Three weeks remain until the Extreme Rules pay-per-view (May 19), and Monday’s Raw was focused on furthering the storylines heading into the upcoming marquee event.
While many big-name stars were not in attendance—CM Punk, The Undertaker, Triple H, Paul Heyman, etc.—the current roster was able to keep the fans enthralled with some interesting angles and some amazing in-ring performances.
With another fun episode of Raw in the books, it’s time to break down the evening’s winners, analyze the action, view some highlights and see what kind of reaction the WWE Universe had to Monday’s action.
Raw Results from April 29 (via WWE.com)
Ricardo Rodriguez defeated Big E Langston and Zeb Colter.
John Cena introduced his Make-A-Wish guests to the WWE Universe.
Randy Orton defeated Cody Rhodes.
Naomi defeated Brie Bella.
3MB confronted The Shield.
World Heavyweight champion Dolph Ziggler defeated U.S. champion Kofi Kingston.
Jack Swagger defeated Zack Ryder.
Mark Henry won a Tug-O-War challenge.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Antonio Cesaro.
The Great Khali defeated Fandango in a dance-off.
The Shield defeated WWE champion John Cena and WWE tag team champions Team Hell No.
The Shield’s Domination
There was a time when few in the WWE knew anything about Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, but just six months later, the trio known as The Shield is pinning John Cena on Raw and The Undertaker on SmackDown. With one of the coolest entrances in wrestling history, The Shield is flat-out the best part of Raw each week.
While pinning John Cena was huge for the trio, and the continued interaction with Team Hell No has been great for their long-term projections as superstars, this could be leading to so much more. As alluded to on Monday, the attack on The Undertaker could be the opening Kane needs to put the tag team titles on the line in order to get a potential match.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Is Winning the Tag Team Titles Enough?
The Shield winning the tag team titles would be great for the titles and the tag team division, but many fans feel this is almost a step down for the powerful trio. As a group that has been dominating the main event scene, The Shield shouldn’t be settling for secondary titles.
Instead of having the end game of this angle being about championships, something much deeper and more sinister should be at hand. The WWE must realize the lightning it has captured with The Shield and capitalize on it with the most creative storyline possible. Winning tag team titles just doesn’t do The Shield justice.
While many thought Roman Reigns would be the weak link in this trio—including me—whether it’s on TV or on Twitter, the former NXT star has been pleasantly surprising:
After The Shield beat John Cena and The Undertaker in a week, wrestling insider Arda Ocal shares the sentiment of the WWE Universe:
As great as 3MB’s interruption of The Shield was, the real hilarity was the summer-vacation-esque slideshow the trio forced the fans to watch because of their history of attacking at PPV events:
Extreme Rules was built as one of the biggest PPVs last year, and the WWE is spending plenty of time setting the stage for this year’s edition as well. The problem with such a long build to a secondary show is that Raw and Smackdown start to feel like repeats with the same matches over and over again.
As we have seen with Dolph Ziggler and the world heavyweight championship scene thus far, there is only so much the WWE creative team can do before it has all the managers fight to name the stipulation.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: How Will the WWE Fill Three More Weeks?
The John Cena injury has forced the WWE to create this main event storyline with Ryback on the fly. As we have seen from the interesting booking on Monday, with the challenger leaving the arena and showing up at the end, there is serious intrigue over whether the champion will lose the title at Extreme Rules.
There is always a chance that this is a giant work from the WWE and that Cena is faking the injury—or at least blowing the extent of the injury out of proportion—in order to make Ryback look like a viable contender with a real chance to win the title. Whatever the case may be, there is little doubt that Ryback now looks like a serious threat to win at the PPV.
Legendary announcer Jim Ross is usually right on the ball with his predictions, but even the WWE insider couldn’t see Cena taking the loss:
While the main event was serious, the build to the Sheamus vs. Mark Henry match at Extreme Rules took a funny turn as The Celtic Warrior tricked The World’s Strongest Man in a tug-of-war. For next week’s show, former ECW announcer Joey Styles has a great follow-up idea:
Despite seeing this more times than the WWE Universe would like to admit, the champion versus champion match between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston had the best in-ring action of the night. WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts was lucky enough to be just feet away:
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