Live from Chicago, Illinois this is the Raw Deal for episode #1084. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
The crowd was loud right away as the announcers mentioned The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield and Daniel Bryan vs. Batista.
CM Punk's music. Crowd goes wild. Instead of Punk, it's Paul Heyman that walks out. Crowd boos that loudly. The announcers Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield welcomed us to the show.
Heyman held his microphone out towards the crowd. Heyman said Punk deserved louder than that. The crowd chanted "CM Punk" some more. Heyman sat in the center of the ring with his legs crossed like CM Punk has been known to do. He said he was there to tell the story of a Paul Heyman Guy that was never truly wanted in WWE. He mentioned he was a guy that was too small to headline WrestleMania, didn't have the right look, had too many tattoos, that would rebel against the system and they didn't want him in WWE from day one as well as right now. He said he was there to tell us about the guy that "had the balls to say things that nobody else had the balls to say." He mentioned that he was born in, raised in and still lives in Chicago.
"My name is Paul Heyman and this is my pipebomb about CM Punk…who is not here tonight."
Heyman said that nobody is more upset that he can't see CM Punk perform tonight then he is. He said if he was there he would do what he always does and that's show the WWE Universe that he's the best in the world. "What really happened? Why isn't CM Punk there tonight?" He mentioned there was somebody to blame and hold accountability for why CM Punk wouldn't put up with it anymore. He said he was pointing the blame at each and every single one of you…the fans.
He pointed out that when Punk was with him, Punk was the longest reigning WWE Champion of the last 25 years. Then you (the fans) took him away from Paul by making him your hero. Heyman said that the fans didn't just take Punk away from Paul, but they took Punk away from themselves. Heyman also blames somebody else: The Undertaker. This downward spiral of CM Punk began when he couldn't beat Undertaker at WrestleMania. "Paul Heyman wants revenge," he said. "I want to see The Streak taken away from The Undertaker and there's only one man on the face of the planet that can do it." He said: "I want that streak conquered." He introduced his "best friend in the world" Brock Lesnar.
Analysis: That was an awesome promo by Heyman. It went from sympathizing with fans about Punk to turning on them, then building to Taker/Lesnar. They knew how the fans would react, so they put Heyman out there to play on their emotions and they fell for it. Perfect job of manipulating the crowd by Heyman. There are very few people that could sit in the ring for ten minutes and mess with a crowd the way that Heyman did.
There was a video of Undertaker putting Lesnar through a table last week. Crowd was chanting for "CM Punk" again.
Lesnar said that unlike some people he doesn't make claims that he can't back up. He believes that Undertaker is scared to death of him. Lesnar said many people have tried to conquer the streak, but they all failed. He mentioned Michaels, Hunter and Punk as failures. At WrestleMania 30 he said he's going to end The Streak.
Analysis: Lesnar doesn't talk too much, but what he said made a lot of sense. He had a determined look on his face, he had the right delivery and got his point across well.
As Lesnar and Heyman were about to leave, Mark Henry showed up to confront Lesnar since he had his arm broken by Lesnar before.
Henry decked Lesnar with a forearm shot to the face, so Lesnar whipped Henry into the steel steps. Lesnar picked up the steps and hit Henry in the face. Lesnar cleared off the announce table. Lesnar put Henry on his shoulders and gave him a F5 through the announce table! Wow that was huge. More "CM Punk" chants for that.
Analysis: Another beating for Henry at the hands of Lesnar. The F5 through the announce table is a very impressive move. Nobody does an attack at ringside like Lesnar. He looks more credible than anybody else in those situations. It works perfectly every time.
New Age Outlaws defend tag titles versus The Usos up next.
Analysis: Awesome 20 minutes to open the show. Really enjoyed that.
The New Age Outlaws did their entrance and Road Dogg said they wouldn't be doing their catchphrases. At least they remembered they are heels. The crowd did participate in the Usos entrance. Video aired of the Usos beating the Outlaws last week in a non-title match.
New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Bell rang and the crowd chanted "CM Punk" again as Road Dogg gave Jey a hiptoss to the turnbuckle. Nice "Terra Ryzing" sign in support of Triple H in the crowd. Road Dogg sent Jey over the top rope and there's the vintage floor to commercial break two minutes into the match.
Back from break, Jey hit a jumping kick to the face of Road Dogg as the crowd cheered for them. They were into the match with a loud ovation for Jimmy as he tagged in. Jimmy knocked Road Dogg off the apron and hit a Samoan Drop on Billy. Full Nelson Slam on Road Dogg. Running butt splash to Road Dogg and then Jimmy hit a corkscrew cross body block for two. Outlaws tried to steal the win, but Jimmy kicked out at two. Gunn hit a tilt a whirl slam for two. Jimmy hit Road Dogg with a plancha over the top to the floor. As he did the jump, Jey tagged in. Jey finished off Billy with the top rope splash and the Usos became tag team champions for the first time ever after 9 minutes.
Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: The Usos
The Usos shared a hug in the ring as they were awarded the tag titles. Very cool moment for them. The crowd was cheering loudly for it.
Analysis: ** The crowd was into everything they did and both teams worked hard. Outlaws are old, so they're not going to have long matches. I'm genuinely happy for The Usos because they're a hard working team that's popular and they deserve the gold. I figured they would win them at WrestleMania, but have no problem with them winning it here because the crowd was so supportive of it. There was a really big ovation when they won and that's a moment they won't ever forget. I'm all for moments like that.
They aired a clip for the movie Need for Speed starring Aaron Paul because he's the guest star on Raw. The divas were backstage watching clips of the movie. The Bellas were over excited like usual while Aksana said she liked fast cars. Alicia Fox and Natalya were also there.
Big E vs. Cesaro (Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter)
It's the battle of the shorter names again. Cesaro hit a slam early. Big E countered with a belly to belly on his own. Cesaro threw Big E outside the ring and then when he was sent back in, Cesaro gave the Cesaro Swing to Big E for about 10 revolutions again. Then Jack Swagger went into the ring and hit a Swagger Bomb. That happened two minutes into the match.
Winner by disqualification: Big E
Post match, Cesaro was wondering what was up with Swagger. Big E went back into the ring and hit the Big Ending on Cesaro. Colter was wondering what Swagger was doing and then it just ended that way with confusion.
Analysis: No rating for it because it was so short. I guess we're supposed to believe that Swagger, a veteran of nearly ten years, doesn't know the rules of wrestling matches. Or he just doesn't care. Looks like that split of The Real Americans is coming before WrestleMania to possibly set up a match between the two. Cesaro would be the babyface in that scenario obviously. Just a matter of time.
The Shield made their entrance for the showdown with The Wyatt Family. The crowd cheered them for the most part.
"Chicago…we're here." The Wyatt Family made their entrance.
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan)
Rollins and Ambrose hit dives over the top to start while Reigns went after Wyatt. He sent him out of the ring. Rollins started with Harper in the corner. Harper wanted a top rope German Suplex, but Rollins landed on his feet. Rollins sent him outside the ring and hit a somersault plancha to take Harper out outside the ring. Then he took out Rowan on the other side of the ring with another somersault plancha. Very impressive by Rollins! He fell off the top when Ambrose got involved, so the Wyatts took advantage and when Rollins was outside the ring it was time for another floor to commercial break.
Analysis: I'm a huge fan of Rollins. He's an incredible athlete that makes the high flying moves look easy.
Back from break, Rollins was isolated and then he got a boot to the face of Harper. He went for a tag, but Ambrose and Reigns went after Wyatt outside the ring. That meant Rollins couldn't make a tag. Rollins slammed Rowan face first in the corner. Harper boot to the face of Reigns. Ambrose tagged in with a leaping clothesline on Rowan. Ambrose went after the left knee of Rowan and even applied the Figure Four Leg Lock. Wyatt got the tag in and hit a huge Full Nelson Slam on Ambrose. Harper hit some forearm shots followed by a sloppy dropkick as they isolated Ambrose in their corner. Sidewalk Slam by Rowan for two. Harper hit some sharp forearms on Ambrose, but Ambrose came back with a running clothesline. Wyatt tagged in for his team and knocked Reigns off the apron. Ambrose hit a DDT. He crawled over to Rollins, but he jumped off the apron and walked away. Rollins told Reigns that the other two needed to figure it out. Running body attack by Wyatt on Ambrose. Reigns saved Ambrose. Samoan Drop on Rowan and then the Superman Punch on Harper. Superman Punch on Wyatt too. Reigns hit a clothesline on Rowan to send him out of the ring. Reigns hit the running dropkick outside the ring on Harper. Reigns hit a Spear on Rowan by the announce table, but the table didn't break. Harper hit a dive outside the ring that took out Reigns again. It's hard to keep up with everything in this match! Wow. Ambrose ended up getting attacked while Rollins was watching from the top of the ramp. Wyatt hit the Sister Abigail on Ambrose. He covered for the win after 14 minutes.
Winners: The Wyatt Family
Post match, Rollins looked conflicted about walking away from the ring. The Wyatt Family celebrated their win in the ring.
Analysis: ***3/4 It was a level below their match at Elimination Chamber, but it was still awesome with the fans chanting "this is awesome" several times. They deserve that chant. It's such a chaotic match when they go at it. I apologize if I missed some moves in the writeup because it was such a fast paced match that it was hard to get it all. The interesting thing was Rollins jumped off the apron and walked away. He was mad that nobody was there for him to tag earlier. He said he was tired of trying to keep them together. Reigns is clearly going to be a face in the group, but it's hard to know where Rollins fits since Ambrose will likely stay heel. Good storyline progression within the context of the match. As for the Wyatt Family, they have more momentum with Bray looking like the WrestleMania opponent of John Cena.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Batista. He spoke about how a guy like Daniel Bryan isn't a superhero. The fans may not like it, but a guy like Bryan can't beat a guy like him. Crowd was chanting "CM Punk" during most of it. It was hard to hear the interview.
Analysis: Heel Batsita is much better than face Batista, so I expect a hot crowd booing him later on.
There was a WrestleMania 30 video package. It's 34 days away. I'll see ya soon, New Orleans.
Video recap of The Usos tag team title win was shown. Tomorrow there's a WWE Main Event live show at 7pmET with The Usos defending the tag titles against the New Age Outlaws.
Santino & Emma vs. Fandango & Summer Rae
Loud "CM Punk" chants to start this off. Santino & Emma were high-fiving each other repeatedly because they're dumb and didn't realize they were tags. Spinning back kick by Fandango. Suplex by Fandango. He wanted the top rope leg drop, but Santino moved and hit a jawbreaker. The girls tagged in and Emma hit some clotheslines. Tarantula in the ropes by Emma. Running body attack in the corner. Santino scared off Fandango with the Cobra and Emma applied the Emma Lock to make Summer Rae tap out. Match went three minutes.
Winners by submission: Santino & Emma
Analysis: 1/2* It was mostly a comedy match to try to build up the Emma/Santino team as a comedy duo. They have some funny moments, but it's not as funny as the announcers think. Emma's a good worker, though, so seeing her on the main roster makes me happy.
There were clips from Smackdown about the rivalry between Sheamus and Christian, who is now a heel. Sheamus vs. Christian up next.
There was a video with Stephanie McMahon telling us about the WWE Network and how she can show her daughters what their dad Triple H was like in the ring. She can also show when they had people make comments to her about when she got breast implants in 2001. Great memories, kids!
Christian vs. Sheamus
Bell rings, more "CM Punk" chants. It's been a recurring theme. Lawler said Italians loved to fight, so Cole & JBL made fun of him for not saying Irish. Sheamus was aggressive early on by throwing Christian into the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, knee drop by Sheamus for two. Clothesline and backbreaker by Sheamus for two. Christian sent Sheamus outside the ring and then Christian missed an attack over the top to the floor. More CM Punk chants as Christian tried to escape an attack. Christian tried to run away from Sheamus as they went to break with both guys outside the ring for another floor to commercial spot.
Back from break, Sheamus was on the top rope and Christian shoved him to the floor to take control of the match. Back in the ring, Christian got a nearfall. Back suplex by Christian. To the top rope, Christian missed a splash after Sheamus moved out of the way. Forward roll by Sheamus with Christian on his shoulders, which Cole called "oh man" because he doesn't call moves very well. Christian sent Sheamus into the turnbuckle, but Sheamus caught him and sent him into the ropes. Ten forearm shots by Sheamus against the ropes, then the high knee and another high knee for two. Christian made the comeback and hit the splash off the top rope for two. More "CM Punk" chants again as Sheamus hit White Noise for two. Boots to the face by Christian as the crowd was losing interest. They went at it on the apron and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick out of nowhere for the win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sheamus
Analysis: **3/4 They worked hard and had a competitive match, but the crowd was losing interest by the end of it. A few more believable nearfalls likely would have helped them. I wonder if that was the planned finish at that moment or if they improvised a finish because they knew they were losing the crowd. This match was rumored for WrestleMania, but I'm guessing since Sheamus beat Christian for the second time in the last couple of weeks that they might not do it at WrestleMania now. There's no point to it again.
Later on it's Bryan vs. Batista and we'll hear from John Cena also.
There was a commercial for the all new original movie with WWE and Scooby Doo.
Backstage, Renee Young was interviewing Sheamus. Sheamus said he was feeling great again. Christian showed up to attack him. I guess you can scroll up a few paragraphs there and add Christian vs. Sheamus back as a potential WrestleMania match.
Brie & Nikki Bella vs. Aksana & Alicia Fox
The heels isolated Brie in their corner as the announcers talked about WWE Network and Total Divas while the crowd didn't care. Quick tags by the heels as some fans tried to chant "CM Punk" but they seem to be tired of it. Nikki made the hot tag to barely any reaction and hit a back body drop for two. Aksana made the save, so Brie hit a dropkick off the middle rope. Alicia missed a kick in the corner. Nikki hit her Rack Attack finisher (Torture Rack backbreaker) that Cole called "oh man" because he sucks at calling moves and that was it after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Brie & Nikki Bella
Analysis: ½* A boring match that meant nothing. Why can't they book a feud for the Divas Title? It's not that hard. They don't seem to care, so that's why the fans have no interest in the divas matches. It's not the fault of the women. It's the booking.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage.
There's a USA Network show called Sirens, so they aired a clip from it. Two guys from the show are ringside.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance to a thunderous ovation and plenty of "yes" chants of course. Bryan did a promo saying that he loved hearing that reaction. He said the fans had a voice and tonight they're going to hijack Raw. Apparently the hijack is only for the last hour of the show. He said he isn't going to leave the ring until one of two things happens…crowd chanted for CM Punk. He said he won't leave the ring until Batista comes down to fight or Triple H comes out to answer his challenge. The music of Triple H started up as he made his entrance with wife Stephanie McMahon.
There were plenty of "CM Punk" chants as Hunter entered the ring with Stephanie. Hunter encouraged more chants as he smirked at the crowd. Stephanie said she admired Daniel's tenacity, but the crowd was booing so loud that we could barely hear her. Bryan told Triple H he wouldn't let it rest. For the last six months he was beaten and screwed over, but every time something happened. Bryan said he stood there unbroken with these people behind me and the crowd exploded in "yes" chants. Bryan suggested a match at WrestleMania 30 against Triple H. Hunter said it wasn't going to happen. He wondered about the people in Bryan's era. He said it was the Excuses Era or the Blame Era because they make excuses all the time. The crowd was really loudly chanting "CM Punk" again. Hunter said that anybody that failed there did so because they were not good enough. He told Bryan his reality is that he's still a B+ player and he was better than them (the fans). Hunter said it was a good spot for him. Bryan said it would have to take more than a B+ player to lace up the boots at WrestleMania. "Asshole" chant. Hunter said "they're saying it's your turn." Well played.
Bryan said that the fans can see through Hunter's lies and that's why they chant. He said that the fans have a desire for people like Bryan to succeed. He wants to prove to Hunter that he's good enough. Stephanie talked again as the crowd booed loudly. She told him that the fans will turn on Bryan faster than he realizes. The only people that won't turn on him are Stephanie and Hunter. She understood that it went to Bryan's head, but when he thinks about it without her family, he would have nothing. The 21 trucks that showed up for the show were provided by her family. She said he wouldn't have the underdog persona, the yes t-shirts and everything else without them. "We made you," she said. Bryan continued to insult them for denying him as the crowd chanted "yes" for that. Hunter said he's 90% sure she'd whip his ass too. Hunter wondered if they were in grade school and why Bryan kept at it. He told Bryan that their match at WrestleMania isn't going to happen. Hunter said WrestleMania is the showcase of the materials, but this (pointing at Bryan) just does not measure up. Hunter told Bryan to get out of his ring. Crowd chanted "no" for that. Bryan said that isn't his ring, it's their ring (the fans) and there are more "yes" chants for that.
Hunter said everything in this arena right now, including the fans and Bryan, belong to them. He told Bryan to get the hell out of the ring. Bryan suggested that Hunter make them. Stephanie called for Kane. Bryan attacked Kane in the aisle and took him down with a series of punches. She called for security. They came down to the ring and pulled Bryan off of Kane. Crowd was chanting "CM Punk" again. As Bryan went back up the ramp, the crowd was chanting "Daniel Bryan." Cole said Bryan will be out there later for the match with Batista.
Analysis: I thought it was an excellent segment with a raucous crowd that gave WWE exactly the kind of reactions they wanted. That was a really long promo segment coming in at around 15 minutes. I think all three of them did a fantastic job of using the crowd's emotions. They loved everything that Bryan said while booing Stephanie and Hunter mercifully. It's the first time where Hunter and Steph really came off as pure heels in a long time. That's what they need to do more often. The Bryan/HHH match still isn't official, but it sure feels like they're heading in that direction as the weeks go by.
Coming up later is Bryan vs. Batista and Cena talks.
They replayed Brock Lesnar taking out Mark Henry earlier in the show.
There was a discussion panel with Josh Mathews, Booker T, Jim Duggan and Alex Riley. I don't watch the pre & post show. The show is three hours long. I don't need more.
In the ring was Alberto Del Rio. Raw's guest star Aaron Paul drove a Mustang into the arena with Dolph Ziggler in the passenger seat. Paul's in the Need for Speed movie and also from the TV show Breaking Bad. He's an energetic guy, that's for sure.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Aaron Paul joined the announce team. He said when he used JBL in the wrestling games he never did well. That was funny. Ziggler was on fire with a dropkick and then a neckbreaker. Backbreaker by Del Rio for two. Ziggler hit a leaping DDT for two. Paul jumped on the announce table to taunt Del Rio, so that distracted Del Rio. Ziggler countered the Cross Armbreaker attempt into the Zig Zag for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: * A very short match between two guys that have had so many matches together. Just a way to get a babyface victory with the celebrity guest at ringside.
A WWE Hall of Fame announcement is next.
The next WWE Hall of Fame inductee was announced: Paul Bearer. It was expected. He passed away about one year ago and it was too soon to do it last year, so it's the right fit to do it this way. They aired clips of Bearer throughout his career with people like Vince McMahon, Gene Okerlund and Daniel Bryan talking about how great Bearer was.
Big E vs. Jack Swagger
This was added to the show after what happened earlier. They replayed what happened earlier. Instead of a match, Cesaro went into the ring and hit the Neutralizer on Big E. That's the win for Big E even though they didn't even have a match.
Winner by disqualification: Big E
After the "match" there was a shove by Swagger on Cesaro. Cesaro tripped up Swagger, but Colter told him not to do it to his brother. He was going to do the swing. He stopped. Colter told Cesaro to help his brother up. He listened. Colter told them to let it go. Colter suggested a hug right here. They gave each other a manly hug. They did the "we the people" salute together.
Analysis: Colter played peacemaker here. It's not going to last too much longer. It could be a WrestleMania match with Cesaro in the face role.
John Cena up next to address the Wyatt Family.
As mentioned earlier, tag title match on Tuesday's Main Event on WWE Network: The Usos vs. New Age Outlaws for the tag titles. Also Kane vs. Daniel Bryan. Lawler said he likes the WWE Network more than he used to like puppies.
John Cena made his way down to the ring although he couldn't run because his left knee was taped up. Before Cena could say a word, the fans were chanting "CM Punk" as Cena thanked them for the warm welcome. Last week he was injured by the Wyatt Family (some fans cheered). Cena said he will not have a match, which is obvious because it's 10:45pm at this point. Fans were chanting "yes" for that. He said he would take it as their way of saying "get well soon" to him. More "CM Punk" chants. He came out there to hear the energy and passion of an entire city. He said that arena had a special place in his heart where he had a WrestleMania match in that building as well as a match with Brock Lesnar (Extreme Rules 2012). He also referenced a special match with somebody, but didn't say the name (Money in the Bank 2011 against CM Punk). He said even though the fans boo him out of the arena, he knows they're honest and that they're loud. He's been listening to the "hijack business" because the WWE Universe wants change. Cena says success is earned and any change will go through him. Cena said he's given it his all in this business for the past 12 years and he's in the same building where it all started in 2002.
The Wyatt Family cut him off as they appeared on the video wall. Wyatt said that Cena had this empire all around him. He asked him if he could feel the people. Fans were chanting for CM Punk as Wyatt talked about how Cena is like a championship thoroughbred horse. Wyatt said that mercy is calling Cena by name. Wyatt said that he was going to put Cena down. He claimed to know what Cena is really afraid of and he wondered who will be left for Cena when he takes it all away.
Analysis: They couldn't really do anything physical since Cena is selling the knee injury. It was confirmed last week as a work. Cena's words didn't really do much other than have him talk to the fans and lead to some interesting reactions. Wyatt's promo was fine, but the one he did on Smackdown was amazing.
Batista was shown walking to the ring for the main event. He walked up to Randy Orton backstage. Orton had both titles on his shoulder. He wished Batista the best of luck against Daniel Bryan.
Analysis: First sign of Orton in the show. I didn't really miss him.
Lana brought out Alexander Rusev to stand at the top of the ramp and look mean. Rusev said something in Bulgarian, which I can't understand. That's all it was.
There was a clip of Hulk Hogan on the Today Show last week plugging WrestleMania 30. Next week on Raw, Hogan will be there with a WrestleMania 30 announcement.
Randy Orton made his way down to ringside to watch this next match. Batista made his entrance. Orton held up the two titles in front of Batista. Daniel Bryan made his entrance last. The arena was chanting "yes" along with him.
Daniel Bryan vs. Batista
It's 11:02pmET as the match starts, so don't expect a long one. Bryan took out the knee of Batista and then kicked away at the leg of Batista. Bryan hit a running dropkick to the knee of Batista. Bryan got some kicks in, but Batista knocked him down with a hard clothesline. Batista dumped Bryan to the floor outside the ring. They went to commercial. Really? It's 11:06pmET.
Back from break, Bryan made a comeback with a running clothesline as Orton looked on from ringside. Running corner dropkicks by Bryan. He did two of them. With Batista outside the ring, Bryan hit the Flying Goat dive outside the ring. Crowd chanted "yes" for Bryan. Missile dropkick by Bryan, then a kip up and a series of kicks including the roundhouse kick to the head for two. Triple H, Kane and Stephanie walked down the aisle. Crowd chanted "CM Punk" again. Batista threw Bryan into Orton, who was sitting at ringside. Bryan hit a roundhouse kick to the head. Orton went into the ring. He nailed Bryan with a punch. That's the finish for the DQ. It went about 10 minutes.
Winner by DQ: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: **1/4 The match was fine for the time given. Batista did a good job of selling Bryan's offense and Batista didn't look tired so that's a good thing for him. He looks to be in better ring shape now. It's not a surprise that they wouldn't have a clean finish to the match.
Orton wanted the RKO on Batista, but Bryan hit Orton with the running knee to the head, then a dropkick to Batista and he took out Kane with a kick to the head that saw Kane fall into Triple H at ringside. Bryan went for a running dive attack again, but Batista took him down with a Spear.
Hunter had a microphone and told Bryan he was getting tired of his fantasy crap. Bryan kicked him in the face. Batista hit Bryan with a Batista Bomb. Hunter took off his coat and shirt. Bryan was defenseless. Hunter hit a Pedigree on him. Raw went off the air very late at 11:15pmET. No sign of CM Punk at all.
Analysis: That was Hunter's way of basically accepting the WrestleMania match with Daniel Bryan, it looks like. On social media I'm seeing all this anger about how the show ended, but it's really some basic storytelling with the heels laying out the faces and building up to a match.
What WWE needs to do is alter the main event of WrestleMania somehow because they really can't do Orton vs. Batista with both as heels. Hopefully Hogan's big announcement next week is to somehow make Bryan vs. Triple H and if Bryan wins (which he would) then he gets to go into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match as well. Assuming CM Punk isn't back at all, the smart thing to do is have Bryan wrestle twice.
To the people that will hate it because there was no CM Punk, I don't know what to say. I thought he'd be back tonight. He wasn't. There was a report from Dave Meltzer saying he was told that he was and somebody obviously lied to him or plans changed somehow. I think Meltzer's usually reliable for info, but something went wrong there. Fans in the arena were pissed. Fans watching at home are pissed. I'm not really pleased by it, but if Punk doesn't want to come back or if WWE doesn't want him back then that's just how it is. Nothing you or I can do about it.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan - Fantastic like usual.
2. Paul Heyman - Amazing promo work to start the show.
3. Seth Rollins - Thought he really did a great job in the six man tag.
8 out of 10
Last week: 7
2014 Average: 6.61
2014 High: 8 (January 13/March 3)
2014 Low: 5 (February 3)
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 6, 6.5, 5, 6.5
I'm giving it a 8 out of 10. If it was a two hour show it might have been better. Going 3 hours and 30 minutes is too damn long.
Very good show for the most part. Tied for highest of the year so far. I thought the ending could have been a bit better or that the second hour could have been more interesting.
This show was the kind of fun wrestling show that we wish it could be every week or at least on a more consistent basis. The Chicago crowd made a lot of it fun. I loved their energy. While I'm sure they are pissed off for not seeing CM Punk, they were hot for most of the night and it certainly helped the show come off better.
It would be nice if more things were clear for WrestleMania because there are four episodes of Raw left and not enough matches are official yet. It looks like we can add Hunter/Bryan and Cena/Wyatt, but it's the WWE WHC match I'm worried about because they need to change it.
I don't love everything WWE is doing right now. I just think this was a good episode of Raw in terms of storyline progression, in-ring action and promos that meant something.
We'll bring it home with some plugs.
Plug time: I hope you're checking out my WWE related columns for WhatCulture.com. That link will take you to my archive with columns covering so many things. Check it all out now and head back there daily for more because I have at least 10 posts per week over there.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org