WWE Raw: 5 Talking Points to Come from Monday Night's Show
Monday Night Raw continued its recent fine form this week, with the momentum gained at WrestleMania XXX showing no signs of letting up.
We saw a couple of brutal beatings, completely in keeping with the theme of the upcoming Extreme Rules special event, as well as a number of other peripheral developments regarding the rest of the show’s card.
There was also the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender’s Tournament to savour, including an excellent bout across the pond between Bad News Barrett and Sheamus.
In short, there’s plenty to discuss in the aftermath of Monday Night Raw this week. This slideshow looks to do exactly that as we run through five of the biggest talking points to emanate from the show.
Kane Makes a Statement
Last week Kane told us that the monster would return, and he certainly stayed true to his word.
Emerging from the crowd to attack Daniel Bryan, the Big Red Machine went on to hit the WWE World Heavyweight champion with no less than three tombstone piledrivers: one on the floor, one on the ring steps and one on the announcers’ table.
This was exactly what the feud needed. It had been in danger of being eclipsed by The Shield vs. Evolution, which is not what Bryan needs in his first title defence. Additionally, the assault built Kane back up as a legitimate contender, rather than the midcard star he’s been used as lately.
The nature of the attack also suggests that the Extreme Rules stipulation that's been added to their upcoming match will make for a rather exciting affair.
On another note, massive respect is due for Daniel Bryan, who opened the show despite the news of his father’s passing. An absolute professional during the hardest of times.
Hype for the Shield vs. Evolution
Although we didn’t see any physical confrontation, this was an important segment for each member of The Shield.
Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns all took turns talking trash as their adversaries looked on. But most importantly, the three rising stars each made a great impression and proved they can hang with the absolute best. Not that we doubted their ability to do so prior to this week, but events on Raw merely cemented their standing.
This is exactly how Evolution should be booked. This is not an ego trip for Triple H, it’s a means of furthering The Shield and elevating them to unprecedented heights.
It’s difficult to decide who stood out most. Ambrose showed the intensity that we’ve come to expect of him, and Rollins impressed with one of his lengthiest promos to date, while Reigns’ directness made him look as dominant as ever.
Whichever star shone the brightest though, I think all three members were winners with this segment. A nice way to build these guys up and further hype their Extreme Rules showdown.
Tag Team Titles Scene
Raw saw The Usos defeat Cody Rhodes and Goldust, while RybAxel looked on from the commentary position.
And truth be told, Ryback in particular was pretty entertaining with his various anecdotes. Within the ring though he was all business, as he and Curtis Axel jumped The Usos after their bout to deliver the champions an emphatic message.
Thus it would appear that RybAxel could be destined for a shot at the Tag Team Championships. A few months ago, that very idea would have perplexed many. But they’ve been on something of a mini-rise as of late, and after their dominant display on Raw this week, the former Heyman Guys are actually looking like a strong team—for perhaps the first time ever.
But beyond the title scene, we also saw the potential meltdown of Cody Rhodes and Goldust.
While nothing concrete was given away, Cody stormed off after taking the pinfall and pushed his partner away in frustration.
If the duo is set to split, then I can’t help but think it’s a major angle wasted somewhat. Hopefully they’ll drag it out a little, rather than hurriedly put something together for Extreme Rules, as their brotherly feud could potentially be something very special.
Intercontinental Championship Tournament
Another key development from Monday Night Raw was the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender’s Tournament.
First Bad News Barrett progressed at the expense of Sheamus, after a brilliant match that showed just how valuable both men are to the company, before we saw Rob Van Dam pick up a victory over Cesaro via count-out.
Naturally it wasn’t that straightforward though, as it was Jack Swagger who cost his former partner the win. This was hardly an unexpected turn, but it sets in motion a midcard feud that has the potential to yield an entertaining program. With Paul Heyman and Zeb Colter also involved, I feel this is a far better use of Cesaro at present.
But regarding next week’s final of the tournament, it seems likely that Barrett will go over Van Dam. RVD does not need another shot at the IC strap, while Barrett could really benefit from one.
In fact, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see the Englishman defeat Big E and win his fourth Intercontinental Championship.
He's Got the Whole World...
Monday Night Raw closed with The Wyatt Family beating down John Cena after their 3-on-1 Handicap Match had gone in the latter’s favour via disqualification.
The most impactful part of this segment though was not the match itself, but Wyatt’s actions afterwards. Having incapacitated his opponent, Wyatt sat cradling a limp Cena whilst saying his trademark tune, “he’s got the whole world in his hands."
Despite his excellent performances thus far, there have been one or two mutterings of Wyatt not actually making a whole lot of sense with his promos. But on Raw this week, did we finally see some meaning behind his crazed ramblings? Was the downing of Cena some sort of metaphor for holding the "whole world in his hands"?
Perhaps I’m reading into this one too much but, for me, the fact that such hints are being dropped is exactly why this feud has been so great. It’s different, it’s unique and it’s certainly out of the ordinary.
Was Wyatt’s dominance a sign of things to come? Obviously it will be a different story inside a steel cage at Extreme Rules but nevertheless, the WWE continues to captivate our interest here with one of the better rivalries in recent years.
Given all that went down on Raw, the eagerly anticipated Extreme Rules show just became all the more appetising.
The Shield vs. Evolution promises to deliver, but all of a sudden Bryan vs. Kane in an Extreme Rules match looks quite capable of equalling or even bettering the quality of the six-man tag action. Add to that bouts for the Intercontinental, Divas and, most probably, Tag Team Championships—not to mention Cesaro’s feud with Swagger and a steel cage match involving Wyatt and Cena—and you’ve got an awesome card for a supposed “lesser” show.
Extreme Rules has been looking to shake that reputation in recent years, and if this year’s show lives up to expectations, then we could soon be mentioning it alongside the likes of SummerSlam and the Royal Rumble.
This week’s showing of Monday Night Raw played its own small part in making that a possibility.
But what did you guys think of the show? Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on Raw, as well as the article itself and any of the issues that were discussed.