WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 4/20: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Rollins vs. Ziggler main event, Cena's Open Challenge, Miz-Sandow, Triple H returns, more
Apr 20, 2015 - 10:05:47 PM
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WWE Raw TV Results
April 20, 2015 - Episode #1,142
Live in Albany, N.Y.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
- The Card: John Cena's U.S. Title Open Challenge, The Miz vs. Damien Sandow for the rights to "The Miz" trademark, Triple H returns to TV for a Tough Enough announcement, Roman Reigns responds to Big Show beating him down last week on Raw, Lucha Dragons vs. New Day in a #1 contender match to the WWE Tag Titles, the final Raw hype for the Extreme Rules PPV, and more.
Live Raw on USA Network
Raw opened with a live shot of a steel cage hanging over the ring to hype Randy Orton challenging Seth Rollins for the WWE Title at Extreme Rules. On-cue, Orton's music played to start things on Raw.
With the cage lowered to the ground, Orton entered the ring and the cage to test the structure. From inside the cage, Orton spoke. He said that Seth Rollins is one "dumb bastard." Why? Seth got to choose a stipulation for their title match and he chose to ban the RKO. But, that's not his greatest weapon. His weapon is inflicting unspeakable punishment on people he deems worthy. And that person is Seth Rollins. Orton said he will make things slow and agonizingly painful for Seth on Sunday.
Orton vowed to break Seth's jaw so they don't have to listen to Seth talk anymore. And then he will drag Seth to one of these corners and stick a boot so deep in his gut that he'll break a rib or two. And as Seth is gasping for air, he will pick him up by his stupid hair and run him into the steel cage. Over and over. And once the beating is over, so will Seth's reign as WWE World Hvt. champion.
Seth Rollins's music interrupted to bring out Rollins flanked by Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury. From the stage, Seth said he doesn't want to state the obvious, but Orton has a bit of an anger problem. "Are you just now realizing that I have issues with anger?" Orton asked - a line someone thought was clever. In this instance, though, Orton said he has a Seth Rollins problem, not an anger problem. Seth then dryly ran down Orton's promo and heeled on the audience.
Seth said he is on-track to being the greatest WWE World champion of all-time. He said all of this - he is the best at. (Boos) Don't believe me? I'm standing on the stage with the WWE Title. Seth continued that as good as Orton is, he is that much better. Seth said it doesn't matter if there's a cage or no The Authority, because Orton will not be walking out of Extreme Rules as WWE champion. So, Seth told Orton to get it out all of his system.
Orton interrupted, saying that's a pretty good idea. Orton paced and lost his mind, saying they're going to go commercial, he's going to go backstage, and he's going to RKO everyone he sees since the RKO is banned at the PPV. And by the end of the night, he will give Seth an RKO. "And that's a promise," Orton said before slamming down the mic. Orton's music played as Seth seethed on the stage.
Still to come: Triple H makes a Tough Enough announcement. On-camera, Booker hyped his previous involvement in the show with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Trish Stratus.
In-ring: Dean Ambrose's music played. So much for Raw cutting to commercial after Orton's promo. As Ambrose made his way to the ring, Cole said Ambrose faces Luke Harper next.
[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:14]
In-ring: Luke Harper was introduced to the ring on the other side of the ring. Harper had a mic. And he spoke. Harper said he doesn't know why Dean does not fear him, but he will make him after tonight.
1 -- DEAN AMBROSE vs. LUKE HARPER
Ambrose quickly went after Harper as soon as Luke hit the ring. Harper answered with a standing kick to the face, though. But, Ambrose shoved Harper through the ropes to the outside and nailed a suicide dive. Ambrose cleared the announce table, but Harper clotheslined him over the guardrail into the crowd. Dean and Luke fought into the crowd. No bell for a count-out here. Back on the floor, Dean exploded on Luke with a rebound clothesline. Cole said the match has been thrown out. No bell to make it official.
In any event, the fight moved to the stage area, where Harper planted Dean into the videoboard. Harper wanted a powerbomb off the stage, but Dean blocked. Harper eventually tossed Dean off the stage and Dean did a forward roll to pop up to his feet. Harper decided he had enough and bailed to the back as the announcers said they hope to see these two guys resolve their issue.
WINNER: Match thrown out at 2:09.
Backstage: Seth Rollins carefully walked down the hallway aided by J&J Security. Suddenly, Prime Time Players tried to scare Seth. Jamie Noble reprimanded Titus O'Neil, then Titus and Darren Young ran away. Seth approached a random man wearing a headset and angrily said he's going to wipe the floor with the next person he sees. Suddenly, Triple H popped into the camera shot. Seth nervously laughed and Hunter asked if he's doing all right. Seth said he's good, then Hunter said he can't let people see his champion sweat. Moving on to Kane. Hunter said they'll deal with Kane when he comes to the building. Next issue. Seth said he needs more security to deal with Orton. Hunter grimaced and said, "It's one guy." Hunted walked off as Seth tried to act confident with Noble and Mercury.
In-ring: Lucha Dragons were introduced to the ring for a #1 contender match up next. "Lucha / Lucha" chants heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:25]
Back from break, New Day were in the ring greeted by "New Day ... Sucks" chants.
2 -- LUCHA DRAGONS (KALISTO & SIN CARA) vs. NEW DAY (BIG E. & KOFI KINGSTON w/Xavier Woods) -- #1 contender match to WWE Tag Titles
The match started with a "chant-off," then Kalisto found himself in a high-flying vs. strength battle with Big E. Kalisto got the best of Big early on, then Cara tagged in with a cross-body splash on Big. WWE cut backstage to tag champs Tyson Kidd and Cesaro half watching the match while Natalya had her back to the TV monitor trying to figure out the "New Day Sucks" chant.
Back in the ring, Cara chopped Kofi across the chest. Then, Xavier provided a distraction allowing Kofi to dropkick Sin Cara off the ring apron. Xavier excitedly hyped Kofi and Big E. to take advantage, but they could not get a pin on frequent tags. Loud "New Day Sucks" chant from the crowd. But, Big E. quieted the crowd with a big chest smash to Cara heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:33]
Back from break, New Day continued to work over Cara. WWE cut backstage to the tag champs and Natalya now watching the monitor, but making random pointing motions during a dead spot in the match, making them look sillier than before. Kalisto finally got that hot tag and the crowd popped. Kalisto landed offense, then quickly made a tag to Cara before they hit double splashes splashes on the outside, knocking down everyone. Kofi eventually made it back into the ring at an eight count, Xavier grabbed Sin Cara's foot from under the ring, and the ref administered a ten count, giving New Day the win since he did not see Xavier's involvement. Kaliso was also on the outside and unable to re-enter the ring to perhaps try to break the ten count.
WINNERS: New Day via count-out at 9:30. Heel vs. Heel Tag Title match at Extreme Rules?
Post-match: New Day celebrated in the ring, then some fans in the crowd shrieked off-camera. Randy Orton was in the ring. And he had RKOs for Kofi and Xavier. But, Big E. managed to escape the ring and head for higher ground as Orton challenged him to get back in the ring. Orton posed in the ring before WWE replayed the RKOs.
Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Booker T were shown on-camera transitioning to Extreme Rules hype on WWE Network.
Still to come: John Cena's U.S. Title Open Challenge one week before facing Rusev for the belt at the PPV.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:44]
Video Package: Roman Reigns vs. Big Show feud. They go Last Man Standing on Sunday.
In-ring: Fandango was introduced to the ring while Curtis Axel hung out in the ring. Axel did some dancing of his own as Fandango entered the ring. A little Rick Rude hip gyration from Axel into what appeared to be a quick tribute to Alex Wright.
3 -- FANDANGO vs. CURTIS AXEL
Axel quickly ripped off his Axel-mania t-shirt, but Fandango knocked him down, then hit his top-rope leg drop finisher. Fandango's new salsa music that he ditched played instead of his old new Fandango music. WWE eventually switched from salsa to Fandango'ing to close out the celebration.
WINNER: Fandango at 1:15.
Still to come: Miz vs. Sandow for The Miz brand.
Up next: Triple H has a Tough Enough announcement.
[Commercial Break at 8:53]
Triple H Returns
Back live, Triple H was given a formal ring introduction by ring announcer Eden Stiles. Hunter, who has not appeared in the ring on Raw since WrestleMania, walked out on-stage smiling toward the crowd mixing heel and corporate personas. Cole ran down the Hunter vs. Sting match at Mania, noting the Monday Night Wars reunion aspect. JBL slipped in a note about Hunter beating "that painted-up vigilante" Sting. Meanwhile, Booker was on his phone checking if he had an email about appearing on Tough Enough.
In the ring, Hunter said that one year ago The Authority was at a cross-roads. So, they looked around and found a man who could lead WWE into the next generation. And that man is Seth Rollins (boos). Hunter said now it's time to find the next Seth Rollins. And that starts on June 23 on USA Network with the return of Tough Enough.
[Q5 -- second hour] Hunter said the show allows "you" to possibly live your dream by becoming a WWE star. Hunter looked around the arena, painting a picture of standing on the stage, hearing your music and the roar of the crowd, walking down the ramp, and standing in the ring. The crowd was subdued, almost waiting for Hunter to heel on them. Hunter asked the crowd to envision what that would feel like. He said that is the dream. And now the crowd has the opportunity to turn their dream into reality. Just show the world that you are Tough Enough. Hunter said one man and one woman will receive WWE contracts by the "WWE decision-makers" and "the WWE Universe." Aren't the decision-makers The Authority in storyline context? This is a mess. Hunter told the crowd to show that they are tough enough.
Kane's music interrupted to swing this back to full storyline mode. Hunter joked that Kane probably does not qualify for Tough Enough. Kane no-sold the attempt at humor, then noted he sent Hunter a lot of texts and emails. Hunter said he ignored them so Kane could cool off. Kane calmed down and said he cannot deal with the constant disrespect from the man he helped become WWE champion, Seth Rollins. Kane said he cannot stand by while Hunter endorses a man he does not see worthy of his investment. (Is Kane representing the voice of the audience on Roman Reigns?) So, he is giving Hunter his two weeks notice.
Hunter hung his head, then told Kane they need to go backstage and talk this out like men. Seth Rollins interrupted sans music. Seth said they don't need a loser like Kane in The Authority, so Hunter should just let him quit. Kane and Seth argued as Hunter tried to calm them down. Kane then shouted in Seth's face that he is a spoiled little punk. Kane, his voice reaching an octave perhaps not heard before, said they could have made Dean Ambrose champ if they recruited him from The Shield. Heck, even El Torito! Seth took exception as things escalated.
Hunter tried to calm things down, then said Kane always does what is best for business and is loyal to The Authority. Which is why in the steel cage match at Extreme Rules, he is making Kane "guardian of the gate." Seth had the same reaction as the crowd, "What?" But for different reasons. Hunter said if anyone tries to get into the cage, they will have to go through Kane. So, Hunter told Seth that he better learn to get on Kane's good side. Seth reluctantly shook Kane's hand, then stomped out of the ring.
Last Week: Paige became #1 contender to the Divas Title, then Naomi attacked Paige and beat her down. Cole said Paige has been ordered to stay out of action until further notice.
Backstage: Naomi was shown walking down the hallway. She's in the ring next.
[Commercial Break at 9:12]
[Q6] Backstage: Seth and Kane argued again. Hunter had enough and told them to stop. He said Kane is a tough-guy, but now he is a corporate representative who is no longer hellfire and brimstone. "Oh yes, I am," Kane retorted in Hunter's face. Kane vowed to prove it. Seth smirked and told Hunter: "See what I'm talking about?" Hunter did not take kindly to that remark. He told Seth that it took a lot of people to make him WWE champion, including the guy who just walked off. Hunter said being WWE champion does not make you the man, but proving it every single night. Hunter, playing Vince McMahon trying to motivate Roman Reigns, said Rollins needs to prove to the world what he already knows about him. So, Hunter booked Seth against Dolph Ziggler tonight. Seth changed his demeanor and said he will not only prove himself against Dolph tonight, but destroy him.
In-ring: Brodus Clay's music played to bring out Naomi in heel mode looking mad at the crowd. More heels, the Bella Twins, were out next. Brie Bella was announced as Naomi's opponent.
4 -- BRIE BELLA (w/Divas champion Nikki Bella) vs. NAOMI
As the bell sounded, Nikki joined commentary to talk about the Bellas appearing on a Muscle & Fitness magazine cover. Apparently Brie is the lesser heel of the Bellas, despite randomly dropping her convictions and re-joining Nikki several months ago without explanation, so she was in the default face role for this match. Brie controlled early on, but Naomi knocked her to the floor and Raw cut break.
[Commercial Break at 9:22]
Back live, Naomi was controlling Brie in the ring. Naomi continued to dominate, even risking a DQ. Double clothesline put both Divas on the mat. Brie then fired back with a running knee smash and top-rope splash for a close nearfall. Brie could not put away Naomi, who came back with Rear View for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Naomi got up and did the belt-around-the-waist motion toward Nikki, who stood up at ringside to remind Naomi that she is Divas champion.
WINNER: Naomi at 9:09. Heel vs. Heel title match at Extreme Rules?
[Q7] Backstage: Catering. Random people were shown sitting around eating, then the camera focused on Heath Slater telling Erick Rowan that he's going to accept John Cena's Open Challenge tonight. Rowan got up and walked off, then Randy Orton suddenly showed up to send Slater through the lunch table with an RKO. Orton picked up some food and took a bite, then counted his RKO victims.
[Commercial Break at 9:31. It's been over an hour since a relevant babyface has been featured on the show.]
In-ring: The Shield's music played back from break. Roman Reigns emerged atop the arena and made his way through the crowd casually waving his hands toward a spot where fans would normally be extending their hands, but they were not present in the aisleway. Reigns seemed more focused on his segment instead of reacting in the moment to the absence of fan hands.
Reigns entered the ring and said he does not feel like talking, rather fighting. Reigns commanded Show come to the ring right now. Instead, Bo Dallas's music played. Dallas, sporting a pirate goatee, told Reigns that anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering. (This sounded like a Brother Bray Wyatt promo.) And they know that Reigns has suffered.
Bo changed his tone to sounding high-pitched, saying Reigns is "kind of a bust." He said Reigns is the Tim Tebow of WWE getting chance after chance. But, Bo said that he knows Reigns can be WWE champion - if he works hard and ... Bo-Lieves. Suddenly, Reigns popped Bo with a Superman Punch to the side of the head, drawing a mix of boos and cheers. Reigns then posed in the corner and dropped Bo with a spear.
Reigns picked up the mic and told Big Show that he will be the Last Man Standing at Extreme Rules. "And you can believe ---" Reigns paused. (In Bo Dallas's voice) "And you can booooo-lieve that." Reigns smirked after linking his big one-liner to that of a lower-card comedy act, then his music played as Cole hyped Reigns vs. Show on Sunday.
Locker Room: Dolph Ziggler taped his wrists ahead of facing Seth Rollins. Cole said the match is coming up later tonight on Raw.
[Commercial Break at 9:42]
[Q8] In-ring: Sheamus's new heel music played back from break. Sheamus emerged on-stage posing triumphantly before Cole hyped Sheamus vs. Ziggler in a Kiss Me Arse match on Sunday. Zack Ryder was introduced next and nearly ran over the on-stage cameraman out of excitement for having (a) a match on Raw and (b) a ring entrance.
5 -- SHEAMUS vs. ZACK RYDER
Sheamus had a mic and told the ref to ring the bell. Sheamus pretended to talk, saying before they get started, then he Brogue Kicked Ryder. Sheamus took a deep breath, then said he could pin Ryder right now, but Zack deserves more than a five-second match, so he stomped on Ryder in the corner. Sheamus said there are too many pretenders and normal people in WWE. Knee to the gut as Sheamus continued running commentary. Kneelift. Sheamus said he thought New Yorkers were supposed to be tough. Sheamus said there are too many pretenders like Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, and Ryder. Sheamus then chucked Ryder over the top rope to the outside. Sheamus, still on the mic, followed to the outside. Sheamus continued to talk before telling the crowd and Ryder that they look stupid. Sheamus said this is their "hometown hero?" Long Island is three hours away.
Back in the ring, Sheamus asked the crowd to give it up for their New York hero. He then shouted "Brogue" over and over into the mic to deliver the Brogue Kick, but Dolph Ziggler hit the ring and attacked Sheamus. No bell as the ref just waved his arms. Ziggler with the Zig-Zag, then he checked on Ryder as Eden Stiles announced Sheamus as the winner via DQ. Sheamus recovered on the outside, but gloated through the pain after getting a win. Cole said he forgot a match was going on, which was supposed to be pointing out that the heel wanted to talk instead of wrestle, but came across like a sarcastic remark since there was no bell to signal the end of the match.
WINNER: Sheamus via DQ at 3:30 when the interference occurred; 3:52 when an announcement sans bell was made. They can't even execute a proper heel segment. Sheamus did the work, but the ref not calling for a DQ when Ziggler interfered, which included the story that Ziggler inadvertently gave Sheamus a win, led to an awkward conclusion and took away from Sheamus one-upping Ryder and Ziggler. That should have set up a desire to see Ziggler give Sheamus his comeuppance at the PPV for being a jerk who got away with his jerk moves this week and got a win. But, since wins & losses are such an afterthought for WWE and the announcers, the segment did not mean as much as it should have.
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
Jericho Podcast plug: Chris Jericho interviews Stephanie McMahon on Thursday, April 30 following Smackdown. WWE trying to get free April subscribers on the last available day to try to bring them over to pay subscribers on May 1.
In-ring: John Cena's music played to bring out the U.S. champion for the next match. Cena quickly hit the ring and asked Albany if they're fading on him, recognizing the crowd taken out of the show. Cena hyped Extreme Rules on Sunday, which means a Russian Chain match against Rusev.
[Q9 -- third hour] Cena acknowledged some boos by spinning the boos as Rusev fans (as opposed to non-Cena fans). Cena said Rusev will try to take the fighting spirit from him, but his name is John Cena. And he has done this for ten years. Cena said he will beat the dog crap out of Rusev, drag him to all four corners, get his hand raised, drop the American flag, and prove that WrestleMania was not a fluke, but a statement. Cena vowed to shove a Russian steel chain straight up his booty.
So, is he not defending the U.S. Title tonight? No, he said, they're having a fight tonight. He sent a message to the underdog, undersized, under-appreciated who accepts his challenge that he is not in a losing mood tonight. Cena said the John Cena U.S. Open Challenge starts right now. Cena looked toward the entrance ramp and paced the ring. Suddenly, Kane's music played. Out came Kane dressed in slacks as Cena went from confident to concerned.
6 -- U.S. champion JOHN CENA vs. KANE -- United States Title match
Kane quickly took it to a surprised Cena, who took a beating early on. Kane rocked Cena on the outside as WWE cut to a shot of Seth Rollins and J&J Security watching the match on a backstage monitor. Back in the ring, Cena walked into a sidewalk slam that resulted in a two count. They returned to the floor, where Kane whipped Cena hard into the guardrail. Cena needed a few moments to recover, then he made it back into the ring at a seven count.
Kane continued to work over Cena as the crowd woke up with a dueling "Let's Go Cena / Cena Sucks" chant. Cena teased a comeback, but ran into an uppercut from Kane. Kane followed up with a chokeslam, but Cena kicked out at two. Kane flipped out, then tried to calm down and wanted a Tombstone, but Cena slipped out. Cena hit the AA, and it was good for the pin and the win, popping the pro-Cena audience.
Backstage: WWE showed Seth Rollins chuckling to himself over Kane's failed title shot. JBL reminded the audience that Seth still has to face Dolph Ziggler tonight.
WINNER: Cena at 6:26 to retain the U.S. Title. Solid title match with an engaged crowd.
WWE Network plug: Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n Wrestling debuts on the Network after Raw.
[Commercial Break at 10:12]
[Q10] Backstage: Triple H tried to get a word with Kane, who just wanted to be left alone after losing.
Backstage: Renee Young brought in The Miz to discuss facing Damien Sandow tonight. Miz paused to promote his "Marine 4" movie out on DVD tomorrow. Suddenly, Renee interrupted because John Cena was standing by for an interview. "C'mon!" Miz shouted.
Backstage: Byron Saxton brought in John Cena, who was cooling off from his title defense. Cena said that one thing is for certain that after Sunday, the Champ --- he was predictably attacked from behind by Rusev, who smashed him with a chain. Rusev then put Cena in The Accolade and put the chain across Cena's nose/upper lip trying to break his nose. Refs finally got Rusev to release the chain, then Cena coughed and rubbed his face in pain.
[Commercial Break at 10:18]
Moments Ago: There was an unintentionally comedic still-shot of Rusev doing big eyes and Cena's face contorted as Rusev chained Cena in The Accolade.
Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Booker reacted to Cena-Rusev. Booker threw out a few random comments while swaying back-and-forth in his chair.
In-ring: Damien Sandow was introduced to the ring with Summer Rae for the next match. Summer posed next to Sandow, then Miz was introduced to the ring as WWE showed clips of Miz from Tough Enough in 2004.
7 -- THE MIZ vs. DAMIEN SANDOW (w/Summer Rae) -- Winner receives rights to The Miz trademark
Back-and-forth early on, then quick pinfall attempts. Meanwhile, the announcers cracked jokes, treating the match like a comedown match. Sandow nailed Miz's Reality Check, but only scored a two count. Sandow wanted the Skullcrushing Finale, but Miz rolled through and hooked the tights, but Sandow kicked out this time. Miz tried the Skullcrushing Finale, but Sandow pushed away. Sandow found himself on the ring apron, where Summer raked Sandow across the eyes. Cole acted surprised, then Miz pinned Sandow with Skullcrushing Finale.
WINNER: Miz at 2:50. There's the reinforcement of Summer as a heel after pretending to be interested in Sandow. Of course, Sandow forced a kiss on Summer to begin this, so who's the real heel in all of this? And, is Sandow back to doing nothing after months and months of build-up to break free of Miz since they've booked Sandow to be a dolt since WrestleMania?
Post-match, Miz took the mic and said that it's only fitting he says this one more time. "Because I'm The Miz ... and I'm -----" Suddenly, Randy Orton hit the ring and dropped Miz with an RKO. Summer took off, then Orton held up his fingers to count the number of victims tonight.
[Q11] Announcers: Cole and Co. ran down the PPV line-up, noting that Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett for the IC Title is pending Bryan's health. Plus, Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper has been added in a Chicago Street Fight. The Tag Title match will be on the Extreme Rules pre-show. No mention of the Divas Title match, which is currently Nikki Bella vs. Paige, but they hyped Nikki vs. Naomi earlier in the show.
Still to come: Rollins vs. Ziggler.
[Commercial Break at 10:32]
Back from break, Bray Wyatt's video interruption played. From a smoky room, Bray pondered what men strive for - money, power, or respect? Bray said it could be a combination of all three, but "you, you're different." He said that fear motivates him. Bray said this person can lift all the weights in the world, but there's not enough lifting he can do to remove the weight of his personal failures. (A clue! Mark Henry?) Bray said the only thing he will see is his face looking down at him. And this person will see that all of his hard work will fade away. And so will he. "Behold, the new face of fear," Bray said before the video faded out.
In-ring: Ryback's music played. Cole hyped Ryback as a former Tough Enough contestant as Adam Rose stood by in the ring. JBL tried to label Ryback as the "new face of ..." but he couldn't think of anything to link Ryback to Bray's promo line. JBL self-deprecated about his English as Cole tried to move on.
8 -- RYBACK vs. ADAM ROSE
The Rosebuds tried to encourage Rose from ringside as Rose controlled the action early on. Ryback shook off Rose's early attack, then nailed a Meathook clothesline into Shell-Shock for the pin and the win.
Post-match, two Rosebuds dressed as a hot dog and a banana hit the ring. They tried to negotiate something with Ryback, who clotheslined them. Of note, the man in the banana was not wearing pants. Ryback then delivered Shell-Shock to both food items. Ryback tried a joke on the mic, then closed by saying their asses just got Shell-shocked. For something else, Rosa Mendes entered the ring to check on Rose as Ryback posed in the ring.
WINNER: Ryback at 1:30.
Backstage: Renee Young caught up with Kane, making his 70th appearance of the show. Renee asked Kane what he thinks about what was said about him on social media. Renee pulled out her phone and read a tweet from Seth and J&J Security about Kane being old and needing adult diapers. Kane stomped away to The Authority office and asked them to say it to his face. Just as things were about to explode with Triple H set to lose his mind, Seth shouted, "I'm sorry!" Everyone calmed down. Seth said this whole Orton thing is getting to him, but when Kane keeps mentioning that he helped Seth become champion, it makes him feel bad. Hunter continued to listen intently. Seth said he's sorry, and Kane is the bigger man, literally and figuratively. Seth and J&J walked out of the room. The camera watched them walk down the hallway, then Randy Orton ominously popped out from around the corner.
[Q12] [Commercial Break at 10:44]
This Thursday: Ryback vs. Rusev (pictured with Lana) on Smackdown.
In-ring: Dolph Ziggler was introduced for the main event. WWE World champion Seth Rollins, flanked by J&J Security, was out next. Seth, who now has Kane on his side after making a business move apologizing to Kane, walked down to the ring with confidence in his step, not afraid of Orton getting to him.
9 -- WWE World Hvt. champion SETH ROLLINS (w/J&J Security) vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER -- non-title match
The bell sounded and it was apparent they had their work cut out for them making this feel like a TV main event. It just didn't have that feel since Rollins is over-exposed and Ziggler has lost so many big matches over the years. Back-and-forth early on, then Seth slingshot Ziggler out of the ring. Raw cut to break with Seth in control.
[Commercial Break at 10:52]
Rollins continued to work on Ziggler as he slowed the pace of the match. Nearing 11:00 EST on a worknight, the audience seemed to be hanging in there waiting for Orton to resurface. Ziggler came back with a lift-up DDT for a close two count. But, Seth responded with an enziguiri for a nearfall.
[Q13 -- over-run] Seth teased the Bucklebomb at the top of the hour, but Dolph slipped out and kicked Seth in the face for a close two count. J&J sold concern at ringside while the two men recovered in the ring. Suddenly, Sheamus showed up ringside. Sheamus told Dolph to kiss his arse, then Seth smashed Dolph from behind. Seth with a Bucklebomb, then an awkward-looking DDT that looked like a cross between Dirty Deeds and a Mick Foley single-arm DDT. Apparently this was the replacement for the Curb Stomp. It was good for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Rollins at 11:33. Rollins vs. Ziggler could mean so much more, but here it was just a set-up for what WWE wanted to get across in the post-match to close the show.
Post-match, Rollins took the mic and said he just proved himself. He gloated about Orton not having access to the RKO on Sunday, then Triple H's music interrupted. The crowd remained quiet as Hunter marched down to the ring with a scowl on his face. Hunter took the mic and proclaimed Seth the man who will beat Randy Orton on Sunday. Hunter wanted to talk some more, but Seth yanked the mic away and said he just proved that he's The Man by dismantling Dolph Ziggler. He said he will prove that this is his WWE when he beats Orton on Sunday. And, renders Kane obsolete as gatekeeper.
And out for the 71st time, Kane's music played. J&J tried to restrain Kane as the announcers noted that Rollins just can't keep his mouth shut. Suddenly, the cage started to lower from the ceiling as Hunter joined J&J restraining Kane. Suddenly, Randy Orton was alone in the cage with Seth, who tried to run away, but Orton pulled him off the top rope into a mid-air RKO. Ringside, Hunter sold frustration with hands on hips. Meanwhile, Kane laughed to himself, with WWE trying to make it seem like there is a chance of Orton winning on Sunday if Kane is opposite Seth.
Orton posed in the cage, then WWE cut to Cole and Co. to hype Hulk Hogan's 1980s animated show debuting on WWE Network next. They faded out without a final plug for the PPV on Sunday five minutes past the top of the hour.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A lack of energy tonight, possibly due to coming home from the two-week European Tour or the product simply returning to the bad habits from before WrestleMania. The lack of clear heels & faces from the top down produced a lot of lukewarm responses from the crowd. Also, WWE is really missing Daniel Bryan anchoring the show and providing that all-around excitement and reliable, in-ring match action. John Cena is trying to take on that role with the weekly U.S. Title defenses, but there's something about Bryan steadying the three-hour Raw ship. His health is a big concern, for both himself and Raw going forward. The show also could have used Neville to provide some high-energy athleticism in the middle of the show.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
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)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**