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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 4/28: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - final PPV hype, Bryan returns from injury, Flair, Tag Title match, Tourney Finals, more

Apr 28, 2014 - 10:14:46 PM


WWE Raw TV Results
April 28, 2014 - Episode #1,091
Live in St. Louis, Mo.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor

- Tonight's line-up: Daniel Bryan returning from a one-week injury to confront Kane, Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton (announced during the pre-show), Usos vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel for the Tag Titles, Wade Barrett vs. RVD in the finals of the #1 contender IC Title tournament, and Ric Flair.

WWE Network Pre-Game Show

On the pre-show panel this week is Josh Mathews with Booker T, Santino, and Alex Riley. Booker shouted out to Harley Race to begin the pre-show. Alex Riley quoted Nelly, since they're in St. Louis, then Santino offered some opening comments in a toned-down manner.

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Wade Barrett about giving Rob Van Dam some bad news, then ending the "personality-less" IC Title reign of Big E. on Sunday. Back at the studio, Emma crashed the pre-show set to hang out with Santino.

Backstage, Byron Saxton brought in WWE tag champs The Usos to discuss their Tag Title defense against Ryback & Curtis Axel tonight. The Usos noted they aren't worried about their opponents tonight.

Live Raw on USA Network

The final Raw before Extreme Rules interestingly started with a video package on the John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt feud, apparently following up on the very end of last week's Raw.

WWE then went live to the arena, where a steel cage was lowered down to the ring. Michael Cole said Cena and Wyatt will be locked inside six days from now. After the dramatic cage music played, Cena's music interrupted to loud cheers and boos. Cena slowly walked out on-stage, took off his cap, folded it nervously, returned the cap atop his head, and slowly walked down to the ringside area with a stern look on his face.

Cena slowly entered the cage as Cole hyped tonight's line-up - Usos vs. Ryback & Axel for the Tag Titles, Stephanie McMahon "apologizing" to WWE World Hvt. champ Daniel Bryan, and Reigns vs. Orton.

Cena's music faded out and Cena was left alone inside the cage with mic in-hand. JBL said Cena seems really upset tonight. Cena waited a while before speaking. "Why?" he opened. Boos. "Why?" he repeated. More boos. Cena said he's still mad about the WWE App vote last week when the audience voted to put him in a three-on-one match. Some of the vocal males responded: "You suck." Cena overly-dramatically said the audience gave him no choice against all three members of the Wyatts. "Why?" he asked.

Cena went back to almost 10 years ago when in this very building, he was drafted to Raw. One of the more memorable moments in Raw history. Cena said it was one of the loudest ovations of his entire career, but he guesses things have changed. Cena continued that he's had some good and bad nights here. But, he has never abandoned the fans and always put WWE first. So, he asks why is the crowd drawn to Bray Wyatt. He said he knows there is going to come a time when he has to step aside; he gets it. Cena said he is very excited for that time because he sees greatness in the likes of Reigns, Cesaro, Seth Rollins, and current champion Daniel Bryan. Loud "Yes!" chants, which Cena acknowledged.

Cena name-dropped NXT stars like Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn. He said they have the same passion and heart that he does for WWE "and you." Cena calmed down and said he wants to warn everyone about Bray Wyatt. He said it's captivating and motivating. Isn't that Bray's brother? Cena said Bray's passion is not WWE, though, but Bray Wyatt. So, why? Why is he standing here in this steel cage? Because on Sunday, any member of the Wyatts who shows up will be kept out, while Bray's message will be kept in. Cena said if Bray is allowed to continue on his path, he will continue to manipulate.

Suddenly, the Wyatt theme interrupted. This time, a little girl's voice came over the PA system singing, "He's got the whole world." Cena stood still as the girl continued with the entire hymn. Suddenly, the lights came back on and an entire choir was on the stage singing the hymn. Cena sold being freaked out by having one of his WrestleMania entrances turned against him. Suddenly, the Wyatt theme played again. This time, Bray Wyatt was singing about himself having the whole world in his hands. Bray asked the children to sing with him.

Bray led Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, and the choir down to the ring as Cena continued to sell concern inside the cage. Bray then led the choir in singing, "He's got the whole Cenation in his hands." Next, "He's got the big bad monster in his hands." The singing stopped and the crowd wasn't sure how to react. The lights went out again and this time the choir was wearing Rowan's sheep mask. Cena lowered his head and sold immense concern. WWE cut to a shot of a choir member sitting on Bray's leg as he rocked back and forth in his rocking chair. Bray laughed to himself as Cena continued to sell in the crowd. The laughing went on for a while, then the camera zoomed in on the masked choir member on Bray's knee before the feed cut out.

[ JC's Reax: Wasn't the whole deal last week that the only way Cena could get his hands on Bray was if the audience voted for a three-on-one? Oh, how all of this could have been avoided for young Cena. Overall, if Raw is Vince McMahon's weekly therapy session and he's the puppetmaster, this felt like one of those segments where McMahon played out a portion of his childhood via Cena, Bray, and Co. ]

[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:16]

Moments Ago: Bray Wyatt led a choir in song while John Cena sold concern inside a steel cage.

Announcers: Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL reacted to Bray's message now reaching children. Cole said it's time to "regroup" and have their opening match.

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced an opening Tag Title match to move things along past the scary man and his choir. The Usos were out first to defend the Tag Titles. Ryback and Curtis Axel were out next to challenge for the belts. Roberts handled formal ring introductions before the bell sounded.

1 -- WWE tag champs THE USOS vs. RYBACK & CURTIS AXEL -- WWE Tag Title match

Axel started things off for the heels, then he tagged in Ryback to light, but audible "Goldberg" chants. Ryback ran over Jey, but Jimmy tagged in and helped Jey clear Ryback to the floor. Axel was also knocked to the floor, then the Usos flew over the top rope with a big splash to the challengers. Suddenly, Jey Uso sold an ankle injury. Jimmy checked on him as Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break at 8:26]

[Q3] Back from break, Jimmy was isolated by the heels. Meanwhile, Jey was still injured from the pre-commercial flying dive. WWE cut to a shot of the ringside doctor checking on Jey against the guardrail. Jey then made it to the ring apron asking for a tag while still selling the injury. Back in the ring, Jimmy fought off a double superplex attempt, then slammed Axel onto Ryback.

Jimmy made it across his corner and tagged in an injured Jey, who came off the top with a cross-body splash for a two count. Uso smashed Ryback with a superkick, then dropped Axel with a Samoan Drop. Uso followed with a corner butt splash for a two count. Ryback then awkwardly entered the ring and dropped Uso for a two count. Ryback wanted the Meathook Clothesline, but Uso caught him with a superkick for a two count.

Jey was unable to follow up, as Ryback nailed a clothesline off the ropes. Ryback then wanted Shell Shock, but Uso countered into a pinning situation for a two count. Ryback cut off Uso, then huffed and puffed to the corner to tag in Axel, who took a Superfly Splash out of nowhere from Jimmy, who blind-tagged into the match. Jimmy pinned Axel for the win.

WINNERS: Usos at 11:21 to retain the WWE Tag Titles. Solid storytelling trying to elevate the Usos by "gutting out" a victory with the injury aspect.

Announcers: Cole said Extreme Rules will not be on DirecTV or Dish this Sunday, but people can subscribe to WWE Network. Or, Cole added, call your local cable company to order the PPV. Cole and Co. then hyped Hugh Jackman on Raw and Reigns vs. Orton tonight in the main event.

Video Package: WWE champion Daniel Bryan. The honeymoon is over. A monster has been unleashed. It's Bryan vs. Kane at Extreme Rules on Sunday.

[Commercial Break at 8:37]

Vignette: Adam Rose's Exotic Express is on the road. Rose is debuting next week on Raw.

Backstage: Cesaro and Paul Heyman were shown talking in the locker room. Heyman said Rob Van Dam really got underneath his skin by dumping on him last week. He said The Undertaker was the last man to get under his skin and look what happened to him. But, RVD was right that he is a liar and unethical, but he takes his clients to the top. Cesaro put his hand on Heyman's shoulder and said that's all he needs to hear.

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL reacted to Heyman's speech, then Cole switched gears to Stephanie appearing on Raw tonight to "apologize" to Daniel Bryan. This led to a video package on events last week on Raw when Bryan's honeymoon was ruined by Kane. Cole did a dramatic reading of Stephanie planning to apologize to Bryan tonight before Raw dramatically faded out to commercial.

[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:46]

Somewhere: WWE dramatically panned a red curtain before revealing Kane's mask inside a glass box. On commentary, Lawler said Kane is not here tonight.

In-ring: Sheamus's music played for the next match, but Titus O'Neil jumped Sheamus from behind and bashed him on the entrance ramp. Titus, sporting new facial hair, smashed Sheamus into the ringpost, then yelled at the referee. Titus rolled Sheamus into the ring, then continued to beat up Sheamus. Ref John Cone told him to back up, then Cone checked on Sheamus, who indicated he was ready for the match.


Titus continued to beat up Sheamus, who backed into the corner to try to regroup. The ref reprimanded Titus, then pulled him away from Sheamus, who suddenly hit his feet and smashed Titus with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus fell down, then placed himself on top of Titus for a three count. Sheamus then sold the effects of the attack as Titus continued to sell unconsciousness in the corner.

WINNER: Sheamus at 0:37.

Twitter Deal: Dolph Ziggler wants to bury the hatchet with Hugh Jackman, but Damien Sandow jumped in with comments against Ziggler. Jackman is up next on Raw and apparently Ziggler and Sandow will have a match. Or a debate. Or a magic show. Or musical chairs.

Heading to break, Kofi Kingston narrated a WWE Network tutorial. Kingston noted this is not available through cable or satellite providers, but orderable online "like Netflix."

[Commercial Break at 8:55]

Vignette: Bo Dallas. Achieve your goals. Get a handshake. Take charge. Bolieve. No hyphen.

In-ring: Dolph Ziggler was standing by in the ring dressed for an interview. Ziggler, sporting a Billy Gunn ponytail, said this is his favorite time of the year. The weather gets better, the bikinis get smaller, and super-heroes return to the big screen. He's talking about the newest X-Men movie.

[Q5 -- second hour] A movie trailer got the top-of-the-hour spot. Back in the ring, Ziggler hyped the crowd for the movie, then asked the audience to welcome Hugh Jackman back to Raw. Jackman took a victory lap, then entered the ring to shake hands with Ziggler.

Jackman shouted out to St. Louis, then said it's great to be back on Raw. Jackman said this is exciting for him, then hyped up the fans, action, and stars. He said anything can happen in WWE. Ziggler said that's funny because last time he was here, woo woo, something happened to him. WWE went to a replay of Jackman cold-cocking Ziggler in the mouth to help Zack Ryder beat Ziggler.

Back live, Jackman said he wasn't going to bring it up. Ziggler said Jack Swagger has kicked him harder than that, but if he's going to get knocked out, at least it was by a big-time star. They hugged and shook on it, then villain music played. Out came Damien Sandow dressed as Magneto that fit like a bad Halloween costume. Sandow proclaimed his greatness as Cole made strange noises mocking Sandow.

Now in the ring, Sandow told Ziggler that he looks ridiculous. He then addressed Jackman - or Wolverine. He said both of them will meet the same fate tonight. The crowd picked up a "Knock him out" chant, which Sandow took umbrage to. "Don't tell me what to do!" he shouted back. Jackman waited out the chant, then mocked Sandow's costume. Awkward standing around, then Jackman tugged on Sandow's cape.

Sandow vowed to show magnetism, then dramatic music played that Jackman and Ziggler no-sold. Suddenly, Jackman pretended to lose control of the mic. Ziggler sold not buying it, then being concerned. Jackman ended up next to Sandow, then he dropped the act and shoved the mic into Sandow. Jackman hip-tossed Sandow, then Ziggler followed with Zig-Zag to end Sandow's night. Jackman and Ziggler celebrated to close the skit.

[ JC's Reax: Really bad flashbacks to those poorly-written guest-star skits every week on Raw a few years ago. The overall show has yet to feel like the final Raw before the PPV, feeling more like an episode of Saturday Morning Slam. They have two more hours to sort this out. ]

Video Review: Evolution re-formed two weeks ago to battle The Shield. Tonight, it's Reigns vs. Orton in the main event.

[Commercial Break at 9:12]

[Q6] This Sunday: Nikki Bella is selfish and is ruining Brie Bella's wedding plans. Only on E!.

In-ring: Jack Swagger was introduced with Zeb Colter for the next match. Paul Heyman then came out on-stage to boos and said the audience is buying too much into his advocate/manager persona. He said he's really a jovial, funny guy, even his kids think so. The crowd booed. Heyman said he will go out-of-character for a second and tell a knock-knock joke. Of course, it led to him noting that his client, Brock Lesnar, broke The Undertaker's Streak at WrestleMania. Heyman said he'll agree to never mention The Streak again...

However, his client, Cesaro, won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania. A siren played, then clashing noise brought out Cesaro to shake hands with Heyman on-stage. Swagger and Zeb sold with dumbfounded looks in the ring.

3 -- JACK SWAGGER (w/Zeb Colter) vs. CESARO (w/Paul Heyman)

Cesaro suplexed Swagger across the ring early on, so Swagger bailed to the floor for a breather. Cesaro followed with a double axehandle as the crowd tried to figure out who they were supposed to cheer for. Swagger reversed momentum on the outside and rolled Cesaro into the ring to continue the attack. Cesaro made a comeback, then Zeb tripped Cesaro from the outside. So, Heyman came over and grabbed Zeb by the mustache. The distraction allowed Cesaro to drop Swagger with a German Suplex with a bridge for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Cesaro at 3:11. This is getting lukewarm heat at best with a mish-mash of mid-card heels and formerly strong heel managers. It's just really strange, unproductive booking until WWE moves Swagger and/or Cesaro into a clearly-defined heel vs. face program.

Earlier Tonight: Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Choir intimidated John Cena.

Backstage: Renee Young was unable to get a comment out of John Cena, who was shown moping around backstage. Cena thought about responding to Bray, but opted to walk away from Renee, who sold concern heading to break.

[Commercial Break at 9:26]

Somewhere: WWE revealed Kane's mask still sitting inside the glass box.

For something else, Alberto Del Rio was in the ring. And Goldust and Cody Rhodes were in the ring. It's Rhodes vs. Del Rio in singles action. But, first, a review of the Rhodes Bros. having issues last week on Raw.


4 -- CODY RHODES (w/Goldust) vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO

Del Rio blindsided Cody to begin the match. Meanwhile, the announcers discussed brothers having issues from time to time. The conversation moved to pedicures as Cody made a comeback on Del Rio, but Del Rio cut him off and continued the attack. Cody came back with a kick to the gut, but ran into a jab to the gut, followed by a standing sidekick.

Del Rio followed with the Cross Arm-breaker center-ring. Goldust told Cody not to give up as Cody fought and fought the hold. But, he had to give up to avoid injury. Post-match: Goldust tried to console Cody after the loss, but Cody shoved him away and kept walking up the ramp to the back. Meanwhile, Del Rio celebrated in the ring.

WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 3:40.

Still to come: Stephanie McMahon apologizing to Daniel Bryan.

[Commercial Break at 9:36]

Backstage: Paul Heyman and Cesaro were standing awkwardly very close to each other. Heyman was "advising his client," according to Cole. That was an interesting consultation.

On-stage: Lana was introduced by Justin Roberts. Lana then brought out Rusev, who emerged with his robot-like straight-ahead state. Cole hyped Rusev facing R-Truth & Xavier Woods at Extreme Rules on Sunday.

5 -- RUSEV (w/Lana) vs. XAVIER WOODS (w/R-Truth)

Xavier attempted an ill-advised wheelbarrow early on, but Rusev slammed him to the mat. Rusev then set up for The Accolade, but R-Truth hit the ring, causing a DQ. Truth then sent Rusev flying over the top rope to the floor. Woods then dropkicked Rusev off the ring apron. Rusev stumbled to the floor as Lana tried to calm him down. Rusev was announced as the winner as Woods & Truth called out to Rusev to get back in the ring.

WINNER: Rusev via DQ at 0:40. WWE has apparently exited the business of protecting Rusev by having him leave his feet and looking unimpressive here.

Announcers: Cole said tomorrow is World... Wish Day. It sounded like he was going to announce that tomorrow begins WCW Week on the Network. Cole then fed to a video package on John Cena's Make-a-Wish work. Back in the arena, WWE cut to Cena's latest MAW recipients sitting ringside in the arena.

[Q8] Backstage: Renee Young brought in RVD for an overly-rehearsed promo about giving Wade Barrett some bad news tonight. Zeb Colter then walked up to RVD and noted they have a common enemy - Paul Heyman. Zeb said that since they cannot stand Heyman, he suggests they work together to get rid of Heyman. RVD thought it over, but said he has a mind of his own. So, no thanks. He said he will continue being Arr-Vee-Dee. Zeb was perturbed.

[Commercial Break at 9:47]

Backstage: Zeb Colter had moved on to a conversation with Jack Swagger.

On to something else, Los Matadores and El Torito were in the ring. Also in the ring were 3MB and Hornswoggle. Before the bell sounded, Cole announced a "WeeLC Match" between Torito and Swoggle on the Extreme Rules pre-show.

6 -- LOS MATADORES (DIEGO & FERNANDO w/El Torito) vs. 3MB (HEATH SLATER & DREW MCINTYRE w/Jinder Mahal and Hornswoggle)

The focus shifted to ringside as Torito and Swoggle teased fighting each other. Un Matador tried to separate them, but Slater dropped the other Matador with a faceplant smash that could qualify as a DDT. It was good for the pin and the win, prompting the announcers to joke about the last time Slater won a match. Post-match, Swoggle got KO'ed on the floor, then Torito flew off the top with a splash to Slater. Torito and the losing tag team celebrated in the ring.

WINNERS: 3MB at 2:20. The last time Raw was this pointless, WWE set up for a big angle later in the show. They have some options, so we'll see.

Still to come: Stephanie "apologizes" to Bryan.

[Commercial Break at 9:55]

Main Event plug: Sheamus vs. Bray Wyatt tomorrow night on WWE Network.

Stephanie McMahon-Daniel Bryan Segment

In-ring: Stephanie McMahon was introduced two minutes before the top of the hour. Not much reaction from a crowd taken out of the show. Steph emerged in a somber black dress and walked down to the ring as WWE replayed last week's events involving Bryan, Brie, Kane, and Stephanie.

Live in the ring, Stephanie called last week's events a "senseless tragedy." She said the demon is unstoppable and she would like to make it up to Bryan. No Bryan. Stephanie sold concern, then said the audience wants Bryan to come out here.

[Q9 -- third hour] Bryan's music played to the first reaction in a while. Brie Bella emerged with Bryan, who was in a neckbrace and without his title belts. Bryan and Brie stood on-stage, with Bryan scowling and Brie leading the crowd in "Yes!" chants. Bryan's music played out, then Bryan stood on the stage and contemplated his opening remarks. "Daniel Bryan" chant from the crowd, which slowly woke up from a two-hour snooze of a show.

On-stage, Bryan said he almost believed Stephanie telling Kane to stop. Almost. Except, everyone knows that Stephanie is full of crap. Steph sold dejection and looked down at the mat selling she's misunderstood. Steph said she's earned that. But, she needs Bryan to understand that Triple H and her never wanted Bryan to be WWE World champion. They went to great lengths to stop Bryan and things got out a little out of control.

Bryan cut her off and asked Stephanie how she thinks his wife felt as Steph encouraged Hunter to drown him. Steph said he understands they went over-board and Bryan proved them wrong. She said all she wanted was a credible opponent for Bryan in the form of a back-boned Kane. Stephanie said she's ridden in ambulances with her husband, Triple H, and she knows what that feels like. So, she would like to apologize for what happened. Bryan waited out "No!" chants, then said he thinks the audience agrees with him that Stephanie is still full of crap.

Stephanie said she doesn't know how else to prove it. Maybe if he came down to the ring and she could convince him. Bryan said that's interesting. What is he going to see in her eyes? He's still going to see a liar. And he knows that a snap of her fingers, Kane will come out here and attack. Bryan said his head hurts bad, he can't move his neck, but he has never, ever given up. And the doctors have cleared him for Extreme Rules on Sunday. He said Steph thinks Kane will take him out, but he promises that he will take Kane down with him straight to hell.

Stephanie said the truth is he doesn't know where Kane is, but she does know that Kane's mask has been locked up in his office all day. So, while Bryan cannot wrestle tonight, Brie can. Stephanie said she would love to see both Bryan and Brie hand-in-hand tonight as champions. Steph said Tamina Snuka will face the Divas champion at Extreme Rules, but will it be Paige or Brie Bella? Steph smiled as she announced the title shot for Brie, who smiled.

Bryan said there's no way he's letting Brie come down to ringside alone. Steph said that's fine, but she hopes Brie is ready because her match for the Divas Title is right now. Brie then walked down to the ring as Bryan followed her from a close distance. Brie smiled and prepared for the match as Bryan remained in a bad mood ringside, not trusting Stephanie. WWE then cut to a backstage shot of the glass box holding Kane's mask now empty.

[Commercial Break at 10:09]

7 -- Divas champion PAIGE vs. BRIE BELLA (w/WWE World Hvt. champion Daniel Bryan) -- Divas Title match

Back from break, Paige was in the ring prepared for her first title defense. Meanwhile, the announcers noted that Bryan is not aware that Kane's mask is no longer in the case. The announcers ruled out theft and concluded that Kane is here. Double knockdown two minutes in, then Kane's pyro shot off. Both Divas remained down in the ring as Bryan braced himself to fight Kane. Suddenly, an arm popped through the ring and it was Kane's. Kane grabbed Brie and tried to pull her down into the hole as the ref bailed, but Bryan kicked and stomped him.

[Q10] Kane eventually flung Bryan away, then Brie remained "frozen in fear" inside the ring. Meanwhile, Bryan went under the ring and retrieved a weapon that he used to smash Kane. Bryan checked on Kane, who then sat up in the background. Bryan told Brie to leave, then Kane grabbed Bryan and chokeslammed him. Kane then grabbed Brie and tried to drag her into the hole, but Brie flung away and fell to the floor to check on Bryan, who was being tended to by medics. Kane shot off his pyro and laughed as Bryan and Brie remained in a bad state ringside.

WINNER: No Contest at 2:50; Paige retained the Divas Title. What's the objective here? Make Bryan a sympathetic face champion by involving Brie? Take away from Bryan's act by involving extra players? Eventually have Bryan become a heelish figure by not supporting his wife's career? Fire up Bryan to take a big stand against Kane? Bryan has proven to be able to take any material WWE gives him and hitting a home-run, so if anyone can pull off this first program as WWE champ without losing steam coming out of WM30, it's Bryan.

[Commercial Break at 10:17]

Moments Ago: Kane tried to drag Brie Bella through the ring with him, but Bryan made the save.

Trainer's Room: Brie was shaking and Bryan was being checked on by the doctor. Stephanie McMahon then walked in and pretended to be shaken up by Kane's actions. Steph asked the doctor if Bryan will even be cleared to wrestle on Sunday. Bryan slowly turned his injured neck and said he will compete at Extreme Rules and she will regret dragging his wife into this. Steph said she's sorry, then Brie shot her a look of death. "Get b----!" she shouted. Steph sold dejection and sorrow for what happened, then backed away.

Backstage: Renee Young tried to get a word from John Cena, who came out of his locker room. Cena apologized for walking off earlier, then said he's ready to talk. It's because of Bray Wyatt that he lost his mind, even doubting the audience's support for him. Cena said they were having fun out there earlier, then vowed to have special plans for Bray at the PPV on Sunday. He said he's going to buy a big donkey, have some fun, sing, and then give Bray a fist in his face and foot in his ass. Cena, done reminding the younger audience that it's all just fun and games not to be taken seriously, swiftly walked away after delivering his final line.

In-ring: An unclothed man emerged from a podium in the arena. It was Wade Barrett dressed to wrestle and standing behind his Bad News Podium. Barrett said he has some bad news for RVD. His slogan is simply: "Then." Because that was the last time RVD was anytime relevant. He said he was wearing diapers the last time Van Dam won the IC Title. And it will remain that way because of B-N-B. "Wade wore diapers as a teenager?" Cole quipped under his breath.

[Q11] [Commercial Break at 10:30]

Back live, Justin Roberts announced the Finals of the IC Title #1 contender tournament. Roberts introduced Wade Barrett, then Rob Van Dam's entrance played to bring out the other finalist.

8 -- WADE BARRETT vs. ROB VAN DAM -- Finals of #1 contender IC Title Tournament

One minute in, WWE cut to a shot of IC champion Big E. watching the match intently on a monitor. RVD then knocked Barrett to the floor and grazed Barrett with an attack from the ring apron. Back in the ring, Barrett back-elbowed Rob out of the ring to the floor. Barrett then smashed RVD into the guardrail and mocked RVD with a "B-N-B" pose.

Barrett rolled RVD back into the ring for a nearfall, then went back on the attack. Barrett punted RVD in the gut to create some noise in the building, then RVD rolled away from Barrett for a breather. Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break at 10:38]

Back from break, Barrett was still in control. Barrett hit Winds of Change for a nearfall, then complained about the count. Barrett went back to the mat to ground RVD, who finally escaped and landed a kick to the jaw. Van Dam with a spinning kick, then Cesaro suddenly showed up. But, Jack Swagger showed up and yanked down Cesaro. Meanwhile, Paul Heyman was now ringside.

Back in the ring, RVD avoided the Bullhammer, hit Rolling Thunder, and climbed to the top, but Cesaro distracted RVD. It allowed Barrett to block a Five-Star Frogsplash with his knees, then nail the Bullhammer Elbow. It was good for the pin and the win. In the locker room, Big E. mockingly applauded Barrett's win.

WINNER: Barrett at 11:18 to win the tournament; Barrett vs. Big E. for the IC Title on Sunday.

[Q12] Post-match: Cesaro entered the ring and attacked RVD. But, Swagger attacked Cesaro from behind. Heyman watched as Swagger and Cesaro battled, then Zeb Colter showed up ringside. Swagger gave Cesaro a gutwrench suplex, which generated a "We The People" shout, then Swagger went after RVD. But, RVD thrust-kicked Swagger. RVD then gave Cesaro a Five-Star Frogsplash to clean up a messy situation.

Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped Extreme Rules on Sunday, noting satellite providers are not carrying the PPV, but WWE Network and cable providers will have the PPV. Cole transitioned to hyping Orton vs. Reigns in the main event up next. But, first, a review of events on Smackdown when The Shield took out 11 mid-card heels.

Backstage: The Shield cut a promo about proving their excellence every single night. Seth Rollins said if Evolution has the guts to face off with them, they will find out what true power is. Roman Reigns then called Randy Orton the past. He said he is the present and future. Rollins, Reigns, and Dean Ambrose put their fists in the center to show solidarity heading to commercial.

[Commercial Break at 10:52]

Back live, Cole narrated an exterior shot of the Scottrade Center. Cole said there is breaking news from The Authority. They have booked U.S. champion Dean Ambrose vs. Ryback, Axel, and Del Rio in a three-on-one handicap match. That will teach Ambrose to defend his title once every four months.

Back in the arena, Evolution's music played to a tepid reaction. Out came Triple H and Batista in suits, plus Randy Orton in his hometown. Justin Roberts avoided mentioning Orton's hometown, saying he's representing Evolution. Evolution hit the ring and grabbed mics. Hunter sarcastically said Shield took out 11 guys last Friday, but he's not mad about it. See, they're starting to remind him of someone. Oh yeah, them.

Orton said Shield thinks they're the new Evolution, but there's one problem with that. Batista repeated his line that there will never be another Evolution. Hunter said he brought Shield into this world and they will take them out on Sunday. Batista made sure the skit was over, then Shield's music played. Shield came through the crowd down to the ring.

[Q13 -- over-run] At the top of the hour, Ric Flair's music played. Flair emerged on-stage dressed like classic Ric Flair and slowly made his way down to the ring as Hunter, Batista, and Orton posed in their heel corner. Flair continued to milk his entrance as Hunter and Co. acted like they trumped Shield with Flair's presence.

Flair eventually entered the ring and shook hands with Orton, Hunter, and Batista. Is a match happening here? Hunter did Flair's mannerisms, then Flair took a mic and slowly adjusted himself. Flair asked if they're in St. Louis to a pop. He asked if he's ever been here before. Shield continued to stand there near Flair, who turned his back to Shield, which put Shield in an awkward position waiting their turn in the skit.

Flair talked about being on the road while Orton got impatient waiting. Flair said he's seen greatness come full circle, then noted he's surrounded by Superstars who exude power, style, and grace. Flair said what he's talking about now is... The Shield. Batista removed his glasses to sell concern, then Flair walked up to Rollins and shook his hand. Then, Reigns, then Ambrose. JBL wasn't sure what to make of this as Hunter stood opposite Shield with his hands in his pockets, not bothered to sell. Flair eyeballed Hunter, then quickly left the ring in an attempted comedy spot. Hunter acted like it didn't matter as the audience sat quietly trying to sort this out, not believing Flair would endorse Shield over Evolution. End of the skit. And a match suddenly started.

9 -- ROMAN REIGNS (w/Ambrose and Rollins) vs. RANDY ORTON (w/Hunter and Batista)

The match moved to the floor early on as the crowd sat quietly, still unsure what to make of what just happened. Meanwhile, a crawler came across the screen noting cable companies will carry Extreme Rules, but satellite companies have elected not to carry the PPV. Back in the ring, Reigns teased a Superman Punch on Orton, but Hunter yanked Reigns's leg from the outside. This brought over Reigns and Ambrose to brawl with Hunter and Batista ringside. The ref tried to restore order as chaos continued everywhere.

Back in the ring, Orton measured Reigns for an RKO, but Reigns broke free and nailed a Superman Punch. Reigns then left the ring and attacked Batista. Hunter also took right hands as the ref called for the bell. Boos from the crowd.

WINNER: No Contest at 4:44. WWE made a big deal out of the match throughout the show, but barely gave it time to build to anything. Just a weird set-up for the main event.

Post-match: Evolution took control and beat down Shield ringside. Evolution stood around for a little bit, then Hunter and Batista threw bodies back into the ring. The crowd sat quietly as the heels pounded on Shield members.

Hunter went for a Pedigree, but Rollins came out of nowhere with a springboard smash to breathe life into the segment. Shield cleared the heels from the ring, then Triple H found himself alone in the ring to take a spear from Reigns. The crowd came alive, then Shield teased a triple powerbomb on Triple H. But, Batista and Orton provided a distraction, which allowed Hunter to escape the ring and avoid a triple bomb. Evolution regrouped ringside and Shield posed in the ring to close the final hype for Extreme Rules on Sunday. Cole listed this match, Bryan vs. Kane, and Cena vs. Bray inside a steel cage to close Raw 14 minutes past the top of the hour.

Meanwhile, on the Raw post-game show, Renee Young asked Ric Flair about endorsing Shield. Flair said not to read into because Evolution is still The Man. Flair did a throat-slash gesture, then left.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Dreadful show. A few highlights here and there, but WWE's braintrust was somewhere else besides St. Louis for these three hours and 14 minutes. After being reminded of how overly-scripted the product is when a script leaked two weeks ago, it's easy to see how life is drained out of the product with poorly-written segments and meaningless matches filling the three-plus hours. The crowd was taken out early and never really got back into the show and the announcing was disconnected from the show, acting like tourist guides taking the audience through a rehearsed series of tourist stops. This is a red-flag show and serious corrections need to be made heading into these next few months in-between Mania and Summerslam up against the NBA Playoffs.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

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He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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