WWE introduced a number one contender tournament for the Intercontinental Championship during last night’s Raw and held the four first round matches on the show. Rob Van Dam defeated Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro neutralized Mark Henry, Sheamus took down Jack Swagger, and Wade Barrett bullhammered Dolph Ziggler to advance.
The tournament will be stretched out over a few weeks, with the winner ultimately challenging Big E for the title, presumably at the Extreme Rules special event. I love that they’re not hotshotting the tourney and letting it play out a few weeks, giving the tournament and the title some more meaning.
The next round will see Rob Van Dam face Cesaro, while Wade Barrett will battle Sheamus.
After a few weeks of teasing, Evolution is no longer a mystery as Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton are back on the same page. After a beatdown following an 11-on-3 match that pitted all the midcard heels against The Shield, that familiar Motorhead theme blared and out came Evolution. After continuing the beatdown of Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose, Triple H grabbed the mic and uttered the excellent line, “Believe… in Evolution.”
Seems like that rumored Shield v. Evolution six-man tag at Extreme Rules is happening.
TNA once again loosely borrowed a page from WWE’s book on last night’s Impact Wrestling, with Eric Young winning a gauntlet match in the opener to earn a World Title shot later in the night, where he would go on to defeat Magnus to win the belt.
The night also saw the return of Dixie Carter in her “Triple H heel authority figure” role, with Bully Ray playing the role of Daniel Bryan, telling her that it’s all about what he fans want, not what she wants.
Less than a full day after his appearance on Raw, which followed his Hall of Fame induction and an appearance at WrestleMania 30, the Ultimate Warrior passed away Tuesday at the age of 54.
The shocking news was first revealed by Triple H, who tweeted, “Saddened to announce the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Icon and friend. My sympathy to his wife Dana and his daughters.” WWE followed up with a confirmation of the news. TMZ is reporting that Warrior collapsed outside an Arizona hotel while walking to his car with his wife.
After decades away from WWE, Warrior and the company had finally reconciled, leading to his Hall of Fame induction. During the ceremony, Warrior announced he had also signed a multi-year deal to be an ambassador for the company. His appearance on Monday’s Raw, in which he donned an Ultimate Warrior facepaint mask and cut a promo, was his first on the show in 20 years and, sadly, would be his last public appearance.
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Pardon me while I gush, but Paul Heyman is so amazing. Earlier in the night he was loudly booed during his incredible promo about Brock Lesnar breaking Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. Then, when Cesaro tells Zeb Colter that he’s not a “Zeb Colter Guy” after all but he’s a “Paul Heyman Guy,” Heyman gets a huge babyface pop.
The reality era is in full effect.
NXT fan favorite Paige debuted on Raw last night, interrupting AJ Lee’s promo and earning an impromptu Divas Championship match. Paige won after countering the Black Widow finisher into the (poorly executed but that’s okay) Paige Turner. It was a cool moment in a night filled with them, and another indication that the emphasis on new talent is continuing in the WWE.
Last night’s Raw definitely felt like the beginning of a new era, with a strong influx of NXT talent appearing on the show. WWE also teased the “big league” call-ups of Adam Rose and Bo Dallas. Vignettes are underutilized in WWE and it’s nice to see them coming back into fashion.