WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (May 20, 2013) from Kansas City, Missouri, featuring the fallout show from the Extreme Rules pay-per-view (PPV) this past Sunday night at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
Click here for full results and the live blog from the show if you missed it. Let's get right to reactions. Remember, these were written as the show moved along with real time reactions to everything that occurred hour-by-hour.
- Ryback showing up to Raw in an ambulance would have worked better had John Cena actually, you know, went to the hospital last night. He literally refused to get into the ambulance and WWE publicized that fact many times over. They even replayed that footage shortly after Ryback came out. Oh dear god, this was all done to set up an Ambulance match between the two at Payback. "It doesn't matter if you can't get up, throwing a man into an ambulance is all that matters." Dear god, this is painful.
- Ryback going off on the fans lack of nutritional education has to be the most unintentionally hilarious thing I've seen on WWE television in some time. Maybe other than a Ryback match itself. Remember, this is a guy who was introduced on Tough Enough and frequently made fun of for the fact that all he does is eat and he'll eat anything and everything in sight.
- Yes, Michael Cole, people still go to the library. No, WWE, I don't want to spend multiple minutes of the evening listening to Jerry Lawler's old ass talking about the many ways he wants to violate Summer Rae.
- Holy shit, Wade Barrett's new music.
- Why am I supposed to care about Road Dogg cutting a promo during a match? The WWE App is not this important, is it? Do they actually want me to stop caring about the matches going on in the ring in favor of old guys in suits talking to Josh fucking Matthews? Really? Granted, Wade Barrett and Miz were involved in the match happening at the time, but still.
- Okay, so I actually marked out quite a bit when Fandango just ditched the tag team match -- seriously, fuck a tag match like this just randomly thrown together -- and started dancing, with his music playing, while the match was still going on in the ring. His bailing on Summer was great too.
- Kane and Daniel Bryan are finally showing more signs of dissension? That's nice to see. Kofi Kingston getting a bigger pop than both of them when he appeared on screen? That's just weird to see.
- Not much to say about Sheamus beating Titus O'Neil other than how much it sucks that O'Neil hasn't been put in a better position to succeed.
- Curtis Axel? Curt Axel? Ummmm ... yeah, I don't know about the name. I guess at least he got "Curt" out of the deal, although Hennig would have been better. That said, the utter and complete ridiculousness of the reaction from so many smarky fans almost ruined this. Everyone likes to bitch and moan that WWE never pushes a new guy, then they go and align McGillicutty with Paul Heyman and everyone continues bitching and moaning. It's unbelievable. This is why WWE will NEVER cater to you, EVER. You're impossible to please.
- When Triple H's music hit, the very first thought running through everyone's already cynical mind had to be the same: "Oh god, they're not going to bury this kid already, are they?" That was my thought, at least. Sure enough, "The Game" brushed him aside verbally before literally open hand smacking him in the face. Oh and now they book a match between the two for later in the night. Ugh. Yep. "The boys" would call that hazing, or making Axel pay his dues, or some other dumb shit like that, but this was stupid. Unless Axel wins later, this makes ZERO sense.
- While I'm still highly offended by Big E. Langston's ring attire, he gets a pass for using the old school rake to the eyes to beat Alberto Del Rio. And while I've always hated Hulk Hogan for his various transgressions during his time in the professional wrestling business, he always had the best rake to the eyes.
- I really loved the finish to that match, though. AJ Lee throws a bucket across the ring to distract the referee long enough for Big E. to rake Del Rio's eyes and hit the Big Ending, which got the pin. Why is that so great? Because they didn't do any instant replay for it. This less than 24 hours after they did the instant replay gimmick for Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger. Unbelievable. This is a company we actually watch on a weekly basis, folks. I just ... I just ... Yeah.
- AJ's Black Widow submission might be the best finisher going in pro wrestling right now. I'm not even going to bring up the manner in which Layla tapped out to it. I won't bring that up. This is me not bringing that up.
- Poor Zack Ryder. He jobs to Cody Rhodes, himself a glorified jobber at this point, before having to be subjected to Ryback running through him as a "statement to John Cena," according to JBL. Ryder was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, again according to JBL. Isn't that pretty much his entire career anymore? I think Ryder should just start taking pride in his work at this point. Ryder vs. Heath Slater should happen on PPV at the nearest opportunity.
- I love The Shield holding all those titles. I don't love the design to the titles they're holding. It's too bad they gave Dean Ambrose the U.S. title instead of the Intercontinental belt because that white leather would look great with the white undershirt he's rocking these days. Still, all the titles.
- "The Hounds of Justice run this yard and we carry the collars to back it up." That is an outstanding line from Roman Reigns. Great delivery, too.
- Love the story going with Daniel Bryan getting increasingly upset with the idea that he's the weak link in the tag team with Kane. He's great at playing a character, no matter what role he's working, and this more intense version, mixing anger with frustration, is a real treat.
- Bryan doing a suicide dive out one side of the ring at the same time Kingston did one out the other side was just phenomenal. Remember when we talked about Antonio Cesaro and seeing something new and how much that matters? Yeah, that.
- The Shield haven't had a bad match yet. I don't care if they're "Internet darlings" and I'm part of pushing them. They're just that damn good. I can't even stay objective anymore. When Reigns went for the pin on Kane after the spear last night, I was actively hoping he would get the three count. They've made me a mark again.
- Another reason I can't help but dig The Shield: It was pointed out to me by my sister-in-law, Talytha, that Seth Rollins was born in one of the Quad Cities in Iowa, Davenport. I was born and raised in those same Quad Cities, currently residing in Moline. I have to mark for my hometown guy, right? Right?
- I'm never happy to see a Jack Swagger match but when Randy Orton won that App poll, I was downright filled with glee imagining the possibilities. If he hurt Orton like he hurt Dolph Ziggler, he's fired or de-pushed within the next two weeks. That possibility made his match intriguing for me when that's all I was focusing on. That and Zeb Colter twirling his mustache.
- The match went really long, too, but Swagger didn't hurt Orton. So he keeps his job, though thankfully he did one for old Randall.
- I do really like the Mr. Perfect theme song remix that Axel is using.
- When Axel -- I guess we have to call him that now, and I'm having trouble not thinking Beverly Hills Cop every time I say it -- took the first punch from Triple H and went flat back the way he did, you knew he was taught the WWE style well. "The Game" even looked impressed. That's probably why he sold so big for him during Axel's first bit of meaningful offense. That's the thing about Axel too; you may not think he has the right look and maybe you think he doesn't have the right voice and maybe his mannerisms aren't on point just yet but dude can go in the ring. He got the chance to show that last night and to his credit, Triple H let him do his thing and show his skills. It was a big spot, too, the main event on Monday Night Raw the night after a PPV.
- As soon as Triple H started shaking his head out and acting funny, I thought of that old angle they ran with Shawn Michaels in the 90s when he fell out in the middle of the ring from a concussion and they stopped commentary to play up how injured he was, and how they didn't know what was going on. They did something similar here, though not exactly the same because "The Game" was concious the entire time. Still, I'm assuming this is how they write him off television for the next however long he'll be gone for. It's interesting timing to work a concussion when the current world heavyweight champion just suffered one of the worst of his career, one that gave him retrograde amnesia.
- That match didn't exactly put Axel over but he got the chance to work with a veteran hand in a big money spot and did rather well for himself. It wasn't redemption for how he was treated earlier in the night but that shouldn't hurt him in the long run. The critics of Triple H will say he still managed to make it all about him, and that's true in a lot of ways, but we know the game at this point. Trips will be gone next week and Axel will be here with the ability to claim, and you know Paul Heyman will claim he's the one who took him out. Lesnar started to oust him, but Axel finished the job. They can make it work. Take the good with the bad.
Another mostly average show that I enjoyed largely because of the work done by The Shield and Daniel Bryan. The fact that John Cena was nowhere to be found was also a big plus.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on the show last night.