This week’s episode of Monday Night Raw was never likely to live up to the exceptional standards of the April 8 showing.
But after such an impressive all-round display on the post-WrestleMania broadcast just seven days earlier, there was a real desire amongst fans for the WWE to capitalize on their growing momentum and keep up the good work.
Though ultimately the drama of last week was not to be replicated, Raw gave us some rather intriguing storyline developments to digest this time around instead.
Taking such instances into account, this article identifies five of the most prominent talking points to emanate from Monday night’s show.
After showing up to decimate 3MB, Brock Lesnar had his representative Paul Heyman announce the former UFC Champion’s desire for a WrestleMania re-rematch with Triple H.
Though many may be averse to a third consecutive bout between the two, I think this is an outcome that we can be pretty satisfied with on the whole.
First off, it makes logical sense. The two are tied with one win apiece, and thus there is a genuine need for a deciding contest at Extreme Rules.
Secondly, having Lesnar win (which I assume he will) would be the perfect conclusion to what is now looking like a rather well-booked feud.
Lesnar first went over first to restore his reputation as a monster-heel. Triple H then got the customary WrestleMania babyface-win to tie the series, and now Lesnar has the chance to ultimately come out on top and move on to bigger and better things.
And for those that remain skeptical, at least by having the match at Extreme Rules we now know that the rivalry will be done with shortly. Oh, and it’s also a steel cage match.
Who doesn’t want to see a steel cage match?
Part of me thinks this could be a last-minute contingency plan in light of the Rock’s injury, which scuppered a potential Brock vs. Rock program.
Either way I think this could be a sensible way of utilizing Lesnar in the meantime.
There were a number of interesting developments on Raw regarding three of the company’s Championship belts; the United States, Intercontinental and World Heavyweight Titles.
Firstly, Kofi Kingston defeated Cesaro to end his eight-month title reign and become the new US Champion. This title-change was pretty out of the blue, but having said that it’s hard to be surprised by the WWE’s handling of their mid-card belts as of late.
The same can be said for the IC Title as Wade Barrett, fresh from surprisingly regaining the gold on Raw last week, found himself jobbing to R-Truth.
As with the Cesaro-Kingston situation, I can see why the WWE may have done this—in the hope of building a couple of potential feuds for the future—but it all just seems a little inconsistent from a booking perspective.
Also, Dolph Ziggler was defeated by Jack Swagger, the same man who failed to beat former champ Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania.
Again, one can see how the WWE are trying to build a significant feud here, but having won the title through cashing in Money in the Bank, Ziggler now needs to be built up as a dominant and worthy Champion.
Defeating Chris Jericho on SmackDown was a positive move, even though it wasn’t a clean win, but losing to Swagger on Raw was a step backwards in my mind.
Perhaps I’m overreacting or allowing myself to be somewhat biased, but don’t you agree that the WWE needs to handle the booking of their Champions a little better?
Now this is a big announcement.
After a brief altercation on Raw last week with the Shield, The Undertaker is now set to team with Team Hell No to take on the Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose on Monday Night Raw next week.
From a personal point of view I’m a little peeved, as I bought tickets to Tuesday’s SmackDown taping in London on the basis that it was being advertised as Undertaker’s first London appearance in four years. But I’m willing to overlook that for the sake of this article.
Having the Undertaker wrestle on Raw will be great, particularly if he can use his legendary status to put over the up-and-coming Shield faction.
Based on what we saw at WrestleMania he certainly is in decent enough shape, which begs the question as to whether or not this appearance will be the first of many more?
I for one most definitely hope so, but it all seems a little too good to be true to me, wouldn’t you agree?
In what was a fairly odd segment, the WWE attempted to further push the “Fandango Revolution” and show us how the craze has “taken the world by storm.”
For me, I’m not sure what was more surprising; the fact that the WWE are actually embracing this fan-led fad or the fact that they actually thought the segment on Raw would be a success.
The truth is that Fandango hasn’t necessarily taken the world by storm, rather he has taken the European and hardcore-US wrestling fans by storm.
The fact is that the reaction of a post-WresteMania crowd, which usually contains only the most committed WWE fasn, will not easily translate to arenas across America.
Also, much of Fandango’s success has occurred in England.
For example, having his entrance music end up just four places outside Radio 1’s UK Top 40 chart and eventually pushing the same song to be played at Goodison Park prior to Everton vs. Queens Park Rangers (not the Rangers FC) on Saturday afternoon.
Much like the enthusiasm of the crowd in the Izod Centre, it’s difficult for these instances to be replicated week-in-week-out whenever the WWE desires.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully behind this Fandango push. I’ve been following all of the drama on Youtube and Twitter and I’m loving every minute of it.
But given the WWE’s demographic, it’s the kind of thing that the company just needs to let the fans get on with naturally, rather than try and impose it on those who aren’t necessarily all that into it.
Ryback turned on John Cena last week.
But all along, I did not think this was a fully-fledged heel turn. Rather, it seemed like Ryback was merely living up to his reputation as a destroyer and Cena just happened to be the man in his way.
However events on Raw have since made me think otherwise.
Ryback’s promo was pretty good in my mind, and that’s coming from a guy who has never been a real fan of his. I liked that it was pre-recorded, a good move from the WWE as it gave the whole segment a somewhat darker feel.
Furthermore, Ryback backed away from a fight with Cena and simply stood and watched as The Shield beat him down.
Now that’s textbook heel behaviour.
It may just be a tease, but it’s certainly an even stronger suggestion than last week that Ryback is indeed turning heel.
To get a conclusive answer though, we’re going to have to monitor this situation closely for a few more weeks.
As stated earlier, it wasn’t the most spectacular showing of Raw this week, but there were a number of intriguing developments nonetheless.
We now look to have a whole host of title matches on the cards for Extreme Rules, as well as a blockbuster steel cage match to decide the winner of the Triple H/Brock Lesnar feud.
But what did you think of Monday Night Raw this week, were the Champions handled poorly?
What did you make of the Fandango segment?
How do you think the situation with Ryback is going to play out?
And although it wasn’t included in the article, what do we make of CM Punk’s apparent walk-out after a brief and incomplete address to the WWE Universe?
Comment below with your thoughts on all of the talking points to come from Raw, as well as any opinions you may have on the article itself.