WWE Week in Review, May 10: Bad News Barrett Shines, Adam Rose Arrives on Raw
From an excellent Extreme Rules pay-per-view to an enjoyable edition of Monday Night Raw, it was another wild week in WWE that featured a little bit of everything. With the summer season quickly approaching, it'll be exciting to see what WWE has in store for the coming months.
Daniel Bryan was successful in defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Kane at Extreme Rules but was once again pursued by The Devil's Favorite Demon the next night on Raw. Will Kane's evil antics earn him another shot at the gold at Payback?
The Shield may have beaten Evolution in a battle last Sunday, but the group has not yet won the war if Evolution's attack on the rouge trio on Raw was any indication. Can Evolution bounce back from their loss and prove their dominance over The Shield?
With a little help from his cult members and a demon child, Bray Wyatt silenced the masses when he defeated John Cena at Extreme Rules. Will Wyatt's quest to bring Cena over to the dark side continue going forward?
I will break down the week in wrestling by analyzing all of WWE's weekly programs and occasional pay-per-views, including each show's highlights, low points and other noteworthy, monumental moments. Also, I will give an award to the show and Superstar that shined the brightest over the course of the week.
Match of the Week: The Shield vs. Evolution: Extreme Rules
Over the last year, many people (myself included) have compared The Shield to Evolution due to their dominance, championship gold and all-around awesomeness. A match between the two factions was unthinkable at this time last year, but seeing the match finally come to fruition this past Sunday at Extreme Rules was a dream come true.
Sure, it wasn't in the main event slot of the show, but it didn't need to be. It started out as a standard six-man tag team match and made me worried that it wouldn't live up to expectations.
However, the six men soon removed all doubt when they amped up the intensity down the stretch and went all out. Triple H, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose took the action to the outside, leading to Rollins making a 20-foot jump from the stands onto The Game!
In the ring, Reigns nailed Batista with a scintillating spear for the victory. It's a good thing that a rematch is in the cards for Payback, because this is one match I would have no problem seeing again.
Superstar of the Week: Bad News Barrett
Bad News Barrett's constant bickering on his elevated podium didn't seem to serve a purpose for months on end, but it finally proved to be worth it. Since returning to the ring the night after WrestleMania, Barrett has been a force to be reckoned with in the ring and has won almost every match he's competed in over the last month.
That strong streak of victories continued at Sunday's Extreme Rules event when he defeated Big E to capture the Intercontinental Championship for the fourth time in his career. The next night on Raw, Barrett was successful in defending his title against the former champ before defeating him again in tag team action on SmackDown.
Here's hoping Barrett can make the strap mean something again.
Show of the Week: WWE Extreme Rules
Since its inception in 2009, Extreme Rules has consistently been one of the most enjoyable events of the year. It never fails to entertain, and this year's installment was no exception.
It might not have been the most newsworthy show compared to WrestleMania 30, with only one title change occurring, but it didn't need to be. The headlining matches were what made the show memorable, for better or worse.
While both The Shield vs. Evolution and Kane vs. Daniel Bryan were excellent, John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt was overbooked and far worse than expected. That one match, however, was simply a small blemish on what was otherwise a very fun night of action.
The most important aspect of all was that everyone who won on this show debuted in the year 2010 or later. That hasn't been the case in quite some time, and it truly showed that we are in the midst of a changing of the guard at the moment.
I, for one, am excited for what the future will bring and hope WWE can keep the good programming coming.
This Week's Highlights
Hornswoggle vs. El Torito
Very few people expected this match to be as entertaining as it ended up being, so I have no shame in admitting that I thoroughly enjoyed this bout from start to finish. Kudos to everyone involved, including the other members of Los Matadores and 3MB, who took some crazy bumps. Heck, I will go even as far to say that it was the best pre-show match in months! Too bad it was ruined by the matches and segments involving the two teams that happened in the subsequent week (more on that in the Low Points section).
United States Championship
Now, I'm not going to say that just because the U.S. title was treated with respect this week that it is automatically prestigious again, as it will definitely take time before that belt will mean what it used to.
That being said, I definitely appreciate the effort WWE put into legitimizing the strap this past week with a good Battle Royal on Raw and a great title match between Sheamus and Dean Ambrose on SmackDown. Sheamus is the perfect fit to be champion, and the way he won the Battle Royal seemed to indicate that a heel turn is on the horizon.
Adam Rose debuts
I am well aware that the gimmick might not be for everyone, but personally, I loved the heck out of this. I've been a major advocate of the gimmick since day one and am glad to now see it on the main roster. Will it have any lasting power? It's hard to tell at this point, but given what happened with Brodus Clay and Fandango, I would bet against it. But I'll enjoy the entrance and everything about the act until it starts to get stale.
The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield
It may not have been their best bout yet, but it was still a very good Raw main event. The action was exciting in the final few minutes, and the Evolution interference protected The Shield in defeat.
The Wyatt Family were on a major roll this week, also picking up wins at Extreme Rules and on SmackDown. If Bray Wyatt didn't look so weak at the pay-per-view, he just might have been named the Superstar of the Week over Bad News Barrett.
Batista vs. Seth Rollins
It wasn't the action that made this a great match but rather the story they told in the ring. Batista strategically decimated Rollins, and the crowd came alive whenever Rollins came back with any offense. The count-out finish was smart in protecting Rollins while still giving Batista the win he desperately needed.
Kalisto and El Local vs. The Legionnaires
Words can not explain how happy I am to see something of a tag team division finally forming in NXT. It's too early to tell, of course, but if this match was any indication, then I have hope. The match was very fun, and the obvious star was Kalisto, who made his NXT TV debut on this show. He has a ton of potential, and I can't wait to see what he brings to the table now that he's finally arrived.
Alexa Bliss vs. Alicia Fox
Bliss had an impressive outing against Fox in her debut match and showed that she, too, has a lot of potential to be a star in NXT's women's division. New talent was needed, so I'm glad to see Bliss on NXT TV finally. She's still coming along, but it's amazing to think how good she is considering she's only been training for a year or so.
This Week's Low Points
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
It's no secret that I have loved the feud between Cena and Wyatt dating back to when it first started, but it officially jumped the shark for me at Extreme Rules. This match, along with their WrestleMania 30 clash, showed that they have little to no chemistry with each other in the ring.
Not only that, but the interference from Luke Harper and Erick Rowan here was overdone and tiresome. I expected interference, don't get me wrong, but not as much as we ended up getting. It made Wyatt look extremely weak, and even the finish was campy.
Yes, Wyatt ultimately emerged victorious, but at what cost? I know the feud will be continuing until Payback, but I personally have no desire in seeing a rematch between the two.
Kane chases Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
As much as I enjoyed their Extreme Rules match and thought it was one of the better matches on the show, the angle they ran on Raw was pretty ridiculous. Everything involving masked Kane over the course of his career has felt like a horror movie, but the bad acting of Brie Bella combined with the dumb logic that Bryan would get out of the car to check on Kane only to drive away killed any interest I had left.
WWE is in a holding pattern with this feud, I understand that, but this storyline was a bit too campy for my liking.
3MB vs. Los Matadores
As previously stated, I loved the WeeLC match at Extreme Rules, but the Cinco de Mayo segment on Raw along with the six-man tag team match on SmackDown made me remember why I hated this feud to begin with. The matches are terrible and the segments are painful to watch. They clearly come off as filler, but you'd think WWE would come up with better ways to utilize these guys and not do the same match every week.
Santino Marella and Emma vs. Fandango and Layla
Do I really need to explain why this match is in this column? Along with 3MB vs. Los Matadores, it's the feud that will never end. The matches, while well wrestled, are pointless, and I cringe every time Emma pulls out her own version of the Cobra. She's far too talented to be put to waste by being paired up with Santino.
Also, what was so special about the kiss between Fandango and Layla? Was that really significant in any way?
Natalya and The Funkadactlys vs. Tamina Snuka, Aksana and Alicia Fox
It's nice to see storylines carry over from Total Divas to the main shows, but why should I care about a beef between Natalya and Cameron over a lost (that was eventually found) cat? Cameron is annoying to no end, and unless this leads to a heel turn from her, I couldn't care less what problems she has with Natalya.
Oh, and a match happened, and it was rather forgettable.
Camacho vs. Captain Comic
I love the Adam Rose persona, but is it really necessary for any of his party-goers to wrestle? I'm sorry, but like with Damien Sandow, I can't take anyone who wrestles in a cape seriously. This match dragged on far longer than it needed to, and I still don't know why I should be invested in Camacho at all. He's mediocre at best, and we know nothing about him.
Charlotte vs. Emma
I won't mind if Charlotte will be the one to win this NXT Women's Championship tournament, but she still has a long way to go in terms of her in-ring skills. She has certainly improved, but if not even Emma can get a decent match out of her, then there will be problems during her expected title run.
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Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.