The Shield and Evolution Wage War
The show-closing segment and match made for some great final hype for this Sunday's Extreme Rules, where The Shield and Evolution will compete in a six-man tag match.
Ric Flair's involvement was largely unnecessary. As great as he once was, he looked and sounded awful Monday night and added nothing to the show. His endorsement of The Shield was met with near silence by the audience, and it had no effect on the remainder of the night's festivities.
The Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton match was nothing special, but given that they only had so much time to compete, it should not be surprising.
The meat of the entire ordeal was in the post-match confrontation. Triple H, Orton and Batista beat Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins down for several minutes, to the point that it appeared as though Raw would go off the air with Evolution standing tall. Then, Rollins flew through the air and caught Batista with a flying knee.
From there, The Shield mustered a massive comeback and cleared the ring of their opponents this Sunday night.
Typically, this would indicate that The Shield is doing the job this weekend, but with Ambrose scheduled for a three-on-one handicap match for his United States Championship, there is still plenty of time for the Shield to be weakened leading into the pay-per-view.
Bad News Runs Wild
Bad News Barrett has been as good as he has ever been since returning to the ring on April 7, and he capped off a strong run Monday night by defeating Rob Van Dam and earning an opportunity to compete for Big E's Intercontinental Championship.
Barrett's pre-match promo, in which he talked about Van Dam being a thing of the past, was excellent, and his ring work was incredibly strong. The interference from Cesaro and Swagger and the general overbooked nature of the bout kept it from placing in the "Awesome" section of this week's article, but Barrett still left a major impression and is one of the many bright spots in the current WWE product.
Whether he can win the Intercontinental Championship and continue his acclaimed return to the ring at Extreme Rules is uncertain, but given the fact that he was on Raw and the champion was not, his chances have to be strong.
Stephanie McMahon: Wrestling's Best Heel
Over the last month, there has not been a hotter heel on WWE programming than Stephanie McMahon. She is so disingenuous and conniving, and it has gotten her over to a level that some of the top heels in the business only wish they could achieve.
She has been stellar on the microphone, and her delivery is spectacular. The way she addressed Bryan and Brie on Monday night was Stephanie at her sleazy, villainous best and the fact that everyone knew she was full of it only enhanced the performance. She can hold the audience in the palm of her hand and elicit a reaction the same way her father did during the Attitude Era.
It is disappointing that she is a woman, then, because no performer is strong enough to go up against her on the Divas roster, robbing fans of a potential big-money match.