Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 4/20/15: RKO City

WWE Raw“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.




(Aired 4/23/15)

RKO City

– The dedication of time spent on Kane’s sudden reemergence as a threat has been a treat to watch unfold – as he seems to switch back and forth between Devil’s Favorite Demon and Corporate Suit. He has suddenly become relevant again. Unfortunately, we can see where this is going as far as Extreme Rules is.

We’ll get to that a little later, but the opening video did a good job of explaining the previous struggles of Kane to break out on his own, only to go back to his loyalty to The Authority, letting WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins pin him last week.

– The first segment with Randy Orton, Rollins and J & J Security set the tone for the rest of the episode. Hearing Orton cut a promo on how he’d punish Rollins wasn’t anything new (as even Rollins pointed out), but this made Orton look the best he possibly could headed into a big Title match. Rollins was great here as the cocky heel. He does it like no one else right now. Orson vowing to RKO anyone who got in his way was a bit tacky sure, but since the move is banned at Extreme Rules, it’d make sense for him to want to break it out while he can.

– The “match” between Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper that turned out to just be an entertaining brawl that went to an apparent double countout was just that – entertaining. Harper’s promo before the whole thing started got everyone’s attention as we usually don’t hear him speak. The line was short, but he delivered it with enough passion. This ultimately set up a street fight for Extreme Rules, but there has been little storyline involved in this. Why are these two fighting? You want to look at the two Harper Powerbombs as the reason, but the broadcast team hasn’t confirmed that. Ambrose can cut a great promo – one could’ve helped here? All you need is one getting over how Harper tried to take him out twice, but it wouldn’t work, or something along those lines. This almost feels like the feud with Bray Wyatt.

– Rollins sold his fears of Orton sneaking up on him backstage for an RKO brilliantly. The Prime Time Players were actually funny here in this role. Triple H came out of nowhere, but that was by design. He played the big boss here and almost seemed like a neutral figure – not sympathetic to Rollins’ situation or request for more security for “one guy.” This also was a hook for viewers to stay tuned for Kane’s arrival, to see just what he’d do.

– It was great to see The Lucha Dragons fight to get a chance for a Tag Title shot, as it makes it look like they’re on the brink of a push, but not quite there yet. Can’t say enough good things about Kalisto’s in-ring work as of late. He’s lifting this team in a big way. However – The New Day has taken on a new heel persona, led mostly by Big E, but the other two guys have also done their “bad guy” part. They won the match by dirty tactics, with Xavier Woods holding Sin Cara’s legs down to the floor to prevent him from getting to the ring to beat the Referee’s count, making it a countout as New Day will face Tyson Kidd/Cesaro for the Tag Titles at Extreme Rules. The Champs watching backstage also made it feel somewhat important. Lucha Dragons showed off great offense – the double Moonsault spot was cool. Orton RKO’ing Woods and Kingston was eh, but it emphasized the apparent theme of random RKOs through the night.

– Last week’s Raw recaps on this week’s show now? That doesn’t scream “time-filler” at all.

– The Fandango-Curtis Axel match was only entertaining for Axel’s funky dancing, because the match lasted about a minute and a half. Wins over Axel aren’t starting to sound impressive anymore. The crowd got a tiny kick out of the revamped Fandango (aka going back to what he did before Rosa Mendes came around), but where is this really going? You look at a guy like Johnny Curtis and he’s great in the ring, but this dancing gimmick is going to be the death of him. Is Fandango really a World Champion gimmick? Anything can happen, as we’ve seen in the past, but let’s be a tiny bit realistic.

– What started out as a lackluster Triple H promo to hype the June 23 return of Tough Return on the USA Network turned out to be decent interaction between a discouraged Kane wanting to quit and an egomaniacal Rollins. The passion shown in their argument was great here, as Triple H played somewhat of the mediator here. Triple H adding Kane as the Gatekeeper for the Cage match fills in the logical loophole of Rollins letting J & J Security through the door like recent memes have showed us from the past, but it also fills in the predictable scenario of having Kane let Rollins win by slamming the door on Orton’s face. They need Rollins to win the match and having Kane there will be the only way to do it. Rollins just became Champion and there’s no way they’d take the belt off him so soon.

– The backstage segment with Rollins, Kane and Triple H carried on the tension from the in-ring segment as Triple H tried to tear down both Kane and Rollins, also setting up the match between Rollins and Ziggler. This made Kane look intriguing as he seemed eager to show he was still a man of hellfire and brimstone.

– The Naomi-Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) match carried on Naomi’s new heel persona, though the memo didn’t translate to her upbeat funky music. Her boxed promo sang the same tune, taking credit for taking Paige out. That’s all well and good, but who were we supposed to be behind here? The Bellas have led the division as the top two heels. Nikki on commentary at least did a decent job of standing her ground while taking some expected shots at the former Funkadactyl. Naomi works better as a heel and her quality of wrestling has sharpened a bit. She needed this win – why the lame ass finisher still?

– Oh god – it’s never a good thing to see superstars in a cafeteria setting. Camp comedy imminent. RKO on Heath Slater through a table was about right. Also nice to see Erick Rowan still around. Perhaps they’ve given up on him. Actually – wasn’t he supposed to be gone now thanks to Wyatt? Continuity at its finest, folks.

– The Roman Reigns-Bo Dallas segment reminded us of Dallas’ existence – who was passable enough with his comedy promo, but then again, that’s all he’ll probably ever be in WWE. That pretty much set up a Superman punch and Spear. That was done to a mild reaction leaning towards negative. Reigns’ final line seemed to take it back, but damn – that’s cheesy.

– The Sheamus-Zack Ryder was a competitive match that… Who are you kidding? Sheamus squashed him with a Brogue Kick and cut a promo throughout, shredding Ryder and the fans down. This was actually brilliantly done. Would’ve meant more against someone the fans would actually believe had a shot of winning, but who else would there really be for the role? This was at least different from the regular squash. Ziggler getting involved hitting the Zig Zag before Sheamus could inflict a final Brogue Kick made sense – while Sheamus got the DQ win. They haven’t actually pushed the “Kiss Me Arse” stipulation itself, but this should still be good match.

– The John Cena-Kane Open Challenge match for the United States Championship had a good promo from Cena hyping the match at Extreme Rules. Kane answering the challenge was a decent shock – backing up his earlier claims to prove himself. The match itself was okay, nothing special, besides the initial reaction and  Kane’s near-fall. The broadcast team continued to hurt this by pretty much saying, “Cena vs. Rusev for the United States Championship in a Russian Chain Match at Extreme Rules will be awesome! Let’s totally ignore this match going on right now for that same Title and let’s not play up what happens if Kane was to win here!” Pretty much.

– Triple H giving Kane that “Hmmph… Really?” stare backstage was good development. Kane continues to struggle but in an entertaining way. Makes you wonder just what he’ll do.

– The Miz’s backstage promo was his usual one until Renee Young cut away to Byron Saxton with Cena, making Miz angry. Not sure what the point of that exactly was, but okay.

– Cena’s promo again hyped the Russian Chain match before Rusev attacked him with the chain and laid him out. The Accolade with the chain looked brutal.

– The Miz-Damien Mizdow match for Miz’s brand was short and had the predictable turn of Summer Rae. Being that this happened a week before Extreme Rules and it had a stipulation to it, it would’ve made more sense to have it there, but the rumor of Miz leaving for another movie shoot was probably the real reason it happened here. Orton’s RKO on Miz was cool, but expected. Miz’s expression while face down on the mat was excellent. At the least, Mizdow can go back to Sandow now and hopefully get over on his own. Only time will tell though.

– Bray Wyatt’s fog promo was more rambling – maybe aimed at Ryback or Reigns?

– The Ryback-Adam Rose match was a forgettable squash for Ryback. His promo about hot dogs and bananas played into his “Feed Me More” schtick, but still – meh.

– The only thing that made the backstage segment with Kane, J & J Security and Triple H interesting was the way Jamie Noble backed away from Kane as he brought up the tweet that Rollins had sent out just moments prior. Rollins backed it up saying he was sorry and dedicated his next match to Kane, while Orton lurked in the background.

– The Ziggler-Rollins match was pretty good while it lasted, with Ziggler putting in some convincing offense, almost pinning the Champion several times. They work well together and could make a convincing program down the road. Sheamus coming out to distract Ziggler was good, and it gave Rollins an excuse to win with help. Post match, Triple H backing Rollins on Sunday showed he was impressed, which made Rollins gloat about everything, getting himself into trouble by talking too much. The way the cage lowered and Orton snuck in was a nice preview for Sunday and the final RKO was a good payoff for the show itself. Kane also gleamed with joy at the sight.





Quick Results

– Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper to a Double Countout 

– Winner Faces Tyson Kidd/Cesaro for Tag Team Championships at Extreme Rules – Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) def. The Lucha Dragons via pinfall

– Fandango def. Curtis Axel via pinfall

– Naomi def. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) via pinfall

– Sheamus def. Zack Ryder via DQ

– United States Championship – Open Challenge – John Cena (Champion) def. Kane via pinfall to retain

– Winner Keeps “Miz” Brand – The Miz def. Damien Mizdow (w/Summer Rae) via pinfall

– Ryback def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express, Rosa Mendes) via pinfall

– Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security) def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on April 23, 2015, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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