Raw was a night filled with huge returns and the table began to be set for Wrestlemania. Plus, the WWE Network had it’s huge launch.
Yes, I did subscribe to the new WWE Network. It does have a few glitches and such (like slow-loading videos and videos that suddenly stop in mid performance) but over-all it is absolutely amazing. Those of you that have read my writings for any length of time will know that I consider myself somewhat of a wrestling historian. Scanning through and learning the Don Cyrus (of ECW) was the first to really annoy people with the “Excuse Me!” catchphrase or to learn that Greg Valentine (as the Masked Executioner) was in the very first Wrestlemania match, against Tito Santana, just made my whole day. During my breaks, today, I’ve got “Red” (my new lil Tablet) right here on my desk. Heck, if I mute the thing, work won’t even know… Wait, the boss sometimes reads my stuff, Never Mind. (Turning off “Red” and putting him back on the bookshelf LOL).
Tonight’s show came from Green Bay, WI. The crowd went absolutely bonkers when “Real American” cut loose. The Hulkster is Home! I actually got goose bumps when he walked from the back. Sometimes, I can be such a m ark. (Yes, Kevin Sullivan, you were right about me). JBL, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole stood to applaud the return of the red and yellow. Hogan did the Ear Cup Thing and just drank in the love of the fans. There was a deafening “Hogan” chant that was significant enough to trigger the Closed Captioning. “Let me tell you something, Brother…” started this memorable segment. Hogan said this was a turning point in his career as he was home. Hogan talked about the first Wrestlemania. He also mentioned the WWE Network (tho he kind of messed up a little). Hogan felt like a proud papa for how the WWE was now going to be legendized. Hogan dropped several huge names that are on the Network. Hogan then announced himself as the official Host of Wrestlemania 30. Hogan then wondered “Whatcha Gonna Do…”. Hogan was in fantastic shape and looked like he could step in the ring and go to war, at the drop of a hat.
The announcers talked about The Network and showed off a few things. I have the Network on my desktop, as well as Red. Michael Cole tried to calm JBL down as he went through his old matches. I can hook Red up to my 32” set, which I will do for the Hall of Fame and Wrestlemania.
Alberto Del Rio vs Batista
My two daughters were just so happy to watch this match. They both happen to seriously like Batista’s muscularity. Whatever. I just want to see him kick butt. Lawler mentioned that Batista was actually hearing a “Boo-Tista” chant. The fans are not happy that they are being somewhat force fed Batista (comments that I’ve received, recently). Batista ripped into Del Rio with wild punches. Whip that Del Rio botched. Short Arm Clothesline by Batista and Del Rio went outside. Batista with a Spinebuster into the ring apron. Batista then threw Del Rio back into the ring. Del Rio kicked at Batista as many fans cheered “Mexico’s Greatest Export”.
Batista with a Suplex and a La Bandera Clothesline. Leg Sweep, by Del Rio, caused Batista to crash to the apron. Del Rio threw Batista into the ring apron. Raw went to break.
Del Rio had Batista down as the show returned. Del Rio got control after sending Batista into the ring steps, before the break. Del Rio charged and ended up sliding through the ropes and splatting on the floor. Del Rio snapped Batista’s neck over the top rope. Del Rio climbed the ropes but Batista cracked him with hard punches. Superplex by Batista. Batista seemed to stun himself with the move. The two traded blows and the fans were almost 100 % behind Del Rio. Clotheslines by Batista. Scoop Driver by Batista for a two. Flying Arm Breaker by Del Rio. Del Rio missed the Superkick. Del Rio charged the corner but Batista moved. Spinebuster. Huge boos as the ropes were shaken.
Suddenly, Randy Orton came out. Del Rio with a Roll Up to pin Batista. Randy taunted Batista was a phony apology for interrupting the match. Randy talked about how Batista was easily distracted. Randy brought up how the fans had been rejecting Batista’s return. Randy bet that Batista was sorry he came back. A monster “C.M. Punk” chant broke out (which was, of course, ignored). Batista said Randy was wrong about Batista’s love of the business. More boos. Batista said he would just Boo them back, because he was being real. Batista said he was going to Wrestlemania and beat the Hell out of a whining, sniveling, suck up. Batista said he would be the next champion, Deal with it. I don’t think so.
Big E and Cesaro were on deck to go fist and fury, next.
Big E vs Cesaro
Intercontinental Non-Title Match
Big E had a great match against Jack Swagger at Elimination Chamber. Big E did manage to retain. Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger were at Cesaro’s side. The bell sounded and the two circled each other. Side Headlock by Big E. “We the People” chant. Shoulder Tackle by Big E. Cesaro went to the floor for a strategy session.
Back in the ring, Cesaro with a Go Behind Takedown. Fireman’s Carry Suplex by E. Cesaro with hard shots and the European Uppercut. Cesaro with hard knees but Big E with the Belly to Belly Suplex. Big E with a 2nd one. Flying Shoulder, in the corner, by Big E. Pin attempt after another Corner Shoulder. 2 count. Arm Bar by Big E. Cesaro took Big E to the ropes and blasted him. Clothesline off a Whip plus a Big Boot took Big E down, hard. Cesaro drove his knee into Big E’s back. Neck Crimp by Cesaro. Knee Strikes by Cesaro. E reversed a Whip. Big E caught Cesaro and hit the Clutch Backbreakers, 3 times. 2 count. Arm Bar by Big E and Cesaro with repeated Headbutts to escape. The announcers went back and forth about shat the E stood for. Cesaro amazed everyone with an incredible Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. By the way, Cole…it’s Eeyore not Igor in Winnie the Pooh (I do have grandchildren and 3 wonderful nieces). Raw needed another break.
Cesaro had Big E in a Shinu-Numaki Sleeper as Raw returned. Big E got to his feet and tried to punch free. European Uppercut led to a back and forth punch fest. Gorilla Press Drop by Big E. E charged and ended up hitting the ring post. E powered out of a pin attempt. Cesaro went hard nad heavy with European Uppercuts, using both arms. Rear Chin Lock by Cesaro. Big E got to his feet and punched free. Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker countered, by Cesaro, into a Powerslam. 2 count. Gut Wrench Lift and Slam by Cesaro. Dang, he’s impressive. 2 count, again. Rear Chin Lock by Big E punched free. The two went back and forth with hard shots. Cesaro reversed a Whip into a Sleeper. Cesaro jumped n Big E’s back but E with a Forward Roll to send Cesaro flying. Close Quarters Belly to Belly by Big E. Big Splash by E. 2 count. E Dropped the Straps. Cesaro escaped the Big Ending and hit he Flying European Uppercut. 1-2-no. Cesaro called for the Cesaro Swing. The fans exploded but were disappointed as Big E kicked out. Spinning Uranage Slam by Big E. Could be…might be…not yet. “We the People” rang out, again. Cesaro threw Big E out to the floor. Jack Swagger tried for the cheap shot but Big E took him out. Shoudler by Big E but Cesaro with the Cesaro Swing. I love that freaking move. Jack rushed in the ring, out of nowhere, and applied the Patriot Lock.
Your Winner (by Disqualification): Big E
Raw Ranking: 2.5 out of a possible 5
Cesaro was hot that Jack did that. Zeb yelled at Swagger, as well. Big E jumped Swagger but Cesaro jumped him and planted him with a botched Neutralizer. Big E landed badly on his shoulder. The Real Americans grumbled to the back.
Michael Cole sent it back to the finish of the WWE World Title Match. John Cena seemed well on his way to winning the title. Suddenly, the Wyatt Family appeared, inside the Chamber, and attacked Cena. Michael Cole wondered why Cena was singled out. We might get our answer, next.
John Cena came out and Marked Out for Hulk Hogan and Wrestlemania. He also got his praise in for the WWE Network. Cena reminded the “boys in the back” that they would have to go through him to get to his spot. Cena mentioned that a lot of people need to learn about respect. He then turned his focus on Bray Wyatt. Cena couldn’t believe that the Wyatts got into the Chamber. Cena felt that Bray cost him the WWE World title. Cena wanted to know if Bray was a “One Trick Pony” or did he want to go? Cena ripped off his shirt and hat and got ready for war.
The Wyatt video distortion thing happened. Bray told Green Bay “We’re here”> The best entrance music in the business, today, heralded the arrival of the trio. Bray, sat in his rocking chair and talked about how humans are a virus. Bray cuts some of the best promos. His dad and grandpa should be so very happy. Bray called Cena a liar in all the promises of making things okay for those around him. Bray said Cena worked in illusions, while Bray is reality. Bray properly introduced himself to John Cena. He called himself and his group, The Reapers. Cena then introduced himself. Cena warned Bray that he might be starting something that he couldn’t finish. “It’s Go Time, Jack!”
Bray, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan got in the ring and Triple Teamed Cena. Cena fought valiantly but Erick tweaked Cena’s knee. It was a major mugging. Cena tried to fight back but took another beating. Cena’s knee seemed to be really hurt. This might be a way to write John out of Wrestlemania. The crowd, again, chanted for C.M. Punk. Bray and the boys left but Bray came back for one more shot on John. “Follow the Buzzards!”
Raw showed John Cena being taken out on a stretcher.
Christian vs Sheamus
Sunday, Christian eliminated Sheamus in the Elimination Chamber. Christian and Sheamus got into it, backstage, before Raw went on the air. Brad Maddox decided to fix this by having them fight, tonight.
The bell rang and the two hooked up. Sheamus took Christian to the corner. Clean break. Another Collar and Elbow and Sheamus pushed Christian all the way out of the ring. Christian got back in the ring and ducked under. Hard punches to the face of the Celtic Sarrior. That set Sheamus off and he went ballistic on Captain Charisma. Short Arm Clothesline by Sheamus for a two count. Knee Strikes to the back of Christian. Christian punched away and then went for a Whip. Sheamus reversed it and hit a La Bandera Clothesline. Christian went to Post Sheamus but Sheamus drew in his legs and Christian was pulled into the post. Ouch.
Back in the ring, Sheamus got snapped over the top rope. Christian with a Missile Dropkick for 2. Sheamus punched away but took a Kitchen Sink knee. Christian seemed to hurt himself delivering the Kitchen Sink. Sheamus punched Christian and Back Body Dropped Christian over the top roe and to the floor. Battering Ram, off the apron, by Christian. Raw went to another break.
USA ran a promo for the new Arm Wrestling show on AMC. That concept didn’t work as a movie for Sylvester Stallone (“Over the Top”) and I just can’t see it working, now. Of course, I find NASCAR as boring as watching paint dry but tons of fans love watching guys drive cars round and round in a circle for hours on end. Go figure.
Christian caught Sheamus coming off the top rope and blasted him. Both men ended up on the floor. Christian rammed Sheamus’ arm on the ring steps. Christian brought Sheamus back in and pounded on the mid-section. Christian tried to pull Sheamus out of the corner but Sheamus fought back and went back to the corner. Bear Hug by Christian. Christian released the reapplied the Bear Hug as the Boring chant broke out. Sheamus punched away but Christian with a kick. Abdominal Stretch by Christian. Sheamus would not submit.
Sheamus eventually powered out of the move and used Back Elbows and European Uppercuts to rock Christian. Kick by Christian. Drop Toe Hold into the Inside Out Uppercut. Christian took a moment then flew off the top. He missed the Crossboby. Sheamus drove Christian into the corner and hit the Mr. Wrestling II High Knee. Christian rushed the ropes and took a knee to the jaw and the Crossfaces. Shoulder Tackle Vault by Sheamus, for a two. Christian kicked at Sheamus and went to the ropes. Sheamus pulled him down and put him in the Celtic Cloverleaf. Christian got to the ropes to force the break. Christian kep thte punishment going on Sheamus and tried to set for the KillSwitch. Sheamus blocked it and almost got White Noise. Christian fought out and rolled up Sheamus for two. Sheamus dropped Christian, like a bad habit, to get another two count. Sheamus was ready for the Brogue Kick but he was still woozy. He missed and Christian with the Pendulum Kick. Christian flew off the ropes and ate a massive Brogue Kick!
Your Winner: Sheamus
Raw Ranking: 3.25
Michael Cole talked about the Raw Pre-Show. It was pretty good. I really prefer watching the Legends of Wrestling program.
Cole sent it to an earlier confrontation between Daniel Bryan and The Authority. Daniel wants to fight Triple H at Wrestlemania. HHH tried to blow him off but it wasn’t happening. HHH said he would try to find a place on the card for him. Stephanie stopped Daniel and told him that he would get to fight Kane, later tonight.
It was time for another Black History Month tribute. This time, it was the Soul Patrol of Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson. I had the honor of meeting Tony Atlas, in Dallas, a million years ago. He was such a nice guy. In 1983, the Soul Patrol won the tag team titles from the Wild Samoans. They were the first African American team to win the tag titles. Johnson and Atlas are both credits to the business.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns went off on Dean Ambrose for Sudnay night. Dean stormed off and Seth tried to figure out what was going on. The Wyatts came up and Roman challenged Bray for a one-on-one fight. Bray accepted and sai dhe would leave Luke nad Erick in the back, if Roman would forget bringing Seth or Dean.
Michael Cole talked about he Pre-Show Panel. Booker T and Ric Flair worked with Josh Mathews on the pre-show. The Legends discussed what had gone down and what was about to happen.
Daniel Bryan vs Kane
Kane came out in his t-shirt and suit pants look. I want Old Kane back. Daniel jumped Kane and kicked away, unmercifully. The ref had to force Daniel back. Kane snapped Daniel’s bad arm. Hammerlock Throw into the turnbuckles, by Kane. Drop Toe Hold and kicks by Daniel. Daniel twisted Kane’s left leg in the ropes and then kicked away. Dropkick to the trapped leg. Daniel with a Spiral DDT on the leg. Daniel twisted and then dropped his weight on Kane’s leg. Kneedrop to Kane’s knee. Chop Blocks by Daniel. Single Leg Crab by Daniel but Kane refused to tap out. Kane reached the ropes.
Kane went to the floor but came back to snap Daniel’s bad arm over the ropes and then into the ring post. Kane rolled back in the ring and stomped away. Kane twisted the arm around the middle rope. Kane used the boot to choke Daniel. Arm Whip down by Kane. 2 count. Keylock into a Hammerlock by Kane. Daniel got to his feet and Back Elbowed Kane. Kane threw Daniel out of the ring. Baseball Slide Dropkick by Daniel. Daniel went for a Suicide Dive but Kane punched him in the face, on the fly. Kane threw Daniel into the ring steps. Raw needed another break.
Kane went after Daniel’s hurt shoulder. Kane ripped the protective bandage off Daniel’s arm and shoulder. Kane choked Daniel and then Whipped Daniel to the corner. Corner Clothesline brought a two count. Arm Bar by Kane. Daniel got to his feet and punched away. Kane clocked Daniel with a solid fist. Whip by Kane but Daniel Ran the Ropes and nailed the Flying Forearm. Daniel landed on his bad shoulder. Daniel with sharp kicks to the chest of The Big Corporate Monster. Kane with the Sidewalk Slam for a two.
Kane went up to the top but got caught. Daniel smashed Kane and then hit more kicks. Daniel climbed up and nailed the Hurancanrana. 2 count. Hesitation Dropkicks by Daniel. Kane rebounded with a solid punch. Low Bridge sent Kane out to the floor. Suicide Dive by Daniel. Shotgun Knees by Daniel, on the floor. Daniel put Kane back in the ring and went up top. Missile Dropkick by Daniel. Daniel was losing feeling in the shoulder but was still able to Kip Up. That move is hard as Hell to do. Crescent Kick to Kane’s head to earna two count. Daniel climbed to the top rope and flew…into a Goozle. Chokeslam!1-2-Kick Out! Knae freaked out.
The “Yes!” chants broke out. Daniel tried to apply the Yes Lock but Kane powered free. Daniel would not be denied nad he went for the Yes Lock for a 2nd time. Dragon’s Fang Knee by Daniel Bryan!
Your Winner: Daniel Bryan
Raw Ranking: 3.25
Daniel got the chants going, lout and proud. After the replay, Daniel took the house microphone to talk to the crowd. Daniel discussed how he faced the Authority, earlier. Daniel called HHH a “Coward”. He explained that he challenged HHH and The Game hid behind his wife’s skirt. Daniel accused HHH of ignoring what the fans want. Daniel told The Authority to listen to the fans. Daniel Bryan re-issued the challenge to fight HHH, at Wrestlemania! I want to see that one, big time.
There was another Alexsander Rusev promo.
Summer Rae (w/Fandango) vs Emma (w/Santino Marella)
Emma is just quirky and fun. Plus, she’s darn cute. I have to admit, I hate her annoying entrance music. Bubbles floated around the ramp, as she popped them and Santino covered his eyes. JBL thought Emma was spastic. JBL thought her little dance was stupid. I have to agree.
The bell rand and Emma marched around. Summer pushed her down but got place don her cute little but. Rolling DDT by Summer. Summer with a Whip but Emma slid out nad then in to the ring. Summer blasted Emma with a hard kick. Summer kicked Emma in the back and then choked her on the middle rope. Summer mocked Santino, asking if he thought Emma was cute. He said she was. Summer threw Emma down and almost pinned her. Modified Keylock by Summer. Emma worked up to her feet but Summer pulled her back down. Emma powered up but Emma caught a Leg Lariat and slapped on the Emma Lock (Indian Death Lock variation with a Neck Twist.
Your Winner: Emma
Raw Ranking: 1.5
Emma flirted with Santino and just seemed to have a fun time dancing around.
Michael Cole talked about the media blitz about Hulk Hogan’s return to the WWE. He belongs there, to be honest.
Road Dogg and Billy Gunn vs Jimmyand Jey Uso
Tag Team Non-Title Match
Road Dogg asked the Usos to let him do his New Age Outlaws Intro. Dogg took a Thrust Kick to the mush during the intro. Billy was sent over the top with the La Bandera Clothesline. Top Rope Splash! 1-2-3. Not sure which Uso did the pin, as the Usoss hadn’t removed their shirts. A chest tattoo is the only way I can tell them apart.
Your Winners: The Usos
Raw Ranking: 1.0
The Announcers talked about the Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels sit down discussion. I watched it and it was something special.
Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt
Special Challenge Match
Bray and Roman started throwing unches and Bray went to the floor. Bray rushed at Roman and locked up in a Collar and Elbow. Roman powered Bray across the ring. Bray with a kick and Headbutt. Hard to believe that was effective against a Samoan. Roman with a Shoudler Tackle. Roman trapped Bray in the ropes and smacked Bray in the chest. Bray with a kick and another headbutt. Roman blocked a punch and threw several rights. Thrust to Roman’s throat. Bray ran Roman’s face across the top rope. Hedbutt by Bray into a Short Arm Clothesline. A Husky Harris chant rose and then quickly died. Rear Chin Lock by Bray.
Roman punched free but Bray kicked the knee. Flying Forearm and big Stomp by Bray. Bray ran Roman into the corner and then punched away. Roman reversed a Whip and threw Bray out to the floor. Running Clothesline by Roman nearly took Bray’s head off. Bray stared into space as Raw went to break.
Front Face Lock and Knee Strike by Bray. Scoop Slam by Bray. Backsplash Senton by Bray. 2 count. Bray stomped away and hit a Falling Headbutt. Bray with rapid fire fists to the face and a choke over the middle rope, by Bray. Roman tried to punch back but Bray kicked the knee and hit a hard Suplex. 2 count, again. Side Headlock by Bray. Randy Sabage was the next chant to go. He SHOULD be in the Hall of Fame, darn it.
Roman got up and punched and Headbutted free. Flying Burrito by Bray. The fans chanted for the Undertaker as Bray clocked Roman. The announcers ignored all the chants. Corner Slash but a 2nd one failed Bray. Roman launched Bray with the Double Boots. Roman with a Flying Clothesline and Back Elbow. Corner Clothesline and punches by Roman. Roman slid out of the ring to his the Rising Sun Dropkick. Side Drop Suplex by Roman, for a two count. Roman prepped for the Superman Punch but Luek Harper and Erick Rowan showed up. Seth Rollins rushed over and hit a Tope Con Hilo. Bray rolled up Roman for a two. Roman ended up hitting the ring post. Harper and Rowan with a double team on Seth. Dean took his time showing up. He eventually did and went wild. Roman with the Superman Punch on Bray. Dean rushed in the ring and attacked Bray. Why?
Your Winner (By Disqualification): Bray Wyatt
Raw Ranking: 2.5
Paul Heyman asked Brock Lesnar not to tear anything or anyone up. They headed to the ring to address the WWE Universe.
Paul and Brock came out. There was a table with a contract on it. Paul grumbled that Brock was not getting to be a part of the WWE World title match. The Authority issued an offer to Lesnar that he could choose any opponent he wanted, other than those involved in the WWE World Title Match. Heyman said that was how “They” get to you, offering you anything…except the one thing you really want. Heyman rambled on about how Lesnar was wanting an opportunity to accomplish something unheard of…to conquer the ultimate foe…etc… We just SO saw this one coming…
As Paul refused to accept the deal, the Gong sounded! The Undertaker came out to the loudest pop that I’ve heard in a long time. He soaked in the admiration of the fans as he took his time to get into the ring. Brock quickly signed the contract and challenged Undertaker to face him. Brock slammed the pen into Taker’s chest. Taker took the pen and stabbed Brock in the hand with it. He then Chokeslammed Brock through the table. I’ll take that as a “YES!”