By Jeff Hamlin, WrestlingObserver.com
The Monday, April 13th edition of WWE RAW emanates from London, England, with a continued build to Extreme Rules in two weeks. No matches have been announced, but they're promising a confrontation between Randy Orton and WWE Champion Seth Rollins, another edition of the John Cena open U.S. Championship challenge, and continuations of the usual storylines.
Be here for our live coverage starting at 8 PM EST!
The Big News: Randy Orton will face Seth Rollins in a cage match at Extreme Rules in a bout where the RKO is banned. That stip is a good way to get the RKO more over if they can use utilize it properly.
The show originates live from London with Michael Cole back on commentary. He wasn't even wearing a neckbrace after getting the F-5 from Brock Lesnar two weeks ago. When JBL asked Cole for a medical update, he simply said "I'm doing OK."
First off is John Cena and the European remix of his song. Cena said Raw was live from London for a show that was taped hours ago. He called out his opponent for the U.S. Open Challenge and Bad News Barrett showed up to a total babyface reaction.
John Cena defeated Bad News Barrett in 9:53 to retain the U.S. Championship
Cena had a shiner under his right eye. Fans must have thought Ethan Carter the Third was in the ring because they chanted "You can't wrestle" at Cena. Barrett did a Cactus Jack tribute, shouting "Bang, Bang," then delivering the old elbow drop from the apron. JBL mentioned if Barrett won, the fans would react like Big Daddy had walked into the building. Would anybody in the crowd recognize Big Daddy if he were still with us? Cena kicked out of Barrett's finishers Winds of Change and Wasteland. Barrett put on his elbow pad for the Bullhammer Elbow, but Cena turned it into the AA, only to have Barrett kick out to a big pop. Then Barrett clocked Cena with a Bullhammer Elbow and looked to have stiffed him pretty good, but Cena got out. Cena got up and got the pin with a springboard stunner and the AA.
Afterwards, Lana came out to heavy chants. As she talked, Ruseve came up to behind and hit Cena with a chain. Lana announced that the Authority had granted Rusev's request for a Russian Chain Match with Cena at Extreme Rules.
JBL tried to get Cole to talk about his plans to file a lawsuit against Lesnar for the F-5, but Cole wanted to keep it private. Cole then announced that Randy Orton and Seth Rollins would compete in individual singles matches tonight and whoever won who get to those the stipulation for their main event at Extreme Rules. Orton would face Cesaro while Rollins would face Dolph Ziggler.
HHH would have an announcement next week regarding the return of Tough Enough.
Paige won the 8-woman Divas Battle Royal in 3:53
Paige got the expected big reaction. There were 4 eliminations within the first 80 seconds. Paige wound up eliminating Naomi with a kick through the ropes. The Bella Twins were at ringside. It's Paige versus Nikki for the Divas title at Extreme Rules.
Bryon Sexton did a postmatch interview with Paige, who asked her "What's going on in your mind right now?" A question so mindless Sexton was immediately signed by ESPN after the show. Paige talked about wrestling in high school gyms and paying 5-pounds just to wrestle and take another step towards making it to the WWE. She said this is her house. Naomi ran in and jumped Paige, laying her out with by throwing her into the barricade several times. There's the first heel turn of what should be a slew of them this spring.
Brey Wyatt did a promo saying he was going to rip all of the love out of his friend's body and replace it with fear, because fear is a greater feeling than any love anyone could know. Again, he referred to himself as the "new face of fear."
Lucha Dragons defeated the Ascension in 2:14
Sin Cara did a tope diving through the legs of Kalisto onto Konnor. Kalisto gave Viktor the Salida del Sol and Sin Cara followed with the Swanton. Ascension is toast. You'l notice a pattern from this point forward.
Roman Reigns came out to a mixed reaction. Booker T interviewed Reigns about his mental state following WresleMania. Crowd chanted "Suplex City" at him, which Reigns acknowledged. Reigns promised the fans that going into the match, he was going to have a brutal match and he kept his word. He said Rollins seized the moment and took his moment, but he would defeat Rollins and become WWE Heavyweight Champion. Booker mentioned that the Big Show cost Reigns a chance to challenge Rollins at Extreme Rules. Reigns said Show has been Rollins' giant bitch. Show popped up on the TitanTron and said Reigns was nothing but potential that would never be fulfilled. He said his pleasure would be making Reigns the most epic failure in WWE history.
Crowd was behind Show at first, but got tired quickly and started chanting "boring." Reigns said Show didn't have the balls to come out and say something to his face. He said he would shove Show's giant trophy down his throat. Better interview by Reigns even though the majority of the crowd was against him. As Reigns left, Show juped Reigns, threw him into the LED boards and an English taxi cab twice. Show put Reigns on top of the taxi and choke slammed him on the roof.
Cole announced that Reigns refused medical attention after the attack and walked to the back by himself. I have no idea why that didn't air on television. It aired exclusively on the WWE app.
Randy Orton defeated Cesaro by DQ in 2:18
Tyson Kidd grabbed Orton's leg on the apron, leading to referee Charles Robinson calling for the DQ. Director of Operations Kane came out and ordered the match to restart as a 2-on-1 handicap match.
Randy Orton defeated Cesaro and Tyson Kidd in 6:43
Funny moment on commentary when JBL asked Cole "What happens if Orton and Rollins both lose? Who gets to pick the stipulations?" Cole responded "I don't know." Finish came when Kidd did a springboard but Orton caught him with the RKO.
Rollins, Kane and J&J Security watched Orton win from backstage. Kane told Rollins if he beats Ziggler tonight, he and Orton will get to pick a stipulation for Extreme Rules. Rollins thought he shouldn't wrestle Ziggler and should face Jamie Knoble instead. Knoble objected to laying down for Rollins when it was Kane who arranged the triple threat match last week that gave Orton the title shot. Then Rollins floated the idea of wrestling Kane tonight. Kane objected to the idea of laying down for Rollins, who threatened to call HHH and see what he felt. Kane walked off in a huff.
Dean Ambrose defeated Adam Rose in 2:11
Dean Amrbose got the pin with Dirty Deeds. Adam Rose is also going nowhere.
Show tried to talk Kane into laying down for Rollins. Show brought up how he knocked out Cena at Survivor Series because he wanted to be part of the winning team with HHH and Stephanie. I guess he forgot HHH and Stephanie lost that night, but whatever. Kane said he would do what's best for business.
Stardust defeted Fandango in 1:07
Stardust hit a flying kick off the top rope for the clean pin.
Postmatch, Fandago blamed the loss on Rosa Mendes, dumped her and started dancing on the table. Crowd danced along with him like it was the night after WrestleMania 2013 again.
Daniel Bryan found Kane backstage and wanted to know why he was going to lay down for Rollins. Bryan actually brought up Kane was going to do what helped put WCW out of business in an effort to do what's best for business. He said the Kane he knew would tombstone Rollins on the steps and put his career his jeopardy. Bryan said he wasn't trying to get Kane angry, he just felt sorry for him. Kane screamed "Leave" at Bryan.
Seth Rollins defeated Kane in 4:33
Kane was dressed in a suit. After the bell sounded, Kane removed his jacket and shirt acting like he wanted to fight. Rolllins told Kane to lay down, which Kane did. But Kane kicked out at two. J&J Security hit the ring, but he pushed both of them down. Rollins scolded Kane, who gave him an uppercut. Then Rollins told Kane to think about his job and his future, which caused him to relent. Kane dropped to one knee, then choke slammed Rollins and teased a tombstone, but instead laid down and put Rollins arm on top of him for the pin.
So Kane, who has been in the company for 20 years, was more protected against Rollins than Neville was last week in his second match on the Raw roster. And they wonder why they have to keep reaching back to the Attitude era for dream matches, back when they actually created stars. It was announced that Rollins and Orton would each chose their stipulations tonight.
Damien Mizdow defeated the Miz 2:01
Summer Rae came out with Damien Mizdow after the angle on Smackdown. Mizdown got the pin the same way the Miz won last week with a schoolboy cradle holding the tights. Crowd heat again was disappointing for this.
The Prime Time Players did a promo making fun of Los Mastodores, wondering if anyone had heard of a Puerto Rican bullfighter. They did the Millions of Dollars chant again.
Ryback defeated Luke Harper by DQ in 1:48
Another quick match where Luke Harper took off the top of the table and hit Ryback with it. Ambrose ran down and sent Harper packing afterwards.
Naomi started to act remorseful about beating up Paige, then laughed about it. She did a promo that made a lot of sense saying she had defeated Nicki Bella twice but hadn't received a title shot. She said she couldn't understand why there was a Divas Battle Royal to crown a number one cotender. She wondered if wins and losses meant anything in this company. Has she watched Raw for the past year?
Ziggler came out and said Kane should change his name to "The Devil's Favority Dumbass." He challenged anyone in the back.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Neville in 9:07
It was as good as you would expect. Highlights included Neville hitting a top rope Asai Moonsault, then he walked the railing to hit a somersault splash. Since Neville is from Nascastle, England, (only about 3 hours from London), he was a super babyface. Nevile went for the Red Arrow but Ziggler moved. Then Neville hit the post when going for a charge and Ziggler hit the Zig Zag for the pin. Announcers put over Neville's effort.
Postmatch, Sheamus ran in and jumped Zigger, then gave Neville the Brogue kick. Ziggler brawled with Sheamus outside the ring. It led to Sheamus giving Ziggler the Brogue Kick.
Rollins and J&J Security came out to announce the stipulations for the Extreme Rules main event. They were still selling their beatings from Kane earlier. It's funny how this company can have good attention to detail when they want to. Rollins sat down in a recliner in the ring and called out Orton, who wanted to fight then and there. Rollins said he likes complicated scenarios because complicated creates success for him. He must have read Russo's book. Rollins said his stipulation would be the RKO is banned, then laughed and said the Authority always wins.
Orton wanted to take away Rollins' greatest weapon, his connection with the Authority. Orton announced he wanted to fight inside of a steel cage. Crowd chanted "Yes." Orton tipped over the recliner and jumped Rollins. He gave Joey Mercury the RKO as Rollins escaped. Not much of a reaction to the attack as the crowd was burned out late in the show.
SUMMARY: Another forgettable show with the Ziggler-Neville match being the highlight. These three hour shows really expose the WWE's depth problem without Lesnar, HHH and Stephanie, who are the most protected performers in the company. With Orton the top babyface leading up to Extreme Rules, Bryan off TV the past two weeks and Reigns still not over to the level of his ush, it feels like the top of the card is lacking. The last two weeks haven't been abysmal like the early programs of 2015. They've been programs that have merely existed.