What you need to know
At least folks aren't stealing the belt anymore, but the Intercontinental championship scene still looks a lot like it did pre-WrestleMania. Current kingpin Daniel Bryan offered his take on the state of the division at the start of Smackdown: Sheamus is a stupid-looking bully, Bad News Barrett a sore loser, etc. When those two took issue with The Beard's version of things, Dolph Ziggler stood at his rival's side. And that was supposed to be our tag main event.
But because we have to keep Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner Big Show prominent, he showed up and brought his feud with The Big Dog with him. Somewhere, Theodore Long smiled, as we now had a six-man.
The New Day have still had it with the crowd's negativity, but a positive attitude was not the key to victory over tag champs Cesaro & Tyson Kidd. Kofi Kingston was too hung up the fan's stinking thinking to hit Trouble in Paradise, so he got Catsaro's finishers instead. The Brass Ring Club's winning streak extended to Natalya's submission victory over Alicia Fox, but another entrant in the battle royal to determine the #1 contender to Nikki Bella's Divas championship ended up standing tall when special referee Cameron laid out both Natty and Foxy after the bell.
Axelmaniacs everywhere we dismayed when our hero was shockingly upset by the debuting Neville on the Raw after 'Mania. Looking for a do over, Curtis Axel called out the high-flying Brit. While things went a little better for the Ax Man, the Jumpin' Geordie bounced back from losing to WWE champ Seth Rolling on Monday to win his Smackdown debut.
While the world tries to figure out who Bray Wyatt is calling out now, his first match after Undertaker was a family affair. After back and forth affair ended with a Sister Abigail, Bray told whoever his next target is he better be afraid...if he's willing to destroy a man he loves, imagine what he'll do to them.
After a looong time hyping The Marine 4's straight to DVD release, Damien Mizdow did fans everywhere a solid by shutting the star of that flick up. The assault of his former boss, The Miz, may have been for us, but the big kiss he gave to his co-star, Summer Rae, was all for the former stunt double.
Finally a very pro-Roman Reigns crowd was rewarded as their man did the honors to close out the main event and wrap up WWE's week. And we learned why the former Shield muscle and the World's Largest Athlete were thrown in this particular mix - couldn't have Show taking a pin here, so Barrett got the Spear and the loss so Bryan, Ziggler and Reigns could stand tall.
What to look out for
On tape from the other side of the ocean (unless you're in the United Kingdom or on the European continent...then I guess we're on the other side, and maybe you're even watching live), Raw comes our way from the O2 Arena in London.
The Extreme Rules main event, and WrestleMania 31 rematch, of Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins is getting top billing from WWE's hype machine. How will The Viper respond to being curb stomped before he could even celebrate his win over Reigns and Ryback to secure the #1 contendership?
United Stated champ John Cena is keeping his open challenge, well, open...even though he won't be in the U.S. and he already has a rematch with previous champ Rusev set for the next pay-per-view (PPV). Might an Englishman like Neville, or another NXT star from an Isle in the North Atlantic, answer the call? And will the Bulgarian Brute play a more active role in these things now that he knows he's got a chance to reclaim the belt?
Some lucky lady will get the spot that was rumored to belong to AJ Lee before she hung up her Chucks when the Kane-booked Divas' battle royal takes the stage tonight. It looked like Naomi was on a collision course with the Bellas last week, but her former dance partner got a chance to shine on Thursday, and we can't rule out a push for a WWE Films' starlet like Summer.
Hopefully, Miz's co-star will stay around The Awesome One's feud with his former personal assistant as it chugs toward its rumored finish line at Extreme Rules. It's also worth keeping an eye on the IC title match for that show, as Barrett vs. Bryan doesn't really seem like the bout they're building to by focusing on the newly heelish Sheamus all the time.
You can find out before 8PM Eastern time on USA if you want, but one way or another we'll find out the answers to these questions and more today on Raw!
What they should do
It's time. Not Vader Time, unfortunately, or even Cryme Tyme - so unpop those 40s. It's time for one of my completely logical ideas that would solve a bunch of problems, but WWE will never do.
As the above picture from their SummerSlam 1999 feud (where the Big Red Monster was paired with X-Pac against The Giant and Undertaker), Kane and Big Show have been prominently featured on Raw for a long time. Since last century. Literally.
Yes, the look imposing and, yes, a certain segment of the fan base will always react favorably to their entrance themes. But enough is enough. Creative continues to use both future Hall of Famers like having young stars work with them will help those men get over, but I can not for the life of me remember when a feud with either veteran has changed a guy's fortunes for the better. At best, you come out where you left off, as Daniel Bryan did form his tag team break-up program with Kane. At worst, you end up cooled off, like Roman Reigns did after working with Show last fall.
So let's write them off into trainer or non-wrestling character roles once and for all. And let's do so in a way that will help win over so-called 'smart' fans who make up a large block of the anti-Roman Empire.
Have Roman Reigns path to another WWE World Heavyweight Championship shot go through the two big men. And let Reigns' response be that that's fine, but The Authority needs to put some skin in the game...Big Show and Kane's careers.
I defy you to find even the worst caricature of an internet wrestling fan who wouldn't cheer on the Big Dog's quest to mothball Show and Kane. The two men's matches would immediately matter in a way they haven't in years, and they'd be helping to turn Roman from a guy who gets 50/50 reactions to one who is a legitimate hero for most of the audience.
But Sean, you say. What will WWE do for monster-ish enhancement talent?
They're not nearly the size of Show and Kane, but how about Luke Harper and Erick Rowan? Match quality would go up in almost all cases, and any time making them look like more dangerous threats would be a further investment in the future.
Heck, you could put them back with Bray for motivation to feud with up-and-coming faces and do a little something to give Wyatt purpose beyond threatening the next guy he's going to put over.
What we're afraid they will do
Seeing the above image of Paul Wight and Glenn Jacobs with their whole careers in front of them, Vince decides they're just what the tag scene needs - leading to their shocking victory over The Uppercats tonight.
What do you think...should we just shut up and enjoy Show vs. Reigns like a good little marks?
However you enjoy the WWE's product, do it tonight along with the pro wrestling community on the internet - right here at Cageside Seats!