CM Punk is gone, Rock may never wrestle again, Ryback is a heel, Dolph Ziggler is jobbing in his first week as World Heavyweight Champion, Lesnar is challenging Triple H AGAIN and Raw is in jolly old England this week. All that gives me plenty to talk about but all that really matters tonight is that the Undertaker is billed to wrestle in an actual match on Raw. A match that people can watch FOR FREE! Considering he has only wrestled at WrestleMania for the last few years this is a really big deal. The Rock barely showed up on Raw over the last three years, forget about actually performing which is something I thought he desperately needed to do. Meanwhile, here is the Undertaker, about to wrestle on free TV for the first time in ages. The fact that he’s teaming up with Kane and Daniel Bryan leads me to believe he will only be used for a brief hot tag finish, but having it be against the Shield has me really excited for this. It’s possible (not likely, but possible) that the Shield could win here and set the groundwork for a Roman Reigns/Undertaker match at WrestleMania 30. This is completely speculative, but I feel like everything the Undertaker does is meant to lead in to the next WrestleMania, and I have a hard time thinking this will be any different.
The show kicks off with Paul Heyman looking for an answer from Triple H as to whether or not he will accept Brock Lesnar’s challenge to a steel cage match at Extreme Rules. Triple H is not in the building, and Heyman reads an email from Triple H saying that he is will give his answer next week. Heyman starts talking trash about how Triple H doesn’t have the guts to show up when wouldn’t ya know it, Triple H’s music hits and he shows up. He grabs Heyman by the tie, tells him to inform Lesnar that he accepts the match and gives Paul a Pedigree to end the opening segment. Quick way to get the crowd going to open the show.
The first match on the card puts former United States Champion Antonio Cesaro against R-Truth, who gets his full intro with rapping shown on TV. How did he not start a rap battle when he was feuding with Cena? Cesaro comes down the ramp yodeling again as a counter to Truth’s rapping. Sadly the London crowd isn’t feeling it. As for the match, Antonio starts off in control, with knees and big stomps as the crowd gets “Ole” chants going. Truth then ducks under a clothesline and hits his finisher on Cesaro to get the win. Another loss for Cesaro. I really don’t get why he’s being buried like this, and I really don’t get why Truth is getting pushed.
Cut to outside the arena where the Shield is getting dropped off via helicopter. So they don’t get to travel with the rest of the roster. Makes sense to me.
Brodus Clay and Damien Sandow face each other in singles action with Tensai and Cody Rhodes in their respective corners. A guy in the crowd had a great Sandow costume on. The crowd seems to be taking this opportunity to try to be like the post ‘Mania crowd. They chanted “Cody’s Mustache,” “JBL,” and Fandango’s theme. All the while, Damien is controlling the match which his aggressive style of offense. I always appreciate his style in the ring. Brodus starts to come back but Sandow rolls up Clay and grabs the tights to secure the victory. It’s about as clean of a win as Sandow is going to get these days so I’ll have to take it.
Backstage, Ziggler is telling his World Heavyweight Championship that he is in love when AJ walks it acting jealous. Dolph says that she would look good with Kaitlyn’s Divas title. They start to make out when they notice Big E standing idly nearby. Dolph tells him to take a hike because its AJ and Dolph time. He leaves and now the making out is interrupted by Vickie and Brad Maddox. They inform Ziggler that if he loses to Chris Jericho tonight, Jericho will join Ziggler’s title defense against Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger, turning the triple threat match at Extreme Rules into a Fatal Four Way. Sure, why not.
On to the Shield talking smack about the Undertaker. They wonder who gave the Undertaker the right to play judge, jury and executioner. That’s their job and they promise to make the Undertaker know what justice tastes like (huh?).
Chris Jericho up next to take on your World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler with a spot in the title match on the line. Jericho starts strong with some hip tosses and pin attempts as the crowd is split down the middle. Ziggler then escapes the ring to get a kiss from AJ so Jericho hits him outside with a baseball slide. Big E attacks Jericho while the refs back was turned, giving Ziggler the opening to gain control. Dolph then ducked down as Jericho was leaping into him in the corner, causing Chris to sail over the top rope. Ziggler then started to taunt with Jericho down, eventually applying a sleeper hold. Jericho fights out of it with a side suplex and starts hitting his signature moves. Dolph avoids the Lion Tamer but gets clocked with an enziguri for a two count. Chris then landed a bulldog, but with the ref distracted by AJ, Big E hit Jericho in the middle of a lionsault. Ziggler was only able to get a two count but he applied the sleeper again in the middle of the ring. Chris breaks it by dropping Dolph on his back but Ziggler hits the jumping DDT for another two count. Jericho then drops Ziggler and starts to do the wave with the fans. He then goes for the lionsault but Ziggler gets his knees up and hits a fame-asser for a two count. Jericho then goes for the lion tamer but ends up hitting a superplex instead. Ziggler then lands a codebreaker and applies the lion tamer in the middle of the ring. Just when it seemed that Dolph was going to tap, Fandango’s music hit. The crowd goes nuts and Jericho broke the hold expecting Fandango. Ziggler took advantage of the distraction and hit the Zig Zag to win the match. Slow start to this one but it picked up and reached the high standards they set for themselves by the end. So Ziggler is still booked for a Triple Threat match while Jericho looks poised for a rematch with Fandango.
Backstage, Mick Foley is being interviewed by Josh Matthews. After Foley (and his Prince Valient haircut) plugs his dvd, he says that Ryback is making excuses but he won’t be able to do that at Extreme Rules (more plugging).
Roles reverse now as Tensai takes on Cody Rhodes with Brodus Clay and Damien Sandow in their partner’s corners. Cody laid some quick jabs and kept his distance for a while until Tensai finally caught him, holding Cody upside down for several seconds for a full nelson suplex. Cody then comes back with a neck breaker to regain control. A disaster kick to the back of the head brings Tensai down for a two count and Rhodes continues the pressure. Tesnsai gets going again after dodging Cody and throwing him into the ring post. After a rolling senton, Sandow tries to distract Tensai but Clay hits him with a running headbutt. Tesnai then catches Cody attempting a disaster kick, slams him down by his neck and reverse splashes to pick up the winning, evening things up for the show.
Backstage, Kane and Daniel Bryan are arguing about how they are going to work with the Undertaker. Bryan wants to be on the same page, but Kane says the Undertaker doesn’t need advice. Daniel wants Kane to call him, but he doesn’t exactly carry a cell phone. Kane makes Bryan promise that he won’t try to show the Undertaker diagrams or hug him when the Shield attacks them, ending the segment with Team Hell No on the ground.
Next up, Josh Matthews is talking to Ryback. He says that he let the Shield beat up John Cena because Cena never helped him against the Shield. He admits he enjoyed it, and ads that he’s like to talk to Mick Foley about what he said earlier. Apparently, “Ryback Rules” is his new slogan.
Big E Langston in singles match against poor Zack Ryder. Langston now has his own music (some type of rap song) and an entrance gimmick. He slaps lifting chalk against his hands and screams like a freak. It’s better than nothing, I suppose. Ryder got a big pop from the crowd and pushed down his party hair. Big E is again booked to be a monster, hitting multiple back breakers and clotheslines before hitting the Big Ending to get the pin.
Here’s the match everyone wants to see. The Undertaker with Kane and Daniel Bryan against the Shield. The Undertaker comes out to his typical entrance and I still can’t believe he’s actually going to be in a match. The Shield comes out next, with no Kane or Daniel Bryan in sight. The Shield surround the ring with the Undertaker in the middle. The Shield attacks and just as the Undertaker gets overwhelmed, Kane and Daniel Bryan come running in to assist. The Shield clears the ring and the match gets started with Daniel Bryan against Dean Ambrose. I hope for these guys to have a longer history together. Ambrose gets knocked around by all three members of the faces, including the Undertaker! He goes for Old School but Ambrose pulls him down. Undertaker then fights him off and hits a semi sloppy version of it before tagging in Kane. The match stays in control of the faces as Roman Reigns comes in, with Kane sling shot-ing Bryan for a spinning heel kick. Reigns then takes down Kane and start to work him over. Kane takes bumps for a while until Daniel Bryan comes in on a hot tag, taking down Seth Rollins with a series of kicks after he backflips off the top turnbuckle. Bryan then throws Rollins out of the ring and leaps through the ropes, implanting Rollins into the outside barrier. Seth took a very impressive bump there. After a top rope dropkick, Bryan missed on a leaping kick in the corner, giving the Shield a chance to take momentum. With Bryan down, Rollins taunts the Undertaker by saying that they run the show now. Undertaker starts losing his mind on the apron, pacing back and forth like a maniac. Ambrose then props up Daniel in a modified mexican surfboard while Rollins hit him with a flying knee from the top rope. Bryan would evade Reigns running into the corner however, giving him the chance to tag in the Undertaker who would clean house. He hits Ambrose with snake eyes and the big boot. He then grabs Ambrose and Rollins for a choke slam, but Reigns hits him with a spear. Undertaker then kicks out on two, shocking Roman. Kane then gets tagged in to face Rollins, hitting the side slam and the one handed chop from the top rope. Rollins then escapes a chokeslam and hits a roundhouse kick. Ambrose then gets hit with a chokeslam instead. After initially getting pulled down, Bryan gets back to the top rope and tries to hit the top tope headbutt but Ambrose moves away, pinning Bryan while Kane and the Undertaker fought Rollins and Reigns outside the ring, earning another win for the Shield. I’m very surprised that the Undertaker didn’t win but either way it was a very entertaining match. The Shield continues being booked very well, winning clean every time. Great showing from the Undertaker and Bryan (Kane was fine too) , but the Shield again steals the show.
Backstage, John Cena is trying to talk Mick Foley out of meeting Ryback in the middle of the ring. Cena says there is a difference between being smart and being brave (code for stupid) but Foley asks Cena to respect his decision, as he won’t back down from Ryback’s request to talk. Cena tells him to at least go with a chair in hand.
Fandango out next to try killing “Fandangoing” across the globe. Not that it matters, but he has a different dancer with him tonight. England seems really into Fandango. He’s set to face William Regal who gets a huge pop. Regal starts bashing Fandango, pumping the crowd up before Fandango turned things around quickly. He dips Regal before slamming his face into the mat (new finisher I guess), getting the win with only one real offensive move. He’s now been in two matches and has not had many moves to speak of. On the way out, Chris Jericho attacks Fandango, throwing him off the stage. Jericho then extends his hand to Fandango’s dance partner, twirling and dipping her to Fandango’s music, while Fandango watches! Fandango Fandango Fandango!
Divas battle royal to determine the number one contender for the Divas Championship. It’s between AJ (who will win), Tamina, Layla (remember her?), Aksana and Naomi. Having only five people in a battle royal is really weird. Anyway AJ jumps into Tamina’s arms like she did with Kane (uh…okay), and Tamina responded by throwing AJ away and knocking her out cold with a superkick. Layla roundhouse kicks Aksana out of the ring, Naomi and Layla hit Tamina with their asses, but Tamina throws out Naomi anyway. After a brief sequence by the ropes, Layla kicks Tamina out, leaving her and AJ as the only Divas left. AJ is still knocked out so Layla tries dragging her to the ropes. Layla is just about to pull her out when AJ gets up and kicks Layla out, winning the match. Perfect heel booking in a horribly boring Divas match.
In a show that had a lot more wrestling than I ever expect to see, we can now officially put an end to it as Mick Foley (with chair) is out to talk to Ryback. He reiterates Ryback saying that if Foley has something to say about him that he should say it to his face. So Foley then calls him out to the ring. Ryback comes in, asking how a chair is going to help Mick. Mick said that he always took on the biggest and the best, and even though he didn’t always win, he always got back up. Foley says that he knows his time is behind him, and that Ryback can knock him out whenever he wants. With that said, he asks Ryback to listen and shows the clip of Ryback backing away from Cena and watching while the Shield went after John. Foley wants to know what happened to the guy who showed no fear and demanded respect. Foley says that he’s been laid out with no help countless times, and just did the best he could. He says Ryback has the physical tools to dominate the WWE, and shouldn’t need to back away from Cena. He tells Ryback to “Wake up” when Ryback snaps and tells him to shut up. He asks why Foley keeps coming back, suggesting he needs to sell merchandise (not that wrong). Ryback says he wanted to send a message to SuperCena (yeah, he said SuperCena) and get a title shot, and he did both. He says he will be the WWE Champion (which Foley already said would happen) and says that he doesn’t care if Foley, Cena or the stupid fans have a problem with it. Ryback again asks how a chair is going to help Foley, and Mick responds by holding it up. Ryback then tosses the chair from Foley’s hands out of the ring and the two get in a stare down. Cena runs in just before punches can be thrown and sends Mick out. Cena and Ryback look like they are about to fight now when the Shield comes out. This time Cena exits the ring, leaving Ryback alone to face the Shield. The Shield starts to attack Ryback when Cena comes in with a chair and drives them away. After more staring, Cena hits Ryback with an AA and stands over him to end the show.
Cena almost did something mean, and would have been totally justified. But instead he has to stay the super baby face, rescuing the heel so he can do the dirt himself. Meanwhile Ryback wasn’t as good as he was on tape last week, but he was still pretty effective here as a heel. The SuperCena thing was a nice touch. My only issue is that he’s essentially saying all of the same things Punk would say, only not as well. He’s even picking up Punk’s beef with Foley. Hard to complain with what works though, especially while Punk is away. I just wish Ryback didn’t seem so weak and cowardly immediately after going heel.