WWE Monday Night Raw, April 22: GSM's Analysis and Aftermath
As WWE traveled across the pond to London, the stars of WWE Raw produced an extremely enjoyable episode on Monday night. With rare appearances from The Undertaker, Triple H and Mick Foley, this was certainly continued the strong streak of spectacular shows in England.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of predictions and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in the coming weeks.
Triple H Responded to Paul Heyman's Challenge
Hot segment to kick off the show featuring Paul Heyman and Triple H. As stated last week, I'm not high on the idea of another rematch between Brock Lesnar and HHH, but if anyone can make it worth watching, it's Heyman.
His verbal exchange with Triple H was fun while it lasted and the Pedigree from The Game was a nice treat for the live London crowd. This was an opener that served its purpose in setting up a marquee match for next month's Extreme Rules event while also setting the tone for the rest of the show.
R-Truth def. Antonio Cesaro
Good match between Antonio Cesaro and R-Truth. It's sad to see Truth reverting back to his rapping gimmick, as it was in England two years back that he shockingly turned heel.
Cesaro's losing ways continued, which shouldn't come as any surprise given his win-loss record since the start of the year. If Cesaro eventually invokes his rematch clause for the rematch for the United States Championship, it's a mistake to not have him look like a threat against Kofi Kingston.
His yodeling gimmick is absolutely atrocious, aside from the fact that it managed to garner a significant amount of heat from those in attendance.
Damien Sandow w/Cody Rhodes def. Brodus Clay w/Tensai
Brief match with Damien Sandow defeating Brodus Clay. There wasn't anything necessarily wrong with the bout, but it was too short to mean anything.
Seeing Sandow score a victory is always great, but how much credibility does it give him if it's over someone like Clay? He's capable of much bigger things than being relegated to a throwaway tag team feud with Tons of Funk.
World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler w/AJ Lee and Big E Langston def. Chris Jericho (Non-Title)
Great match between World Heavyweight champion Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho. These two always work well together and their chemistry is never anything short of amazing.
It was given great time with the near-falls were quite convincing. Fandango's entrance music distracting Jericho was smart booking, as it allows Ziggler to score a big victory over a notable name while Y2J loses nothing in defeat.
Sure, I'm a bit disappointed Jericho won't be involved in the World title match at Extreme Rules, but I hope to see these two fighting over the golden prize at some point down the line.
Tensai w/Brodus Clay def. Cody Rhodes w/Damien Sandow
Fine match with Tensai defeating Cody Rhodes. This was pretty much a rehash of the Brodus Clay vs. Damien Sandow match from earlier only with different competitors.
Tensai showcased impressive abilities in the brief bout, but it's a shame that his comedic gimmick is what is holding him back at the moment. I feel just as bad for Rhodes, who was once seen as a future World Champion.
He's still young and has his entire career ahead of him, but he has been irrelevant for over a year at this point and doesn't look to be moving up the card any time soon.
Big E Langston def. Zack Ryder
Basic squash match with Big E Langston decimating Zack Ryder. Langston received minimal heat from the live crowd, but he had an impressive outing in the squared circle.
WWE officials see quite a bit of potential in Langston, so here's hoping they take their time with his character. Ryder, on the other hand, received a loud pop for someone who rarely ever wins matches.
It's worth noting he wasn't sporting his usual look here, which could indicate a change in character for Ryder.
The Shield def. The Undertaker and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No
Excellent match with The Shield defeating The Undertaker and WWE Tag Team champions Team Hell No. The setup for the match with The Shield cornering 'Taker only for Daniel Bryan and Kane to make the save was very well done.
Everyone hit their signature spots and managed to keep the action exciting throughout the bout. Having Bryan be the one to take the fall for his team was the best bet and it still gives the sadistic stable a huge victory over three established talents.
I was pleasantly surprised to see this match have a clean finish much less even occur, so it was certainly a nice treat to see the Deadman wrestle on Raw for the first time in over three years.
Fandango w/Summer Rae def. William Regal
Nice match between Fandango and William Regal. Although the London crowd was signing along to his entrance music, Fandango still managed to maintain heat by facing the hometown hero in Regal.
Being the massive fan of Regal that I am, it was great to see him compete on the flagship show in England, even if his match was rather brief. The two worked a fun match with one another with Fandango ultimately emerging victorious.
Chris Jericho tossing Fandango off the stage shortly thereafter was an effective way of furthering the feud between the two. It remains to be seen as to when Y2J will be back, but I highly anticipate his feud with Fandango picking up where it left off when he returns.
AJ Won a Battle Royal to Become the No. 1 Contender to the Divas Championship
Throwaway Divas battle royal with AJ Lee becoming the new number one contender to the Divas Championship. The division doesn't have enough Divas in order to have a battle royal, so it seemed pretty pointless.
It was nothing out the ordinary and filled with the usual array of botched spots, but Layla being featured in England was a nice touch. AJ finally sets up the long awaited feud between her and Kaitlyn that hopefully ends with her winning the title.
Mick Foley Confronted Ryback
Lackluster segment featuring Ryback, Mick Foley and WWE champion John Cena. I love any involvement Foley has on WWE television, but he wasn't correctly utilized here.
Of course, his mic skills her strong as expected, but didn't capture the same chemistry he had on the mic with CM Punk a few months back. Ryback is not tremendously terrible on the mic, but his most of lines felt forced and fell flat.
The Shield's involvement was unnecessary, as I didn't care to see them brutalized by Ryback and Cena for no apparent reason. Cena delivering an Attitude Adjustment to Ryback was poorly executed, but it was bound to happen with Cena being on the receiving end of a beat-down for the last two weeks.
Overall, an extremely entertaining show that featured a number of highlights and solid in-ring action. There was also a significant amount of build for Extreme Rules, which was good to see.
Honestly, I didn't even notice that top stars such as Randy Orton, CM Punk, Sheamus, Big Show, Mark Henry and others were absent from the show. This edition of Raw felt like something we would see if the brand split was still in effect, so it's nice to know that WWE can still produce a quality show without some of their SmackDown stars.
As always, the England environment made for an awesome atmosphere and definitely enhanced the show as a whole. WWE always produces fun shows when they travel across the pond, and this episode was no exception.
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