Bayless’ RAW Rundown 4/13/15


April 13, 2015

From London, England

Your hosts are JBL, Booker T, and Michael Cole, who is back.

The show starts with John Cena’s music playing, something the crowd boos loudly. A lot of fans were chanting “John Cena Sucks” along to his theme song. Cena smirks and runs to the ring where he talks about not always getting along with the fans of London before calling them the excited and energetic crowd as the boos lighten up a bit. He issues an open challenge for his United States Title then Bad News Barrett’s music hits as the fans go nuts. Barrett then questions why should he wait until Extreme Rules to face Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Title when he can win the US Title tonight. Solid segment that was short and to the point and they were smart not to have Cena pander to the crowd forever in order to get cheered because that was not going to work with this crowd, especially with him going up against Barrett.

John Cena d. Bad News Barrett with the AA (9:46) **1/2

The match started after the commercial break. Cena’s eye still looks messy from his match against Stardust last week. Solid TV match here. The last few minutes were fun as each guy got to kick out of each others finishers. The fans were totally into Barrett’s nearfalls too. Cena won but after the match Rusev’s music hit and Lana came out to distract Cena while Rusev attacked him from behind. Lana then tells us that at Extreme Rules, they will fight in a Russian Chain Match.

Replay of last week when Randy Orton became the #1 contender to Seth Rollins’ World Heavyweight Championship. We then learn that Orton will face Cesaro while Seth Rollins goes up against Dolph Ziggler, with the winner getting to choose the stipulations for the title match at Extreme Rules. They are making it obvious that Orton is winning here but the way in which the stipulations will be selected are uninspired to say the least.

Paige Won a Divas Battle Royal to Become the #1 Contender to the Divas Championship (3:56)

The Bellas came out on commentary for the match. Rules stated that eliminations could occur by getting thrown to the floor by any means. Funny moment when asked who she wanted to face at Extreme Rules, both of the Bellas said Rosa Mendes and that caused everyone on commentary to laugh. Poor Rosa. Nattie was the second diva eliminated, ironically enough by Rosa, as the match started out really fast then time almost seemed to stand still when Alicia Fox and Cameron had a long heat sequence on Paige. The last two in the ring were Paige and Naomi and they had an okay back-and-forth sequence for a minute. Back from break, Byron Saxton was in the ring with Paige, who tells us she won the Divas Championship in her WWE debut match then talks about winning a match at her first WrestleMania before talking about how hard she worked in England before making it to WWE. Paige then declares this is her “house” and then gets attacked from behind by Naomi, who beats the crap out of her on the floor. Good beatdown by Naomi, who seemed natural as a heel here.

We get a promo from Bray Wyatt, telling us that love can be blind. He then tells us that fear is much stronger than any love could ever be as he goes on for a minute, saying nothing he hasn’t already said in promos before, then ends by turning around to show a logo on his vest before declaring himself “The New Face of Fear.” I take it that Bray is undergoing a gimmick change of sorts going forward.

Lucha Dragons d. The Ascension as Sin Cara hit Viktor with a Senton Bomb (2:15) *

Crowd started a mild “NXT” chant at the beginning of the match. The first minute of the match was the Ascension getting heat on Hunico. The crowd popped when Kalisto ran wild off of the hot tag and the crowd was into the Lucha Dragons offense, even doing the “Lucha” Chants after the match. The announcers noted that Tyson Kidd & Cesaro better take note of the Lucha Dragons. They also noted how the Ascension have “cooled off.” Ain’t that the truth. Nice to see the Lucha Dragons faring well though. Kalisto has looked awesome since his debut.

Booker T. conducts an in-ring interview with Roman Reigns. Reigns is asked about his match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and how he feels after getting robbed of the World Heavyweight Title. He got 60/40 boos coming out. The interview starts as they push the notion that Reigns is mentally tough. The crowd then starts a “suplex city” chant as Reigns takes that in stride and then asks the crowd if they like brutal fights, for which they cheer loudly. Reigns then says that he beat Rollins before and will do it again. He is asked about the Big Show and calls him Rollins’ “giant bitch” as he then asks the crowd if they agree and they do. The Big Show then appears on the big screen as he tells Reigns while he lost, he won the “Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal” at WrestleMania, cementing himself as the most devastating giant in history. He then tells Reigns that he will make him become the biggest failure in history. Reigns then calls Show the “Jumbotron Giant” for speaking to him backstage instead of in the ring, then he calls out the Big Show for not having any balls. Reigns closed the interview by threatening to retire the Big Show and heads backstage but gets attacked by Show, while the crowd starts a “please retire” chant. Show then chokeslams him on top of a car that was parked on the entrance ramp as the crowd screams “you sold out.” Good segment for Reigns here as he was able to win over some of the crowd that booed him at the start and that is really important for him. His best live performance on the mic ever, IMO. It also helped that the segment was not as overproduced as a majority of his interviews have been. They also sold their match at Extreme Rules as well as they possibly could have, being as these two have wrestled numerous times over the past few months and it was not all that exciting to begin with.

Randy Orton d. Cesaro w/ Tyson Kidd & Natalya by Disqualification (2:20) 1/4*

The referee rules the match a DQ as Tyson distracted Orton. A terrible finish. However, Kane comes out and orders this a 2 on 1 match since Kidd got involved.

Randy Orton d. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro after hitting Kidd with an RKO (6:37) *1/2

About half of the match took place during the break. The finish looked great as Kidd tried for a springboard move but got hit with an RKO in midair. Most of the match saw the champs double-team Orton. Not particularly exciting or anything but in defeat it did not bury the tag champs.

Backstage, Rollins is with Kane and J&J Security. Rollins says that he will not be facing Ziggler, but rather Jamie Noble, who takes offense to being asked to lay down for Rollins then talks about Kane, who shuts him up by threatening to hook up his testicles to a car battery. Rollins then reminds Kane that the main goal of the Authority is to protect him and the title and that he should lay down for him, because it is best for business. He then threatens to call Triple H as Kane walks away, with Rollins assuring J&J that Kane will do what is right. Rollins was superb as a weasel heel here.

Dean Ambrose d. Adam Rose with the Dirty Deeds (2:09) 1/2*

Quick match that wasn’t all that good. At least it served a purpose of giving Ambrose a quick win. Adam Rose’s stock is in the toilet these days.

Kane hung up the phone after speaking with the Authority. Big Show confronts him and reminds him how Rollins losing this match tonight is not best for business and neither is Randy Orton as a champion. Big Show then reminds Kane to do what is right for business as Kane agrees to the match against Rollins.

Stardust d. Fandango w/ Rosa Mendes with the Disaster Kick (1:07) 1/4*

Stardust hit his finisher after Fandango was unable to hit a top rope leg drop. After the match, Fandango stood on the announcers table and said his problem was that he was only sharing his dancing with Rosa, not the whole world, then they played his song as he danced while the crowd sang along. Fandango even took JBL’s cowboy hat and saluted the crowd as Rosa was pissed standing in the ring. As a one-time deal this was fine but attempting to recreate the “Fandagoing” from two years ago is most likely not going to end well for Fandango, who is in desperate need of a gimmick retooling.

Daniel Bryan and Kane met in the hallway. Bryan asked Kane what happened to him and that he was going to do something that WCW did to go out of business by laying down for Seth. Bryan then questioned Kane’s integrity before saying he felt sorry for him until Kane shouted at him to leave. Bryan then walked off as Kane attempted to calm himself down.

Seth Rollins d. Kane after Kane put Rollins on top of him after a chokeslam (4:33) DUD

Kane wavered back and forth from laying down to looking like he would fight. He finally chokeslammed Rollins but then became conflicted and laid down, putting Seth’s arm on top of him for the pin. He then angrily stormed off backstage. This was bad in terms of storytelling and just a lazy way for Rollins to get to choose the stipulations. Even a tag or six-man that ends in a screw job would have been better as it would have at least made sense. Just an hour prior Kane was screwing over Orton so why would the fans be all that invested in him here? Surprisingly, the crowd was into the beginning of this but the London fans has been into everything. They are a fun crowd.

Damien Mizdow w/ Summer Rae d. The Miz with a rollup (2:01) 1/2*

Miz was shocked to see Summer accompany Mizdow. Half of the match consisted of Mizdow copycatting Miz. After the match, Summer, who co-starred with Miz on “Marine 4,” kissed Mizdow on the cheek as the Miz threw a fit. This feud continues.

The Prime Time Players make fun of the other tag teams, specifically Los Matadores, as they attack the stereotypes of the gimmick as Titus questions who ever heard of Puerto Rican bullfighters. These segments let Titus show his personality, which his is strong suit. I find the PTPs entertaining.

Ryback d. Luke Harper by Disqualification (1:46) 1/2*

These guys traded power moves until Harper hit Ryback with the top of the announcers table. After the match, Dean Ambrose ran out as Harper bailed through the crowd as the feud between these two heats up.

Byron Saxton is backstage with Naomi, asking her about why she attacked Paige. Naomi at first started off somber then started to laugh as she said this is about her, not anything else. She also questioned why they had to have a Battle Royal to determine the #1 contender when she beat Nikki Bella twice as Naomi then goes on about being sick of waiting for opportunities and being passed over. Good promo from Naomi as this new character is the best thing she has done so far. They also mentioned AJ briefly here, with Naomi scoffing over the idea that she is a legend. That was said more in character of Naomi than actually burying AJ, IMO. And with Naomi as a heel, that leaves an open spot on the roster for a new babyface diva, so I suspect an NXT girl to fill that slot very shortly.

Dolph Ziggler comes out to issue an open challenge since his match with Rollins was cancelled and Neville comes out to accept.

Dolph Ziggler d. Neville with the Zig Zag (9:08) **3/4

Awesome showcase from Neville, who busted out crazy moves like walking across the barrier before hitting a picture-perfect 450 splash. Despite losing twice, Neville is getting a healthy amount of offense in these matches and is booked to look like a promising up-and-comer instead of a guy who is not good enough. After the match, Sheamus came out to attack both men as his new role of the bully continues.

We get a replay of the Big Show attacking Roman Reigns then we learn that Show will address his actions on Smackdown this Thursday.

We also get a plug of all the new WWE Network Original Shows.

Rollins and J&J Security sit in the ring as Rollins picks the stipulations of his match at Extreme Rules. Rollins did a great job at heeling the crowd and has been on a roll for months now. He then invites Orton to the ring so he can tell him face-to-face about the stipulations he has chosen. Orton asks Rollins to fight now but that doesn’t happen as Rollins tells Orton that the stipulation he has chosen is that the RKO is banned then laughs as he says the Authority always wins. Orton then thinks about his stipulation as he wants to take away his greatest weapon, the Authority, and said he chooses a cage match. Rollins tells Orton the cage does not scare him. Orton then said since the RKO is banned, he has to give the people there money’s worth as he tips Rollins over in his chair then after a scrum he hits one of the stooges with an RKO as Rollins escapes.

Final Thoughts: Not a bad show overall. The first hour was good but the show tapered off after that. The show-long storyline revolving around the World Heavyweight Title match stipulations at Extreme Rules was terribly written and contrived. But on the plus side they are showcasing the recent NXT call ups like Kalisto and Neville and Reigns had a very strong night as a performer, something that he needed. I also liked the new direction with Naomi’s character as she showed a ton of personality here. They are also shaping up the card at Extreme Rules nicely but the final hour was a drag to the show. A lot more inspired than last week’s show, even including the jumbled stipulation storyline.