We're only a couple of weeks away from Extreme Rules May 4 and the road the "special event" stopped the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Md. for Raw Monday.
The show itself felt pretty standard overall. There wasn't anything overly noteworthy that occurred on this show, but there were some important happenings nonetheless.
Before we get to my highlights and observations, let's take a look at the full results from Monday's show:
- No. 1 contender's tournament for Intercontinental Championship (semi-final) – Bad News Barrett def. Sheamus
- Los Matadores & El Torito def. 3MB (Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre) & Hornswoggle
- The Usos def. Cody Rhodes & Goldust
- Emma def. Layla
- No. 1 contender's tournament for Intercontinental Championship (semi-final) – Rob Van Dam def. Cesaro via count-out
- Paige def. Aksana
- Alexander Rusev def. Sin Cara
- John Cena def. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) by disqualification
Now with all of that settled, let's get to the major happenings from Raw in Baltimore:
Kane puts Daniel Bryan out of commission
I don't remember this being discussed on Raw in any capacity, but Daniel Bryan returned from his honeymoon only to find out find father had recently passed away. Although he vowed to be at Raw Monday, it was understandable why Kane put him out of commission at the start of the show.
With his new wife Brie Bella already in the ring, Bryan opened the show to a chorus of "Yes!" chants. However, Bryan didn't get to say anything before Stephanie McMahon came out to congratulate him on marrying Brie Bella, but to also warn him of the wrath of Kane, his opponent at Extreme Rules.
Kane's music suddenly hit and McMahon began yelling for him to stay in the locker room. Kane then appeared from behind the announce table and began attacking Bryan.
The attack was pretty brutal, as Kane tombstoned Bryan three times. He did so once on the mats outside the ring, the second time on the steel steps and a third time on the announce table.
Medical personnel then came out, put Bryan on a backboard and wheeled him out of the arena. While Kane was on the attack, McMahon was pleading with Kane to stop the onslaught, but Kane clearly did not listen.
The segment itself wasn't all that great simply from the standpoint that this was the first time people had seen Bryan on television in two weeks and they didn't get see him too long on this night. With that said, the reason he wasn't on air all that long is completely understandable given the unforeseen circumstance of his father passing away.
If the reason why Kane beat crap out of him Monday was so that Bryan could fulfill his obligation of being on the show quickly so he could go home and grieve with his family, then I have no issue with what happened Monday. Not only did it get Bryan out of the building faster, but it also helped build back up the Kane character, which desperately needed some momentum.
The Shield, Evolution had a verbal confrontation
It felt like 2004 all over again, as Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista walked out to Motorhead's "Line in the Sand" all dressed to the nines as Evolution.
All three members of the group (sans Ric Flair) had their time on the microphone to talk about Evolution's past dominance and why it will defeat The Shield at Extreme Rules. Triple H was noticeably hoarse during his portion of the promo.
Eventually, The Shield had heard enough talk and made its way to the ring. Evolution quickly exited the ring and made its way to the top of the ramp. Each member of The Shield essentially told Evolution that it picked a fight with the wrong trio of men.
The Shield then decided to make their way to the ramp to escalate the situation, but Evolution used all of the heels from last week's handicap match as backup. The Shield opted night to fight, but made sure to let Evolution know that bringing out 11 other people was a move of cowardice.
I think the segment did its job overall, which was to make Evolution look more like cowardly heels and The Shield look more like courageous heroes. The segment wasn't a home run, but it was a solid double in my book.
John Cena takes on The Wyatt Family
As voted on via the WWE App, Cena had to take part in a 3-on-1 handicap match against all three members of The Wyatt Family in the main event of the show.
Before the match, Bray Wyatt cut a promo on the stage and talked about how many more followers he's gained over the last couple of weeks, as the fans have joined him in singing songs recently. He then sung "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" a bunch of times before ending the promo.
The handicap match turned out to be pretty much standard fare as The Wyatts maintained control for the majority of the bout, but Cena found a way to nearly pull off an improbable win. After Cena hit Wyatt with the Attitude Adjustment, he went for the cover, but Luke Harper and Erick Rowan interrupted it, which caused a disqualification.
The Wyatt Family then laid waste to Cena as the broadcast went off the air.
Between Wyatt's promo and this match, I thought that this was a solid chapter in the rivalry between these two. With only one episode of Raw left before Extreme Rules, I'd expect Cena to get the upper hand on Wyatt next week. What that could lead to is a Wyatt victory at the "special event."
Is Bad News Barrett getting over as face?
When Bad News Barrett went against Rey Mysterio the night after WrestleMania and was cheered, I merely chalked it up to the crowd being more of a hardcore fan base that would cheer a heel and to the possibility of there being a lot of people from Barrett's home of the United Kingdom being in attendance. To make a long story short, I thought it would be a one-night thing and Barrett would go back to being either booed or getting no reaction in due time.
But apparently, he seems to be actually getting over somewhat. The fans in Baltimore weren't all that lively for most of the show, but a couple of the few times they actually got loud was when Barrett made his entrance, which is complete with new pyro now, and when Barrett pinned the supposed fan-favorite Sheamus.
Barrett's character is that of a natural heel. He delivers bad news to the fans for goodness sakes, so I don't know if he should cater to the fans. But I guess you don't mess with organic reactions. He will be going up against another babyface in Rob Van Dam next week in the finals of the Intercontinental title No. 1 contender's tournament.
He won't play the role of a babyface next week and he won't play the role of babyface against Big E if he gets that far, but eventually he may have to turn if he gets a babyface reaction on a more consistent basis.
I guess he can deliver bad news to his opponents instead of the fans, but it would still seem kind of weird to me. To me, the character would probably work best as a heel, but I guess time will tell.
Cesaro's momentum has seemingly slowed up a bit
On the surface, Cesaro being managed by Paul Heyman seems like a great decision. I thought it was the first night the pair debuted together the night after WrestleMania, but since then, the decision seems more and more odd.
The problem was that Cesaro was clearly on the road to being a very over babyface. With his Cesaro array of moves and his impressive win at WrestleMania, Cesaro looked like a great face to have on the upper mid-card and possibly at the top of the card one day.
But then he was paired with Heyman, one of the biggest heels in the business today. Heyman doesn't do him any favors by mentioning the fact that his other client Brock Lesnar ended The Undertaker's streak over and over again. The fans boo Heyman, but are then expected to cheer for his client in Cesaro. It confuses the audience.
When you have a confused audience, you have a confused reaction. That's what Cesaro got Monday. The people didn't know whether to cheer or boo him. The booed him against Rob Van Dam, but went crazy when did the Cesaro swing.
There needs to be a clear line when it comes to Cesaro. This grey area stuff is getting him lukewarm reactions from the fans, at least from the fans in Baltimore Monday night. Cesaro is great. Heyman is great. But together I'm still not 100 percent sold on the pair in its current form.
It also doesn't help that his new theme music is terrible. I'd rather the WWE go back to the music he had before he joined The Real Americans. At least that song sounded better than the generic rock rift he has now.
Fans would be surprised how good, distinct music could help a newer character get over. If a person has generic-sounding music, then people will look at him as just that — generic. His music needs to be so distinct that as soon as you hear it, you know exactly who's coming.
Prime examples of this are The Shield and The Wyatt Family. Each group's music combined with their unique entrances is apart of the total package. It makes the two groups look like bigger stars. As a result, you have to factions that are very over.
Dissention teased between Cody Rhodes and Goldust
The Rhodes brothers have been on quite the losing streak lately and its apparently getting in the head of Cody Rhodes.
The duo suffered yet another loss Monday, this time to the WWE Tag Team Champions, The Usos. After the match, Goldust tried to console his brother, but Rhodes had none of it and stormed out of the ring without his him.
I guess we're finally getting the breakup between these two that should have happened a month or two ago. There was one thing Goldust wanted in his last run as an active wrestler and that was to face his brother in a one-on-one match at WrestleMania. Unfortunately for him, and I think wrestling fans in general, that did not occur.
It looks as if we're heading down the road of these two facing each other at Extreme Rules instead, which I guess isn't too bad of a consolation. It's certainly better than them losing as a tag team every week.
The one thing I do like is that Rhodes is the one turning heel and not Goldust. Although I like Rhodes as a face, I think he has more upside as a heel.
El Torito and Hornswoggle have an ongoing blood feud
The resident little people on the WWE roster, El Torito and Hornswoggle, have finally crossed paths and the ensuing feud may result in bloodshed.
For those who don't know, Hornswoggle has returned to television as a member of 3MB. 3MB and Los Matadores apparently have an issue and have involved El Torito and Hornswoggle.
WWE even showed an epic video package highlighting the previous encounter between the two and they clashed again in the middle of the ring Monday. El Torito went on to put on a display that Hornswoggle simply couldn't keep up with.
The match wasn't all that pretty, but I must say that El Torito is absolutely amazing at what he does.
Santino and Emma have cobra sex?
For whatever reason, Emma debuted her own version of the cobra during her win over Layla Monday night.
After the win, Emma's cobra and Santino's cobra became uncontrollably attracted to each other to the point that they were essentially having cobra sex. I'm pretty sure human sex doesn't fall in line with the WWE's PG-rated show. I'm pretty sure that sex of the animal variety doesn't either.