Mike Rotunda must have been watching the May 26 WWE Raw with pride, as the go-home show prominently featured his sons.
Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas each scored major victories of different kinds on the last Raw before Payback. Wyatt added to his monstrous aura by approaching a violence that never came to fruition. Dallas ventured into Raw's spotlight, his time on the main roster promising to be longer and more successful than his brief run in 2013.
Cesaro joins the brothers as another big winner from Monday's Raw. He added momentum, scored a pinfall win and was given quality airtime.
Brad Maddox and Drew McIntyre fans weren't nearly as happy as the "Cesaro Section." Those two Superstars slid down the WWE ladder, suffering losses that point to a discouraging future.
Both Cesaro and Rob Van Dam are headed toward title matches at Payback. Only one of those men emerged from their clash on Monday's Raw looking like more of a threat to the titleholders than he did beforehand.
"The King of Swing" dominated Van Dam, overpowering him for the majority of the match.
He cracked his head against the barricade and knocked his head back with uppercuts. Cesaro was more aggressive than he had been in previous meetings with "Mr. Monday Night." WWE clearly wanted Cesaro to come out of this contest with great momentum.
Van Dam did eventually stage a rally, but in the end it was a German suplex that earned Cesaro the win.
Sheamus charged in after the bell. His Brogue Kick had Cesaro taking an impromptu nap in the middle of the ring. While that doesn't sound like something to celebrate, the fact that WWE has been putting so much focus on this United States Championship match is a victory for both men.
Loser: Brad Maddox
Maddox is out as Raw General Manager.
The Authority storyline has pushed him out of the spotlight for much of his tenure, and on Monday's Raw the group sent him home. Last week, Maddox sent out Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns as guest commentators during Seth Rollins vs. Batista despite Triple H banning everyone from ringside. His punishment for that act was severe.
Stephanie McMahon sent Kane after him.
The masked man chokeslammed Maddox. Smirking, McMahon leaned over the fallen GM and fired him.
The GM position was the only thing keeping Maddox onscreen. He has rarely wrestled and was infrequently used even when asked to run Raw. Now that McMahon has removed him from that spot, he's likely to fade away even more.
Winner: Bo Dallas
Dallas' second time on the main roster has already been more of a success than his first.
A lack of character, minimal direction and an absence of connection with the audience dragged him down last year. On Monday's Raw, WWE showed how much its confidence in him has grown.
After defeating Sin Cara on last Friday's SmackDown, Dallas beat him with little resistance on Raw.
Beyond the boost to his win-loss record, Dallas got a chance to grab the mic after the bell and spout his cheesy positivity rhetoric. His victory lap and patronizing words of encouragement to Sin Cara are fantastic elements to his character that weren't around last time.
Crowd reaction to this act was sparse but a slight improvement from what he received on SmackDown. The fact that WWE had him dominate Sin Cara twice and gave him some mic time are signs that the company will allow Dallas a chance to turn that muttering in the crowd to hearty booing.
Loser: Drew McIntyre
For McIntyre, it must feel like he held the Intercontinental Championship in another lifetime.
He's now been made into a joke. Being a part of the comedy trio 3MB is one thing, but losing to a man who wouldn't be 5'0'' if he stood on a phone book is a new low.
El Torito improved his record by pinning McIntyre in about two minutes.
Repairing one's image after a loss like that is a herculean task. WWE wouldn't ask Randy Orton or Alberto Del Rio to do take a loss against a little person. McIntyre, who could be a gladiator for WWE, is clearly just a clown in officials' eyes.
"The Chosen One" would have likely preferred dressing up as Davy Crockett or being fed to Rusev.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Attacking the announcers as a means to show off a heel's mercilessness is a WWE tradition. Wyatt went this route on Monday's Raw and came out of it looking more dangerous and more heartless.
"The Eater of Worlds" invited Jerry Lawler to sit in the ring, supposedly wanting to have a chat with him.
Once Lawler sat among The Wyatt Family with Bray grilling him, it felt like a chicken had willingly entered a den of wolves. Wyatt accused Lawler of spreading lies to the audience. He threatened to inflict "a necessary evil" upon him.
Tension rose. Wyatt grinned.
John Cena and The Usos eventually saved the commentator. En route to that moment, though, Wyatt looked even more like a sadist than he had before. The ominous nature of his aura increased on Monday night, something his fans hope will continue at Payback and beyond.
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