13 days, less than two weeks away from Wrestlemania XXX! There is a lot on the cards for the big show, as well as Raw tonight.
First off, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will come face-to-face again to hype up their showdown. Who will gain the advantage after tonight?
The Tag-Team Title scene is getting a little clearer – following Smackdown, both The Real Americans and Rybaxel have been given a championship match, but is that on Raw or booked for ‘Mania?
Many superstars have been entered into the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale – who will be added next? Same goes with the Hall-Of-Fame; it is a star-studded class so far, so who will be the final one or two inductees?
John Cena scored a win over Wyatt Family member Luke Harper on Smackdown; does he get a shot at Erik Rowan prior to his fight with Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania? How will Bray respond to his follower succumbing to Cena?
Lastly, both The Shield and Daniel Bryan suffered venomous beat downs from The Authority and New Age Outlaws. What will they do to battle back and not be pushed around again? Will The Shield be facing Kane and the N.A.O. at Wrestlemania? What is Bryan’s response to the new stipulation in his match with “The Game” at ‘Mania?
All this and much more, so read on!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for March 24th, 2014 – “Intimidation Rules”
Introduction Segment: Video Recap
A montage of Daniel Bryan’s struggles against Triple H, from Summerslam until last week, begins the show.
Segment #2: Arena Promo
Justin Roberts asks the fans to welcome “one of the principal owners of the WWE,” Stephanie McMahon. The “Billion Dollar Princess” struts to the squared circle. She takes the microphone and is showered with massive boos, especially when she announces that Daniel Bryan is not at Raw.
Stephanie says she and Triple H have received a lot of flak for their actions last week, but did what was necessary to reaffirm who is really in charge of Raw – the McMahon family. She declares her husband the winner of both his match with Daniel Bryan and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship bout.
The current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton, might have something to say about that as he saunters to the ring. “The Viper” states that he respects Stephanie and Triple H, but will regret what he has to do to HHH in order to retain his titles. Orton threatens that Triple H should defeat Daniel Bryan, but not be in the Triple-Threat, and wants Stephanie to convince him that way.
Before she can respond, a third party enters, Batista. “The Animal” boldly predicts that he will walk out of Wrestlemania as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, then rips Orton for kissing-butt to both HHH and Stephanie. He then makes an innuendo about Stephanie “being drooled on a lot,” getting slapped in return by McMahon. She leaves as Orton laughs, then he spears “The Viper” and walks off.
Later tonight, Michael Cole will have an in-ring interview with Triple H regarding his actions last week. Once again, Luke Harper will face John Cena; Hulk Hogan will be in the arena with both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello (actor); and The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will meet up!
Match #1: Fatal-Four-Way for the #1 Contendership to the Intercontinental Championship – Alberto Del Rio VS. Christian VS. “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler VS. Sheamus (No Disqualification Rules)
(Note: Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston is watching at ringside, and the winner will take him on Main Event, Tuesday.)
Del Rio slugs it out with Ziggler, while Sheamus and Christian punch away on the outside. Sheamus springboards his way back in with a shoulder block on Del Rio, then Ziggler rolls him up for two! Sheamus puts him down with a boot and knee, but only gets a one count. Ziggler drops out of a scoop slam and hits a dropkick on Sheamus, but Christian and Del Rio come back in to break it up. Sheamus gives Christian a fall-away slam against the barricade, as Dolph hit Del Rio out of the ring.
Sheamus tries to set up Ziggler against the ropes, but Alberto breaks it up. Ziggler jawbreaks Sheamus off the apron against the ropes, then hits a dropkick on Del Rio for two! On the outside, Sheamus clotheslines Christian over the barricade, putting them both into the timekeeper’s place!
Dolph and Alberto going at it in the ring, with Ziggler getting planted with a flapjack. Sheamus pulls Del Rio out of the ring and gives him a rolling fireman’s carry on the floor. Christian follows up and shoves Sheamus into the ring post. He hits a top-rope crossbody on Ziggler, who rolls through and almost takes this one! They slug it out, then Christian tosses Dolph over the ropes. Sheamus comes back in and takes out Christian, along with Del Rio after an Irish Curse backbreaker. He hooks up Del Rio against the ropes for the “Ten Beats of the Boron,” then climbs the turnbuckle. Ziggler suddenly meets him up there and plants him with a top-rope facebuster! 1 – 2 – Sheamus kicks out!
Dolph gives Christian a quick 10-punch, then again almost has this bout after a high jumping-DDT. Christian slingshots Dolph on the ropes, and counters a fameasser attempt with a sit-down powerbomb! Del Rio breaks up the subsequent cover with a kick on Christian, but Sheamus breaks up that cover and grapples him in the Cloverleaf submission. Christian distracts Sheamus, who scoop-slams my fellow Canadian. Sheamus signals for the Brogue Kick and has his choice. Del Rio intervenes and rolls over with the Cross Armbreaker, but Sheamus rolls through and picks him up! Ziggler jumps in from behind, and brings Sheamus and Del Rio down with the Zig-Zag, but Christian slides back and plants Dolph with the Killswitch for the victory!
Winner and #1 Contender For The Intercontinental Championship: Christian
Post-match, I.C. Champ Big E. goes to shake Christian’s hand, but the heel backs off.
The light go out and the prophesier appears!
Segment #3: Video Promo
The Wyatt Family is on the ‘tron. Bray begins to proclaim, “He’s got the whole world in his hands. He’s got the whole world in his hands. People don’t usually believe in things they cannot see or things they cannot touch. It is human nature after all. But, in the case of John Cena, we all see him. I mean, how can you possibly miss this billboards and infomercials being shoved down your throat every day? We see you, but what I was wondering was, have you ever taken the time, John, to see me for what I really am? I am the way into the city of woe, I am the way into eternal pain. I am the way to go among the lost, beyond time I stand. I wanted to ask you, John, ‘what could you possibly do to harm something that just can’t feel?’”
Harper chimes in, “I can hear you whispering, John; and now we’re coming to find you.” Bray orders him to “run,” closing the eerie promo.
Match #2: Single – Damien Sandow VS. Sin Cara (with Scooby Doo)
(Reporter’s Note: Yes, I actually typed “with Scooby Doo,” because a mascot of the famed cartoon character really has accompanied Sin Cara to the ring, promoting the new cross-promotion “Scooby Doo, Wrestlemania Mystery” DVD.)
Also, typing the above sentence took longer than the actual bout. Sin Cara finished off Damien quickly after a top-rope Senton Bomb.
Winner via Pinfall: Sin Cara (with Scooby Doo)
A recap of the Tag-Team Championship contender’s bout from Smackdown, as well as the assault on The Shield is shown.
Match #3: Tag-Team – Rybaxel (Ryback and Curtis Axel) VS. Los Matadores (with El Torito)
During this contest, as Curtis started to gain control, The Shield walked through the crowd, distracting Axel and allowing Los Matadores to pick this up after a roll-up!
Winners via Pinfall: Los Matadores (Fernando and ) (with El Torito)
Post-match, the beatings ensue. The Shield disposes of Curtis on the outside, then Roman Reigns spears Ryback in the ring. He signals for it, and all three put Ryback down with the Triple-Powerbomb! Reigns, Rollins, and U.S. Champ Ambrose stand tall!
Up next, Michael Cole will talk to Triple H!
Segment #4: Arena Promo
Michael Cole is in the ring and welcomes WWE C.O.O. Triple H. The “King Of Kings” walks out and joins the commentator, with the ring decked out in a black carpet and nice chairs.
After a replay of his mauling of Daniel Bryan, Cole asks “The Game,” “how can you justify the attack, at your hands last week, of your Wrestlemania opponent, Daniel Bryan?” Triple H diverges this question, on whether he should answer as a wrestler or the leader of a company. Triple H says that both Bryan and the fans were clear in “what they were asking for,” and received it.
HHH asks Cole how he’d feel if he were helpless and defenceless. Triple H is talking about Bryan’s overtaking of Raw a couple of weeks ago. He declares that Bryan put the people in harm’s way, then accuses Michael of playing favouritism between HHH and Bryan. Cole defends himself, saying that people though of one move as an “inspiration” (Daniel’s), while the other was “an act of thug-like aggression unbecoming of the C.O.O. of the WWE.” (Triple H) “The Game” reiterates that Bryan “got exactly what he deserved.”
Triple H recalls the time when he was “The Game,” “The Cerebral Assassin” and do whatever he had to to get to the top, with all the fans’ approval. Now he sees “apathy” in the crowd, where if they don’t get what they want, “they cry about it.” He now ushers in the “reality era,” where he will beat Bryan at Wrestlemania and then go on to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. “Because Michael, the reality is, I have the power to make it happen and they all know it’s true.”
Match #4: Single – Fandango (with Summer Rae) VS. Cody Rhodes (with Goldust)
A lockup begins, with Cody turning it into a hammerlock. He turns Fandango into a pin combo for two, then tries a sunset-flip out of the corner, but it is countered with stomps. Fandango gets a two following a slingshot legrop. He snap-suplexes Cody for another two, then clamps on an armlock to wear down Rhodes. They both collide after a whip into the corner, then Goldust mocks and gets dancy with Summer on the outside. Summer falls, and this distracted Fandango, which gave Cody the opportunity to hit the springboard Disaster Kick for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Cody Rhodes (with Goldust)
Segment #5: Arena Promo
“Hulkamania” is back! Wrestlemania XXX’s host, Hulk Hogan, walks out to a huge ovation. He puts over Wrestlemania and the significance of it. Hogan then brings out the guest-stars for Raw, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello. Both Joe and Arnold praise each other, the fans, and “The Hulkster.” Arnold then asks Hogan a bold question regarding the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale, “do you have room for two more athletes,” referring to himself and Manganiello. Before Hulk can confirm, a freshly-heeled and better Miz interrupts.
“The Awesome One” asks his only question, “really?!” Miz puts them down for being “actors” playing “tough guys,” while he is a tough guy. He declares that he will win the Andre The Giant Memorial, but Hogan reminds him that he is “standing in the middle of ‘Hogan Country’, brother!” Miz recalls his own Wrestlemania moment, when he main-evented XXVII and defeated John Cena. Miz proclaims that Hogan, Schwarzenegger, and Manganiello don’t belong in the ring. He promptly gets slugged and tossed by all three; then Hogan posses with Joe and Arnold.
Match #5: Single – Titus O’Neil VS. The Big Show
Show pushes O’Neil into the corner and punches away, then hits him hard with a couple of slaps. Titus counters with a boot then chops Show down and stomps away. He hits a big leg drop for two, then continues to punch. He runs at Big in the corner with a couple of splashes, then a jumping shoulder block for two! He tries to clothesline Show over the ropes, but the 7-Footer comes back with a spear and the knockout punch for the W!
Winner via Pinfall: The Big Show
Segment #6: Office Promo
Stephanie is prepping Triple H nicely when The Shield walk in. The trio subtly accuses The Authority of being in cahoots with The New Age Outlaws after their attack, and Triple H was no where to be found. Triple H says that that deal is between them and The Outlaws and Kane, but McMahon appeases them by giving a booking a match between The Shield and The Real Americans. She says they then will all “sit down and discuss this.” Reigns replies, “yea, we will. Believe that.”
Segment #7: Locker Room Promo
John Cena is freshening up when a sheep’s mask appears in the mirror. He turns around to see nothing, but does seem frightened.
Match #6: Single – John Cena VS. Luke Harper (with Wyatt Family members Erik Rowan and Bray Wyatt)
Cena ducks a clothesline and tries a waistlock on Harper, but Luke elbows him back. He pushes him in the corner, then whips him hard into the opposite one. Harper smacks Cena with an uppercut, then gives him a backbreaker for two. (Note: the crowd is totally against Cena, calling the usual “Cena sucks” but chanting “let’s go Harper!”) John turns it around in the corner with punches and a splash, but Luke runs him over and gives him a pump-handle suplex. 1 – 2 – Cena kicks out. Harper chucks Cena out the ring, right in front of Bray and Rowan. Cena jawbreaks Harper with the ropes, but is quickly elbowed down again.
Cena tries a comeback, but is cutoff quickly with an inverted atomic drop and big boot. 1 – 2 – Cena still kicks out! Harper uppercuts him hard a couple times, but is countered with a German/back suplex. He attempts an Attitude Adjustment, but Harper slides out and nails him with a crescent kick! 1 – 2 – Cena again gets the shoulder up! Luke misses a clothesline and John comes back with a spin-out backdrop. He signals for the 5-Knuckle Shuffle fist drop, but Harper kicks up and drives him down with a scoop-slam driver. He sets him up for a powerbomb, but Cena reverses with a heavy hurricanrana! He grips for the STF, but Harper shoves him off. Luke surprisingly follows up with a suicide dive, to a massive pop!
He walks over to Cena in the ring, but is tripped up and locked in the STF! Luke works his way out and almost gets this one after a DDT. He slaps him off the top turnbuckle, then sets him up for a butterfly suplex! Cena punches out of it, and flies off with a legdrop! 1 – 2 – Harper kicks out! Cena gets momentum with the spin-out backdrop and 5-Knuckle Shuffle. But Harper slides out of the A.A. and slams him down with a wheelbarrow facebuster. Harper is eyeing him, but Cena runs with a resounding clothesline! He picks him up for the Attitude Adjustment, but the lights suddenly go out!
Back on, Cena is now wearing the Sheep Mask and is tied up between the middle and bottom ropes. Harper and Rowan are on either side, with Bray behind. He taunts Cena, quoting “he’s two-faced! This is for you. Follow the buzzards!” (Note: boisterous “this is awesome!” calls from the fans for this finish.)
Winner: No Contest
Match #7: Single for the Divas Championship – Naomi (with Funkadactyls partner Cameron) (Challenger) VS. A.J. Lee (with Tamina Snuka) (Champion)
Naomi hits a couple dropkicks, then a high-kick to begin. A.J. backs out of the jumping rear-bump, then goes to walk away from this contest. She skips away with Tamina and stands in the aisle. She receives a count-out.
Winner via Count-Out: Naomi (with Funkadactyls partner Cameron)
Post-match, Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero comes out and recaps her history with A.J., and calls her a “real bitch!” She then announces a “Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational,” forcing A.J. to defend her title against the current Divas on the roster. (The Bellas, The Funkadactlys, Rosa Mendes, Eva Marie, Natalya, Emma, Alicia Fox, Aksana, Summer Rae, Layla, and Tamina) This will take place, of course, at Wrestlemania!
Tamina smirks at this news as Lee breaks down.
Up next, we will find out another inducted into the Hall-Of-Fame Class of 2014!
Segment #8: Video Promo
The newest member into the WWE Hall-Of-Fame is … the original “cool” bad guy, Scott Hall, a.k.a. Razor Ramon!
It is announced that WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton will face “The Animal,” Batista next week on Raw.
The Shield make their entrance for their match against The Real Americans.
It is also announced that Bray Wyatt will take on The Big Show on Smackdown!
Match #8: Tag-Team – The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins) (with Shield partner Roman Reigns) VS. The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger) (with Real Americans partner Zeb Colter)
The Shield take it to The Real Americans on the outside prior to the bell, then in the ring once the bell sounds. Cesaro and Ambrose duke it out. Rollins in and double-suplexes Swagger (a la the late-great Hall-Of-Famer Eddie Guerrero), then tags in Ambrose who helps with another double-suplex. The Shield dominate Swagger, switching between Dean and Seth.
Cesaro is in and gives Ambrose a flurry of punches and kicks, then the jumping double-stomp. He and Jack double-team Ambrose with the Swaggerbomb and double-stomp, then Antonio clamps on a grounding rear chinlock. He knocks Seth off the apron, then sweeps up Ambrose and then, impressively, swings Ambrose around for twenty rotations! Rollins breaks up the subsequent cover. Cesaro tags in Jack, and they double-swing Dean into the barricade!
Cesaro has Ambrose grounded in front-facelock, which Ambrose fights out of. He turns an uppercut around into a backslide for two, but is downed quickly with a hard kick and slap. Dean likes the slaps and begs for more. He fires back with a clothesline after slingshotting himself off the ropes! Rollins gets the hot-tag and takes out Cesaro off the apron, then hurries Swagger with all kinds of hits!
He charges in the corner with a splash, then drives Swagger down with a flatliner into the corner turnbuckle. He clotheslines Swagger over the ropes, then suicide dives Cesaro into the crowd! He follows up with a somersault senton to Swagger on the outside, still landing on his feet to “Holy s***” changes from the fans!
Rollins springboards off the ropes with a knee-to-the-face of Swagger, but Cesaro breaks up the cover. Ambrose back in and all over Cesaro, but Antonio t-bones him over the ropes. Swagger flapjacks and locks Rollins in the Patriot Ankle Lock, but Seth crawls to the ropes. He counters with an Enziguri and plants him with the “Peace Of Mind” driving boot for the victory!
Winners via Pinfall: The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins) (with Shield partner Roman Reigns)
Post-match, Cesaro tosses Rollins of the ring, but Reigns slides in and soars with the Superman Punch. He is hyped up and spears Cesaro on the outside! The Shield tear apart the announce table, and are feeling a triple-powerbomb coming on! They pick up Cesaro and drive him through the table! The crowd is loud for these guys as they pose in the ring, while Zeb observes the carnage!
Kane’s pyro suddenly blows, and the Director Of Operations walks to the stage. He is accompanied by The New Age Outlaws, who are also donned in suits. Kane announces that there will be the predicted six-man tag-team at Wrestlemania, with The Shield taking on him and The Outlaws. “At Wrestlemania, we are going to annihilate you. Believe that!”
Up next, it’s Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker staring down!
Segment #9: Arena Promo
Brock Lesnar is out first, with Paul Heyman, his advocate. Paul takes the microphone first and also puts over The Undertaker and his Wrestlemania 21-0 winning streak. “That’s not just a streak, that’s an UN-defeated streak. Which is why, on April 6th, 2014 at Wrestlemania, when Brock Lesnar defeats The Undertaker. And on April 6th, 2014 at Wrestlemania, Brock Lesnar will defeat The Undertaker, I want to assure you this will take nothing away from the enormity of the accomplishment of twenty-one consecutive victories on ‘The Grandest Stage Of Them All.’”
Paul lists John Cena, the late-great Andre The Giant, and even his own client Brock Lesnar, as prominate men who will never claim twenty-one and o at Wrestlemania.
Lesnar rips the mike away from Heyman. “Enough Paul, enough. I’m not hear to promote. I’m here to fight. Undertaker, you’re here, I’m here. Let’s DO THIS!”
The anticipation builds and the druids bring out a casket. Lesnar seems freaked out, then confident at The Undertaker’s mind games. He opens the coffin and it is empty. “Is this some kind of joke?” he yells. He stalks the druids up the ramp as Heyman looks on. “I ain’t hear to play games, I’m leaving!” Heyman stops Lesnar, and depletes The Undertaker’s challenge and Brooklyn.
The casket suddenly opens and now The Undertaker is in it! He opens his eyes and and sits up! ‘Taker gets in the ring and glares at a stunned Lesnar. “The Deadman” punches away, then clotheslines “The Beast Incarnate” who tumbles over the casket. Undertaker fiercely stares at Lesnar and they both point to the Wrestelmania sign. The bell gongs and the two continue the staredown to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
I thought this was a pretty good Raw with a very hot crowd, which helped, because there was some that was still left to be desired. Onto the analysis:
Excellence: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton. I think he is doing great in his role of just being the champion and sitting back, waiting until Wrestlemania when he thinks he can defeat the other two. At the moment, he is letting everyone else bicker and expel energy. This is a perfect strategy for the champ, as he can then use all his stored-up energy to wrestle his best at ‘Mania.
The Fatal-Four-Way – while I thought Dolph should’ve won and it started slow/sloppy, they pulled it together mid-point and finished the bout in a cool way. I do hope they don’t do a title change though, since Main Event is only available on the WWE Network and would further diminish the value of the I.C. Championship to not have it change hands in front of a major crowd.
As always, Bray Wyatt’s promo – enough said. Even though I was perplexed again at seeing a match we just saw on Smackdown, Cena/Harper was much better this time around and Harper is really growing into a good wrestler. It takes a lot to get a huge ovation from the fans, so congrats to him for pulling off the suicide dive! Loved the finish two, as much like Bray’s oratories, it was also very weird!
Decent wrestling match between Rhodes and Fandango, and loved Goldust’s antics on the outside to doop Summer! Speaking of the females, I really hope A.J. escapes with the title at Wrestlemania. This is just a case of get every Diva on the roster to appear on the card, with no real huge background or story going into it. Yes, they’re playing off the “crazy A.J./A.J. ticked off all these females,” but in the last month or so, there hasn’t been many important Diva matches/stories to make me care.
Triple H was very good at going between both lines of C.O.O. and wrestler, picking apart Cole’s questions and answering them on both sides. Great promo segment!
Shield/Americans was an excellent bout and glad was the main-event. However, this really also should’ve closed the show (more on that in bogus) because of the enormous crowd reactions. Definitely saw the six-man coming after Smackdown, but still looking forward to it – one of the more physical contests and potential show-stealer for the pay-per-view!
Razor Ramon/Scott Hall going into the Hall-Of-Fame. Well done and definitely a great story, from what he was to how he has come back in his personal life.
Bogus: Did not care about – Sin Cara/Sandow, Matadores/Rybaxel, A.J./Naomi, and Show/O’Neil. Either were pointless or just throwaways. Where were Tag-Team Champions The Usos? The Tag-Title picture is not clear at all, and that is a big concern now with less than two weeks until their biggest show of the year!
Thought that Hulk’s segment was also a waste. It was just bad philandering to the fans and towing the company line too much. (Way too obvious!)
Honestly, there was way too much hype for Lesnar/’Taker throughout the night, and the result was nothing new. We’ve seen the “mind games” before in many variations, including this one. It just didn’t feel like a great way to end the show, where as The Shield taking on The Real Americans would’ve because I heard more crowd reaction to them than I did Brock/’Taker.
Still, a good Raw that is helping me get more hyped for Wrestlemania! Until next week, where there is only one show left until the “big dance,” (and you will have my predictions for the show in next week’s report) Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!