This Sunday is WrestleMania! Can you feel it? I’m pretty sure we all will after tonight’s Raw, the last one before the “Granddaddy Of Them All!” Tonight, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and his challenger Roman Reigns will face-off before they “dance” at ‘Mania. Let’s hope this sets up their showdown perfectly! Also, we should get all the final details and business taken care of before Sunday, as well as my picks, so read on to find out!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for March 23rd, 2015 – “WrestleMania”
Introduction Segment: Welcoming
The regular Raw video plays and the pyro explodes in the Staples Center of Los Angeles, California. Michael Cole greets us and informs us about the Reigns/Lesnar confrontation, as well as Snoop Dogg/Lion and ESPN Journalist Bill Simmons being on the show.
Segment #2: Arena Promo
The lights darken and a crow crocks. Sting’s video and music plays, and the main himself walks out to an ovation! In the squared circle, “The Stinger” has the microphone. “So this is what it feels like to kick of Monday Night Raw?” Sting says he was a WCW-loyalist for 13 years, but now is ready to “take Triple H down.” This has nothing to with WCW; instead it is because “The Game” has used “manipulation” to get to the top.
Before he can go further, Stephanie McMahon walks out. She joins him in the ring and welcomes him to the “big league.” In return, Sting says she is a “spoiled little brat who had everything handed to her without feeling what it’s like to earn it.”
Stephanie reminds him that it was Triple H who “single-handedly eviscerated your career.” She calls him “nothing more than a face-painted freak.” Sting “woos” in response and winks, then Steph goes to slap him but Sting catches her wrist and holds it until Triple H’s music blares and he charges down. He faces Sting then goes to check on his wife.
HHH takes off his suit-coat and hops up on the apron. Stephanie reaches under the ring and pulls out the sledgehammer. Sting matches this with the baseball bat and swings away. The two intimidate each other then Triple H and Steph walk to the ramp. Sting now drops the bat and his trench coat, enticing “The Game.” Steph holds her husband back, telling him to “save it for WrestleMania.”
The announcer’s let us know that we can vote who Randy Orton will take on tonight; Kane, The Big Show, or Seth Rollins and J & J Security. Also, Nikki Bella will put her Championship on the line against either Paige or A.J. Lee later. Dean Ambrose’s music plays and he walks to the ring, teaming up with R-Truth to take on Stardust and Luke Harper, next!
Match #1: Tag-Team – “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose and R-Truth VS. Luke Harper and Stardust
(Note: Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett is on commentary.) Truth and Stardust start-out, but Stardust is distracted by Bad News at ringside. He tags in Luke, who now goes at it with Ambrose. They trade holds then Ambrose fires up with punches and kicks. He hits a front-dropkick and rolls him in a Majistral Cradle for two! He and R clear the ring for a break.
Stardust is now control of Ambrose, wearing him down with a grounding neck-stretch. Stardust plants him with the Alabama Slammer for a near-fall, then continues to work over Dean. Harper is back in, slugging away and rolling him around. He catches Dean off a run with a Tornado-Sideslam! 1 – 2 – Ambrose gets the shoulder up! Stardust back in and tries to suplex Ambrose from the top turnbuckle. Dean and Harper end up on the floor, but back in the ring, Ambrose spins Luke around with a Tornado-DDT out of the corner!
R-Truth gets the hot-tag and is all over Stardust! He almost takes this bout after a front-face-suplex, but thanks to help from Ambrose taking out Harper, does gets the victory after a twisting-flying-elbow!
Winners via Pinfall: “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose and R-Truth
Segment #3: Arena Promo
Rene Young is on stage with the Special Olympics participants and the President of the Special Olympics. She puts over the Special Olympics World Games, which will take place in Los Angeles, Summer 2015.
Segment #4: Video Promo
A replay of Roman Reigns’ interview with Byron Saxton from last week is aired.
Up next, ESPN Journalist Bill Simmons will be out. First, The Miz and Damien Mizdow make their entrance for a 10-Man Tag-Team and a video of their interview with Will Farrell and Kevin Hart from WWE.com is shown, with Miz belittling Mizdow.
Match #2: Ten-Man Tag-Team – The Miz, Damien Mizdow, The Ascension (Connor and Viktor), and Adam Rose VS. The Primetime Players (“The Big Deal” Titus O’Neil and “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young), Zack Ryder, Erik Rowan, and “The Big Guy” Ryback
(Note: Bill Simmons is on commentary and knows his wrestling/is a huge fan.) Miz teases a tag at first with Mizdow, but takes on Titus instead. Darren comes in and Miz goes for switch with Damien again before he pulls another fast one and slaps hands with Rose. Young and Rose wrestle, then Ryder comes in and gets hot until a clothesline from Adam. Connor of The Ascension is tagged in and punishes Ryder for a while.
Mizdow is tagged in by Rose, but Miz orders him to tag-out. Ryder then makes the hot-tag to Ryback, who demolishes the heels until Miz comes back and boots him. This doesn’t last long as Ryback nails him with a resounding Meathook Clothesline, following up with a Shellshock Marching Samoan Drop for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pinfall: The Primetime Players (“The Big Deal” Titus O’Neil and “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young), Zack Ryder, Erik Rowan, and “The Big Guy” Ryback
The commentary team review last week’s Raw ending, and up next, Randy Orton will face The Authority.
Match #3: Single – “The Viper” Randy Orton VS. ???
The voting reveals, by a percentage of 77%, that it is Rollins, J & J. They walk out all pleased, as Orton measures them up. Joey Mercury begins, getting slammed to the canvas right off the bat. All Orton wants is Rollins, but Joey doesn’t give him Seth, as he tags in Noble, who gets totally messed around with.
Throughout this, Orton tries to get at Seth, but “Mr. Money In The Bank” manages to avoid him. Orton drives both Mercury and Noble to the mat with a double-slingshot-DDT! He measures them for the RKO, but Seth runs in for a Curb Stomp. He misses and runs away again, but Orton hits the RKO on Jamie to take this one!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Viper” Randy Orton
Segment #4: Backstage Promo
AJ and Paige have a conversation about who deserves the Divas Title Match more. Paige calls AJ “crazy,” but quickly hugs her to make up for it. She walks away, with AJ contemplating.
Match #4: Single for the Divas Championship – Paige (with AJ Lee) (Challenger) VS. Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella) (Champion)
After formal introduction (nice touch now for all championship matches!), they lock up and struggle back-and-forth. Paige tackles Nikki and punches away, then knees her against he ropes. She then headbutts her, but Nikki sweeps her up and does push-ups to make fun of her. Paige trips Nikki back, then dives off the apron onto Nikki! Back in the ring, Nikki knees her then rams her knee into Paige’s face for a two-count.
Nikki has Paige locked in a grounding chinlock, but Paige elbows her way out. She runs off the ropes but is planted with a spinebuster for a near-fall! Both women clothesline each other, then Paige gets the momentum back with three clotheslines herself! She runs at Nikki in the corner, but Bella elbows her and nails a springboard-kick for two!
Paige ducks a clothesline and kicks Nikki hard, then covers. 1 – 2 – Nikki gets the shoulder up! Paige attempts the Ram-Paige DDT, but Nikki reverses into an inside cradle for two! Nikki slams her with an Alabama Slam for another near-fall, then tries the Rack Attack, but Paige elbows. She plants her with the Ram-Paige. 1 – 2 – Nikki still kicks out!
Nikki kicks Paige off, then they both tumble to the floor. AJ takes out Brie, but also Paige by mistake. Nikki capitalizes with the Rack Attack Drop to retain her title!
Winner via Pinfall and STILL Divas Champion: Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella)
Post-match, AJ is beside herself until Paige takes her down and they brawl. The referee separates Paige and AJ, then Paige walks off.
Replays of Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler’s contest from the Gauntlet Match on Smackdown is shown, then it is announced they will wrestle again, with a Special Referee to be named from the rest of the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match participants.
Up next, Snoop Dogg will be out.
Segment #5: Arena Promo
Snoop Dogg is welcomed by Lillian Garcia, and makes his entrance with Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae, Cameron, and Alicia Fox. In the ring, Snoop talks about himself and WrestleMania. This brings out Curtis Axel, who wants everyone to know about “Axelmania.” Dogg doesn’t take too kind to this, so he invites the original ‘Mania to join, Hulkamania. Hulk Hogan makes another return, and he and Axel have words. Snoop and Hogan get the better of Curtis and celebrate with the fans.
Match #5: Six-Person Inter-Species Tag-Team – Los Matadores and El Torito VS. Tag-Team Champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd and Natalya (Non-Title)
(Note: The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) are on commentary and it is made known that they will be a part of the Four-Way for the Tag-Team Championship at WrestleMania Kick-Off, also featuring El Matadores, and The New Day)
Cesaro and one of the Los Matadores start, then El Torito is tagged in, so Natalya has to come in. before they go at it, Tyson tags himself in and another Los Matadores matches. He dives and hits the ropes, which gives Kidd and Cesaro time to control. Los Matadores get the hot-tag and the match breaks down until Torito pins Natalya with a Sunset-Flip! (Yes, I really just typed that!)
Winners: Los Matadores and El Torito
Segment #6: Locker Room Promo
Bad News Barrett is admiring his Intercontinental Championship when Director Of Operations Kane walks in. He has to take the title from Barrett, to be hung above the wring for WrestleMania. Barrett disputes this, but Kane informs him that he will be stripped of the championship if he doesn’t follow the order. Bad News gives it over.
This week on Smackdown, it will be Eight-Man Tag-Team action as Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, and Randy Orton will take on Kane, The Big Show, Seth Rollins, and Bray Wyatt!
Match #6: Single – United States Champion Rusev VS. “The Real American” Jack Swagger (Non-Title)
This is actually a pretty great back-and-forth contest before Rusev nails Swagger with a stiff kick and forces him to tap to The Accolade.
Winner via Submission: United States Champion Rusev
Post-match, Rusev continues to hold onto The Accolade until John Cena hurries down. He and Rusev brawl, but Rusev gets the better by shoving him into the barricade and ramming him into the ring post. He chucks him with ease over the announce table, and Cena lands hard on the leather chair. Cena appears hurt, but Rusev continues the punishment. He kicks Cena hard then tears apart the table and slams Cena on it. On the table, Rusev pulls Cena up and clamps on The Accolade. Referees are able to finally break them apart and Rusev poses in the ring with the U.S. Title as the Russian Flag falls from the lighting rigs above the ring.
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Bray Wyatt makes his way to the ring amid cell-phone lights. “Why, oh why do people hid from the truth? Is it because you’re afraid? Is it because you’re embarrassed to show the world who you truly are? But I understand that, I do. Reality can be a very, very difficult pill to swallow. But that does not change the fact that each and every single one of you are guilty You’re guilty. Because the truth is that somewhere there deep down, you hate the person that you have become. The truth is you hate your job because now the only thing you can see is the color green. The truth is that you wake up every morning, you look in that mirror, and you don’t like the person that is staring back at you. So you cover your face with make up; as if that’s gonna heal the sores and it’s going to cover up all the inconsistencies and ugliness that is inside of you; but it does not change the fact that you are all liars! But me, I’m different. I’m not like you. I am not a liar. And I may be a lot of things, but I am not liar. As a matter of fact, my tongue is the sword of truth, and it cuts through the deception of everything in your world. I speak the truth that you all so desperately try to hide yourself from. And if it’s the truth you all want, it’s the truth that I will give you.”
“The Undertaker is just like you. The Undertaker is a ‘liar.’ He tries to hide the fact that he’s lost. And he tries to deny the fact that he wants so desperately for his soul to be set free. But don’t you worry about a thing Undertaker. Because luckily, the angel with the bird wings has been sent to take you back to the other side.” The lights begin to flicker and thunder resounds in the arena. “And you see, there is that ‘mystical aura that you’ve all become so addicted to. Can you feel it, man? Can you feel it? Can you FEEL IT? For these spirits no longer operate by your command. These spirits belong to me now. As a matter of fact, everything belongs TO ME NOW! I control the light and the darkness; and these ‘demons,’ they all march to my command. I am the judge. I judge the dead. I judge the living. And Undertaker, I have judged you; YOU ARE GUILTY! At WrestleMania, there will be no redemption. There will be no shield for you to be carried out on. The only thing that you will receive is your fate sealed by Sister Abigail’s kiss. And then, against your will, and against everything that you stand for, I will take my rightful place among the gods as the ‘New Face Of Fear.’ At WrestleMania, you get the mercy that you’ve been so desperately begging for. At WrestleMania, Undertaker, you can finally ‘Rest In Peace.’” Wyatt kneels and stretches out his right arm, just like ‘Taker.
Segment #8: Video Promo
The last inductee for this year’s class is revealed to be Kevin Nash, also known as Diesel. A montage of his career, both in WWF/E and WCW is shown.
Segment #9: Locker Room Promo
Tag-Team Champion Tyson Kidd is eating Burger King food and Natalya is getting ready with makeup. Pushing the “Attitude Era” envelope, he makes some innuendos about Burger King, which Natalya thinks is about her. When she sees him munching away on the chicken fries, she takes them, and after eating one, also insinuates her “love” in the “attitude” way.
Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler make their entrances, then Booker T. reveals that it will be Dean Ambrose refereeing, next!
Match #7: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler (with Dean Ambrose as Special Referee)
Both Bryan and Ziggler trade mat-wrestling holds and techniques as Ambrose calls it down the middle. Ziggler gets fired up and slugs away in the corner, then drops an elbow on the mat. He slaps Daniel in the corner, which infuriates Bryan. Both engage more fierce hits, then Daniel “skins the cat” and dumps Dolph to the outside with a headscissors. Bryan follows with a running front-dropkick, but is clotheslined into the timekeeper’s section.
Back in the ring, Dolph has Daniel locked in a sleeper. Daniel gets out of it and rolls-up Ziggler for two, then gives him a German-Suplex for two as well! Ziggler crotches Daniel on the turnbuckle, and attempts a top-rope superplex. Bryan fights him down, but Ziggler leaps back up and plants Daniel with a facebuster! He reverses Bryan’s backslide into one of his own, then his nailed with a kick-to-the-head by Bryan! 1 – 2 – Dolph gets the shoulder up!
Bryan kicks away in the corner, but eats a superkick and a Zig-Zag from Dolph! He is covered as Dean counts 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler
Post-match, Ambrose raises Ziggler’s hand, then quickly DDT’s him. He pulls a ladder from under the ring and goes for the I.C. Title. Everyone else involved in the match runs out for a big brawl, and no one gets their hands on the title. Unfortunately, Luke Harper may have been hurt as the ladder landed on his leg.
Backstage, Paul Heyman knocks on Brock Lesnar’s door and tells him “it’s time.”
Segment #10: Arena Promo
“Ladies and Gentlemen ….. my name is Paul Heyman, and I am the advocate for the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion Of The World, Brock Lesnar!” Heyman gets to the point fast, saying he doesn’t need to say much more for us to watch Reigns VS. Lesnar at ‘Mania.
“One man will be ‘the winner’, one man will be ‘the loser.’ One man will be the successful; the other man will be a failure. And ladies and gentlemen, Brock Lesnar makes ‘failures’ out of everyone who steps in front of him. Last year at WrestleMania, I said ‘Brock Lesnar VS. The Streak.’ You said ‘he can’t and he won’t.’ And so I said ‘he will’ and he did. Last year, at SummerSlam, I said ‘Brock Lesnar will give John Cena a “prison beating” and suplex him out of the main-event of WrestleMania.’ You said ‘he can’t and he won’t.’ I said, ‘he can’ and so he did. Because John Cena is not in the main-event of WrestleMania this year, Brock Lesnar is! John Cena is not ending this show, Brock Lesnar is! And here’s a little secret for Roman Reigns. Because Roman Reigns wants tot take that title from Brock Lesnar. And Roman Reigns is making Brock Lesnar out to be some sort of cold-blooded cyborg.” Heyman calls his client “an intensely-passionate competitor who loves being WWE Champion almost as much as he loves sadistically beating the ass of any man that tries to take that title away from him. Brock Lesnar takes that title personally.” Paul E. makes an analogy that if Roman was to win the championship, then he would take over Lesnar’s entire life.
“That’s a conqueror and Brock Lesnar conquers everything that stands before him. And this Sunday, Brock Lesnar conquers the main-event of WrestleMania.” “Roman Reigns, you say ‘I can and I will.’ This Sunday at WrestleMania, the reigning and defending undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion Of The World says ‘you can’t.’ And therefore, Roman Reigns, you won’t.”
Roman Reigns now answers, walking through the fans to the ring. He gets in Lesnar’s face, and as Brock holds up the title, Reigns yanks it away, then they both pull on the championship as the show closes.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
This was a pretty decent Raw, finalizing some storylines well while leaving more on the table for others before the big show. Onto the analysis:
Excellence: Promos by Sting, Stephanie, Wyatt, and Heyman. Sting’s first single oratory on Raw was short and sweet, and much like his old-self from W.C.W. He hasn’t lost a word on the mike; let’s hope he hasn’t lost a step in the ring! Stephanie spoke her role just fine, and Heyman and Bray’s were filled with passion and really backed up the reasons for their respective bouts nicely.
Fantastic match for the Divas Championship; this “give Divas a chance” movement has really built steam and I’m glad WWE listened. Once again, still loving the Rusev/Cena rivalry; it is straight-up good VS. bad old-school and one where the fans aren’t split for once (other than Lana!) I hope it continues past ‘Mania.
Bogus: I was expecting more from a lot tonight, especially since this is the last Raw before ‘Mania. For starters, Orton/Authority’s encounter fell flat. A promo by either side (just one, though!) would’ve “spiced it up” a little more. Also, where was Big Show? Miz/Mizdow should’ve had a face-off a the end of the match to leave us speculating what will happen at ‘Mania between the two. Even though I loved the match, it didn’t make sense for A.J. and Paige to turn on each other tonight. I think Paige should’ve won the title, then A.J. turn on her at ‘Mania, setting up a finale to their feud. This would’ve also lit a little more of a fire under The Bellas for revenge, and made their tag-team match suspenseful.
Speaking of Tag-Teams, I’m really disappointed that the Four-Way is on the pre-show. They have actually made the Tag-Titles a bit more prominent lately and I have enjoyed the teams “stepping it up,” so to have them on the pre-show is kind of a “slap-in-the-face” on all the hard work the teams have done. Plus, why were New Day not included somehow in tonight’s match. While they wrestled good, I thought Bryan/Ziggler could’ve been longer.
Lastly, I was also hoping for a brawl or “one-upsmanship” of moves between Lesnar and Reigns to test each others strength; the ending for them/Raw was also dull and a “that’s it?” It would’ve been more effective to have them show each other what the other can do and build more for their bout.
WrestleMania Predictions: I can actually see an upset, so I’m picking Matadores for Tag-Title win; Bellas over A.J./Paige; another upset I’m going for is R-Truth to take the I.C. Title – I think he could have a good run with it, as he can wrestle and has a great personality/ability on the mike; as much as I want Rusev to win, after Cena’s demolishing tonight, “super-Cena” will rise again and give the U.S. Champ his first loss; Orton wins and steals/captures (if it ends up being on the line) the MITB briefcase, and challenges my winner for the WWE Heavyweight Title shortly down the road; Undertaker wins by count-out/dq to continue feud with Wyatt, where Bray could get a clean win on a lesser stage; (Although, I would like Bray to win all-out and really become a big star from that “rub.”); Sting over Triple H, no question; I see Reigns winning, end WrestleMania on a “happy note” again, and with it being in his family’s home-area. Then I can see him cutting a major heel promo the next night on Raw, ripping on the fans (rightfully so!) for not “believing” in him, and now he has a plethora of past-champs who are legit faces (Orton, Bryan, Sting, Ziggler, Ambrose) to dominate for the year and get back his “steam.” Then Lesnar could come back anytime between SummerSlam and the Rumble to a big face reaction and get his rematch and another bout with a bad-guy Roman while Brock is another super-face. I would really like to see the story play it out this way; it would be very interesting and provide months of great rivalries.
Until next week, where a “new year” in WWE begins, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!