April 21, 2015 by Joey Keogh
It’s the go-home show before Extreme Rules and my god does anyone even care at this point? Like, seriously, do we care about what happens during this non-event? To kick things off, we get a quick replay of the Rollins/Kane/Orton angle from last week, followed by a nice close-up of the cage being lowered with particular emphasis on one of the spikes that almost killed Rollins that one time. We are encouraged to tweet using the hashtag #SteelCage, perhaps to comment on how well it’s looking tonight or how glad we are that it didn’t succeed in its plans to murder the soon-to-be champ. It’s not entirely clear whether this cage is sentient, but it has its own entrance music so let’s assume that it is. Orton shows up first to cut a promo about how he’s going to break Rollins’ jaw, and his own ribs, on Sunday. He’s also going to grab him by that “little blonde streak” of his. Er, is Orton going off script here or is he just saying what we’re all thinking? Speaking of Rollins, he has managed to shrink his T-shirt in the wash and it now looks painted on. Judging by his hair and pants, though, that is exactly the look he was going for. He was too busy to listen to Orton bullshitting on just then (his words) but he gathers he’s mad. Rollins manages to get some heat from the NY crowd by calling them losers with no lives, before rubbing it in that he has the belt and they don’t. This crowd are super easy, though; they literally cheer faces and boo heels, often reacting louder than a sitcom audience to otherwise predictable events. Orton calls Rollins a “son of a bitch”, for example, and they totally love it. He’s going to RKO everyone tonight because he won’t get to do so on Sunday. But, to start with, nobody is getting RKOed because everyone runs away.
Dean Ambrose Vs. Luke Harper
These two are continuing their feud over who wore it best, but first we have to be reminded yet again of that gnarly bump Ambrose took into the ladders at Wrestlemania, followed by another the next week on Smackdown. Harper somehow acquires a mic en route to the ring and goes all Deliverance on Ambrose by referring to him as “boy”. That should be his new gimmick, the kids would love it. As Cole himself states, in his infinite wisdom, this is a good old-fashioned brawl, with the action spilling out pretty much from the get-go. The two of them trade head-butts, punches and kicks until a weird end sees Ambrose chucked into the LED screen at the top of the ramp and Harper running off backstage immediately after. Ambrose starts to leg it after him, then stops, apparently confused about where he’s gone. It’s like a really bad panto except he isn’t behind him, he’s literally just gone around the corner.
Backstage, the Prime Time Players scare the shit out of an un-amused Rollins and his security team. Noble tries to scold them but Titus calls him a smurf. He didn’t like being scared on Total Divas by Foxy, so he’s being a bit mean here, but whatever we need more of these guys on RAW. Trips then scares Rollins, quipping “what are you so scared of; it’s like there’s an RKO around every corner” Rollins is not scared, he assures him, he’s just being cautious. But he needs more security, like, now. For something entirely unrelated, of course.
Tag Team Match: The Lucha Dragons Vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston)
This match is to decide who will face Tyson Kidd and Cesaro at the PPV, so it seems pretty much set in stone that the Dragons have it won. Unfortunately, as it’s been hinted over the past few weeks, The New Day are set for a three-way heel turn and tonight it goes all the way up to eleven. Or something. I dunno, I’m mixing metaphors there, just stay with me. E’s chances should be better opposite, say, Kalisto, because he’s so much bigger than him but the NXT star is slipperier than he looks and is soon running rings around the massive athlete, hitting a cool cross-body early on from the top. Midway through the match, there’s this weird commercial that’s sort of for Sheamo, sort of for Smackdown, and when we return from it The New Day are in control for reasons that don’t become clear, especially as Kalisto hits a gnarly head scissors and chucks E and Kofi out. However, The New Day win by count-out after Xavier Woods hides under the ring and stops Sin Cara from re-entering in time. But hopefully the Dragons will intervene on Sunday and make things interesting again because this seems like an abrupt end otherwise.
Winners: The New Day
Speaking of making things interesting, true to his word, Orton shows up immediately following the match to RKO everyone but E, who flees just in time to avoid it. Why didn’t he hit Ambrose and Harper? Surely they must have wandered right into his path, unless he’s been hiding ringside for ages like a weirdo? A replay of the whole Show/Reigns/London taxi debacle plays next, and it won’t be the last time either because clearly someone thinks this shit is super funny. There’s also a replay of Show’s recap of what happened from Smackdown; a recap of a recap, if you will. He and Reigns will be competing in a Last Man Standing match at the PPV, which is great because at least now we’ll know when to schedule our mass suicide.
Fandango Vs. Curtis Axel
These two dance for a bit before the match kicks off and those ten seconds are more fun than every single so-called “dance off” in the history of the WWE (and there have been LOTS). Fandango is super pissed that someone is attempting to steal his dancing man spotlight, making quick work of Axel who’s been in the Royal Rumble so long he must be paying rent at this stage. The end comes with a decent enough leg drop from the top.
Up next, Trips is here to shill “ground-breaking” reality TV show Tough Enough which, as you may recall, gave us such talents as The Miz and Ryback. He also cuts a quick promo about Rollins during which a kid sitting ringside literally yawns, and for good reason, because we’ve heard it all before and it’s taking time away from actual matches. Trips is all like “who doesn’t want to realise their dream of being buried by ME?” and you just know Zack Ryder is somewhere backstage raising his hand sadly. Kane shows up to interrupt and Trips calmly tells him he has to go on-line to submit an audition tape, and also that he’s too old to be a new recruit. He quits his job, Rollins shows up to celebrate and pokes him in the chest, leading to lots of yelling as Mad Dad gets in between them and gives Kane a new role, the kind he’s always wanted; gatekeeper at Rollins’ match on Sunday. Some chick really likes this idea and suffice to say she is literally the only one on the planet. Speaking of Extreme Rules, Harper and Ambrose will be facing each other in a Chicago Street Fight, which sounds exactly like the kind of thing these two freaks would be involved in.
Divas Match: Naomi Vs. Brie Bella
Rollins and Kane bicker some more backstage before the ladies get in the ring, suggesting that these ten seconds will be more exciting than anything they get up to. Kane promises to prove his worth as a zombie or a mummy or something and Trips is bemused, like he’s the fuck-up kid he’s ashamed of because all he ever does is talk about doing stuff instead of actually doing anything. Naomi doesn’t dance anymore because she’s heel now. Nikki sits on commentary fielding inane questions from a slobbering Cole about what Divas she can beat (hint: all of them). Naomi is really showing off in this match, decimating Brie with a series of high-impact moves in a nicely lengthy bout that she eventually wins with the She Calls It The Rear View. But Paige is going to be back by Sunday, right? Right?
In catering, Heath Slater is trying to make friends with Erick Rowan when Orton shows up to RKO him out of NOWHERE (again, according to Cole) and steal his nachos. Next up, we get the goddamn replay of Reigns/Show again before the man himself shows up to tell us he doesn’t feel like talking, he feels like fighting. A reference to Big Show‘s big ass goes down a treat but sadly it’s poor Bo Dallas who skips out to eat Reigns’ fist instead. He quotes Yoda and Reigns Superman punches him, only it doesn’t connect whatsoever so really Dallas just hits the mat really hard of his own accord. Reigns makes fun of him after by saying we can all “bo-liiiiiiiiiiiieve DAT”.
Sheamus Vs. Zack Ryder
Sheamo is now being billed as The Celtic Warrior, which might go some way towards explaining those beads in his beard. He Brogue kicks Ryder immediately, dead-panning “well that was easy” but not pinning him because he wants to show him some respect (in, like, a Godfather way). He goads the crowd for being unable to last two seconds with him in the ring as he doles out more punishment to the “deserving” Ryder until Ziggler shows up and hits the Zig Zag on him right as he’s going for the killer blow. The two are having a Kiss Me Arse match at Extreme Rules only Cole can’t say me because he doesn’t get jokes about people’s accents unless it’s spelled out to him (which, in this case, it fucking is).
Cena Invitational Masquerade Party: John Cena Vs. Kane
Cena cuts a ridiculously heel-ish promo to start, over-pronouncing words like “extreme” and “live”. But, if it’s not about the rules, John, then what is it about? Revenge, you say? Well it ain’t called Extreme Revenge now that’s for sure. That would be silly. If Kane is still the seed of Satan then why is he still wrestling in slacks? He gets the first shot in, respectably, considering he hasn’t a hope in hell of winning this. Indeed Cena wins it with the AA, solidifying his spot at the PPV as though it was ever in doubt. Rollins laughs as he watches the action backstage.
Winner: John Cena
Elsewhere, Renee is with Miz, who is calmly explaining to her that he’ll be fighting Mizdow for the rights to his branding, in a bit, all the while holding a copy of his own DVD, ensuring Summer Rae‘s face is obscured the entire time by his big fat hand. They get interrupted by the possibility of camera time with Cena (“Oh come on!”) and soon we’re with Byron, who is not at all disgusted by his interviewee’s sweatiness or sudden lapse back into face territory. Luckily, Rusev tackles him with a chain mid-speech and JBL is like “somebody stop him” but makes no moves to actually do so.
The Miz Vs. Damien Mizdow
Apparently something important happened on Smackdown, y’all. Go figure. Mizdow fights a good fight here, but this match belongs on a PPV, and in the end Summer shows her true colours when she rakes his eyes so Miz can steal the victory. Oh, and Bray Wyatt is still stranded in that super-smoky room, in case anyone was wondering.
Winner: The Miz
Ryback Vs. Adam Rose
They’re really selling Tough Enough to us tonight with great matches like that last one and this terrible squash, the most exciting part of which is when Ryback, after easily beating Rose, meathook clotheslines his hot dog (oo-er) and banana, shellshocks them both and then quips “It’s funny cos it’s food!” to no one in particular. It sure is, Ryback, it sure is.
Main Event: Seth Rollins Vs. Dolph Ziggler
There’s some more weird backstage stuff before this match kicks off, which sees Rollins apologise to Kane for no apparent reason while a super-smug Orton eavesdrops just outside the door. Otherwise, it’s great to see these two headlining and they put on a hell of match, especially considering every other bout this episode was pretty much garbage. This is the match Rollins weasled out of last week, but we know it’s not going to be a straight fight because, well, how could it be? On the outside, Mercury and Noble can’t take the stress of watching the boss, clutching their hearts and pacing back and forth pretty much constantly. They needn’t have worried, though, as Rollins takes the win after Sheamo interrupts to show Ziggler what he’ll be kissing on Sunday (hint: me arse) and he face-plants him. Rollins cuts a promo immediately after, while still out of breath – why do people continue to do that? – only for Trips to interrupt. So Rollins interrupts him and he goes all Mad Dad. Then Kane shows up again and Rollins demands for the cage to be lowered immediately, only to discover, in a wonderful, horror movie style reveal, that he’s been shut in there with Orton, who pulls him off the ropes into the RKO as he desperately tries to scramble out to safety.
Winner: Seth Rollins
It wasn’t the weirdest go-home show we’ve seen leading into a PPV but, then again, Extreme Rules is being offered for free to new subscribers of the Network so it stands to reason that it’s probably being treated as a really big, Special Event RAW than anything else. This episode faltered more than it soared, with Cole and Cena on particularly skin-crawling form while the majority of matches fell foul of too-short time allotments and bullshit non-angles. Why the fucking Reigns/Show thing had to be replayed so many times is anyone’s guess but suffice to say tonight’s episode began and ended with the biggest draw for Sunday; the Rollins/Orton feud. As long as they don’t mess that up, we might actually have at least one reason to tune in.