Tonight, we are officially on the “Road To WrestleMania!” No more Pay-Per-View stops in between now and April 6th!
As always, I have no idea what happened at Elimination Chamber last night – truly want to be surprise, and hopefully in a good way with Orton losing the championship. (I’m sorry, I really just don’t want to see Batista VS. Randy at WM30; honestly, I’d take any of the other five to win that bout and take on “The Animal!”)
Also, how did the war between The Wyatt Family and The Shield turn out? I’m going to guess unresolved, which is only a great thing because these two trios having been putting on an excellent program lately; let’s hope it continues!
Do we have new champions in The Usos and Jack Swagger, respectively for the Tag-Team Titles and Intercontinental Title?
For tonight’s Raw, we know for sure that one of the men who started it all is coming back – Hulk Hogan! We also know that he will play host (and I admit, appropriately) to WrestleMania XXX, but what will the man with the “24-Inch Pythons” have to say as he does make his return after just over six years? Not to be outdone, following another long sabbatical, The Undertaker is scheduled to walk the ramp and prepare for his annual WrestleMania showdown. The biggest intrigue – who will he face?
All this and much more, so read on for (hopefully) an exciting Raw!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for February 24th, 2014 – “The Road Begins”
Introduction Segment: Arena Promo
Right off the bat, the familiar tune of “Real American” blasts the speakers and out walks “Hulkamania!” Hulk Hogan makes his usual grand entrance to the delight of the crowd, and a standing Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield.
Boisterous “Hogan, Hogan, Hogan” chants ring out from the fans, then Hulk cuts into his promo. He talks about being “home,” and being a part of “something special” thirty years ago, WrestleMania. Hogan promotes the WWE Network (or “WWE Universe” as he first called it!). Hogan announces what we already know, that is the official host of WrestleMania XXX. As always, he closes with “Whatcha gonna do when Hulk Hogan and WrestleMania thirty run wild on you, brother?”
Cole, Lawler, and Layfield continue to plug the WWE Network, much like they have done over the last many weeks.
It is announced that Daniel Bryan (sans WWE World Heavyweight Championship) will take on Kane later tonight, while Batista will face Alberto Del Rio again. (Okay, so one down for the Elimination Chamber; please, please let another have one the match other than Orton!)
Match #1: Single – Alberto Del Rio VS. Batista
(Note: Well, Cole just spoiled it – “The Viper” unfortunately did retain.) Batista slugs away and kicks Del Rio in the corner, then whips him hard into the opposite corner. Alberto heads to the outside, but Batista follows and slams him against the barricade and ring apron, respectively.
Del Rio gets control and pounds away on the canvas, but Batista counters into a suplex, then clotheslines Alberto over the ropes. Del Rio cuts him off the apron again, then chucks Batista into the steel steps.
Alberto continues to stomp away on a downed Batista, then measures him for an attack, but Batista moves and Alberto flies through the ropes! Del Rio catches Batista and jawbreaks him with the top rope, but is punched atop the turnbuckle. Batista suplexes Alberto from the corner, and gives him fists again. He gets a near fall following an over-the-shoulder powerslam, but Del Rio gives him an armbreaker. Batista slams Alberto down gain with a spinebuster, but Randy Orton’s music hits. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion walks out, distracting Batista and allowing Del Rio to roll him up for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Alberto Del Rio
Post-match, Orton apologies for interjecting in his match. “You and I, we’ve had a lot of laughs. We go way back. But Del Rio beating you in that fashion just now, that’s one of the funniest thing’s I’ve ever seen. You know what else is funny, Dave? How the WWE Universe has reacted to your ‘triumphant’ return. Ya, see, I don’t know if you can sense it or not, but they don’t like you very much. They’ve been booing the hell out of you, Dave. And as a matter-of-fact, I wouldn’t doubt that even you’re sorry that you came back.” (Loud C.M. Punk chants come from the people.) Batista retorts, telling Orton he is wrong and “I love this business!” (That gets him even more boos.) “If they cheer me, I cheer them back, and if they boo me, I boo them back. It’s called being real. It’s called honesty.” Batista states that is only goal that matters is to “go to WrestleMania and beat the hell out of someone that I used to call my friend, who has somehow turned into a ‘whining, sniveling, kiss-ass, suck-up. Do you see this? You’re looking at the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Deal with it!”
Up next, Cesaro will face still-Intercontinental Champion Big E. (answers another question, and that one not entirely surprising.)
Match #2: Single – Intercontinental Champion Big E. VS. Cesaro (with Real Americans partners Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter) (Non-Title)
Lockup and side headlock by Big E., which Cesaro turns around into one of his own before getting shoulder-blocked off the ropes by Big E. Cesaro waistlock and slams Big E. down, but Big turns it around with another slam of his own. Cesaro fires back with quick knees and uppercuts. He runs off the ropes but is caught with a massive belly-to-belly suplex, followed by another one and a spearing shoulder-ram in the corner! 1 – 2 – Cesaro kicks out!
Big E. clamps on an armlock from behind, but Cesaro rises to his legs and punches him in the gut. They both run into each other, then Cesaro plants Big E. down with a big boot. He dives off the second rope but is caught in a backbreaker/fall-away slam position. Big E. knees him in the side three times and gets a two-count! Cesaro comes back and grounds the I.C. Champ with a side headlock, then catches a leap-frogging Big E. with a tilt-a-whirl slam!
Cesaro continues to wear down Big E. with an arm and headlock combo, but Big battles out with punches. Cesaro comes back with punches too, then runs off the ropes but is dropped with a Military Press Slam. Big E. runs at Cesaro but eats the post, with a resounding thud! Cesaro regains domination and wear him down with a grounding rear chinlock. Big E. tries a tilt-a-whirl slam of his own, but Cesaro slides out of it and plants Big with a powerslam. He hits a gutwrench suplex too and almost takes this one! They engage in a slugfest, then Cesaro grapples him with a sleeper. The I.C. Champion tosses Cesaro out of it and clotheslines him a couple times, then runs the ropes and splashes Cesaro for a near fall!
Big E. pulls the straps down and goes for the Big Ending, but Cesaro slides out of it and nails a huge uppercut! 1 – 2 – Big E. kicks out! Cesaro signals (to the delight of the fans) for the Cesaro Swing. He sweeps up Big E. but the Champ shoves him off. Big E. slams him down out of the corner, but Cesaro kicks out! On the outside, Swagger tries a cheap shot, but Big E. counters and clotheslines him down.
In the ring, Cesaro rotates Big E. around 9 or 10 times with the Cesaro Swing, and as he wants to go for the finish, Jack comes in and clamps on the Patriot Ankle Lock for the dq.
Winner via Disqualification: Intercontinental Champion Big E.
Post-match, Swagger, Cesaro, and Colter have words until Big E. attacks Swagger. Cesaro gets involved and drives Big E. down with The Neutralizer.
Segment #2: Recap
Photos from Elimination Chamber show the Elimination Chamber Match, with The Wyatt Family costing John Cena the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Up next, Cena will talk about The Wyatt Family.
Segment #3: Arena Promo
John Cena runs out to an ovation, then puts over Hulk Hogan and the WWE Network. He then focuses on himself and the “future of this business.” He repeats his statement that all the newcomers must go through him. Cena turns his attention to The Wyatt Family, in particular Bray. “Mr. Wyatt, are you a one-trick pony, or would you like to make a bold move, right here, right now?” Cena takes his cap and shirt off, indicating the physical challenge.
The lights go out and Bray appears with his lamp. “Green Bay, we’re here.” The Wyatt Family saunters out to the ring and Bray sits in his rocking chair. “This world has an infection, and the virus is the human race.” “Through all these troubling times John, it makes all the sense in the world that you would paint yourself in the middle. I mean, after all, what would the world be without its hero? What would the world be without its ‘knight in shining armour to save the day? People like you John, you’re hollow. You’re full of empty promises. You promised to save these people. You promised to keep them safe. You tell them that ‘everything will be alright’ just as long as you’re around. Liar, you’re a liar, you are a LIAR, JOHN CENA! This is a terrible world. A cold, cold dark and lonely pace. You stand for these delusions. But I stand for everything that is real. Now you say ‘the future has got to come through you first?’ And I couldn’t agree more, John. Please excuse me. Allow me to properly introduce myself. My name is Bray Wyatt. We are the reapers that bring death to this era of lies.”
As Luke Harper and Erik Rowan surround the sides of the ring, Cena tells Bray “it’s go time, jack!” Cena begins to battle, but the three-on-one is too much. They stomp down John (who appears to be injured on his left leg/ankle.) a couple times, then leave the ring, seeming to make their point. Rowan runs back in, allowing Bray to sneak up and run over Cena with a block. Bray falls to his knees and glares intently, yelling out “follow the buzzards.”
Replays of The Wyatt Family’s assault on Cena is shown, along with Cena being taken away from the arena via a stretcher during the break.
Match #3: Single – Christian VS. Sheamus
Sheamus shoves Christian into the corner to begin. An elbow/collar tie-up starts again, then Christian comes back with some hard slaps. Sheamus gears up and hammers away on Christian in the corner, then nails him in the back with knees. Christian sweeps up Sheamus and pulls him to the post, but Sheamus retaliates by yanking his legs forward and Christian into the ring post.
Sheamus has him against the ropes and delivers a couple forearms before Christian jawbreaks him with those ropes. Sheamus backdrops Christian to the floor, then follows up with the Battering Ram shoulderblock!
Christian whips Sheamus into the steel steps and gets a two-count back in the ring. Christian violently fists Sheamus in the gut, then yells “I should be the champion!” Christian slows Sheamus down with a waistlock and an abdominal stretch. Christian hops over the ropes and nails Sheamus with an uppercut slap, but misses a diving crossbody from the top!
Sheamus carries and slams Christian into the corner, then hits him with a couple stiff axe-handles. He pounds away again, ten times, with forearms against the ropes, then slingshots in the ring with the Battering Ram shoulderblock again! Christian goes to the top again, but is yanked off and Sheamus locks in the Irish Cloverleaf submission. Christian manages to get the ropes for a break, then kicks away. He goes for the Killswitch, but Sheamus counters into White Noise. Christian wiggles out into a sunset flip for two, then gets turned around with an over-the-shoulder powerslam!
Christian attempts a dive from the middle rope, but Sheamus counters with a Brogue Kick and the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Sheamus
Segment #4: Video Recap
Footage from the garage, where Triple H and Stephanie McMahon arrive airs. A furious Daniel Bryan runs up and accuses The Authority of always “screwing” him out of the title. He then challenges “The Game” to a fight at WrestleMania, to which HHH responds “I’m going to try to find you a spot on the card, hopefully you’ll make it.”
Segment #5: Video Promo
WWE’s celebration of Black History Month continues with a look at Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas’ careers.
Segment #6: Backstage Promo
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are questioning their partner Dean Ambrose on last night. The United States Champion says he has repeated himself many times already, and walks off. In walks The Wyatt Family, and Roman challenges only Bray to a match. “You leave ‘The Family’ behind, I’ll leave ‘The Hounds’ behind.” “You are an interesting creature,” Bray replies. “I accept.”
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Josh Matthews is with Hall Of Famers and former World Champions Booker T. and Ric Flair. They are in a part of the arena (much like the way NASCAR commentators have their booth setup live at the race), and plug the show so far. (Pretty pointless!)
Daniel Bryan makes his entrance and he will take on his former friend and tag-team partner, Kane, next!
Match #4: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. The Director Of Operations Kane
Kane dominates early, then Bryan comes back with quick kicks and pulls at his left leg. Bryan chops Kane’s left leg a couple times, then locks in a half-crab submission. Kane reaches to the ropes for a break, then yanks Bryan’s arms on the ropes. Kane controls again, working over Daniel’s left arm, which is the one that is bandaged up. Bryan counters but is thrown to the outside and into the steel steps.
Kane still dominates and focuses on Bryan’s arm. The wraps are almost off, exposing the vulnerability of the appendage. Bryan comes back with some kicks, but is caught off the ropes and sidewalk-slammed! Kane ascends the turnbuckles, but is crotched and kicked at again. He sends Kane flying with a hurricanrana and gets a close call!
Bryan sends Kane to the outside and follows up with a suicide dive, then charges at Kane with a running knee against the barricade! Bryan hits a missile dropkick from the top rope, then nails a kick-to-the-head to get two! Bryan soars from the top with a headbutt, but Kane literately catches him with a chokeslam! 1 – 2 – Bryan puts the shoulder up!
Daniel tries to tie Kane up in the Yes Lock, but Kane counters again with a chokeslam attempt. Bryan reverses into another Yes Lock attempt, but Kane shoves him off. Bryan ducks a clothesline and runs at Kane, hitting him in the head with his knee! 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Daniel Bryan
Post-match, Bryan takes the microphone to “make on thing clear: Triple H is COWARD!” Bryan says so because “I challenged him to a match at WrestleMania, and he hid behind his wife’s skirt.” The fans erupt in “yes” chants and taunts, and orders Triple H to “give these people what they want to see at WrestleMania – Triple H VS. Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania thirty.”
Up next, Summer Rae will make a rare wrestling match appearance!
It is announced that Batista will unleash his thoughts on the fans this week on Smackdown!
Segment #8: Video Promo
The same Alexander Rusev promo from last week re-airs.
Match #5: Single – Summer Rae (with Fandango) VS. Emma (with Santino Marella)
Summer rolls through and smashes Emma’s head against the mat repeatedly. Rae whips Emma into the corner, but Emma headbutts her in the gut and slides under with a sunset flip for two. Rae catches Emma out of the corner with a spin kick and takes control. Emma counters a couple more kicks with her “Emmalock,” (Deathlock) for the tap-out!
Winner via Submission: Emma (with Santino Marella)
Up next, another Elimination Chamber rematch will ensue, as The Usos face The New Age Outlaws
Match #6: Tag-Team – The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) VS. The New Age Outlaws (“Road Dogg” Jesse James and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn) (Tag-Team Champions) (Non-Title)
Just as “Road Dogg” finished The Outlaws usual self-introduction, The Usos hit him from behind and soar off the top rope with the Superfly Splash for the W!
Winners via Pinfall: The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Roman Reigns makes his entrance, all alone.
Match #7: Single – Roman Reigns VS. Bray Wyatt
The two circle and sneer at each other, before they both take shots. They lockup and struggle into the corner, then Bray kicks and headbutts Reigns down. Both slug it out again, then Bray wipes Reigns’ face across the top rope. Roman clotheslines Bray hard on the outside for a break.
Bray now back in control, scoop-slamming Reigns and running at him with a grounded senton splash. He stomps on Roman then drops a headbutt. Bray pushes Roman’s head against the middle rope, but Reigns comes back with a few fists. Wyatt suplexes Roman for two. Reigns rises out of a grounding rear chinlock, and they both run the ropes, with Bray getting the best of it with a self-crossbody block! 1 – 2 – Reigns kicks out! Wyatt splashes Reigns in the corner once, but misses the second time. Roman double-boots Bray out of the corner, then leaps at him with a clothesline! Bray is set up against the bottom rope, allowing Reigns to nail a running-front dropkick from the outside! Reigns gears up for the Superman Punch, but The Wyatt’s video plays and Harper and Rowan appear suddenly! Rollins does the same and flips over the ropes on to Harper and Rowan. Ambrose helps out and all three brawl again; after Ambrose attacks Bray, the referee calls for the dq.
Winner via Disqualification: Roman Reigns
Segment #9: Backstage Promo
Paul Heyman is with his client. He asks Brock Lesnar to act “professional” and not “tear anything up out there. The ring is that way!”
Segment #10: Arena Promo
“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Hyeman. And I stand before you tonight as the advocate for the obvious #1 Contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the man that should be main-eventing WrestleMania. ‘The Beast Incarnate,’ Brock Lesnar!” Heyman reveals that instead of a celebration tonight, Lesnar is in a bad mood because The Authority has let Lesnar name his opponent for Wrestlemania XXX. Paul E. calls this a “consolation prize,” as “you can have anything you want but the thing you want the most.” Heyman recounts Lesnar’s historic career and all he has “conquered.” “This open contract doesn’t mean a thing to Brock Lesnar.” Heyman declines the Open Contract Offering on behalf of Lesnar, and orders The Authority to give Lesnar “history.”
History is given, as the lights dim and the all-too familiar sound of a gong tolls! The Undertaker makes his return and walks down the ramp, complete with new attire and beard (like 1999, way more evil-looking). He stares down “The Beast Incarnate,” then looks up at the WrestleMania XXX sign. Lesnar jaws at him, then signs the contract. He puts the pen on ‘Taker’s chest, and “The Deadman” grabs it from him. He then stabs Lesnar in the hand with the pen against the table, then chokeslams him through the structure! Heyman looks on stunned, as the crowd chants “Holy ****!” ‘Taker poses and exits to a shocked and pleased Green Bay, closing the show!
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
I thought this was a pretty good Raw. They definitely started the build to WrestleMania very, very well. Onto my analysis:
Excellence: Randy Orton – yes, I know I’ve been harping on the WWE World Heavyweight Champion – but after tonight, I was pleasantly surprised with his mike work. It looks like he and Batista are going to do the face/heel switcheroo and maybe this will ignite a little spark into their feud. I still hope that this is NOT the main-event of WrestleMania, because I believe that the match itself will be pretty boring and a bad way to close out the “Grand Daddy Of ‘Em All,” but at least I’m a little more interested where this will go now, and how they will handle the fans’ reactions.
Cesaro/Big E. was a fantastic bout, and yes, I see the inevitable Triple-Threat for the I.C. Title at WrestleMania between them and Swagger. This is great for a few reasons: it puts the I.C. Championship way back into prominence, especially on the biggest show of the year, it helps get Swagger a little noticed again, and Cesaro/Langston have great chemistry as proven tonight, so they can carry the Triple Threat to an awesome contest! Same with Sheamus/Christian, just as a one-on-one!
Daniel Bryan continuing the roll he has been on and fighting for what he wants. His potential (and probably) match with Triple H will be a great and makes even more sense than the previously-planned C.M. Punk VS. Triple H.
Liked The Usos/New Age Outlaws. They can continue this feud until WrestleMania, where The Usos need the “feel good moment” of winning the Tag Titles.
Loved Bray Wyatt’s promo against John Cena and his match with Roman Reigns. Both had great chemistry and neither trio can still do nothing wrong.
Even though it became very predictable as the show went on, the return of The Undertaker was executed beautifully! Man, did he look evil! I vote for this match or Bryan/HHH to be the main-event of ‘Mania.
Bogus: The kick-off. While Hogan himself was good, and so was his reception, I just “didn’t feel it” as much as if they’d hype him through the show. Kind of a flat start. Why have a pay-per-view if you’re going to give rematches the very next night? Where were Goldust and Cody Rhodes, and Dolph Ziggler? I’m worried for Christian, that he’s not going to be of prominence for WrestleMania XXX. He definitely deserves to be for all he has put into his career for the WWE and the fans!
The whole Josh Matthews panel with Flair and Booker was a complete waste of time. It was way too obvious of how scripted that was! While Bray can hold his own, I’m not sure about his WrestleMania-looking-like feud with John Cena. Seems like the same-old-same-old with Cena. Hopefully Cena steps it up, and Bray can carry this one to make it interesting.
A solid start to be “on the road” to WrestleMania! Until next week, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online readers and wrestling fans!