WWE Monday Night Raw – April 27, 2015
Hot on the heels of its latest Pay-Per-View offering, the one-ring circus comes to Green Bay, Wisconsin for Raw!
The happening of the night is the 2015 King of the Ring tournament, with four qualifying matches to be held over the course of the broadcast, with the semi-finals and finals to air live on the WWE Network on Tuesday, April 28th. This is the first time WWE has aired a live event solely on the Network – will it pay off? Will it entice more people into becoming subscribers? My crystal balls see money in the bank (and not the blue briefcase).
- Seth Rollins opens the show along with Kane and J&J Security. Rollins and Kane bicker until Randy Orton and Roman Reigns interject, each stating their claim on a title shot at Payback. Kane makes tag match for main event.
- King of the Ring Qualifier – Dolph Ziggler vs Bad News Barrett: Sheamus distracts Ziggler, Barrett hits a Bull Hammer and gets the victory.
- Big E Langston vs Tyson Kidd: short match ends with Big E hitting clothesline, Xavier Woods holds Kidd’s leg, preventing him from kicking out. Big E wins.
- Ryback vs Bo Dallas: brief offense mounted by Dallas before Ryback hits spinebuster, clothesline and Shell Shocked for pin. Bray Wyatt confronts, hits Sister Abigail on Ryback.
- US Open Challenge – John Cena (c) vs Heath Slater: match never happens. Rusev attacks Slate, he and John Cena talk about “I Quit” match at Payback.
- King of the Ring Qualifying Match – R-Truth vs Stardust: Stardust dominates most of the action, R-Truth catches a Beautiful Disaster and turns it into a Lie Detector for the victory.
- Fandango vs Adam Rose: Rosa Mendes reveals herself as a Rosebud, distracts Fandango. Rose hits the Party Foul for the win, makes out with Rosa.
- Backstage: Rene Young talks with Brie Bella about Daniel Bryan. Brie expresses concern and thanks people for their support, Naomi attacks and says “Nobody cares.”
- Naomi vs Brie Bella: back and forth contest, very physical, Naomi wins with an inside cradle.
- King of the Ring Qualifying Match – Dean Ambrose vs Sheamus: two men end up brawling to the outside, Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick but it attacked by Dolph Ziggler. Sheamus wins by disqualification.
- Damien Sandow cuts in-ring promo. He gives love to the fans, they give it back. Curtis Axel interrupts, Sandow mocks him, they brawl briefly before Sandow sends Axel packing.
- Bray Wyatt promo.
- King of the Ring Qualifying Match – Neville vs Luke Harper: Neville wins hard fought match after hitting the Red Arrow.
- Main Event – Roman Reigns & Randy Orton vs Kane & Seth Rollins: Rollins accidentally dropkicks Kane, then hits him with a suicide dive. Kane punches Rollins, throws him to opponents. Reigns hits a Superman Punch, Orton hits RKO, pins Rollins.
- It is revealed, thanks to an audience vote on the WWE app, the main event of Payback is decided: Triple Threat Championship Match – Randy Orton vs Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins.
- It seems a bit awkward that Kane is still standing with Rollins and J&J after last we saw him he was chokeslamming all three of them. Maybe they worked it out with Triple H behind the scenes, smoothed things over enough to work together – but we didn’t see any of it. Their bickering hasn’t seemed to elevate past where it was last week. Orton and Reigns both get pops on their entrance, with Reigns getting slightly more love.
- Ziggler and Barrett are used to one another and compliment each others respective styles, and they put on a very physical contest with real drama. Amazing, considering the physical contests they were engaged in only a day earlier. Sheamus increases his heel heat and pushes the Ziggler feud forward. Ziggler even drops “Payback” in his pre-match promo. I feel like the entire card for the next Pay-Per-View is going to be in place by the time the show ends.
- New Day gets over their new under-handed, cheating ways at the expense of superior wrestlers. The match was next to nothing, the ending coming suddenly. Cesaro and Kidd did not receive the pop they did in Chicago, making one wonder if they will successfully get over as a face team.
- Dallas actually brought blood to Ryback’s lip, although it wasn’t a planned spot and was not spoken of by the announce team, although it does seem to play into Bo’s new mean streak. Bray finally reveals that the man he has been targeting for weeks is Ryback – and it completely falls dead. Maybe if it happened the night before in front of a hot crowd it would have been a bigger moment, but I guess we’ll never know. It remains to be seen whether the Rotunda brothers will reveal an alliance, but Bo has certainly shown signs of change.
- I appreciate the fact that when Heath Slater came out to accept the US Open Challenge, Cena didn’t do what seemingly every other wrestler does – mock him. Cena really is about creating opportunities for other superstars, and therein lies a hook for the continuing feud between he and the Bulgarian Brute. If Rusev continues to sabotage any challengers to “his” championship, while simultaneously oppressing the lovely Lana (who is shining in her new fan adulation, by the way), it will add to his anti-American persona.
- The crowd was not into the match between R-Truth and Stardust, and the performers were not trying all that much to change that. Why did it seem like they were tired, when neither man was involved in Extreme Rules? Anyway, a nice rally by Truth and a slick finisher caught from a springboard kick from Cody ended the brief contest.
- Fandango and Adam Rose are building on their love triangle and really pushing Fandango as a face. It’s hard to say how much the fans will accept him, but if he continues adding flashy moves like the impressive front flip over the top to the floor into his repertoire, he might just earn their respect. I’m a believer.
- Brie’s voice cracked while speaking on her husband, Daniel Bryan, who is sadly shelved for an indefinite time, showing that she was quite choked up. Even so, her delivery feels so disingenuous and staged it takes me out of it. Her match with Naomi was good and had a touch more savagery than Naomi’s battle with Nikki, which told the story of a grudge contest. What betrayed that story was the opportunistic finish taken by Naomi. Even so, the match was well paced and each woman showed off some good spots.
- Sheamus sold quite a lot for Ambrose, making his dominance over Ziggler the night before and Zack Ryder earlier like flukes. Ambrose looks like quite a formidable opponent, a force to be reckoned with, and after his first Pay-Per-View win in months, you wonder if he is not being groomed for possibly taking a more prominent position in the company – say, occupying Daniel Bryan’s possibly soon-to-be-vacated Intercontinental Championship? A mark can dream, can’t he?
- Sandow’s address to the WWE Universe is another in a series of superstar confessionals (remember Ryback’s “The Secret” speech?) which I suppose can be used to garner fan support and understanding at a time when a wrestler is out of ideas. Sandow was earnest and honest, and his speech was quite touching. I especially liked hearing tidbits like his Mizdow gimmick losing him respect in the locker room, and his original Sandow gimmick being called “not entertaining enough.” It will be interesting to see what Sandow does with himself from here.
- Bray Wyatt cuts a promo so generic and vague, it seems like he didn’t just reveal he has targeted Ryback.
- Neville gave another great match against another awesome fed worker who is long overdue for a push of his own. Harper seemed to be phoning in the match, setting himself for multiple Neville spots in between rest holds. Perhaps he was gassed from Extreme Rules, or perhaps he wasn’t pumped about jobbing to Neville. Either way, the match didn’t suffer too much as the fans were firmly behind the Newcastle native.
- The main event tag match was a decent enough match if you had no investment in the motivations of the characters. Orton and Reigns were at odds up until very recently and knew going into this match that they will potentially be facing off in a triple threat at Payback for the world title, but they showed no tension and were happy enough to work together for a night. That does nothing to create tension. Granted, the end of the match brought into play the situation between Kane and Rollins, but before then they were teaming like proper mates. Again, no tension. The action was flat for most of the match, with some big spots, a couple botched spots, a couple of halted spots, and ended with… (big, heavy sigh)… the current, reigning, defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion getting pinned on Monday Night Raw! This is not okay, and I don’t think anyone can convince me it is. They have done so much good work building up Rollins as one of the most elite talents on the roster for the last year, and after putting the belt on him they have booked him to lose clean twice in a matter of two weeks. What is going on? Somebody tell me.
Photos courtesy of WWE.COM