WWE Monday Night RAW 04-20-15 Results and Review

WWE Monday Night RAW Results and Review 04/20/2015

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

As a lifelong avid wrestling fan, I have always loved watching Monday Night RAW. I have watched RAW frequently for years, rarely missing an episode. I read the dirt sheets, I follow the characters’ storylines and I anticipate each upcoming episode. Professional wrestling has always been a part of my life — from the times that I watched the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock during the Attitude Era, up until now watching future legends such as Daniel Bryan.

With that being said, it is time to break down the current episode, time to analyze the segments and time to get RAW.

WWE RAW

The show started out with a video recap highlighting the events of last week’s episode. The villainous WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and antihero Randy Orton won their respective matches last week, allowing them to choose stipulations for their world title match this Sunday at their upcoming Pay-Per-View event Extreme Rules. Orton decided that he wants the match in a steel cage to prevent any interference from Rollins’ personal security team, J&J Security. Meanwhile, for his stipulation choice Rollins decided to ban Orton’s signature RKO maneuver.

The opening recap summed up the events of last week’s RAW very well, allowing even those who haven’t tuned in to the show in a while to follow along the story.

The steel cage surrounded the ring as Orton headed to the ring to a massive ovation from the crowd. Orton stressed the fact that once he is alone with the champion Rollins without interference, he will beat Rollins down. Orton says that he will beat the champion senseless until every bone in his body is aching.

Rollins’ theme music hits as he comes out with J&J security. They taunted each other and the crowd ate it up. Rollins received massive boos from the crowd as he soaked it all in.

“I play this game of human chess better than anybody,” Rollins said.

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He claimed to be the best, and the fact that he is champion legitimizes his claim. Orton is praised by Rollins as a legend, and a future hall of famer, but Rollins explained that he is simply better.

Orton cut Rollins off and said that he can ban the RKO finishing maneuver if he wants but Orton promised that he will RKO Rollins by the end of the night and anyone else he sees.

The segment between Rollins and Orton was great, and I am genuinely interested in this feud. What makes Orton so great is that he doesn’t act like a typical hero is portrayed in wrestling. He doesn’t smile 24/7, he gets mad, and when he loses his temper fans know it’s about to go down. In the modern era, fans prefer “real” characters rather than the cartoony larger-than-life gimmicks portrayed in the 1980s. Rollins is also a great bad guy – he is a guy you love to hate but at the same time he does his job so well that you can’t help but like him. I expect Rollins to hold his world championship for a long time. With the crowd reactions he receives and the crowd eating out of WWE’s hands, I see him holding onto the title and a feud with former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in the future.

“The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose and backwoods character Luke Harper faced off next for a match that started to become chaotic. The competitors found their way out of the ring, throwing each other into the stairs and running into the crowd as they beat each other up. The competitors were dead even, throwing punch after punch as the referee ended the match in a no contest. Harper got the upper hand after throwing Ambrose into the video Titantron screen, and went for a powerbomb off the stage. Ambrose countered but was thrown to the side as Harper headed to the back.

This is another great feud that has a lot of potential, as Harper and Ambrose are both respected competitors who built hardcore fan bases in various independent wrestling organizations before starting their WWE careers. Both have reckless brawling styles that have melded together so well. I am not sure if they have announced a match at Extreme Rules yet, but if they do it could possibly steal the show. With “extreme” stipulations added to this upcoming Pay-Per-View, it will be interesting to see what kind of match these two will have. One thing is certain: it will be an all-out brawl.

Out next was a match to determine who will face the tag team champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro at Extreme Rules for the WWE Tag Team Championship. This match was between “The Lucha Dragons” Sin Cara and Kalisto and upbeat New Day group members Kofi Kingston and Big E. As New Day member Xavier Woods clapped outside of the ring to rally support the crowd chanted “New Day Sucks” as they have done in recent weeks. In response, Kalisto rallied the crowd with “lucha” chants and has the crowd on their feet executing his luchador maneuvers on Big E. Kalisto tagged in Sin Cara and Big E tagged in Kingston. They stepped up the pace as Kingston had more of a fast-paced style than his partner Big E. Sin Cara and Kofi were back and forth with their athletic high-flying maneuvers, as Kingston got the advantage and stomped on Sin Cara in the corner. Big E and Kingston repeatedly teamed up on Sin Cara and kept him away from his partner Kalisto. The crowd chanted “New Day Sucks” at the top of their lungs as the live broadcast went to commercial.

The crowd was not into the New Day at all, however, they appear to be showing more of a villainous side as the weeks go on. They look legitimately angered at the chants, and have shown more aggression in their matches. Although determining whether they are heroes or villains is confusing right now, I can see them becoming full-fledged villains in the coming weeks.

The show came back from commercial with New Day in control. More frequent tags were being made between Big E and Kingston as they continued to isolate Sin Cara from Kalisto. Cara managed to escape and tag in Kalisto as he flew into the ring and hit many unique maneuvers at a very fast pace. Kalisto tagged in Cara and the crowd went nuts as they flew out of the ring and knocked their opponents down. Kingston made it back into the ring as Xavier Woods held Cara’s legs preventing him from coming back into the ring. Sin Cara couldn’t make it back into the ring and New Day won the match. New Day celebrated as Randy Orton came into the ring out of nowhere and hit his RKO out of nowhere on the New Day members.

I was shocked as I expected to see Lucha Dragons win, but watching the New Day win in this manner was something different. The Lucha Dragons have helped to revive the tag team division and will only continue to further their presence within WWE. It was also fun to see Orton come in completely out of the blue and take out everybody, fulfilling his promise of RKO-ing everybody.

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The announcers plugged the match between WWE United States Champion John Cena and former United States Champion Rusev this Sunday at Extreme Rules. This match can be watched on the WWE Network, which is $9.99 but the month of April is free for new subscribers. As someone who recently became a member to take advantage of the free offer, I can say that this is worth every penny to wrestling fans. Members can watch every Pay-Per-View as part of the service but can also access exclusive content including documentaries and a video vault consisting of past Pay-Per-View events.

Video packages recapped the feud between The Big Show and Roman Reigns. It showed the back and forth banter between the two, and then showed footage of when Big Show picked up Reigns and slammed him on the roof of a car. Reigns and Big Show will face off in a Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules.

It is very hard to like this feud. I am happy to see Roman stepping down from the main event scene and getting more of an organic rise, but it is hard to enjoy a match I’ve seen roughly a dozen times in the last three months. I feel like I’ve seen the match too many times, and would rather see them face different opponents for a change.

Fandango came out next to his old theme song to the delight of the fans, as he prepared to face Curtis Axel. Fandango dominated Axel as he danced around the ring. Fandango hit a top rope legdrop on Axel within a few minutes for the win and he danced along with the fans.

It was a fun short match to watch, but I am disappointed that the American crowd this week isn’t as energetic and into it as the European crowd was in England last week. Part of the fun of watching a show is the crowd, and I wish that crowds would be loud during the broadcasts more often.

WWE COO Triple H came out next to make a significant announcement concerning their reality series Tough Enough. Triple H began by praising WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and calling him he future of the company.

“But now we have to find our next Seth Rollins,” Triple H said.

Triple H announced that Tough Enough is returning on June 23rd on the USA Network. The reality show will allow contestants the opportunity to compete for the chance to join the WWE. Triple H declared that being a WWE superstar is better than any dream you could ever have, and encouraged video submissions to WWE Tough Enough. The contest will consist of 10 men and 5 women, and there will be one male winner and one female winner who will each become a WWE superstar.

This is a great opportunity, as many athletes and independent professional wrestlers have competed in this show in the past. The last season of Tough Enough was in 2011, but the winner Andy Leavine’s career was a flop and he was released from the company within a year of winning Tough Enough.

WWE Director of Operations Kane came out and told Triple H that he is putting in his 2 weeks notice and resigning from his position of power because of all the disrespect given to him by The Authority. Rollins, a member of The Authority came out and praised Kane.

Kane and Rollins get into a shouting match where Kane essentially said that they hand-picked Rollins and that they could’ve made anyone champion. Triple H broke up the argument and announced that because of Kane’s loyalty to The Authority, at Extreme Rules Kane will be guarding the cage door during the main event cage match between Rollins and Randy Orton.

A backstage promo between Triple H, Kane and Rollins took place. Kane got frustrated and walked off. Triple H told Rollins that being champion doesn’t make him the best – going out every night and proving himself makes him the best. Triple H announced Dolph Ziggler would face Rollins tonight. Rollins said that he will prove himself and everyone will see.

You can see the fire in Rollins eyes when he gave that promo, and you can really tell he wants to prove that he deserves to be champion.

Brie Bella faced off against the recently-turned-villain Naomi. Since the retirements of WWE Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita in 2006, WWE has struggled to find suitable replacements to reignite their divas division. There was potential with young up and comer Paige and AJ Lee, who was the top WWE diva by leaps and bounds. With the sudden retirement of Lee, however, the women’s division is struggling to capture fan interest.

With all due respect to the women, the divas division isn’t what it used to be. In the past, WWE used to scout for women who had experience as wrestlers, and therefore their past divas division consisted of women that wrestled just as well as the men. The WWE’s modern system of hiring models with no experience, and then teaching them to wrestle isn’t working and it shows.

Naomi won the match and had a stare off with the Divas Champion.

I am not familiar with the developmental system WWE NXT, but I have heard that there are many divas with potential. If this is true, they need to bring some of them up quickly.

Wrestler Heath Slater was shown eating a salad backstage and Randy Orton RKO’d him out of nowhere. Randy Orton’s RKO’s out of nowhere have generated excitement throughout the night, the viciousness in the man billed as WWE’s “Apex Predator” is always exciting to watch.

Roman Reigns came to the ring and called out Big Show, but instead Bo Dallas came to the ring. Dallas rubbed in the fact that Reigns got chokeslammed through a car last week, and failed to win the WWE World Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania. Dallas said Reigns is a complete bust and is the Tim Tebow of the WWE. He said all Reigns has to do to recover is “Bo-lieve”. Reigns hit him with his signature Superman Punch and spear before telling Big Show that he will be the last man standing on Sunday and you can “bo-lieve” that.

Although I’m not excited about this particular feud, I am looking forward to Reigns feuds after this Pay-Per-View. It will be exciting to see him face new and fresh opponents following this Sunday, and without the pressure of WWE forcing him into the main event scene the fans are starting to get behind him organically. While the WWE can put anyone they want into the main event, it always has been the fans that truly make a star.

Sheamus was out next for a match with Zack Ryder. Sheamus hit Ryder with his brogue kick finisher and declared “that was easy.” Sheamus said he could pin Ryder and win the match but that would be too easy. Sheamus proceeded to beat up Ryder while taunting him on the microphone. This match was completely one-sided, as Sheamus proceeded to throw Ryder out of the ring. Sheamus hit another brogue kick outside of the ring and continued to taunt both Ryder and the crowd. He set up for another brogue kick as Dolph Ziggler came to the ring and hit his Zig Zag finisher on Sheamus.

The commentary team promoted his “Kiss Me Arse” match where the loser has to “kiss arse.” I am looking forward to the match and enjoy the feud, but not the stipulation. It’s not something I would expect from WWE after being a PG family-friendly product for the better part of seven years.

WWE United States Champion John Cena came out next for his weekly open challenge where he puts his title on the line. It has been fun to watch this open challenge every week since Wrestlemania, and it’s great to see Cena step back into the midcard while other stars shine in the main event. Cena promoted the Pay-Per-View Sunday and the “extreme stipulations.” This Sunday, he faces off against Rusev in a Russian Chain Match where the winner is the first person to touch all four corners of the ring consecutively. But in order to accomplish this, the opponent must be incapacitated.

Cena offered the opportunity for anyone to come out for his open challenge, and Kane came out. Kane immediately started brawling with Cena, taking control of the match. The crowd erupted in their typical “Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks” dueling chants, as Cena is one of the most controversial stars in WWE. Cena started to regain control as Kane took over and hit a sidewalk slam for a two-count. The commentators stressed that Kane is starting to show his “monster” side once again as he is ruthlessly attacking Cena. He threw Cena out of the ring and proceeded to throw Cena into a barricade. Kane continued to dominate as Cena winced in pain.

Kane shoulder tackled Cena, but Cena refused to give up. The crowd’s Cena chants got louder as Cena began to make a comeback. Cena attempted to tackle Kane but was knocked down. Kane threw Cena into the corner and tackled him. Cena was thrown into another corner but dodged Kane’s second tackle. Cena went for his signature five-knuckle shuffle but Kane reversed it into a chokeslam for a two-count. Kane signaled that he is about to attempt a tombstone piledriver but Cena countered the move into his signature Attitude Adjustment finisher and won the match. Cena is still the United States Champion.

Even though the ending was predictable with Cena’s upcoming match Sunday, it was a fun match to watch. Even though Kane’s character has been significantly watered down since he first came to WWE in 1997, this match showed that Kane can still wrestle in good matches when given the opportunity. I hope that in the coming months, WWE can either revert Kane back into his classic “monster” character or reinvent him as something other than a corporate executive.

The Miz was interviewed about his new Marine 4 movie but was cut off by an interview across the backstage area with John Cena. Miz was clearly mad as the camera cut to Cena and mid-way through his interview Rusev attacked him with a chain.

This segment was a great way to keep The Miz’s “A-lister” character on camera and relevant while helping to further the feud between Cena and Rusev. The greatest part of the Miz character is his ego, he genuinely believes that performing on a straight-to-DVD release makes him an “A Lister” and his cocky character is one that the fans can hate easily. The only thing missing from the segment was his former stunt double Damien Mizdow, who has been enjoying success after becoming a fan favorite and is currently feuding with The Miz.

I spoke too soon, as Miz and Damien Mizdow would wrestle for the right to the “Miz brand.” Mizdow came out to cheers accompanied by Summer Rae, who is The Miz’s co-star in the Marine 4 Movie. The Miz was out next as Mizdow waited in the ring. Clips from Tough Enough 2004 are shown to show that The Miz himself was once a Tough Enough contestant. They emphasize that there will be one man and one woman who will become WWE superstars by the end of the season.

The match started as both competitors fought toe to toe. Each of them kept trying to go for a quick pin. They fought move for move, as they both used the same repertoire of moves. Miz tried to grab the tights but it didn’t work. Summer Rae raked Mizdow’s eyes while the ref was turned and The Miz won the match. Mizdow lost his rights to The Miz name and Summer was revealed to be working with Miz.

Miz bragged about his win saying “I’m the Miz and I’m awe-“

Randy Orton came out and RKO’d Miz out of nowhere and showed the crowd that he’s RKO’d four people so far tonight. I am disappointed that The Miz won, as I think it would have been hilarious to see The Miz complaining that he can’t use his own name and gimmick. However, every single one of Randy’s RKO’s caught me off guard and made me laugh.

The announcers revealed the full card for Extreme Rules, it is as follows:

The New Day vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro for the Tag Team titles on the Kickoff Preshow

Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose in a Chicago street fight

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton cage match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the RKO is banned

John Cena vs. Rusev Russian chain match for the United States championship

Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler “Kiss Me Arse Match”

Roman Reigns vs. Big Show Last Man Standing Match

Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship

Paige vs. Nikki Bella was also scheduled for Extreme Rules, but with Naomi injuring Paige last week and no announcements being made I am unsure if the match is still on.

It looks like a great Pay-Per-View card, and it is even better when you consider that new subscribers to the WWE network can watch for free. Still, is the “kiss me arse” stipulation necessary?

Bray Wyatt was shown backstage for a cryptic promo. He mentioned how weights blind you, and how one day you’ll realize all your hard work is for nothing. He called himself the new face of fear as the screen turned to black. It was a great promo by Wyatt, truly a captivating character that can’t be described in words. No amount of descriptions that I can make will ever do the unique character justice.

Ryback came out for a match with Adam Rose as more footage from Tough Enough 2004 was shown, showing that Ryback is also Tough Enough Alumni. Ryback dominated the match for the most part and hit his meathook clothesline and shellshocked finisher within a few short minutes. Ryback is a simple character, who destroys anything in his way but it works. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Ryback chanted “feed me more” as the crowd chanted along.

Backstage, what was intended as a direct Twitter message from Rollins to J&J security insulting Kane was “accidentally” posted as a Tweet. Kane was frustrated and confronted Rollins, but Rollins apologized and said he will dedicate his match tonight to Kane. Orton was shown stalking Rollins in the shadows as the show cut to commercial.

The “accidental Tweet” was a bit much, but for the sake of storytelling, I’ll buy it. You can tell the show is going to culminate with an RKO to J&J security and Rollins, and I’m okay with that. Also, Ziggler and Rollins in a main event match will put butts in seats on any given night. They are two phenomenal performers who bring out the best in each other.

Rollins and Ziggler both came to the ring, Rollins was accompanied by J&J security. Rollins held his title up high as the commentary team emphasized that Rollins dedicated the match to Kane, the “gatekeeper” of the cage this Sunday.

Rollins and Ziggler fought back and forth, showing their athletic and innovative maneuvers. Rollins launched Ziggler outside of the ring as the J&J security observed from the outside as RAW goes to commercial.

RAW came back and Rollins had Ziggler in a chokehold, Ziggler fought his way out and stood in the corner as Rollins charged at him. The crowd booed as Ziggler was on the ground and Rollins continued to kick him. Rollins began to taunt Ziggler, he has complete control of the match. Ziggler squirmed towards the ropes as Rollins grabbed him for a slam. Rollins punched and kicked Ziggler repeatedly. Dolph started to make a comeback and hit an impressive DDT but just as quick as the comeback came, Rollins took control again. There was back and forth action as the control of the match shifted back and forth between the two competitors. Sheamus came out and distracted Ziggler as Rollins took advantage with a DDT for the win.

Great match and the finish allowed for Rollins to win without hurting Dolph. Rollins bragged about the win as Triple H’s music hits. Triple H praised Rollins as the man, as Rollins said that he will beat Orton on Sunday at Extreme Rules and berated Kane.

Kane came out looking angry as J&J pleaded for Kane to stay back. Triple H went up the ramp to help stop the security team as the cage lowered on Rollins to protect him from Kane. Orton managed to slither into the cage and Rollins was trapped. As Rollins climbed up the cage, Orton pulled him down and struck with an RKO. Orton’s music hit and he held up Rollins’ title to end the show.

Overall, it was a perfectly executed segment. A great setup for this Sunday’s Pay-Per-View.

Sidenote: Justin LaBar of WrestleZone.com and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review broke a story earlier today that Rollins’ popular curb stomp finisher was banned and he did not use it at all tonight. While I found the story hard to believe, it appears that the story is true unfortunately.

The best segment of the night was when Randy Orton viciously RKO-ed everybody. It was disappointing to see the Miz and Damien Mizdow feud conclude on RAW, they could’ve easily squeezed that into the pre-show on Sunday. Overall, it was an above average RAW and generated interest in the upcoming Pay-Per-View event Extreme Rules.

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Thanks to Tim Simko for his first contributing article here at The Long Shot. Tim is a fellow CSU alumni from the journalism department, and i was excited when he contacted me to ask about sharing his work here. Back in the days of Attitude, i was a huge fan of prowrestling, along with my brother, and we both made a point to keep our Monday and Thursday evenings clear to soak up the ratings battle between the WWF and WCW. Tim’s recap of April 20’s RAW brought back a lot of memories, and i’m happy to read that Triple H is still around – he’s been a favorite of mine since his Terra Ryzing days.

i’m looking forward to more stuff from Tim, who’s also interested in crime stories and controversies in the news. Please comment below on what Tim had to say about the April 20 edition of RAW, or anything else for that matter.

If you’d like to contribute to The Long Shot, please click here and Take a Shot yourself!

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