggler fights to his feet and starts landing shots.  Off the ropes, Ziggler lands some rights and a big corner splash.  Ziggler sets up a neckbreaker, but Sheamus shoves him off and hits a double sledge.  The announcers sell how Ziggler threw a lot of offense at him but couldn’t take Sheamus down.

Ziggler tries a superkick but gets caught.  Sheamus locks on the Cloverleaf.  Ziggler sells and struggles to the ropes but ends up rolling up Sheamus for two.  Ziggler hits a superkick for two.  Both men  sell, then Ziggler tries for the Fameasser.  Sheamus drapes Ziggler over the ropes then hits the Irish Curse for two.

Sheamus hits a suplex variation then plays to the crowd.  He calls for the Brogue Kick as JBL says Dolph could get a Revlon endorsement.  Ziggler ducks the Brogue and rolls Sheamus up for two, then Sheamus hits a slam for two.  In the end, Ziggler counters a suplex and rolls Sheamus up in a small package to get the win.  Sheamus is shocked that he lost and shakes his head no.  He argues with the referee about the count.

Sheamus gets out of the ring and yells at the timekeeper that it was two.  Sheamus tries to exit through the crowd but the official stops him and sends him back to the ring.  Sheamus continues to be shocked and refuse to live up to the stip as Chicago chants “Pucker up.”   They tease the kiss a few times, with Sheamus refusing.  He tries to plead with Ziggler but gets told “this was your pick.”

“I don’t want this, you wanted this.”  Ziggler tells Sheamus that it was on him.  Sheamus hits a nut shot and the Brogue Kick to mild heat with a shit eating grin on his face.  “Are you not entertained!” he yells as King says that Sheamus weaseled out of his stipulation.  Sheamus gets a mic and says that he wouldn’t kiss Ziggler’s ass “especially in this stinking town.”

Sheamus says that he said Ziggler would kiss his ass and he never disappoints.  He yanks his tights up and mashes Ziggler’s face against him, then leaves the ring.  He poses and yells “Kiss me arse” before leaving.  They recount the closing sequence of the match.

Winner – Dolph Ziggler

The match was fine.  I had a feeling that somehow they’d not make Sheamus kiss Ziggler’s ass and they got there.  I think if you’re going to build Sheamus as a monster heel, you can’t have him do the ass kissing.  Sadly, it came at the expense of Ziggler, who could be more than he is by not putting him in these predicaments.

Match #3 – Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (c, w/Natalya) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods)

“Aww, Windy City, we’re about to get gritty!”  New Day makes their way to the ring clearly as the heels as the fans chant “New Day Sucks.”  Kidd and Cesaro get a nice reaction from the smart Chicago fans.  JoJo handles the in-ring introductions.

It’s Kofi and Big E representing the New Day, and Kofi ties up with Kidd to start.  Some chain work early, with Kofi hitting a splash off an arm drag.   Off a backslide, Kidd gets a two.  Kofi slides back to the corner and tags out to Big E.  Kidd poses and tags to Cesaro for a nice reaction.

Cole puts it over as a battle of power as Big E knocks Cesaro down.  Cesaro catches Big E in mid air in an impressive spot and slams him, then stomps him down in the corner.  Kidd tags back in, and Kofi gets the tag for New Day.  Kofi throws Kidd to ringside and sets up a double team move with Big E, but Kidd rushes in and splashes Kofi against the ropes.

Kidd sets up a somersault dive through the ropes to the floor.  Big E crashes Kidd from the side.  Xavier yells that they’re winning.  New Day isolates Kidd in their corner, and Kofi hits a drop kick in the corner.  Kidd creates some separation but takes a drop kick from Kingston for two.  New Day continues to work quick tags.  Big E tries his running splash, but Kidd moves.

Big E charges Kidd at the ropes, but Kidd pulls the ropes down.  Big E crashes to ringside.  Kidd gets the hot tag, as does Kingston.  Cesaro snake eyes Kofi then hits running upper cuts and a short arm clothesline for two.  Cesaro sets up the swing, but Kofi counters the slingshot by going top rope.  Cesaro catches Kofi on the cross body and hits a backbreaker.

Cesaro hits a deadlift suplex from the apron and Kidd hits a springboard elbow for a good near fall.  Kidd looks for the Sharpshooter but Kofi counters out.  Kidd hits an enzugiri from the apron but Big E spears Kidd through the ropes to the floor in a  big spot.  Cesaro takes a big back body drop outside.  Big E and Kofi set up their finish but Cesaro breaks the count up.

Big E and Cesaro spill to the floor.  Kofi sets up Trouble in Paradise, but Kidd counters it into the Sharpshooter.  Big E charges the ring and breaks up the Sharpshooter by hitting a belly to belly suplex.  A bit later, Kidd and Cesaro set up their double team spin-drop kick combo.  Cesaro covers, but Xavier gets on the apron and distracts the official.  Cesaro goes over to him.

Woods drops down, and Natalya walks over to slap him.  Kidd clotheslines out Big E, but Kofi rolls Cesaro up for the win with a handful of tights.  The announcers recap the finish for us.

Winner – New Day to win the WWE Tag Team Championship

This was a good tag match.  New Day being properly cast as heels is working for me a bit.  I am interested to see how it goes forward for Kidd and Cesaro.  Chicago loved them, they have fun offense, and the title change makes total sense if you’re going to put Kidd and Cesaro as babyfaces in chase mode.

Cole feeds it to the panel, who is without Renee Young now.  Booker is happy the New Day won, and Corey Graves says there are two lunatics roaming Chicago and Wrigleyville might get flattened.  Saxton says that Daniel Bryan is not able to compete, but Bad News Barrett got a match against Neville.  They run highlights.

Renee is backstage to interview New Day.   She asks if it’s their positivity that has gotten them to this point.  Xavier says it’s a new dawn.  Kofi asks for a chant “New Day – New Champs!” and they get “sucks” instead.  In screeches an SUV, and it’s Harper and Ambrose returning to continue their match, apparently.  Ambrose dives off of the SUV onto New Day, and the fight continues on.  Harper staggers out to the stage, and Ambrose attacks him from the side of the stage.

They fight to the ring, where a bunch of chairs get dragged out from under the ring.  Harper hits a powerbomb onto the chairs for a near fall.  Harper can’t believe it.  Harper piles up chairs on Ambrose as the fans chant for tables.  Harper goes top rope.  Ambrose crawls out and throws Harper onto the chairs.  Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds and grabs the victory.  JBL says we shouldn’t ask what happened while they were gone.

Winner (of Match #1) – Dean Ambrose

The restart felt like it wasn’t really needed.  The live crowd was into them when they opened the show, and they should have stayed with it as it cooled when they came back.  I would liked to have seen them incorporate footage from out about town too.

An ad runs for Payback, which is next month’s pay per view.   Back with the announcers, they hype the Russian Chain match between Cena and Rusev, which is next.  They run a video package to hype the match.

Match #4 – John Cena (c) vs. Rusev (w/Lana); WWE United States Championship under Russian Chain Match Rules

Rusev comes out with the chain wrapped around him.  Chicago chants “USA” as he paces the ring, but boo when Cena is introduced.  Cena charges the ring and Chicago sings along to “John Cena Sucks” in time with his entrance music.  Eden gives us the introductions.

The atmosphere is pretty strong as they chain up.  Cena’s wrist wrap has the American flag, and Rusev’s the Russian.  Red and green lights in the corner for the signals when each man touches.

Rusev throws Cena out early, then follows him while the chain is draped over the ropes.  Rusev pulls on the chain to pull on Cena’s arm. He kicks Cena, then makes a play for the buckles.  Cena stops him, but the live crowd is not buying in to this as a finish.

The fans start dying down.  Cena makes a play for the corners again, but Rusev comes back with a fallaway slam and a kick to the head.  The fans wake up when Lana gets on the apron and she responds to the cheers with a wave.  Rusev gets upset and sends her backstage.  Glory hound.

Cena hits the Five Knuckle and goes for the AA, but Rusev counters and hits an Alabama Slam.  Cena locks on the STF.  Rusev comes back and tries for the Accolade, but Cena drives up and pushes Rusev into two corners.  Rusev touches a third, then Cena slips out of the ring and pulls on the chain to keep him from touching the fourth.  Cena gets back in the ring and pulls on the chain, pulling Rusev over into an AA.

A bit later, the two men each touch three corners.  They meet mid ring.  Rusev makes a play for the fourth corner, but Cena pulls on the chain to drag Rusev in and hit the AA.  Cena reaaches over and hits the fourth corner to get the win.  Cena gets unchained, then poses with the belt as a US flag drops.

Winner – John Cena to retain the United States Championship

You’re not going to see the old school chain match in this era of wrestling.  I expected more drama and I figured the match would go longer, but they made use of the stipulation.  These two have had better matches – this was not special or memorable but it was “just okay.”

Apologies for the shorter coverage, I had local issues streaming the Network with my hardware.

Backstage, Renee Young interviews Roman Reigns.  She asks his strategy facing Big Show.  Reigns says that he can get knocked down, but he can’t be kept down.  He talks about  how Show has thrown him into the taxi and taken the WMD Punch several times but he got back up.  He says he will get back up no matter what happens tonight.  Believe that.

Match #5 – Nikki Bella (c, w/Brie Bella) vs. Naomi; WWE Divas Championship

Naomi has new music and new gear.  She wears shades and shoes that change colors.  Early on, Naomi hits this spot where she bulldogs Nikki into the corner after putting her own legs through the ropes.  She continues to dominate the offense as the fight spills to ringside.

Naomi kicks Brie, then throws Nikki back in.  Nikki comes back with a flurry of offense then plays to the fans.  She hits an Alabama Slam for two.  Naomi comes back with a series of moves and gets her own two count, then expresses frustration.   She tries for a split leg moonsault, but Nikki rolls out of the way.  Nikki is frustrated.

Nikki loads the Rack Attack.  Naomi counters out and hits a Bully Bomb and rolls Nikki over with a leg scissor pin for two.  Nikki comes back with a kick to the face for a near fall.  Naomi gets in the ropes and Nikki tries to drag her away but can’t.  Brie walks over and lands a kick to Naomi’s face.  Naomi staggers into the Rack Attack, and Nikki picks up the victory.  The Bellas celebrate and Naomi shows frustration over losing.

Winner – Nikki Bella to retain the Divas Championship

The Bellas were supposed to be babyface here, but Nikki won because of Brie kicking Naomi (the heel) in the face.  Ugh.  Anyhow, the finish gives an out to go back to a rematch for Naomi who can claim Brie cost her the match.  The match was good, and Naomi looked impressive.

Backstage, Rusev is ranting at Lana in Russian.  He points at her to go somewhere, and she ends up going to the Authority’s office.  The announcers debate what that is all about, the move into selling the Last Man Standing match between Big Show and Roman Reigns, next.  They roll a video package.

Match #6 – Roman Reigns vs. Big Show; Last Man Standing Rules

Show and Reigns get their entrances.  There’s a sign in the crowd that says “Last Man Awake”…lol.  Reigns poses for the fans to a decent reaction.  Show controls the early offense using his size, but Reigns holds his own.

Reigns goes out looking for a table.  Big Show boots him to the head and puts the table back.  Reigns counters a whip, sending Big Show to the ring post.  He follows it up with his running apron drop kick that sends Show to the floor.  The referee counts as Reigns sets up the table he got out earlier.  Show grabs Reigns and throws him into the barrier, then breaks the table in half.  “NO TABLES!” he yells.

Reigns wears Show out momentarily with a kendo stick, then gets thrown into the post.  He gets up at a count of five, then Show throws him in the ring, kendo stick in hand.  Show breaks it and yells “I’m a giant!”  Show throws Reigns to the corner but takes a big boot.  Reigns attacks, repeatedly splashing Show in the corner.  He goes to the ropes, and Show swats him out of the air and the count starts again.

Reigns rolls out but on his feet.  Show palms Reigns to the apron, but Reigns drapes him over the ropes.  Reigns grabs a chair and starts wearing Show out with it.  Reigns DDT’s Show onto the chair and the count starts again.  Reigns goes out and looks for tables, and puts them in the ring.  Show lands the WMD Punch, and the count starts.  Reigns staggers to his feet on seven.

Reigns falls back down so the count re-starts.  Show sets the table up and cues a chokeslam, but Reigns counters and hits a Samoan drop through the table.  Reigns gets to his feet, and Show rolls out and gets to his feet on the floor.  Show tries to spear Reigns through a table in the corner but Reigns moves.  Show spears him anyhow and yells “booyah!”  Reigns gets up at eight.

Show sets up a Vader Bomb and hits it.  The count starts again and Reigns gets up at 8.  Show goes top rope but Reigns crotches him.  Reigns laughs as Show screams.  Reigns drags out another pair of tables.  Reigns sets something up but Show shoves Reigns into the ring.  Reigns comes back with a big slam off the top rope.  Both men are down, but Reigns answers the count first.

Reigns lands a couple Superman punches.  He tries for the third but Show goozles him and chokeslams him through the two tables out on the floor.  Show counts along with the official.  Reigns just makes the count at 9.  He staggers to the ringside barrier and sits down again.  The count restarts.  Big Show goes looking for something to use on Reigns and tears apart the opposite side ringside steps.  He stacks them up next to the announce position.

Show rips the announce position apart.  Reigns crawls into the ring from the opposite side.   Chicago starts chanting for JBL.    Reigns pulls himself up against the table in the corner as Show mocks Reigns.  Show tries a spear but Reigns moves out of the way.  Show takes the table.  Both men sell.

Reigns gets up and hits a spear of his own.  At eight, both men are up, with each rolling to opposite sides of the ring.  Reigns hits a big spear through the barricade on Show, where he gets buried under it.  The count starts with both men down again.  Show gets up at 9.

Reigns gets up on the announce table but gets goozled.  Reigns fights  his way out, then hits a big spear onto the Spanish announce table in an impressive spot.  Reigns rips the steps away from the position Show set them up in before, then tips the announce position over on Show.  He gets up on the table and counts along with the official, and he scores the ten count victory.  Reigns celebrates as the announcers put over the effort of Reigns to win the match.  Staff helps get the table off of Reigns as they run highlights of the late sequence of the match.

Winner – Roman Reigns

It’s popular to boo Reigns, and he has his shortcomings on the mic.  It’s also seemingly fun now to chant “please retire” at Big Show.  But this was a hard fought match and Reigns has put in three solid pay per view matches back to back.  Show worked hard tonight and while this program should be over and hasn’t been all that great, Show has worked to put Reigns over.  This finish wasn’t decisive though, so expect another match.

Backstage, Randy Orton crosses paths with Kane.  He talks about how they have fought together and against each other.  He says that Kane has traded his mask away for a suit.  Orton tells him that The Authority is about protecting Seth Rollins, who Kane helped win the title.  He says that the Authority will throw Kane away like garbage when they are finished.  “I know who you are, Kane, even if you’ve forgotten.”

The announcers talk about the carnage at ringside, then move on to sell the Tough Enough video submissions.  They show several of them then talk about the process of submitting a video.

Bo Dallas’ music hits and he comes out.  He talks about seeing a sign that said “Welcome to Chicago, the second city.”  He says Chicago and the people are number one at collectively deciding to not take a shower before coming to the arena.  They’re number one at disrespecting an inspirational leader who is trying to make their lives better.  He tells them they need to be more concerned with following the rules, with treating each other better.

He tells them none of this can happen unless they kindly shut their mouths and listen to him.  He asks them to repeat after him  – “All you have to do is Bo Lieve…”

Ryback’s music hits, and here comes the Big Guy.  It’s feeding time.  Dallas smiles as Ryback comes to the ring.  Dallas attacks him and asks for the mic back but doesn’t get it.  He does get a spinebuster though.  Ryback hits the Meathook and calls for the time to finish it.  Shellshocked hits and Ryback chants “feed me more” with Chicago.  Cole calls that inspirational as Ryback plays to the fans.

The announcers hype the week’s content on WWE Network.

Backstage, Byron Saxton interviews Rusev.  Rusev insists he has never been beaten by John Cena, who is a liar and a coward.  Lana walks in and says that it is done, and the final chapter of Rusev and Cena will take place at Payback, and it will be an I Quit match.  Rusev says it’s fitting for America, as it’s a nation of quitters.  Rusev will go on as America’s champion and Cena will quit.

The cage begins to drop, as it’s time for the WWE Championship match.  Cole feeds it to a video package for a final sell of the match.

Match #7 – Seth Rollins (c, w/J&J Security) vs. Randy Orton; WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Steel Cage Match rules with the RKO banned and Kane as the Gate Keeper

Kane gets the first introduction, then Randy Orton.  The announcers talk about how it’s naieve to think that Orton doesn’t have any other tools to win matches.  Rollins comes out alone, rather than with the security stooges.  Rollins holds the belt up at the stage then makes his way down to the ring.  Kane eyes Rollins up from ringside, then locks the door.  Old-school introductions for both men once the cage is shut.

Pinfall, submission, or escape the cage wins this.  Rollins goes for a fast escape early, but Orton catches him.  The two start exchanging blows, with Rollins getting the better of it.  Orton explodes out of the corner into a clothesline.  Rollins goes for an escape but Orton catches him then yanks Rollins’ foot off the ropes and Rollins face-plants.  The announcers talk about how Orton turned that into an RKO last Monday.

Orton whips Rollins to the corner then hits an uppercut.  Dueling chants for the two men in the match.  Orton stomps away on Rollins mid ring then slingshots him to the corner.  Rollins grabs on to the cage and tries for an escape but Orton catches him.  He gets up on the ropes and hits some corner  punches but Rollins turns it into a buckle bomb for two.

Rollins calls for the door, so Kane has to open it.   Rollins starts for the escape but Orton catches him.  Rollins drives Orton into the cage for a two count, then Rollins stomps away on Orton.   They talk about Rollins having leg cramp issues and say he’s not moving as quick as normal.  Rollins drives Orton into the cage and says “this is what you wanted.”  He keeps up the assault.

Rollins goes for an escape, and Orton goes up with him.  They fight back down to the mat, and Rollins hits a neckbreaker off of running the ropes for two.  The crowd has settled in to watch.  Rollins charges and splashes Orton in the corner.  Rollins jaws at Orton, then turns to Kane and tells him he will do it all on his own.

Orton sidesteps a Rollins charge and throws him face first to the cage.  A strike exchange ensues, with headbutts, kicks and strikes.  Rollins tries to throw Orton to the cage, but Orton counters and Rollins goes face first.  Orton hits clotheslines and sets for the powerslam but Rollins escapes the move and tries for an escape of the cage.  Orton stops him and they battle on the ropes.

Rollins dives off the ropes and hits a flying knee for two.  Rollins sets up another escape as Orton sells.  They trade punches on the top of the cage.  Rollins dives off, but Orton turns it to a powerslam for two.  Orton sets up the hanging DDT, but Rollins rolls Orton up for two then hits a kneeling superkick for two.

Rollins gets up top and tries to escape the cage.  Orton catches him and drags him back in.  Noble and Mercury make an appearance and try to help Rollins by climbing the cage.  Orton gets Rollins back in and hits a superplex for two.  Noble and Mercury tell Kane “it’s time, let’s do it.”   Kane chases them away from the door.

Noble and Mercury climb opposite sides of the cage.  Orton runs Rollins into the sides of the cage, and knocks both of them off the cage.  Orton sets up the hanging DDT, but Rollins drops Orton over between the ropes and the cage. Orton mounts a comeback again and gets Rollins in the ropes.  He looks at Kane and heads to the door, then goes back to Rollins and hits the elevated DDT.

Orton plays to the crowd and gets some reaction.  Orton hits the Pedigree on Rollins to get a really good near fall.  Rollins kicked out at the last possible moment.  Orton thought he won and the fans chanted “yes.”  Orton sets up the punt, but Rollins dodges it and hits a kick of his own.  He demands Kane open the door and Kane does.  Rollins crawls to the door, but Orton catches him and hits the sidewinder backbreaker.

Orton goes for an exit but Kane shuts the door.  Orton asks what he’s doing, and Kane yells “no, get back, get back.”  Kane gets knocked down when Rollins tries a drop kick on Orton.  Rollins and Orton fight near the door, then Kane recovers and slams the door on both men.  The announcers debate who Kane was going after.

Kane gets in the ring with J&J Security in tow.  He confronts Rollins, then turns around and hits J&J with a double choke slam when they start giving orders.  Kane goes off, hitting Orton with a chokeslam.  Rollins laughs and rushes to the door, but Kane catches Rollins and puts him down with a chokeslam too.  He puts Rollins over Orton, and Orton kicks out in two.  Kane sets up the Tombstone on Orton, but Orton counters out and hits Kane with the RKO.

Rollins hits Orton with the RKO!  Cole asks what that was, as does Lawler.  JBL tries to justify it somehow.  In the meantime, Rollins crawls to the door and exits the cage.  Rollins retains the title.  J&J slowly crawl to the cage door as Orton sells the move and eyes Rollins up.

Cole and Lawler continue to point out that the move itself was banned from use.  JBL tries to say that it was banned for Orton to use, and that Orton used it on Kane first.  Rollins laughs, gets to his feet, then poses with the title at the  ramp as the show comes to a close.

This was slow in the early going, and got better as it wore on.  You just knew that somehow, Kane was going to get involved and nothing about the match would matter until he did.  I thought they did an alright job with Kane of telling the “anguish” story with Kane hitting moves on both men rather than just Orton (to help Rollins).  Still a bit too overbooked for my personal liking as this worked its way out though.  Also, there’s some convoluted storytelling with Rollins using the RKO, which was banned, to win the match.  I guess that’s a way to set up a rematch though, and we’ll see where it goes on Raw tomorrow night.

Overall, this show ended up coming off better than the hype for it, and everyone worked hard.  The crowd was into the action throughout the evening, which really helped, and all of the matches came off pretty good.  Drew and I previewed this card and thought it could be a good show despite the build, and it was.  No “match of the year” contenders, but a solid show.

Drew and I will break this show, and Raw, down this week on Ring Rap Audio, so be looking for that on Tuesday evening.  I’ll be by tomorrow evening with Raw coverage at 8PM EST right here on Ring-Rap.com.  Thanks for following along tonight.

extreme rules

The Current Card for WWE Extreme Rules

As of tonight’s Raw broadcast, the following is the current line up for the Extreme Rules pay per view.  The event will take place this Sunday at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL.

  • Seth Rollins (c, w/J&J Security) vs. Randy Orton; WWE World Heavyweight Championship under cage match rules, with the RKO banned
  • John Cena (c) vs. Rusev (w/Lana); WWE United States Championship under Russian Chain match rules
  • Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Bad News Barrett; WWE Intercontinental Championship (no stipulation yet announced)
  • Nikki Bella (c, w/Brie Bella) vs. Paige; WWE Divas Championship (no stipulation yet announced)
  • Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler; “Kiss Me Arse” match (loser kisses the winner’s ass)
  • Roman Reigns vs. Big Show; Last Man Standing Rules

It’s possible that there are some changes tonight, as Daniel Bryan was pulled from the European Tour due to “precautionary measures” and Paige apparently being written out to go film a movie.  We will update the card accordingly, and of course give you a preview and predictions tomorrow night on Ring Rap Audio.