Each week, Mary “Queen of the Busted Open Nation” Grater reviews WWE Monday Night Raw.
After Sunday night’s Elimination Chamber, we officially started the countdown to WrestleMania 30 Monday night. With no pay-per-views until then, WWE’s main focus should be to stop the chaos and execute an epic build up to biggest show of the year. The question is, will they be able to fix the wrongs of the last couple of months and deliver what should be the greatest WrestleMania of all time?
We start off Monday Night Raw with the return of the immortal Hulk Hogan. He returns to a hero’s welcome – and rightfully so. No matter whom you are and what your opinions are about Hogan, seeing him in the yellow and red, hearing the music, and mostly, seeing him back in the WWE, should remind you that wrestling is supposed to be fun.
Hogan tells the crowd he is happy to be home, and that this is a turning point in his career. He mentions being a part of the historic first WrestleMania, and adds that history was made Monday with the launch of the WWE Network. Hulk then announces he is the official host of WrestleMania 30.
RANDY ORTON AND BATISTA
Our opening match is a rematch between Batista and Alberto Del Rio from Elimination Chamber. While it was a better outing than Sunday’s match, it still showcased how winded Batista gets from minimal work. Del Rio dominated most of the match, and again had the crowd behind him. Just when it looked like Batista was going to hit the Batista bomb, Randy Orton’s music hit, causing a distraction, and allowing Del Rio to get the rollup for the pin.
Orton cuts a promo acknowledging the response Batista has received since returning. Randy says Batista probably regrets coming back. Batista says he came back because he loves the business, and he doesn’t care what the crowd thinks. (Loud boos.) He says he’s going to WrestleMania, he’s going to beat Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Title, and we all have to deal with it. (I highly doubt this is going to end well if, in fact, this is the main event at WrestleMania 30.)
From there we had a lot of WrestleMania storyline-building. Here’s what happened:
The Real Americans
Big E faced off against Cesaro in a match that ended in a DQ when Jack Swagger attacked Big E and applied the Patriot Lock. Swagger and Cesaro had words, adding to the current tension within The Real Americans, before Big E attacked Swagger. Cesaro saved Swags and hit Big E with the Neutralizer. (Big E landed super awkwardly on his neck. Hope he’s ok.)
John Cena and The Wyatt Family
John Cena addressed The Wyatt Family about their attack on him Sunday night during the Chamber match. He called them out, and Bray cut an amazing promo that reflected on the current situation going on in the WWE, with the younger superstars trying to take over. The Wyatts then attacked Cena and seemingly caused an injury to John’s knee. John still tried to fight back, but ended up getting laid out. Cena was taken out on a stretcher.
Daniel Bryan confronted The Authority about constantly getting screwed in title matches as they arrived at the arena. He told Triple H he wants a match with him at WrestleMania, since The Authority will not let him near the WWE WHC Title. (Start fearing the worst, guys.) Trips laughed it off, and stated that he only fights A-plus players. He said he will try to find Bryan a spot on the card at WM 30, and hopes he makes it. Steph told Bryan he should focus on his match with Kane later in the night.
Bryan and Kane faced off in great match, and Bryan emerged victorious. He then cut a promo to the crowd, calling Triple H a coward. Bryan said he challenged Triple H to a match at WM 30, and Triple H hid behind his wife’s skirt. He said that ever since Trips put on a suit, he has ignored the people. And what the people want is a match between him and Triple H at Wrestlemania. (… huh?)
Backstage, all three members of The Shield were arguing amongst each other. Seth Rollins questioned Dean Ambrose on what happened to him the night before at Elimination Chamber. Dean said he told them already, and is sick of explaining himself. He said Roman Reigns and Rollins don’t trust him, and he walked off.
Rollins said to Roman Reigns that he wants to believe Dean, but stuff keeps happening with him. The Wyatts then seemed to emerge from the shadows, interrupting The Shield’s conversation. Reigns challenged Bray to a one-on-one match later in the night, with no one ringside. Bray called Reigns an “interesting creature,” and accepted.
- Sheamus and Christian put on another show in their building feud. Christian fell victim to the Brogue Kick, and Sheamus picked up the win.
- Emma finally had her debut match against Summer Rae, and won.
- The Usos defeated The New Age Outlaws.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK
It was an overall solid show. There weren’t any real bummers – but I must, once again, call out the crowd.
You started off strong. You were a hot crowd all night. Your “You can’t wrestle” chant, answered with “Bootista,” was classic. But then you went and ruined it by chanting throughout the main event of Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt.
Yes, you read that right. Two people who are the future of the company are in the MAIN EVENT. Two guys the crowds apparently want put over; two guys that the people supposedly want the veterans to hand the torch to, so the people can have new superstars; two guys that are in two of the hottest acts the company has right now. You – YES, YOU, CROWD – buried them by chanting about CM Punk and nonsense during their match. Instead of the Punk chant being a sign that you want him back – which, we get, everyone does – it has turned into a sign of disrespect. And I guarantee you, Punk would definitely not want his name chanted during a match where the future is getting a chance. That isn’t what he is about.
Shame on you Green Bay, and for that, you get this week’s “You Stink” award.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
Speaking of the main event, our first highlight of the week was Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt, for a number reasons. After stealing the show at Elimination Chamber, the two leaders of their factions put on another spectacular display. Reigns seemed to be set up for the win when Luke Harper and Eric Rowan appeared at ringside. Seth Rollins then appears out of nowhere and delivers a flying Swanton Bomb over the top rope, taking them out. The Wyatts start attacking Rollins when Dean Ambrose comes running down the ramp to make the save. (Hooray!) Reigns hits Bray with the Superman punch, sets up for the spear, and then Ambrose attacks Bray, resulting in a DQ for Reigns. The Shield then clears the ring and stand tall.
By Reigns and Bray main-eventing Raw, it shows that the WWE is recognizing what they have with the two factions. And Dean coming out to save the day shows that maybe they are putting the inevitable break-up of The Shield off for a bit longer.
And obviously, the second highlight was the set up for The Streak at WrestleMania 30.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman make their way to the ring. Paul begins telling the crowd that Brock is the obvious No. 1 contender for the WWE WHC, and should main event WrestleMania. He says that Orton and Batista should just get their match out of the way, and the winner should face Lesnar at WM 30. Heyman then says that Triple H gave Brock an open contract, and that he can face anyone he wants at WM. Paul calls it a consolation prize; that Brock wants to win the title at WM and make history, but The Authority won’t let him. Heyman says The Authority can’t play games with him, and rejects the contract – If Brock isn’t the main event at WM, then he won’t be there at all.
They go to leave, when …
The Undertaker has returned, and he wants Brock at WrestleMania. The two get into a staring contest in the ring. Brock then signs the contract, and slides it over to Taker, putting the pen in his chest. Heyman tells Taker to sign it if he wants the match. Undertaker takes the pen and stabs Brock in the hand, then grabs Lesnar by the throat and chokeslams him through the table.
Looks like the Road to WrestleMania finally got the charge it desperately needed.