When I first read that Cena was injured, I started writing an article entitled Extreme Rules In Extreme Trouble! But then it appeared as though Cena would be working through the injury, as Cena usually does, unless he's so terribly injured that he needs surgery immediately. I understand why he was at RAW last night. I was confused at first, but when I saw him on stage with those three lovely little boys, I completely understood why he was there live. What I don't understand is why he worked the ring. I know it pushed the storyline further along, but it could have done more damage to his ankle than it would have been worth. Cena hasn't always been smart about working through health issues, something he proved last year at this time when he really needed to step away, but worked through it all, especially his divorce. Does that make him a better worker than Punk, or just dumber?
I have to admit that when I first watched RAW last night I was not at all impressed with most of the show. But I will also admit that I was under anesthesia earlier in the day, and was in a downright foul mood. Because of that, and because I remember very little of the actual show – something else that happens when I've been under anesthesia – I'm going to sit down and watch the show with a clear mind (I hope). Please bear with me as I'm still feeling pretty rough today, but I'm in a much better frame of mind for really thinking through RAW and being honest about it. And if you want to know just how pissed off I was about RAW last night, ask Jesse Sherwood – I was nasty about the show all night, he he's the one who heard about it, through the entire three hours!
Big E vs Ricardo vs Zeb > B
I really want to see Ricardo's character changed up. The man has been getting more pop than ADR, as Justin said and that should show TPTB in the WWE something. The man held his own in the ring with Big E, and made it look good. To me he's the star of the duo. Ricardo had to try to look bumbling, but managed to look better than he should have. That Ricardo has mysteriously recovered from his broken ankle for this match, and really made this match work, should show TPTB something. And then there's Zeb who really is one of the toughest men in the industry, and he was a riot! Big E did what Big E does, but made it look that much better last night. AJ was adorable, but for me this match was all about Ricardo and Zeb, and they made it work in a huge way. Not bad for a fogie who hasn't been in the ring in how long, and Ricardo who's supposed to be a sidekick, and nothing more!
Winner – Ricardo (5:01)
Video > C
Recap of the match that just happened, and I can't fault them too much for this as they usually do this type of recap right after the match, it was just a bit later than normal as announce had to talk about Cena.
Make-A-Wish Segment > A+
Okay, I missed this segment last night, but it had me crying like a baby. I've said over and over what Make-A-Wish means to me personally, and each time I see Cena's involvement with the group, I am blown away by the man behind the character. He is wonderful with the kids, and he steals my heart each time I see his involvement with Make-A-Wish. John Cena is one man who has taken his star power and has done something truly wonderful with it. Cena really worked the crowd wonderfully for those three wonderful little boys. It's nice to see the fans give Cena the pop when he most needs it. The way Cena signed off brought me right back to tears. Cole says that Superstars and Divas have granted over 5,000 wishes since 1982. That warms my heart.
Orton vs Rhodes > A-
I was really down on this match last night, while Jesse was quite impressed, so I really wanted to re-watch this match and see if it was my pissy attitude that made me so unhappy about this. First off, I love the way JBL talked about Cody's high school wrestling record, and that he only lost two matches in four years. That's the type of thing I'd like to hear more of. And I thought Rhodes looked great in this match, really brought up to the next level, but Orton didn't seem to be doing more than his regular phoning it in. Going back and watching, I will say that Orton did look better in the ring than he has recently. I don't know if it's because he's back with Rhodes, someone he has such history with, or if it was a good night for him, but it finally seemed as though Orton really cared to be there for the first time in a very long time.
I love that the fans were so hot at Rhodes, something he's deserved for a long time, but hasn't been achieving. Maybe he needs to feud with Orton to help them both in so many ways. It was interesting to see Rhodes hit his older brother's move, and makes me long for a feud between them as well. That the fans were so vested in both Orton and Rhodes in this match gives me great hopes that TPTB will recognize this and start pushing them in directions that make sense. Honestly, either of these men could have won this match, and it would have made perfect sense.
I'm glad I went back and watched this match – as I've been doing a lot of recently – because I would have missed a really strong match from two guys who haven't been given the time and booking for such a great match. Hopefully TPTB will see how the fans – in attendance, and at home – react to this match and continue to push these two.
Winner – Orton (16:21)
Backstage Segment > D-
I might be called petty on this one, but it feels to me that the Bellas are getting the pushes they're getting because of who they are associated with. I know nothing about who the Bellas are as people, but the characters they play leave a lot to be desired. Further, I'd think if someone wanted to do a show about beautiful and powerful female wrestlers, they should do a show about women who actually wrestle, and wrestle well, rather than those who are barely more than valets, who prance around showing off their wares. I tune into wrestling shows to see wrestling, male and female, and the likes of the Bellas gives female wrestling a very bad name, and are spitting on the likes of those who really put in the time and energy to be fantastic wrestlers.
Naomi vs Brie > D+
Thank goodness this was so short! Putting someone like Naomi, someone who fits into the role of strong female wrestler, in the ring with a Bella is a kick to the face of those like Naomi who have put in the time to really become well versed wrestlers. I worry about what's going to happen when Paige comes up, is she going to be stuck pandering in the ring to the likes of those who have more T&A than she does, rather than working the ring so beautifully, like we know she can? I know I'm down on the Bellas right now, but they're just the faces of poor female wrestling on WWE right now.
Winner – Naomi via DQ (1:13)
In Ring Segment > A-
As The Shield came to the ring, there was a teen (?) boy standing by Reigns, who was wearing a Little Jimmy t-shirt, but looked like a younger version of Reigns, and he even sort of mocked the way Reigns holds his head. That young man brought a smile to my face, and that was just the start of how great this segment was. All three of these men continue to prove just how great they are as individuals, and as a group. They have taken on all the big names, and have proven to be unstoppable. When the likes of Taker are walking backstage after facing them, and putting them over loudly and in front of everyone, you know he's impressed. Mark Calloway is a quiet man, so when he puts over someone the way he did with Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns, you know they have a big future ahead of them.
These three have been fantastic in all they've done since coming up to the WWE. They seem more well-rounded than most of the other Superstars on the roster, and that's saying a lot when you have the likes of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kane, and even Undertaker and John Cena. I further like the way they introduced still photos, and short video clips into this segment. It worked so well for Ryback last week, and it worked wonderfully here. When it comes to The Shield, it's just sit back, wait, and see what they're going to do next because they are Superstars.
I really don't understand what they are doing with 3MB. Two out of these three men are really great and deserve better than being the jobbers they been turned into. It is so sad to see how far McIntyre is fallen and how Slater hasn't climbed. Both men are better than what they've been showing lately, and have both proven this in the past. Hopefully things will be looking up for them, but I don't expect it to happen. I will say I enjoyed how The Shield fled from Team Hell No. That was one of the first times they've shown true fear, and could lead to something much, much bigger. Hopefully more Taker in the ring? One can only hope.
Backstage Segment > D+
They made a big deal of Cena's ankle injury, but his interaction with Ryback fell flat. It wasn't one or the other of them, the whole thing just felt really fake and plastic. Hopefully these two will find some chemistry, because if they don't, we're all done be left yawning every time they're on the screen.
Announce Segment > C
I would like to be annoyed by all the advertising the announcers do, but Cole and King have this casual chemistry that works so well for ordering a pizza, so it does make some sense. It is a different way for them to slip in some advertising that would otherwise be a big cardboard or boring.
Ziggler vs Kofi > B+
Just to show how out of it I really was last night, I had honestly forgot about this match until I got to this point of the show. I can't say if that is a good or bad thing, but it is what it is. The strangest thing is that these are two of my favorites, yet I forgot they were in a match. I will say that Kofi look pretty hard-hitting to start this off. The way he kicked Ziggler the face looked ugly.
Both Ziggler and Kofi real worked this match hard. They looked more evenly matched than I expected, even though I know they are both fantastic in the ring. The two of them sold this match with every ounce of their beings, and that is what made this match look so much better. They sold each others moves, and the work of AJ and Big E only added to the match. I am loving how AJ and Big E are helping Ziggler as Champ, and continue to push that he really is a heel no matter how much the fans love him.
Winner – Ziggler (12:11)
Backstage Segment > B+F
This is a segment I remember very clearly from last night, possibly the only segment you remember clearly from last night. First off, we saw a possible start of a little animosity between Ziggler and Big E. Further, AJ, Big E's good buddy, is putting hos (Ziggler) before bros (Big E). That little bit of animosity starting could be what skyrockets Big E to the top.
The big problem I had with this segment, I'm sure a lot of people call me catty, but I didn't like the way AJ has been talking about Kaitlyn's overly muscular arms. There has been a lot of media recently about women, and their figures. One NBA Oklahoma City Thunder cheerleader was verbally abused for being "chunky" even though she is quite fit compared to the average American woman. There was the whole "Piggie James" storyline, and even people picking on Kim Kardashian's pregnant body for not being perfectly toned. Obviously not everyone is built like AJ, nor would many of us want to be, but to pick on someone like Kaitlyn for being strong and athletic just blows my mind. Kaitlyn has an amazing body, and I'm extremely put out by the WWE for this segment and the names she has been called recently. I know this is all storyline, and it's the way the cookie crumbles, but we should be empowering our young girls, not breaking them down and making them feel bad for being individuals. Some could say that this is more of the WWE being hypocritical with their B.A.Star program, but I see this as a completely separate issue. The WWE has pushed hard to stay PG, yet they put out segments like this. Normally I have no trouble letting Sam watch RAW, but she will not be seeing this segment. The last thing I need is for Sam to think it's bad for a woman to be strong and muscular. The way Sam adores AJ, she might take the wrong things from what AJ said. I know this is just a tiny little segment, but the littlest things stay with us want our children.
I really like the hat Kaitlyn got from her secret admirer. It makes me want to create my own, but more than that it makes me wonder where they're going with Kaitlyn's character. Was it Cody who sent her the hat? Or maybe she has a different and very secret admirer?
Video > C
Another recap video, lucky us. While the production value of this video was pretty decent, I can't say it's something I really wanted to say. I know, at this point, it looks as though Triple H and Brock will be the top of Extreme Rules, so it does make sense that they remind us of the upcoming match. It doesn't mean I have to like it.
Backstage Segment > B-
Why is Maddox still around? I actually really enjoyed Ryback here. The whole Ryback rules thing is a bit much for me, but he sold himself really well here. He really seems to believe in his character, and is mic work is growing week by week, and he's really becoming believable, something I really didn't expect to happen.
Announce Segment > C+
Again, I'm enjoying King and Cole promoting Domino's, because of their casual chemistry. It was also fun to see the fans chowing down on pizza that was supposed to belong to King and Cole.
Swagger vs Ryder > C+
I had forgotten about this match as well, until I heard Ryder's music. Ryder actually came off better on mic here than he usually does. He was grittier, and seemed really honest compared to being too flashy, as he could be in the past. Ryder really didn't have any chance against Swagger. I know that Ryder is basically a jobber at this point, but most of the time I'm usually just surprised that Ryder is still employed by the WWE. He went from stirring the pot and making it work, to stirring the pot and looking the jerk. Makes me think of Matt Hardy. I thought for a while that Ryder would be on the short list after Wrestlemania was over, but it seems as though the WWE is keeping people around for future shows on the network. Maybe they'll find a good spot for Ryder there, but I think jobbing to Swagger is bad for everyone involved. The only person who looked good in this segment was Zeb. Yes, I know some of the moves in the ring looked really strong, but Swagger hasn't been believable for weeks, maybe months. His first couple weeks back were exciting and interesting, he was a vicious and will really work hard, but he is since slid back to his boring ways, and without Zeb on mic regularly, Swagger is really becoming a nothing performer again.
Winner – Swagger (3:06)
In Ring Segment > D
When Henry first returned from winning the Strongest Man In The World Competition, he showed off some wonderful feats of strength, but the weightlifting and the tug-of-war has really dropped the ball. Yes, we know that Henry is a very strong man, but these recent feats have not been very impressive. Maybe I am just old school and enjoyed him bending frying pans, ripping phone books, and flipping cars, even though those are as much tricks as proving someone's strength. These recent segments with Henry have seemed more a waste of time, then proof of Henry's overall strength. I'm just not very impressed.
Video > A
I will always give segments like this, even if they're being recapped, a great grade, because the work has been doing with Make-A-Wish deserves the high marks.
Backstage Segment > B
I love seeing Team Hell No riled up, and on the same page, but I don't understand why Vickie and Maddox needed to be so cryptic about Cena. Heck, I don't even know why Cena needed to be in the match.
Backstage Segment > C+
I have to say that Maddox is better at facial expressions than he actually is that speaking. He was actually better in this segment than I've ever seen him and he barely said a word. I think Maddox has found his calling.
ADR vs Cesaro > B-
Justin (WNW reader) said that Ricardo received more reaction than ADR did last night. I hope that the powers that be recognized this and do something about it. And why didn't Cesaro get his ring entrance televised? Whose Cheerios has Cesaro pissed in? It seems as though he's as unloved as Ryder these days. If the losses weren't bad enough, the yodeling has proven that Cesaro is in the doghouse. How someone so strong, so well-versed in the ring, and on such a role could end up jobbing to ADR, someone was such lackluster reaction from the fans, confuses the heck out of me. The announcers continued to talk about how strong and how athletic Cesaro is, yet he went under to ADR here. Most of the match was JBL, Cole and King talking up Cesaro and his training habits, how he still sleeps on the floor, what he does training on the road. Normally they have McMahon in their ears, so why would McMahon have them talking up Cesaro in such a big way when he keeps losing? It makes no sense to me. Yes, Cesaro put up an offense, and the match was quite a bit longer than I could've been, but that was only for lack of other things to fill the actual show. Personally I think it's time for TPTB in the WWE to really watch the fan reaction and go from there. It isn't just the IWC who is behind Cesaro, and not behind ADR, the fans in attendance were not thrilled with ADR, yet ADR won and preening as if the whole stadium was behind him. I know it's acting, but that only goes so far with a lack of reaction night in and night out.
I will say that a lot of the moves in this match looks solid, and they both worked hard. They were given a chance and both of them really ran with it, but the problem I see is that ADR just doesn't have the range in the ring. No, that's not it, we know ADR has the range in the ring, he just hasn't been using it lately. Like Swagger, ADR has been resting on his laurels and it's not working. I wish someone would just shake him, show him some of his better matches, and remind him of how good he really can be in that ring, because what he has been giving us lately has been pretty boring. Oh, and the way ADR landed Cesaro on the back of his head, left me cringing. I haven't heard of an injury, and I know they take bumps like that a lot, but I think Cesaro got lucky on that one.
Winner – ADR (12:42)
In Ring Segment > B
I will give ADR props for how he sold his mic work here. He and Ricardo came off is quite endearing, and creative. Thinking about this more, I'm looking forward to seeing these three men in a Ladder Match. Or, I am if all three men work hard, and are creative in how they work together. I think this stipulation makes a lot of sense for these three.
In Ring Segment > D-
Maybe it's just me, but this made Henry's tug-of-war look that much more exciting. I read where Justin, a WNW reader, stated that it sounded as though the WWE was pumping in cheers, because the fans just were not that into Khali. I know they want to push Fandango, but I think this was the worst thing they could do for him. Okay, second worst thing, to me the worst seems to be saddling him with Summer Rae. This goes back to my worries about Paige coming up an not being allowed to work the ring like she should be able to, and can do in such a lovely way. The problem I have with Summer Rae is that she seems to be trying to step in on Fandango's growing stardom, and is not a very good dancer. She's a beautiful young lady with legs for miles, but she shows just how awkward Fandango's dancing is with her own awkwardness.
On a positive note, I will say that Fandango's side Russian leg sweep on Khali looked pretty good considering their height difference, but it was Fandango's leg drop that floored me. Fandango seems to float in the air. Khali was ¾ of the way across that ring, and Fandango made his unique leg drop look like it was nothing!
Video > B
I really dislike recap videos when they're jammed down our throats, but this one worked really well. It was short, to the point, and showed what happened with some of the biggest names in the WWE right now. Because of how this one was handled, I couldn't give it the normal C that recap videos get.
Cena & Team Hell No vs The Shield > A-
Putting six top Superstars in the ring for the main event almost guarantees that the fans will go home happy. That being said, I don't think Cena should have been in this match. I know it furthered the storyline with him and Ryback, but it didn't do anything to help his injury. I do understand that this is how Cena is, but it's not the smartest way for him to work. It is McMahon's job to keep his Superstars healthy, and sending an injured Cena to the ring does not seem like the smartest move. John Cena is known or for underplaying injuries, so why risk a bigger injury when he's one of the few top stars going into Extreme Rules? Honestly, I think there is a lot of wrestlers who could help carry the PPV, if only given the chance. We have seen what The Shield can do, and they could easily carry Extreme Rules with Team Hell No. It would be great if Taker joined them, we've seen what those six can do, but even with out Taker they could find a third teammate to go against The Shield. As so many of us have been saying, Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns have been proving themselves over and over, and have the backing of some of the biggest names, so why not let them have the main event? To me that would be more interesting than Cena versus Ryback, especially in Cena's condition.
This was the perfect way to end a well wrestled RAW. These six men, including Cena, put on a great main event. I'm hoping we will see more and more of The Shield in the ring, because these three men are rising stars. I know Ambrose is considered to be the top man of the three, but I don't think that will mean much in the grand scheme of things. I can see all three of these men being WWE Champ at some point in their career. I think we are very lucky to be watching The Shield from the start, because these three men will be a big part of WWE's future.
Winners – The Shield (15:23)
I will fully admit that RAW was a lot better than I thought it was when I first watched it last night. I will say that the show seemed quite sparse, and I think that worked well for RAW overall. I missed seeing certain people, like Sandow, but I thought his bestie carried his match well. There is one thing I want to complain about. If they had so much extra time during this episode of RAW, why didn't they let so many wrestlers have televised entrances? We missed seeing Zeb, Swagger, Ziggler, AJ, Big E, Cody, the Bellas, and Cesaro to the ring. It doesn't make sense to me that they skipped so many entrances.