This is it! The last Raw before WrestleMania XXX! What will go down and who will gain the last bit of momentum before the big show? Scheduled for tonight is the supposed original Raw main-event, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton versus Batista. Which grappler will come out on top? Will Daniel Bryan be back and interject himself? How is C.O.O. Triple H going to handle the entire situation?
The Shield are taking on Kane and the Corporate Outlaws at ‘Mania. Will they execute their brand of justice for a measure of revenge, or does Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, and The Director Of Operations keep their advantage?
The Wyatt Family continues to play head games with John Cena … will they also be able to continue their destruction of WWE’s hero, or can Cena one-up them prior to his bout with Bray?
Also, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar had a heated confrontation last week, with “The Deadman” getting the better of “The Beast Incarnate.” Is Brock going to retaliate this evening?
A.J. Lee has been put in quite the predicament, having to defend her Divas Championship at WrestleMania against pretty much all the Divas on the roster. How will she figure out this one?
Lastly, my predictions for the “Granddaddy Of Them All” on Sunday!
Monday Night Raw Report for March 31st, 2014 – ”
Introduction Segment: Welcoming and Arena Promo
Michael Cole puts over the last Raw before “The Show Of Shows,” then the all-too familiar gong and music of The Undertaker rings out. It is him, as “The Phenom” walks out. He stands in the ring, with the Wrestlemania XXX sign hanging high above his head. ‘Taker glares at the logo as he takes the microphone. “21 men have stepped up, and 21 men have been set down. Now I do not claim to be better than my victims, but at the ‘Showcase of Immortals,’ I will go further than anyone else. And that is why the streak stays alive.” He ponders Lesnar’s thoughts on breaking “the streak,” but Undertaker threatens Brock on what he is going to do when “The Deadman” takes him “down to the bottom.” ‘Taker speculates that some think his time is up and “the streak” will be broken at one point, but The Undertaker states that three things in life can’t be beat: “death, taxes, and ‘the streak.'”
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman now walk out to the stage. Heyman has the mike and speaks for “his client.” He proclaims that “this is a match that Brock Lesnar doesn’t have to win, but this is a match that The Undertaker can’t lose.” Paul E. declares that when Lesnar stops The Undertaker at WrestleMania, it will be the biggest moment in WrestleMania history. “Now that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler!”
They start to walk to the back, but turn around and approach the ring. ‘Taker takes off his hooded trench coat and prepares for a fight. Instead, Lesnar just points to the WrestleMania sign as his advocate smiles. Now he begins the march. They glare each other down, then Brock backs off again, smirking. Brock now approaches and circles the ring as Undertaker readies himself. Heyman slides a chair in, which distracted ‘Taker. Lesnar charged in and they come to blows. Lesnar clotheslines him and then spins him around with an F-5! “The Beast” is energized! He stands over a downed “Deadman” then exits the ring and surveys his work.
Match #1: Single – Intercontinental Champion Big E. VS. Alberto Del Rio (Non-Title)
Del Rio kicks and punches to begin, then Big E. leapfrogs him and shoves him with a shoulder block. In the corner, he runs at him with a shoulder-ram, then press-slams Alberto. He goes for another shoulder-ram, but eats the post shoulder-first instead. Del Rio takes advantage, slamming his arm against the apron and the ring post.
Alberto has Big E. clamped in an armlock, but the I.C. Champ turns it around and flips him over. Del Rio manages to grapple him with another armbar, hanging off the ropes this time. Referee Charles Robinson breaks it up, and Big E. catches Del Rio, flying off the top rope, with a backbreaker. He tosses him up for a flapjack, then gets a two following the cover. Del Rio counters and brings him down with a backstabber. 1 – 2 – Big E. kicks out. Alberto signals for the Cross Armbreaker, but the former Langston counters. He tries for the Big Ending, but Del Rio gets out of it and grips on the Cross Armbreaker. Big E. battles out of it, harshly slamming down Del Rio. He covers, but Alberto clasps the ropes to break it. Uniquely, Big E. gets caught up split-legged and hanging on the middle ropes, so Alberto jumps off the top rope with a double-stomp to Big E’s chest. He follows up with a kick-to-the-head, and gets the hard-fought victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Alberto Del Rio
Later tonight, the WWE Fans will decided which member of The Shield face Director Of Operations Kane – United States Champion Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, or Roman Reigns. Also, the promise to end “The Yes Movement,” and up next, the latest installment of The Wyatt Family and John Cena!
Segment #2: Video Promo
Bray Wyatt is whistling and appears on screen upside down. Wyatt prophesizes that everyone will forget Cena, and he will be seen the same way he does – “as a monster, John.”
Segment #3: Video Promo
A recap of part of “Total Divas” from last night is shown, between Natalya and Summer Rae.
Rae now makes her way to the ring for her upcoming match.
Match #2: Single – Summer Rae VS. Natalya
(Note: Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero is on commentary. Vickie announces that the Divas Championship match at WrestleMania is “going to be a one-fall match.”) This starts out as a catfight, with Natalya getting the better. Summer trips her up into the middle ring post and then a clothesline. Natalya regains control, slamming Summer down, literately walking over her head, and giving her a boot-to-the-face. Natalya gives her a snap suplex and a clothesline, plus a couple of slaps. She goes for the Sharpshooter, but is kicked off. She ties up Natalya in the ropes and kicks her in the head, then receives the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Summer Rae
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are on their way out.
Segment #5: Arena Promo
C.O.O. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon come to the ring. They both have the microphone and Stephanie begins. She says that everyone will have a chance to “say ‘farewell’ to the ‘Yes Movement’ before my husband destroys Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania.” Triple H belittles the crowd. saying they are like band-wagoners where they just clutch onto the latest-and-greatest. The Authority uses Fandango sudden rise and fall in 12 months as an example of the people liking a person for a minute, then discarding them the next. Stephanie incites the crowd to chant “yes, yes, yes,” but spoils it by saying that Bryan will once again not be in the building tonight.
“No matter how many times you chant ‘yes,’ it doesn’t make it true,” Triple H quirks. He shoots down the long-lasting theory that he has power only because he married into the McMahon Family; but the real reason is because of his dominance and work-ethic. He then airs a video, narrated by Stephanie, depicting the fans love of superstars who are popular for only a certain period of time. All but, of course, her man, Triple H. The montage transforms into “The Game’s” greatest hits over his long-standing career. “He cannot be stopped. He will not be stopped. And at WrestleMania, he will put an end to your next ‘sacrificial lamb.'” Back live, Triple H decalres that “they were just players in ‘the game.’ And I am ‘THE GAME.'” He absolutely predicts he will beat both Daniel Bryan, and Batista and Randy Orton, and prove that he is the “most powerful man,” closing Wrestlemania as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and C.O.O of the WWE.
Batista now walks out, to a mild ovation for his hometown. He simply states that he was happy with Triple H’s “farewell,” but points out that he was not showed in the video package. “The Animal” speculated that is because HHH has yet to defeat him. They take a couple of shots at each other, then WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton interrupts. He tries to convince Triple H to back out of the Triple-Threat, but HHH isn’t buying it, unless Orton becomes “The Viper” again. Triple H warns Orton that even he may not be able to beat “The Viper.” Triple H then announces that Orton’s match with Batista later tonight will no be a No Disqualification bout.
Later tonight, commemorating the first WrestleMania in 1985 on this day, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper will host a special edition of Piper’s Pit!
Match #3: Eight-Man Tag-Team – Rybaxel (Ryback and Curtis Axel) and The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Curtis Axel) VS. Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando) and Tag-Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) (Non-Title)
Ryback and an Uso begin. (He’s wearing a shirt, so I can’t tell them apart right now.) The Uso armdrags Ryback, then he tags in his brother. Ryback comes back then switches with Axel. Matadores now in and fly on Curtis. Uso back in and clotheslines Axel down. Curtis slugs back, then tags in Cesaro. The Swiss wrestler gets nailed hard with a shot by an Uso, but he comes back with an uppercut. Both Real Americans double-team The Uso, then Jack whips him hard into the turnbuckle. The Uso turns it around with a float-over DDT, and it begins to breakdown. Los Matadore in and gives Cesaro a suicide dive on the outside, and an Uso follows up with a soaring plancha to Rybaxel on the other side! The other Uso leaps off the top with a crossbody for two, but he or his brother gets shoved off the apron into the barricade.
Cesaro now in control over an Uso, clamping on a grounding rear chinlock. Cesaro spins him around with a backbreaker for a near-fall, then flip him over with a gutwrench suplex! Swagger back in and clotheslines, then switches with Ryback. Uso counters a headlock with a springboard bulldog, as the crowd breaks into a loud “let’s go Usos, We The People” split chant! Fresh Uso is in and all over Axel. He hits the Samoan Drop and delivers the running rear bump in the corner! 1 – 2 – Ryback stops it. Uso puts Ryback down and shoves Axel into Swagger, who tags in. It breaks down again with everyone else, and in the ring, Uso Enziguri’s Swagger. He tags in a Matadore, who is caught out of a Crossbody into the Ankle Lock. He fights it until an Uso breaks it up. The other Matadore switches out and then rolls up Swagger to get the W, while Cesaro slid in too late!
Winners via Pinfall: Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando) and Tag-Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Match #4: Tag-Team – The Rhodes Brothers (Cody Rhodes and Goldust) VS. Damien Sandow and Fandango (with Summer Rae)
Cody and Fandango trade punches and kicks, then Fandango holds Cody as Damien comes in and headbutts him. Sandow slugs away on the outside, then covers for one. Fandango back in and suplexes Cody, then holds him as Damien hits him again in the corner. Goldust finally gets the tag and is all over both Fandango and Sandow, powerslaming Damien for two. Cody flies in with a springboard front dropkick, then leaps off the top onto Fandango outside! Goldust puts this away after planting Sandow with the Final Cut!
Winners via Pinfall: The Rhodes Brothers (Cody Rhodes and Goldust)
A recap of Corporate Kane and the newly-dubbed Corporate Outlaws assault on The Shield from Smackdown a few weeks ago is replayed.
Segment #6: Backstage Promo
The Shield are in a dark hallway, where Rollins proclaims that “you can almost feel bad for Kane.” He has called The Shield “the new symbol of excellence,” while Ambrose talks about the disrespect The New Age Outlaws showed “The Hounds Of Justice.” Roman finishes with a statement that The Shield is not to be messed with!
Bray Wyatt announces that “we’re here,” as The Wyatt Family makes their way to the ring.
It is promoted that Sheamus will face The Miz on Main Event this week.
Match #5: Single – Bray Wyatt (with Wyatt Family members Luke Harper and Erik Rowan) VS. R-Truth (with Xavier Woods)
(Gee, I wonder who wins this!) Wyatt aggressively dominates this one, finishing R-Truth off with his Sister Abigail.
Winner via Pinfall: Bray Wyatt (with Wyatt Family members Luke Harper and Erik Rowan)
Post-match, The Wyatt Family also put down Xavier Woods, as Bray proclaims “this is not the beginning, this is the end.” As The Family strike their regular pose, a third man dressed in dark overalls and a sheep’s mask appears. After slowly staring at all three, he pulls off the mask and reveals himself to be, obviously, John Cena. The former “Dr. Of Thuganomics” takes out Harper and gives Rowan an Attitude Adjustment, but Bray escapes as they all stare each other down.
Match #6: Lumberjill Single – Divas Champion A.J. Lee (with Tamina Snuka) VS. Naomi (with Funkadactlys member Cameron) (Non-Title)
(Note: All Divas who are in the WrestleMania match surround the ring.) A.J. is sent outside, where the Divas go after her, but when Naomi is slid outside, no one touches her. They trade spin kicks back in the ring, then A.J. rams Naomi’s head into the top turnbuckle. She clamps on a Guillotine Headlock, then brings Naomi down with a neckbreaker. Naomi comes back with a front dropkick and full-nelson bomb for two. She drags her to the corner, but Lee rolls out of the ring and is beat up on until Tamina blocks the efforts. They all beat attack both Tamina and A.J., then Naomi wins with the jumping Rear Bump on Lee!
Winner via Pinfall: Naomi (with Funkadactyls member Cameron)
Up next, John Cena will be out.
Segment #7: Backstage Promo
Rene Young is with John Cena, who says that “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Cena warns Bray to be careful, as he has forced Cena to “fight.” John has threatened that he will turn into that “monster” Wyatt wants him to be, and “the greatest thing about ‘fear’ is the moment you realize you have the courage to face it.” He puts over WrestleMania and the WWE Network. “You’ll have to change the way you walk, because I’m going to stuff my foot in your ass.”
Segment #8: Arena Promo
In a segment I DID NOT miss last week, they bring back the pointless panel, this time with Alex Riley, Hall Of Famer Booker T., Josh Matthews, and Bad News Barrett. Just towing the company line here in putting over the card.
Jerry “The King” Lawler announces that … Roman Reigns, with 80% of the fan vote, will face Kane! He now makes his way through the crowd and prepares for “The Big Red Machine.”
Match #7: Single – Roman Reigns VS. Corporate Kane
They lock up into the corner. Roman ducks and hammers away on Kane, until he receives a big boot after running into him. Kane clotheslines Reigns in the corner and sidewalk slams him. Kane signals for the Chokeslam and clutches Roman’s throat, but the big man powers out of it! He ducks a clothesline and nails a leaping forearm! Reigns is getting fired up, and runs into Kane’s head with a front dropkick from the floor to the apron! He warms up for the Superman Punch, but the Corporate Outlaws approach the ring. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose follow, brawling with them. Reigns hits the Superman Punch, and Ambrose and Rollins come in. They triple-boot Kane, causing a dq.
Winner via Disqualification: Corporate Kane
Post-match, The Outlaws rescue Kane from a further beating as The Shield yell at them from the ring.
Up next, it’s Piper’s Pit!
It is announced that “The Hulkster” will be on Smackdown this week!
Segment #9: Arena Promo
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper is in the ring, already decked out in his Piper’s Pit colors. He recalls his very famous WrestleMania moment, the first WrestleMania main-event involving him, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T. and Paul Orndorff. Piper also talks about the late-great Andre The Giant, and the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Before he can go on, The Miz interrupts, but Piper tries to shut him up quick.
Miz calls himself the “odds-on-favourite” to be victorious at WrestleMania, then Sheamus comes out. He also puts himself and Piper, while telling The Miz he’s going to lose. Titus O’Neil now walks out and declares himself the winner. Dolph Ziggler gets in on this and also proclaims he will win. Piper gets the party started by poking Miz in the eye. Most of the Battle Royal contestants brawl now, including a returning Rey Mysterio. The Big Show is the last to walk out, and he cleans house, with only Rey left in. Mysterio hits the 619, but is caught in a powerbomb position from a top-rope senton. Show tosses him over onto the other participants, then Piper holds his arm high and proclaims him the eventual winner.
Up next, it’s Batista and Orton!
Match #8: Single (No Disqualification Rules) “The Animal” Batista VS. WWE World Heavyweight Champion “The Viper” Randy Orton
Before it starts, C.O.O. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon hurry out. They sit on both ends of the commentary booth. Orton kicks away at Batista, then hurls him into the ring post, shoulder-first. He throws him into the barricade, but Batista comes back and slams his head off the other one. Back in the ring, Orton cuts off Batista, then stomps on him to the outside. Both slug and kick away, then Orton reverses an Irish Whip into the barricade, and clotheslines him over. HHH is pleased, calling Orton “The Viper” after seeing this display. Batista comes back with a steel chair shot to Randy’s back, but misses a second one and nails the post. Orton slams Batista’s head off the announce table, then backdrops him on the barricade. He swings a chair on Batista’s back. HHH encourages Batista to “show me ‘The Animal,'” so Batista responds by sending Orton into the ring apron.
Randy comes back with a few kendo stick shots, but is sent into the steel steps. Batista counters a run off the ropes with a spinebuster, then sets up for the Batistabomb, but Orton gets out of it with a backbreaker. He drives him down with the slingshot DDT, then suddenly Daniel Bryan appears and is attacking Triple H! Orton tries to save him, but Daniel fights him off too. Orton goes again and throws Bryan into the steel steps. He rolls Daniel into the ring as the crowd goes nuts for him. Batista runs at Randy with a Spear, then Bryan hits a kick and running knee to Batista. He soars through the ropes with a suicide dive on Triple H, and the two brawl on the outside. Bryan whacks Triple H numerous times with the kendo stick, then front-dropkicks Orton off the apron! He stands stall on the middle turnbuckle, as Triple H backs his way up the ramp on the floor, with Stephanie holding him. The arena is chanting “yes, yes, yes,” with Bryan to close the show!
Winner: No Contest due to sudden interference.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
This was an excellent “go-home” show, overall! They really put the finishing touches on the build for WrestleMania nicely, and I only have a few small quips with it, so let’s get to the analysis:
Excellence: Opening promo/beat down. This was a much better interaction for Undertaker/Lesnar than last week. Loved ‘Taker and Brock’s intensity. Del Rio and Big E. was better than I thought, even though the I.C. Champ should’ve won. As always, Bray Wyatt’s promos are masterful and tonight was no different. However, props to Cena too, because he came back with one that was just as great and representative of the old, “take no prisoners” Cena persona. Furthermore, LOVED (even though it was completely obvious it was John under the mask), the mind-game he played by dressing up as a Wyatt Family member.
Summer Rae/Natalya was a nice little actual wrestling match, as my Dad put it. Loved Triple H/Stephanie’s promo and video highlights. To a fine degree, their statements are somewhat true. Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, as of now, are the only exceptions and will continue to last in the fans’ memories for a long time. Batista/Orton was also better than I expected, and while I definitely expected Bryan to be in the building, the ending was truly built around him coming out on top – well done and let’s hope that happens at WrestleMania!
Bogus: The 8-Man Tag, Lumberjills, and Rhodes Brothers/Sandow/Fandango seemed pointless, especially went most didn’t even get entrances. They were all just going through the basic motions and being put on T.V. as the final push to the Pay-Per-View – good in that sense, but could’ve had a better match. (Granted, finish to the 8-Man was great!) Thought that Reigns/Kane could’ve gone longer, thereby being a bit better. Unfortunately, Piper’s Pit was not a “special edition” I was hoping for. He just seemed out of place and put to the back burner when everyone else started coming out. Perhaps he could’ve hosted a few of the for-sure winners (Dolph, Sheamus, Miz, Big Show) and got their opinions one-by-one instead. Would’ve also built them better to state their case more and get us fans behind them/make them a little more legitimate contenders.
All in all, Raw flowed very smooth tonight and really hyped up WrestleMania well! Onto those predictions:
Fatal 4-Way for the Tag-Team Championship – I see The Usos having a longer reign, and The Real Americans finally splitting up with Cesaro getting a big push.
Divas Championship – A.J. Lee should retain, then have her lose the title to an up-and-coming Diva from NXT the next night on Raw, for the post-WrestleMania surprise. Once again, hello NXT Women’s Champion, Paige, who can then convert/unify the Divas Championship back into the Women’s Championship and make the title more prominent! That’s a helluva dream scenario, but I’m taking a shot at it!
Daniel Bryan/Triple H – has to be Bryan!
Undertaker/Lesnar – has to be Undertaker!
The Shield VS. Kane/The Outlaws – big brawl/no contest; continue feud since the Outlaws just turned.
Bray/Cena – has to be Bray, not only to continue rivalry, but he needs the WrestleMania win more than Cena’s numerous ones. Plus this should not be closing the show, so they can afford to have John lose and not have to worry about sending the fans home happy with him standing tall.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal – Dolph Ziggler to reignite his fire/push and give him the WrestleMania Moment!
Triple Threat – has to be Bryan! I agree with Colin Vassallo’s opinion in yesterday’s newsletter (which was my feeling throughout these last couple months anyway): close the biggest pay-per-view of the year (and perhaps of all-time so far) with the happy moment of Daniel Bryan, the absolute fan-favourite/feel-good story, holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship high on the shoulders of other wrestlers, and the entire stadium chanting “yes, yes, yes.” Much like WrestleMania’s X and XX, XXX needs to send the fans home satisfied, and this is the only way to do it and make the show feel special and memorable.
I think this will be a great show, and almost every match feels like something special, which hasn’t happened in a few years. Way to go, WWE! Now, execute the results properly and live up to the major hype!
Until next week, after WrestleMania XXX, where the WWE landscape will have changed somehow, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!