Last night’s Raw was back in the United States and LIVE from Albany, New York. It was a solid show overall and built to all the matches that will be taking place at Extreme Rules this Sunday. Randy Orton was on an RKO spree, The New Day won over my heart and Kane lost to John Cena. Some things never change. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw!
1. New Day
I will give the WWE credit when credit is due, even though the entire New Day was their fault from the beginning. The original New Day concept was never going to work. They came out clapping and smiling and the fans immediately shit all over them. Thankfully the WWE recognized that and not only embraced the ‘New Day Sucks’ chant, but turned them into the bad guys they should’ve been since the beginning. Kofi and Big E have proven they can go, and while Xavier Woods might get lost in the shuffle, he can be effective as the third cog in the wheel that helps them win matches. The Lucha Dragons continue to look great, and last night’s match was a step in the right direction for the tag team division. I especially enjoyed the end of the match, which had the Lucha Dragons do a double moon sault onto Big E and Kofi. When all four struggled to get back into the ring to beat the ten count, Xavier Woods grabbed Sin Cara’s legs from under the ring, allowing New Day to pickup the win and challenge Cesaro/Kidd for the Tag Titles at Extreme Rules. Heels being heels. Sometimes it’s that simple.
I wrote last week about how giving Naomi a character other than a Funkadactyl or being one of the Uso’s wives would be beneficial for her and the Diva’s division, and she proved that last night. She had a good match with Brie Bella and besides Nikki Bella’s phone sex operator commentary style the segment was really well done. With AJ retired, Paige filming a movie and WWE being hesitant to bring up any of the NXT Diva’s, this is Naomi’s chance to shine. While Nikki has improved immensely in the ring, I think it’s time to split the Bella’s up and put the title on Naomi. The Bella’s working together are really boring, but when Brie is the face and Nikki is the heel, they have a much better dynamic. The only thing I’d change in this buildup is Naomi’s entrance music. It no longer fits her personality, and she should be as far away from a Funkadactyl as humanly possible.
3. Randy Orton
With the RKO banned this Sunday, you knew that the move would be a focal point on Raw. Orton started off the show with a good promo and followed that up with an RKO to everyone who takes it well. The Randy Orton who has no friends is my favorite Orton. He shouldn’t be shaking hands with other wrestlers or chumming it up with the baby faces. He’s The Viper. He should be RKO’ing guys into plates of food and be the only man in history to intimidate you while not wearing pants. The first victims of the RKO were Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, then it was Heath Slater in catering and to cap it off, he hit Seth Rollins with a rope assisted RKO inside the steel cage. I understand Orton not being able to use the RKO from a storyline standpoint, but as a fan, it’s disappointing Orton isn’t going to use it this Sunday. The curb stomp/RKO at WrestleMania was one of the most beautiful wrestling moves you’ll ever see, and last night’s RKO was no different. These two work extremely (see what I did there) well together and can fight any style of match they want, so I’m looking forward to their match on Sunday. With Kane now involved, and some escalating tension between Rollins and HHH, I wouldn’t rule out an Orton title win on Sunday.
Speaking of Kane, he had himself one hell of a night. He gave an impassioned promo on Seth Rollins, officially putting him in his place and reminding him why he not only became Mr. Money in the Bank, but also the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. His El Torito line was funny, but the gist of the promo was that Seth Rollins has become so accustomed to The Authority having his back that he’s forgotten who got him to the promised land in the first place. While I think Kane should step away from in ring competition, if he’s going to be on TV, I’m glad they’re at least using him in an important role. I don’t know what his role will be this Sunday, but it’s almost a certainty that he’ll influence the outcome of the main event. Kane also decided to answer Cena’s open challenge for the US title, and that ended how literally ever single Kane/John Cena match has ever ended, but I’ll give him points for trying.
5. Seth Rollins
Rollins was in about 5 segments on Raw, and he nailed every single one of them. He has the weasel villain down to a science, and I loved his interactions with Orton, Kane and HHH. My favorite segment, besides the match with Ziggler, was when he asked HHH for more backup. He’s alienated everyone who helped him get where he is, and with a hungry viper on the loose, he’s finally realized J and J Security aren’t going to stop anyone. As much as Orton has all the momentum going into Sunday, I hope they keep the title on Rollins. Lesnar dominated the title scene from August to Mania, and with Rollins as the champ, that dynamic has taken a complete 180. While Lesnar never lost, Rollins hasn’t had a match as champion yet where he wasn’t in jeopardy of losing. That makes the title picture that much better, and gives every WWE superstar on the roster a legitimate chance at the gold. His match with Ziggler was good, too. I can’t wait until the day that WWE just lets these two loose and they put on a 25 minute classic, but Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler on Raw will always be a good thing.
Honorable Mention: Rusev
Like I’m not going to love Rusev giving John Cena The Accolade with a Russian chain.