The Good, the Great and the Awesome from Raw 4/14/14
The April 14 episode of Raw is in the books, and the foundation of WWE was shaken by the return of Evolution.
No longer willing to sit back and watch as The Shield ruins their plans to destroy Daniel Bryan, Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton reunited and struck down the Hounds of Justice to close out this week's show.
John Cena and Bray Wyatt exchanged words and agreed to a steel cage match at Extreme Rules.
A tournament to determine the No. 1 contender to the Intercontinental Championship featured eight immensely talented individuals vying for the opportunity to challenge Big E for his title. Sheamus, Rob Van Dam, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio and Bad News Barrett delivered some very solid wrestling and carried the show from an in-ring perspective.
Paige made her first in-ring appearance since capturing the Divas title, new videos hyped the impending debuts of Adam Rose and Bo Dallas, Alexander Rusev tore through Xavier Woods and WWE paid tribute to their most ultimate Superstar of all-time.
What was good, great and awesome about this week's show?
Find out now.
Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio
RVD and Del Rio are two Superstars who have plenty of good matches against each other but never really had that great match together.
Monday night continued that trend as they opened the show with a perfectly acceptable match that never really hit the next gear. The majorly noticeable missed kick from Van Dam was ugly, and the sometimes disjointed nature of the action hurt it severely.
Van Dam's win was the right call, especially given the fact he had just returned and would be facing Cesaro in the next round. At this point, he is far more over than Del Rio, who has fallen out of relevancy after losing the World title to Cena last October.
A good way to start off the show but nothing more.
Paige vs. Alicia Fox
A very intense match between Paige and Alicia Fox made up the Divas action for the evening.
Fox was more aggressive than normal and appeared motivated by her newcomer opponent. She utilized three impressive backbreakers to wear down the Divas champion, but Paige fought back and locked in the scorpion cross lock for the submission win.
Scoring a victory over former Divas champion Fox was a great way to start her title reign, and now, Paige will likely move on to a series of rematches against AJ Lee at Extreme Rules. Given the champion's submission finisher and Lee's own Black Widow, perhaps a submission match is on the horizon for both competitors come May 4.
A More Aggressive Cesaro
The No. 1 contender tournament match between Cesaro and Mark Henry was probably the worst-worked match Cesaro has wrestled in months. With that said, it did allow the Swiss Superstar to unleash with a series of hard uppercuts and forearms that showed a new aggression from the former United States champion.
Since becoming the latest "Heyman Guy," Cesaro's character has changed, becoming meaner and more focused than ever before. It works extremely well for him and may be exactly what he needs to finally break through the proverbial glass ceiling and achieve main event greatness.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett
The best match of the night took place between Ziggler and Barrett and featured a hot closing segment that got the fans invested and created momentary doubt the surging Barrett would escape with the victory.
Ziggler was his typically great self, while Barrett continued to look more motivated and energized than ever before. The finish, which saw Barrett catch a recovering Ziggler with a vicious Bull Hammer, was spectacular, and it ended the bout on a high note.
Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger
The runner-up for match of the night honors saw Sheamus defeat Jack Swagger in another tournament match.
The Superstars provided a hard-hitting match with solid transitions and great in-ring work. Sheamus hit all of his trademark offense but never once did the bout feel stale or boring.
Swagger was exceptional in the match and should probably earn a look for a solid midcard singles push rather than fading into obscurity now that he and Cesaro are no longer teammates.
John Cena and Bray Wyatt Promos
The most interesting feud in WWE, strictly from a quality of promos stance, is the one between Cena and Wyatt. On Monday night, they added more intrigue to their newly announced steel cage match at the upcoming Extreme Rules.
First things first, however. Yes, Cena's comedy dragged down the promo, especially once the photos of Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were put up on the TitanTron. With that said, the manner in which Cena completely flipped the promo around and became intensely serious brought the entire ordeal home strongly.
Wyatt was outstanding, as usual, and really showed just how outstanding of a performer he really is. A lengthy promo in front of a live audience can undo some, especially when their best work has typically come in pre-taped segments. Wyatt, however, was incredible and only thrived by feeding off of both Cena and the crowd.
A great way to set up what should be a great match at the May 4 live special.
Rediscovering the Monster
After being berated by Stephanie McMahon for revealing that The Authority had a hand in the Director of Operations' beatdown of The Shield, Kane channeled his inner monster and retrieved his mask from the glass display case in The Authority's office.
The return of the Big Red Monster should present Bryan with a challenger that he can easily overcome at Extreme Rules before moving onto Triple H, Orton or Batista in the weeks and months that follow.
Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista reformed Evolution on Monday night and wasted little time in sending a message to the other dominant trio in WWE, The Shield. They left Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns lying unconscious in the center of the ring and posed to close out the show.
With three former WWE and World Heavyweight champions combining to reunite in a trio that once controlled the landscape of professional wrestling, the challenge for The Shield is greater than ever. Will they be overcome three future Hall of Famers and restore justice to WWE?
An Ultimate Tribute
WWE's tribute to the Ultimate Warrior was an incredibly classy gesture. The company and its performers honored the memory of one of wrestling's greatest characters to start the show and the several highlight videos were aired throughout the show.
One of the most shocking and unexpected deaths in recent memory, Warrior's demise stunned the wrestling world, and WWE has done an outstanding job of memorializing him since last Tuesday.