The PG Era Rant: Raw, 2/24/14

When
last we left our heroes, they were on the WWE Network. Heck, odds
are some of you never left the heroes today. I know I’ll be going
straight to the Network when the show’s over.
The
PG Era Rant for WWE Raw, February 24, 2014.
Live
from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Or is it Milwaukee? Where’s R-Truth when
you need him?
BUT
FIRST, it’s a Raw Pre-Show!
Your
panel is Josh Mathews, Booker T, Alex Riley, and Ric Flair.

The
first big story is that Hulk Hogan is back and will host WrestleMania
30. But first, he’s in the house tonight, and on the post-game show
(which I am not
reviewing, thank you very much) they will interview him.
Booker
T is distracted by Kofi Kingston coming out for Superstars, but the
panelists talk about who they’re most looking for. Booker cites
Hogan, but Flair cites Cena. Riley talks about the ending of the
Elimination Chamber and wants to know what’ll happen next. Kofi’s
opponent is Damien Sandow, by the way. You’re welcome.
We
cut to Superstars, where Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton are calling
the action. Kofi with some kicks on Sandow, and he leaps on Sandow
in the corner with the ten punches only for Sandow to escape. Sandow
ducks a high-risk move and gets two. He repeatedly headbutts Kofi…
…and
back to the panel as Booker analyzes what we just saw.
Josh
Mathews says it’s time to discuss the six-man tag team match from
last night as Bray Wyatt pinned Roman Reigns of all people. Riley is
interested in what Seth Rollins is thinking right now, because the
Shield is falling apart and he’s the one who put it together. Booker
says the Wyatts were the better team last night, because Roman Reigns
has become the leader of the group and he needs people to fall behind
him. Flair agrees, and thinks Reigns is ready to go solo.
Back
in the ring, Kingston steals the win from Sandow with a small
package. No way to rate this.
Lawler
interviews Kofi on the stage. He asks Kofi about WrestleMania and
how big the win was. Kofi says all wins are big. He plays up the
great crowd, and says he now has momentum.
Mathews
jokes that Kofi is in Booker’s Fave Five. Flair: “If he wants to
be The Guy, he’s gotta buy himself a Lear Jet, cuz it’s a long way to
WrestleMania.” Booker says that the win – and attention from
Lawler – will help his cause.
The
panel recaps Alberto Del Rio’s match against Batista, talking about
Del Rio’s fake injury and how it wasn’t enough for him to take over
on Batista. There will be a future rematch at Del Rio’s request,
which Flair thinks is career suicide. Booker T is a Randy Orton fan,
but he knows Batista is on a huge roll. Even so, Booker is picking
Orton to win that match. Riley says Del Rio could win tonight.
The
Brothers Rhodes are making their way for a match.
Your
WWE.COM question: what was the Match of the Night? Usos/Outlaws,
Wyatts/Shield, or Chamber? Each panelist picks a different match.
Los
Matadores are on their way to the ring.
We’re
back as 3MB is coming to the ring, and we discuss that Brock Lesnar
may be in the house. We look back at the Brock/Show match – what
little there was of it – at the Royal Rumble, complete with 100
chair shots. Josh asks who should be worried. Flair: “The entire
building.” Riley says that if he can do that to Show, he can do
anything to anyone. Booker says the locker room is afraid.
Brad
Maddox is with Renee Young. Renee asks about Brock Lesnar rumors.
But before Maddox can talk to Renee, Sheamus and Christian are
arguing about their recent rivalry. Maddox interrupts their argument
and puts them in a match on Raw. Sheamus issues an idle threat.
The
live look-in ad talks about the results of the Elimination Chamber
and the return of Hulk Hogan.
Booker
T is looking forward to the match, but Riley reminds us that
Christian pinned Sheamus inside the Chamber. Flair reminds us that
Christian has been in ladder matches, so he isn’t afraid. Booker
claims Christian is starting over, so he needs the match more than
Sheamus. The Superstars match appears to be Cody, Dustin, Fernando,
and Diego against Jinder, McIntyre, Ryback, and Axel.
Josh
brings up the Chamber match itself, with emphasis on all the outside
interference by the Wyatts and Kane. The editing implies Kane cost
Bryan the title. Riley says that Bryan was absolutely about to win,
but Booker T disagrees and says that we’ll never know. He called
Orton winning, you know. Flair wants Riley to just start a Yes chant
and get it overwith. Riley notes that Orton drew the last number,
but Booker writes it off as luck. Flair points out that those five
matches means he knows the people in it and that helped him retain.
Booker and Riley argue about the Orton/Bryan thing. Booker says it’s
time for Bryan to take a back seat, because Orton and Batista is set
for Mania.
Josh
turns the attention to Cena being attacked by the Wyatts. The
question: what does Bray have against Cena? Josh seems to say Wyatt
cost Cena the title. Flair says that when the Wyatts arrive, hide
from them. Booker says the Wyatts just want to hurt someone. Riley
says that the ‘down with the machine’ message goes straight to Cena,
who is the biggest beneficiary of the Machine.
The
Raw announcers are on their way to the desk. Did Booker T do a 3
Minute Warning reference?
Your
RAW hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler.
Final
question: what do you look forward to most? Booker: how John Cena
and others are going to make their statement. Flair: “In this
business, you’re only as good as your last night.”
We
are ready to begin as a YES chant starts up.
And
we open the main show with the return of Hulk Hogan! Pardon me while
I mark out.
*one
minute later*
Okay,
I’m back. The announcers are giving Hogan a standing ovation. Hogan
milks it for all it’s worth because that’s how Hogan rolls. LONG
Hogan chant. Hogan: “WELL LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING BROTHER!”
Hogan does the usual Hogan promo to say that tonight is a turning
point of his career, because he is home (brothers). He says he was
part of something special back in the day, that being WrestleMania I.
He says history was made then, and it’s being made today with the
launch of the “WWE Universe”. You mean Network, Hulk. He covers
for his slip. And the Hulkamaniacs were part of the launch. He
feels like a proud father because of the Network. He can watch
Sammartino matches, Michaels matches, Austin matches, Rock matches…
but most importantly, then, now, and forever are on the Network, and
the future of the Network is WrestleMania 30. He makes it official:
he’s hosting Mania. Whatcha gonna do when WrestleMania runs wild on
you? I find it interesting that Hogan opens his Raw and Rock, in the
same role, closed it. Also, Hogan didn’t make fun of the people in
the main event or spoil any major results.
Cole
speaks about the WWE Network launch and that the one-week trial is
underway. And every PPV ever will be on it. Lawler shows us that
you can see every PPV and how to find any PPV ever (while Hogan
entertains the crowd with poses). JBL is showing us the Network on
the laptop. He says you can search by wrestler, even. Such as JBL.
The announcers are giddy about this. I love it.
Tonight,
Daniel Bryan faces Kane. Also, is Brock Lesnar here? Plus, Batista
rematches against Alberto Del Rio next.
Alberto Del Rio
v. Batista.
Crowd is really not
behind Batista. They’re not necessarily for Del Rio yet. Cole does
acknowledge the reaction, saying “Like him or not…” I think
the crowd is on “not”. Batista attacks right off the bell,
stomping away in the corner and getting a Hammer Throw. Short
clothesline by Boo-Tista and Del Rio bails, but Batista catches him
and throws him into the barricade. He sends Del Rio into the apron
and throws him back in, but Del Rio catches him and attacks as the
crowd chants “Si”. Suplex try is blocked and reversed by
Batista, who then clotheslines Del Rio to the floor. Del Rio sweeps
out Batista while on the apron, then throws Batista into the steps as
we go to break.
Del
Rio/Batista, part two.
Del Rio
has floored Batista as the crowd keeps up “Si” chants. He stomps
away on Batista, then mocks his posing to scattered cheers. Del Rio
charges but flies through the ropes as he usually does. Del Rio
returns and hangs Batista up on the top rope before going up, but
Batista punches him and throws rights before following up. Superplex
by Batista leads to a Double KO. Crowd counts along with the ref.
Del Rio is up first, and a slugfest breaks out with the crowd on Del
Rio’s side. Del Rio ends it with a gut superkick but runs into
clotheslines. Powerslam by Batista gets two. Del Rio with the
Armstabber out of nowhere and he’s ready to finish with the low
superkick, but he misses and has to adjust to stomp Batista. Was
that a botch? Del Rio is ready for another something, but a blind
charge misses and Batista gets a spinebuster. And here comes Randy
Orton to a cheer? Del Rio uses the distraction to roll Batista up
for the pin at 9:33. Orton insincerely apologizes before beginning
his promo. **

Orton
says they go way back, and they’ve shared laughs, but that loss was
hilarious. He also finds it funny how the WWE Universe hates
Batista. Orton thinks Batista’s sorry he returned. This starts, for
no reason, a CM Punk chant. Batista (winded) says Orton is very
wrong. He tells everyone that he loves this business (no one seems
to buy it). He also loves the voice the fans have, but he has a
voice too, and if the fans boo him, he’ll boo back. “It’s called
being real.” Orton doesn’t know what real is. But that’s not
relevant right now; what is relevant is that he will beat up someone
he used to consider his friend, but who is now a “whining,
sniveling, kiss-ass suck-up”. Batista calls himself the next
champion, and deal with it. That was weird. I’m kinda curious where
they’re going with this.
Up
next, Antonio Cesaro faces Big E Langston.
Big E Langston
v. Antonio Cesaro.
I’m using
full names because I’m a rebel. Last night, Langston beat Jack
Swagger. Cesaro has Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. Langston with a
headlock as a huge We The People chant begins. After a long leapfrog
sequence, Langston floors Cesaro, who bails. Swagger offers advice,
and back in, Cesaro gets a waistlock takedown. Langston throws
Cesaro and punches away, but Cesaro with knee strikes and a European
Uppercut. Cesaro with more knee strikes, but he runs into an
overhead suplex. Langston gets a second one and spears Cesaro into
the corner. Another shoulder ram and he covers, getting two.
Langston with the arm, but Cesaro punches out and gets an uppercut.
Clotheslines go nowhere, but Cesaro with a big boot. Swagger taunts
Langston as Cesaro works the back and goes to a neck crank as we get
a USA chant. For whom? Langston fights out, but a blind charge eats
elbow. Cesaro dives into Langston’s arms, and Langston with a series
of rib breakers. It gets two. Langston with the arm again as JBL
and Cole ask what “E” stands for in “Big E”. Cesaro with a
series of headbutts and a headlock. Cole reveals E’s real name:
Ettore. JBL: “Like in Winnie the Pooh?” Cesaro holds the
headlock, but Langston breaks it only to get caught in mid-air in a
leapfrog to a throw for two as we go to break.
Langston/Cesaro,
part two.
We return with Cesaro
holding what looks like a cobra clutch. Langston punches out, and a
slugfest breaks out, won by Cesaro until he runs into a press slam.
Blind charge eats the post, though, and Cesaro rolls him up for two.
Cesaro with a running jump stomp for two. Cesaro with more uppercuts
in the corner, and the ref forces a break, only to allow Cesaro a
running strike for two. He switches to the sleeper as Cole puts over
Langston’s resiliency. Langston elbows out, but Cesaro stuns him
only to get caught. Cesaro slides out and gets an Orton-esque
powerslam for two. Swagger and Colter offer coaching, and Cesaro
goes for the Karelin Suplex, connecting for two. Back to the
chinlock, switching to the sleeper. A slugfest breaks out, which
Langston wins, but Cesaro reverses a whip and goes back to the
sleeper. Langston beals him off the shoulder, but runs into an
elbow. He recovers with clotheslines and a Greco-Roman throw.
Ultimate Splash follows, for two. The straps are down, boys! He’s
ready for the Big Ending, but Cesaro avoids it and lands the Catapult
Uppercut for two. Swagger is incredulous. Crowd wants the swing,
and so does Cesaro. Langston fights out of it before it starts and
catches a charging Cesaro in an STO for two. That was a nasty
landing on the STO. Crowd rallies behind We The People as Cesaro
low-bridges out Langston. Langston catches Swagger trying to run
interference, and Langston’s back in. But he runs into the GIANT
SWING OF DOOM (8 rotations, though the impatient crowd reaches 10).
And then out of nowhere, Swagger races in and applies the Patriot
Lock for the DQ at 15:44. ***1/4
Colter and Cesaro are furious. Swagger tries to explain, but as he
does, Langston attacks Swagger. Cesaro cuts it off and gets the
Neutralizer, with a nasty landing. Swagger looks a little jealous.
He’s desperately trying to explain, but Colter doesn’t want to hear
it.
We
go back to last night and look at the Chamber main event, focusing on
Cena having Orton beaten (maybe) when the Wyatt Family materialized
inside the Chamber and wiped the floor with him. So tonight, John
Cena will issue a rebuttal.
John
Cena is out next as it’s already 9:00 and that first hour felt like
an Action Zone show. Wait, why’s Cena running the ropes? He doesn’t
have a match. But first, Cena is happy to see Hogan back. And the
fans will remember tonight because Raw #1083 is when the Network
began. So the future is NOW! He mentions that he’s been challenging
all the young guns to step up by going through him. He knows that a
lot of people are uncomfortable with that, but he wants the respect
of being the gatekeeper to the future. He knows he’s made himself a
target, which segues to Bray Wyatt. Wyatt has caused trouble, and he
knew they were coming for him… but at the Chamber? Isn’t the
Chamber locked shut? But no, Bray got in and cost him his
championship match. Cena asks if Wyatt wants to make another bold
move, because Cena is ready for a fight.
And
now the rebuttal: “Green Bay, we’re here.” They redid that
specifically for tonight. Interesting. Here comes the Family. Bray
takes a seat and a mic. He says the world has an infection: the
human race. It makes sense that Cena’s in the middle of these
troubling times. What’s the world without a hero? He says Cena’s
the knight in shining armor. But Cena is hollow, with empty
promises. He says he’ll save the people, keep them safe, and that
everything will be all right when he’s there. But he been lyin to
you, man! The world is awful, cold, and lonely. Cena stands for
illusions, but Bray believes in the real. So is the future through
Cena? Bray likes that and agrees. Bray then properly introduces
himself to Cena. “We are the reapers who bring death to this era
of lies”.
But
Cena introduces himself too, and he says that as long as even one of
them starts it, they won’t be able to finish it. “So if you make
that move… it’s go time, Jack.” Cena’s surrounded (sort of) and
begging them to come in as we get a standoff. The Family charges,
and after a flurry by Cena, the numbers are too much. Bray pulls
back the Family after a brief message sent as the crowd wants Bryan
to make a save. Bray taunts Cena, who pulls himself up…. and
charges? Bad idea, as the Family pounds him back down. After
another flurry, Bray calls them off and taunts again. Cena pulls
himself up again, and this time the Family leaves, message sent.
Except Rowan. Cena knocks him out of the ring, and Bray catches Cena
with a back elbow as he returns. Bray poses over Cena’s body as we
blink out. I’m getting a “Superman II” vibe from that segment,
and that’s a very good thing, as you know.
Moments
ago, you saw what happened. Cena was taken out on a stretcher.
Christian v.
Sheamus.
Christian is limping
to the ring as we look back at the Raw Pre-Show set-up for this
match. Sheamus pushes Christian into the corner and breaks. Another
lockup try, and Sheamus throws Christian out of the ring. Christian
slowly returns, ducking a lockup and slapping Sheamus. This just
ticks him off. Sheamus goes to town in the corner, adding a
clothesline for two. Sheamus with knees to the back and an armlock.
Christian slaps out of it, but Sheamus clotheslines Christian out of
the ring. Christian catches Sheamus, but an attempt to do the splits
on the post backfires and Christian is loopy. Back in, kneedrops by
Sheamus and he hooks the nose. Christian catches Sheamus and drops
him on the top rope. Missile dropkick gets one. Sheamus fires off
forearms, but Christian with a knee to the gut and Sheamus is in
trouble. Christian hooks the nose on Sheamus, but can’t send him
into the buckle. Sheamus fights out of it and backdrops Christian
out of the ring, following with the Battering Ram as we go to break.
Christian/Sheamus,
part two.
Sheamus is on the top
rope but gets caught and sent to the outside. He sends Sheamus into
the steps, and back in, he gets two. Christian fires away on Sheamus
and says he should be champion, then stomps away in the corner. He
tries to pull Sheamus out, and after some struggle, gets a falling
headbutt. Christian works the ribs with a back bearhug (!?), driving
his knees into the back. Cole provides a medical update on Cena
while the crowd is bored by this match. Sheamus fights out of it,
but Christian kicks away and goes to an abdominal stretch. Sheamus
fights out of it, landing elbows and uppercuts. He puts his head
down, though, and Christian takes over with a kick and over-the-top
uppercut. He goes to the top, but the bodypress misses as Sheamus
ducks. Sheamus catches Christian and gives him a kneelift and Polish
Hammers. Christian slides out the back and tosses Sheamus, but
Sheamus avoids a charge and kneelifts Christian. Ten of Clubs time,
and Sheamus catapults back in with a shoulder tackle for two.
Sheamus tries for the Cloverleaf, but Christian punches out of it and
goes up, only to get caught and put in the Cloverleaf for real.
Christian makes the ropes. He bails, and Sheamus chases, allowing
Christian to ambush him in the ring. Christian claps up the crowd,
looking for the Killswitch, but Sheamus goes for White Noise, but
Christian with a roll-up for two. Pump slam by Sheamus gets two.
Both men struggle to their feet as the crowd gets behind Sheamus, who
signals for the Brogue Kick. It misses, and Christian gets a
pendulum kick. He goes up and dives… RIGHT INTO A BROGUE KICK for
the pin at 15:46. Great finish to a boring match. Christian just
has nothing left in the tank anymore. *1/4
The
announcers talk about how to get the one-week trial of the WWE
Network, mentioning the Raw Pre-Show, then earlier tonight before we
went on the air, Daniel Bryan ran into the Authority. See, Renee
Young was talking to HHH about the WWE Network when Daniel Bryan
storms in and is FURIOUS. He wants to fight HHH at WrestleMania.
HHH refuses the fight because Bryan’s not an A+ player. Bryan will
get a match, don’t worry. Daniel says he’s won every time… but
Stephanie offers Kane as a sacrifice. Bryan does not seem satisfied.
Okay, Bryan/HHH needs to happen at Mania 30.
So,
yeah, Daniel Bryan will face Kane tonight.
Black
History Month looks back at Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson.
Backstage,
Seth Rollins asks where Dean Ambrose disappeared to, but Ambrose is
sick of explaining himself. If they don’t trust him, fine. Ambrose
waks out. Rollins wants to believe him, but doesn’t know if he
can… and the Wyatts arrive. Reigns is ready to settle it and
challengers Bray Wyatt one-on-one, no backup. Bray accepts, and as
the Shield leave, Bray laughs.
Did
you see the Raw Pre-Show? They cut to the panel, where Alex Riley is
nowhere to be found, but Booker, Josh, and Flair are still around.
Booker praises the Christian/Sheamus match, but he says he’s ready
for Reigns/Bray. Flair, on the other hand, wants to know how Cena
is, and then he wants to see Kane/Bryan. Flair leads a YES chant.
As a reminder, they’ll all be on a post-game show later tonight.
And
this segues into Daniel Bryan.
Sidenote: my
minions are informing me that CM Punk is being pitched a sweetheart
deal to return next week in Chicago and set up a match with Triple H
at WrestleMania. A match that would mean that Bryan would not be
allowed to face the champ OR the Authority at Mania. So as much fun
as Punk is in the ring, you’ll forgive me if I tell him to stay away.
I also know that the fans will forgive Punk instantly and not hold
it against him, even though he’d essentially be taking Daniel Bryan’s
match from him by whining about it.
Daniel Bryan v.
Kane.
Bryan charges and kicks
away in the corner. Kane grabs the injured arm and uppercuts Bryan,
working the arm and throwing it into the buckle. He sends him across
the ring shoulder first, but Bryan sends Kane into the buckles with a
drop toe hold. Bryan with more kicks to the hamstrings, wrapping it
around the ropes and landing a dropkick. Bryan keeps working the leg
as the crowd chants for him. He goes to the Celtic Knot as Cole
brings up a good point: if Daniel Bryan’s not good enough, HHH should
be able to beat him. JBL’s reply: he’s not a wrestler anymore.
Bryan clips Kane repeatedly, then goes to a single-leg crab. Kane
makes the ropes. The announcers are arguing over HHH’s motives as
Kane drapes Bryan’s arm over the ropes, then slams him into the post
arm-first. Kane stomps the arm back in, then wraps his arm around
the middle rope. Kane gets a boot choke and lifts Bryan up, dropping
him on the arm. It gets two. Lawler wants to talk about the match
going on as Kane gets a hammerlock and chinlock. Bryan elbows out,
but Kane throws him to the floor. Kane follows, so Bryan slides in
and dropkicks Kane through the ropes. Tope suicida try is cut off by
an uppercut, and Bryan goes shoulder-first into the steps as we go to
break.
Bryan/Kane,
part two.
Bryan is kicking away
at Kane’s leg, but Kane gets a big boot for two. Kane rips off the
tape on Bryan’s shoulder, wrapping it around the bottom rope and
getting an avalanche for two. Kane with an armbar, but Bryan punches
out of it only to get a straight right. Bryan with the video game
comeback, but he lands on his bad arm. Crowd goes YES to rally
Bryan, and it leads to the YES Kicks, but the roundhouse misses.
Kane with a side slam for two. Kane goes outside and to the top, but
Bryan intercepts and kicks the leg away. He follows Kane up, landing
a Frankensteiner for two. Bryan with coast-to-coast dropkicks on
Kane, but the third one runs into a throat thrust by Kane. Kane
charges but gets low-bridged, and Bryan follows with the Tope
Suicida, sending both men into the barricade. Bryan adds a dropkick
into the barricade, and back in, Bryan goes up with a missile
dropkick (again landing on the bad arm). Bryan somehow kips up, and
the roundhouse YES Kick gets two. Bryan back up, and it’s a Ram Jam
(with the Mania sign being framed nicely), but Kane catches him with
the goozle and chokeslam for a very close two. Crowd is into this
one, starting a YES to celebrate. JBL argues it’s a three. Kane
grabs Bryan, but Bryan gets the Yes Lock instead… but Kane blocks
it and chokes Bryan. He goes for another chokeslam, but Bryan blocks
it and goes back to the Yes Lock try. Kane shoves Bryan aside, but
Bryan returns with the Buraiku for the pin at 15:40. Man, they’re
bringing the workrate tonight. ***1/2
Cole says this proves that Bryan should get a Mania payday. The
fact that this match happened, in full, on Raw, means Bryan/HHH has
to be endgame.
Bryan
has the mic now, and he recaps what happened earlier today. He calls
HHH a coward – no, he screams it. He says HHH hid behind
Stephanie’s skirt after being challenged. Bryan says that ever since
HHH became the COO, he’s ignored the crowd, and he demands the crowd
become too loud to ignore. This leads to a YES chant. Bryan: “ARE
YOU LISTENING?” Bryan demands HHH at WrestleMania as the crowd
chants behind him. This is so making the video package. Bryan
officially lays down the challenge. The Yes Movement is behind him.
Cole is claiming this is too much for HHH to ignore.
Later
tonight, it’s Roman Reigns against Bray Wyatt. Also, Brock Lesnar IS
in the building! But next, Summer Rae is in action.
Batista
will appear on SmackDown, and he’s going to say what he thinks. Get
your popcorn ready.
“He
knows nothing of entitlement. He will achieve greatness by any means
necessary.” He is the most interesting Bulgarian in the world.
Summer Rae v.
Emma.
This is Emma’s major
league debut, bubbles and all. And she’s trying to swat the bubbles.
JBL hates Emma. The two dance to start, but Summer pushes Emma
down, and Emma returns in kind. Summer with a guillotine roll and
catfighting, then she poses. Summer throws Emma into the buckle, but
a blind charge misses and Emma returns with a cradle for one. Summer
with a spinning standing kick for two. Summer throws Emma down and
stomps the back. She chokes Emma on the middle rope (“Isn’t she
cute, Santino!?” “Yes she is, okay!?”) and drapes her knee
over Emma’s throat for two. (“You’re not gonna help her?” “I’d
be disqualified!”) Summer with another two-count, and she goes for
a cobra clutch. Crowd gets behind Emma, which is a good sign.
Summer keeps Emma grounded, though, and holds the lock in for some
time. Santino fires up the crowd, and Emma escapes, catches the
kick, and gets an Indian Deathlock Bridge for the submission at 3:30.
She jumps into Santino’s arms… and knocks him over. Decent debut
for Emma, but too much Summer Rae cobra clutch stuff. Needs more
offense from Emma. 1/2*
Hulk
Hogan’s return made serious headlines everywhere, as you may have
heard. And here’s footage of him from earlier tonight.
Up
next, the Outlaws face the Usos in what appears to be a non-title
match.
The
WWE Rewind is about last night and the Outlaws retaining the tag
titles… but they spotlight that Gunn had a handful of tights.
Interesting.
New Age Outlaws
v. Usos.
No entrances. Outlaws
beg off as the match begins, and Dogg asks for a mic. See, they
forgot to do their spiel. The Usos actually leave the ring to let
them do it. As a reminder, the bell did ring. And Dogg turns around
into a superkick. Jey goes up top for the big splash as Jimmy dives
on Gunn. Suck it as the Usos win at 1:14. Gentlemen, your homework
for tonight is to go on the WWE Network and watch the Hart Foundation
against the Bolsheviks. Because they didn’t.
More
WWE Network info. Dude, you already have my money. Jerry Lawler
shows us that old episodes of TV are available as he shows us how to
load a show on an iPad. You can get it on the Kindle Fire or laptop,
too. Again, JBL searches for himself.
Roman
Reigns is on his way to the ring, through the crowd, alone. As
promised.
Roman Reigns v.
Bray Wyatt.
Bray also arrives
alone. We get a flashback of the Wyatts attacking Cena, as word is
Cena may not be 100% legitimately. Who knows? Cena has been sent to
a medical facility. Roman hasn’t moved since Bray arrived. Now Bray
hasn’t moved since the bell. Bray opens with an uppercut, but Reigns
returns fire and Bray bails out. Back in, a lockup lasts a while,
with Reigns winning but Bray fighting back with a headbutt. Uppercut
by Bray, and another headbutt, but he charges right into a Reigns
tackle and elbowdrop for one. Reigns punches the gut and slaps Bray
in the ear, causing Bray to leave again. Bray returns, kicking away
on Reigns and headbutting him again, but Reigns fights back only to
be caught in the throat. Big boot follows, and Bray rakes Reigns’
eyes on the top strand. Bray with more headbutts in the corner, and
a short clothesline follows, getting one. Crowd yells Husky Harris
as Bray goes to the chinlock. This match is going nowhere. Reigns
fights out of it, but Bray goes to the knee and knocks Reigns over.
Big stomp and Reigns eats turnbuckle. Bray works him over, but
Reigns reverses and sends Bray into the buckle and out of the ring.
Reigns with a clothesline on the outside as we go to break.
For the record,
I don’t think Cena’s hurt. He was being taken to the hospital with
an ice pack on his knee. If they were really worried about his knee,
they’d have had a splint on it. He’ll recover.
Reigns/Bray,
part two.
Bray has a headlock
as the crowd is chanting for Cole. Bray slams Reigns down and gets
the running senton as the crowd switches to Lawler. It gets two.
During the break, the two men sent each other into everything that
moves. Bray with a falling headbutt and a headlock/punches combo.
Bray chokes Reigns in the ropes, but Reigns quickly punches out of
it. Bray recovers with a suplex for two. Bray back to an anaconda
headlock as the crowd wants Randy Savage. Are you sure these guys
had a great match last night? Reigns punches out, adding a headbutt
but running into Bray’s back elbow for two. Crowd wants Undertaker
now as Bray slams Reigns into the buckle and punches away. Bray with
an avalanche, but a second one misses. Reigns stops a blind charge
and shoves Bray away with his feet, adding a leaping clothesline as
he builds momentum. Avalanche clothesline and Reigns pounds away,
then the drive-by dropkick. Reigns with a Nodowa Otoshi for two. He
preps the Superpunch, but the transmission is interrupted and the
Family is present, despite promises otherwise. Reigns is not amused,
but Rollins dives onto both men. So there. Bray rolls Reigns up for
two. Reigns charges into the post as Harper and Rowan attack
Rollins. So where’s Ambrose? Wait, there he is to the rescue. All
heck breaks loose as Reigns hangs Bray up and gets the Superpunch.
Reigns knocks down Harper, but Ambrose jumps in and attacks Bray for
the DQ at 13:56. Everyone’s in the ring now as the fight continues.
If Cena’s hurt, this is the match they need to make. The Shield get
the face reaction. It should be noted, though, that the one one one
portion had very little heat, but when everyone showed up the crowd
got into it. *1/4
Brock
Lesnar is backstage as Paul Heyman preps him. He wants Brock to act
like a gentleman, so no vicious attacking. And they’re on their way.
Aaron
Paul will host next week’s show.
Brock
Lesnar and Paul Heyman make their grand entrance as we will main
event this workrate-heavy show with… a promo. Yay. There’s a
table in the ring. For some reason. It looks like they want a
contract signing. Paul Heyman claims Brock Lesnar is the obvious #1
Contender and therefore he should be main eventing WrestleMania.
Heyman says tonight is about history, given the Network stuff, but
Brock Lesnar isn’t here to celebrate. See, it’s apparent to everyone
that Orton and Batista should not main event Mania, but instead
should fight early and the winner gets Brock. Heyman has told this
to the Authority, but HHH says that Brock will make history in a
different way: an open contract. He can name any opponent he wants.
But that’s a consolation prize. See, that’s how they work you in the
WWE. They can have anything they want, except what they want. Brock
is the most dominant athlete in the NCAA wrestling, in the WWE in his
first go-around, in the UFC, and he’s conquered everything. Now, he
wants to conquer the WWE one more time so he can be the only champion
when WrestleMania ends. So why can’t it be done? Because the
Authority won’t let it happen. “And that’s how they get you!”
The crowd knows what’s coming and chants for Undertaker. Heyman says
they won’t play their game with Lesnar, so the open contract is
worthless. Lesnar wants to make history at WrestleMania, so they
reject the open contract. Lesnar will not be at WrestleMania unless
he gets what he wants, and they WILL give him what he wants. They go
to leave…
…and
there’s the gong. The crowd is ready. The TitanTron lights up. The
ramp is in flames. There’s a chill in the air… the funeral march
sounds… and here he is! He’s working the Ministry of Darkness
look, with the evil goatee. Undertaker slowly walks to the ring.
Brock looks a little perplexed. The crowd, which has been silent for
most of his entrance, pops for the lights being lifted. Brock looks
on in confusion as the Undertaker stares him down. Crowd pops for
the staredown. LOUD Undertaker chant. Heyman looks to the sign, as
does Taker. Brock only stares forward. Brock nods. He asks for the
contract from Heyman, as it appears Brock found someone to make
history with. He quickly signs it, then all but DARES Taker to sign
it as well, shoving the pen in his chest. Crowd gives a great
OOOOOOOOOOH at that. Heyman asks for Undertaker to sign it if he
wants. But Taker STABS Brock with the pen, then chokeslams him
through the table. Crowd goes BONKERS at this, chanting something
I’m not going to repeat in a PG column. Cole: “I’ll take that as a
yes.” Lesnar is immobile as Taker glares at Heyman. Taker walks
away, point made.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
I
thought the Pay-Per-View was last night. I just got to see a PPV
quality Raw for free.
Everything
about tonight was well done. Matches were given time. Emma’s debut
was very well-handled. The crowd was hot for Bryan/Kane,
Cesaro/Langston, and Del Rio/Batista. The Usos got back in the title
picture.
Folks,
every year we complain about the booking and about what it means for
WrestleMania, and every year the WWE kicks it into overdrive.
They’ve done it again.
It’s
clear they needed a home run because all eyes were on them with the
WWE Network and Hogan’s return, and holy cow did they ever deliver.
Cena/Bray (or Wyatts/Shield, who knows), Bryan/HHH, and Taker/Brock
look like winners. Orton/Batista may be bombed on, but it won’t main
event if they’re smart. Plus, there were good matches tonight, the
right stories have momentum, and… seriously, what’s not to love?
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 75:23 over seven matches, but 70:39 of them were in five
matches
BEST
MATCH: Bryan/Kane
WORST
MATCH: Emma/Summer
NIGHT
MVP: The fans.
FINAL
RATING: 9. This is the best Raw I’ve recapped thus far, and I’m
ready for WrestleMania.
Scott
Keith, envy this Raw and find the three hours on the Network! Tommy
Hall, give me some NXT Arrival and SmackDown! I’ll see you for Raw
in Chicago! We’re on our way to WrestleMania, BROTHERS!