3/24 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Undertaker and Brock Lesnar confrontation, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello serve as guest hosts, Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine, WrestleMania 30 build
By Jason Powell
Prowrestling.net Live airs Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. CT (11:30 p.m. ET) and your phone calls are welcome for the free weekly audio show. Join hosts Jason Powell and Will Pruett tonight after Raw at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center
[Q1] Raw opened with a video package that recapped the Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Daniel Bryan angle from last week... Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Stephanie McMahon, who walked to the ring as Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in on commentary. Cole hyped that the Barclays Center was sold out with 15,708 fans in attendance.
Once in the ring, Steph thanked the fans for coming to Raw. "Unfortunately, Daniel Bryan won't be here tonight," she said. Steph said she read on social media that what she and Triple H did to Bryan last week was disgusting. She said she agrees, but it had to be done because they had to take drastic measures to show who is in charge.
"People like you need to be led by people with intellect and character by people like me," Steph said. A loud C.M. Punk chant broke out. She said Bryan was reminded last week who owns WWE and who Triple H really is. Steph gushed over Hunter's accolades and labeled him "the most powerful man in WWE."
Powell's POV: I have a feeling that last line will come up again if Vince McMahon returns to television.
Randy Orton interrupted Stephanie's promo and headed to the ring with both title belts. Orton said he wasn't going to argue with anything she just said. He talked about respecting Hunter and Steph, and said he can't be held responsible if Hunter beats Bryan and gets into the title match. Steph corrected him by saying "when" Hunter wins.
The fans chanted for Daniel Bryan. Stephanie addressed the fans and said Bryan would not be there. Orton said the people will see him beat Triple H and Batista to a pulp. Orton encouraged Stephanie to beat the hell out of Bryan at WrestleMania, but go out a winner by making him drop out of the title match. The crowd chanted "boring."
Powell's POV: Tough crowd. I wasn't bored by this at all. I think it's ground they need to cover.
Batista's music hit and the fans booed. Batista headed to the ring and said everyone is missing the point. "I've said it since day one, you're looking at the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion," he said. Batista said he doesn't care if it's Bryan, Orton, or Hunter, he's walking out with the title.
Batista's mic cut out a couple times. Steph told him she couldn't hear a word he was saying and pointed to another mic on the floor. One of the broadcast team member questioned whether the technical issue was intentional. Batista said Orton makes him sick by drooling all over Steph. He said Steph has been drooled on before.
"Actually, I think Steph has been drooled on a lot," he said. Stephanie slapped Batista across the face and knocked his shades off. Stephanie left the ring. Orton went way over the top while laughing at Batista for getting slapped. Batista speared Orton, then picked up both title belts. The fans booed...
[Q2] Michael Cole hyped that he would be sitting down with Triple H in the ring to ask him about his attack on Daniel Bryan. Lawler hyped Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine, then hyped John Cena vs. Luke Harper. Cole hyped Hulk Hogan and the guest hosts, and Brock Lesnar and Undertaker's confrontation... [C]
Powell's POV: Nice cover by Lawler, who questioned whether the mic issue was intentional. Batista just can't win. His mic work was pretty rough here. Here's hoping they go back to the old "spotlight Batista" heel character after WrestleMania. He just sounds like a guy who lacks confidence during these segments. He strikes me as a guy who struggles with the scripted back and forth exchanges, but I think he'll be better when he's delivering standard heel promos.
A graphic touted that Raw was the top show on cable last Monday...
1. Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus in a Fatal Four Way for an Intercontinental Title shot. Big E sat next to the commentary team but he didn't take part. Cole said the winner of the match would challenge Big E on Tuesday's Main Event Live television show.
Sheamus hit a cool fallaway slam (Razor Ramon tribute?) on Christian into the ringside barricade. In the ring, Del Rio went for his kick off the ropes as Sheamus was setting up for his forearm shots, but Del Rio slipped on the ropes and fell to the mat awkwardly. Back at ringside, Sheamus clotheslined Christian over the barricade into the timekeeper's are heading into the break. [C]
Powell's POV: Del Rio was still holding his knee going into the break even though he was able to get up and take a dropkick. His missed kick was an awkward spot. It looked like Sheamus and Ziggler were left waiting for him to get back in the ring, then he tried to jump onto the second rope before hitting the kick, but I believe Ziggler was on the ropes and may have moved the rope just enough or took away whatever torque Del Rio would normally get, and it led to him falling.
After the break, Christian and Ziggler were going at it. Dolph, who got a big reaction for his entrance, got a Ziggler chant. Sheamus entered the ring and ended up clearing Ziggler and Christian, then hit his forearm shots on Del Rio. Sheamus went to the ropes and Ziggler caught him, then performed a facebuster off the top rope for a good near fall.
[Q3] The live crowd counted along on the near fall and then counted along when Ziggler punched Sheamus in the corner. They also counted along with the ref's count when Ziggler got a near fall on Christian. The fans started to chant "This Is Awesome" but it stopped quickly when they reacted to a Sheamus kick that broke up a pin attempt.
At 11:10, Sheamus backed into the corner and beat his chest for the Brogue Kick. He went for the move, but Del Rio cut him off and applied the Cross Arm Breaker. Sheamus powered Del Rio up, but then Ziggler hit the Zig Zag on Sheamus. Christian swooped in and performed the Killswitch on Ziggler for the win. Afterward, Big E entered the ring and offered Christian a handshake, but Christian backed away and laughed...
Christian defeated Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, and Alberto Del Rio in a Fatal Four Way in 11:55 to earn an Intercontinental Title match on WWE Main Event Live.
Powell's POV: A very entertaining four-way. Sure, there were some flaws, but the overall action made up for it. Del Rio appeared to be fine afterward. The live crowd loved Ziggler! That's as hot as we've heard a crowd for him in a long time.
The Wyatt Family sounder and the trio appeared on the screen. Bray Wyatt said we all see Cena. "How can you possible miss the billboards and infomercials shoved down your throat every day," Wyatt yelled. "We all see you." Wyatt said he is the way into the city of woe and into eternal pain. "What can you possibly do to harm something that just can't feel," Wyatt concluded. Harper said he could hear Cena whispering and now they are coming to find him... [C]
Powell's POV: More excellent mic work from Wyatt. It wasn't the type that would generate heat, but I love the line about how you can't harm something that doesn't feel.
Cole said there were 15,708 fans in attendance, then set up a trailer for the WWE themed Scooby Doo movie... The Mystery Machine was parked next to the stage. Sin Cara and then Scooby Doo emerged from it...
2. Sin Cara (w/Scooby Doo) vs. Damien Sandow. Sin Cara hit the Swanton Bomb for the clean win...
Sin Cara defeated Damien Sandow in 1:10.
Powell's POV: It would have been great if there was smoke coming out of the Mystery Machine and Rob Van Dam emerged with Scooby. Poor Sandow.
[Q4] Highlights aired from Smackdown of the four-way tag match... [C]
3. Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito). Cole said Ryback and Axel were out of the battle royal because they will be challenging for the WWE Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 30. Early in the match, The Shield ventured through the crowd to ringside. Axel was distracted and was rolled up by Diego (50/50 chance I'm right) and pinned.
Los Matadores defeated Ryback and Curtis Axel in 1:00.
After the match, The Shield worked over Ryback and Axel. Reigns tossed Axel into the barricade at ringside, then entered the ring and speared Ryback. The Shield performed the Triple Powerbomb on Ryback...
Lawler hyped Hogan, Schwarzenegger, and Manganeillo for later in the show, and Cole hyped his sit-down interview with Triple H... [C]
Powell's POV: It's cool The Shield are babyfaces, but they really need a hot team to work with. The crowd was hot for their entrance and into key Reigns spots, yet it still lacked energy. I assume they will be adding teams to the tag match. It can't really be as simple as The Uso Brothers vs. Ryback and Axel, can it? If so, there's your pre-show match.
An ad aired for the WWE Hall of Fame broadcast on the WWE Network...
Michael Cole stood in the ring where two director's chairs were set up. Cole introduced Triple H for the sit-down interview. Cole set up a video that recapped Hunter's attack on Bryan from last week.
Powell's POV: The reaction to Hunter's entrance was odd. It wasn't mega heat or cheers, it was just a bunch of people standing and not making a lot of noise.
[Q5] Hunter asked Cole whether he's ever been forced to submit to someone else's will. He said it's a horrible feeling. Cole said he's sure Hunter was referring to handcuffing Daniel Bryan. Hunter said he was referring to the Occupy Raw. Hunter said Daniel Bryan asked for The Game.
Triple H said his hand was forced and he was made to become a competitor rather than the COO. "Daniel Bryan got exactly what he deserves," he said. Hunter said when he looks to the fans he sees little people with no power who cry when they don't get what they want. "Why don't you guys send me a tweet when you don't get what you want?" he taunted.
Triple H said maybe he will start The Reality Era. He said the reality is that at WrestleMania, he will end Daniel Bryan's "little supposed run to the top and this pathetic Yes Movement." Hunter said that once he's done with that, he's going to enter the Triple Threat match. He said no one living off their past glory or their untapped potential is going to stop him.
"I have the power to make it happen and they all know it's true," he said. "The Reality Era means that I am going to walk out of WrestleMania as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion," Hunter concluded. He dropped his mic and his music played as he headed backstage... A Bray Wyatt and John Cena video package to the Eminem song "Legacy" played... [C]
Powell's POV: I don't know why they went with the sit-down interview approach rather than having Hunter just deliver a promo. This was not a hot segment and the crowd went from giving the What? treatment early to being mostly silent by the end. I just assumed Daniel Bryan was going to interrupt and things would heat up quickly. It wasn't a bad segment, it just didn't pack the punch that a standard promo from Hunter would have.
Highlights aired from last week of Goldust beating Fandango, then jokingly dancing with Cody after the match... Goldust and Cody Rhodes made their entrance with Fandango and Summer Rae already in the ring. Goldust stopped and gave a mask that looked like his face to a young fan...
[Q6] 4. Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Cody Rhodes (w/Goldust). Lawler said he wants just one date with Summer. JBL said that could be fatal. "If she dies, she dies," Lawler responded. During the match, Goldust walked over and toyed with Summer, who fell down and held her ankle. Cody hit his Beautiful Disaster kick on a distracted Fandango for the win...
Cody Rhodes beat Fandango in 3:20.
Powell's POV: Goldust beats Fandango clean, but Cody needs a weird distraction. Read into that what you will.
A preview aired for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "Sabotage"... Lawler hyped Hogan, Schwarzenegger, and Manganiello for after the break...
Powell's POV: They keep making a big fuss over Hogan, Schwarzenegger, and Manganiello appearing together "for the first time anywhere." Call me crazy, but I'm fairly certain that there plenty of celebrities who have never appeared with Joe Manganiello before. Does he really have cornrows in the movie?
Hulk Hogan's music played and he made his entrance to a good ovation. Cole hyped that his weekly website sit-down interview would be with Hogan. Once Hogan's music stopped playing, there was a loud "Hogan" chant. Hogan said he didn't "mean to be all nostalgic or crybaby but WrestleMania 30 is two weeks away from right now." He spoke about teaming with Mr. T in New York.
Hogan pointed at the WrestleMania 30 sign and said he was really excited about it. He said he was jacked up about the Andre battle royal. "But I'm also excited about tonight's guest stars of Monday Night Raw," he said. "Joe Mangioli" and Schwarzenegger were introduced.
Arnold said it was wonderful to be back again. There was an Arnold chant. He recalled inducting "my great hero" Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame. He said Hogan was also "a great hero of mine." He started pointing out Hogan's "pumped up" muscles. Arnold couldn't say Manganiello's name either. The crowd booed Joe a bit, but he won them over quickly by showing enthusiasm.
Arnold brought up the Andre the Giant battle royal and claimed Andre was one of his favorite wrestlers of all time. Hogan said Andre told him they were good friends. Arnold said Andre came to the set of Conan the Destroyer. He asked Hogan if there was room for two more athletes in the battle royal.
[Q7] The Miz interrupted. He said he's a fan of Arnie's work and assumed that he is a fan of his work in "The Marine" sequel and "Christmas Bounty." The fans booed. Miz told them they boo, but they know they saw them. Miz claimed he would win the battle royal. Hogan told Miz he's in the middle of Hogan country.
Miz said he's the most must see superstar of all-time. He said people are still talking about his WrestleMania 27 win over John Cena. Miz said Schwarzenegger and Manganiello don't belong there. Manganiello told Miz if he wants them to leave, "go ahead and try." Manganiello shoved Miz, who backed off. Miz turned and took a swing at Manganiello, who blocked it. Manganiello and Arnold both punched Miz, then Hogan tossed him over the top rope...
Powell's POV: Well, at least Miz didn't get up and take a bow with the actors like he did when Michael Strahan was on the show. So I guess this means Arnold and Manganiello are in the battle royal, right? Whatever. Bad segment. I guess Miz is a heel this week. Hogan and Schwarzenegger both appear to have shrunk by at least a couple inches since their glory days.
A newspaper clip of Rock as Hercules for the upcoming movie was shown briefly...
5. Big Show vs. Titus O'Neil. A loud Punk chant started early in the match. Titus got a little offense, but Show speared him and put him away with the WMD...
Big Show beat Titus O'Neil in 2:20.
Powell's POV: Apparently, WWE has WrestleMania 30 built up so well that they have time on their hands to give us great matches like Show vs. Titus, Sin Cara vs. Sandow, Los Matadores vs. Axel and Ryback.
Backstage, The Shield approached Triple H and Stephanie McMahon to see where they stood, noting that Kane and The New Age Outlaws are tight with him. Hunter said that was between The Shield, Kane, and the Outlaws. Steph booked them in a match against The Real Americans. She said they could sit down and discuss it afterward. Reigns glared at Hunter and said, "Yeah, we will, believe that"...
John Cena was shown nervously huffing and puffing while in front of a sink and mirror in a restroom...
Powell's POV: Did he let Nikki cook again?
[Q8] [C] Footage aired of the Cena vs. Luke Harper match from Smackdown...
6. John Cena vs. Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan). The Wyatt's custom to the city entrance video was shown. Another Punk chant broke out, but didn't pick up as much steam this time. Harper knocked Cena down, then looked to Wyatt for his orders.
A loud "Let's Go Harper" chant started. Cena threw punches and a corner splash and was booed. Harper knocked Cena down and the adult males cheered. JBL talked about how Cena is a "polarizing superstar." Harper tossed Cena to ringside and was in control heading into the break. [C]
After the break, Harper caught Cena with a superkick for a two count. Cena came back with a a slam. The crowd booed and Cena stopped and smirked at them. Cena set up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Harper came back with a shot to the throat and a slam for a two count. "This is something different going on here," Lawler said. JBL said every time it looks like the old Cena is showing up something happens.
[Q9] Cena came back with the the STF and glared at Wyatt, but Harper reached up and gouged Cena's eyes to break the hold. Later, Harper put Cena on the top rope and then knock him off with a shot. Harper positioned Cena on the ropes again and went for a superplex, but Cena powered out and knocked him off the second rope with punches. Cena followed up with a leg drop to the back of Harper's head for a two count.
Later, Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Harper avoided it and slammed Cena face first to the mat. Cool spot. Harper backed to the corner ran into a running clothesline from Cena. "It might have broken Harper's nose," Cole yelled like a dork. Cena hoisted up Harper for the Attitude Adjustment, but the Wyatt family sounder played and the arena went dark.
When the lights came back on, Cena was tied up in the ropes with Rowan's sheep mask covering his face. Harper and Rowan were kneeling next to him, and Wyatt squatted behind him and struck the crucifix pose. The crowd chanted "This is awesome" and the show went to break... [C]
John Cena fought Luke Harper to an apparent no-contest in 15:20.
Powell's POV: That was awesome? It was a unique non-finish, but I wouldn't go that far. I hate the way Cena went from mocking Wyatt as a Jimmy Buffett clone to suddenly fearing him last week to having a panic attack backstage before his match. I like that the Cena isn't just shrugging off Wyatt as he does most challengers, but this shift was too radical and just doesn't feel genuine.
A video hyped WWE's new charitable effort with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees... Big E vs. Christian for the Intercontinental Title was hyped for Tuesday's WWE Main Event Live television show...
The broadcast team recapped how the last match concluded...
7. A.J. Lee (w/Tamina) vs. Naomi (w/Cameron) for the WWE Divas Championship. Naomi wore a new eye patch. Naomi went for the butt-butt (Rearview) early, but Lee ducked to ringside and skipped around the ring. She stood by and let the referee count her out...
Naomi beat A.J. Lee by count out in 1:15.
Vickie Guerrero did the "excuse me" bit and recalled Lee making negative comments about her on Smackdown. She spoke about their history together and the crowd gave her the What? treatment. Vickie said Lee is a "real bitch." The crowd popped. Vickie announced that Lee will compete in the "Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational."
Vickie said Lee would compete against Naomi, Cameron, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Eva Marie (booed), Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Layla, and Tamina. Each of those women came out as their name was called by Vickie. Tamina looked surprised but smiled when Lee wasn't looking...
Powell's POV: The crowd popped for the bitch line. They didn't seem to know what to make of the match that Vickie announced. Who can blame them? It seems like a creative way to get every Diva on the show, but I don't know if it will be a gauntlet match, a handicap match, or what they have in mind.
A recap of Undertaker and Paul Heyman's segment from WWE Main Event Live was shown... Cole hyped the next member of the WWE Hall of Fame class for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: I just read the official match preview for the Divas title match. It's "a single-fall invitational" and notes that Lee could lose the title without being pinned. I'm still confused.
A video aired for WWE Hall of Famer Razor Ramon. The video focussed entirely on Razor Ramon and did not include any mention of Scott Hall or his NWO days...
Powell's POV: So Hall is going to be in character for his induction? Weird.
A recap of the Batista, Orton, and Steph segment... Batista vs. Orton was hyped by the announcers for after the break...
[Q11] [C] Big Show vs. Bray Wyatt was announced as the main event of Friday's WWE Smackdown television show...
8. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (w/Roman Reigns) vs. Cesaro and Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter). The Shield members met The Real Americans at ringside during their entrance and brawled. The adult males chanted "We The People." Things settled down and the teams entered the ring to start the match. At 6:00, Ambrose took the Cesaro Swing. [C]
[Q12] Later, Rollins performed a suicide dive onto Cesaro that knocked him into the front row, then followed up with a flip over the top onto Swagger that drew "holy shit" chants. Rollins then caught Swagger with a knee to the head off the top rope. In the end, Rollins caught Swagger with a kick and then the curb stomp for the win.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose beat The Real Americans.
After the match, Cesaro went after Rollins, but Ambrose nailed him with a Superman punch that knocked him to ringside. Reigns followed and speared Cesaro on the floor. The Shield took the broadcast team's table apart and then performed the Triple Powerbomb on Cesaro and drove him through the table.
Kane's pyro hit. Kane, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn walked out all dressed in suits. Kane announced that he and the New Age Outlaws would face The Shield at WrestleMania 30. JBL called it "The Shield vs. The Suits"... Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were shown walking backstage...
Powell's POV: A strong outing for The Shield. The live crowd was more into chanting We The People at the beginning of the match, but Rollins really won them over with his big spots and the crowd got into the overall match. The match announcement didn't generate much of a reaction. It feels like a letdown for The Shield. Granted, they are working with three legends, but I don't think anyone would have guessed a few months ago that their WrestleMania match would feel as inconsequential as it does.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman came to the ring for a promo. Heyman spoke about Lesnar, Taker, and The Streak. Heyman said that when Lesnar defeats Undertaker at WrestleMania 30, "it will take nothing away from the enormity of the accomplishment of 21 consecutive victories on the grandest stage of them all."
Heyman said John Cena can't go 21-0. He said they named a battle royal after Andre the Giant, but he couldn't go 21-0. He said even Lesnar would never be able to claim 21-0 at WrestleMania.
Powell's POV: Quick interruption. Dot Net reader Jake Black pointed out that I missed the sheep mask that appeared in the mirror while Cena was in the bathroom having his panic attack. I watched it again. It looked like something that someone could have held up to toy with Cena, but it was gone the moment he turned around and he didn't chase after the person as a normal person would. I guess that means we were seeing a figment of his imagination or something. Ugh.
[Overrun] Heyman continued to talk until Lesnar took the mic out of his hand. "Enough, Paul, enough," Lesnar said. "I'm not here to promote, I'm here to fight." Lesnar noted that he was in the ring and Taker was in the building. "Let's do this," Lesnar said. The Druids came out and brought a casket to ringside. The Druids lined at in the aisle.
Lesnar cautiously peaked inside the casket. Once he saw Taker wasn't inside, he opened the casket and then asked, "Is this some kind of joke?" He went to ringside while asking, "Do you think this is funny?" The Druids walked backstage. Lesnar slammed the casket and entered the ring.
Lesnar said he wasn't there to play games. Heyman said it was typical. Heyman said Taker challenged Lesnar to show up "in a slum like Brooklyn, New York" and then delivers an empty casket. The lid of the casket opened and Taker was inside. "Oh, my God!" Heyman yelled a few times.
Taker entered the ring and the building lights were turned on. The fans were all standing, yet not making much noise. Taker threw punches at Lesnar and then clotheslined him over the top rope. Lesnar tumbled over the casket on his way to the floor. Heyman pleaded with Brock to walk away. Lesnar pointed at the WrestleMania 30 sign as Taker glared at him, then made the throat slashing gesture in the ring. Taker's music played to close the show...
Powell's POV: They better hope the casual viewers are giddy over the idea of the Taker vs. Lesnar match because the build for this match is beyond flawed. Everyone assumes Taker will win at WrestleMania. I don't understand why they're not making Lesnar look like a badass and questioning whether Taker can hang with him. Instead, Taker has looked like the badass since the initial angle and Lesnar has yet to get any heat on him.
This was a very disappointing edition of Raw. I expected a hot show, but it just didn't deliver. It was newsworthy at times, but there were too many times where it felt overly long and draining. Most importantly, I didn't come away from this looking forward to any WrestleMania 30 match more than I did going into the show. We'll see if Will Pruett feels the same way when we get together for Prowrestling.net Live just a few minutes from now (if you're reading this after Raw). Thanks for watching along with me.
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