In the last Raw before Extreme Rules, the WWE world was hoping the action from Tulsa would be both thrilling and successful in extending several storylines.
With nearly every star in action—even Triple H and Brock Lesnar—it's safe to say that the fans got their wish.
Let's take a complete look at what happened during this week's crucial and eventful episode.
Fandango attacks Chris Jericho after Summer Rae fakes an ankle injury
Ryback squashes Zack Ryder in about 14 seconds
Teddy Long announces Dolph Ziggler is officially out for Extreme Rules
The Prime Time Players defeat Tons of Funk
Kofi Kingston defeats Damien Sandow
Sheamus out-whips Mark Henry
Randy Orton defeats Antonio Cesaro
The Miz defeats Heath Slater
John Cena and Team Hell No defeat The Shield in an Elimination Match
Jack Swagger defeats Big E Langston via countout
AJ Lee defeats Natalya
Triple H and Brock Lesnar battle inside a cage
The Shield Finally Loses...Kind of
Let's go through the match in chronological order.
Kane was the first to get himself eliminated, but he certainly got his money's worth, beating up on the entire opposing trio outside the ring and eventually clocking Roman Reigns with part of the announcer's table. Unfortunately, it got him DQ'd.
Daniel Bryan was next, although he also got some good offense in, flying and flipping around the ring and showcasing his entertaining skill set. He was also the centerpiece of arguably the funniest Twitter interaction of the night:
@heelziggler NO! NO! NO!— Travelocity Gnome (@RoamingGnome) May 14, 2013
Well played, Travelocity.
Bryan was eventually eliminated by Dean Ambrose (although it took work from the entire threesome), leaving John Cena to fend for himself.
Naturally, the WWE champ pinned Seth Rollins before Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose both got disqualified. One-on-3? No problem:
Nevertheless, the Shield got the final laugh with a triple powerbomb and—as if they needed any more momentum on their current push—a compliment from Stone Cold himself:
After the match, Ryback came down the ramp and attacked Cena's ankle with a chair.
The current champion is undoubtedly the favorite at Extreme Rules, but the WWE has been putting in a ton of work in the last few weeks to add some unpredictability and make Ryback out to be an unstoppable monster.
Triple H and Brock Lesnar Give Us a Little Preview
Triple H came out and gave another terrific promo, but he did it under some, well, interesting circumstances—like, you know, inside a cage:
How excited are you for Lesnar vs. Triple H at Extreme Rules?
As it turned out, there was a reason.
After Heyman talked about how HHH would have to wait until Sunday to face his client, Helmsley snapped back and got under Lesnar's skin, forcing him to come to the ring.
The two eventually battled it out inside the cage for a couple minutes before HHH threw Lesnar out to end the show.
Many may be tired of this feud, but this was an excellent way to build up the anticipation for their final match on Sunday.
Put two huge athletes inside a cage and you have the ingredients for an entertaining match—no matter how much you might not like said athletes. We got a little showcase of that on Monday night.
No More Ziggler
This was a real concern when it was revealed Ziggler had suffered a concussion on Friday's SmackDown (you can see the kick that did it in the following video), but it became official on Monday night: The World Heavyweight Champion will not compete at Extreme Rules.
Thanks a lot, Jack Swagger:
While this is a significant blow to the upcoming pay-per-view, it's important that Ziggler be medically cleared before re-entering the ring, and it's apparent that hasn't yet happened. Now the show must go on.
In his absence, Swagger and Alberto Del Rio will battle for the No. 1 contender spot in an I Quit match.
The early reaction is, well, underwhelming:
"It will be a number one contenders "i quit" match." *4 people cheer* #raw— PINFALL Magazine (@PINFALLMagazine) May 14, 2013
"It'll be an "I Quit" Match!" - and the crowd goes mild. @tnacreative— Beek E. Dangerously(@JaimsVanDerBeek) May 14, 2013
Nevertheless, Swagger, who went on to beat Big E Langston in a solid match later in the night, and Del Rio, who went on to attack him afterwards, are both capable athletes and the intrigue of an I Quit match is undeniable.
I'm on board.