After one of the wildest episodes of Raw in WWE history last week—the post-WrestleMania Raw is one of the most unpredictable events each year—the fans knew that this Monday’s episode wasn’t going to be quite as epic.
Despite the lack of hype around this week’s Raw, the intrigue over what Ryback would say about his decision to attack WWE champion John Cena and how the face of the company would respond had the fans at a fever pitch.
Add in the anticipation over what CM Punk would say and which direction the storylines heading into the next pay-per-view (Extreme Rules), and this became a very enjoyable edition of Raw.
As great as WrestleMania was, it's great to see the WWE is already focused on building a great Extreme Rules.
Raw Results from April 16 (via WWE.com)
Sheamus and Randy Orton defeated Big Show
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman challenged Triple H to a steel cage match.
Kofi Kingston defeated U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro.
Jack Swagger interrupted World Heavyweight champion Dolph Ziggler's rematch with Alberto Del Rio.
WWE Tag Team champions Team Hell No defeated The Prime Time Players.
R-Truth defeated Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett.
Team Rhodes Scholars defeated Santino Marella and The Great Khali.
Fandango addressed the “Fandango revolution”.
Jack Swagger defeated World Heavyweight champion Dolph Ziggler.
CM Punk walked out on the WWE Universe.
Nikki Bella defeated Divas champion Kaitlyn.
The Shield interrupted WWE champion John Cena's confrontation with Ryback.
John Cena and Ryback Officially Begin Their Feud
After Ryback attacked John Cena to end last week’s episode of Raw, the anticipation about what reasoning Big Hungry would use to defend his actions was the biggest focus. Not only did Ryback’s video explaining his actions expose a long-term plan from the WWE to make this feud happen, it showed just how talented the muscular star could be on the mic when given the chance to shine.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Will Ryback Lose Again?
It’s hard to tell what role The Shield will play in the battle after they brutally attacked Cena and Ryback did nothing, but after watching Cena overcome the odds to beat The Rock for the WWE Championship, there is no way he would lose the title at Extreme Rules. That either means yet another PPV loss for Ryback or something monumental will happen that changes the landscape of the WWE title scene.
WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts shared a front-row photo of the defending champion getting a surprisingly massive ovation during the start of the final segment on Raw:
Justin Roberts @JustinRoberts
It's LOUD in here for @WWE Champion @JohnCena #RAW !! http://t.co/8IHIOp48zQ2013-4-16 02:56:31
While The Shield attacking Cena was an interesting twist, WrestleZone pointed out that the last segment felt like it was written by wrestling’s internet fanbase:
The Shield attack Cena whilst Ryback just stands and watches. Am i in an IWC dream? #Wrestlezone2013-4-16 03:07:09
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H; Thrice in a Lifetime
While most fans wanted to hear CM Punk speak, his lack of comments led to Brock Lesnar stealing the show Monday by brutalizing 3MB and calling out Triple H for a steel cage match at Extreme Rules. If you didn’t like it the first two times, prepare yourself for the final and deciding battle between these men.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Does the WWE Universe Really Want This Again?
While there will be a very vocal minority that will absolutely hate the rubber match between Lesnar and Triple H, this feud has been a success and has utilized two part-time stars well. As long as Lesnar comes out on top in the next battle between these men, this is the kind of feud that helps draw fans to secondary PPVs. Instead of complaining, we should enjoy Paul Heyman genius handling of Lesnar while we still have it.
Lesnar’s manager Heyman knows exactly what to say and when to say it, and the comments from the former WWE and UFC champion about retirement being the easier way out for Triple H are perfect:
Paul Heyman @HeymanHustle
Brock just told me - "Retirement would have been easier for @TripleH!" HERE COMES THE PAIN!2013-4-16 02:14:34
Bleacher Report’s own Graham Mirmina expressed his displeasure about the fact that this match is coming to fruition again and that the dirtsheets got this correct:
Graham Matthews @WrestleRant
Lesnar vs. HHH in a Steel Cage at Extreme Rules. Why are the dirt shirts always right when I don't want them to be? #Raw2013-4-16 00:27:02
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