Live from Memphis, TN
Your hosts are Jerry Lawler, JBL, and Michael Cole
Hulk Hogan comes down to the ring. He received a decent reaction. He plays up to the “Mempho Maniacs” then talks about how he watches all of his WrestleMania matches on the WWE Network, including his match against Andre the Giant. Hulk says that because that match gets him so pumped up, he came up with an idea to create the “Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal,” with the winner receiving a trophy of Andre. John Cena comes out and sucks up to Hogan, complete with a shitty impression, then declares himself as the first entrant in the Battle Royal. The Wyatt Family now interrupts as Bray cuts a promo about pride being his favorite sin and incorporates the catchphrases of Cena and Hogan to point out that they are liars. He then tells them that if they look into his eyes, they will see a god. Cena then proceeds to cut a goofy promo which included him singing “Margaritaville” and cracking up the crowd with a joke about Bray getting his chair from “Cracker Barrel” then challenges him to a match at WrestleMania. Bray gets pissed and heads near the ring then right as he appears to be going inside, they cut to a commercial. Bray cut a good promo but Cena did not. Lucky for him that Memphis ate up everything he said. As far as the Battle Royal, having it dedicated to Andre is cool but as a whole, a Battle Royal match is uneventful and not usually well received by the crowd. At least it gives some guys a chance to be on the card though.
John Cena d. Erick Rowan
The match was joined in progress. It was under four minutes long. Rowan beat on Cena for most of the match, who was lightly selling the effects of his knee injury. Rowan looked okay out there and has improved a lot since being called up to the main roster. Cena won with a rollup as Rowan kept looking over at the rest of his stable. After the match, Cena and Hogan stood tall as the Wyatt’s surrounded the ring then began to pose as they retreated. Bray never gave a response to Cena’s challenge.
The announcers let us know that we can vote on the stipulations for the Sheamus vs. Christian match via the WWE App.
The Authority come out in front of the crowd. Stephanie says that she could fire Bryan but realize that there is value in Bryan, even if he is not an A+ player like Randy Orton or Batista, so as long as he apologizes to them, he can keep his job. Stephanie was pretty damn good here as she toned up the smugness when running down Bryan. The New Age Outlaws then come out and shake hands before heading down to the ring. Solid segment that sets up a confrontation later in the show.
The Usos d. Ryback & Curtis Axel
The NAO were on commentary saying that they are still under the weather and that is why they lost the titles. Road Dogg even complained that he could not tell them apart. Short and uneventful match that Jimmy won when he pinned Axel after a top rope splash. Crowd likes the Usos. Sucks to be Ryback and Axel right now, especially Axel. Right before the match, they showed an insert promo of Ryback saying he will be part of the battle royal at WrestleMania.
Kane is backstage with the Shield. He runs them down for their recent failures then promises to light a fire underneath them. He orders Rollins & Reigns to face the Rhodes Brothers then Rollins wants to know if he is mad because he lost to Daniel Bryan and got laid out by the Big Show. As Kane gets mad, Reigns steps in front of him and promises to take care of any demon that stands in their way before telling him to believe in the Shield.
Big E. d Jack Swagger
Big E is also taking part in the battle royal at WrestleMania. The match lasted three minutes long and Big E won with a rollup as Swagger was yelling at Cesaro for not interfering. After the match, Cesaro was laughing as Swagger was pissed off and they got into each other’s faces briefly before blaming each other for the loss until Zeb Colter got pissed and threw down his coat and ordered them to shake hands, where Cesaro would not let go. More tension between the Real Americans.
The Undertaker comes to the ring. As he made his way down, the announcers talk about how many people are saying that Brock Lesnar has no chance against the Undertaker, when they said the opposite last week. Paul Heyman comes out and apologizes for interrupting. He tells Taker that he wants him to preserve his streak then lists off several stars and how none of them won more than four WrestleMania’s in a row to show off the greatness of his accomplishment. Heyman then says he is here to convince him to step down from his match against Lesnar in order to keep that streak and if he does not, Lesnar will destroy his myth. The Undertaker calls Heyman “messenger boy” and wants him to tell Lesnar that the fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all and if he does indeed show up to WrestleMania, he will rest in peace. Heyman was really good here and they attempted to get the match over but no one is buying Lesnar as having a chance and they are making him an underdog for some reason, which makes no sense unless he is winning and no one wants to see that.
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins d Cody Rhodes & Goldust
Decent match but they have had much better in the past. Rollins pinned Cody with the curbstomp. It really dragged for a few minutes after the break. Right before the break, the Rhodes Brothers took out Reigns & Rollins with dives as Ambrose paced around angrily while making the goofiest facial expressions. He reminded me of Mad Mikey (Crash Holly’s TNA character, which as a bottom of the card comedy act) and should never do that again. Anyway, the announcers spent all of the match talking about the Shield, even mentioning how Ambrose hardly ever defends his U.S. Title. At one point the crowd started a “CM Punk” chant. The crowd popped big for the hot-tag to Cody. Sad to see the Rhodes Brothers as afterthoughts though, especially when they were over big with the crowd as recently as a few months ago. The Shield stood tall after the match and all seemed to be on the same page.
The Bella Twins d. AJ Lee & Tamina
Natalya was on commentary plugging the season 2 debut of “Total Diva’s” and her title match against AJ Lee tomorrow on “Main Event.” She was not very good at all and came across as someone who was being fed lines. The announcers put over AJ’s 267 day reign, which usually signals a title change. The match was fine and ended when Nikki pinned AJ with the Shock Treatment. After the match, Nikki held the belt as Natalya hopped on the apron, ending in a staredown. My prediction: Natalya wins and drops the belt shortly to Summer Rae, who they seem to be pushing hard as the new girl on “Total Diva’s.”
Renee Young is with LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell from “NCIS.” She asked them who they would pick to be part of the show. O’Donnell said John Cena as LL said either the Undertaker or Daniel Bryan. Then they said something about the Bella Twins. Typical cross-promotion segment.
Daniel Bryan is in the ring. He talks about the “Yes Movement” and how he will not be intimidated or scared by the Authority and if HHH wants to send people after him, he will fight. He then says tonight is when HHH will have to listen to the Yes Movement as they are going to occupy RAW tonight and will not leave the ring until he gets what he wants, which is a match against HHH at WrestleMania. Bryan says he will fill the whole arena with the Yes Movement and brings some of the members to the ring as they go to commercial.
Back from break, the ring is surrounded and filled with the Yes Movement folks. The Authority comes out as HHH says that they have 30 seconds to leave before they are arrested. They chant “no” as HHH makes fun of them, especially one of the many fat guys. Bryan asks HHH if he would like RAW in an arena of nothing but empty chairs. Two security guys go down and come right back up, refusing to clear the ring. Steph cuts a promo on the crowd, saying how Daniel Bryan is manipulating them and that he is not worth their time. Bryan says that they own the ring, not the Authority. HHH orders the next match now as Damien Sandow walks out, with Bryan inviting Sandow to join them. He declines then HHH comes out and pushes him around until Steph grabs the mic and goes berserk. HHH takes the mic back and says that he has been trying to protect Bryan since SummerSlam, because he likes him. He then says that he will not stop until he ends Bryan and accepts his challenge at Mania. As he goes to leave, Bryan said that he is not done and adds that if he beats him, he will be added to the title match between Batista and Randy Orton at WrestleMania. HHH goes out of his mind and attempts to go down the ramp but his stopped and carried away by security. The visual of an irate HHH being carried away was something else. He was channeling his father-in-law big time, which is a good thing. Stephanie was money in this segment too. Just a fantastic and memorable moment. Everyone played the part perfectly. If you are looking for ways to pick apart this segment, it is because you do not enjoy watching wrestling.
Sheamus d. Christian in a “Memphis Street Fight”
Jerry Lawler, wearing a shirt that made him look like the Hillbilly Liberace, announced that the Memphis Street Fight won the vote. The match was good and easily the best that Sheamus has looked since his return. The finish was awesome. Christian was charging at Sheamus with a drum, who then hit him with the Brogue Kick as his foot went through the drum and right into Christian’s face. I would give this ***.
Backstage, Brad Maddox is with Batista and Randy Orton. He nervously tells them that they need to work together to take out the Big Show and more importantly, Daniel Bryan. Orton said he will make it work as long as Batista is down. Batista stared him down then left.
Lana walked on stage and welcomed Alexander Rusev. Lana does a good job in this role. Rusev finished this off by speaking in Bulgarian as he stared into the camera. I do not understand why they had him make his debut at the Rumble then proceeded to build him up through vignettes and live promos. Seems backwards to me. Anyway, I think Rusev has potential but is not ready to be on the main roster. Needs more time in NXT.
The Wyatt Family appears on the screen as Harper tells Cena that he made a mistake. Bray then vows to make WrestleMania 30 the last thing that John Cena does before accepting his challenge.
Big Show & Daniel Bryan d. Batista & Randy Orton
Match was okay. Bryan got the win after hitting Orton with the running knee smash shortly after eluding an RKO attempt. Lawler acknowledged the “Boo-Tista” comments on Twitter. JBL and Cole had an awful back and forth on commentary about whether or not the USA Network should have taken action against Daniel Bryan. After the match, Cole put over Bryan for the win and his chance at getting the belt at WrestleMania.
Final Thoughts: Overall, the show did a very good job at hyping WrestleMania. It also featured one of the more memorable segments in RAW history with the Daniel Bryan Yes Movement. With the WWE realizing that Batista vs. Orton would be a disaster, they made the correct call and changed things up. Besides Sheamus vs. Christian, none of the other matches were memorable and they are trying to push the Battle Royal, which I dont see getting over well but you never know. Anyway, now that the top of the card is set, they have four more weeks to hype it up and add other matches too. I feel better about Mania now than I did before tonight’s show.