WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 13
WWE Raw invaded Jolly Ol' England for the April 13 episode of Monday Night Raw, leaving in its wake some of the most puzzling booking decisions in recent memory.
From Dean Ambrose returning to face Adam Rose, of all people, to Fandango suddenly becoming a babyface in front of a raucous British crowd and Naomi turning heel from out of nowhere, fans were definitely left with an entertaining and buzzworthy show.
As Extreme Rules approaches, the main WWE feuds got plenty of airtime.
Roman Reigns fell victim to a vicious chokeslam on top of a taxicab. Seth Rollins managed to infuriate both No. 1 contender Randy Orton and his own associate in Director of Operations Kane. Rusev laid out John Cena with a steel chain before Lana revealed a Russian Chain match stipulation for the pay-per-view, and Paige won a Battle Royal to earn the right to challenge Nikki Bella for the Divas title.
With all of that happening on one night, not to mention a stellar performance from Neville in a match against Dolph Ziggler, there was a little bit of something for everyone on this week's broadcast.
Relive everything that went down and check out grades, analysis and recaps from each match and segment with this look back at the April 13 show.
WWE United States Championship Match: John Cena vs. Bad News Barrett
John Cena kicked off the show, greeted the London fans and reiterated his open challenge for the U.S. title. Bad News Barrett, in his native land, accepted the challenge, and the first match of the night was underway.
Barrett delivered a big Wasteland and nearly picked up the win, but a resilient Cena fought back, ducked a Bullhammer and delivered the springboard stunner that he debuted back at WrestleMania.
From there, he delivered the Attitude Adjustment for the win.
After the match, Rusev attacked John Cena with a steel chain. It was then revealed that the bout between the two at Extreme Rules will be a Russian Chain match, straight out of 1980s NWA.
John Cena defeated Bad News Barrett to retain the U.S. title.
A great way to kick off this week's show.
Cena and Barrett demonstrated the chemistry that they previously were missing during their 2010 feud, leading to a quality match to start the night's festivities.
The Rusev attack and Russian Chain match revelation are good, old-school booking that gives the Extreme Rules pay-per-view a fresh gimmick match and one that could be gloriously brutal, given the talent involved. Cena and his top contender have had two excellent matches thus far, and their feud-closing bout on April 26 should be no different.
The Bulgarian Brute finally getting one over on the champion after his disappointing loss at WrestleMania was sorely needed.
No. 1 Contender Divas Battle Royal
Paige made her return to the United Kingdom on Monday night as the WWE Divas battled for the right to challenge Nikki Bella for the Divas title.
A rather nondescript Battle Royal ensued, with Paige staving off elimination with the assistance of Naomi, the same Naomi she would toss to the floor to preserve her victory.
After the match, Paige was in mid-promo when a frustrated Naomi inexplicably attacked her and left her lying there, much to the dismay of the U.K. crowd.
Paige won the Battle Royal and will challenge Nikki Bella at Extreme Rules.
The match itself was nothing special. A Battle Royal is a Battle Royal, unless the Andre the Giant Memorial trophy is at stake.
The biggest development was not Paige earning a shot at the Divas title at Extreme Rules but, rather, Naomi's sudden heel turn.
Does it make sense? Not necessarily. At least not yet. But is it interesting? Yes.
Will it spark interest in a Divas division that recently lost its biggest star in AJ Lee? Absolutely.
It has been a long time since the Divas title has been the centerpiece of an actual story that did not involve AJ, so—whether her change in attitude fit her story to this point or not—it is interesting and gives Naomi an opportunity to be someone more than the energetic dancer.
Lucha Dragons vs. the Ascension
Kalisto and Sin Cara continued to gain momentum for themselves this week as they battled fellow NXT alumni The Ascension.
Konnor and Viktor continued to struggle as they were outmatched by the speedy Lucha duo.
Sin Cara scored the win for the popular babyfaces with the Swanton Bomb.
Lucha Dragons defeated The Ascension.
There was a time when the Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension could headline any given episode of NXT and be treated like a huge deal. Now, Konnor and Viktor have fallen so far down the card that the once-dominant duo is essentially enhancement talent for the lightning-quick babyfaces.
Kalisto and Sin Cara are a talented team, one that could accomplish great things in the WWE. Continuing to roll, they should be the next challengers to Tyson Kidd and Cesaro's tag titles.
Roman Reigns Promo
Booker T introduced Roman Reigns, who entered to a nice pop, which turned to boos and chants of "suplex city," a reference to his WrestleMania match against Brock Lesnar.
Reigns blamed Big Show for keeping him out of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.
The giant appeared on the video screen as chants of "please retire" rang out. Reigns criticized Big Show for not saying whatever he had to say to his face, rather than on the Jumbotron.
As Reigns was leaving, he was attacked by the World's Largest Athlete, who delivered a massive chokeslam on the top of a taxi that left the juggernaut in need of a stretcher.
"Thank you, Big Show!" The fans chanted their appreciation at Big Show for keeping Reigns out of the WWE title match at Extreme Rules.
"Please retire!" Those same fans begged for the giant to hang up his abnormally large boots.
This felt like a segment designed to get Big Show over as a threat to Roman Reigns, but it fell flat.
The London fans made it clear that they do not, nor does anyone else, want to see the inevitable pay-per-view match that will come out of this ordeal. Sure, the chokeslam was nasty, and it was nice to see Reigns look vulnerable, but no one really buys the behemoth as any sort of threat to the younger, better and more explosive Reigns.
If anything, he will only hold back the progression of the second-generation star.
Handicap Match: Randy Orton vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd
Despite being nowhere near the same spot on the card, Cesaro has proved to be one of Randy Orton's toughest opponents, dating back to a SmackDown bout between them a year ago. That match was won by the Swiss Superman.
Their latest bout had hardly any time to get going as Tyson Kidd interfered about two minutes in, drawing a disqualification. Director of Operations Kane, using the excuse of not wanting to give the fans a disqualification finish, restarted the bout as a handicap match.
Orton overcame the numbers disadvantage and caught Kidd with an RKO mid-flight to score the pinfall win.
Randy Orton defeated Cesaro by disqualification.
Orton defeated Cesaro and Tyson Kidd in a handicap match.
Randy Orton just beat the tag team champions in six minutes.
And WWE Creative wonders why the titles are never considered as prestigious as they were in the heyday of Demolition, the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs. Perhaps it is because Ax and Smash were not getting jobbed out to Hulk Hogan on meaningless episodes of Wrestling Challenge.
This was completely counterproductive, as Orton does not look like any bigger of a star than he did coming in, and the champions were completely and utterly buried—and reminded of where they stand in the grand scheme of things despite the gold around their waists.
Dean Ambrose vs. Adam Rose
Dean Ambrose had been missing from television for the last week, selling the effects of a powerbomb through the announce table by Luke Harper.
In his return match, he battled Adam Rose.
It did not go well for the WWE's resident partygoer, who endured Dirty Deeds and lost to the Lunatic Fringe in a glorified squash.
Dean Ambrose defeated Adam Rose.
This did what it was meant to do: remind fans that Ambrose is still around.
As he had not appeared on two consecutive WWE programs, it was natural that WWE Creative would think its audience has short attention spans and suddenly forgot that he existed.
Or something like that.
Anyway, a win over an enhancement talent like Rose does nothing to help Ambrose, leaving some to wonder why he would even be put in this position, rather than saved for a big return later in the broadcast.
Fandango vs. Stardust
In another strange matchup this week, Fandango returned to Raw, battling Stardust.
It was hardly a match, though, lasting only one minute and ending when Stardust picked up the win with the Beautiful Disaster kick.
After the match, Fandango broke up with Rosa Mendes, embraced the audience and danced to his old theme song, seemingly executing a babyface turn.
Stardust defeated Fandango.
This was interesting.
The match itself was nothing of note, but the post-match events set in motion a turn from Fandango that could inject some life into his act. The darker, edgier Fandango was going nowhere, so a return to his roots indicates that the WWE may have recognized the mistake.
Whether this leads to anything fresh and exciting for the underrated worker, or if it was merely a way to get an arena full of fans Fandango-ing again, remains to be seen.
Kane vs. Seth Rollins
After being urged to be a man rather than a stooge by former tag team partner Daniel Bryan, Kane made his way to the ring for his match with WWE World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins.
Despite being urged by the Architect to lie down, the Director of Operations was hesitant. He caught the champion with a big uppercut, then shook off orders to deliver a spine-rattling chokeslam. Before he could find his inner demon, though, he lay down and draped an unconscious Rollins over him, allowing him to pick up the win.
Seth Rollins pinned Kane.
This would be more effective if we had not seen Kane find the demon, lose the demon and find it again so many times over the last few years.
It does make sense that a proud competitor like Kane would become tired of taking orders from someone like Rollins, leading to the re-establishment of the Devil's Favorite Demon, but we are at a point where it seems like every year, he is putting the mask back on.
Sooner or later, it loses its effect.
While it could be cool if done correctly, the odds are that it will be the same retread that WWE Creative has produced since 2012.
Damien Mizdow vs. The Miz
After attacking The Miz on SmackDown and ruining his special Marine 4 edition of Miz TV, Damien Mizdow further irritated his former employer, showing up for their match with Summer Rae by his side.
While the former WWE champion attacked Mizdow before the bell, it was the one-time stunt double who was able to pick up the win, scoring a rollup for the victory.
Damien Mizdow defeated The Miz.
This was a match that, ideally, would have been saved for Extreme Rules or another pay-per-view telecast. Instead, Mizdow gets his much-anticipated win over The Miz in a meaningless, two-minute-long match. What was the purpose?
Now, instead of making fans pay to see the lackey get the win over his boss, they got to see it on a free episode of Raw no one will remember by next week.
This was an awful booking decision here.
Ryback vs. Luke Harper
In a rematch of last week's Raw, Ryback battled the dangerous Luke Harper.
The heavyweights battled for under two minutes when the action spilled outside the ring. Harper used part of the announce table to strike the Big Guy, leading to a disqualification.
After the match, Dean Ambrose attempted to garner a measure of revenge on Harper for the announce table powerbomb a few weeks back, but the former Wyatt Family member retreated.
Ryback defeated Luke Harper by disqualification.
The short matches and random booking decisions have hurt this show tonight.
Harper and Ambrose make for a potentially great match for the Extreme Rules card, but sacrificing Ryback to set it up is puzzling, especially given the strong reaction for the Big Guy.
The use of the announce table again by Harper was a nice touch and foreshadows a Tables match between them on April 26.
The end result of a match between two of the WWE's most unpredictable stars, not to mention most talented workers, may be worth it in the end, but getting there has been anything but smooth.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Neville
On a night when wrestling has been at a premium, Neville returned to his home country to battle Dolph Ziggler in a match that stole the show.
The wildly competitive match drew chants of "This is awesome!" as the talented in-ring competitors impressed the audience.
In the end, newcomer Neville attempted the Red Arrow, but Ziggler rolled out of the way. Having avoided the former NXT champion's devastating high-risk finisher, the Showoff was able to deliver the Zig Zag and score the hard-fought victory.
After the match, Sheamus attacked Ziggler. Though he tried to fight back, the exhausted Ziggler fell prey to the Brogue Kick, and Sheamus stood tall.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Neville.
There will be critics who suggest that Neville losing as much as he has since debuting is wrong, but when one looks at whom those losses came against, two former heavyweight champions, it is obvious that the WWE sees him as a star of the future.
Neville vs. Ziggler is a match made in fanboy heaven—and one that did not disappoint, even if we were treated to only 10 minutes of it.
The Sheamus attack sets up a match for Extreme Rules that may be lacking in backstory but certainly has all of the potential in the world to steal the show.
This was a strong segment all around that established Neville as a legitimate threat to top stars and set up Ziggler vs. Sheamus for April 26.
Randy Orton-Seth Rollins Promo
Randy Orton and Seth Rollins entered the squared circle for the night's show-closing promo segment.
Rollins, the loudmouthed WWE World Heavyweight champion, revealed that Orton's patented RKO finisher is banned from their match at Extreme Rules. While not happy about the development, Orton one-upped his rival by announcing that his title opportunity would come in a steel-cage match designed to keep The Authority from interfering.
Orton wanted to get an early start, so he dumped Rollins out of the recliner he was sitting in, then hammered away at J&J Security before delivering an RKO to end the broadcast while Rollins watched safely from a distance.
Rollins arrogantly kicking back in the recliner while addressing Orton, thinking he got one over on him, was pure gold from one of the last real heels in the industry.
This was good for what it was but also felt like it was missing a spark.
Rollins was great on the mic, showing just the right amount of braggadocios arrogance that makes him such a great heel, while proving to be one step behind Orton, who called his bluff by announcing the cage match.
Speaking of which, have babyfaces never watched steel-cage matches before? Sure, they book them with the idea being that no one from outside the match can interfere, yet—in nearly every case—someone does actually interfere.
It is ridiculous to think that heroes are stupid enough to believe that the associates of the villain cannot interfere when it has clearly been proved not to be the case numerous times.
All in all, this segment was another in a long line of them this week that was there—that worked fine for what it was trying to accomplish—but never hit that next gear that would have made it truly memorable.