We are just 13 days away from WrestleMania! I’m really liking the card and it can definitely produce some match -of-the-year candidates. With less than two weeks, what will go down on Raw tonight?
With the Intercontinental Championship being passed around like a hot-potato lately, but yet always going back to R-Truth, who is going to end up with it tonight? Also, is Daniel Bryan the last one to be added to the Ladder Match at WrestleMania for the title, or is anyone else going to be entered?
Last week, we saw four teams trade wins, vying for the Tag-Team Titles. Will this lead to a Four-Corners match at ‘Mania? (I hope so!)
The Undertaker made his presence known for the first time since WrestleMania XXX, accepting Bray Wyatt’s challenge; will “The Deadman” be in person tonight? What is the next mind-game that either he or Wyatt have in store for each other?
To continue down the “Road To WrestleMania,” read on!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for March 16th, 2015 – “Idle Threats”
Introduction Segment: Video Promo
A montage of Randy Orton’s interview with Michael Cole form last week’s Smackdown! mixed in with his decimation of Seth Rollins from last week’s Raw starts off. In it, Orton warns that he is “going to spit in his face and challenge him to a match at WrestleMania.”
Segment #2: Arena Promo
Lillian Garcia welcomes The Authority (minus Triple H and Stephanie McMahon), who are already in the ring to open the show. “Mr. Money In The Bank” has the microphone first and calls Orton’s actions a “betrayal.” Rollins denies that it is comparable to when he betrayed The Shield, as “it was a business decision to secure my future.” Rollins says that Randy’s way was a “cold-blooded” way. He blames The Authority for being suckered-in to re-accepting into the group; The Big Show seems to struggle with Seth’s words, but admits he feels horrible about it and takes it upon himself too. Kane also apologizes, but Jamie Noble says he it saw it coming; however he is more concerned about both Rollins and Mercury. He hands the mike to Joey, who is too upset for words, so he hugs Show instead and Rollins takes the stick.
“Mr. Money In The Bank” threatens, “let me tell you something, Randy. You have never messed with anybody like me.” He will face Orton at WrestleMania, only if Randy faces him tonight.
Orton obliges and immediately walks to the stage. “The Viper” is also ok with taking on Rollins tonight, but notifies him that WrestleMania will be far worse.
Michael Cole, John “Bradshaw” Layfield,” and Booker T. run down what will happen on Raw; this includes a “controversial” sit-down interview with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and a contract signing between John Cena and United States Champion Rusev.
Up next, A.J. Lee is in action!
Match #1: Single – A.J. Lee (with Paige) VS. Divas Champion Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella)
Nikki begins to dominate over A.J., and even mocks A.J. by doing push-ups after shoving her into the corner. A.J. fires back, and both trade wrestling-holds before Nikki plants Lee to the canvas. A.J. counters a side-slam into a headscissors, and sends her to the outside.
Nikki is back in control, tying Nikki up with an arm-lock. She drives A.J. to the mat face-first, and continues to wear her down with another arm-lock. She Irish-Whips Lee, but A.J. reverses into a Guillotine Choke. Nikki runs her into the corner to break the hold, but A.J. soars out with a Thesz Press. She is all over Nikki now, ascending the turnbuckle and flying off with a crossbody for two! Nikki nails A.J. with a knee-to-the-face, and as expected, it breaks down from here.
Paige and Brie get involved on the outside, which distracts A.J. Nikki takes advantage, knocking her out and planting Lee with the “Rack Attack” Torture-Rack Drop to get the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Divas Champion Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella)
Post-match, Nikki and Brie pose over a downed A.J. and Paige.
Segment #3: Video Promo
Recap of the confrontation between Roman Reigns and “The World’s Strongest Man,” Mark Henry is shown.
Segment #4: Backstage Promo
Rene Young is with Director Of Operations Kane, who has made The Big Show be in Seth Rollins’ corner when he takes on Randy Orton later tonight. Show takes umbrage to Kane’s booking, and they argue. Rollins walks in and reminds them that their bickering got them sent out of the building last week. Kane gets in his face, saying that Stephanie can speak to them in that tone but not him. Kane says he chooses to do what he wants, and insinuates that Big Show “chooses” to be in Seth’s corner.
Ryback makes his entrance and will be taking on The Miz, next!
Match #2: Single – Ryback VS. The Miz (with Damien Mizdow)
Miz is on fire right away with kicks and punches in the corner. Ryback press-slams him back, then drags Miz to the outside and taunts Mizdow to hit Miz. In the ring, Miz receives a spinebuster, the Meathook Clothesline, and the Shellshock to finish this one quickly!
Winner via Pinfall: Ryback
Post-match, Mizdow goes to console Miz, but is promptly driven down with the Skull-Krushing Finale. Miz walks to the back.
Segment #5: Video Promo
Recap of Cena and Rusev’s feud is shown.
Up next is their contract signing!
Segment #6: Video Promo
Sheamus’ return is impending.
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Michael Cole is in the ring, which is decorated in a black rug and a table that has both the U.S. and Russian flags on it, as well as the flags in two turnbuckle posts. John Cena is brought out first, and asked to sign the contract. He picks up both the papers and the microphone, and calls the contract “the most important.” He talks about who Rusev claims to be and who he is/what he’s done.
Cole now introduces the United States Champion. Rusev walks out, dressed-up in a suit, but with a dude this time; no Lana is in sight, much to the dismay of the crowd. The man is Rusev’s “attorney,” (complete with bad accent) and announces that Rusev has not agreed to the match, so it will not happen at WrestleMania. The “lawyer” shows footage that Rusev has not agreed, but that is was Lana who did it on his behalf. However, the “lawyer” says that if Rusev can read a statement, without Cena interrupting verbally or physically, then the match can go on. Rusev reads his words, which is another rant on American parents and American children, calling them, “failures.”
Rusev signs, then flips over the table. He and the “lawyer” back up the ramp, while Cena yells “I got this. (showing the contract) your ass is mine!”
Match #3: Tag-Team – The New Day (Big E. and Kofi Kingston) (with New Day partner Xavier Woods) VS. Tag-Team Champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (with Natalya) (Non-Title)
(Note: Los Matadores walk out and watch from the stage.) Both teams go back-and-forth until Kofi catches Cesaro with a kick and crossbody. This one breaks down quickly, with Cesaro hitting Kofi from behind with an uppercut and covering for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (with Natalya)
Post-match, Los Matadores engage in a brawl with The New Day and the Tag-Champs, coming out on top and posing in the ring.
Segment #8: Video Promo
Recap of The Undertaker’s response to Bray Wyatt.
Later tonight, Bray will retort himself.
Segment #9: Office Promo
Seth Rollins is ordering J & J to be there for him tonight; Noble reminds him that it was Seth himself who sent them to the back last week. This does not sit will with Rollins, as he and Jamie go at it. Rollins “fires” Noble and Joey follows.
Segment #10: Video Promo
“I was put on this earth to seek, and destroy, and to hurt people. Is that sadistic? Maybe to some people; not to me. I enjoy it; it’s what I do. That’s why I’m here. What does WrestleMania mean to Brock Lesnar? It’s a day that I get to show up, kick someone’s ass, and get paid to do so. The Undertaker did not stand a chance against me. What do I think about the people that were disappointed that I beat The Undertaker? I don’t care. Disappointment, surprise, I love every minute of it. Here’s my, here’s my take on my contract with the WWE. There’s one thing for sure: if I stay, I will be WWE Champion. If I go, I will be WWE Champion. Roman Reigns is not going to stand in the way of that. As a rookie I came in here against The Rock and sent him to Hollywood. Then they put me against The Undertaker; I end the streak. SummerSlam, John Cena, I suplexed his ass out of the main event. This is my world; I don’t need to ‘hunt,’ I need to ‘defend.’ And if you think Brock Lesnar in ‘hunt mode’ is crazy s**t (beeped), stay tuned for Brock Lesnar in defense mode. If there’s one message I have for Roman Reigns, it’s ‘you can think all you want that you can beat me. Dream, wish, because at WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar is going to kick your ass. And it’ll be unlike any other ass-kicking that you’ve ever received. This isn’t a fairytale, there’s not fairytale ending, there’s no “happy, feel-good moment.”’ At WrestleMania, I am going to ****-up Roman Reigns. The end.”
The Big Show makes his way to the ring and is going to wrestle next.
Match #4: Single – The Big Show VS. Erik Rowan
Before the bell, Show is already assaulting Erik. He knocks him down then splashes/elbow-drops him from the second turnbuckle.
Winner: No Contest via No Official Start
Segment #11: Video Promo
The newest inductee into the WWE Hall Of Fame is former World Heavyweight Champion of the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Larry Zbysko!
Segment #12: Arena Promo
Kane is in the ring with Heath Slater, Titus O-Neil, Darren Young, Goldust, Jack Swagger, Fandango, Curtis Axel, and Zack Ryder. He wants to show everyone what will happen when he’s in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Mark Henry makes his presence felt and wins the battle royal.
Segment #13: Arena Promo
Paul Heyman goes on a super-tirade about his client, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, and how much of a beast he is and what he will to do Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, whether the WWE likes it or not!
Roman Reigns then joins him. He respects Paul E for being “possibly the best-talker ever in this business.” He says that while people think Heyman is degrading his family, Roman realizes that he is not and instead giving everyone a “warning” of where Roman comes from. He turns to the camera and wants to talk to Lesnar. “If you were here right now, I’d tell you face-to-face, but you’re not. But we finally see eye-to-eye, because I’m not going into this thing thinking there’s going to be a ‘happy-ending’ or ‘happy-ending,’ no man. I’m expecting a ‘fight,’ hoping for a ‘war,’ and I’m expecting from this ‘war’ to be carried out.” Reigns declares that he will be carried out by his family, with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with him. “Right next to that championship is a huge chip on my shoulder, for people telling me ‘I can’t,’ people like these guys right here, (pointing to the crowd who are chanting ‘Daniel Bryan.’) people telling me I can’t. But Brock Lesnar, guess what? I’m going to beat your ass at WrestleMania. Not because I want to, not because I need to. Because I can, I will, and I believe that.”
Segment #14: Backstage Promo
Rene Young interviews Paul Heyman, who gives a semi-creepy-sounding talk. Heyman says that he will bring Lesnar to Raw next week so he and Roman Reigns can square off prior to WrestleMania.
Match #5: Six-Man Tag-Team – Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett, Stardust, and Luke Harper VS. Daniel Bryan, “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler, and “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose (Non-Title)
(Note: R-Truth makes his way to the ring to watch this contest.) Ambrose and Stardust start out, while R-Truth goes to the commentary table with the I.C. Title clipped to his back. Bryan is tagged in and locks Stardust in a surfboard-stretch. He clotheslines Stardust over the ropes, then all six face-off.
Ambrose and Harper are now going at it, with Dean spinning Luke around with a Tornado DDT out of the corner! Both then switch partners; Ziggler and Stardust now wrestle with Dolph getting the best of Stardust until Stardust hits Ziggler with a dropkick. Bad News comes in and dominates Dolph until “The Show-Off” takes out both him and Harper over the top rope. He goes to tag, but Harper and yank Dean and Daniel from the apron. Luke sit-down powerbombs Dolph for a two-count!
Bryan receives the hot-tag and is all over Bad News, then suicide-dives onto Harper while tagging Ambrose! He flies off the top turnbuckle with a crossbody, then chops away on Stardust! He hits a clothesline, but falls to a boot by Harper.
Luke also sends Bryan to the floor, but Ziggler kicks him down after. Bad News comes in and drops Dolph to the outside with Wasteland, but then turns around into the “Dirty Deeds” DDT by Dean for the victory!
Winners via Pinfall: Daniel Bryan, “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler, and “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose
Post-match, another big brawl ensues over the I.C. Championship. Bad News finally gets his belt back, after levelling Ziggler, Bryan, and Ambrose with the Bullhammer Elbow! On the way up the aisle, he also nails R-Truth.
Segment #15: Office Promo
Seth Rollins walks in on Stephanie and Triple-H chatting; he wonders what they might do to help him out since everyone else has left him. Stephanie says that all this is his fault, but he blames her. HHH gets in his face, but Rollins accuses him of “playing hide-and-seek with Sting.” Stephanie advises Seth to take charge again and figure it all out, while “The Game” warns him to leave before his situation “goes from bad to worse.”
Up next, Bray Wyatt!
Segment #16: Video Promo
Amid smoke from an urn, Bray Wyatt appears. “A memory is such a treasure. I remember the first time I ever saw Abigail sitting in that chair. She was so beautiful; not just her appearance, but in the things she said to me and the way she spoke. She told me about all the lies that this rotten world had been feeding me my entire life. She told me about people like you, Undertaker. Last week, you tried to use that memory against me. You tried to use this symbol to burn fear into my heart. The only thing you succeeded at doing is turning chair into dust. But here’s the big question, ‘Deadman.’ Everyone’s asking what is left of you? Is agony? Is it fear? Last year, we saw a broken streak, and a broken and deep soul. And now you’re afraid to show your face. Because you know that in that moment the eyes of the entire world were opened. We suddenly all feel ashamed of their nakedness. It’s such a shame what happened to you. Your destiny taken, it almost brought me to tears. But this is all your fault, and now you’re running out of time. Your fate is sealed. WrestleMania will be your requiem, your final resting place. But it will also be my coronation. And I’m going to make Abigail oh so proud of me, as she watches me destroy the mighty Undertaker, and take my place, my rightful place among the gods. While Undertaker is watcher of the light and the darkness, but after WrestleMania, no one is safe. Behold, the new faces of fear.”
Up next, the main event!
Match #6: Single – “The Viper” Randy Orton VS. “Mr. Money In The Bank” Seth Rollins
Prior to the bout, Rollins stands. He reveals that his disagreements with The Authority were all a ploy; the entire faction walk out and approach a lone, chair-welding Randy in the ring. Rollins directs Kane, J & J, and Show while Triple H and Stephanie watch on. Suddenly, a crow sounds and the lights go out. They come back on and Sting is in the ring! Both he and Orton remove the rest of The Authority while Triple H and Rollins stare them down.
Winner: No Contest due to No Official Start
The show closes with Sting swinging a bat and standing tall with Orton in the ring!
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
This was 50-50 Raw; great promos, almost all bad matches. Onto the analysis:
Excellence: Promos by Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, Paul Heyman, John Cena, Rusev, and Brock Lesnar. As usual, all showed passion and heart, really hyping up their respective WrestleMania matches.
Really loved the video that Lesnar was in, mixed with his matches, and the “attitude” he brings. I liked Reigns’ response; it was intense and made me “believe” in him even more.
As always, Bray’s and Paul’s stand-out the most for their “ways with words.”
Loving the Cena/Rusev rivalry; very old-school “good guy VS. bad guy” mentality, both verbally and physically. If Rusev continues this way, he can be a big star (more on him next week in my predictions; teaser!)
Although predictable with the ending, still really cool to see Sting again. Glad he is not on every week, as when he makes appearances, it feels special, like tonight. Great ending too!
Bogus: when the best match of the night is the Divas, everyone else has a problem! Seriously, A.J. and Nikki seemed to put in hard work and have a pretty-solid match, while the rest of the guys’ bouts were too short or not-at-all! Plus, there were two Smackdown rematches, also not necessary.
All-in-all, a fantastic promo-Raw, but horrible wrestling-Raw. Hopefully they step up the wrestling for the “go-home” to WrestleMania; it is much-needed! Until then, where I will also hopefully remember to make my WrestleMania picks, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!