By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from New Orleans, Louisiana at Smoothie King Center
[Q1] Raw opened with a video that recapped Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and his issues with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon... The crowd chanted "Yes!" and then Daniel Bryan made his entrance. Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in on commentary.
Bryan stood in the ring with both title belts as the huge "Daniel Bryan" chants took place. "You guys never get tired, do you," Bryan said. He said it's hard to do the Yes! fist pump when he's holding two titles. He said he would do it one more time and then he had to give his shoulders a break. The crowd erupted with Yes! chants.
Bryan said it was a little over two years ago when he started do that, and now the WWE Universe is united in saying yes. "You Deserve It" chanted the crowd. Bryan said he might deserve it a little bit, "but I think you guys deserve it." Bryan said yes isn't a word or a hand gesture or positive thinking, it's about the power that people have to make change.
Bryan said it was because of the fans that he went into WrestleMania and beat The Authority and is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He led another round of "Yes!" chants that were interrupted by Triple H's music. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their way to the ring. "This was an upset if there ever was one," JBL said.
The fans chanted "asshole" at Hunter. Lawler said the fans were going to make it worse by making Hunter even more angry. Hunter stood on the ring apron and said he wouldn't get in the ring because he didn't want to do something to Bryan that he would regret "at least not yet." Bryan walked over to him and pumped the title belts to lead another "Yes!" chant.
Triple H told Bryan to enjoy his moment because that's all it was. He said Bryan wouldn't even make it through the night because he was going to make sure of it. Hunter announced that Bryan would defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against him in the main event. Hunter got fired up as he told Bryan that Raw is his show and there's not a damn thing that he can do about it.
[Q2] Cole hyped that Brock Lesnar was in the building after ending Undertaker's Streak at WrestleMania... [C] A commercial aired for the one-hour WWE Hall of Fame special, which airs after Raw on USA Network...
Powell's POV: Wow, that's a match I did not expect to see tonight. I thought we might get Bryan vs. Randy Orton since it was Batista who tapped out instead of the champion. They were right to open the show with Daniel Bryan. As huge as The Streak is, it's smart to make the title feel more important and to open the show on a high note.
Still shots aired from WrestleMania 30... Backstage, Triple H told Stephanie that he was going to make them all choke on it. Batista showed up and asked what the hell is going on. He said none of this would be happening if Triple H hadn't lost. Randy Orton said he has a rematch clause and he wants his shot tonight. Hunter said he's the COO of the company and he will take care of the problem.
Stephanie booked Randy Orton and Batista vs. The Uso Brothers for the WWE Tag Team Championship for Raw. Orton grumbled that if they wanted the tag titles they would take them. Hunter said that when the three of them are on the same page, no one can stop them...
The Wyatt Family sounder played and their personalized intro for New Orleans played. They made their entrance. Still shots aired of John Cena beating Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania. Lawler said Cena was fighting two battles - one against Wyatt and one against himself. Cole hyped the six-man tag for after the break...
The babyface trio was introduced. Big E's intro was not show. Sheamus's entrance was joined in progress, and then John Cena made his entrance to loud boos from the WrestleMania crowd. The babyface trio ran to the ring together and fought with the Wyatt Family before the bell...
1. John Cena, Sheamus, and Big E vs. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan. Cena and Wyatt were the last two remaining in the ring following the pre-match brawl so the referee rang the bell to start the match. Loud "Let's Go Wyatt" chants started. Lawler acknowledged the chants and said it was like a WrestleMania crowd.
[Q3] Sheamus checked in to boos and sold in the heel corner for a bit before tagging in Big E. Cena checked back in to more boos, which turned to cheers when Harper performed the cool face-first slam. The live crowd did the "yeah, yeah, yeah" along with Harper. [C]
Harper performed a really nice DDT on Cena after the break and drew "Let's Go Harper" chants. There were actually "Let's Go Cena/Cena Sucks" chants. The crowd continued to cheer on all three Wyatt Family members and they were given plenty of offense to cheer about. At 13:00, Wyatt did the crab walk to a big pop. He followed up by hitting Sister Abigail on Big E for the win...
The Wyatt Family defeated John Cena, Sheamus, and Big E in 13:30.
Powell's POV: A really good six-man match and The Wyatt Family looked like mega stars in front of the night after WrestleMania crowd. The live crowd is as lively as we have come to expect it to be on this night. They are cheering and booing loudly and entertaining themselves with various chants. It's hard to feel anything for Big E right now. He's fallen victim to the curse of the secondary championship in that he just keeps losing non-title matches.
[Q4] The broadcast team hyped Bryan vs. Hunter, and then set up a commercial for Slam City... [C]
2. Fandango and Summer Rae vs. Santino Marella and Emma. The crowd got into the Fandangoing bit prior to the match and it continued as the match got underway. Santino pulled out the Cobra sleeve early, but Fandango tagged in Summer. Emma locked in the Dilemma on Summer and then performed her sandwich move in the corner. Emma applied the Emma Lock on Emma in the middle of the ring and got the submission win...
Santino Marella and Emma beat Fandango and Summer Rae in 1:25.
Cole hyped Lesnar's appearance for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: It was nice to see Emma perform some of the offense that made her stand out in NXT. It's too bad she's in this weird bit with Santino where he's looking for love and she apparently wants friendship. It just doesn't seem to be catching on. Meanwhile, Summer was getting the big push last week because she slapped Natalya on Total Divas. They didn't even make it to the next Total Divas episode before having her lose.
Additional still shots aired from WrestleMania 30...
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman headed to the ring for a promo. Lesnar's left eye was blackened. Cole mentioned that Taker suffered a concussion, was hospitalized overnight, and released today. Once in the ring, Heyman dropped to his knees and bowed for Lesnar. Heyman was all smiles as he stood up.
[Q5] Once Brock's music stopped playing, Heyman and Lesnar looked to the crowd and let them booed. Heyman delivered his usual entrance to boos. "It is the greatest privilege of my career to serve as the advocate for the Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar," Heyman said. "The conquerer of the Undertaker's Streak." Loud boos followed by bullshit chants.
Heyman said they hate to tell you they told the fans so, but they told them so. He pointed to Lesnar's "Eat, Sleep, Break The Streak" shirt. "Brock Lesnar is not here to put smiles on people's faces," Heyman said. He said Lesnar is there "to put tears in the eyes of children." That line drew some cheers. Funny.
Heyman said it was time to go off page and shoot from the hip. Heyman said Taker collapsed five seconds after walking through the curtain at WrestleMania. "Oh, you don't want to hear this story, it's too real to you," Heyman mocked. Heyman said Vince McMahon left WrestleMania and rode to the hospital with Undertaker. Heyman said Taker is being treated today to being treated for a severe concussion. He said Taker was "this close" to a fractured skull and a broken neck.
Heyman said it's a good thing that Taker didn't kick out because Brock wasn't going to stop until he beat The Streak. Heyman pointed out JBL and "those two other things that call themselves announcers" stood up and gave a standing ovation along with 80,000 other fans in the "Superdome, Hogan, not Silverdome."
Heyman said there's a winner and a loser in every fight. He said last night, "Undertaker was a loser, and Brock Lesnar was a winner." He noted that this is supposed to be the wildest crowd of the year. He said like everyone in the locker room, the fans are all a bunch of wannabes. Heyman said no one gave Lesnar a standing ovation because they don't respect him.
Heyman said that's fine because Lesnar respects no one and barely tolerates him. He said he surely doesn't respect someone who flies in from around the world and tries to get noticed on television. Heyman said there are a lot of guys backstage who talk about fighting in an octagon. He said Bryan, Cena, and Taker never did, but Lesnar did. He brought up Lesnar's amateur credentials and said Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock never did. "Brock Lesnar is the one," Heyman said.
Heyman said a lot of people were telling him backstage that they could have broken The Streak. "So why didn't you?" Heyman asked. He said Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H never broke The Streak, but Brock Lesnar is the one. "Because Brock Lesnar is the one in 21-1," he said.
Heyman asked the crowd if they were saying "What" to him. "I forgot who you are so I'll say it slowly for you," Heyman said. Heyman slowly said Brock Lesnar is the one in 21-1. Hilarious. Heyman said there are WWE Hall of Famers, legends, and WWE Superstars. He said the key is they are all plural. He said there is only one who stands above the rest on a platform all his own - Brock Lesnar. Lesnar's music played and they left the ring together...
Powell's POV: Heyman's promo was even more glorious than I envisioned. This was the best gloating heel manager promo ever. I heard some great ones from Bobby Heenan over the years, but this was even better. There were no clues there as to what's next for Lesnar. They could always set something up later in the show, but right now I'm left wondering if Brock is going to disappear for a bit.
[Q6] [C] A vignette aired for Adam Rose of NXT. He had his own tour bus and he said it's party time all the time in his world. He welcomed viewers along to the exotic express...
Powell's POV: For those who don't watch NXT, that's the artist formerly known as Leo Kruger. His Russell Brand-like act is fairly new and he has a really fun entrance.
3. The Uso Brothers vs. Randy Orton and Batista for the WWE Tag Team Championship. There was a loud CM Punk chant early on. Orton and Batista dominated the Uso's in the ring and then threw them to ringside. They continued to work them over there until the referee counted out both team. The crowd chanted for Justin Roberts and JBL. After the match, Batista performed the Batista Bomb onto the flat part of the ring steps. Batista and Orton went back to the ring and raised their arms in the air...
The Uso Brothers fought Randy Orton and Batista fought to a double count out.
Powell's POV: I like the way Orton and Batista looked like badasses. However, this made the tag champions look weak and the tag titles look throwaway because Orton and Batista had no interest in winning them. The live crowd didn't even give this a chance and was more self-indulgent than anything.
4. Rob Van Dam vs. Damien Sandow. Roberts delivered a "please welcome back" RVD intro, which was well received. Sandow tripped up RVD as he tried to do his thumb pointing routine a couple times at the beginning of the match. He finally did it before a spinning leg drop off the ring apron. The fans chanted "you still got it." Back inside the ring, Van Dam performed Rolling Thunder and then followed up with the Five Star Frogsplash for the win...
Rob Van Dam defeated Damien Sandow in 2:45.
Powell's POV: The live crowd was into RVD and focussed on the match rather than ring announcers and broadcast team members throughout this match. Poor Sandow probably kept waiting for WrestleMania to be over with the hope that they would do something with him, and instead he starts the new WWE year with a squash loss.
[Q7] [C] 5. Rey Mysterio vs. Bad News Barrett. Barrett received a strong reaction from the European fans in attendance. Barrett smiled and took the mic and delivered his bad news line while standing in the ring. Mysterio attacked him. Mysterio tossed Barrett to ringside and performed a cool slide under the bottom rope into a splash on the floor.
Barrett came back with a Bossman slam for a two count. Mysterio came back with some of his signature offense and got some boos. In the end, Barrett caught Mysterio with the Bull Hammer for the win...
Bad News Barrett pinned Rey Mysterio in 3:50.
Powell's POV: The bad news is that the reaction to Barrett will be attributed to the UK fans. Of course, it actually was, but I still hope we him in the ring. I think the "I've Got Some Bad News" line is getting over even though most of what he says after that line is usually flat. Poor Mysterio. He's such a likable character but he keeps being put in tough positions starting with that No. 30 spot in the Royal Rumble.
The broadcast team hyped a WWE themed edition of The Soup for Wednesday night on E!... Cole hyped a "big time debut." A video of Alexander Rusev played...
[Q8] [C] Another Adam Rose vignette aired. He was at a rave and pointed to two women, labeling one his current ex-girlfriend and the other as his future ex-girlfriend. He said it's party time all the time...
<b><u>Powell's POV:</b></u> Everything about the vignette was cool except for the person in the rabbit suit. Nobody likes a goddamn furry. Fortunately, Rose was great and had some fun lines.
Justin Roberts introduced Lana as a "Ravishing Russian." She delivered the introduction for Alexander Rusev...
6. Alexander Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Zack Ryder. Cole said they have seen Rusev dominate NXT and pimped the show as airing Thursday nights on the network. Rusev dominated Ryder with power moves and put him away with the Accolade (a/k/a Camel Clutch).
Alexander Rusev defeated Zack Ryder in 1:20.
Powell's POV: A good debut. Rusev looks much better in his new gear than he did when he was rocking the brown leather looking gear in NXT. The crowd focussed on the match, which is a good sign for a debuting act.
A WWE Hall of Fame video aired... Cole hyped Ultimate Warrior returning to Raw for the first time in nearly 20 years after the break. [C]
Powell's POV: They actually found the one sentence that Mr. T spoke that did not involve his mother. I would laugh my ass off if they played his full speech on the USA Network special version of the Hall of Fame tonight.
[Q9] More WrestleMania still shots were shown... The Ultimate Warrior was introduced. He came out wearing a suit and had a big smile on his face. He walked to the ring and shook hands with fans on the way. Once he got to ringside, the announcers were shown talking, and Warrior put on one of his old jackets. He entered the ring and shook the ropes.
"Speak to me, Warriors," he said in his character voice. Warrior said he was having trouble finding words. He pulled out a mask of his old face paint and put it on. He went into character mode again and spoke about his essence being glorified by the storytellers. He pointed to the fans and said "you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior." Warrior said he is the Ultimate Warrior and "you are the Ultimate Warrior fans and the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever"...
A shot aired of A.J. Lee and Tamina walking together backstage... A video package focussed on the production elements of WrestleMania. Daniel Bryan walked onto the stage of an empty arena and looked surprised. "But there is no WWE without you," a caption read. Clips of fans and wrestlers with fans were shown. "Thank you," read the closing caption...
Powell's POV: The crowd gave Warrior a good reaction when he came out. They weren't red hot for his promo, but they were respectful. The video package was really slick. WWE is doing a good job of making it seem cool to be a WWE fan. Now they need to focus on making it cool to go to live events. For a second there, I thought they were actually going to pay tribute to the work of the production crew, which never gets any public love from WWE.
Cole thanked Kid Rock for the WrestleMania theme song... A.J. Lee and Tamina headed to the ring. A.J. Lee said she has been Divas Champion for 295 days and added that she's the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time. She recalled standing at the top of the stage and tearing all the Divas "a new one."
Lee said she gave them a chance. She said she gave them 295 days worth of chances to prove her wrong. She said they could not and she is the hero of this story. Lee said she has been overcoming the odds her entire life. She said she went from being a poor girl in New Jersey to being the best Diva in the world. The fans cheered and then a loud C.M. Punk chant broke out. "I am the savior of your Divas division," Lee said. "I am the Divas division."
Paige's music played and Cole immediately introduced her as the NXT Women's Champion. Paige grabbed a mic on her way inside the ring and got a big reaction from the fans and some chanted her name. Lawler said he's happy to see her and she's "certainly different." Lee asked what the hell she was doing there.
[Q10] "I'm here to do what no one else would," Paige said. "And that's to congratulate you, A.J., you did great last night." Lee thanked her and said all the Divas should be lining up and thanking her for everything she's done. She told Paige to go run along to NXT because the champion doesn't like to be interrupted.
Paige once again congratulated her. Lee called her a cute little crumpet and said she should beat her. Paige, who was dressed in her ring gear, said she wasn't ready. Lee slapped her across the face and knocked her down. Lee asked if she was ready now. She said as a special post WrestleMania treat she was putting her title on the line. "Ready or not, this is my house, I'll tell you when you're ready," Lee said. The fans chanted "this is awesome."
7. A.J. Lee vs. Paige for the WWE Divas Championship. Lee knocked Paige down and got the better of her quickly. Lee went for the Black Widow, but was unable to lock it in. Paige broke free and hit the Paige Turner finisher and scored the clean pin...
Paige defeated A.J. Lee in 1:20 to win the WWE Divas Championship.
The broadcast team hyped the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy presentation for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: I'm happy to see Paige and this came off well, but I'm not a fan of rushing into Paige winning the championship. Whatever happened to the chase? I know the counter will be that they made a star tonight and I can't argue with that, but I'm just a bigger fan of building up to things rather than rushing someone to the top because there's nowhere to go but down. I went back and watched the promo again hoping that there was a clever word play and Lee could say she was actually referring to the NXT Championship, but she clearly said she was putting "my title on the line." Anyway, a cool moment and I am looking forward to the followup even though the rush job wasn't for me.
A Bo Dallas vignette aired. "Even if you don't score, you're already a winner in the most important game of them all," he said. Bo-lieve in yourself," he said...
Powell's POV: Will there be anyone left in NXT? Damn!
Hulk Hogan made his entrance for the trophy presentation and went through his ear-cupping routine and the crowd was very receptive. Hogan pointed at the trophy that was already set up on a table in the ring. One of the fans held up a sign that read "Cue Card" and listed the arena name on it. Awesome.
Hogan got the Superdome name right as he looked back on WrestleMania 30. The fans chanted for Cesaro. Hogan said he knew that when he watched Cesaro slam Big Show that it made him smile because he knew the big man was looking down from above. Hogan introduced Cesaro as the battle royal winner.
[Q11] Cesaro came out wearing a sparkling ring jacket and played to the crowd as Zeb Colter walked behind him. "A lot of credit goes to Zeb Colter," JBL said. Cesaro leaned against the trophy and smiled. Hogan congratulated Cesaro and they shook hands. Hogan handed Cesaro the mic and made his exit.
Cesaro was about to speak when Zeb took the mic from him and said he would take it from there. He said he was going to give the mic back to him so he could tell the fans what kind of a guy he really is. Colter said he brought Cesaro into the fold even though he's not a real American. "I made you a Zeb Colter Guy," Colter said.
Cesaro took the mic and said, "I'm sorry, I'm not that guy," he said. "I'm not a Zeb Colter guy. I'm a Paul Heyman Guy." The fans roared as Heyman walked onto the stage. The fans chanted Yes! Heyman introduced himself as the advocate for "The King of Swing Cesaro."
Colter asked if Cesaro was jumping ship to Heyman. Cesaro nodded yes and shook Heyman's head. Heyman referred to Colter as "grandpa" and said it seemed to be the week of shocking moments for Paul Heyman Guys. Heyman said his first order of business was to address the announcers on how to discuss the future of Cesaro.
Heyman went to ringside and talked to the broadcast team. Jack Swagger appeared in the ring and hit Cesaro from behind. Swagger knocked the trophy down and then picked it up and threw it to ringside. Cesaro recovered an clotheslined Swagger to the floor. Cesaro looked down at his destroyed trophy and looked upset... [C]
Powell's POV: I love the idea of Cesaro being with Heyman. It makes for an interesting dynamic if they go through with Cesaro vs. Swagger. I don't know how that will work if this stick, but they have my interest.
8. Cesaro (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter). The match was joined in progress. Heyman clutched the Andre the Giant trophy piece in the corner. Swagger got a two count on Cesaro at 3:00 and showed frustration. He went for the Swagger Bomb, but Cesaro put his foot up.
"Now's your time," Heyman yelled at Cesaro, who responded with a superplex that started with Swagger standing on the ring apron. Cesaro whipped Swagger into the corner and followed him and hit him with uppercuts in the corner several times. Swagger took a powder and never returned. After the match, Heyman gave Cesaro the Andre trophy piece and he held it over his head for a moment...
Cesaro defeated Jack Swagger in 5:20.
Cole announced The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family for WWE Main Event Live on WWE Network at 7:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday... Lawler hyped Bryan vs. Hunter for the main event of Raw after the break... [C]
[Q12] [C] The announcers spoke as they showed mainstream outlet headlines on Undertaker's Streak ending... A recap of the opening segment with Daniel Bryan's celebration and the interruption by The Authority was shown...
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon held court between Kane and The Shield. She said she didn't care what happened between them or with Kane's brother at WrestleMania. She said the only thing matters is that Triple H become the 14-time champion. Seth Rollins said Kane was missing some buddies. He asked where the New Age Outlaws are.
Kane told them that Triple H sees them as nameless, faceless pawns. Stephanie looked nervous and tried to cut him off, but he yelled that Triple H was the person who had him take them out on Smackdown recently. Stephanie got him to stop and said they will all be on the same page because Triple H is the boss and what he wants he gets. "Do I make myself clear?" she asked. Reigns sighed and said, "Crystal"...
Cole hyped Big Show vs. Cesaro for Friday's Smackdown television show... Lawler offered one more pitch for the main event... [C]
Powell's POV: You know that fear many of you have that Daniel Bryan is going to lose tonight? That's exactly why his televised title matches should be a big deal for several months if they book this properly and put him in there with the right opponents. WWE created paranoia amongst Bryan fans by pulling the rug out from under him so many times. It was flawed booking at the time, but they cane make it work together advantage now.
[Overrun] Daniel Bryan made his entrance. Randy Orton and Batista came out together and eventually attacked Bryan. Orton hit the RKO, then Batista performed a Batista Bomb. Kane came out and looked like he wasn't happy, but then he picked up Bryan by the throat and chokeslammed him. Triple H's music played and he came to the ring with Stephanie McMahon while Bryan was on his back selling in the ring.
Triple H had his left thigh heavily wrapped. He entered the ring and looked down at Bryan, then smirked at the fans. Hunter and Stephanie told the referee to ring the bell. "Do you like this job?" Hunter asked. "Ring the bell." The referee complied...
9. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The bell rang to start the match and The Shield's music played. The trio made their entrance through the crowd wearing their Michael Tarver masks. The announcers asked if things just went from bad to worse.
The Shield stood on the floor and Hunter looked down at them. They climbed onto the ring apron on one side of the ring, and Batista, Orton, and Kane stood on the other side. The fans chanted "this is awesome." The Shield entered the ring and Hunter told them to stand down. Batista, Orton, and Kane entered the ring and Hunter told them it wasn't going to happen and backed them up. "We're not breaking this down into a war," Hunter said.
Triple H turned around and took a spear from Roman Reigns. The Shield cleared Orton and Batista from the ring. Rollins and Ambrose dove onto them. Kane got the better of Reigns momentarily, but Reigns took him out with a Superman punch. Bryan sat in the corner and watched as Triple H got to his knees with The Shield members surrounding him.
Hunter tried to tell them to back off. He turned toward Bryan, who hit him with a running knee. Hunter's trio pulled him from the ring. Daniel Bryan's music played as he stood in the ring with The Shield. "We've got a farm animal who is still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion," JBL said. The Shield members put their fists together and Bryan led Yes! chants as Hunter yelled from the floor about this becoming a war...
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H never got started.
Powell's POV:\ So it's the old guard of WWE against the younger stars in Bryan and The Shield. Mix in all of the NXT talent that is debuting and it does feel like the youth movement is really in full effect. I like the way they toyed with Bryan fans without giving away the Bryan vs. Triple H match, which is still pay-per-view main event worthy. You could see The Shield's actions coming a mile away, but it was very well done.
Overall, this was a very good show. The crowd was rowdy and had plenty of fun with various chants, but WWE did a good job of keeping them occupied and engaged way more often than not compared to last year. We can only wonder at this point what they would have done with Taker if he had been healthy. Aside from that, it was a fun night and I love the new talent infusion the night after WrestleMania. Thanks for watching along with me and join us shortly for Prowrestling.net Live. Details at the top of the page.
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