The PG Era Rant: Raw is Punk, 3/3/14

WARNING: I’m snarky tonight. If the
crowd can do it, so can I. If you don’t like it… well, you can
still read the results.
When last we left our heroes, they
became secondary to the real story: us. We are the story of the WWE.
We are the coming storm. We are what matters tonight. What we do
is all that’s important. It may be the Road to WrestleMania, but we
want the spotlight.
Okay, I’m being dramatic, but
seriously: can’t we just enjoy the show?
As per request from last week, I’m
going to report only on any “notable” stuff from the pre-show, so
no live look-ins or commentary on commentary. Don’t say I never
listen to you.


  1. Added tonight: Outlaws/Usos for
    the tag belts.
  2. We get our first CM Punk chant at
    7:34.
  3. Daniel Bryan calls Batista a
    “jacked-up 245 pound movie star wannabe.” This is funny on
    about a dozen levels.
  4. Your Superstars spoilers: Titus
    O’Neil faces Zack Ryder and Los Matadores vs. Rybaxel (vs. a loud CM
    Punk chant).
  5. Your LIVE LOOK IN talks about
    Brock Lesnar’s response and the six-man rematch.
  6. Josh Mathews acknowledges the CM
    Punk chants AND that he’s been AWOL since the Rumble.
The PG Era Rant for WWE Rawmageddon,
March 3, 2014.
Live from the hometown of some
important main eventer.
Your hosts are the usual suspects, who
have to talk about the show and drown out a CM Punk chant.
Fortunately, showing the Bryan/Batista graphic makes them cheer/boo
as appropriate.
And Punk’s music opens?! The crowd
waits. They’re not sure… the chants resonate. And… it’s Paul
Heyman. We are off and running with the war against Chicago. It
does give him massive heel heat, I’ll give them that. The announcers
bring up Punk being from Chicago. Heyman holds the mic to the crowd.
“I believe he deserves louder than that!” This is bizarre. The
crowd gets unglued with the Punk chants. What’s endgame here?
Heyman sits down the way Punk would. Heyman is here to tell the
story “of a Paul Heyman Guy… that was never truly wanted in WWE.”
Yes, they’re sending him out for the Punk Effect. This Paul Heyman
Guy is one they thought didn’t have the right look, was too small,
had too many tattoos, would rebel against the system, etc. And
“they” didn’t want him from Day One and don’t want him now. I’m
wondering: why send Heyman, Punk’s sworn enemy last time we checked,
to do this? This guy had the “balls” to say what no one else
would. He’s from Chicago, born and raised. Okay, Punk has to
be here. This would be too cruel otherwise. Heyman has a pipebomb
about CM Punk…. who is not here. Oh dear. Crowd chants for Punk,
and Heyman mics them. For the record, Heyman is upset that he can’t
see CM Punk perform. See, if CM Punk were here, he’d show he’s the
Best In The World and all that.
So what’s the story? Why is he not
here and not being talked about? There’s someone to blame. Whose
fault is it? Well, Heyman is going to risk being fired to make the
accusation. He accuses… the fans? Really? “The truth hurts,
doesn’t it?” See, when CM Punk was with Heyman, he held the belt
for 434 days. And it’s because Heyman was his father figure. But
then, the fans ripped Punk away from Heyman. See, they made Punk a
hero. They said they would love CM Punk, respect him, and make him a
hero? And then… they took Punk away from themselves. But he has
more to blame than the fans: he blames the Undertaker.
Oh, this is gonna be bad.
See, this began last year at
WrestleMania. And so send this message to the Undertaker: Heyman
wants revenge for CM Punk. But how do you do that? Simple: end the
Streak. And there’s only one man who can do it. Heyman wants the
Streak conquered. And the only man who can do that is his Best
Friend, Brock Lesnar.
If Punk really isn’t here tonight, this
is the most audacious opening ever.
And as Brock circles the ring, the
crowd goes nuts with another CM Punk chant, which is kept up more or
less throughout the lookback to last week’s contract signing.
They’re milking the chants for all they’re worth. JBL: “Don’t make
Brock more angry than he already is!” Brock has the mic now. And
he says that he doesn’t make claims he can’t back up. He made the
match because he thinks the Deadman is scared of Brock. See,
everyone’s failed to conquer the Streak before. Crowd is giving
Brock the What Treatment. Brock calls Shawn, HHH, and Punk failures,
but says he will Conquer the Streak.
But before anyone can leave, here comes
Mark Henry. Brock is backing down as Henry is storming to the ring.
Brock leaps at Henry and is intercepted in midair! Henry has the
upper hand, but Brock sends Henry awkwardly into the steps. And then
he sends the steps much less awkwardly into Henry’s head. Brock is
going to clear the announce table – well, launch everything from it
is more accurate – and Henry is slow to get up. F-5 sends Henry
through the table, and that may more or less end Henry’s hopes of
making WrestleMania. The crowd responds to this devastating show of
power with CM Punk chants.
Up next, the WWE Tag Titles are on the
line as the New Age Outlaws face the Usos.
Look, if CM Punk isn’t here, I
understand they had to do something to address what’s going on, but
to have someone the fans respect blame the fans, and blame them for
no reason? You’re just inviting three hours of CM Punk chants making
the entire episode into background noise. That’s why, as of 8:21, I
think Punk has to be here as the punchline. They’re just making the
crowd more ornery otherwise.
WWE Tag Team Championship match: The
New Age Outlaws (champions) vs. The Usos (challengers).

Road Dogg announces that Chicago isn’t worthy of the spiel. Hey,
they’ve learned to be the bad guys! We see how last week the Usos
remembered the bell had rung and the Outlaws hadn’t. Jey and Dogg
start, and Dogg throws Jey into the buckle to no effect. Dogg
hiptosses Jey into the buckle as a CM Punk chant starts the match but
goes nowhere. It gets two. Jey is dumped to the outside, where Gunn
gets in a few shots and throws him in. Gunn, who tagged in, punches
away on Jey, and Dogg is in with a kick to the gut. Jey reverses
Dogg in the corner and fires away. Dogg clotheslines Jey, keeping
him down, then kicks away in the corner. Dogg tosses Jey to the
outside as the crowd gets behind the Usos and we go to break.
WWE Tag Team Championship match,
part two.
Dogg has a hold on
Jey, who cradles Dogg, but Gunn tagged in and he gets a kick to the
head for two. Dogg in again, and he kicks away and ducks a
spinkick… the first
time. Second time, not so lucky. Hot tag Jimmy, who goes nuts on
both men with a back elbow to Gunn and knocking Dogg off the apron.
Low superkick and one-knee slap. Dogg is sent flying again, and Gunn
gets hit with a Samoan Drop. Dogg enters and gets full nelson
bombed, and Gunn is in position for a double Rikishi hip check. Dogg
gets it, but Gunn is up and nailed with a twisting senton for two.
Gunn is still down, so Jimmy goes up. Dogg is sent off the apron,
and Gunn cradles Jimmy for two. Gunn with a tilt-a-whirl slam for
two. Crowd is into
this one. Gunn sets Jimmy up for the Famouser, but Jimmy avoids it
and tags in Jey as he takes out Dogg. Big kick to Gunn, and Jey’s
going up. Crowd is ballistic as he flies, and the splash gets them
the gold at 9:25. Crowd is very approving of this – not even a
single CM Punk chant. *3/4
Our long in the tooth national nightmare is over. Now, please
retire, Outlaws.
Aaron
Paul is in the house! Here’s a look at his new movie, Need For
Speed.
The
Divas are excited about the movie and they really want to meet Aaron
Paul. Girl talk indicates Paul is hanging with Dolph Ziggler.
Aksana wants a ride with Aaron, if you know what I mean. The girls
give her the silent treatment. What? She’s single. She’s allowed
to ogle.
Big
E. Langston vs. Antonio Cesaro.

A return match from last week. Cesaro with a headlock, and off of a
criss-cross, Cesaro catches Langston and plants him with a
backbreaker. Uppercuts follow, but Langston cuts it off with a
running shoulder ram and belly-to-belly suplex. Ultimate Splash is
cut off and Langston is dumped. Langston attacks Swagger, but
comping back in, Cesaro gets the GIANT SWING OF DOOM (8½
rotations)… and Swagger again runs in, hitting a Vaderbomb for the
DQ at 1:25. Cesaro’s all “seriously, dude?” And Swagger doesn’t
want to argue his case anymore and walks away. Langston gives Cesaro
the Big Ending for fun as Swagger just watches. Colter is not
amused. Neither is the crowd.
Later
tonight, Daniel Bryan faces Batista.
The
Shield? Already? They’re not wasting time, are they?
Dean
Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns v. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper,
and Erick Rowan, PART TWO.

We look back at last week, as everyone who was supposed to stay away
didn’t, and that’s why we’re having this match. Lawler actually says
that Ambrose causing the DQ was “pulling a Jack Swagger”. I
approve. Crowd says this is awesome and it hasn’t even started yet.
Shield dives onto the Wyatts and clears the ring before the bell.
Rollins dropkicks Harper, but Harper escapes a monkey flip and gets a
German throw off the ropes… but Rollins lands on his feet and dumps
Harper. He knocks off Rowan from the apron, then does flip dives
onto Harper, then Rowan, then kicks Harper before coming back in via
the top rope. Ambrose cuts Bray off, which causes Rollins to fall
off the top rope. Whoops. Harper takes advantage and sends Rollins
into the barricade as we go to break.
Shield/Family,
part two, part two.

Harper has a headlock on Rollins which may have been from the Gator
Roll. Rollins fights out, but Harper runs him over anyway. Ambrose
and Harper exchange pleasantries, which allows Rollins to knock
Harper down. Ambrose chases Bray, and Reigns comes over to get him
back to the corner, which leaves Rollins with no one to tag and
allows Rowan to keep up the assault. Rollins escapes and drops Rowan
into the middle buckle. Harper knocks Reigns off the apron, so
Ambrose gets the tag and takes down Rowan. Ambrose with a running
clothesline and he wraps Rowan’s leg around the ropes row a hamstring
dropkick. Dragon screw follows, into a figure-four. GREAT MUTA
REPRESENT! Ambrose is bridging, so Harper breaks with a double
stomp. Reigns tosses Harper into the timekeeper area. Ambrose and
Bray begin the fight, and Bray with a standing uranage. Bray goes
ground and pound on Ambrose, stomping his head with malice and
sending him into the Family corner. Harper in, and he slugs away as
the crowd says it’s Awesome. Harper dropkicks (sort of) Ambrose and
stands on his throat. Rowan in, and he stomps a mudhole. And now
the crowd decides to chant for CM Punk rather than enjoy the match as
Rowan gets a backbreaker out of a pumphandle for two. Neck crank
follows. He switches to the double Noogie, but Ambrose pulls the
beard to break. Crowd approves. Rowan with a side suplex for two.
Rowan steps over Ambrose and brings Harper in as the crowd wants
Reigns. Harper with uppercuts, but Ambrose rebounds with a running
clothesline that levels Harper. Harper grabs Ambrose’s boot and
brings Bray in. Bray knocks Reigns off the apron, but turns around
into an Ambrose DDT. Ambrose crawls over, and it’s the tag to… not
Rollins, who jumps down and walks away. Whoa, didn’t see that
coming. Reigns is confused, but Rollins tells the two of them to
work together without him. Bray squashes Ambrose and gets a running
bodypress for two, Reigns saves. Bray is dumped, and Rowan eats
Samoan Drop. Harper gets hit with the Superpunch, and Bray is
knocked down again, but Rowan has Reigns. Ambrose (the legal man)
jumps Rowan to stop it, and Roman sends Rowan flying. Ambrose
catches Harper and asks for help from Reigns, and Reigns hits the
drive-by dropkick. Ambrose pounds away like a maniac on Bray as
Reigns sends Rowan over the second announce table. Which doesn’t
break. Harper knocks over Ambrose and DIVES ONTO REIGNS (!!). Now
Ambrose dives onto Harper, but Bray sends Ambrose into the post.
This Is Awesome. Bray and Ambrose return (no sign of Rollins yet) as
Bray does the inverted look. Sister Abigail’s Kiss is ready and
connects, getting the pin at 13:53. Whew. ***3/4
Rollins just watches them fail. We are so headed to a triple threat
at Mania. Who keeps the music? Rollins is torn about his actions…
we think. Who knows? Just follow the buzzards.
Renee
Young is backstage with Batista. She asks about facing Daniel Bryan,
and Batista calls the Yes Movement the dumbest thing ever. He
doesn’t understand how geeks can elevate an average guy to superhero
status like a fantasy. Guys like Daniel Bryan can’t beat guys like
Batista. No one may like it, but they have to deal with it. The
crowd loudly yells for CM Punk at Batista, as promised.
We
had a title change earlier tonight, in case you missed it. We bring
this up because WWE Main Event is live on the WWE Network, and the
Outlaws have called in their rematch.
Fandango
and Summer Rae v. Santino Marella and Emma.

Okay, I heard they had a good comedy match in NXT, so let’s hope it
carries over here. Emma gets a bubble in her eye. Last week, Emma
made Summer Rae tap out. Santino does Emma’s cat-skin to the ring.
The men will start. The faces high-five… and that’s a tag. So
Emma starts, and they tag again. And they high-five and tag again.
And tag again. But not again. And this time Fandango runs over
Santino and clotheslines him. Fandango dances some and uppercuts
him. Straight right and Santino’s down, but Santino fires back. Raw
is in Memphis next week as the crowd chants CM Punk again while
Fandango gets a spinkick for two. Suplex by Fandango as the crowd
wants Emma now. Fandango up top, but Santino rolls away and nails a
bolo punch and split Stunner. Women in now, and Emma with a series
of clotheslines and a dance. Blind charge by Summer misses, and Emma
gets the Tarantula. Seated splash follows as the crowd boos Emma’s
offense after demanding her. Did I miss something? Santino chases
Fandango off with the Cobra, and the Aboriginal Deathlock ends it at
3:19. Santino celebrates and nearly Cobras Emma. 3/4*
Meanwhile,
on Smackdown, Christian attacks Sheamus during a match with Alberto
Del Rio. So up next, Sheamus and Christian meet again. Yeah, this
match is going to get hit hard.
Stephanie
McMahon talks about her memory of the first WrestleMania in a WWE
Network ad. See, this side of Stephanie would be fine. She’s much
better as a neutral figure than as a character.
Christian
v. Sheamus.

Here we go – two people not connected to the crazy backstage.
Let’s see what the hijackers do. Answer: chant for CM Punk as the
match starts. Christian slaps Sheamus repeatedly to start, but as
usual, that just makes Sheamus happy to fight. The chase around the
ring is on, and Sheamus grabs Christian and sends him into the
barricade. Uppercut by Sheamus and he sends Christian into another
barricade. Back in, he stops Christian from escaping and chokes
away. Big slam and kneedrop follows, getting two. Christian gets a
knee to the gut and stomps away, standing on Sheamus’s throat and
playing to a rather indifferent crowd. Another slap to Sheamus, but
Sheamus with clubs and a clothesline. Christian fights back with
another slap, but gets caught with the Irish Curse for two. Crowd
seems distracted. Sheamus with a big kick as Christian puts his head
down, but Sheamus charges and gets dumped. Christian with a dropkick
to knock Sheamus down, and he dives onto… nothing. Sheamus moved.
And seemed rather amused with Christian’s attempt. Christian is into
the steps, and an uppercut as the CM Punk chants return because
clearly these two deserve it. Christian hides behind the announce
table as we go to break. The announcers are not amused.
Rant
time: look, I get that chanting Punk to open the show gets everyone’s
attention. Chanting it to Heyman when he more or less invited it?
Sure. Chanting it to the Outlaws? Do that. They’re a symptom. But
seriously? You’re going to chant for CM Punk during the rematch you
were clamoring for all week? And then when two guys who have nothing
to do with this and weren’t even around during the fall are facing
off? Do you even care about the WWE or do you just want them to
fail?
Sheamus/Christian,
part two.

Christian is up top, but Sheamus trips him and goes up instead.
This time Christian catches him and tosses him to the outside.
Christian follows to the outside and tosses Sheamus into the
timekeeper zone. Back in, Christian gets two. Repeated headbutts
and stomps by Christian, and he catches Sheamus pulling himself up on
the apron with a clothesline. Christian steps on Sheamus’s face for
one as the crowd is chanting for who knows. Sheamus fights back, but
Christian with a back suplex and he goes up. Frog splash misses, and
both men are down. Christian with a back kick and he tries a DDT off
a leap, but is caught in the Finlay Roll. Sheamus is getting angry,
and we get a slugfest that ends with Sheamus landing Polish Hammers
and a shoulder ram. Kneelift misses, but Christian is caught on the
apron and it’s time for the Ten of Clubs. But Christian prevents it
and slams Sheamus into the turnbuckle, only to get caught coming down
and given a Hotshot. Now Sheamus is on the apron and gives Christian
the Ten of Clubs inside out. That gets the crowd excited. Kneelift
by Sheamus, twice, gets two. Christian is begging off, but catches
Sheamus in an inverted DDT as the crowd turns on the match. Frog
splash gets two, much to the crowd’s dismay. The crowd switches to another CM Punk chant
as Sheamus catches Christian with White Noise for two. The crowd
wants the match to end NOW, and Christian gets the pendulum kick,
only to run into a Brogue Kick that ends the match at 14:01.
Christian has not impressed me since his debut, and these two have
absolutely no chemistry. The crowd was too harsh on the match, but
it was boring. 3/4*
Later
tonight, Daniel Bryan faces Batista. Also, John Cena’s back to
address the Wyatts. Oh, the reaction to him oughta be interesting.
For
the record, we’re halfway through the show and this crowd is getting
on my nerves.
Renee
Young is with Sheamus. Crowd isn’t happy to see him. Sheamus is
giving a generic face promo after a win when Christian attacks him in
the interview area. Christian beats Sheamus down with a spotlight
because it’s his spotlight.
The
Bella Sisters v. Aksana and Alicia Fox.
Aksana
and Brie start, and Aksana gets a waistlock, which Brie reverses.
Aksana re-reverses. Brie gets out and gets a snapmare and soccer
kick. Nikki in, and she gets a cartwheel neck snap for one. Nikki
works the arm, and Brie in with a clothesline. Running knee to
Aksana, but Alicia distracts Brie as she goes up and Aksana yanks her
down. Alicia gets two. To the CHINLOCK, and she slams Brie’s head
down and catfights her. Aksana in, and she kicks Brie and does more
head-rattling. Lots of slaps (that hit nothing), and Alicia’s in.
Amazingly, we only now get a CM Punk chant, and it’s not that strong.
Alicia stomps away on Brie and works the arm. Aksana in, and she
and Alicia make quick exchanges. Alicia covers for two. Alicia
holds Brie by the hair and gets a straightjacket choke. The crowd
demands puppies as Alicia gets sunset flipped into a hot tag to
Nikki. Both heels go flying, and Nikki drops Alicia’s head on her
knee. Back body drop gets two, Aksana saves. Brie from the second
rope with a dropkick to Aksana, leaving Nikki to dodge an Alicia
drive-by boot. Torture rack drop ends it at 4:12. Okay, Chicago, if
you’re into protesting why didn’t this match get any CM Punk chants?
To be fair, it didn’t suck, it was relatively short, and everyone was
energetic. I guess I’d give it a pass too. *1/4
Daniel
Bryan is walking. They’re next.
So
all the big main event matches are getting done by 10:20.
Something’s big coming up at the main event, and I have no idea what
it is. We haven’t seen the Undertaker yet, so that could be it.
It’s 9:55 and I put the chances Punk’s here at about 50/50. There
actually is a chance they did the opening segment to get all the heat
on Heyman and Brock instead of on the company. Vince probably thinks
that was a good idea.
The
guys from Sirens are in the front row. New series, starts Thursday.
Anything with Denis Leary should be good.
Daniel
Bryan is here and gets enormous YES chants. That’s what we want.
Bryan has a mic and says the people get it that they have a voice.
Tonight, they will hijack Raw. Wait, WHAT!? Did Daniel Bryan just
demand the hijacking? Bryan says he won’t leave the ring unless
either… and the crowd starts a CM Punk chant. Nice move, idiots.
Anyway, he won’t leave until either Batista comes down for the match
or HHH answers his challenge. See, last week he demanded the match
at WrestleMania, and HHH said no. Crowd chants NO. But Bryan says
the number one… actually, wait, here is Triple H.
Hm…
no one’s turning around yet. Okay, Hunter and Stephanie… now’s
your chance. 
And they get a HUGE CM Punk chant. HHH basks in the
chant for someone else. Stephanie speaks first and admires his
tenacity. I mean, after all he’s been through losing, he’s trying to
hijack Raw? The crowd is trying to drown Stephanie out. Bryan
ignores Stephanie and tells Hunter that for six months HHH has made
his life bad. Whether it’s the Shield, Kane, or a dirty ref, or even
Hunter himself, something’s stopped him. But he’s going nowhere, and
he’s not broken, and the fans are behind him. Until they chant for
CM Punk, of course. But right now, it’s YES all around. Bryan is
stronger than ever, and he wants the match. So what does HHH say?
(Well, the crowd says no.)
Hunter
says no, too. In fact, he wants to know why Bryan and his generation
can’t accept that they’ve failed? Crowd is booing lustily. HHH
wants to christen this the Excuses Era or Blame Era, because no one
wants to admit that they weren’t good enough. No, they make excuses.
As HHH does mock-whining, more Punk chants break out. See, anyone
who’s ever failed did so because they weren’t good enough. Crowd is screaming for CM Punk, who has nothing to do with this sketch. HHH
drops off the B+ line again, but hey, B+ is very good – better than
most people on the sidelines, right? And there’s nothing wrong with
being B+, but it’ll take more than that to face HHH as we’re right
back where we started in August. Crowd calls HHH an asshole. HHH:
“They’re saying it’s your turn.” Ouch.
Bryan
says the fans understand that HHH can deny everything, but they know
the truth and that is why they chant! More YES chanting. Bryan says
that HHH may claim he does what’s best for business and so on, but
they don’t LISTEN to said Universe. They don’t listen to the Yes
Movement or their desire to see someone like Bryan or anyone else
succeed. So, the only way it’ll happen is if Bryan beats him at
WrestleMania.
Stephanie
steps in and says that, hey, why wouldn’t they listen to the WWE
Universe? Why listen to inadequacy? The fans will turn on Daniel
when they want to. So the only people who will stick by Daniel Bryan
are the Authority. Hey, it’s fun to hear the crowd on Daniel’s side,
she gets it. It’s easy to get wrapped up in it… but think about
it. Without the McMahons, Daniel would have nothing. The arena
looks like this, the ring is set up, and so on, all for the
wrestlers. TV, digital, social, it’s all for the wrestlers, provided
by the McMahons… not the fans. Without the McMahons, would Daniel
be an underdog? No… the McMahons made Daniel Bryan who he is.
Crowd goes NO to that, then chants for Daniel Bryan.
Bryan
finds her delusions admirable. So Bryan offers to face Stephanie
while HHH wears Stephanie’s dress. Crowd gives that a YES. Daniel
Bryan broke the hijackers? Could it be? HHH says Stephanie would
win, first off. Also, it won’t happen. At all. So stop asking.
HHH wonders if this is the best he can do with grade-school insults,
but he’s heard it all. HHH talks down to Bryan in saying it won’t
happen. WrestleMania is for immortals, and Daniel Bryan doesn’t
measure up. He then tells Bryan to leave his ring.
Moment
of truth as the crowd yells NO. Bryan: “This isn’t your ring.”
Stephanie says it is, but no, it’s the people’s ring. HHH
re-iterates: everything in the arena is McMahon Property. So get
out. Bryan: “Why don’t you make me?” Uh-oh.
And
Stephanie calls for Kane to come down. That’s one way. But Bryan
sees it coming and attacks Kane as Stephanie demands security.
Referees come down, but Stephanie asked for security. They can’t
pull Bryan off. Crowd is so much in Daniel Bryan’s corner they chant
for CM Punk. Stephanie tells her to stay out. Bryan looks at the
wall around him and begins to back up… and he walks away, saving it
for the main event.
That’ll
be later tonight.
Meanwhile,
somewhere in Titan HQ, Vince McMahon notes that Daniel Bryan is so
popular that the crowd chanted for someone else and realizes he’s not
main event material. At least, that would not surprise me.
We
look back on Brock Lesnar beating up Mark Henry. This leads to a
plug of the WWE Network and the pre- and post-game shows. We throw
to the panel for introductions and quick discussion.
Alberto
Del Rio v. Dolph Ziggler.

Ziggler is driven to the arena by Aaron Paul. Crowd goes nuts for
both of them. Paul goes to commentary. Del Rio attacks right off
the bat as the crowd’s Ziggler chants are kind of muted. Del Rio
with an elevated splat on Dolph, and a stomp for one. Del Rio has
something hooked, but Ziggler breaks and avoids a charge. Dropkick
has Del Rio reeling, and Dolph gets ten punches in the corner into a
Rude Awakening. Del Rio avoids whatever and gets a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker for two. Low superkick misses, and Dolph with the
leaping DDT for two. So where are those Ziggler chants? There they
are, just as Del Rio gets an armstabber and low superkick for two.
Paul’s on the table, distracting Del Rio, and Dolph reverses the
armbreaker try to the Zig Zag for the pin at 2:44. Crowd isn’t
exactly blowing the roof off the joint. At least there’s no CM Punk
chants. 3/4*
Up
next, entrant #4 into the WWE Hall of Fame.
And
the newest Hall of Famer is… PAUL BEARER! We have our posthumous
induction, and this is one the fans have been calling for since his
death. That said… eh. The fans are in favor of it, so why not.
Big
E Langston v. Jack Swagger.

Faster than I can think, Cesaro races in and gets Swagger DQ’d in 6
seconds. So there. The two men are arguing over what they’ve done,
and Swagger shoves Cesaro. The argument continues with each one
pointing at the other. Cesaro has finally had enough and threatens
to swing Swagger… but Colter tells him not to and asks him to be a
man. “Don’t do it to your brother!” Colter wants them on the
same page, for the sake of The People. He tries to play peacemaker,
and asks Cesaro to help Swagger up. Neither one wants to play along,
it should be noted. Cesaro offers his hand and pulls him up. “We
gonna let this go, guys.” Colter asks them to separate, then hug
it out. Neither one’s fond of the idea. Colter insists (“DO
IT!”), and the Real Americans give a half-hearted hug. WE THE
PEOPLE! But Swagger and Cesaro glare at each other as they chant.
The slow burn here is fun.
Up
next, John Cena has to talk to a crowd that really doesn’t want to
hear from him.
Did
we mention Main Event is live tomorrow and has a tag title rematch?
Let me scroll up… yes, I said it. But we also get Bryan/Kane
again.
And
now here’s John Cena… or is it the Wyatts? We saw the satellite
interrupt… no, not yet. I see Sin Cara’s in the production truck
again. (Sorry, Facebook meme.) Cena’s limping to the ring. Crowd
boos Cena. Then they chant CM Punk again. Cena thanks the crowd for
their welcome (more booing) and then gets to the point. He’s injured
(the crowd cheers this) so he won’t have a match tonight (crowd
starts a YES chant to the guy who personally elevated Daniel Bryan).
“I’m gonna take that as your way of saying ‘Get Well Soon’.”
Cena’s got no delusions. And another CM Punk chant. Cena lets it
ride. He even wanted to come out to hear the energy of the crowd,
even if it isn’t in his favor. He remembers WrestleMania 22, Extreme
Rules 2012, and yes, Money in the Bank 2011 where he had “a very
special moment with somebody”. More CM Punk chants. Cena admits
he’s not the good guy in Chicago, but he respects them anyway. Even
though they’ll boo his every move, he loves the sound of honesty,
especially when it’s loud. Cena’s heard the whole hijack thing, and
he gets it. They want change! Crowd settles for YES on that one.
Cena respects change, but he wants everyone to know he’s the
gatekeeper to change. So to anyone – especially Bray, who is not
in the driver’s seat despite what it may look like – Cena’s given
12 years to the WWE. He notes this is where his first match was, and
he’s still standing tall. Crowd is starting to warm up to Cena…
until the Wyatts emerge.
Harper
begins whistling as Bray taunts Cena for being alone. Cena may have
built the empire, but the energy of the people is around him. Cena
reminds Bray of a thoroughbred (more CM Punk chants towards the
Wyatts), and when he wins the fans cheer for him… but sometimes the
horse slows down, and now it’s not about the finish line, it’s about
being put down. So when will that happen to Cena? How long can he
fend off the end and the Wyatts? Mercy is calling for Cena. Wyatt’s
the Reaper of Cena, and he will put Cena down. “Let me let you in
on a little secret, John: I know what you’re really afraid of.”
He’s afraid of being alone atop the empty castle – and when he’s
done, and Wyatt takes it all, who will be there for Cena? Wyatt
smiles and chuckles as we go to black.
Batista
is walking and is ready for the main event… but he crosses paths
with Orton, who wishes him good luck tonight. That’s it. Our main
event is next.
But
first, here’s Lana. She asks us to rise for Alexander Rusev. Rusev
has his own podium to stand on. He addresses the crowd in Bulgarian
as they WHAT him. The military march keeps playing and his chyron is
in Cyrilic lettering.
It’s
10:57 and we haven’t had the main event yet.
Last
week, Hulk Hogan came back and the media loved it. He went to the
Today Show to shill WrestleMania 30. Next week, they’re in Memphis,
and so is Hogan as he has an important announcement.
And
the next person out is Randy Orton. Sign in crowd: “PUT SOME PANTS
ON”.
Batista
v. Daniel Bryan.

Bell’s coming after 11 PM, which is a bad sign. Crowd is letting
Batista have it. We’ve passed 18 seconds without a pinfall, which
was my biggest concern. Batista throws down Bryan on the first
lockup as a Boo-Tista chant starts. Bryan goes behind and gets
elbowed, but off of a headlock Batista gets a tackle. Crowd chants
for Daniel Bryan now. To a headlock on Bryan, and he goes with a low
dropkick and works the knee. He kicks the ribs and side of Batista,
then stands on Batista’s face before sending him into the corner. And the crowd, who is supposed to be 100% behind Bryan, chants for CM Punk again! Hamstring dropkick follows,
and now the crowd applauds. Bryan to a half-crab on Batista, but
Batista powers out. Bryan with an uppercut series, but a whip is
reversed only for Batista to put his head down. Batista with a
lariat on the rebound, though. Batista’s up first as the crowd says
he can’t wrestle (like hell he can’t), and Batista with Snake Eyes.
Batista dumps Bryan as we go to break.
Side
note: I know Batista’s not as good a wrestler as his opponent or
Randy Orton at ringside, but to say he can’t wrestle is utter
garbage. The people who chant that can’t wrestle. Further, being a
heel, getting the crowd to hate you, making them want to see you
lose… that’s wrestling too. I can understand the other chants to a
degree, even if I think they’re overdoing it, but that one is the
only chant I hate.
Batista/Bryan,
part two.

We return with a YES chant as Bryan tries to get out of a chinlock,
but Batista runs a knee in. Bryan returns with the videogame
comeback off of a corner whip, sending Batista into a corner.
Cross-ring dropkicks begin, but Batista bails before the third one
can hit. Which just allows Bryan to nail a tope suicida. Big YES
for that one. Missile dropkick follows, plus a kip-up. JBL says he
may be an A- player. YES kicks follow, with the roundhouse, getting
two. Orton stands up on that near fall. Bryan goes up top, but here
comes the Authority. This allows Batista to knock Bryan down. (More
CM Punk chants here, but that’s okay now.) Batista sends Bryan into
the steps as the Authority surround the ring. Batista sends Bryan
into Orton next, then rolls him in and glares at Orton. Crowd starts
an Overrated chant (that’s better) but Bryan blocks the Batista Bomb
and does the Punk Kick (call it what it is). And that’s Orton’s cue
to run in and cause the DQ at 10:09 by nailing Bryan. **
He
tries to RKO Batista, but Batista shoves him into Knee Plus and Bryan
cleans house. He goes to dive on the Authority, but Batista with a
spear. Kane wants to add more, but HHH won’t let him. Crowd really
wants CM Punk to save now. And now HHH tries to talk trash to Punk,
only to get kicked in the face. But this allows a Batista Bomb. HHH
is woozy, but the jacket and tie’s off. HHH wants a Pedigree, and
what HHH wants, he gets. Stephanie tries to start a mock YES chant.
We end with the Authority standing tall over Bryan and the crowd
demanding a CM Punk who won’t be here. Is it August and no one told
me? Thank you, Chicago, and good night.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
Triple
H 1, Fans 0.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 59:14 over…
Wait
a second, Big Show and John Cena are taking it to the Authority in
the background of Backstage Pass. Orton is surrounded after a
flurry, but that’s not fun. Let’s listen to Stephanie backstage
instead.
Where
was I?
MATCH
TIME: 59:14 over nine official matches
BEST
MATCH: Shield/Wyatts
WORST
MATCH: Langston/Swagger, technically
NIGHT
MVP: CM Punk
FINAL
SCORE: 4.34.
Let’s
just get to Memphis. Guys, I’m not sure whether this was a good Raw
or not, but the Shield/Wyatts match was fun and they built to
WrestleMania. But… the one night the faces needed to get an
advantage heading into WrestleMania and you end like this?
The
floor is yours; let the grousing begin!