DDO New player advice

Observations for newer players

As a follow-up to a recent post that offered with any luck some food for thought on DDO play experience for veterans of the game, i would be remiss if there wasn’t a companion piece aimed at gamers new to this well-established MMO.

ddo_logo

If i’m honest, this one is a little trickier for me since i’ve been playing DDO since 2006, so it’s far from new to me. Back then, Smuggler’s Rest was the starting zone, you could only have four enhancements, the level cap was 10, Threnal was endgame and ransacking the Giants’ Lair for a vorpal sword was considered a worthwhile investment of time – especially if someone used diplomacy on the chest first.

Perhaps my favorite gameplay aspect from this era, though, was the “go kart bug.” In order to proc this bug, you had to equip a throwing weapon, enter stealth mode, toggle auto-run and then /sit. Doing so allowed characters to slide around in the sitting position so it looked, not surprisingly, like you were driving an invisible go kart.

Ahh, those were the days.

“But I just started playing last week,” a new player might think. “What does any of that have to do with me?”

Touche, new player. Let me counter with a couple of things to justify my admittedly indulgent nostalgia moment.

First, consider this: every veteran you see wearing a Founder’s Helm or sporting a forum join date in the aughts was once in your Sage’s Shoes. They didn’t create an account, roll a toon and log in with complete knowledge of game systems and all the quests and puzzles. So take it with a grain of salt if you find yourself in a PUG and get surprised comments directed your way about your lack of knowledge on any particular thing. There’s still vast swaths of DDO that i have yet to experience, too. Heck, there’s a guy in my guild who just started playing about a month ago and already accomplished a few things i never have.

Founder's Helm: missed it by a couple of months. Drat.

Founder’s Helm: missed it by a couple of months. Drat.

Be willing to PUG and group with others

This is perhaps the best piece of general advice i can offer to a new player. Or any player for that matter. For many years, i played DDO primarily solo, to the point of exclusivity almost. There’s several reasons why that came about but i’ve since cottoned to grouping more and the difference is extraordinary.

First and foremost, quests will generally go much smoother, easier and quicker in a group. While it’s true that dungeon scaling will increase the number of mobs and so forth, a group of up to six toons is going to roll ahead much more effectively than a lone adventurer.

Beyond that, whether it’s a group of vets, newbs or a mix of the two, the opportunities to learn something are increased by the number of people in a group. A new player might even have something to teach a vet, as a few of my guild mates discovered recently regarding the viability of the toughness feat that i mentioned in the veteran companion piece to this post.

Likewise, it’s not uncommon for veteran players to have a leveling plan so there are quests they might not have run in years, or optionals they always skip by in the xp/min grindfest. Unless you find yourself in a zerg-at-all-costs group, you very well may end up (re)introducing these folks to parts of the game they largely forgot. And everyone may wind up sidetracked by a little something called “fun.”

Grouping is a great way to meet other players, get (and give!) advice, and accomplish more together than you could on your own. Check the social panel next time you’re on by clicking “O” or using the menu and see what groups are doing. It’s also worth noting that the grouping panel has a bit of a glitch right now. In order to make the most of it, you need to click the “Who” panel, wait a moment until it refreshes (you’ll see the list of names refresh) then go back to “Grouping.”

If you don’t see any groups in your level range, try posting a LFM yourself, and don’t be shy about putting in descriptions like “first time running” or whatever – that not only lets people know where you’re coming from but also might make it more inviting to other new players, who sometimes feel intimidated by joining a group of experienced players.

And if all else fails, leave the group public when you enter a dungeon. If you’re comfortable playing solo, great. And if someone wants to jump in while you’re in-progress then you’ve got yourself a party.

Listening is different than obeying

When it comes to quest mechanics, like puzzle-solving and so forth, this piece of advice doesn’t exactly apply. Likewise, in raid situations for example that require more tactics and coordination, it’s wise to heed what experienced players have to say. This kind of advice comes not only from their personal desire to avoid quest failure, but also serves you well going forward, so in the future if you run a particular raid again for example, you’ll be more aware of how things are handled by the player population.

What i’m suggesting here is the myriad comments and banter regarding things like character builds, gear, what quests to run and things of that nature.

i’ve played a lot of MMOs, and almost all of them lend themselves to minutiae analysis. A stat point here, a gear bonus there can make a big difference and DDO is no different – perhaps even more so because of the deep customization options the game is known for.

My advice here is very similar to how one ought to approach reading and/or watching the news. If you take the first thing you hear as the absolute truth, you’re going to end up with a very one-sided viewpoint. Better to get your information from several sources and make your own informed decisions. The DDO Wiki is a fantastic resource, and the official forums can also provide invaluable information as well. An Internet search for “ddo (whatever you want to know about)” typically steers towards the forums and a wealth of answers. Watch the date on posts though – an older one may be outdated now because of updates or changes to the game.

Player advice, even that which is thought out and has been researched by the advice-giver, can’t help but be filtered through the lens of their individual experience. The mechanics and math might very well make perfect sense on paper and even in practice, but despite all of that it still comes down to a person’s playstyle and what works for them.

i like to use the example of my pure fighter, Experimenta, who perhaps could squeeze out more DPS or defenses by selecting different feats or enhancements, twisting in different destiny abilities, or splashing another class. But so far, i haven’t encountered any insurmountable obstacles and in fact have received quite a few compliments on her survivability, damage-dealing and utility in healing, buffing and raising from the dead other party members.

At the end of the day though, when confronted with strict advice, the best thing to ask yourself is “am i having fun?” If you find yourself performing competently in quests, surviving boss fights and getting ahead, then congratulations – whatever you’re doing is working for you. Is there room for improvement? Sure there is, there always is. Finding those ways through your own efforts though is going to be much more rewarding and will sync up better with your own playstyle.

Don’t get discouraged

Listen, i’ve been there. We all have. Total party wipes, bad PUGS and not-so-friendly players happen.

But for every player that gets mad at the player who dies in a quest, there’s countless more like me who feel more like it’s our failure as a party member when someone else dies. Say what you will about the xp loss, and believe me on a multi-TR every bit of xp is precious, to me it’s really not that big of a deal.

Of course, i want to get ahead, level up and all that jazz. But speaking for myself, i’ve never quite understood the extreme hurry. What i enjoy most about MMOs is that there’s a bunch of other real people logged in, running around the shared environment, chatting and forming groups to tackle game content. Sharing ideas and tips, as well as joking around and meeting new people, is what sets online games apart and with that, you’re going to have both positive and negative experiences.

The trick is to take away something useful from all of them.

Just the other night, i experienced a discouraging situation running some quests for the first time. At first, for a moment i’ll admit i was pretty ticked off by the turn of events. But only for a moment. The next night, we tried again with some different people and tactics and found success. It certainly wasn’t worth ragequitting, causing drama or giving up. i didn’t feel the need to reroll my toon or make sweeping changes to the build. We just approached it a bit differently and that made all the difference.

Really? Worst quest you ever ran. Well, my next one will be better. Hello.

Really? Worst quest you ever ran. Well, my next one will be better. Hello.

The right game for you

This one’s pretty simple. Is DDO the right game for you?

As i mentioned earlier, i’ve played a lot of MMOs over the years. Right now on my taskbar, there are shortcuts to Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, Star Trek Online, Marvel Heroes, The Secret World, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, Rift, Neverwinter Online, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft and Champions Online. Many others have come and gone from that taskbar over the years.

None of them i’ve invested as much time in, or enjoyed as much as, DDO. Maybe it’s just the D&D-ness of it, or the mechanics, or who knows what but i keep coming back to it because i enjoy it above all the others.

Even with that being said, i still take breaks from it here and there. A few weeks, a few months, but i always come back around. Which isn’t to say any of those other games aren’t great, too. At the same time, there’s more than a couple of those that i haven’t played in years, and some that i tried out for a few weeks and simply didn’t enjoy. Neverwinter is a prime example – i played that for about two days and just thought it was crap. In fact, i’m removing it from the taskbar right after i finish this sentence.

If you’ve delved into DDO, played for a bit and find yourself feeling unsatisfied consistently, there’s no shame in moving on. Any of these games will reward investments of time (and, often, money) and even some long-time DDO players seem to approach the game more as a chore or work than for what it is – a game meant to provide fun entertainment.

One of the coolest things about MMOs is that, even if you quit and uninstall the client, you could return years later and find your character still intact. If you’re reading this and played DDO many years ago, you will be happy to discover more than a few special items in your characters’ inventory were you to log back in today.

If you are a newer player, and wound up here after trying the game a bit and maybe having less-than-the-best experiences, i hope some of these observations might improve that.

TL;DR

For the DDO player who zergs through reading like they do through quests, here’s a few pointers to summarize what new players can do to make their play experience more positive, acclimate to the game, improve the community and with any luck have more fun.

  • Group up
    • Don’t be afraid to join PUGs
    • Post your own LFM
    • Leave quests open to public
  • Don’t feel obligated to obey
    • Listen to advice but make your own decisions
    • Find the playstyle that works for you
    • Learn to differentiate between mechanical advice and personal opinions
  • Don’t get discouraged
    • Character deaths happen
    • Quests and XP will always be there
    • Learn something new from every experience
  • Take a break
    • If you’re not having fun, don’t punish yourself
    • Try another game, maybe it’s not the right time and place for DDO and you
    • Been away? Log back in and see if changes make it better for you

*     *     *     *     *

Thanks as always for visiting The Long Shot. If you enjoyed this or any other content you find here please follow/like/share.

Please share your thoughts and comments on this topic in the comments section – there’s a lot of perspectives out there and i’d like to hear yours!

As always, i appreciate each and every person that visits The Long Shot. It’s a great joy to share not only my own thoughts but also stories of science, technology and pop culture from my hometown Cleveland and the surrounding area. If you have anything you’d like to write about, please feel free to contact me or Take a Shot yourself and write about topics that interest you.

Follow @longshotist on Twitter for frequent shares of related articles and (hopefully) humorous nonsequiters.

Check out the articles i’ve written for The News-Herald.

Thanks for reading!

DDO Devilish new updates

Putting the follow-up my observations for veteran DDO players meant as a companion piece aimed towards newer players, i’m taking a moment as always to examine what’s coming up as shared in the most recent Producer’s Letter.

Current DDO Executive Producer Severlin posted on the forums today what the team at Turbine has been up to as well as what players can expect in the next few months.

ddo_logo

First up, and something that is perhaps the most frequent topic of discussion and concern for players, is tacking the chronic lag problems in DDO. For me personally, lag hasn’t been a major issue at the level throngs of others have experienced, which frankly sound exceedingly frustrating. Once in a while, i’ll lag out, freeze up or go through some jaggy movement, but not to the extent of 30 minute or more lockdowns and TPK situations.

Nevertheless, working to make improvements in stability and performance is never time wasted. Part of this work, which Severlin shared, is a project to transfer game servers and hardware to a new data center. Sounds scary – i have trouble keeping track of the cords coming out of my desktop now – but overall a genuine goal geared towards making the game run smoother for everyone, which is something i can stand behind.

There’s already a few comments portending DOOOOOooooooom! based on this announcement, and there’s certainly the possibility of a few snags during the process, but upgrading hardware is ultimately a good thing. More power to you, Turbine.

Last week, the forums got a new category that already shows a healthy amount of engagement: the Warlock forum. This new class has been talked about for quite some time, and the official news from today’s producer letter is that it will arrive in-game in June’s Update 26.

A new class to discover is always exciting. The monk, artificer, favored soul and druid were all post-launch added classes and remain popular so i’m sure the warlock will also find its place in players’ hearts. Another spellcaster class, the warlock brings a sixth class to that category, leaving four in each of the other two (melee and specialist). This is something i do find somewhat odd. Even though warlock is distinct enough in flavor and mix of abilities, it is in the end another spellcasting class. And still no psionics, something i’ve been advocating for years and years, often dismissed as just another spellcaster with different spell names. Perhaps the warlock will provide a new framework for approaching class design that will usher in the age of psions in the future. Fingers crossed.

A star pact warlock. Hey, maybe we're get tieflings as a playable race (if so, the cool-looking ones please, not the humans with weird horns)

A star pact warlock. Hey, maybe we’re get tieflings as a playable race (if so, the cool-looking ones please, not the humans with weird horns)

In the meantime, i will most certainly be creating a warlock myself, and there’s no question on which pact i’ll choose – the Great Old Ones. From what is already shared on the forums, these otherworldly warlocks will have a focus on acid spells and crowd control with a little insta-kill mixed in. i would like to have seen radiance as their focus instead of acid, since it represents the light of the stars from which they draw their power. Maybe that will be implemented by the time they release? If my own contribution to the official feedback thread had any impact (or this post right here – please forward to developer Vargouille!). As for that crowd control part, Evard’s Black Tentacles would be a much-appreciated new spell.

The standout news from the letter is that, following Update 26 in June is another one, Update 27 in July. Just one month apart! Severlin reveals much more about this update, which will include a new adventure pack that focuses on the very popular and well-liked Shavarath storyline. Eberron content ftw.

Ready to head back to the Plane of Battle?

Ready to head back to the Plane of Battle?

This time around, players will discover more about the Archon’s battle with the armies of Shavarath and take an active role in the drama. Mysterious Remnants are involved (maybe they’ll start dropping in greater numbers. Please!) and it turns out they come from the Plane of Battle, which is where the action from three new dungeons and a new raid takes place.

Aside from these two updates, Sev addresses player feedback about problems with the DDO Store, with an announcement that it’s getting an overhaul for an improved experience. Later this summer, players will find a streamlined DDO Store which i’m sure means among other things it would be unavailable as often. Although, if i’m honest, sometimes i like when the DDO Store is down because it saves me from impulse shopping.

Finally, there is more news about the long-awaited increase in level cap from 28 to 30. The plan has been to make 30 a hard cap, and i haven’t heard any different in this regard. That being said, it’s entirely possible that a year from now it’ll get raised to 40 for all i know. That’s pretty much what MMOs do. On the other hand…

…the other thing MMOs do at endgame is provide difficult crafting systems for top end gear. To that end, one of the things in the works is an epic and extended version of the ever popular Thirteenth Eclipse raid. Yes, that’s what it’s actually called but it’s more widely known and affectionately referred to as The Shroud. Along with it is an updated and epic version of green steel crafting, probably the most popular crafting system in the game. The stuff you can make from green steel is tremendous, and an epic version should keep players busy and happy for quite some time.

Along with the epic Shroud is another new adventure pack related to the Vale of Twilight, too. MOAR new content is never a bad thing.

Overall, a pretty tidy new producer’s letter that seems to include a little something across the board. Performance-enhancing maintenance benefits everyone, and a new class will give builders something to tinker with, and slapdash players like me something to fumble through life with, too. Quote a bit of new content is on the horizon, all of it taking place in Eberron which gets two thumbs up in my book.

One thing i am curious about is Update 26. Other than the warlock, what else is there to this upcoming update? Severlin doesn’t mention anything, so i wonder if it’s just the new class and maybe some tweaks to enhancement trees and stuff? Perhaps there will be a new general tree or a third tree for the classes who have only had two for an overly long time. Or maybe a refinement pass on Cannith Crafting?

At least we won’t have long to wait to find out – June is just around the corner!

DDO Please play responsibly

Observations for veteran players

My time spent having fun playing DDO lately has improved considerably since joining The Unrepentant guild, and not just because it’s a very active guild that regularly runs a variety of content at all hours of the day.

The best aspect of running with these folks has been the terrific guild chat through the Mumble app, and all the engaging conversations that arise both in and out of game. Frequent topics include character builds, gear, playstyles and approach to the game, as well as a vigorous amount of banter and humor.

Because of the active nature of the guild, both in terms of questing and recruitment, there’s a fairly steady flow of applicants both veteran and fresh to DDO, and i’ve made a few observations to share that with any luck will provide a nice takeaway for both ends of the player spectrum. And since brevity is not my strong suit, i’ll cover vets here and new players in another post.

ddo_logo

All we need is just a little patience

To an old timey forum dweller like me, the topic of veteran attitudes towards new players is nothing new. It’s not my intention to admonish any long time players if i inadvertently describe traits that apply to anyone in particular. Based on what i’ve read over the years and my in-game experience in PUGs and guilds, the two extremes of vet player attitudes towards new players is either one of helpfulness or disregard.

The fulcrum upon which those two extremes rest is patience.

A patient vet, grouped up with a new player or even through the /advice channel in-game, takes the time to answer questions and offer tips and suggestions, realizing that the knowledge they’ve acquired is valuable and takes time to accumulate.

The impatient vet may very well take new player questions with disdain, feeling that they ought to take the time to find out the answers on their own through trial-and-error, the forum of the critically important wiki.

Whatever the approach though – either of these extremes or somewhere in the middle – the most important thing to keep in mind is the perspective of the new player. There’s a few recruits in the guild who are new to DDO in general, and i get the sense sometimes that even helpful advice can be overwhelming.

For example, one of the people i tend to play a lot with is new to DDO, but not games or specifically MMOs in general. So for him, learning the ropes is primarily just understanding the finer points of the game. A couple of times, i’ve detected a hint of frustration in his voice from vet players’ comments and tips regarding things like gear.

You need this!

After so many tips on suggested gear item (utility things like particular purpose named items for instance) i sensed that he maybe felt a bit stymied, noting that he only has so much bank space and has no room for all the things he “needs.” What helped more was that, in addition to tossing out suggestions for chase items, explanations were provided as to what/why/how these things could help. Most vet players have at least one toon that we’ve made some investment in, for practical things like increased bank and vault space. Even despite that, item management can get frustrating at times with all the loot that accumulates.

i’m not alone in having thrown out or sold more named items that a new player probably has in random lootgen clogging up their inventory space. Unless some random treasure is exceptionally amazing, more than likely it’s destined for the vendor. When it comes to gear i’m a snob and almost completely disregard stuff with less than a dark blue item border color.

By comparison, and especially until a new player understands just how much gear affects character performance, they might rarely ever swap anything out (Korthos gear in Gianthold?!) or hoard things that seem really useful and maybe not realize they’re doubling up on things or stacking unstackable bonuses and the like.

To sum up, it goes a long way to offer new players advice on useful gear that will benefit them at every level, or makes for great TR twink gear or would increase their build effectiveness. A motivated player might take time out of game to read up on things or research ways to improve. What a vet can do in-game though is invaluable, by explaining the reasoning behind their advice so that the new player doesn’t get overwhelmed or frustrated.

For the vet player there’s an upside, too. Helping new players acquire some of that useful, must-have gear provides an opportunity to maybe run some quests you might skip over or haven’t played in a long time. A lot of people skip over Tangleroot, which can net you a useful Visor of the Flesh Render Guards in addition to some pretty nice XP for the chain. Running it slower with a new player might be tedious, true, and that leads into the next topic.

Repetition is the mother of all learning

Another area where patience is a virtue is quest content. What i always try to keep in mind is that someone may be experiencing a quest for the first time. More than once, i’ve shared a laugh about how something like Water Works or STK used to be a huge undertaking back when we were new. To get through the entire WW chain in one session was a triumph.

Now, i rush through there by myself, under level, in about 30 minutes. Same with STK, Tangleroot, The Catacombs (hate you Crypt of Gerald Dryden) and several others. These can be tricky to run with new players, at least for me, because i certainly hope they get that sense of wonder and danger. When i first started playing DDO, we crept so cautiously along corridors, unsure of what lay ahead.

These days, with past lives and ship buffs that didn’t even exist then, plus knowledge from having run through these quests countless times, the fun comes more from seeing how the build responds to the content. Also, getting the drop on static mobs is a blast, often literally. In PnP it’s not uncommon to open a door, see a bunch of hobgoblins, roll for initiative and let the wizard toss a fireball and then clean up the mess; when you already know about the ambush around the corner you can fireball those sneaky monsters before they even know you’re there.

Thanks to patient vets, Experimenta went from unrefined first-lifer to contributing member of EE parties

Thanks to patient vets, Experimenta went from unrefined first-lifer to contributing member of EE parties

But imagine you’re playing that quest with someone on their very first run. More than likely, keeping up is their challenge and learning the layout or solving puzzles is going right over their heads. There’s still a lot of content i’ve rarely or never touched, and when i get the opportunity to with a group, i often find myself wondering what the heck is going on. But i have been fortunate to play a lot lately with very helpful folks who take the time to explain things to me. A big part of DDO that’s different from other MMOs in my experience is repeating content. So i know, the next time i’m in a quest i’m not familiar with, i’ll be that much more on the ball. This is a potential hurdle for a new player, who might not yet have grasped that they’ll likely find themselves running a particular quest again. And again. And again…

Take it easy, man!

Grinding for XP and loot is the way of the MMO, and in DDO that translates into repeating quests. Some players have a plan they follow, and some (like me) play catch-as-catch-can and jump into anything without regard to bravery streaks, XP per minute, sagas or prepping wilderness areas. In the end, the results are the same: you reach the level cap and either hang out there or TR and start a new life…and do it all over again.

By that point your TR toon (or brand new first-lifer in some cases) has past lives, epic past lives, twink gear and most importantly quest knowledge that makes the trip that much easier.

Now, put yourself in the shoes of a new player who may not be aware of all those mechanics yet. They’re in your group, thinking that since everyone is the same level, they’re going to be about equally effective.

Next thing they know, they see characters one-shotting mobs, tanking toe-to-toe with bosses, watching a character with a wizard icon bust out a greatsword and dish out more DPS than their barbarian. What’s happening?

Statsinger is a first-life bard spellsinger in a static group. Neglible DPS but keeps the party buffed

Statsinger is a first-life bard spellsinger in a static group. Neglible DPS but keeps the party buffed. Several suggestions to go swashbuckler route but i’m sticking with support – you guys will thank me later!

Left standing there watching in awe or dismay, a new player might get discouraged and think they’re doing something wrong. This isn’t to say the vet player is to blame – after all, we’re playing our best just as they are. But here again, i think a little explanation goes a long way for a new player. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple tidbit that can make a huge difference. For example, i mentioned stacking bonuses earlier. Sometimes this gets overlooked or goes unnoticed by new players who probably turned off the hints feature and missed load screen tip #179

Between quests, they switch out a few items and all of a sudden performance increases dramatically. The same can be said of feats and enhancements, the bread and butter of any build. You thought Skill Focus: Swim would come in handy? Maybe if you’re a swim cleric but other than that…sorry mate. Better go talk to Lockania and then hit up Fred to change that out. Oh, you didn’t know about Lockania?

DDO, widely touted for its deep character customization, can yield some amazing creations as well as gimp builds, and a little constructive criticism can go a long way to help a newer player. Personally, i’m a bit more open-minded when it comes to builds as far as deeming something gimp or not, but regardless of the gulf of opinions, it is always more beneficial to explain your reasoning more than “that sucks” or “it’s a gimp build – reroll.” Character success in DDO boils down a lot to playstyle and finding what works for the individual, so offering build advice to a new player with the thought behind it not only helps them, it can help you too.

Here’s an example: in guild the other night we discussed the toughness feat, once considered auto-include for every character. It provides additional HP and unlocked the toughness enhancements for even MOAR HP. Since the enhancement revamp that introduced trees, it’s fallen off in popularity, but there’s still people who squeeze it in their build for various reasons. One of our newer members shared his perspective on it, pointing out that as a paladin he got more benefit from the feat. A couple of vets questioned how this was, themselves learning about Tenacious Defense that grants a 20% bonus to maximum hit points. As regards toughness, i think that’s only 6 extra HP at cap from the feat (very likely i could be wrong) so to me, not really worth it. The point is, people took the time to explain and discuss the pros and cons in a constructive way, and everyone learned something.

TL;DR

For the veteran DDO player who zergs through reading like they do through quests, here’s a few pointers to summarize what you can do to help new players acclimate to the game, improve the community and with any luck make your own experiences more fun.

  • Exercise patience
    • Respond to the /advice channel
    • Steer people to the forums and the wiki
    • Give reasoned responses to questions
  • Explain yourself
    • What your suggestions mean
    • Why is this or that piece of equipment useful/necessary
    • Be willing to run quests outside of your leveling plan to help players snag that loot
  • Let players experience a sense of wonder
    • Let them take the lead
    • Give advice through hints but let them participate in puzzle-solving, quest mechanics, etc.
    • Death isn’t the end of the quest (10% base XP loss isn’t the end of the world) and can make memorable stories
  • Maintain perspective
    • DDO grind is a somewhat different animal than other MMOs
    • Constructive criticism can lead to a little tweak that makes a big difference
    • Keep an open mind and remember what it was like when you were new

Play responsibly

If there’s any takeaway from these observations, it’s only that i hope players across the spectrum play DDO responsibly. It shouldn’t be a chore, or a frustrating task and that’s certainly not what i mean to say. Above all else, it’s a game and the primary purpose is to have fun. But being an MMO imparts a social aspect of real people interacting with each other. All of us who love the game hope it continues for years to come, and a big part of that is building and maintaining a healthy community and robust playerbase. If a new player repeatedly has negative experiences in-game, and therefore less fun, they’re just going to move on and the playerbase will dwindle.

That isn’t to say DDO’s future relies on the players alone. Marketing and advertising, and providing a great game experience, is the duty of Turbine and the development team. But what veteran players can do is leverage the experience and knowledge they’ve gained to help a newer player have a better game experience, too.

As a side bonus, patience and a willingness to guide new players means you’ll get to be a part of their characters’ milestones. Everyone remembers their first time facing Velah, or stepping inside epic quests or a raid and total party wipes. It happens. What you can do as a vet is be a positive part of new players’ stories that they’ll carry with them on their own journey to becoming a vet for someone else.

Check back soon for some observations aimed at a newer player, and what they can do to make for a more enjoyable and successful game experience.

*     *     *     *     *

Thanks as always for visiting The Long Shot. If you enjoyed this or any other content you find here please follow/like/share.

Please share your thoughts and comments on this topic in the comments section – there’s a lot of perspectives out there and i’d like to hear yours!

As always, i appreciate each and every person that visits The Long Shot. It’s a great joy to share not only my own thoughts but also stories of science, technology and pop culture from my hometown Cleveland and the surrounding area. If you have anything you’d like to write about, please feel free to contact me or Take a Shot yourself and write about topics that interest you.

Follow @longshotist on Twitter for frequent shares of related articles and (hopefully) humorous nonsequiters.

Check out the articles i’ve written for The News-Herald.

Thanks for reading!

WWE RAW 05-19-15 Results and Review

At WWE Payback, fans witnessed a spectacular event filled with surprising moments. John Cena managed to retain his United States Championship in the final chapter of the Cena and Rusev feud, Dolph Ziggler’s entire head became crimson red with blood in an era where blood is frowned upon, and a brief Shield reunion saw Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns hit their patented triple powerbomb on Randy Orton. What challenge awaits WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins? Was Ryback legitimately injured by Wyatt at last nights event? And with the recent announcement of the return of the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View, what matches will be set into place as the event approaches in two short weeks?

Once again, it is time to get RAW.

WWE RAW

RAW started with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon of The Authority in the ring together for the first time since Wrestlemania 31. They discussed how Seth Rollins is a great WWE World Heavyweight Champion before revealing the Intercontinental title on a podium in the ring. They discussed Daniel Bryan vacating the title last night and Triple H announced that a new champion will be crowned in an Elimination Chamber match before highlights were shown of the elimination chamber.

IC Title

Sheamus came out and tried to convince The Authority to simply hand the Intercontinental Championship to him. He claimed responsibility for ending Daniel Bryan’s Yes movement and claimed to have ended Bryan’s career.

Ryback came out and trash talked Sheamus while supporting Daniel Bryan. Stephanie McMahon announced that they will both be in the Elimination Chamber match in two weeks, and Triple H announced that Sheamus will take on Ryback right now as RAW went to commercial.

The match started immediately after the commercial break. Ryback instantly took control of the match with a flurry of offense, but Sheamus started to shift control of the match in his favor as RAW went to commercial.

RAW returned from the commercial break as Sheamus was still in control, but Ryback quickly made a comeback. He hit a series of offense on Sheamus inside of the ring before taking the action outside of the ring. The assault continued on the floor, as Ryback slammed Sheamus in the announce table and smashed him into the ring post the action spilled back into the ring.

Ryback began to have some issues with his eye and when the action was stopped so the referee could check Ryback’s eye, Sheamus took advantage of the situation and hit him with a Brogue Kick for the win.

This was a good opening segment but the match seemed to have a disappointing ending. I don’t mind having Sheamus take advantage of a situation, but having a powerhouse like Ryback stunned momentarily because of an issue with his eye is anything but believable. With that being said, I look forward to both the chamber match for the Intercontinental Championship and these two being involved in the match.

Renee Young interviewed Neville in the ring until Bo Dallas interrupted. Neville and Dallas talked back and forth King Barrett made his way to the ring.

Neville against Barrett was the scheduled match and Dallas joined the commentary team for the match. Barrett dominated the match as RAW went to commercial. When RAW came back from commercial, Neville was making a comeback until his knee buckled. He continues to show signs of injury as Barrett continued to exploit the injury. Taking advantage of the situation, Barrett hit Neville with the Bullhammer Elbow for the win.

The series of matches that these two have had has continued to impress me. I am hopeful that these two will be included in the Intercontinental Championship match. Neville could be a fresh young face in the Intercontinental Championship scene and he is a NXT star that the fans have really gotten behind since his debut.

After the match, Bo Dallas began to attack Neville, he attacked the injured knee, and wrapped it around the ring post several times.

With this attack and injury angle, I am probably wrong about my prediction for the Intercontinental Championship match. However, Neville vs. Dallas was a great feud in NXT and could translate into a great feud on Monday Night RAW. The fans can’t stand Dallas, and have embraced Neville since his main roster debut. This could be a classic case of good against evil.

After a commercial break, Rusev approached the ring a big giant Russian flag by himself. Fans chanted for Lana and Rusev said there would be no Lana tonight and that she needs to learn her place. Rusev said that he can speak for himself and that he did not quit at Payback and Cena did not beat him. He bragged about making Cena pass out in the ring. He called Cena out so that they could restart the match, but Lana came out instead.

Lana said she said that she’s been with Rusev every step of the way and that she thought Rusev would be the first man to make John Cena quit but she was wrong.

Lana explained that she was trying to protect Rusev because she cares about him, but Rusev said she was pathetic and disgusting. Lana said that she did the right thing for him and for them.

She explained that he was screaming “I Quit” in Bulgarian at the Payback Pay-Per-View. Rusev called her a liar and said that he doesn’t need Lana or anybody else. He called Lana weak and told her to go back where she came from as she headed to the back.

This was a good segment for the inevitable breakup of Rusev and Lana. The only question that I have now is: What’s next? Who will Rusev feud against next? And what superstar will Lana align herself with now that she is viewed as a favorite by fans? Only time will tell.

Bray Wyatt faced off against Dean Ambrose next. They locked up and Wyatt took it to the corner but was forced to back off. They locked up again and Wyatt slammed Ambrose. Ambrose began to take control and dropped an elbow. There was back and forth brawling, but Ambrose ran into Wyatt and went down.

Wyatt took Ambrose down with a headlock and hit a clothesline in the corner. Ambrose charged Wyatt in the corner and Wyatt went to the floor. Ambrose went for a dive but Wyatt stopped him. Wyatt suplexed Ambrose to the floor as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial Wyatt hit Ambrose with a headbutt., before throwing him out to the floor. They fought outside of the ring but made it back in just before being counted out. They brawled in the middle of the ring, and Ambrose managed to take control. Ambrose hit a bulldog and Wyatt rolled to the apron but Ambrose tied him up in the top rope and hit a dropkick.

After more back and forth, Ambrose blocked the Sister Abigail finisher. Ambrose dumped Wyatt over the top rope and dove out onto Wyatt and Ambrose both went for their finishing maneuvers but blocked each other.

After more back and forth, J&J Security came out and Joey Mercury distracted the referee while Jamie Noble pushed Ambrose off the top into Wyatt and Wyatt hit his Sister Abigail finisher for the win.

Wyatt and Ambrose have had a number of matches over the past year, and they have all been pretty good. This was a long match, that both casual and hardcore fans could enjoy. The finish of the match kept both Ambrose and Rollins strong while also creating the possibility of a feud between Ambrose and The Authority.

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon stood backstage watching, while Rollins stood onstage with J&J Security and waved back at Wyatt, who was posing over Ambrose.

WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and Big E of The New Day came out for a championship match against Cesaro and Tyson Kidd. They explained how Woods is banned from ringside tonight before confirming that they will defend their championships against five other tag teams at Elimination Chamber.

Cesaro and Kidd came out next for the championship match. It started with Cesaro and Big E. Cesaro clotheslinined Kofi on the apron and lifting Big E for a suplex. Kidd tagged in and took out Big E as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial, Big E had Cesaro in an abdominal stretch. Cesaro fought out but Big E hit a belly to belly suplex. Kidd and Kofi went back and forth as Kidd hit the Sharpshooter but Big E broke it up.

New Day ended up teaming on Kidd and wouldn’t stop so the referee ended the match.

Cesaro made the save and took out Big E. He went for the Cesaro Swing on Kingston but Xavier Woods came down as The New Day beat them down until Sin Cara and Kalisto made the save. Los Matadores came down and dove out onto Big E. The Ascension and The Prime Time Players also joined the brawl. Eventually, the ring was cleared out with only the Prime Time Players left standing.

The announcement of the title match made it obvious that The New Day wasn’t losing tonight, however, it was fun to see another match in this feud. In addition, I loved the way that they announced all of the teams in the match at Elimination Chamber. Rather than a formal announcement, each team made a run in during the segment and we got to see a bit of a preview of what will happen in just a few weeks.

As RAW came back from commercial WWE United States Champion John Cena came out for his open challenge. He talked about defeating Rusev at Payback and called the United States Championship “our championship.”

WWE NXT Champion Kevin Owens came out to the shock of the fans. Owens congratulated Cena and said everyone knows who Owens is and anyone that doesn’t isn’t worth his time. Owens took credit for the injuries that Sami Zayn has acquired over the past few weeks and hyped their match at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable on Wednesday. They went back and forth and eventually Owens said that while Cena is a veteran in WWE, Owens has been wrestling longer than Cena has. Owens turned down Cena’s challenge but then hit him with a cheap shot and a powerbomb to end the segment.

Owens_Cena

Owens has been a force to be reckoned with ever since he first competed on the independent circuit, and his main roster debut is definitely one that will make an impact. He took the biggest star of WWE down in his first ever RAW appearance, and not many people can say that. I remember on a few occasions I had the opportunity to see him when he competed in AIW in Cleveland for a mere $10-15 and didn’t go to the events he wrestled at, and as I watched him as an established cable star all I could think was “I could’ve watched him wrestle from less than 10 feet away.”

I guess that is a lesson learned, you never know when the big indy names will be called up to the WWE so you should take every opportunity to see your favorite stars.

Dolph Ziggler and Stardust fought in the next matchup. They went at it and Stardust took control as he stomped away at Ziggler. Stardust hit a clothesline on Ziggler for a two count. Stardust continued to take control until Ziggler hit the Zig Zag out of nowhere to win the match.

A quick throwaway match between the two stars, but if they were given more time they could have done so much more. Both wrestlers are very talented, but they simply were not given much time to showcase their skills in this specific match.

Cole interviewed Ziggler in the ring about his match against Sheamus at Payback. Cole also revealed that Ziggler gets a spot in the Intercontinental Title Elimination Chamber match. The match will now feature King Barrett, Ryback, Sheamus, R-Truth, Rusev, and Ziggler.

Lana suddenly made her way to the ring, she grabbed Ziggler and kissed him. Fans chant for another kiss and she kissed him again. Rusev came out and was furious. He yelled at Lana and she slapped him. Ziggler came from behind hit Rusev with a Zig Zag before leaving with Lana.

Kana Kisses Ziggler

Luke Harper and Erick Rowan faced off against Fandango and Zack Ryder as Harper started the match off with Fandango. Fandango hit Harper with a series of chops. Harper wrapped a headlock on Fandango. Fandango made a comeback and sent Harper to the floor. Fandango jumped out and Harper shoved him into the barrier. Harper tagged in Rowan and Rowan hit Fandango with a splash and a series of right hands.

Harper tagged back in and did the gator roll. Ryder was tagged in and hit some offense but Harper catched him and hit a sideslam before he tagged in Rowan. Harper knocked Fandango off the apron and Rowan hit a chokeslam for the win.

Harper_Rowan

I am happy that Harper and Rowan have reunited however I hope that this reunion lives up to their old days as a tag team. Rowan needs Harper a lot more than Harper needs Rowan. Harper can succeed on his own, Rowan’s singles career was lackluster to say the least. If they are more successful as a team, that is good for them. If they are not more successful, Harper needs to either revert to a singles star or find a new partner to team with.

Backstage Stephanie McMahon stopped the Bella Twins. She told them that what she said about Brie’s real life husband Daniel Bryan didn’t come off the right way but offered her sincere sympathies. MaMahon told Brie that she scheduled some counseling sessions for Brie and that she doesn’t think Brie is fit to accompany Nikki to the ring tonight.

Nikki Bella came out to the ring alone for a Divas Championship match against Naomi—who is accompanied by Tamina Snuka. Ring announcer Eden gave formal introductions before the match. Naomi hit a kick to the shoulder of Nikki, but she fought back and clotheslines Naomi over the top rope. Nikki jumped outside onto both Naomi and Tamina as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial, Nikki hit a series of clotheslines and a dropkick. Nikki hit a back drop as fans and tackled Naomi for a two count. Nikki went for her Rack Attack finisher but Tamina interfered in the match and the referee called for a disqualification.

This match was disappointing, as I hoped the villain Naomi would win the championship and bring some prestige to the championship. While the Bella Twins have improved over the years, they aren’t great wrestlers. Now-retired WWE Diva AJ Lee once cut a promo where she emphasized that being with talented superstars (Nikki’s real life boyfriend is John Cena, Brie Bella is married to Daniel Bryan) doesn’t make them talented, and I believe every word of that.

Naomi and Tamina attacked Nikki until came down to make the save. She cleared out the ring and raised the Divas Title.

Nikki got up and went to grab her title but Paige grabbed her and hit her Ram-Paige manuever. Paige skipped around the ring with the title as her music plays.

I hope that the return of Paige and Naomi’s recent push can lead to a glimmer of hope for the faltering Diva’s division. Perhaps with the men of NXT making their debuts on RAW in recent weeks, some of the women of NXT can also begin to make appearances.

Renee Young interviewed Kevin Owens backstage and Owens announced that he will face John Cena at WWE Elimination Chamber. This will be exciting, and with Owens being one of Triple H’s favorite NXT wrestlers, I wouldn’t be surprised if Owens earned a controversial victory over “The Champ.”

As RAW came back from the break, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Kane were in the ring. They introduced WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins for a celebration.

Triple H said Rollins has lived up to every claim he’s ever made and that he sees himself himself in Rollins. He said he felt goosebumps when Rollins used Triple H’s own Pedigree manuever to win at Payback.

Individual members of The Authority began to voice their praise for Rollins and a video package was played that showed highlights of Rollins’ career.

As The Authority continued to praise Rollins, Dean Ambrose came out and demanded another title shot, but Rollins reminded him that he is at the back of the line with Roman Reigns and Randy Orton. Ambrose said that he is a notorious line jumper and will get a title shot or else. Stephanie McMahon said that Ambrose doesn’t deserve a shot.

MaMahon said that Rollins won’t be intimidated by Ambrose’s threats. Rollins swung at Ambrose but Ambrose took the action to the corner, and Rollins and Ambrose tumbled to the floor. Ambrose sent Joey Mercury of J&J Security into the barricade. Rollins came back but was dropped over the announce table. Ambrose revealed a stack of cinderblocks, similar to the ones that Rollins used on him months ago.

Ambrose went to hit Rollins with a steel chair but McMahon told him to stop. She promised Ambrose a title shot if he released Rollins. He did and The Authority attacked, but he fought them off and ended up in the ring with Kane. The Authority began to beat Ambrose down in the ring and Rollins hit the Pedigree on Ambrose as RAW went off the air with Rollins standing over Ambrose.

Ambrose Rollins

This was a good segment, and it was a nice change from the usual main event match. Ambrose proved that he can main event at Payback, and he is being put into a situation that a wrestler his size would’ve never been put into years ago. The business has evolved over the years, fans used to like seeing powerhouses like Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. However, in the modern era the fans like a more well-rounded wrestler than is a hybrid of many different styles. I look forward to the main event of the Elimination Chamber between Ambrose and Rollins.

Notes

 

  • There has yet to be a single explanation of why Luke Harper and Erick Rowan have reunited, and its been bothering me.
  • I am happy to see the return of the Lucha Dragons tag team, and I hope with all of these teams feuding that the tag team division will experience a rebirth.
  • For the first time in years, I am genuinely interested in John Cena segments. This Championship Open has me excited because you never know who will show up, and Cena puts over the younger talent. Just under a year ago, you would’ve never seen someone drop Cena onto the mat in their RAW debut.
  • With the return of Paige, I hope that the Diva’s division also gets a much-needed spark.
  • Rollins against Ambrose is a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match that is worth every penny, but what is ironic is that as little as 5-10 years ago WWE would’ve never promoted a main event like this. WWE is beginning to evolve and the smaller guys are beginning to prove themselves as main event guys, and that’s a good thing.

You can tweet me at my Twitter handle @TimmySimko for further discussion of this episode’s RAW.

I will not be reviewing next week’s episode of RAW due to prior commitments, however, I do recommend watching next week’s RAW as it will be the last RAW before the Elimination Chamber event. I will be back to review the Pay-Per-View event on May 31.

WWE Payback Results and Review

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

On last week’s RAW, the final stop on the road to Payback was made. The Authority’s leader Triple H made his return after a brief absence, Daniel Bryan was forced to relinquish his Intercontinental Championship due to injury, and it was announced that if Seth Rollins loses his championship that Kane may lose his job. What will happen on tonight’s Pay-Per View event? Will we see a new Intercontinental Champion crowned? Will Kane lose his position as WWE’s Director of Operations? Will tonight be the night Lana embraces the adulation and praise of the fans?

It is time for Payback.

payback-2015

In the preshow event, R-Truth faced off against Stardust. The match saw plenty of back and forth as both superstars hit a series of slaps and arm drags. Stardust managed to take control of the match, but Truth fought back and managed to get the pin after a series of punches.

This was a nice bonus match, it was a way to give more to the fans in the preshow. These preshows have typically been nothing but repetitive video segments and lackluster reviews of the matches so any time I can see an additional match I am a happy customer.

The Ascension fought against “Macho Mandow” Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel in the next match on the pre-show. Axel managed to hit the signature moves of Hulk Hogan including the finger point and the big boot before hitting a leg drop for a two count. Both Ascension members managed to isolate Axel as Viktor of The Ascension had Axel in a headlock, but Axel managed to escape and Sandow tagged in and slammed Viktor for a top rope elbow drop. Konnor of The Ascension managed to knock Sandow down before he tagged into the match to hit the Fall of Man tag team finisher on Sandow for the win.

Sandow Axel

Again, this was another fun preshow match. The tribute by Sandow and Axel is pure gold, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this led to the two becoming legitimate tag team championship contenders in the future. Axel is a third generation wrestler, and Sandow has honed his craft for over a decade. These two could make this gimmick work and run with it.

The first official match of the Pay-Per-View was Dolph Ziggler against Sheamus. Both men made their way to the ring as footage of their “Kiss Me Arse” match last month was shown.

Ziggler was in control early in the match as Sheamus showed signs of a possible knee injury. Sheamus tried to regain control but Ziggler worked in some offense and took control of the match once again. At one point, Ziggler wiped Sheamus’ face all over his “arse” in retribution for what happened at last month’s Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View. Ziggler managed to hit a famouser for a two count before Sheamus started to gain control. Sheamus hit Ziggler hard and Ziggler began to bleed. The match was stopped temporarily as officials checked the cut. Once the match resumed, Sheamus hit a brogue kick for a three count.

This was interesting to see, as Ziggler has been given much opportunity to shine in the past few Pay-Per-View events. Just six months ago, he was a former Intercontinental Champion and was the sole survivor of one of the biggest Survivor Series tag team matches in the event’s history. Since then, not much has been done with Ziggler. With these strong showings, I am hopeful that they will start to promote Ziggler as a top guy. As for Sheamus, I find it confusing that he could dominate other talent for weeks at a time on RAW yet look weak on a Pay-Per-View. It is definitely questionable booking.

A backstage segment was shown where Kane and Rollins argued about tonight’s main event. They both bring up that if Rollins loses, Kane will no longer be Director of Operations. It wasn’t a memorable segment, but it was a necessary one that helped reiterate the stipulation for tonight’s main event.

The New Day came out one-by-one and they each addressed the fans in Baltimore. As the fans chanted “New Day sucks!,” they proceeded to trash talk the Baltimore Orioles.

Cesaro and Tyson Kidd came out, accompanied by Natalya, for the two-out-of-three falls WWE Tag Team championship match. Big E and Kofi Kingston represented The New Day in this match.

The New Day was in control, but Cesaro and Kidd began to make a comeback. Cesaro hit the Cesaro Swing as Kidd hit a dropkick for the first fall of the match.

The New Day managed to isolate Kidd with a series of double-teaming before they managed to score the second fall of the match. With both teams 1-1 in the match, the next fall would win the match.

Cesaro New Day

There was a series of fast paced back and forth. After awhile, Xavier Woods, who wasn’t legally in the match, jumped in when the referee had his back turned and rolled Cesaro up for the final fall. The New Day are still the tag team champions.

The WWE’s tag team division is starting to reignite after being neglected by the WWE for many years. With teams such as The New Day, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, The Lucha Dragons, and even teams such as The Ascension and Macho Mandow/Curtis Axel, there is so much potential for many new feuds in the future. Perhaps one day we could see a feud that is as memorable as the Hardy Boyz, Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian.

The next match was Ryback against Bray Wyatt. Ryback used his strength to overpower Wyatt early on in the match.

Wyatt regained control by tackling Ryback. He brought Ryback to the floor and continued to attack him. Wyatt dived off the apron and flipped onto Ryback on the floor, as Ryback screamed in pain.

Ryback managed to hit Wyatt with a big splash off the top rope for a two count.

Wyatt went for Sister Abigail, but Ryback reversed it into a Shellshock attempt.

Wyatt managed to escape before throwing Ryback into a turnbuckle with the padding exposed, before hitting his Sister Abigail finisher for the win.

Bray Wyatt

This was a good show of brawn against brains as the powerhouse Ryback fought against the methodical Wyatt. Ryback is stronger than Wyatt, but Wyatt used his cunning and strategy to take control of the match. Ryback looked like he may have been legitimately injured, but I hope that he was just that good of an actor.

The next match was John Cena against Rusev for the WWE United States Championship in an “I Quit” match.

Rusev offered Cena the option to quit now and Cena answered by attacking Rusev.

Soon Rusev was in control. The fans chanted “We Want Lana” and it bothered Rusev so much that he forced Lana to sit in a folding chair on the opposite side of the ring.

The referee asked Cena twice if he wanted to quit. Cena knocked the microphone away the first time and the second time he said no. The third time Cena ignored it again.

Both men refused to quit, as Cena hit Rusev with an Attitude Adjustment into the stage and Cena was suplexed into a steel barricade.

Rusev choked Cena with The Accolade until Cena passed out. Rusev began to celebrate but he didn’t win the match since Cena didn’t say “I Quit.”

Rusev went to further attack Cena, but Cena reversed it into an STF. Rusev began to scream in Russian, and Lana grabbed the microphone and told the referee that Rusev quit. John Cena is still the United States Champion.

Cena Retains

Some people continue to hate John Cena, but I enjoy seeing him in this role. I can’t remember the last time that the United States Championship was given this kind of attention, and with matches like this in addition to the weekly open challenges the United States Championship will become more and more prestigious as time goes on.

Byron Saxton told The New Day backstage that they will defend their tag team championship in the first ever Elimination Tag Team Title Match at the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View. This is an interesting concept, even more captivating if it is actually held in the chamber itself. I am intrigued by this, and I wonder if this will take place between two or three tag teams.

The Bella Twins faced off against Naomi and Tamina Snuka.

Naomi managed to take control of the match against Nikki Bella, before Nikki managed to fight back and tag in her sister Brie.

Tamina and Naomi managed to isolate Brie and take control of the match before Brie tagged in Nikki. Nikki took control of Naomi but Naomi managed to drop Nikki off of the top rope for the win.

While the Divas division is beginning to take footsteps in the right direction, they are far from bringing it to the level where it should be. Hopefully, Paige can make her return soon and NXT can call up some divas to the main roster. I am also curious to see if Eva Marie’s training with Brian Kendrick will make her a credible wrestler when she returns. Only time will tell.

Backstage Rusev screamed at Lana in Russian and told her to get out. A simple segment, but it was a great way to tease their inevitable break up.

King Barrett against Neville was the next match. As the match started, Barrett began to dominate the match.

Neville began to gain some offense, as he hit a big dive onto Barrett on the floor. Neville rolled back into the ring but Barrett let the referee count him out. He pretended to walk away but came back and attacked Neville.

Neville won the match, but the conclusion was disappointing. I hope they continue this feud as the ending was inconclusive and these two have potential for a blockbuster match. I can’t quite explain why, but I am hopeful that these two will end up competing against each other for the now-vacant Intercontinental Championship. Both men have shown much potential in recent weeks and a title match will only bring more attention to their feud.

The main event was the final match of the Pay-Per-View, as WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins defended his championship against Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, and Dean Ambrose. WWE announcer Eden did formal introductions before the match.

All four guys immediately went outside of the ring at the start of the match and took out J&J Security. They then continued to fight outside of the ring.

Ambrose and Reigns teamed up against Rollins, but Kane got himself involved in the match to even the odds.

Ambrose went for his Dirty Deeds finisher but Kane got involved again and chokeslammed Ambrose in the middle of the ring. Rollins tried to take advantage and pin Ambrose but Ambrose kicked out at two.

Kane tried to interfere again but Orton and Reigns stopped him. Orton took out Reigns and went after Rollins and Ambrose in the ring. He knocked Ambrose out of the ring and started fighting Rollins.

On the floor, former Shield members Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns reunited for their signature Triple Powerbomb on Orton through the table. Rollins tried to do their old fist pose but Reigns and Ambrose stared him down before beating him up.

Reigns and Ambrose stood in the ring before shaking hands, hugging and saying that the loser buys beers. Went one on one in the ring before everyone got involved again. Orton RKO-ed everyone as the crowd went crazy. Orton went to RKO Rollins but Rollins pushed him into Kane, Orton RKO-ed Kane and turned around to try to RKO Rollins. Rollins reversed the RKO and hits Orton withTriple H’s Pedigree for the win.

This was a great main event with a few memorable moments. The Triple Powerbomb was great to watch, as The Shield was one of the greatest groups in WWE history. I was happy to see it one more time, but I was sad knowing that that era is now over. While I am happy that each man has found success as a singles competitor, I will always miss seeing The Shield as a group.

Notes

  • With the tag team division becoming a priority, I hope to see teams such as The Ascension and Damien Sandow/Curtis Axel enter the mix.
  • In addition, where are the Lucha Dragons? They captivated the audience as a tag team in their matches on RAW and then disappeared just as quickly.
  • I hope that Ryback’s injuries was simply an act, I would hate to hear that he is legitimately injured from his match.
  • The Triple Powerbomb was my favorite part of the entire night. I’m sure I will end up replaying that a dozen times on the WWE Network.
  • With Seth Rollins’ curb stomp finisher unofficially banned, it appears that WWE is struggling to find a new finishing maneuver for Rollins. He uses a DDT on RAW, used the RKO at Extreme Rules, and used Triple H’s Pedigree tonight. Only time will tell if they find something permanent for him. I only wish WWE would bring back the Curb Stomp.

WWE RAW 05-11-15 RESULTS AND REVIEW

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

Last week, WWE presented the fans with a plethora of unexpected events. Fan-favorite Dean Ambrose was inserted into the main event of the upcoming Pay-Per-View Payback, NXT sensation Sami Zayn made his long-awaited main roster debut, and Rusev’s valet Lana showed more signs of a change of heart. What is next on the road to WWE Payback? Will we see more main roster debuts from WWE developmental stars? And with rumors of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon of The Authority returning, will there be repercussions for the actions of Kane these last few weeks?

Once again, it is time to get RAW.

WWE RAW

RAW went on the air as the announcer introduced WWE COO Triple H of The Authority, who is on RAW for the first time in a month.

“Daddy’s home,” said Triple H.

Triple H, Kane, Rollins

Triple H brought up the events of the past few weeks and called out Kane and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins to clear everything up. Rollins made his way to the ring with J&J Security and shook hands with Triple H after he entered the ring. The crowd loudly chanted “We Want Ambrose” as Ambrose if from Cincinnatti, where tonight’s RAW is taking place.

Rollins called Kane a “seven foot cancer” and stated that he is destroying The Authority from the inside out. Rollins highlighted the events of the past week, such as the WWE app vote that made the main event of Payback a triple threat match as well as the addition of Dean Ambrose to the main event. Rollins called the match unfair, emphasizing how he can lose the title at Payback without even being pinned.

Rollins said that Kane isn’t fit to be the Director of Operations, and that he isn’t the same person he used to be. He suggested putting Kane out to pasture as Kane made his way to the ring. Kane threatened to grab Rollins by his neck and chokeslam him. Rollins and Kane screamed back and forth until Triple H stopped both men. Triple H told Kane to check his ego and that Rollins can be irritating but Rollins is best for business. Triple H told Kane that if Rollins doesn’t walk out of WWE Payback as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, then Kane will be let go from his position as Director of Operations.

Kane said that it is a shame, but that it might be worth the sacrifice. Triple H told Kane that this might be the time to amicably part ways. Kane remained silent as Triple H announced that members of The Authority will be in action. Kane will go one on one with Roman Reigns, and Rollins will face Randy Orton in the main event. Jamie Noble of J&J Security started talking back to Triple H, and Triple H retaliated  by announcing that J&J Security will face Dean Ambrose in a two-on-one handicap match. Triple H escorted Rollins and Kane to the back as J&J Security stayed in the ring for their match against Dean Ambrose.

AmbroseJJSecurity

Ambrose’s music hit and he made his entrance as the crowd cheered their hometown hero. The commentators hyped the match as RAW went to commercial.

The match started with Ambrose in the ring with Joey Mercury of J&J Security. The match was one sided as Ambrose got Mercury into the corner and hit a series of punches. Ambrose threw Mercury toward the ropes as Mercury held on but Ambrose clotheslined him over the ropes. Jamie Noble then tried to attack Ambrose dodged. He chased Noble outside of the ring but Mercury headbutted Ambrose. Ambrose recovered and knocked both men over the announce table.

The action went back into the ring as J&J security exploited their two on one advantage to get offense in on Ambrose. J&J security started to make frequent tags and double-teamed Ambrose. Ambrose managed to knock Mercury down and Mercury made the tag to Noble before Ambrose got back up. Ambrose hit a series of punches before knocking Noble down. Mercury pulled Noble out of the ring but Ambrose dove out of the ring onto both men.

Ambrose hit an elbow off of the turnbuckle for a two count as Mercury made the save. Ambrose hit a double clothesline on both men before throwing Noble into Mercury and hitting his Dirty Deeds finisher on Noble for the three count.

This was a good match to watch. Mostly one sided and the finish was predictable, but with the Payback Pay-Per-View on Sunday and Ambrose in his hometown, Ambrose didn’t have to be in a blockbuster match tonight. It’s a great way to build towards the possibility of him winning the title on Sunday while keeping Ambrose’s hometown Cincinnati crowd happy.

RAW returned from the commercial break with Sheamus sitting with the commentators. Dolph Ziggler made his way to the ring for a match.The commentators announced that this Sunday at Payback, Sheamus will face Dolph Ziggler one on one.

King Barrett made his way to the ring next. Barrett grabbed a microphone and called out Neville, saying that he will beat Neville at Payback. Ziggler immediately hit a super kick for a two count. Ziggler immediately took control of the match, hitting a series of dropkicks and elbows. Ziggler knocked Barrett out of the ring as RAW went to commercial.

This has the potential to be a good match on the road to Payback. I could see Sheamus interfering and Neville making the save to help set up both matches. With the alliance between Barrett and Sheamus lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them as a team more often. I could even see them facing Ziggler and Neville in a series of tag team matches.

As the match came back from commercial, Barrett had a two count on Ziggler. Barrett put Ziggler in a headlock but Ziggler tried to fight out of hit. Barrett hit Ziggler and knocked him down. Ziggler got up and managed to hit a famouser on Barrett for a two count. Ziggler went for a superkick but Barrett went for his Wasteland maneuver. Ziggler countered and Barrett tried to hit the bullhammer finisher. Ziggler hit a dropkick for a two count. Sheamus distracted Ziggler and King

Barrett hit his bullhammer finisher for the win.

Sheamus entered the ring and slapped and kicked the downed Ziggler around. Ziggler started fighting back, and charged at Sheamus but Sheamus hit Ziggler with a Brogue Kick.

This was a decent match and segment that helped build to two of the matches this Sunday at WWE Payback. This Sunday, Neville will face King Barrett and Sheamus will face Dolph Ziggler.

Erick Rowan made his way to the ring, accompanied by Luke Harper. Footage from Smackdown was shown, hinting that the former Wyatt family members may be reuniting. Fandango made his way to the ring next. Fandango began the match by attacking Rowan. Rowan managed to regain control and hit a full nelson slam on

Fandango for the win.

HarperRowan

After the match, Rowan and Harper attacked Fandango and Harper embraced Rowan.

Although the Wyatt Family has been known as a dominant faction in the WWE, not much was accomplished in this segment. It established that the Harper and Rowan are reunited but not much else. I’m also not a fan of matches that take less time than the entrances.

John Cena made his way to the ring for his weekly WWE United States Championship open invitational. As he entered the ring, the commentators hyped his “I Quit” match against Rusev this Sunday for the title, where the only way to win is to make your opponent say “I Quit”.

Cena hyped the importance of the United States Championship. Cena said that the title is a symbol of excellence, sportsmanship, and opportunity. Cena emphasized that through his open challenge, everyone has a chance to win the United States Championship.

Cena hyped his match against Rusev and said he doesn’t have a chance because he never gives up. Cena asked the fans if they want to see a title match, and they cheered as he declared that the challenge has started.

Neville answered the challenge and made his way to the ring. The ring announcer made formal introductions before the match. As the match started, Cena backed Neville into a corner before the referee broke it up. The crowd began their “Lets go Cena, Cena sucks” battling chants as Cena and Neville held each other in a series of grapple holds. The referee broke them up again as they circled the ring. Cena knocked Neville down with a punch before hitting him with an elbow. Cena put Neville into a headlock as Neville struggled to fight out of it. Neville countred with a headlock of his own before Cena escaped. Neville hit a dropkick as Cena rolled out of the ring and RAW went to commercial.

This has been a good match so far. The Open Invitational concept has been fun to watch, and while I don’t like Cena dominating the main event I do like him being in the middle of the match card working with the younger stars. In every United States championship match he has had since winning the title, Cena has emphasized the possibility that any of his challengers could win his title at any time. Each star has gone toe to toe with Cena, and while some matches were better than others, each wrestler came out of the match looking better than they did before.

RAW came back from commercial with the crowd going nuts as the action was still moving fast. Neville got the advantage over Cena after hitting a moonsault like move off of the ropes outside of the ring onto Cena. The action spilled back into the ring as Cena slammed Neville and went for a five-knuckle shuffle. Cena hit the five-knuckle shuffle and went for the Attitude Adjustment but Neville held onto the ropes. He hit a kick on Cena and hit his Red Arrow finisher for a two count.

After some back and forth offense Cena hit a Taka driver on Neville for a close two count. Cena went for another Attitude Adjustment but Neville countered with a pin for the two count. Neville went for a cross body but Cena countered and hit Neville went for another Attitude Adjustment but Neville countered with a kick for a two count. The crowd chanted “This is Awesome” as Neville tried to drag Cena across the ring to set him up for another Red Arrow. Cena countered and put Neville in an STF finisher. Neville countered with a pin for a two count.

Cena hit a clothesline on Neville and knocked him down. Neville charged at Cena but Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment for a two count. Cena went to hit Neville with an Attitude Adjustment off the turnbuckle but Neville countered with a powerbomb for a two count. Neville went for another Red Arrow and it connected but Rusev ran into the ring and beat down Neville.

Rusev kicked Cena in the face as he got back up. Rusev then put Cena in his Accolade submission finisher as the referee tried to break it up. Cena passed out in the maneuver and Rusev released it. He held up the United States Championship as the Russian flag came down and Rusev’s music hit.

CenaRusev

A great match, and the finish protects Neville as Cena never officially pinned Neville. Cena retains because of Rusev’s interference and the finish helps promote the title match this Sunday. In addition, Rusev putting Cena in the Accolade also showed that Rusev could possibly regain the title at Payback in the final match of the John Cena and Rusev feud.

Kane made his way to the ring for his match against Roman Reigns. Reigns made his entrance from the crowd and Kane began attacking Reigns as soon as he climbed over the barricade. Kane kept viciously attacking Reigns as the commentators announced that the match had not started yet.

Kane started throwing Reigns around and slammed him into the ringpost and steps.

Kane threw Reigns into the ring but Reigns began to make a comeback as he slammed Kane into the barricade.

The two continued to brawl at ringside as the commentators continued to stress that the match didn’t start yet. Kane threw Reigns into the barricade and steps before hitting him with a big boot. Kane then began to clear off the announce table, but Reigns began making a comeback. Reigns went for a superman punch but Kane countered with a choke slam. Reigns fought out of hit and countered with another superman punch and a spear onto the announce table.

KaneReigns

This was a good brawl, as it showed the power of Reigns but also showed the potential return of a ruthless Kane. A regular match between the two would’ve been lackluster at best, but the brawl at ringside showcased their individual abilities better than an average match ever could.

Brie Bella made her way to the ring accompanied by her sister Nikki for a match against Tamina Snuka. As Tamina made her entrance accompanied by Naomi, a pre-recorded video showed Naomi explain that if it wasn’t for Brie she’d be the Diva’s champion and now she has evened the odds. Tamina dominated the match, as she hit a series of offense on Brie. Brie tried to fight back, but Tamina knocked her back down. Tamina managed to get a two count on Brie. Tamina choked Brie on the ropes and Brie rolled Tamina into a pin for a one count.

Brie hit a series of offense on Tamina but it barely fazed her. Brie managed to knock her down with a dropkick off of the top rope for a two count. Brie hit a knee to the face of Tamina and went for another but Tamina blocked it and hit a kick to the face of Brie for the win.

TaminaBrie

The match helped build up the Diva’s Championship match at Payback, but there’s not a lot of excitement for it. Less than a month ago, we were booing The Bellas and cheering Naomi—and now we are expected to do the opposite. The creative in the Diva’s division is very questionable. There have been glimmers of hope in the past with divas such as AJ Lee and Paige, but I don’t see the Diva’s division getting its much needed spark until the NXT divas are called up to the main roster.

Roughly a decade ago, the divas were so good that they were given the chance to main event an episode of RAW. In the present day, the main roster divas can’t seem to keep fan interest for more than a few minutes at a time.

As RAW came back from commercial, Curtis Axel was in the ring for a match. Footage from the RAW pre-show showed an argument between Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel.

Sandow came to the ring dressed as Macho Man Randy Savage with his theme song playing as he was billed as Macho Mandow. Sandow began the match by emulating Savage, as Axel began emulating Hulk Hogan.

Sandow hit a series of Savage’s signature moves, and went to hit the elbow off of the top rope before being interrupted by the tag team The Ascension. The Ascension mocked Sandow and Axel for emulating past WWE legends. The Ascension ran into the ring to attack the two as Sandow sent Konnor out of the ring. Sandow encouraged Axel to hit the leg drop and Axel hit the leg drop. Sandow went for the elbow but Konnor managed to save Viktor from the elbow as Axel and Sandow taunted them. Sandow and Axel put aside their differences and shook hands as the crowd cheered on.

Axel has gained newfound popularity since the Axelmania gimmick, and Sandow is well known for his stint as a stunt double. With these two forming an alliance emulating Hogan and Savage’s tag team “The Mega Powers”, they could form a dysfunctional yet effective tag team that could sweep the tag team division. With the alliances made in recent weeks, and Triple H reportedly trying to rebuild the tag team division, I look forward to the possibilities as far as tag teams go.

As RAW came back from the commercial break, WWE showed various video submissions from fans for the next season of Tough Enough.

After the commentators hyped Tough Enough, Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan made his way to the ring to make an announcement regarding his health.

Bryan said that the last few weeks he had a lot of downtime, and he doesn’t like having downtime. Bryan said he needed to be somewhere with a lot of energy as the fans begun to chant “yes”. Bryan said that the fans have treated him better than anyone else has ever treated him. Bryan brought up last year, when he was stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship due to injury. He said that if it weren’t for the fans, we would’ve never even had the opportunity to be the champion.

Bryan said that even though he hated being stripped of the belt last year, The Authority was right to strip him of it. Bryan said that the fans deserve a fighting champion. He said he had an MRI last week, and he will be out of action indefinitely.

Bryan said that the fans deserve to have wrestlers fighting for the championship, and that the Intercontinental Championship should be in the ring not a physical therapist’s chair. Bryan relinquished his intercontinental championship as the fans chanted “Thank you Daniel”. Bryan thanked the fans as he laid the title in the center of the ring and walked toward the back. Bryan stood at the top of the stage and led fans in a “yes” chant as the show went to commercial.

It was disappointing to see Daniel Bryan have to leave because of injury again. He had a Cinderella story at Wrestlemania 30, and made an amazing comeback at Wrestlemania 31. Bryan is arguably the most popular wrestler in WWE today, and can get the crowd to react in a way that most others can’t.

With that being said, Bryan’s health comes first. Going through proper physical therapy and mending his wounds is more important than wrestling at the moment.

Knowing Bryan, he will be back the moment he has the opportunity. However, right now the number one priority the road to recovery. In the meantime, the Intercontinental Championship can still find prestige through rising stars such as Dolph Ziggler, King Barrett, or Neville.

The New Day team began to make their way to the ring, They tried to lead the crowd in a “New Day Rocks” chant however the crowd chanted “New Day Sucks”. They said that everyone deserves a second chance, except Pete Rose. This drew the ire of the Cincinnati crowd.

The New Day announced that they would give Cesaro and Tyson Kidd a second chance at regaining the WWE tag team titles in a two out of three falls WWE tag team championship match at Payback. They tried to lead the crowd in a “New Day rocks” chant as Cesaro and Kidd made their way to the ring. The bell rang as Cesaro and Big E went one on one in a match.

Big E and Cesaro had back and forth offense as Cesaro caught Big E and hit him with a slam. Cesaro hit a boot on Big E before hitting a cross body for a two count. Cesaro kicked Big E in the corner to the rhythm of the “New Day Sucks” chants. Cesaro knocked Big E out of the ring as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial, Big E cinched in an abdominal stretch on Cesaro. Cesaro began to fight out of it and countered it into a throw. Big E picked up Cesaro and slammed him. He went for a splash on Cesaro but Cesaro dodged it. Big E managed to hit another slam on Cesaro for a two count. Big E hit a clothesline on

Cesaro for a two count.

Cesaro began to make a comeback with a series of uppercuts and jumped off of the ropes to hit another uppercut to knock Big E down. Cesaro hit a series of German suplexes followed by a slam. He then hit another series of uppercuts on Big E before going for his Cesaro swing.

Woods and Kofi caused a distraction and Big E tried to take advantage but Cesaro managed to roll up Big E for the pin and the win.

This was a good match and I am enjoying this feud for the Tag Team Championship.

With the announcement that the match will be a two out of three falls match it will be exciting to see the creative ways in which the teams pin each other.

The commentators announced that Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow will face off against The Ascension on the Payback pre-show. This will be a fun match to watch, and I am curious to see how Sandow and Axel will work as a tag team.

They also announced that exclusively on the WWE network, the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View will return later in May.

Bray Wyatt made his way to the ring. Wyatt said that people are afraid. There is fear of a crumbling economy and a dying Earth. There are people who refuse to accept the true power of fear. They are ignorant enough to believe that if you work hard enough you can overcome the odds. Wyatt said that Ryback must be such an inspiration to the fans.

Wyatt brought up how Ryback has overcome past injuries and now he is doing what he loves. Wyatt said that Ryback has overcome all the odds but has never faced anything like him before. He said that Ryback is probably asking “Why me?” and Wyatt said that it is because Ryback was in his way.

Wyatt said that nightmares won’t stop and that sometimes the bad guy wins.

Ryback’s music hit as Ryback made his way to the ring. Wyatt started attacking

Ryback as Ryback hit a spinebuster on Wyatt. Ryback hit a meathook clothesline on Wyatt and chanted, “feed me more” as Wyatt laid and watched from outside the ring.

It was a good vocal segment by Wyatt. His promos are going to be legendary one day, and when he called out the children and said that sometimes the bad guy wins I went crazy. The older I get, the more I start to like the villains.

Randy Orton made his way to the ring for his main event match against WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins as the commentators hyped the fatal four way main event this Sunday at Payback. At Payback, Rollins will defend his championship against Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins made his way to the ring without J&J security. The match started with plenty of offense on both sides. Orton began to get the advantage, but Rollins made a comeback with a series of punches and kicks to Orton. Orton managed to slam Rollins to the mat before throwing him into the turnbuckle and hitting an uppercut.

Orton began to hit Rollins with a series of stomps for a one count. He went for a diving knee on Rollins but Rollins dodged it. Rollins tried to get offense, but Orton countered with a backbreaker. Rollins managed to knock Orton out of the ring as

RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back on the air, Rollins had Orton in a headlock. Orton began to fight his way out as he grabbed Rollins hair and hit him with a headbutt. Rollins managed to knock Orton down for a two count. Rollins charged into Orton in the corner as Orton went down. Rollins pulled Orton up and threw him into the corner. He charged toward Orton and Orton tried to throw Rollins over the ropes but Rollins held on.

Orton managed to grab Rollins for a suplex off of the top rope and hit it. Orton and Rollins went back and forth with punches and kicks and Rollins got the advantage.

However, Orton began to fight back with a series of clotheslines. Rollins made a comeback with a kick to the head and tried to hit a crossbody off of the top rope, but Orton countered with a powerslam for a two count.

Orton picked Rollins up by his hair and went for a DDT off of the ropes but Rollins avoided it and hit Orton with a kick to the face. Rollins jumped off of the ropes and hit Orton with a knee to the face. Rollins picked Orton up but after some back and forth Orton managed to hit Rollins with a T bone suplex. Orton tried to grab Rollins but Rollins countered with another kick to send Orton to the outside.

Rollins then dove out of the ring onto Orton. Rollins rolled Orton back into the ring and charged at him but Orton dodged and attempted an RKO. Rollins dodged and rolled Orton up for a two count. Rollins hit a kick and got another two count on Orton.

Rollins began to mock Orton’s taunts before attempting a powerbomb on Orton.

Orton countered and hit a DDT off of the ropes on Rollins. Orton started to do his own taunts signaling for an RKO. Orton went for an RKO but J&J Security ran into the ring and started assaulting Orton.

Orton began to fight back and knocked J&J security out of the ring but Rollins took advantage and blindsided Orton. Kane’s music hit as he walked toward the ring.

Kane grabbed a steel chair and watched on as Rollins and J&J security beat up Orton.

Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose came into the ring to help even the odds. Orton, Reigns, and Ambrose surrounded Rollins as Ambrose hit his Dirty Deeds finisher on Rollins. Ambrose picked Rollins up and Reigns hit a spear on Rollins as Kane watched on. Reigns and Ambrose picked up Rollins and Orton hit an RKO as Kane continued to stand and watch. Reigns blindsided Orton with a spear, followed by Ambrose hitting Reigns with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose and Kane stared each other down as RAW went off the air.

Overall, this match/segment was a fair buildup that helped hype the main event for this Sunday’s Payback Pay-Per-View. Keeping Ambrose as the last man standing for the second week in a row not only helped build Ambrose as being just as worthy of being in the match as the other competitors, but sent Ambrose’s hometown crowd home happy.

Notes

  • I missed seeing Sandow last week, so I was happy that they featured him on  RAW this week. I am curious to see where WWE goes with the Axel/Sandow alliance.
  • The Neville/Cena match was great to watch but all of the other matches didn’t seem as good as the matches that RAW featured last week. IT just felt like match wise the WWE was on cruise control. Perhaps they are just trying to save the excitement for the Pay-Per-View?
  • Daniel Bryan relinquishing his title was a shame to see, but his health matters most and I am curious to see how a new champion will be crowned.
  • I hope they develop the Rowan/Harper reunion more, as the idea of them simply reuniting with no explanation bothers me. I’m still frustrated that the Bellas reunited last year immediately after a long feud with each other without any explanation.

WWE RAW 05-04-15 Results and Review

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

Last week, WWE began the road to their next Pay-Per-View event Payback. The seeds were planted for upcoming feuds, dissension within WWE super group The Authority was teased, and the WWE fans even got to vote on who had the right to challenge WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins at Payback. On RAW tonight, fans will see this new chapter unfold. Who will gain momentum going into the next Pay-Per-View? Will Kane break away from The Authority once and for all? And what is next in the career of Damien Sandow?

Once again, it is time to get RAW.

WWE RAW

The show started off as Randy Orton headed toward the ring. Orton hyped the Triple Threat WWE World Heavyweight Match between him, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins at the next WWE Pay-Per-View event Payback. He said Payback is a fitting name for the Pay-Per-View event as he will get payback on Rollins and there is nothing Rollins or Roman Reigns can do about it. Reigns came out and interrupted Orton as they traded insults back and forth. Orton hyped his accomplishments in WWE as the crowd cheered him on.

Reigns reminded the crowd that he beat Orton at last year’s Summerslam Pay-Per-View and that he can beat him again. Suddenly, WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day came out.

The crowd chanted “New Day sucks” as they said they wanted to spread the power of positivity. The crowd booed The New Day unanimously as they insulted Orton and Reigns. Mid-speech, the crowd erupted into a loud “New Day sucks” chant. They told Roman not to let it bother him that he never won the big one, and not to let it bother Orton that Rollins “not only has your number, but has it on speed dial.”

They invited Reigns and Orton to clap with The New Day, but they refuse. The New Day announced that all three members Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods will take on Roman Reigns and Randy Orton in a three on two handicap match as the show goes to commercial.

The show came back from commercial as Orton and Reigns took on the entire New Day group. Orton and Reigns had the advantage in the match, making frequent tags and working on wearing down Xavier Woods. After a distraction by Kingston, Big E managed to tag Woods and get in the match. After working on Orton, Big E made a tag to Kingston. The fans started to lose interest in the match, as they started chanting for commentator JBL and became relatively quieter as the match went on. Xavier Woods had control of Orton as the match went to commercial.

This match is a good way to hype the upcoming main event at Payback; however, the match itself is very forgettable. The New Day combination features a good combination of strength and agility, and Orton and Reigns are currently being pushed as main event stars. However, there’s nothing particularly exciting about this opening bout. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t a match of the year candidate either. It is just there.

The show came back from commercial as Kofi Kingston had Roman Reigns in a headlock. Commercial footage exclusive on the WWE App is showed how the New Day kept control during the break. Big E tagged in and continued to work on Reigns, hitting him with a series of suplexes as the crowd started to chant “New Day sucks.” Big E went for a cover but only hit a two-count. Big E tagged in Woods who hit an elbow on Reigns, and Reigns managed to kick out. Woods hit a neckbreaker on Reigns for a two-count. Woods tagged in Kingston as the fans chanted for CM Punk, who is currently retired from wrestling and is signed with UFC. Fans typically chant Punk’s name when they are dissatisfied with a match. The fans are chanting “We want Randy” as Reigns manages to make a tag as Kingston tags in also. Kingston jumped off of the ropes but Orton slammed him. New Day tried to interfere but Orton fought them off. Orton hit a DDT off of the ropes on Kingston and called for his RKO finisher. Woods tried to interfere but Orton hit an RKO. Reigns tried to spear Kingston but accidentally hit Orton. Reigns was pushed out of the ring by Kingston as Woods pinned Orton.

NewDayOrtonReigns

The New Day winning the match was unexpected, but helps fuel the WWE fans hatred for them while further creating dissention between Reigns and Orton.

WWE Director of Operations Kane came out and said there is no shame in losing. But he said their evening isn’t over, he wants to exploit their dislike for each other. In tonight’s main event, Randy Orton will go one on one with Roman Reigns because it is best for business.

The main event tonight will be a preview for fans of the main event at WWE Payback, as two of the three men involved will be in the match. I won’t be surpised if Rollins somehow gets involved.

Rollins was shown backstage, and said that Kane’s main event tonight won’t make a difference. He said that The Authority is coming back, and will punish Kane for his treatment of Rollins the past few weeks. Kane said that he doesn’t want to allow Rollins to do nothing while his opponents are in a match tonight. Kane said that Rollins’ win on Smackdown last week was marred by interference. He announced a rematch from Smackdown between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose tonight, and that J&J Security is banned from ringside. Rollins complained about his match, but Kane said that if Rollins said one more word he would make it worse. Rollins walked off infuriated.

Rollins against Ambrose was a great feud to watch last year, and to see it for free on RAW is a great way to draw in fans. While Smackdown showcased the two of them in a match last week, it has always been considered the “B” show. This is partly because the show is taped on Tuesdays and doesn’t air until Thursday while most episodes of Monday Night RAW are live. It is harder to watch a show when you can see the results days ahead of time, its like reading spoilers for the newest episode of your favorite television show. With this match taking place on RAW, fans can watch as the two bring out the best in each other.

RAW came back from commercial as WWE announcer Renee Young introduced Ryback. Ryback made his way to the ring as clips were shown from last week’s RAW when he beat Bo Dallas and was attacked by Bray Wyatt.

Young interviewed Ryback about the attacks, asking why Wyatt targeted him. He called Wyatt stupid and said that all his life he had to face fear. The fans chanted “Goldberg” as Ryback is often compared to the former WCW star. He acknowledged the chants and laughed it off as the fans chanted “Feed me more.” Ryback said how he had to face fear as doctors told him he would never wrestle again following past interviews. He said he swallows fear and turns it into positivity. The fans chanted “we want Wyatt” before Ryback led them into another “feed me more” chant. He called Wyatt out, and said that he isn’t scared.

RybackInterview

Wyatt cut off Ryback as he began another cryptic promo. He said that Ryback paints himself as an untouchable force but underneath he is a little boy. Wyatt said Ryback put on a façade. Wyatt said that everything Ryback loves will fade with time, as will he. The screen cut to black as the show went to commercial.

This is only the second time in recent memory I’ve seen Ryback get time on the microphone. I like when they add some dimension to the character, a backstory can do nothing but help the powerhouse character. As for Wyatt’s cryptic promos, they only get better and better. I recommend going on WWE’s YouTube channel and watching Bray Wyatt videos if you’re not familiar with his work.

Former WWE Tag Team Champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro came out for a tag team match, accompanied by Kidd’s real life wife Natalya. Their opponents, The Ascension came out next. With Kidd and Cesaro facing off a bad guy tag team, I am still questioning if we as fans are supposed to cheer them now. I miss when WWE used to make turning over a new leaf a big deal, it becomes more confusing when the characters aren’t defined as heroes or villains.

The Ascension dominated the match early as members Konnor and Viktor dominated Tyson Kidd. The Ascension made frequent tags and repeatedly attacked Kidd as Cesaro could only watch from his side of the ring. Cesaro managed to break up a pin as the referee made him go back to his corner. Kidd managed to dodge an attack and make a tag to Cesaro. Cesaro came in with a flurry of uppercuts too fast to keep track of as the fans went crazy. Fans got on their feet and cheered loudly as Cesaro got a two-count. Cesaro called for his Cesaro swing, as Konnor ran into the ring. However, Kidd made the save and Cesaro hit his swing on Viktor as Kidd kicked Viktor in the head and made the pin for the three count.

The fans cheered the Kidd and Cesaro heavily, as they acted like heroic characters. I am not sure if they are good guys now, or if they are simply being cheered by the rowdy Montreal crowd. Nonetheless, Kidd and Cesaro are both talented wrestlers and I’m happy to see them getting screen time.

Rollins was shown walking backstage as he told interviewer Renee Young that Kane is a moron. Following that comment, RAW went to commercial.

Following a recap of their match from last week’s episode of Smackdown, Dean Ambrose made his entrance for his match against WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. Rollins made his entrance next without J&J Security, as they are banned from ringside.

As the match was about to begin, Kane’s music hit. Kane announced that he took Rollins sentiments to heart. Kane announced that if Ambrose wins his match against Rollins, he will be added to the main event of Payback and it will be a fatal four way match. Rollins began to complain as Ambrose said he thought it was a great idea. Ambrose asked the audience if they were okay with the stipulation of their match as they cheered.

AmbroseSmile

Kane and Rollins argued as Kane said that the stipulation is on. Ambrose began attacking Rollins and brawling with him. Hitting him with a series of punches and chops. Rollins escaped the ring, but Ambrose chased him and hit him with a chop outside of the ring. Rollins made a comeback, but Ambrose quickly hit Rollins with a clothesline as the crowd went nuts. The crowd is excited at the possibility of Ambrose being in the main event.

Back in the ring, Ambrose hit Rollins with a series of elbows for a two-count. Ambrose hit Rollins with a suplex for a one-count. Rollins then managed to get Ambrose in the corner and hit him with punches, elbows and kicks. Rollins started hitting Ambrose with punches to the head, as Ambrose made a reversal and started punching Rollins in the head. Ambrose hit Rollins with another chop for a two-count.

Rollins hit a punch and hit Ambrose with a kick, followed by a diving knee. Rollins put Ambrose into a headlock. As Ambrose was about to fight his way out Rollins threw him into the mat and put another headlock on Ambrose. Fans screamed “you sold out” at Rollins referencing the breakup of former WWE group The Shield last year. Ambrose managed to get Rollins out of the ring, as the show went to commercial.

This is a very exciting match, and with all of the fast paced action it is hard to keep track of what is going on at times. That is a good thing in the WWE. With this generation of WWE fans clamoring for athletic guys that look like the average joe in the main event, the unexpected possibility of Ambrose in the match at Payback creates a new level of excitement and interest for the title match. I hope he wins the match, even if it is with something as trivial as a roll up pin. I don’t believe Ambrose has ever been in a title match either, which makes for an exciting event.

Also, we get to see all three former members of The Shield and Randy Orton in the main event if Ambrose pulls of the win. Fingers crossed.

The match continued with an all out brawl between the two and Ambrose started a flurry of offense on Rollins. Rollins escaped the ring, but Ambrose dove out of the ring onto Rollins. The fans started chanting “Holy Shit” as they are into this match. Ambrose hit Rollins with a slam for a two-count. The fans erupted into a “This is Awesome” chant as Rollins attempted what looked like a piledriver. Ambrose countered and jumped off of the top rope with a diving elbow for a two count. Rollins managed to hit Ambrose with a kick to the head followed by a knee to the temple for a two count. Rollins slapped Ambrose around and Ambrose hit a slap of his own before Rollins connected with a kick to Ambrose’s head for a two-count.

Ambrose and Rollins went back and forth with punches before Ambrose got the advantage and knocked Rollins out of the ring. Ambrose went for a clothesline but Rollins countered with a powerbomb to the barricade as fans chanted “holy shit.” The referee began to start the ten count as Ambrose ran back in at the last second. Ambrose and Rollins with a series of back and forth offense as J&J security ran in. Ambrose managed to throw both members of J&J security out of the ring, and roll up Rollins for the win as the fans went insane. Rollins looked upset as Ambrose smiled about being in the main event of Payback.

AmbroseWins

Matches like this remind me of why I am a wrestling fan. An exciting match from start to finish, the crowd was completely into it, and the WWE worked their magic and inserted a fan favorite with a huge cult following into the main event of Payback. Plus, WWE continues to promote Rollins as a strong champion while simultaneously portraying him as a champion that could lose the title at any time. Even though Ambrose might not win the title, just the possibility of it is exciting for fans.

Also, fans have wanted to see the former members of The Shield in a triple threat match since they broke up. Now they are main eventing a pay per view in a match for the biggest prize in the company, with the addition of antihero Randy Orton. If there is any fan that isn’t at least remotely excited for this match, I’d be shocked.

Backstage, Rollins ran up to Kane screaming about the fact that that he now has to defend his title in a fatal four way match. Kane said that maybe Rollins would like him to add more people to the match. Rollins quieted down as Kane said that he is helping to make Rollins the champion that The Authority wants him to be, helping him to overcome adversity. Rollins said he doesn’t believe Kane as the screen changed to an interview with Rusev’s manager Lana.

Interviewer Byron Saxton asked Lana how it feels to get a positive reaction from fans and she said she doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Recently turned hero Fandango showed up and told Lana to embrace the fans before walking out. Rusev then came on and spoke to Lana in Russian before they walked out. The WWE commentators announced that Rusev vs. Fandango was next as RAW went to commercial.

RAW came back from commercial as Fandango danced in the ring. Rusev made his entrance, and when his manager Lana came out the fans cheered loudly for her. Commentators hyped Rusev’s “I Quit” match against John Cena for the United States Championship as he made his way to the ring. The match will be the final chapter in the Rusev/Cena feud. Fans chanted “We Want Lana” as Rusev threw Fandango around like a ragdoll. Fandango was thrown out of the ring, and turned his attention to Lana. Lana started to dance with Fandango as Rusev attacked Fandango and sent Lana to the back. Fandango began to gain an advantage over Rusev and hit a series of punches and kicks before Rusev kicked Fandango and hit his Accolade submission finisher for the win.

LanaDance

Lana has won the fans over, and I am curious if she will continue to play a manager character or if she will transition to a wrestler role. It is interesting that Fandango got offense against a wrestler who usually wrestles one-sided matches. Maybe they’re trying to show that Rusev is losing his touch? It will be interesting to see where Rusev’s character will go after the final chapter of the Rusev/Cena feud.

As RAW came back on the air, commentators hyped the return of Tough Enough and showed a series of video submissions. After the videos were shown, R-Truth was in the ring as Stardust came out for a match against R-Truth. Didn’t this match happen last week?

A video was shown where Stardust talked about exacting revenge on R-Truth for beating Stardust last week in the King of the Ring tournament. The match started with some back and forth action between the two as Truth got the advantage after a shoulder block. Stardust regained control as he reached for a bag he brought to the ring. Truth manager to Stop Stardust before Stardust started fighting back. Stardust hit a series of kicks. Truth and Stardust then started hitting punches back and forth before they both hit a double crossbody. Stardust started crawling to his bag once again, as Truth began to hit Stardust with some kicks and a slam for a two-count. Truth opened the bag, which was filled with fake plastic spiders, Truth’s biggest fear. Stardust rolled up Truth for the pin and the win, and then Truth ran to the back screaming.

Very disappointed in the match, the match itself wasn’t that entertaining and the ending felt very cartoony and over the top. If it would’ve been real spiders similar to what Jake “The Snake” Roberts did with his snake Damien then maybe it’d be believable. But to see a grown man run away and scream in a high-pitched voice over a bag full of plastic toy spiders was anything but believable.

As RAW came back from a commercial break, WWE United States Champion John Cena came out for his United States Championship Open Challenge. The fans chanted, “John Cena sucks” to the tune of his theme song and booed him at the top of their lungs. Montreal, and all Canadian crowds for that matter, are well known for being very vocal about who they love and hate in the WWE. As the music stopped, the fans continued to chant “John Cena sucks” and booed loudly. John Cena hyped that there are many fans in Montreal who wish Cena would quit as the crowd started a loud “yes” chant.

Cena said that he’s dealt with adversity for years, and that no matter what the hostility he will never give up. Cena said that he will fight Rusev one last time, and it will be the final chapter. Cena asked the fans if they would quit in the face of adversity, and they responded no.

Cena said no matter what, we as humans fight for what we believe in. He said that he is proud of being known as the man who never gives up, and that Payback will be no different. He then said that he is there right now and Montreal is the place to be. Cena challenged anyone in the back to come out for a title match.

WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart’s music came on, and the Montreal native came out to a huge ovation. In a world with the Internet and very few surprises in the wrestling industry, this was a nice surprise. Hart said he was going to introduce a great wrestler as Heath Slater came out.

Slater said that he will not let his chance to be United States Champion be ruined again like it was last week. Slater insulted the crowd. He said how Orton attacked him out of nowhere, and Rusev attacked him out of nowhere, and he is sick of getting attacked out of nowhere. As he said this, Hart hit him with the microphone.

Hart introduced NXT wrestler Sami Zayn, also a Canadian native, as the crowd went nuts. Zayn is a very popular wrestler beloved by the fans, who gained a huge reputation on the independent scene long before winning the hearts of the WWE fans. Zayn entered the ring to a standing ovation as RAW went to commercial.

Normally during the commercials, I’ll go in the other room, but right now I am glued to my TV. This main roster debut had been anticipated since Zayn signed with the company. I am actually texting my friends who are wrestling fans at the moment to tell them about what just happened.

The show came back as Zayn hit Cena with a dropkick and knocked him out of the ring. The fans cheered as loud as they possibly could. Cena got back into the ring as they locked up and Cena hit him with a slam. Cena put Zayn in a headlock as the fans cheered on Zayn. The crowd was completely biased in favor of Zayn, cheering his every move.

Zayn’s shoulder appeared to be tweaked from the slam, as the referee called the doctor into the ring to check on his arm. Cena stood in the corner and waited for the doctor to check on Zayn.

Zayn opted to continue the match and the two prepared to lock up once again. Cena managed to get control of the match to the displeasure of the crowd, Zayn managed to clothesline Cena as he continued to favor his injured shoulder. Zayn hit a series of punches before Cena managed to hit a series of shoulder tackles followed by a five-knuckle-shuffle attempt. Zayn countered into a pin for a two count and then hit a cross body on Cena for a two count.

Cena rolled out of the ring, and Zayn dove out of the ring onto Cena. Zayn rolled Cena back into the ring but Cena managed to lock in his STF submission maneuver. Zayn struggled to crawl towards the ropes, and managed to make it. This forced Cena to break the hold. Zayn hit his Koji clutch submission maneuver as Cena broke the hold. Cena went for an Attitude Adjustment finisher but Zayn countered it into a pin for a two count.

Zayn charged at Cena, but Cena hit a clothesline. Cena picked up Zayn for the Attitude Adjustment but Zayn fought out of it and both men went down. Zayn hit Cena with a DDT through the corner outside of the ring, as the fans cheered loudly. As Zayn tried to drag Cena into the ring, he favored his injured shoulder. Cena hit an Attitude Adjustment out of nowhere, but Zayn kicked out at two.

The fans went insane when Zayn kicked out and Cena cannot believe it. Zayn hit a blue thunder bomb for a close two-count. The fans began a “This is Awesome” chant as Zayn picked Cena up and hit him with punches. The fans cheered Zayn and booed Cena as they fought back and forth. Cena hit a springboard stunner and another Attitude Adjustment to retain the title.

What a debut! Zayn held his own against the man who has been the face of the WWE for the past ten years, and made a debut that fans will never forget. In a time where debuts are forgettable, Zayn’s debut will go down as one that will always be memorable.

Cena picked up Zayn and shook his hand before leaving the ring as fans gave their hometown hero Zayn a standing ovation. Between Rollins/Ambrose and Cena/Zayn, WWE has really been stepping it up with the quality of their RAW matches. I hope they find a way to make their 2-3 minute matches just as entertaining, because R-Truth running from plastic spiders shouldn’t have to take place between two great matches.

Renee Young was waiting to interview Sami Zayn after his match with John Cena, but New Day interrupted and told her that she should interview The New Day since they were victorious in their match. They tried to start a “New Day rocks” chant but the fans chanted “New Day sucks”. Former tag team champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro interrupted and criticized The New Day. After some arguing, Kidd, Cesaro, and Natalya led a New Day sucks chant. I take back what I said earlier, WWE has officially established Kidd and Cesaro as heroes.

The Bella twins came out next as Brie was scheduled to face Naomi. However, Naomi and a returning Tamina Snuka attacked the Bella Twins during their entrance. Naomi said that the Bellas dominance of the Divas division is over as they walked to the back.

Anyone who has seen my past reviews knows my opinion of the current state of the Divas division, but it was a nice change to see something unexpected. I’d rather see an unexpected attack that can build up their feud than a throwaway match that wouldn’t add hype to their match at Payback any day.

Clips were shown from the finals of the King of the Ring tournament last week, which took place on WWE Main Event. Bad News Barrett won the tournament and came out live on RAW to declare himself king. The commentary team announced that Barrett will team with Sheamus to face Dolph Ziggler and Neville as RAW went to commercial.

I don’t mind that Barrett won the tournament at all, but I feel like it was rushed. They announced the tournament on last week’s Monday Night RAW and the tournament concluded one day later. I would’ve much rather seen the matches take place over the course of a few weeks, with the final taking place at Payback.

As RAW came back from commercial Sheamus joined Bad News Barrett in the ring as Neville made his entrance, Ziggler came out next to join his tag team partner Neville.

The match started with Ziggler and Barrett. Sheamus distracted Ziggler as Barrett quickly took advantage and began hitting Ziggler early on in the match. Barrett had Ziggler in the corner and hit him with a regular elbow for a two count. As Barrett got in some offense, Ziggler countered with a DDT for a two-count. Barrett rolled out of the ring as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial, Sheamus had Ziggler in a headlock. Ziggler fought his way out and charged at Sheamus but Sheamus countered with a backbreaker. Sheamus taunted Ziggler and slapped him around before Ziggler countered with a kick. Ziggler crawled towards Neville and tagged him in as Sheamus tagged in Barrett. Neville began to hit a flurry of offense on Barrett before throwing him out of the ring and diving onto him. Neville got Barrett back into the ring and hit a standing moonsault for a two count. Barrett went for a bullhammer but Neville countered with an enzuigiri for a two count. Sheamus tried to aid Barrett but Ziggler knocked Sheamus out of the ring while they fought on the outside. Meanwhile, Neville knocked Barrett down and went for a move off of the ropes. However, a distraction by Sheamus led to Barrett hitting a Bullhammer elbow finisher on Neville for the win.

This was a good match and helped to further the feud between Ziggler and Sheamus as well as the feud between Barrett and Neville.

Roman Reigns made his way to the ring for the main event, followed by Randy Orton. The commentators hyped the main event as RAW went to commercial.

Orton and Reigns stood in the ring as Director of Operations Kane, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Rollins, and J&J security made their way to ringside. J&J security member Jamie Noble introduced himself as the special guest ring announcer for the match, J&J security partner Joey Mercury as the bell keeper, Kane as the special enforcer, and Rollins as a special guest commentator.

RollinsChampion

The match started with Reigns and Orton looking toward Rollins as Orton tried to hit an RKO immediately, but it was countered. Reigns and Orton traded punches back and forth before Reigns gained control and hit punches on Orton in the corner. Orton made a comeback with a clothesline before observing The Authority at ringside. The camera repeatedly panned out to The Authority, reminding fans that they are at ringside during this match. The match went outside of the ring, as Orton and Reigns traded punches again. Reigns hit Jamie Noble, and Orton took advantage by hitting a clothesline on Reigns. Orton continued to hit Reigns with punches and uppercuts before throwing him into the ring. Orton had a staredown with The Authority before sliding back into the ring. Reigns managed to knock Orton down and then picked Orton up.

Orton made a comeback with punches and a series of clotheslines. Orton went for a powerslam but Reigns avoided it. Orton hit a backbreaker on Reigns as The Authority continued to observe from ringside. Reigns knocked Orton down and had a staredown with the Authority before dropkicking Orton. Reigns stared down Rollins before calling for his Superman Punch signature. Orton avoided it and hit Reigns with a powerslam.

Orton hit a DDT off of the ropes and signaled for his RKO finisher. Orton went for the RKO but Reigns reversed it and hit a Superman Punch. Reigns went for a dive but Kane pulled him out of the ring and beat him down, followed by J&J Security and Rollins beating Orton down. Reigns dove out of the ring for the save. After Reigns stood back up, Rollins shoved him into the ring post.

The Authority threw Orton into the ring and continued their assault. Reigns tried to help Orton but they were outnumbered. Dean Ambrose, who is now in the main event of Payback, came out to help Reigns and Orton clear the ring. The three of them were alone with Rollins and Reigns hit him with a spear. Orton hit Reigns with an RKO, followed with Ambrose hitting Dirty Deeds on Orton. RAW ended with Dean Ambrose’s music playing and Ambrose posing in the corner.

Notes

  • Where is Damien Sandow? He was very popular with the crowd for months, and they teased a new direction for his character yet he didn’t appear on RAW at all. I hope that they at least give him an appearance on Smackdown. I want to see how the character progresses now that he isn’t simply The Miz’s stunt double.
  • The WWE replaced one side of the ring apron with a titantron screen at Wrestlemania and have kept it as a part of the set ever since, and it looks awesome.
  • The addition of Dean Ambrose into the main event is both exciting and unexpected; it is just another reason to watch the Payback Pay-Per-View. While it is unlikely that Ambrose will win the championship, just the possibility alone is enough to build hype for the match. In addition, having RAW end with Ambrose as the only competitor standing was a great way to promote the idea that anything is possible at the Payback event.
  • Sami Zayn’s long awaited RAW debut exceeded expectations. While most competitors in the modern era of WWE make their debuts in throwaway matches against lackluster stars, Zayn made an immediate impact against a star who has been known as “the face of WWE” for the past decade.
  • Seeing Tamina Snuka and Naomi ambush the Bella Twins was unexpected and a welcome surprise. There has been something missing in the Divas division for a long time, and perhaps the idea of having believable bad guys that dominate the competition could help ignite a spark within that division.
  • I will begin posting the links to these reviews on my Twitter account, @TimmySimko. Follow me on Twitter and feel free to tweet your comments, criticism, and suggestions. For now, my main focus concerning WWE content is RAW broadcasts and Pay-Per-Views. I may cover more shows and possibly some WWE Network specials in the future, if my schedule permits.