I've tried long and hard to think of what really happened Monday night on WWE Raw.
After giving this some extensive thought, I've come to the conclusion that not a whole lot happened at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C.
I mean, don't get me wrong. Stuff did happen, and we'll cover it all in great detail a little later on. But nothing major happened. It just seems as though WWE is in a holding pattern until after the next pay-per-view.
It's not just because the three main events are rematches either. That's nothing revolutionary. But there isn't really anything new among those main events that make them feel different this time around. Even Daniel Bryan getting the daylights beat out of him by Kane is nothing new.
What really hurts is that everything that happened on this show that didn't involve the three main storylines didn't intrigue me all that much either.
Before we get into this any further, let's cover the full match results from Monday night:
- Rob Van Dam def. Jack Swagger
- Paige def. Alicia Fox
- John Cena & The Usos def. The Wyatt Family
- Nikki Bella def. Natalya
- Sheamus def. Curtis Axel
- Sheamus def. Ryback
- Dolph Ziggler def. Fandango
- Cody Rhodes def. Damien Sandow
- Roman Reigns def. Batista via disqualification
Now let's get into what went down in Greenville.
Daniel Bryan announces neck surgery, is destroyed by Kane
The neck injury that Daniel Bryan spoke about during Raw Monday appears to be a legitimate injury and he will indeed have surgery Thursday to repair it.
As if that wasn't enough to write Bryan off television for a couple of weeks, Bryan had to be attacked by Kane and taken out of the arena on a stretcher. I guess this was done to reinforce the notion that Bryan will not be on television for a couple of weeks while he recovers from surgery.
I guess him telling everyone that he needs neck surgery and that his career could be in jeopardy wasn't enough. People needed a visual.
The last couple of weeks of creative for Bryan has been pretty poor. Last week, he's literally running away from a man (a man, not a demon) that he defeated all by himself 24 hours prior and this week he's taken to the hospital just because.
I can't wait for this storyline to be over so that Bryan can get back to being a wrestler, not a petrified horror movie victim. The strength in Bryan's character is that he's an undersized technician that doesn't back down from anyone.
If Bryan is going to take a beating, it should come after he's put up a considerable fight. Obviously, he couldn't fight Monday because of his injury, which means there was no real need in having Kane destroy Bryan in storyline. It's not like Kane needed some heat back. He had Bryan scared at the sight of him last week. It just came off as overkill to me.
The Shield hunts Evolution
One of the reasons why I love The Shield is because they do not play any games. They say they're going to do something and then they immediately do it. They don't waste any time.
Right from the beginning of the show, The Shield was in the ring and told everyone that they were going to get their hands on Evolution. As fate (or the script) would have it, Evolution was arriving in the arena in a limo Ric Flair would love just as The Shield was saying all of this.
What did The Shield do? Wasted no time and ran right to the limo to start chaos. Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista stepped out of the limo dressed well and feeling good about themselves until The Shield came flying through and started a brawl. Some officials quickly broke up the scuffle.
Later in the show, Evolution went to the ring and granted The Shield's rematch request from earlier and said that they had had enough of the young trio. That it was time to bring this feud to an end.
What did The Shield do? Instead of sitting back and listening to everything Evolution had to say, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins hit the ring and began beating on Evolution again.
The second attack really angered Batista, as he then challenged Reigns to a match later in the night. During the match, things broke down in favor of The Shield, but before the trio could go to work, Stephanie McMahon sent every heel on the roster to the ring to help Evolution.
The Authority's backup plan worked until Reigns somehow speared Triple H. Ambrose and Rollins then got a hold of a couple of chairs and commenced to cleaning house with them.
As good as this was, none of it felt all that different from what we've seen out of this feud since it started. The two teams don't like each other, The Shield wants to fight, Evolution uses a ton of backup and The Shield still prevailed.
I'm not saying that Evolution and The Shield should go the cheesy horror movie route, but there needs to be a new wrinkle added to this feud to make it feel different this time around — if not the build itself then maybe a stipulation to their rematch at Payback.
Nothing new from John Cena and Bray Wyatt
John Cena teamed up with The Usos to take on The Wyatt Family Monday. After a pretty good match, Cena and The Usos won. That's about it.
Bray Wyatt did allude to something during a promo later in the show, however. He sort of hinted at his match against Cena at Payback being a last man standing match. Other than that, there wasn't much else to talk about between these two.
Rusev and Big E headed for a feud?
It sure looked that way after the two had an encounter on Raw. WWE Hall of Famer "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan came to the ring and did a quick plug for Legends' House on the WWE Network. The lovely Lana and Rusev cut Duggan off and threatened to do physical harm to him. That was until Big E ran to the ring to protect Duggan.
All Big E got for his troubles was a quick beating from the now Russian. So, it looks like Big E will defend the honor of the United States against the evil Bulgarian that now resides in Russia in a battle between men that had their names cut in half by the office.
All jokes aside…well actually, those weren't jokes at all. That was all true. All facts aside, this could be an entertaining feud for a couple of reasons.
For one, I think the matches could be good, as both are pretty athletic for the size. Also, this could be just the thing that could people to care about Big E, as people didn't really have a reason to do so before despite the fact that he was the Intercontinental Champion.
Alicia Fox has quite the meltdown
If I were Alicia Fox, I probably would have been upset with the booking of her match, too. Fox completely dominated Divas Champion Paige. I mean she tossed around from one side of the ring to the next. Paige didn't get lick of offense in.
Then out of nowhere, Paige hit the Paige turner for the win. Fox wasted all that time and energy just to get beat with one move.
This does no one any favors. Not even Paige. I get that Paige is supposed to be the young new kid on the block, but she has to prove herself by showing off her skills, not by showing how lucky she is. That's because when she hits one move and wins after taking a considerable beating, it looks like a fluke victory, especially after her opponent hops up like nothing happened.
It does nothing for Fox because it makes her entire arsenal of moves look weak. She threw everything she possibly could at Paige and all it took was one leg trip to beat her.
Fox was clearly upset by all of this and decided to throw a temper tantrum. The tantrum was kind of weird, but I still kind of liked it. I though it was hilarious when she took the soda and sprayed it on everyone. I also like to see women raise hell every now and again. It's something you don't see on WWE television too often.
I did find it kind of weird that she kind of sold the fact she hurt her hand on the announce table. She also looked really crazy strutting away with John Bradshaw Layfield's hat.
If I knew that it would lead to something bigger moving forward, I probably would like it even more. But knowing WWE, it probably won't.
Sheamus defeats RybAxel
Granted, Sheamus didn't beat them both at the same time, but he did beat them in back-to-back matches without any real break in between.
Sheamus defeated Curtis Axel with the cloverleaf, which angered Ryback to the point that he immediately challenged the United States Champion to a match. Sheamus accepted and eventually won.
My only question is why? Why did Sheamus have to beat both of them? If he simply beat one of them that's one thing, but to beat of them just seemed unnecessary to me. It's not like Sheamus needs to be built up as a credible champion. If anything, Sheamus has the belt to build up the title itself.
Natalya and Nikki Bella feud over art
Natalya has been getting in touch with her inner Picasso on Total Divas lately, but none of the other divas are impressed with her efforts. Natalya has been upset by this and attempted to take her frustrations out on Nikki Bella.
For whatever reason, the other cast members of Total Divas were also at ringside and were holding up numbers as if they were judging the match. Why? I have no idea.
Nikki Bella won the match and Natalya was left stewing over her loss and her lack of talent in art.
Damien Sandow cutting work/shoot promos
The man formerly known as the "Intellectual Savior of the Masses" hijacked the pre-show and cut a promo similar to that of The Miz and Dolph Ziggler a couple of months ago. His microphone was even cut off like CM Punk's during his infamour pipe bomb in 2011.
Sandow tried to cut another one during his entrance before his match against Cody Rhodes, but his microphone was cut off yet again. You would have thought that this would lead to something, but it didn't. Instead, he lost to Cody Rhodes.
Adam Rose's entrance distracts Jack Swagger
Adam Rose popped up on Raw again and didn't do much besides make his spectacular entrance again. He did manage to distract Jack Swagger long enough so that Rob Van Dam hit him with a superkick and a five-star frog splash to pick up the quick win.
I'm still not sold on this character just yet.
Cody Rhodes cheats to win
Speaking of Cody Rhodes, his subtle heel turn continued Monday when he raked Sandow's eyes while the referee's back was turned, which helped him hit the disaster kick for the win. I like this slow burn to an eventual full turn from Rhodes.