RAW: Heyman's new guy makes Perfect debut against Triple H
BOB KAPUR - SLAM! Wrestling
After a grueling match with Brock Lesnar at last night's Extreme Rules pay-per-view, Triple H defied doctor's orders to wrestle Paul Heyman's new client on RAW tonight - his first match on RAW in over three years. Judging from the closing minutes of the show, it may very well be his last. Let's head down to the ring to check out the action!
The show started off with a view of an ambulance driving from the backstage garage into the arena. The back doors opened, and Ryback emerged. He climbed atop the ambulance and informed the crowd that the decision from his Last Man Standing Match from last night’s Extreme Rules PPV was No Decision. They showed footage of Cena refusing to be put into an ambulance. Ryback proposed an Ambulance Match for next month’s Payback show. He then insulted the WWE Universe and told them he had nothing in common with them. Basically, it was a CM Punk promo from his Straight Edge Society days. He ended with his new catchphrase, “Ryback Rules”.
Match 1: Chris Jericho & The Miz vs. Wade Barrett & Fandango
Wade Barrett debuted a new entrance theme that is just as bad, generic, and non-representative of his character as his last one. The Score got a Michael Cole shout-out when he listed all the countries in which the show is airing. Yay us. Jericho and Barrett started the match, but as soon as Jericho was down, Fandango tagged in to take advantage of his weakened opponent. As Fandango continued the beatdown, they split screen to show Road Dogg Jesse James being interviewed for the WWE app, saying that he would beat Fandango in a dance off. Way to sell PPVs, WWE! After a commercial break, Barrett was in control in the ring, while Fandango primped and preened with Summer Rae on the outside. Miz took over, and was about to lock on his terrible Figure Four Leglock on Barrett, but Fandango and Summer Rae put on a ringside dancing exhibition. Barrett was upset with his partner not paying attention to the match, and rightly so, since he then took a number of finishing moves, finally tapping out to the Miz. After the match, Miz chased away Fandango, and Y2J twirled Summer Rae. It looked like she was falling for him, but Jericho brushed her off, laughing in her face.
Winners: Chris Jericho & The Miz
Vickie Guerrero came out and announced that later in the show, Jack Swagger would be in action, to take on whichever of the Great Khali, R Truth, or Randy Orton got the most votes on the WWE app. Based on the reaction, Orton will be the winner.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan was fuming about he and Kane losing the Tag Team Championships last night. Kane tried to calm him down, saying they would regain the belts when they got their rematch. The two started arguing, but Kofi Kingston broke it up before it could escalate further.
Match 2: Sheamus vs. Titus O’Neil w/ Darren Young
During the ring introductions, they showed Mark Henry’s reaction to losing the strap match against Sheamus last night, saying he was “going home”. Titus, Henry’s friend, was looking for revenge against Sheamus. He and Sheamus were fairly evenly matched strength-wise, but Sheamus got the first offensive flurry in, with his reverse forearm smashes. But his advantage didn’t last long, as the distraction by Young on the floor let O’Neil take control with a huge clotheseline. O’Neil hit Sheamus with several power moves, including an overhead throw-slam, and a pumphandle driver. He tried for a running splash, but ate a boot, which Sheamus followed up with some clotheslines and a big knee. Sheamus went for his springboard elbow, but Young tripped him up. O’Neil missed another running smash in the corner, leaving him open for White Noise and a Brogue Kick that put him down for the three count.
Paul Heyman was introduced to introduce the WWE Universe to his new client. Heyman cut another “money” promo, boasting about his client Brock Lesnar’s win over Triple H last night. Heyman said that with Lesnar taking some time to dwell on his victory, he would take on another client. The new Paul Heyman guy: Curtis Axel, a repackaged Michael McGillicutty (Joe Hennig). A nice touch was that his music is a remixed version of the theme of his father, Mr. Perfect. Heyman noted the unfavourable reaction, comparing it to the one that Brock Lesnar and CM Punk originally got when he introduced them to the WWE Universe. Heyman explained that the name Curtis Axel pays homage to the names of Curt Hennig and Larry “the Axe” Hennig, but with enough of a change that Axel would forge his own path in WWE. Cue Triple H’s music, and The Game made his way to the ring. Triple H refuted Heyman’s earlier claims that he was embarrassed by the loss to Lesnar. HHH then said he would like to beat up Heyman, but Axel got in his face. HHH slapped Axel, knocking him down. He then gave the duo warning that he would face Axel tonight, and afterwards, he would beat down Heyman.
Match 3: Alberto Del Rio w/ Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Big E Langston w/ AJ Lee
ADR started off hot, using his quickness to stun and stagger Big E. He locked on an armbreaker in the opening minute, but Langston powered out of it. He kept at it, even as Langston tried to leave the ring, but this was ill-advised, since Langston simply powered ADR to the floor and swung him hard into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Langston used his power some more, but Del Rio was able to counter it, nailing Langston with a back-stabber. Del Rio hit an enziguri and looked to put away Langston, but AJ Lee threw Rodriguez’ bucket into the ring. This distracted the ref, so he didn’t see Big E rake ADR’s eyes, blinding him and leaving him prone for the Big E finisher.
Winner: Big E Langston
Match 4: Layla vs AJ Lee
Layla turned her back on AJ right at the bell, and paid for it, as AJ hit a big clothesline. Layla fought back, though, and hit a couple of strong kicks and stomps. The Bellas were shown watching the match in the back, insulting both women. As Layla went for a tilt-a-whirl slam, AJ countered and slipped on her Black Widow submission lock, causing Layla to tap out.
Winner: AJ Lee
Match 5: Cody Rhodes vs Zack Ryder
This match was joined in progress, with Zack in control. Another split screen here of Ryback in the back watching this match – boy, that’s compelling viewing, I better get the app right away. In the ring, Ryder continued his offense, hitting a missile dropkick and his corner boot. A criss-cross on the ropes, and out of nowhere, Cody hit the Disaster Kick for the pin. After the match, Ryback stomped his way to the ring. Ryback circled the downed Ryder, and after Ryder got up, hit his Meathook Clothesline and a huge powerbomb, then dropped Ryder with the Shell Shock. This was apparently a message intended for John Cena, as Ryback then carried Ryder to the ambulance and shoved him into the back of it.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Match 6: The Shield vs Kofi Kingston & Team Hell No
The Shield cut a promo before the match, explaining that their title wins last night are proof that their brand of justice holds the most power, and non-believers like John Cena, the Rock, the Undertaker and all others have paid for their lack of faith. Bottom line – believe in The Shield. The Shield took turns getting beaten down by Kofi and Hell No whose used their varied offensive styles on hurting the Tag Team and US champs. Finally, the Shield got Kofi isolated in their corner, allowing them to use their gang assault swarm tactics. Kofi took an extended beating, including a running dropkick to the chest by Ambrose and a Stroke into the middle turnbuckle by Rollins. Rollins took some time to showboat, though, and Kofi hit a flying headscissors, buying him time to tag in a fired up Bryan. He nearly got the pin after a series of Yes kicks to Rollins, but then got crotched while trying to scale the turnbuckles. He escaped an Ambrose superplex attempt and hit the US champ with a big dropkick off the top. The Shield took to the floor to regroup, and the show headed to the commercial (though, the action could be seen on the WWE app – d’oh, now I’m doing it). Returning from the break, and the tide had turned, with the Shield in some trouble, but only temporarily, thanks to a distraction that saw Bryan get kicked in the back by a non-legal Shield member on the apron. Reigns nearly took Bryan’s head off with a clothesline. The Shield then punished him for several more minutes, before Bryan hit Ambrose with a huge crescent kick to the head, and made the hot tag to Kane. A pier six brawl followed, with stereo flying dives to the floor by Kofi and Bryan, while Kane battled it out with Reigns in the ring. On the floor, the Shield members used ringposts to their advantage, taking Kofi and Bryan out of the game. Kane fought them off valiantly, but soon fell victim to the numbers game, being put down in the end with a Spear by Reigns.
Winners: The Shield
Backstage, a flunkie told Triple H that the medc didn’t feel he was able to compete tonight. Triple H basically said that the medic would need to clear him or he’d be fired.
Backstage, Kaitlyn told Natalya that she found out the phone number of her secret admirer. Cody Rhodes was walking by with a phone, and the Divas took his phone thinking it was him, but it wasn’t.
Match 7: Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter vs Randy Orton
Over 150,000 people voted, and taking on Jack Swagger tonight is Candace Glover. No, wait, it’s Randy Orton. As someone who finds Randy Orton an enormous bore, this recapper wants to slap all of the 72% of people who voted for him. Another reason to get the WWE app – Zeb Colter’s pre-match promo was aired exclusively on it. Orton bored in the ring for a bit. Swagger rolled to the floor, but got dropped onto the ringside barricade, and then clotheslined out there. Back in the ring, Orton pressed the advantage, hitting Swagger with corner punches and a vanilla suplex. Swagger fought back with a boot to Orton’s boring knee. Orton with a Thesz Press and then picked apart Swagger with his sleep-inducing stomp. Swagger targeted Orton’s knee again, and then grounded Orton by twisting his leg to add more pressure to the knee. Orton tried to do something interesting – a hanging DDT from the apron that would have driven Swagger’s head to the floor – but Swagger thwarted it, driving Orton into the barricade. He then worked Orton’s knee some more back in the ring before dumping him off the top to the floor, leading to the obligatory commercial break. With Orton in there, they should rename it to the WWE napp. Back from the break, and Orton fought out of Swagger’s leg twist and hit a nice looking superplex, but only for a two count. A few punches and clotheslines, and then Orton hit a powerslam, his rolling backbreaker, and the draping DDT. Swagger avoided the RKO and locked Randy into the Patriot Lock. Orton pushed him off, and after a couple of reversals and avoidances, Orton hit the RKO for the win.
Winner: Randy Orton
Match 8: Triple H vs Curtis Axel w/ Paul Heyman
After some posturing by Axel, Triple H charged him into the corner and nearly surprised the youngster with a pin attempt. Triple H got caught eying Heyman, though, and Axel aggressively attacked with stomps and kicks, and a great high dropkick. Axel avoided a corner assault, hit HHH with a big spinning elbow, and nearly got a pinfall victory. He then locked on a headlock in the middle of the ring. The crowd’s chants got HHH to a vertical base, and he drove his shoulder into Axel’s midsection repeatedly, following that up with a knee drop. Heyman’s performance on the outside was stellar here, cheering on Axel and reacting in fear whenever HHH looked his way. Axel rolled to the floor for refuge, and when he went back into the ring, HHH had problems following him in, feeling the effects of his war against Brock Lesnar he night before. HHH took a breather on the floor under the medic’s supervision, asking for a bottle of water, and then sitting down on a ringside chair winded and dazed. The medic checked HHH’s eyes, and signaled to the ref that HHH was in no shape to continue. Triple H tried to walk back into the ring, but staggered and fell on the floor. Triple H looked scared as he couldn’t get to his feet, and the show finished with him crawling around ringside surrounded by medical staff.
Bob Kapur wants to wish everyone a happy Victoria's Day. You can send him a 2-4 at email@example.com. RIP Ray Manzarek. Go Wings.