By Jeff Hamlin, WrestlingObserver.com
The 4/20/15 edition of WWE RAW from Albany, NY, will be the go-home show for Sunday's Extreme Rules event. HHH returns to make an "earth shattering announcement" about Tough Enough, Miz vs. Mizdow for the "right to the brand", an update on Paige's Divas title shot, more Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins and John Cena vs. Rusev build, and the usual among a three-hour broadcast.
Live coverage kicks off here at 8 PM EST. Join us then!
The Big News: Randy Orton was booked like Steve Austin, giving RKOs to five different guys tonight since the move is banned on Sunday. It was another show with nothing great and nothing terrible.
Randy Orton came out with the cage around the ring. He said Seth Rollins made a mistake when he thought that by taking away the RKO, Rollins was taking away his biggest weapon. Orton said his greatest weapon was inflicting pain on his opponents. Rollins came out with J&J Security, saying he was the master of human chess and it was why he was on track to becoming the greatest WWE World Heavyweight Champion of all time. He's had the title a month. Orton vowed to go backstage and RKO every son of a bitch he sees, then vowed to RKO Rollins before the end of the show. Rollins did a good job on the promo putting over Orton but it was a average opening segment.
Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose went to a no contest in 2:12
Luke Harper did some talking during his ring entrance. They fought out into the crowd. Without the bell sounding, Michael Cole just announced that the match had ended. Dean Ambrose was thrown into the LED panel. Harper teased giving Ambrose a power bomb to the floor, but Ambrose escaped. Harper threw Ambrose off the ramp to the floor, a drop of maybe three feet. Amrbrose chased Harper to the back. Pretty pointless. It was announced later that these two would go at it Sunday in a Chicago Street Fight.
J&J Security protected Rollins backstage from a possibly RKO from Orton. Titus O'Neal snuck up behind Rollins and screamed, scaring the champion. Jamie Knoble got mad at O'Neil, who called Knoble a smurf. Never forget when they tried to get HHH over as a heel champion and they had Al Snow scare him during backstage skits. Well, except they didn't because they got stars over in 1999. Speaking of which, HHH found Rollins, who again acted scared and then laughed it off when he saw it was HHH. Rollins asked HHH if he received his complaints about Kane. HHH said they would have a conference about that tonight. Rollins also asked for more security because he was concerned about Orton. HHH said it was only one guy.
The New Day defeated Lucha Dragons via countout in 9:29
Usual "New Day Sucks" chant from the crowd. Calisto worked against Big E. Langston in the opening minutes, proving that an agent in the back was wearing a new pair of Bad Idea Jeans. Sin Cara and Calisto did a double moonsault press on the floor onto Kofi Kingston and Langston. As the referee got up to 7 on hte count, Xavier Woods grabbed Cara's legs to keep him from getting back in the ring, leading to the second cosnecutive countout finish. OK, the agent was wearing Really Bad Idea Jeans. The New Day gets a title shot at Tyson Kidd and Cesaro on Sunday.
Postmatch, Orton ran in and gave Woods and Kingston RKOs. Kofi's tradition of being unable to go up correctly for the RKO continues as it took Orton two attempts to hoist him in the air.
Fandango defeated Curtis Axel in 1:15
Now as a babyface, Fandango didn't get the reception that he got last week in England. He pinned Curtis Axel with the Last Dance. There was a screwup postmatch. Whoever cued up the music played The Miz's music after Fandango scored the pin.
There was a vignette which simply read whoismrrobot.com
HHH came out and said a year ago, they found a man who would lead the WWE into the next decade, and that was Rollins. He said that Tough Enough would return on June 23rd in an effort to find the next Rollins. HHH said 10 men and 5 women would be finalists, and 1 man and 1 woman would be chosen as winners by WWE decision makers. Crowd was as flat for a HHH promo as you'll ever see. Kane came out. HHH joked he was a little bit seasoned to be on Tough Enough. Kane said he had tried to get in touch with HHH, who said he received the messages but wanted Kane to cool down. This got boring chants. Kane gave HHH two weeks notice as Director of Operations. HHH wanted to go to the back and talk it out.
Rollins came out and said he should let Kane quit because he was a loser. Kane reminded Rollins that he had his hand around Rollins throat last week. Kane started screaming that Rollins was a hand picked champion and if they wanted to they could have made El Torito champion. Crowd started chanting "yes." HHH calmed both men down and said there was no one more loyal to the authority than Kane. HHH then said he was making Kane the guardian of the cage match on Sunday. Anyone who wanted to get in or out of the cage who have to go through Kane. Wait, the reason why Orton asked for a cage match was to keep outside interference out. Does anyone know what a cage match is supposed to mean anymore? Kane shook hands with HHH and said he could count on him. Rollins grudgingly shook hands with Kane.
Kane and Rollins were arguing backstage when HHH again broke them up. HHH said he's known Kane for 20 years, but he's no longer hell fire and brimstone, he's corporate. Kane took exception to that and said he's still hell fire and brimstone, then walked off. HHH was upset at Rollins and ordered him to face Dolph Ziggler tonight.
Naomi defeated Brie Bella in 9:09
Naomi cut a inset promo saying she was on her own now and she didn't know how many times she had to beat a Bella in order to get a Divas title shot. Nikki and Brie are on the cover of Muscle and Fitness Hers and came out as total faces. It was announced that Paige is out of action indefinitely because of the attack by Naomi last week. Brie Bella got a good pop for her comeback, but this was bad. Naomi got the pin with the rear view, then challenged Nikki to a title match.
The scene shifted to catering, where Heath Slater started talking to Erick Rowan, who was wearing his goal mask. Slater said he was going to challenge John Cena tonight for the U.S. Championship tonight. I was more interested in how Rowan was going to eat his jello with the mask on. Rowan walked away, Slater got mad, and Orton showed up to give Slater an RKO. Orton counted 3 men he's RKO'd tonight.
Roman Reigns came out to a largely positive response. He sold nothing from the Big Show repeatedly tossing him into a taxi cab last week which they replayed constantly. Reigns did little talking and challenged Big Show to come out. Instead, Bo Dallas came out, which JBL compared to Tim Tebow returning. Dallas brought up Yoda in Star Wars Episode I, saying anger leads to hate, which leads to suffering. Dallas called Reigns kind of a bust, then called him the Tim Tebow of the WWE. Well, I guess that would make Dallas Ki-Jana Carter. Dallas gave him the Bo-Lieve line and Reigns gave him the Superman punch and a spear. Reigns said you can Bo-Lieve that he would be the last man standing against the Big Show on Sunday.
Sheamus defeated Zach Ryder by DQ in 3:30
Sheamus did the old Jerry Lawler gimmick of doing commentary on his own match. He gave Zach Ryder the Brogue Kick seconds after the opening bell. He taunted the crowd over beating Ryder, who was from New York. Fans were indifferent. Sheamus was about to give Ryder another Brogue kick when Ziggler ran down and gave him a Zig Zag.
Stephanie McMahon was announced as the next guest on the Talk is Jericho podcast a week from this Thursday.
Cena came out and cut a promo on Rusev. They're doing the four corners rule for the Russian Chain Match on Sunday. Good promo by Cena building up the Rusev match on Sunday and Kane came out as a wrestle instead of a front office figure.
John Cena defeated Kane in 6:21 to retain the U.S. Championship
Cena's punches looked terrible. Kane took most of the match. As the match went on, Kane became a bigger babyface, including a good near fall after a chokeslam. Kane teased the Tombstone, but Cena escaped and hit the AA for the pin. Rollins and J&J Security were laughing over Kane losing.
Kane walked to the back where HHH gave him a look like "I told you so." Kane just kept working.
The Miz did a promo with Renee Young saying he was the A-List superstar. He starting to promote the Marine 4, but Young interrupted him to throw it to Bryon Sexton for a Cena promo.
Cena talked about beating Kane when Rusev jumped Cena from behind. Rusev basically gave Cena a Camel Clutch with the chain before several officials broke it up.
The Miz defeated Damien Mizdow in 2:45 to officially earn the Miz brand name
Summer Rae came out dressed like she was going to be in the Dukes of Hazzard sequel. Among the highlights was Booker T. calling Miz the "modern-day Lorenzo Lamas." Michael Cole made a reference to Booker T losing his letter T to Mr. T, which led to JBL doing mother jokes. Finish came when Summer Rae turned on Mizdom, and the Miz gave Mizdow a Skull Crushing Finale for the program blow off.
Miz was about to give his old catchphrase when Orton came out and gave him another RKO.
Brey Wyatt did another promo harder to understand than Dane Cook's success.
Ryback defeated Adam Rose in 1:29
Adam Rose can't even get a ring entrance anymore. Ryback got the pin with the Shellshock. Postmatch, a man dressed in a banana outfit and and another dressed as a hot dog got in Ryback's face. Ryback put them both on his shoulders and gave them a Samoan Drop. Rosa Mendes came down to check on Rose.
Renee found Kane in the back and mentioned a tweet from Rollins to J&J Security where he said getting Kane a gift later tonight, maybe some denture cream or Depends. This led to Kane going into the Authority locker room where he got in Rollins' face. Rollins then said he was sorry to Kane because the Orton situation had put him on edge. Rollins said he appreciated Kane doing everything he could to keep the championship on his shoulders, and said Kane was the bigger man literally and figuratively. He dedicated his match with Ziggler to Kane tonight. Rollins, Knoble and Joey Mercury left and Orton watched them go down the hallway.
WWE Champion Seth Rollins defeated Dolph Ziggler
Crowd wasn't really into it. Finish came when Ziggler tried to set up for the Zig Zag, but Sheamus ran out and distracted him. Rollins got the pin with his new finisher now that there's been a moratorium on the Curb Stomp. It's essentially a Double Arm DDT.
Postmatch, Rollins cut a promo when HHH interrupted him to keep Rollins from saying something about Kane. He failed as Rollins grabbed the mic back and said he would beat Orton on Sunday, which would offset having Kane at ringside. Kane came out looking for a piece of Rollins. Knoble, Mercury and HHH held Kane back while Rollins went into the ring and ordered the cage to be lowered so Kane couldn't tough him. Before the cage went down, Orton got in the ring. Rollins tried to climb over the top rope, but Orton gave him an RKO to end the program.
Show did an OK job of building the PPV, but they lack stars to an alarming degree. Perhaps its because Brock Lesnar is, by far and away, the most over performer in the company. He's also the modern day traveling special attraction, appearing about 30% of the time. With Daniel Bryan injured again, Cena as the former champion who's at the top of the card but not main eventing, Rollins trying to grow into his role as world champion, it feels like everyone else is in Brock's shadow, even when he isn't around.