Monday marked in St. Louis, Mo. marked the final Raw before Extreme Rules this coming Sunday, which meant it was essentially the final chance for WWE to make the fans buy into the event, however they may do so.
We'll get more into that later, but before we get into my observations and highlights from the show, let's recap the full match results:
- WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos def. RybAxel
- Sheamus def. Titus O'Neil
- Cesaro def. Jack Swagger
- Alberto Del Rio def. Cody Rhodes
- Alexander Rusev def. Xavier Woods via disqualification
- 3MB (Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre) def. Los Matadores
- WWE Divas Championship: Paige vs. Brie Bella went to a no contest
- No. 1 contender's tournament for Intercontinental Championship: Bad News Barrett def. Rob Van Dam
- Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton went to a no contest
Now let's get to the major happenings that occurred at the Socttrade Center:
Creepy kids choir sings to John Cena
I rarely begin this portion of the recap with what opened the show because it usually leads to something bigger at the end of the show. But I will definitely make an exception in this case.
John Cena entered the ring surrounded by a steel cage and simply asked the fans why they voted for him to be a 3-on-1 handicap match against The Wyatt Family last week. He seemed almost distraught by the fact that the fans he's catered to his entire career would put him in such a harrowing circumstance.
Cena became even more distraught when he suddenly a little girl's voice singing "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." All of a sudden, a children's choir decked out full Undertaker druid attire was at the top of the stage singing him the song. Cena looked like he was sick to his stomach, but it got even worse.
The Wyatt Family eventually made their way out and led the children to ringside. The children stood around the ring and sang the song more for Cena. Bray Wyatt eventually joined them in the harmony. The lights went out, but when they came back up, all of the kids were suddenly wearing the sheep masks, including one kid who was sitting on Wyatt's lap as he sat in the rocking chair laughing his butt off.
Meanwhile, Cena just couldn't take it anymore and eventually dropped to one knee in the ring with his face buried in his hands as if he couldn't stomach what he was seeing.
I thought this was an amazing just from the sheer standpoint of its creativity. This is one of the few times when having a television writer on the creative team can come in handy because they are good at creating the right visual if nothing else.
The sight of Cena looking so disgusted was great because it was as if he realized he lost the one segment of the audience that cheered him no matter what: the children. It looked like Cena had lost everything. In reality, it's an absurd notion that the kids would stop cheering for Cena, but for the sake of the storyline, I like it. The way Cena sold it was what made the segment even better. Plus, seeing kids in a scary light always gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Ric Flair puts over The Shield in front of Evolution
You read that right. Ric Flair made a cameo in St. Louis Monday, which is a town he headlined on numerous occasions as NWA Champion, and looked as if he was going to complete the quartet that is Evolution.
He gave the daps and hugs to his former running mates, but then turned right around and talked about how dominant The Shield was right in front of Evolution. I thought this was a nice touch since it would have been easy for Flair to simply align with Evolution again. Instead, he gave an endorsement that has a ton of weight to three young guys who definitely deserve it: Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
Reigns and Orton had a pretty good match going before things broke down between the six men and an all-out brawl ensued. Evolution looked as if it had the upper hand, but The Shield somehow turned the tables and stood tall to end the show.
Kane tries to drag Brie Bella to hell
Well, if hell was right under a WWE ring then yeah, he tried to drag Daniel Bryan's wife there. But let's rewind a little bit.
Stephanie McMahon came out to publicly apologize to Bryan for what Kane did to him last week. She said that when Kane puts his mask on she has not control over him and that he is liable to do anything. Apparently, Kane only becomes a monster when he wears the mask and McMahon had it locked up in her office. WWE made sure to show it locked up multiple times.
Bryan then made his way out with a neck brace and his wife leading the "Yes!" chant. Bryan said that he thought McMahon was full of crap and vowed to be at Extreme Rules to defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Kane.
McMahon tried to make it up to the newlywed couple by giving Bella a shot at the Divas Championship. Bryan accompanied Bella to the ring as she took on Paige, but Kane had somehow gotten a hold of his mask, which assured that he would have something to do with this match.
As expected, Kane's music hit during the match and Bryan was ready for him, but there was no sign of him. Suddenly, he came from under the ring and attempted to drag Bella down to the bowels of hell or to right under the canvas.
While Paige scurried away, Bryan ran into the ring to protect his wife. Bella was able to escape, but Bryan still had to fight off Kane. He gained some success by hitting Kane with a monkey wrench, but Kane sat up and choke slammed Bryan. Despite being out of the ring, Bella hopped back into the ring for some reason to check on Bryan, only to be nearly dragged down to depths of under the ring again. She looked like a typical horror movie heroin that trips and falls over nothing at the most inopportune time or literally runs right into the trouble.
What was worse was how she called McMahon a word that rhymes with witch while Bryan was getting checked out. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty cool to see, but Bella could have been a lot less robotic in the way she said it.
Cesaro costs Rob Van Dam a shot at the Intercontinental Championship
As expected, Bad News Barrett defeated Rob Van Dam to become the No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship and will face Big E for said title at Extreme Rules.
But Barrett had a little bit of help. Cesaro, the newest Paul Heyman Guy, came down to distract Van Dam, one of the original Paul Heyman Guys.
Although Jack Swagger also came out to get a piece of Cesaro, Cesaro's distraction worked just enough to allow Barrett to give Van Dam the bull hammer elbow for the win.
Van Dam, Cesaro and Swagger fought each after the match, which led to Van Dam hitting Cesaro with a five-star frog splash.
I'm not 100 percent sure where the WWE is going with this, but it looks like we are going to get triple threat match Sunday between Swagger, Van Dam and Cesaro. While that would make sense, it would still seem kind of odd to have a triple threat match without a title being on the line. But the match has potential on paper.
3MB won a match!
First, The Undertaker loses at WrestleMania and then 3MB won a televised match. What in the hell is going on with the world?
Hyperbole aside, this was done to set up the Extreme Rules match between El Torito and Hornswoggle. So even win 3MB wins, it's simply done to further a one-on-one storyline between a couple of dwarfs.
El Torito and Hornswoggle will face each other at Extreme Rules in what WWE is calling a WEELC match. You know, instead of TLC (tables, ladders and chairs), it's "WeeLC". You know, because they're dwarfs. Get it? It's funny, right? No? OK.
Look, I don't have a problem with a minis match. I just watched one live this weekend at Masked Mania. But in Mexican Lucha Libre, it's taken sort of seriously. This isn't. If a ton of people were looking forward to this match, then I wouldn't care because you have to do what sells. But I'm not so sure that is the case, which means someone is being left off the card for this angle.
Poor Titus O'Neil
Man, what a waste of a segment this was. Titus O'Neil jumped Sheamus from behind during his entrance, beat the crap out of him all the way to the ring and as soon as the match started he ate a Brogue kick and lost.
So, I guess that entire beatdown was for nothing? Because it meant nothing that after all the punishment he dished out, all he had to take was one Brogue kick and Sheamus can beat him. I think it's time for O'Neil to become face.
Poor Damien Sandow
I sound redundant, but it's for good reason because what was worse than O'Neil losing in 15 seconds was Sandow having to come out in an awful-looking Magneto costume to interact with Hugh Jackman and Dolph Ziggler.
Although Sandow tried his best to be funny, this turned out to be one of those segments I would not want to show any of my friends that aren't wrestling fans.
I must say though, Ziggler has some pretty funny one-liners, including the one about getting kicked in the head by Swagger. Remember, Ziggler suffered a concussion just after winning the World Heavyweight Championship because of a kick to the head from Swagger.
The Usos and RybAxel have an entertaining match
The Usos defended their WWE Tag Team Championships against the team of Ryback and Curtis Axel, collectively known as RybAxel.
I thought the match was very entertaining, which is no surprise with The Usos involved. I also liked the story with one of The Usos hurting his leg during the match. It helped give the match some more drama, which was needed.
WWE talks about pay-per-view situation
Remember what I said earlier about me getting into how you were going to watch Extreme Rules? Well, here we go.
It was announced at some point last week that DirectTV and Dish Network would not be carrying Extreme Rules Sunday.
This prompted WWE to openly acknowledge the situation via some plugs from the announcers, as they invited people to subscribe to the WWE Network instead to watch the event. WWE also told people to contact their local cable provider as well.
I think it was smart for WWE to acknowledge this situation, as it gave them an opportunity to be open and mostly upfront about it and direct even more people to the WWE Network. For $9.99 per month, I don't see how the company does not pick some more subscribers within the next week.
Alexander Rusev looks somewhat vulnerable
Alexander Rusev finally looked sort of human Monday, although it took both Xavier Woods and R-Truth to it. Although it was a nice way to make it seem like Rusev has a chance of losing Sunday, it won't mean much in the long run. Rusev will win and will probably do so rather easily.