4/14 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Ultimate Warrior tribute, eight-man tournament to become No. 1 contender to the Intercontinental Title begins

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4/14 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Ultimate Warrior tribute, eight-man tournament to become No. 1 contender to the Intercontinental Title begins
2014-04-14 19:00:24

By Jason Powell

Prowrestling.net Live airs tonight at 10:30 p.m. CT (11:30 p.m. ET) and your phone calls are welcome for the free audio show. Join hosts Jason Powell and Jake Barnett tonight after Raw at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Birmingham, Alabama at BJCC

[Q1] Michael Cole acknowledged the death of Ultimate Warrior to start the show. The wrestlers were standing on the stage, and Cole set up a video package. The Warrior video featured comments from Hulk Hogan and Stephanie McMahon. It showed footage from Warrior's career and his WWE Hall of Fame speech, including the now heartbreaking footage of Warrior addressing his daughters. It concluded with Warrior on Raw telling viewers that the spirit of Ultimate Warrior would run forever...

Vince McMahon was front and center on the stage along with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and the wrestlers. Warrior was given a ten-bell salute. The wrestlers were wearing Warrior face-paint t-shirts. Jerry Lawler welcomed viewers to join them as they celebrate the life of the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior's theme song played and the fans and wrestler applauded. The wrestlers led a "Warrior" chant from the stage...

Powell's POV: A classy tribute from WWE. The video package was top notch and the fans in the building were very respectful. You could have heard a pin drop during the ten bell salute.

Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in from the commentary desk and said they would continue to celebrate the memory of Ultimate Warrior throughout the show. They also hyped The Uso Brothers vs. Randy Orton and Batista, and questioned whether The Authority would strike back at The Shield... [C] Cole said there were 12,172 fans in attendance...

1. Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio in a first-round tournament match. The winner of the match faces the winner of Cesaro vs. Mark Henry in the second round of the tournament to determine the No. 1 contender to the Intercontinental Title. Big E was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Van Dam missed a flip off the ring apron, but landed on his feet on the floor. Del Rio caught him with a clothesline.

[Q2] Del Rio ran RVD into the ring steps heading into the break. [C] After some back and forth action, RVD went up top only to be cut off by Del Rio, who then caught him with a kick that resulted in a two count. Later, RVD tripped up Del Rio and then followed up with a Five Star Frogsplash for the win...

Rob Van Dam defeated Alberto Del Rio in 10:35 to advance to the second round of the tournament.

Powell's POV: A good match that got the tournament off to a nice start. This might be the closest we get to a King of the Ring tournament this year, so enjoy it even though it's merely for a shot at a secondary title. I'm all for elevating the Intercontinental Championship so hopefully this tournament and the Big E title defense at Extreme Rules will do just that.

A video package focussed on the end of last week's Raw involving Daniel Bryan, The Shield, Triple H, Kane, Randy Orton, and Batista... Backstage, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were talking when Randy Orton and Batista entered the room. The Authority shook hands with both men... The broadcast team speculated what the foursome were talking about... Cole set up footage from SummerSlam 1988 of Ultimate Warrior beating Honky Tonk Man to win the Intercontinental Title...

[Q3] [C] Backstage, Triple H tried to rally the troops as Stephanie McMahon stood by. He said no one can stop them when they are united. Batista said that's great, but he just wants to be champion. Orton agreed with Batista and they walked off. Stephanie told Hunter that she has an idea...

2. Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel. Cody started the match, but tagged in Goldust, who was worked over by the heels. Lawler acknowledged the marriage of Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella, and said they were on their honeymoon. Goldust eventually tagged in Cody, who knocked Ryback to the floor and then performed a nice dive off the ropes onto him on the floor.

Later, Rhodes hit the Disaster Kick on Axel. He went for the same move on legal man Ryback, who instead caught him with a great clothesline and pinned him...

Ryback and Curtis Axel defeated Goldust and Cody Rhodes in 5:40.

Powell's POV: A surprising result. I don't know if it's a sign that they are pushing Ryback and Curtis Axel or another sign that Goldust and Cody have fallen out of favor. It's worth mentioning again that Ryback did state over WrestleMania weekend that there will be a return to his "Feed Me More" persona at some point.

The broadcast team pimped the WWE Network free one-week trial and hyped that viewers could relive WrestleMania and that weekend. They also hyped the debut of Legends' House...

[Q4] [C] A new Bo Dallas vignette aired. It was the same basic concept as last week... Highlights aired from last week of Paige beating A.J. Lee to win the Divas Championship...

3. WWE Divas Champion Paige vs. Alicia Fox in a non-title match. Alicia dominated the early action as the announcers compared Paige's jump from NXT to going from college to the pros. Paige came back with a few short-arm clotheslines and a dropkick. Paige applied a leg lock and then hooked the arms, which Cole called a "modified scorpion cross lock."

Paige defeated Alicia Fox in 3:30.

The announcers spoke about Paige, Alexander Rusev, and mentioned that Bo Dallas was trending on Twitter... [C]

Powell's POV: The crowd was pretty quiet throughout the match, but it seemed like they were actually watching and waiting to cheer unlike most of the Diva matches. They definitely responded to the impressive finishing hold. Is that the first time they've mentioned something involving the Scorpion leg lock on television? That should get some of the obsessive Sting fans fired up.

A graphic touted that Raw as the No. 1 show on cable last Monday... The Uso Brothers made their entrance for their match against Batista and Randy Orton...

[Q5] 4. WWE Tag Team Champions The Uso Brothers vs. Randy Orton and Batista in a non-title match. Lawler pointed out that they were wearing Warrior's face paint (in their usual half-face style). The Uso's went after Batista and Orton aggressively. The crowd quieted down once the heels went on the offensive and didn't perk up until Batista performed a spear. They fought to ringside and The Shield ran out and attacked Orton and Batista. No winner was announced...

Randy Orton and Batista fought The Uso Brothers to an apparent no-contest when The Shield interfered in 4:10.

Cole hyped Mark Henry vs. Cesaro in a tournament match for after the break... An "Ultimate Moments" clip showed Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6... [C]

Powell's POV: I really like the idea of The Uso Brothers looking for revenge after the beating they took from Orton and Batista last week. However, viewers need to hear about it from them. There's only so much of a connection the fans will make with the tag champs if they don't get to establish their personalities. And perhaps they did this on the WWE app, but it's not like WWE is even pushing the second screen gimmick anymore.

Backstage, Randy Orton and Batista were upset when they were approached by Triple H and Stephanie. Triple H shook his head and said, "Told you"...

Paul Heyman walked onto the stage and said he is the "advocate for the conquerer of The Streak, Brock Lesnar." Heyman said people think he will drive that point home until hell freezes over. He said repeatedly that his client Brock Lesnar conquered The Streak. Heyman spoke as still shots aired of Lesnar beating Taker at WrestleMania 30.

[Q6] Heyman said that when Lesnar's advocate speaks, everyone should listen, especially when he anoints someone to be the next top tier talent in WWE. Heyman introduced Cesaro, who walked out and shook his hand on the stage. They headed to the ring without entrance music...

5. Cesaro (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Mark Henry in a first-round tournament match. JBL and Lawler wished Cesaro luck when it came to swinging Henry. Cesaro sold for Henry, but ended up throwing European uppercuts in the corner. Henry came back with a clothesline, but then fell to one knee and looked woozy as he tried to stand up. Cesaro came back a short time later with a flying uppercut and won with The Neutralizer...

Cesaro defeated Mark Henry in 4:10 to advance to the second round of the tournament.

The WWE "thank you fans" video aired... [C]

Powell's POV: WWE is still passing out the Cesaro Section signs and showing them on television, so I'm still not sure what they want fans to think of Cesaro when it comes to being a babyface or a heel. The lack of music makes for a unique entrance, but I'm not sold on the approach yet. It's been years since Henry's character seemed this vulnerable.

Backstage, Triple H and Stephanie told Brad Maddox to tell The Shield that they would be in the main event. Maddox asked if he should tell them who their opponents are. Hunter said no. "I think he's got it," Stephanie said after Maddox walked away...

Lana delivered her promo on the stage in Russian and English. She got the "What?" treatment and then introduced Alexander Rusev...

[Q7] 6. Alexander Rusev vs. Xavier Woods. Rusev dominated the match and won with The Accolade. R-Truth ran in afterward and went after Rusev. Lana gave Rusev the order and he caught Truth with a kick...

Alexander Rusev defeated Xavier Woods in 0:45.

Cole hyped the upcoming tournament matches as the brackets were shown... [C]

Powell's POV: Geez, R-Truth is a poor sport. Okay, so Rusev held the hold a little longer than he needed to. By the way, I could have done without Lawler mocking Rusev for how high he pulls up his tights. I hope that's a case of Lawler trying to be cute rather than something Vince McMahon is feeding him through the headsets.

A Warrior moment was shown from SummerSlam 1990. Warrior beat Rick Rude in a cage match. Cole hyped Warrior Week for WWE Network, then Lawler pushed the one week trial... A commercial aired for the WrestleMania week documentary on Daniel Bryan that debuted on the network last week...

7. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Sheamus in a first-round tournament match. Lawler said there were 31 men in the Andre battle royal. He credited Paul Heyman for getting Cesaro into the match as entrant No. 31. Swagger caught Sheamus jumping off the ring apron and then slammed him to the floor. Wicked slam. Big E was shown watching the match on a monitor.

Swagger remained on the offensive for the next couple minutes in the ring until Sheamus caught him with a clothesline. Sheamus caught Swagger with an awkward running knee in the corner and then performed his signature offense.

[Q8] Later, Swagger applied the ankle lock, but Sheamus broke free. Swagger shoulder blocked Sheamus to the floor. Swagger followed and ended up throwing him back inside the ring. Swagger charged back inside the ring and ended up eating a Brogue Kick. Sheamus will face the winner of Dolph Ziggler and Bad News Barrett. Sheamus sold the ankle after the match by limping and falling to the floor for a moment...

Sheamus defeated Jack Swagger in 6:55 to advance in the tournament.

An Adam Rose vignette aired... [C]

Powell's POV: Sheamus vs. Swagger wasn't bad. It just wasn't as good as I expected it to be. Meanwhile, the Rose vignette was the same one that aired last week.

A commercial aired for Warrior Week on WWE Network...

Damien Sandow stood in the ring and said that regardless of how the fan or wrestlers feel about him, he is the most deserving person in WWE. Big Show's music interrupted him. Sandow kept talking. He said they could send out whoever they want, he's not going to be silenced. Show made his usual entrance and then stood in the corner while Sandow spoke.

Sandow told how that if he had anything to say, this would be the perfect time to keep it to himself because he's not finished. Sandow asked if the fans were going to boo him and cheer "this." He said the fans should be begging to touch him whenever he walks to the ring "because I deserve it, because I have earned it."

Sandow turned to Show and asked "What about you?" Sandow held the mic out and Show said nothing. "Exactly what I thought," Sandow said. "I deserve it and there's no one who can say that I do not deserve it," Sandow said. He poked Show's chest while saying he knows he's telling the truth. He said Show sees a future champion and greatness. Show blasted Sandow with the KO punch...

The Wyatt Family sounder played. Luke Harper whistled while Erick Rowan stood by. Bray Wyatt stuck his head into the picture and said, "We're next"... [C]

Powell's POV: A good routine from Sandow. He agitated the fans with his mic work to the point that they wanted to see him get punched. Simple yet effective. That meant more to agitated fans than Show punching out Sandow in a throw away match would have.

[Q9] Big Show vs. Jack Swagger was announced for the Main Event Live television show on Tuesday... The Wyatt Family city specific intro video aired...

The Wyatt Family made their entrance. Bray Wyatt cut a promo while Harper and Rowan stood behind them. He said he is different. Where you see a blank canvas, he sees a beautiful painting. You hear sirens, he hears a great symphony. Wyatt said he has "never once lied to you." He said "we all know who has."

Wyatt said John Cena has made a career out of lying to the fans. "He is no man, he is beat," he said. Wyatt knelt down and told the kids he's not going to let him do it to them anymore. He said he has Cena up against the ropes, on the edge, and all he needs is that last little push. Wyatt said Abigail will be his sword through the crusade. Wyatt said he just wanted to come out and play. "How about it, John," he said. "I know you're back there."

John Cena's entrance music played and he walked onto the stage with a mic in hand. "Come out and play, what a great idea, Bray," he said. "But the last thing I need right now is another push, nobody wants to see that." Cena asked "why so serious?" He said Wyatt tried to bring the monster out of him, but it doesn't exist.

Cena said he wanted to try something different and have some fun. He said he doesn't judge anyone, but he looks at the Wyatt Family and believes they would be the life of the party if he could just get them to happy hour. Cena asked whether Sister Abigail is real or not.

Cena said he found Sister Abigail on Myspace. An image appared on the big screen of Bray Wyatt in a woman's outfit. Cena repeated the bit for Bray Wyatt's mother, only this time it was Luke Harper's head on a woman's body. Finally, the baby girl of the Wyatt Family was shown. It was Erick Rowan's head on a baby's body.

Wyatt said that anytime there's a serious threat in Cena's face, the only thing he knows how to do is make jokes about it. "So, you want serious," Cena said in a serious voice. "Fine. You should know I can get as serious as anyone." Cena said that Wyatt found out at WrestleMania that when he gets serious, Bray Wyatt gets beat.

Cena said the tables are turned. He asked what happens if Wyatt is beat again. He said Wyatt is a desperate man. Cena said Wyatt talks every week, but without his family he proves that he can't back up what he says. Cena said Wyatt would face him inside a cage match at Extreme Rules. Wyatt laughed and said, "Oh, I like that."

Wyatt said they have been playing catch with knives and one of them is going to get stuck. "It's going to get really bad, John," he said. He questioned how Cena could be 100 percent sure it won't be him. Wyatt got intense and said this is his world and it belongs to him. He knelt down and sang, "He's got the whole world in his hands" while some fans sang along...

Cole hyped The Shield vs. mystery opponents for the main event... [C]

Powell's POV: The funniest line that Cena delivered was his initial one about the push. Everything after that was corny. It must appeal to someone out there, but it really makes me cringe. Fortunately, Wyatt is strong enough to not only save face but to actually shine despite Cena's silliness. I assume the cage match gives Wyatt an escape win without Cena actually losing. It does feel a bit TNA-like in that Cena should have simply asked for a match where Harper and Rowan were banned from ringside. However, doing so probably would have left viewers wondering if Sister Abigail was going to debut and help Wyatt.

[Q10] 8. Fandango and Layla vs. Santino Marella and Emma. The announcers noted that Fandango dumped Summer over Twitter. Footage aired of Fandango saying "it's not me, it's you" regarding Summer. In the end, Layla pulled Emma off the second rope and pinned her...

Fandango and Layla defeated Santino Marella and Emma in 1:40.

Powell's POV: It might develop eventually, but I didn't feel like there was any chemistry between Fandango and Layla right out of the gate.

Backstage, Stephanie McMahon scolded Kane for letting his emotions get in the way last week. She said she and Hunter thought they hired a man with no moral code. She said Kane failed three different times when he faced Daniel Bryan. She got wicked as she told him that he's a failure and it's what he used to be. "What happened?" she asked. "What happened to the Devil's favorite demon? What happened to Kane?"

Kane stood up from his chair and Stephanie backed up. An intense Kane glared at her, then turned his attention to the Kane mask and hair inside the glass case. He took the case off and began stroking the hair, then picked up the mask. "I am going to eviscerate Daniel Bryan and send him to the depths of hell," he told Stephanie. On commentary, Lawler asked what has Stephanie done... [C]

Powell's POV: A reboot for Kane. I thought they might save that for when he turns babyface, but I like the idea of giving him a boost heading into a program with Daniel Bryan and/or The Shield.

Another Bo Dallas vignette aired... The announcers hyped Warrior Week for WWE Network... Footage aired of Warrior's appearance on last week's Raw...

[Q11] Dolph Ziggler made his entrance... [C] An Adam Rose vignette aired. He was playing "hungry, hungry hippos" with the person in the bunny suit and had to cheer him up after he lost...

9. Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler in a first round tournament match. The winner faces Sheamus in the second round. Ziggler threw a nice dropkick early. They went to ringside and Barrett sent Ziggler into the ring post heading into the break. [C]

[Q12] Later, Barrett went for a pump handle slam, but Ziggler avoided it and came back with the Fameasser for a two count. Ziggler caught Barrett on the ropes, but Barrett avoided his superplex attempt. Barrett knocked Ziggler down. Dolph popped up and performed a top rope facebuster for a two count. Dolph went for the Zig Zag, but Barrett held onto the ropes.

Barrett hit a swinging slam for a two count. Barrett went for the Bull Hammer, but Ziggler avoided it and rolled him up. Barrett hit the move moments later for the win. After the match, Barrett said to mark his words, he is the next IC Champion...

Bad News Barrett beat Dolph Ziggler in 12:15 to advance to the second round of the tournament.

Powell's POV: A good match with good near falls that would have been great if I thought for a second that Ziggler was actually going to win. It's just hard to get caught up in the moment when the winner would face a babyface, and Ziggler has been treated like a scrub for months. If recent history is any indication, then Barrett will win because heels only seem to speak the truth.

Cole reminded viewers that Daniel Bryan is on his honeymoon, but he will return next week and will have to face "this..." A masked Kane video aired... Lawler hyped The Shield vs. mystery opponents for after the break... [C]

A graphic boasted that Smackdown was the No. 1 show on cable on Friday... Cole announced Batista vs. Sheamus as the main event for Friday's Smackdown television show...

The Shield made their entrance. Eleven heels were introduced as their opponents...

[Overrun] 10. The Shield vs. Alexander Rusev, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, Titus O'Neil, Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Fandango, Bad News Barrett in a handicap match. After a few minutes of throwaway action, Reigns speared Ryback on the floor. The heels went after Reigns and the referee called for the bell.

The Shield fought Alexander Rusev, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, Titus O'Neil, Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Fandango, Bad News Barrett to an apparent no contest in 3:15.

Dean Ambrose dove onto the heels, then Seth Rollins did the same. The Shield headed back to the ring and the heels followed. The heels got the better of The Shield members and put the boots to them.

The Evolution theme music played. Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista walked onto the stage together. "The band is back together," JBL said. Hunter took off his suit jacket and tie and they all walked to the ring together. Hunter motioned for the eleven heels to clear the ring, and they obliged.

Evolution entered the ring and attacked The Shield. Reigns showed some fight, but Orton put him down with an RKO. Batista performed a Batista Bomb on Reigns. They continued the attack and then looked to the crowd and got some boos. Triple H got a mic and said, "Believe in Evolution." Hunter performed the Pedigree on Reigns...

Powell's POV: The live crowd was pretty flat for this. I thought Evolution was overrated as a faction in that people look back and think the names are so huge that it must have been great. Still, they mean something today and I'm surprised the reaction was so flat for their reunion and even more surprised that the beatdown of The Shield didn't generate heat.

Overall, it was a solid episode of Raw. WWE did a great job with the Ultimate Warrior tribute at the beginning of the show and the video tributes throughout the night were good as well. I like the tournament even though the winner's prize feels like something that's normally just handed out randomly. I guess you have to start somewhere. I will have more to say about the show on Prowrestling.net Live shorty, and in Tuesday's WWE Raw Hit List. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.




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