Previously on Monday Night Raw
The right to name the stipulation for the World Heavyweight Championship (WHC) Triple Threat match was decided in a triple threat...between the sidekicks? The most bizarre thing about the Zeb Coulter vs. Big E Langston vs. Ricardo Rodriguez match was that it opened last week's Raw. A fun match was won by the zubaz-clad Rodriguez, and it set the tone for an uneven episode.
Much hand-wringing was done over the state of John Cena's achilles injury and the effect it might have on the scheduled main event of the WWE champion and his Extreme Rules opponent Ryback taking on The Shield. In the end, it was the healthy man who sat out the match. Cena's Superman act for the evening also included a very touching moment with some Make-A-Wish kids.
The tag team champions weren't going to miss out on a chance to go after the trio who had decimated Kane's brother the previous Friday night on SmackDown. They chased off Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins when they were about to take care of the over-confident 3MB, and quickly accepted Team Brickie's offer of a shot at the hounds of justice.
The Diva's champion received another gift and note from her secret admirer. This time she was interrupted by AJ and her "Zigglypuff". The two women postured and discussed the collision course that Lee's recent Battle Royal win has put them on; but no breakthroughs were made concerning the identity of Kaitlyn's shy suitor.
A spirited six-man tag saw the upstarts take out three champions. Cena may have been hobbled by his bum leg, but Reigns' spear and subsequent pin of the WWE titleholder made everyone even bigger believers in The Shield.
We're not going to talk about dance contests or tug of wars. We will mention that Antonio Cesaro and Cody Rhodes had really good matches against headliners, because there's no guarantee than anyone in power at WWE is talking about it.
Ryback watched Cena's fate from the ramp last Monday (Apr. 29). He managed to take out Daniel Bryan on Friday night (May 3). What other rules will the man whom the announcers keep telling us is the greatest threat to the champ's new reign unveil as we draw closer to the next pay-per-view (PPV)?
Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins have emerged as the top heels in WWE after only a little more than six months on the main shows. The buzz on them will surely continue to grow louder now that they have officially set their sights on the tag titles.
We've been seeing a side to the Devil's Favorite Demon that we haven't seen in quite some time thanks to The Shield. How far is the big red machine willing to go for retribution? Is there anything his partner can do to control him?
What about the other title - the belt formerly know as big gold? Now that their match at Extreme Rules is a ladder match, is it too much to ask that someone go with Eric B Stephen's angle and bring up the fact that each of these men has won a Money in the Bank ladder match?
All that, plus -- Sheamus will probably be a dick, two to four women will have a match that most of us won't remember 24-hours later and either the Intercontinental or United States champion will be jobbed out in a solid ten minute match. Maybe both.
Expect to pop for:
Daniel Bryan. Because he'll do something hilarious. Or have a great match against someone with whom you didn't think it was possible to have a great match. And because one of the greatest things The Shield's dominance is bringing, is a serious Team Hell No, who will hopefully lead us back to Daniel Bryan, submission badass and singles title competitor.
Roman Reigns. There's something to the argument that he seems the most impressive because he arrived with the least amount of fanfare. Ambrose and Rollins were indy favorites who put on a tremendous program in FCW before their call-up. Reigns was built and had some relatives. But is there another big man in the company right now who you'd rather watch work? His ability to seemingly always add the right little touch - from the war cry to swinging that copper belt on last week's Smackdown, keeps your eyes on him even if he only does three moves in a match. It's been a while since WWE has had that guy...the one who you weren't sure as to if he was charming or a murderer -- but I think we got one again.
The heat is on:
Fandango. All evidence points to his following fellow dancer, the Funkasaurus, down the path to extinction. Another apt comparison is Brodus Clay's tag partner, 'Sweet T' Tensai. Last year after WrestleMania he had pinned John Cena and seemed to have a rocket strapped to his behind. But he didn't connect with the crowd and now he's a comedy face. Fandango doesn't have the same baggage - no one is chanting 'Johnny Curtis' at him and I haven't heard any reports of him sandbagging opponents - but he's dying the same kind of death in front of live audiences. Regardless of who is to blame, I hope somebody has a course correction in mind.
Kaitlyn's Secret Admirer. Is it Cody Rhodes? Big E Langston? Dolph? AJ (as a stratagem, not a romantic thing...get your minds out of the gutter. But what a sexy gutter that would be...sorry, where was I?)? Goldust trying to block his little brother? Hornswoggle (cause... WWE)? No matter who it turns out to be, has this kind of story ever succeeded in getting anyone over? While you're thinking of a reply, I'm going to go ask Torrie Wilson's dad if he's seen where Chris Jericho took Triple H's dog.
What do you think, Cageside Seats? We're all pumped about The Shield's rise - are there things you're anxious and/or excited to see on tonight's Raw?
Let us know, and be sure to join Rex and the whole gang in tonight's live blog!