Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Monday Night Raw
Date: April 7, 2014
Location: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler
I figured I’d throw this one in as a bonus, plus I kind of wanted to watch this show again. This is of course the big fallout show from Wrestlemania, which is usually a huge mix of storytelling, debuts, turns and an INSANE crowd that will take over the show. These things can be all over the place and it’s always fun to see where things go. Let’s get to it.
We open with the Daniel Bryan Monster video from last night. That’s still awesome stuff. This one includes him posing with the belts after the main event last night to really cap it off.
Here’s Daniel Bryan, because what else could have opened the show? I can forgive his magically healed shoulder here. The fans go insane of course and even JBL admits that he’s wrong. They won’t let him talk with the DANIEL BRYAN chants. “You guys never get tired do you?” He doesn’t think the fans know how hard it is to do the YES chant with two titles.
The fans try it without two titles and Bryan leads them one more time before his shoulders start hurting. Bryan talks about how the fans are united under behind one word, but the fans cut him off with a YOU DESERVE IT chant. Bryan: “I might deserve it a little bit, but I think you guys deserve it.” He thanks the fans for being behind him and it’s YES time again but here are HHH and Stephanie.
They stand on the apron because HHH doesn’t want to get in the ring and do something he’ll regret. Bryan takes the title off his waist, gets right in HHH’s face, and does the YES pose for a funny spot. HHH says this ends tonight because this is his show. Therefore, he’s booked himself into a title shot against Bryan tonight and the YES movement ends. This was the only way to start the show and Bryan vs. HHH is a fine main event, especially given that you know it’s a big angle.
A graphic of Lesnar standing over Undertaker with the caption “streak conquered” got the loudest heat of the night.
Batista comes in to yell at HHH but the boss says Batista was the one tapping. Orton comes in and says he should get the title match tonight because he has a rematch clause. HHH says he’s the COO so they get rematches at a later date because tonight he’s taking care of Bryan. That’s not cool with them so Stephanie gives them a Tag Team Title shot. HHH says historically, the three of them are unstoppable when they’re on the same page. That’s called planting a seed.
Wyatt Family vs. Sheamus/John Cena/Big E.
Oh here we go. The fans are WAY into the Wyatts but debut singing “John Cena Sucks” to the tune of his theme song. I really wish that one had caught on as it’s just glorious. The good guys charge the ring and the brawl is on with Cena eventually starting against Bray. The fans are almost universally behind Bray here as the nutty crowd is starting fast. Cena’s right hands are booed out of the building and Sheamus comes in with a slingshot shoulder.
Off to Rowan for a slugout and he just shoves a punching Sheamus out of the corner. Big E. comes in for a running shoulder to the ribs before lifting Rowan up for three straight backbreakers, finally winning some respect from the fans. “THAT WAS GOOD!” Harper comes in, accidentally knocks Rowan off the apron, and runs into a shoulder from Big E. It’s back to Cena as the fans get annoyed again but Harper slams him down.
We take a break and come back with Harper holding Cena in a headlock and earning a LET’S GO HARPER chant. Cena loads up an AA but eats a DDT for two instead. Back to Rowan as the fans start singing. Bray comes in again for some frenzied stomping but Cena hits that running clothesline to get a breather. Now the fans sing that Cena sucks but a release Rock Bottom makes them cheer Bray instead.
Cena finally throws Harper down and makes the hot tag to Sheamus to clean house. A top rope double shoulder puts the Family down and Sheamus mocks Bray’s pose. Rowan decks Sheamus with a clothesline (POP) and it’s off to Big E. vs. Wyatt. The Warrior Splash looks to set up the Big Ending but the Family comes back in to clean house, setting up a suicide dive to take out Sheamus. The spider walk (“WYATT’S GONNA KILL YOU!”) sets up Sister Abigail’s Kiss to pin Big E and end the madness.
Rating: C. The match was fine but you know this is all about the crowd. The post Wrestlemania crowd is more of an attraction than the wrestling itself a lot of the time and that’s exactly what happened here. I could have gone for Sheamus taking the pin instead of the Intercontinental Champion, but this is one of those shows where it really doesn’t matter that much.
Slam City ad.
We get a video of people doing a bunch of outdoor sports with the word impossible. It really says I’m Possible though, and you can be too, if you just BOLIEVE.
Fandango/Summer Rae vs. Santino Marella/Emma
Summer is looking especially fetching tonight. Emma was just so wasted with Santino. The guys start with a dance off but Santino quickly loads up the Cobra, meaning it’s off to the girls. Emma grabs a quick Dilemma followed by the Emma Sandwich before the Emma Lock gets a very fast submission. This was just filler.
Here are Heyman and Lesnar for the mother of all victory laps. Brock shows off his EAT SLEEP BREAK THE STREAK shirt. Heyman says it’s his privilege to represent the conqueror of the Streak. It lasted nearly a quarter of a century but Brock ended it in three seconds. The fans’ shock shows their lack of intelligence, because THEY TOLD YOU SO. Heyman reads the shirt because we’re too stupid to do it ourselves.
Brock isn’t here to put smiles o your face, but rather to shock the WWE Universe and put tears in the eyes of children. Heyman is on fire tonight. Let’s go off page a bit and shoot from the hip shall we? Five seconds after walking through the curtains at Wrestlemania, Undertaker collapsed and was taken to the hospital with Vince himself riding with him. The greatest thing Undertaker ever did was stay down after the third F5 because he would have had a broken neck and a cracked skull. Brock’s evil smile here is glorious.
Here’s what amazes Heyman: “After the match, John Bradshaw Layfield and those two other things that call themselves announcers” applauded the Undertaker, along with 80,000 other people in the Superdome (“Not Silverdome Hogan”). So why weren’t people cheering for the winner? The fans should all feel empowered because they’re all wannabes, just like the rest of that locker room. Everyone was looking down when Lesnar came through the curtain last night because Brock doesn’t respect anyone. “HE BARELY LIKES ME!”
There are a lot of people back there who say they could have fought in an octagon, but Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Undertaker never did that, because they’re all wannabes. A lot of people wanted to be the NCAA Heavyweight Champion, UFC Heavyweight Champion and WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but Rock, Hogan and Austin didn’t do it because they’re all wannabes. And now, for the line of the year. “Last night a lot of people were coming up to me and saying they could have broken the Streak. So why didn’t you?”
We get the debut of “Brock Lesnar is the 1 in 21-1” and Heyman makes sure to say it even slower for the WHAT crowd. There are Hall of Famers, there are legends, there are superstars, but those are all plural. Then there is only one Brock Lesnar. If you don’t understand why this was absolutely amazing, I don’t know what to tell you.
Adam Rose is coming. That should have opened house shows for years but why not just turn him heel and completely miss the point of the character? Or we could have a bunny upstage him.
Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Randy Orton/Batista
Usos are defending of course. Jimmy slugs away at Batista to start but gets powered into the corner. The fans of course reminds Dave that he tapped out. Jey tags himself in to punch Orton in the face as the fans want Y2J and then CM Punk. Jey gets beaten down in the corner and both champions are sent outside. The fans switch to JBL as Orton DDT’s Jey off the barricade for the double countout. I’m really glad they didn’t change the belts here because it would have been such a stupid move.
A SICK powerbomb onto the steps crushes Jimmy.
Rob Van Dam vs. Damien Sandow
This is Van Dam’s latest return and you know he’s getting a great reaction. Sandow is quickly sent to the floor but he pulls Rob’s leg out and drives some knees into the chest. The Wind-Up elbow connects and YOU’RE WELCOME for that. It’s amazing how completely different Sandow has become in just a year. Some kicks put Sandow on the floor and the spinning kick from the apron knocks him silly. Back in and Rolling Thunder sets up the Five Star for the pin. Just a “welcome back” match.
Rey Mysterio vs. Bad News Barrett
This is Barrett’s return as well and I believe his first match as Bad News. The fans are entirely behind Barrett and did you really expect anything else? Rey hammers away during the catchphrase and becomes the littlest heel on the roster. He quickly sends Barrett to the floor for a sliding splash but takes a hard kick to the ribs back inside. Barrett pounds away at the back and gets two off Winds of Change. He hits a running knee to the ribs, only to have his superplex broken up. A top rope seated senton gets two for Rey and the 619 connects, but he gets crotched on top and Bull Hammered for the pin.
Rating: D+. Another nothing match here but the wrestling isn’t the point on a show like this. It’s good to see Barrett back from his nine millionth injury and Mysterio is expendable for something like this. Unless I’m mistaken, this was Mysterio’s last match with the company before he finally got to go back to Mexico.
Video on Rusev, who debuts next.
Alexander Rusev vs. Zack Ryder
Rusev quickly takes him into the corner before holding him against the ropes for the knees to the ribs. The jumping superkick and a spinning slam sets up the Accolade for the first win of many.
Hall of Fame video.
Here’s Ultimate Warrior for the first time on Raw in about eighteen years. He puts on a Warrior coat and shakes the ropes, making his face very red in the process. Warrior hasn’t been sure what to say, so he puts on a Warrior mask and lets his other persona (or whatever it is) take over. He talks about how every man’s heart will beat its final beat and if the work he has done in his life means something, his story will never die. There are people in the back with his spirit and it will run forever. This is one of the most disturbing things you’ll ever hear given what happened tomorrow, as it’s a good farewell speech.
We get the very cool “Thank You Fans” video. I didn’t know what that was at first but it made me smile at the end.
Here are AJ and Tamina so the former can brag about being Divas Champion for 295 days now. She gave all of them a chance to prove her wrong and every single one of them has failed. She’s the hero of this story and the savior of the Divas division. Scratch that. She IS the Divas division, but here’s the debuting Paige to disagree. Paige is here to do what no one else would: congratulate AJ on her accomplishments. AJ tells her to go back to NXT and offers Paige a beating to send her there. Paige isn’t ready but AJ slaps her in the face and says let’s make it a title match. The fans are happy because they all know what’s coming.
Divas Title: AJ Lee vs. Paige
The champ jumps her to start and drops Paige with a running elbow. The Black Widow goes on but Paige powers out, hits a horrible looking Paige Turner and wins the title in a shock. Well as much of a shock as it can be given how obvious it was.
Here’s Hulk Hogan to present the Andre battle royal trophy to Cesaro. Sign in the crowd: “Hogan’s Cue Card: SMOOTHIE KING CENTER!” He gets the building right and says his favorite Wrestlemania moment last night was the battle royal. The fans cut him off with a CESARO chant and Hogan talks about how cool it was to see Big Show lifted into the air and slammed out because Andre himself was watching from Heaven. He brings out the thirty first man in the battle royal who just happened to be the winner.
Cesaro comes out with Zeb Colter in toe. To my great shock, Hogan shakes Cesaro’s hand, says congratulations and walks out. Zeb takes the mic and says he’ll handle it from here because he’s a real American. He talks about making Cesaro an American and a Zeb Colter guy, but Cesaro says that’s not quite true, because he’s a Paul Heyman Guy. Heyman comes out and says he’s the advocate for the King of Swing, sending Zeb into a frenzy. Heyman goes outside to tell the announcers how to talk about his new guy, allowing Swagger to come in and deck Cesaro and break the trophy (SHOCK AND AWE!).
Jack Swagger vs. Cesaro
Joined in progress after a break with Cesaro getting two off a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. They head outside with Cesaro staying in control and Heyman holding the broken trophy. Back in and Jack runs the ropes for the belly to belly throw. Knees to the ribs set up a WE THE PEOPLE shout before Jack cranks on both arms. A powerslam gets two but Cesaro raises his boots to stop the Vader Bomb. Cesaro comes back with the apron superplex and some running European uppercuts, but Swagger bails to the floor for the Swing and it’s a countout.
Rating: D+. Cesaro’s year is one of the biggest disappointments since last year as he should have been launched to the main event but he wound up doing nothing for the better part of a year. It’s nice to see him getting a push now, even though he’s cooled WAY off in the last year. Seeing him with a title makes me smile though as he certainly earned it.
We recap the opening sequence that set up the main event.
Stephanie tells Shield and Kane to cool it because what happened last night doesn’t matter. All that matters tonight is HHH winning the World Title match but Shield asks Kane where the Outlaws have gone. That’s too much for Kane who says HHH thinks the Shield are expendable pawns and lets it slip that HHH told him to beat Shield down a few weeks ago on Smackdown. Stephanie calls this an injustice and instantly has Shield’s attention. Oh this is going to be good.
WWE World Title: Daniel Bryan vs. HHH
There’s no HHH just yet though as Batista and Orton come to the ring. Both guys lay out Bryan with their respective finishers and here’s Kane to add a chokeslam. The fans are already chanting HOUNDS OF JUSTICE but they get Batista mocking the YES chant. Instead the fans chant for 3MB of all people but instead here’s HHH to start the match. HHH demands that the bell ring but, just like any villain, takes his sweet time doing anything, allowing the Shield to come out. The match is done at this point so we’ll get to what everyone wants to see.
Kane, Orton and Batista get on the apron and Shield stands on the floor looking at them. HHH looks scared to death in the ring as Bryan is still down in the corner. Now Shield gets on the apron but HHH says this isn’t happening. This isn’t breaking down into a war. The fans think this is awesome and all six get in the ring.
Kane is ready to fight but HHH sends him back to the ropes, only to turn around for a spear from Reigns. The fight is on and Ambrose and Rollins hit a great looking double dive to take down Batista and Orton. A Superman Punch puts Kane down and HHH is surrounded. Bryan gets back up for the running knee and the Authority runs to fight another day to end the show.
Overall Rating: A. The wrestling sucked and if you think that’s the point of the show, you don’t understand how this Raw thing works. This was a great show as it moved so many things forward, debuted new wrestlers, gave us some major plot advancements and felt important for the first time in a very long time. In other words, this show actually did stuff and had some fun instead of beating everything into our heads all night long. It’s one of the best post Wrestlemania shows of all time, which says a lot as this might be the second most important night of the year.
Here’s the original review if you’re interested:
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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