Previously on Monday Night Raw
WWE Champion John Cena continued his efforts to co-opt the heat of everyone else on the roster by opening the show with some of Daniel Bryan's "YES"/"NO" schtick. From the "words that I never thought I'd type" department - thank goodness Vickie Guerrero came out to cut him off.
The Vick brought out the Ryback, who decided that his Extreme Rules shot at the belt would be in a last man standing match.
Despite the latest and possibly most conclusive evidence that Damien Sandow is truly our Savior, he wasn't able to do much in the in-ring against Randy Orton. The Viper didn't enjoy his exit any more than his entrance, either. Big Show knocked him cold at the curtain.
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) distributed some justice to United States champion Kofi Kingston and the Uso twins. Post-match, Ambrose eyed Kingston's recently won strap, as the trio continues to inch closer to some hardware to go with their victories.
In the most talked about (and replayed) segment of the week, Paul Heyman and his client, Brock Lesnar, paid a visit to a room full of Ikea furniture in Stamford, CT masquerading as Paul Levesque's office. The ECW innovator claimed that he would encourage his man to keep pushing HHH further, having been pushed to the breaking point himself by The Game's pedigree.
Mark Henry became a fill-in voice of the voiceless when he told Michael Cole to shut up. Now if only he would induct Jerry Lawler into the Hall of Pain... He did pants some ring personnel and then take that belt to Sheamus. Despite Henry's entreaties, Sheamus didn't feel like joking. Probably because of the welts on his back.
And while the less said of the main event match the better, intrigue was added to a couple of angles when Ryback joined Team Hell No and the champ in chasing off The Shield. Before all was said and done, though, big hungry turned the chair on Cena.
In a feud that seems to be working backwards, Chris Jericho and Fandango continue to follow-up theirWrestleMania 29 match with other kinds of confrontations. That trend continues on May 13th, when the Dancing with the Stars alumni pits his moves against those of his sequined rival.
WWE's chief operating officer does a lot of work from the road, and following their "office invasion", he'd like to have a meeting with Heyman and Lesnar in his mobile office at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK.
Raw probably won't provide as many answers about the triple threat ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship as Dolph Ziggler's imPact test results. But expect creative to begin to position themselves for the possibility of the champion's absence from that match on Sunday in St. Louis.
Speaking of creative, the match card for the pay-per-view (PPV) is looking a little light right now. What about the tag belts? Will The Shield target Hell No's bronze eagles? What about the US or Intercontinental belts? Will we finally see AJ Lee challenge for Kaitlyn's Divas title on a show other than NXT?
And will Ryback unveil any new rules in the go-home show before Extreme Rules? His rule about showing more personality on twitter than in person was a hit; now we need one for having the match of your life against a one-legged man in the midst of a long PPV losing streak.
Expect to pop for:
Antonio Cesaro. It's been a promising couple of week's for the Swiss. While there aren't a ton of wins to show for it, he did get to pin Zack Ryder last week on Raw and cut a serious promo afterwards. And that's all well and good, but so far that's only stopped his slide. Now he needs a direction in order to reverse course and head back up the card. Maybe it's time to re-debut Ted DiBiase on a main show so he can stare at the lights? Could the current US champ play the same role for Cesaro that he played for so many during his time with that title? Heck, what's Benny Camer doing? I'm not expecting him to be added to the PPV at this point, but let's get Antonio a series of Very European squashes so afterwards he can talk about how he's better than everyone else.
Paul Heyman. Not only one of the most entertaining thing on almost every show he appears on, Paul E seems to be ushering in a new age of managers. Before the disastrous "feeling the feelings" Lesnar promo, Abraham Washington was our best hope for a return to the salad days of wrestler representation. But since Brock brought back his
mouthpiece legal counsel, and especially when CM Punk made "Paul Heyman Guy" more than just an expression, the superlative work of the Hustle has been the bellwether before Ricardo Rodriguez started doing more than just roll the r in 'Rio' and Zeb Colter showed up to try and make Jack Swagger palatable.
The heat is on:
Chris Jericho. The veteran has used all his experience and charm in an attempt to break Fandango to the next level. An effort that, despite Jericho's best efforts and through no fault of the former Johnny Curtis, seems to be scuffling right now. On the heels of dancing contests with Khali and R-Truth, the latter "judged" by Y2J, is a dance-off really the cure for what ails the Fandango movement? Or should the Fozzy lead singer take a page from Cena's playbook and steal a Daniel Bryan "NO" with which to respond to Vince McMahon's next booking idea for him?
HHH. The King of Kings' crown has to be feel pretty heavy heading into Extreme Rules. A show that was already lacking in star power now has a question (and a heightened sense of risk) hanging over the bout to decide who'll wear the big gold belt. Word is out that his rubber match with the former UFC heavyweight champ may now main event the show, and its lead-in could very well be a last man standing 20 minute groaner. Their 'Mania match was fine, but it certainly didn't set the world on fire. Will a bloodless steel cage be enough for two part-timers to pop a decent buy rate for a B-show?
It won't take much to top last week's lackluster effort, but the recent streak of go home shows before PPVs hasn't been stellar, either.
How are you feeling about tonight's show, Cagesiders? Let us know what you're dreading or looking forward to below, and then join the live blog crew later for all the action and reaction as it happens!