3/17 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Undertaker advertised, Triple H responds to Occupy Raw, The Uso Brothers vs. The Real Americans, WrestleMania 30 build continues
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from San Antonio, Texas at AT&T Center
[Q1] An Occupy Raw video package opened the show... Triple H cut a mid-ring promo. He said it didn't have to be this way, but now he was going to destroy the Yes Movement. He said he had a couple of things to say to Daniel Bryan and he would do so face-to-face later in the show. He shifted gears and said they had a hell of a show.
Cue Batista, who made his entrance as Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL introduced show and said just under 15,000 fans were in attendance. Batista vented about the possibility of Bryan being added to the main event. He said he doesn't like the idea of being in a match where he doesn't have to be pinned to lose. "What the hell were you thinking?" Batista asked.
Triple H responded by asking what the hell Batista was thinking, saying there's not a hope in hell that Bryan will beat him. Randy Orton made his entrance. Orton wasn't happy about the Triple Threat. Hunter once again told them that Bryan doesn't stand a chance against him. "Has Daniel Bryan really gotten that far inside your head?" Triple H said.
Batista responded by saying, "Apparently not as much as he's gotten inside yours." Orton asked for a one-on-one match, even a No DQ match against Bryan so that he could prove to Hunter that he could do what Batista failed to do last week. Triple H booked the match.
Orton said the people didn't believe in Batista. He said if Batista had lived up to the hype they wouldn't be in this situation now. Batista said the fans love Bryan and they are in this spot because Orton sucks. Batista called Bryan a paper champion. Hunter vented that he's sick of "Hollywood movie stars" coming back and telling him they know more about the business than he does. He also said he's tried of guys (Orton) who can't win matches without having their hands full.
Hunter said he thinks the old man was right that you can't trust anyone other than yourself. "There's going to be a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania," he said. Hunter announced that if he beats Bryan, the match becomes Orton vs. Batista vs. Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Hunter headed backstage and Orton dropped Batista with the RKO...
A shot aired of the Uso Brothers backstage...
Powell's POV: A nice twist that adds more intrigue to the Triple Threat match. I like that Hunter's character has more to fight for, and that it should drive paranoid Daniel Bryan fans over the edge. I could have done without Orton and Batista tearing each other down. I like that WWE isn't acting oblivious to the way the fans are rejecting them, but pointing out their flaws isn't helping the situation. And was there a law passed somewhere that requires pro wrestling companies to label their world title holders as "paper champions" in 2014?
[Q2] [C] A brief video recapped the opening segment... Backstage, Renee Young asked Batista for comment. "Coming back here was a big mistake," he said. "I'm out of here"...
1. The Uso Brothers vs. Jack Swagger and Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter) in a non-title match. A brief "We The People" chant broke out. JBL pointed it out and said the fans love Zeb in Texas. The Real Americans took offensive control heading into the break. [C] After the break, Swagger and Cesaro isolated Jimmy Uso in their corner. He eventually caught Cesaro with a kick and made the hot tag to Jey Uso.
[Q3] Later, Swagger pulled Cesaro away from a potential top rope splash. They worked over Swagger, but one of the Uso Brothers dove into a big uppercut from Cesaro, who followed up with The Neutralizer for the win...
The Real Americans defeated The Uso Brothers in 12:15.
Powell's POV: A good tag match. The adult males popped big for Cesaro getting the win. Does this mean we're getting a rematch at WrestleMania? I'm cool with that, but I still want to see Cody Rhodes and Goldust get a meaningful WrestleMania match.
The broadcast team set up a video package for WWE Slam City, the company's new animated series... [C]
Powell's POV: The Divas get a reality show, the men get an animated series. I'll let you decide who got the better of that deal.
A graphic touted the WWE Network... The broadcast team thanked viewers for subscribing to the network and hyped important news regarding the network for later in the show (likely the free trial week deal ending)... Highlights aired from Smackdown of The Shield not following Kane's orders during his match against Big Show...
Backstage, Kane told The Shield that emotions got out of hand on Smackdown and they all made decisions that could have long term consequences. Kane said The Authority has given them a mission and he needs a united Shield by his side. He said if The Authority can't count on them, then they are no longer assets. Kane asked if he can count on them. Seth Rollins said they are united. Roman Reigns said "believe that." Kane said he believes they will do the right thing when asked or find out how replaceable they are...
Hornswoggle walked around ringside handing out party favors for St. Patrick's Day. Lawler noted that Hornswoggle had long hair. Bad News Barrett's music stopped Horny in his tracks. From the usual high perch, Barrett banged his gavel and said Horny was a real life leprechaun celebrating. He said most fans will spend the holiday drinking heavily, puking, and doing things they will regret for the rest of their lives.
Sheamus made his entrance wearing a green shirt. Cole said Sheamus would be in action in a St. Patrick's Day showdown after the break...
[Q4] [C] A commercial aired for The Bella Twins guest starring on this week's "Psych" television show...
2. Sheamus (w/Hornswoggle) vs. Titus O'Neil. The announcers noted Titus, who came out wearing a silly costume for St. Patrick's Day, is in the battle royal. Christian sat in on commentary and announced he is also in the battle royal. Christian said JBL can call him skinny or mock him, but JBL looks like David Spade in a fat suit. Nice.
Titus had the advantage and then decided to throw Hornswoggle in the ring and slap him around a little. He threw Horny over his head, but Shamus caught him. Hornswoggle low-blowed Titus, then Sheamus hit his forearms to the chest. Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick for the win...
Sheamus pinned Titus O'Neil in 4:15.
After the match, Renee Young entered the ring and interviewed Sheamus, who also announced his entry in the Andre the Giant battle royal. As Sheamus was leaving, Christian attacked him from behind. Christian ran him into the ring steps and then performed the Killswitch on the floor...
Lawler hyped John Cena's response to The Wyatt Family... [C]
Powell's POV: I'm sorry to hear we won't be getting Sheamus vs. Christian at WrestleMania. I suppose they could still get there, but right now it looks like it's just a story within the battle royal.
[Q5] Arnold Schwarzenegger is hosing Raw next week. Scooby Doo and his Mystery Machine will be on Raw next week...
John Cena made his entrance. He said some people are happy, some are not so happy. He said he's always given fans his best and he's always been honest. He said he wanted to get something off his chest. "I'm afraid of Bray Wyatt," Cena said. He said he's afraid of who Wyatt is and what he stands for, and he fears that the fans are actually listening to Wyatt.
Cena said the object in WWE has always been to get in the ring and prove who is the best. Cena said Wyatt just wants to destroy. He said Wyatt will try to destroy his legacy and everything he stands for. Cena said Wyatt is trying to convince viewers that he's not who he says he is and that he's filled with evil. "I say to hell with that," he said. "I've been here too long and I've been through too much." Cena said he will fight for everything at WrestleMania 30. "At WrestleMania, I will fight for my legacy," he concluded.
The Wyatt sounder aired. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan appeared on the big screen. He said children believe everything is good and then they live long enough to learn everything is a lie. Wyatt said his own childhood wasn't all rainbows and butterflies. He said he has a few scars that the world gave to him. He said it was his birthright to have those scars. A "Cena" chant broke out."
Wyatt said he could be just like Cena. He could sign autographs, kiss babies, and "go home to my plastic girlfriend in my castle." He said that's Cena. Wyatt said he is different than anyone Cna has ever faced. Wyatt said he doesn't care if he dies as long as the world sees Cena the way he does... Split shots aired of Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt as Cole hyped their No DQ match... [C]
Powell's POV: The Cena promo was actually kind of shocking. It seemed like a bit much that he was afraid of Wyatt at first, but the explanation was okay. Granted, it feels like there's a missing chapter that escalated things to this point, but it beats the hell out of Cena telling Jimmy Buffett jokes.
Ring entrances for the Orton vs. Bryan match took place and Cole noted that it was Raw episode No. 1,086...
[Q6] 3. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan in a non-title, no DQ match. There was an odd spot early where Bryan stood on the floor and positioned Orton in the ring. He backed up to the barricade, then ran and slid in the ring and dropkicked him. It looked like Bryan was confused when Orton stood up and then had to call an audible. Bryan caught Orton with a suicide dive, but Orton pulled out a kendo stick and struck Bryan with it at 2:50. Orton dropped Bryan on the announcers' table heading into the break. [C]
After the break, Orton remained in control dropped Bryan onto the barricade, then ran him crotch first into the ring post, and followed up with a backbreaker from that position. Bryan came back and threw a series of kicks that led to a two count. He went up top, but Orton cut him off.
Orton remained on the offensive. He picked up a chair late, but Batista ran in and speared Orton. Bryan hit Batista with a knee to the head, then covered Orton for the win. Cole said that if that scenario happens in the Triple Threat match at WrestleMania they will crown a new champion, but first he has to beat Triple H. After the match, Batista recovered and performed the Batista Bomb on Orton. There was a "one more time" chant...
Daniel Bryan pinned Randy Orton in a No DQ match in 14:30.
Powell's POV: A good match. They made Bryan look like an underdog, yet also sold hope. I just hope they haven't gone too far in that the casual fans don't believe Bryan has a chance to beat Triple H let alone win the title.
[Q7] Cole thanked viewers for subscribing to WWE Network. He hyped that the one-week free trial ends on Saturday at midnight. He then walked viewers through signing up for the free trial on his laptop...
Powell's POV: I would have laughed my ass off if Cole had signed up Chael Sonnen and included his phone number.
Cole hyped Paul Heyman delivering a message to Undertaker for after the break... [C]
Paul Heyman walked onto the stage for a promo. Heyman brought up Undertaker's WrestleMania opponents and said they have been manhandled by Brock Lesnar. Heyman set up a video that initially put over Taker's Streak, then the narrator said Taker now falls himself falling victim to the hands of time. The narrator stated that Taker's battles are becoming "more and more epic" and stated that Taker struggles with his own mortality on the grandest stage. The video shifted to Lesnar and showed him beating up some of Taker's Streak opponents.
Back live, Heyman said it's an uncomfortable truth, but "Undertaker's vaunted streak will be conquered by Brock Lesnar." Heyman said that on April 6 at WrestleMania, Taker's Streak will rest in peace...
Cole said Heyman has made some good points about Taker and Lesnar. Lawler said it's the most uncomfortable he's been with Taker maintaining his streak. JBL said all streaks are meant to be broken...
Powell's POV: A good segment. It didn't make everything right, but I like the way Taker aging was brought up, and the way his recent matches were positioned as him struggling on the grand stage. I just wish the broadcast team sounded more genuine and less like they were delivering lines.
Backstage, a seething Stephanie McMahon questioned Hunter for wanting to talk to Daniel Bryan. He said he wanted to call him out there like a man and get some stuff off his chest. Steph said she knows he's not being condescending by saying she can't relate to what it's like to be a man. She said Bryan spit in the eye of the McMahon legacy.
Stephanie continued to bust Hunter's balls and questioned what would happen to their family when he's on the road after he wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. She asked if Hunter was even thinking tonight. He said for the first time in a long time he might be thinking clearly. He told her to leave it alone and let him take care of it. "You better," she said...
Fandango made his entrance for a match with Goldust...
Powell's POV: Really good work. Stephanie is an excellent heel when she actually plays one rather than the shades of gray crap. She had valid points, but she was such a ball buster that Hunter was actually sympathetic here. Could they be laying the groundwork a post WrestleMania babyface (or at least neutral authority figure) role for Triple H?
[Q8] [C] 4. Goldust (w/Cody Rhodes) vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae). Summer stood on the apron early on. Goldust did his bit and she acted disturbed by it and fell backwards into Cody's arms. She tried to flirt. Cole said Fandango is in the battle royal. Late in the match, Goldust performed an awkward huracanrana off the second rope. The ref checked on him afterward. In the end, Goldust hit the Final Cut for the win. Cody checked on Goldust afterward. Goldust held his side and jerked his hand away from Cody, but then stopped and let Cody raise his hand...
Goldust beat Fandango in 5:10.
A shot aired of Kane walking backstage. Cole said The Authority gave The Shield a mission and perhaps they would find out what it is after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Everything seems to have cooled off with The Shield breakup. I thought they were building to a Triple Threat for the U.S. Championship. I don't know if that will happen now that the WWE Title match is a Triple Threat. I hope they have a bigger role than entering the battle royal.
Cole hyped that The Undertaker will appear on WWE Main Event Live. Cole hyped it as the first time ever...
Powell's POV: Taker was actually advertised for this event on the WWE website's Live Events page. There's still an hour to go, but I wonder if plans changed.
Kane made his entrance for an in-ring promo. He said it's his responsibility to execute the vision of The Authority. He said some things don't have a place in the ring, namely the Occupy Raw segment staged by Daniel Bryan. He said it violated several safety codes put in place for the audience.
Kane said he investigated and determined that the segment could not have been pulled off alone. He said a Memphis native helped him pull it off. Kane called for Jerry Lawler to join him in the ring. Lawler said he didn't know why he was being implicated. Kane said he was afraid Lawler was going to pull something like this.
[Q9] The Shield's entrance music played. JBL mockingly wished him good luck. "Not so proud of yourself now are you, King?" JBL asked. The Shield surrounded Lawler and then ordered him to get in the ring. Once Lawler was in the ring, Kane said he knew Lawler wasn't in fighting shape and he wouldn't enjoy doing what he would have to do. "Well, maybe a little," Kane said. He asked if Lawler had anything to say for himself.
Seth Rollins approached Lawler and said he had a feeling that Daniel Bryan wasn't going to save him. "Because The Shield always does what's best for business," Rollins said. The Shield turned to Kane and then Lawler left the ring. The fans cheered and a Yes! chant broke out briefly. Kane barked that they listen to him, and said they don't know about the business.
Kane swung and was quickly roughed up in a three-on-one attack. He fought them off momentarily, but Rollins caught him with a kick, then Reigns speared him. Kane got back to his feet and The Shield put him down with the Triple Powerbomb...
Powell's POV: The Shield are babyfaces and that's not a bad thing. There's certainly money in keeping the trio together, but the breakup could come at WrestleMania rather than going into it. I still fear they will be stuck in the battle royal or in some type of match against Kane and perhaps Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.
5. Naomi and Cameron vs. A.J. Lee and Tamina. Naomi wore an eye patch over her legitimately injured eye (Aksana knee). The Bella Twins sat in on commentary. Tamina dropped (safe) knees onto the head of Cameron early, then whipped her leather vest at her. Cameron came back with a devastating dropkick to the waist. Yes, the waist.
[Q10] Naomi tagged into the match and got a quick two count on Lee. Naomi kicked Tamina away. Lee went for the Widowmaker, but Naomi powered out of it and slammed Lee to the mat. Naomi performed the split-legged moonsault and scored the pin.
Naomi and Cameron beat A.J. Lee and Tamina in 3:45.
After the match, Lee blew up on Tamina, who responded by shoving her to the mat. Lee seethed on the mat. Somehow, the production crew knew nothing else would happen and shifted to a WWE video game spot while Lee sat there... Cole hyped the newest member of the WWE Hall of Fame would be revealed after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Tamina and Lee have issues the same week that Gail Kim and Lei'D Tapa split up. The conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day with this one! Cameron and Naomi still do the cheerleader bit when they make their entrance, but it does seem like they are establishing their own personalities. For instance, Naomi performs good high spots, and Cameron throws dropkicks that hit opponents on the waist. Oh, shocking spoiler, it's Mr. T.
After the break, Mr. T was named the next member of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014. He's going in the celebrity wing. A video package on T was shown... The broadcast team spoke about T's induction, then set up a video that recapped Hulk Hogan announcing the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal for WrestleMania 30...
Powell's POV: Mick Foley had a great comment in the video when he said they didn't need Liberace or even Muhammad Ali, but they needed Mr. T at the first WrestleMania. He was a huge celebrity at the time and his involvement in the tag match main event was huge.
6. Big Show, Mark Henry, Big E, and Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, Ryback and Curtis Axel in an eight-man tag. Only Big Show's entrance was televised. A pop-up promo with Big Show announcing his entry in the battle royal as a tribute to Andre the Giant. Cole said all eight men in the match are in the battle royal along with Fandango, Christian, Titus O'Neil, and Sheamus.
[Q11] Ryback's right elbow was wrapped heavily, but he worked a good portion of the match. Ziggler threw a couple dropkicks that knocked Ryback to the floor. The other heels teased entering the ring, but a fired up Ziggler backed up by some of his partners scared them off heading into the break. [C]
After the break, the braided Ziggler sold for a bit and then performed a tornado DDT on Axel. Sandow tagged in and prevented Ziggler from making the tag initially. Ziggler eventually broke loose and made the hot tag to Big Show. They did the rapid fire finisher bit. It concluded with Show chokeslamming Sandow and pinned him...
Big Show, Mark Henry, Big E, and Dolph Ziggler beat Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, Ryback and Curtis Axel in 12:00.
Powell's POV: You had to know Sandow was losing the match. I'm not sure what they're doing with him, but I think they are setting up something for him rather than burying him. The live crowds always love the rapid fire finishers at the end of the big tag matches. It's the Colt 45 of pro wrestling.
Backstage, Renee Young asked Batista if it was safe to say he didn't quit. He said he never quit anything in his life. "And I don't care if it's Triple H or Daniel Bryan, I am leaving WrestleMania with what I came back for, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship," Batista said... Cole hyped Bray Wyatt in action... [C]
Cole hyped Undertaker for WWE Main Event... Lawler hyped John Cena vs. Luke Harper for Friday's WWE Smackdown television show...
7. Bray Wyatt (w/Luke Harper, Erick Rowan) vs. Kofi Kingston. As the Wyatt Family entered, a video package aired for the Wyatt vs. Cena match. Kofi got off to a quick start with a dropkick, but Wyatt cut him down quickly. Wyatt dominated the remainder of the match and hit Sister Abigail for the win...
Bray Wyatt defeated Kofi Kingston in 2:55.
Cole hyped Triple H's face-to-face meeting with Daniel Bryan for after the break, then set up a trailer for the movie "Oculus"... The ad for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello hosting Raw aired...
Powell's POV: My bad, it's not just Arnie, but also his "Sabotage" movie co-star co-hosting next week.
[Overrun] Triple H stood in the ring and called out Daniel Bryan. Hunter thanked him for coming to the ring. He said it wasn't a popular decision within his circles to come out and talk to Bryan. He said he'd be lucky if his wife spoke to him later, but he wanted to look Bryan in the eye like a man.
Triple H said everything he'd done to Bryan was because he believed it was best for business. "None of this was personal, this is about what is best for WWE," he said. Hunter said he wouldn't debate what's right or wrong, and he can't expect anyone to understand the burdens of the decisions he has to make day in and day out regarding what is best for the company.
Hunter said Bryan crossed a line last week that he can't come back from. However, he said he was willing to let it be water under the bridge. He said it's as if it was all supposed to happen this way and they were supposed to be in the ring together. He said they would step in the ring together at WrestleMania and fight. He said he wouldn't apologize to Bryan for what he does to him, nor should Bryan apologize to him.
"You crossed the line, Daniel, and now I have no choice but to put an end to all of this," Hunter said. "I don't really want to, but I have no choice." He said he has to put an end to the Yes Movement and the uprising. He said he has to shut it down, and if that means putting Bryan down "then now apologies, that's what I have to do, because that's what's best for business."
Hunter said that as a man, he just wanted to look Bryan in the eye and tell him no hard feelings. Hunter offered Bryan his hand and said, "May the best man win." Bryan looked to the crowd and shook his head no. Hunter said it's cool, he'd do the same thing and probably even worse if he was in Bryan's position. Triple H said he has dumped a ton on Bryan since SummerSlam. He said he has stopped him, put roadblocks in front of him, and yet Bryan is still standing there.
The fans chanted for Daniel Bryan. "You know why they say that?" Hunter asked. "Because they respect you." He said they have seen Bryan go through a mile of crap that he dumped on him. He said anybody else would have taken their ball and gone home. A C.M. Punk chant started. Funny. Hunter told Bryan that if nothing else, he has earned his respect.
Stephanie McMahon stormed out and questioned the "respect" line. She said what Bryan did last week was illegal. She said it endangered her and Hunter's lives and therefore she is pressing charges. Stephanie had police officers come out and said, "Arrest that man." The cops headed to the ring with Stephanie behind them.
Hunter walked out confronted Steph "off-mic." He recalled telling her that he had it covered. They both accused the other of undermining the other's authority. Meanwhile, the cops surrounded Bryan and used nightsticks to put him down and handcuff him. Bryan yelled at the cops to let go of him.
Hunter and Stephanie smiled at one another. Hunter got back in the ring and told the cops enough. "This is not what I want, let him go," he said. "You guys need to back off. I mean, after all, you're not even real cops." Hunter dismissed the cops. "And besides, I'm really looking forward to doing this myself." Hunter put the boots to the handcuffed Bryan and then started throwing repeated punches at him while Stephanie cheered him on from ringside.
Hunter rolled Bryan to the ring apron and then aggressively threw him to the ground, which must not have been pleasant for Bryan. Hunter continued his assault at ringside and ran Bryan into the broadcast table. Bryan fought back with a kick and a headbutt, but Hunter quickly cut him off and slammed him onto the broadcast table. Bryan cried out in agony and the fans chanted "you suck." Hunter ran Bryan into the barricade and then Stephanie mocked him with a Yes! chant.
Triple H slapped Bryan and then threw punches at his head against the barricade. Hunter ran Bryan into the barricade again. Bryan once again threw a kick and a headbutt, but Hunter shut him down again and continued to beat him up. Hunter put Bryan's face in a cooler of water that was by the timekeeper's area.
Eventually, Hunter held Bryan, and Stephanie slapped across the face. Bryan told her that she hits like a girl, which made her threw more slaps. Hunter rammed Bryan's head into the base of the ring. Ouch! Hunter picked up a chair and slammed it onto the ring post (a/k/a Bryan's head). Stephanie sold that one with a look of surprise, then leaned in and smiled sadistically.
Stephanie said something to Bryan, but the director was too busy calling for camera changes to catch it. Hunter performed the Pedigree on Bryan, and Steph once again did the Yes! routine, then Hunter and Stephanie kissed. Hunter took the mic and told the fans that it was their ring, their show, and there was no Yes Movement. Hunter's music played to close the show...
Powell's POV: Let the record show that you can't choke a guy with a necktie, but you can put his face underwater while he's handcuffed. Anyway, this was excellent! Hunter was believable in his babyface tease early and then throughout the setup promo, and the beatdown was about as vicious as you can be in this era of WWE. Stephanie was awesome in her role, and I loved Bryan telling her that she hits like a girl, which would be a huge insult to the Stephanie character. Major league heat. I'll have more to say about the show in Prowrestling.net Live shortly, and in the WWE Raw Hit List on Tuesday.
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