Superstars Nation, we meet again. So glad you could join me. Whether you are the loyal reader of the Saturday Slam or are like my mother – who clearly sees the novelty of her son writing professionally diminish with each passing week – I’m so very touched to have you here. Not much has happened since I last scribed this Professional Wrestling masterpiece. Unless of course you leave out the part about one of the greatest WrestleManias of all-time, an intense, action-packed Raw and the passing of yet another wrestling legend far too soon. I also finally met my Managing Editor, Brad, for the first time this weekend. Not a bad fellow I will admit and that’s not just because he called my work “very entertaining and a fun read.” Seriously though, what a tremendous week to be a wrestling fan and not one I’ll soon forget. Especially since I believe I ate my body weight in chicken wings. So sit back, say a little prayer for those we’ve lost and let’s head down to ringside!
Your announcers tonight are Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton.
DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. RYBACK (W/ CURTIS AXEL)
A fascinating pairing to start us off this week in the sense that the last time we saw these two square off, Dolph’s brains were scrambled like Sunday breakfast. He has since bounced back and was on a pretty good roll leading into Mania though he did suffer defeat this week to Jack Swagger on Main Event. Ryback in that time has remained a rather rotund jackass.
Some loud “Let’s Go Ziggler” chants start us off as our announce team chats up Dolph winning the World Heavyweight Championship a year ago this week. Ryback has no time to hear about past success as he dominates the offense before we hit our first commercial break. He manhandles Ziggler and tossed his prone body over the bottom ropes where Axel sucker punched our hero. This caused our imbalanced night-after-Mania fans to start an Axel chant that might have caught the former IC Champion off guard a bit. Ryback used plenty of power moves and slams but also briefly busted out a variation of the Million Dollar Dream. Ziggler received a second wind that was quickly extinguished by a spine-buster slam. Goldberg… I mean Ryback then inexplicably went upstairs only to eat a nasty X-Factor by Ziggy. Dolph only got two on that move as the fans continue to chant. Ziggler went for a sleeper but no one has lost a match with that hold since 1989 so The Big Guy scored with a stunner, seemingly knocking Dolph out.
But alas, there was still more in the tank for Ziggler who caught Ryback with a drop kick and a DDT before Axel hopped up on the apron. The slight distraction led directly to a nasty power bomb and it was curtains for Ziggy. For good measure, Ryback used a shell shock to remind us that he once won matches back in the day. WINNER: RYBACK
Thoughts: Never a good sign when you lose to one half of an ice-cold tag team but at least Ziggler is remaining relevant enough to consistently appear on television. I think Rybaxel needs a stable to join and provide meathead muscle though I suppose the Authority is covered in that department now with Orton and Batista.
Today is a gift and that’s why they call it the present. All you have to do is Bolieve! Bo Dallas is coming. Sorry Mom! Sorry PTBN Main Event guys! The greatest champion in NXT history is moving on up. Read it and weep!
Okay, I’m done weeping for joy. Time for some Raw footage beginning with an absolutely electric promo by Paul Heyman and the conqueror of the streak, Brock Lesnar. We get an abridged version here but it’s definitely worth a rewatch. Heyman calls the Undertaker a loser and all the fans and the guys in the lockeroom wannabes. One man’s opinion: Undertaker losing was the best thing that could have happened for the company. No longer do they have to use a streak match as a crutch leading into Mania. Taker looked old, slow and out-of-place in today’s product and we should commend him for his longevity. We will always remember WM XXX for that moment when the ref shockingly counted to three and those reactions in the arena and at my table at Boneheads were priceless. In addition, Heyman’s hype video and this Raw segment were simply fantastic. I think we are finally going to see the Lesnar many of us have been begging for since he returned in 2012.
More from Raw as The Wyatts battle John Cena, Sheamus and Big E. Boy that rowdy Raw crowd loved them some Bray Wyatt. The swaying of the arms and the singing created a tremendous, soccer match like atmosphere. Even in defeat at Mania, I feel the Wyatts will stay red-hot. It’s a shame seeing Big E jobbing these days but Raw is where secondary champions go to lose.
KOFI KINGSTON VS. TITUS O’NEIL
Speaking of jobbing, out comes Kofi Kingston. Had it not been for Undertaker, Daniel Bryan, The Shield, Cesaro, The Usos, Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Stone Cold, Triple-H, Big Show and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, everyone would have been talking about the actual biggest story in Professional Wrestling last week. Obviously I am speaking about the unimaginable clean as a sheet victory for Heath Slater and 3MB over Kofi on Superstars a week ago. It still amazes me, almost more than when Lesnar beat Taker. The Kingston Redemption Tour begins now!
Aside from the swank entrance theme and the barking, did everyone remember O’Neil has gone solo? Has he reached Brodus Clay levels as far as breaking off a popular tag team only to be a tepid singles competitor yet? Seesaw battle for much of this one until Kofi absorbed a huge boot to the face by the former Florida Gator. They exchange some chops until Titus catches him with that multiple back breaker spot. Kofi connects with a dropkick off the top and then starts the comeback. Everything is going according to plan connecting with running clothesline and the boom drop setting the table for the big finish. But there would be trouble in paradise of a different variety as Kingston might have botched a cross-body attempt and looked to hurt his left knee. Smelling blood in the water, O’Neil planted Kingston with the Clash of the Titus and this one is history. WINNER: TITUS O’NEIL
Thoughts: Yikes. I wonder if Kofi is actually the one being punished for Punk walking out. Seems as good of an explanation as any. On the flip side, good victory for Titus who could be an excellent opponent for either Big E or Dean Ambrose should they decide to make their titles mean something again.
Adam Rose? That’s quite a push for the artist formerly known as Leo Kruger. Consider me intrigued though I’ll keep expectations low. He could just as easily be another Fandango rather than the next Cesaro. Admittedly, I did enjoy the deranged Kruger character a great deal at NXT.
Our time together grows short as we reached our final segment the powers that be call the Raw Rebound. Cue the celebration of Daniel Bryan finally winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. Triple-H, of course, gets his goon squad to pummel the champ before his rematch could begin. The Shield then save the day as you probably read earlier this week by the aforementioned and always delightful Brad. This storyline of Bryan vs. The Authority still has plenty of wind in its sails with the Shield involvement and the reformation of Evolution. Bryan is now the king of the world and we can only hope his reign will be worth the wait.
Final Thoughts: Two matches featuring power guys vs. speed and agility and in typical Vince fashion, the hosses won the day. Wins and losses don’t mean much we all know, but they probably should use this show to establish new challengers for the current title holders. If Mania taught us anything, it was out with the old because the new guard is ready to shine. Much like the theme song, there truly is a new day coming. All you have to do is Bolieve!
In Memory of Warrior (1959-2014)