Live from Brooklyn, New York this is the Raw Deal for episode #1087. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
There was a video package from last week's Raw when Daniel Bryan got handcuffed and Triple H beat him up severely. It was a really good angle. As I said last week, heel Triple H is much better than the babyface version.
Stephanie McMahon walked to the ring for a promo. The announcers Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield welcomed us to the show. Lawler said it may have been the biggest beatdown every week.
Stephanie said that Bryan wasn't there and that they did what they had to do last week. She spoke about the "passing fad" that is the Yes Movement. The only way to teach Bryan a lesson was to send a message. People like us need to be led by people like her. Over 50 years the McMahon family has led WWE and as she was going on, fans were chanting for "CM Punk" as she just kept talking. She spoke about how after Triple H beats Daniel Bryan, Hunter will then become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
The current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton walked down to the ring for his weekly "complain about things" segment. Orton said that he respects her and Hunter. When Hunter beats Bryan at WrestleMania, he can't be held responsible for what he has to do. Crowd was chanting for "Daniel Bryan" as Orton went over his scripted lines. Stephanie said Bryan's not going to show up. I guess she didn't hear the CM Punk chants. Orton told Stephanie to make Hunter walk away from the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. I think there was a "boring" chant.
Batista joined the promo fest in the ring wearing one of his t-shirts. Good "Boo-Tista" sign in the crowd. He said he's the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He doesn't care if it's Bryan, Hunter or Orton Then he said his "deal with it" line a few times. Batista's microphone wasn't working, so they gave him another one. He said that Hunter hasn't beaten him and if he makes it to the WWE WHC match at WM he won't beat him there and neither will Orton. Batista said Orton makes him sick seeing him sucking up to Hunter and then Steph. He suggested drooling on Stephanie a little more. Batista said "I hate to break your heart, I think Steph's been drooled on before - actually I think she's been drooled on a lot." Stephanie slapped Batista in the face. It was a hard slap. Orton was laughing about it. Batista hit Orton with a Spear. I don't know why Orton was unprepared for it, but he was. Batista held up both of the titles to end the segment. It took about 15 minutes for all of that.
They replayed Stephanie's slap on Batista a couple of times. That's what he gets for wearing sunglasses indoors.
Analysis: The drooling line was pretty mean, but Batista's the kind of dirtbag that can deliver a line like that the right way. It was surprising not to see Hunter out there, but assume we'll see that later. None of them were that impressive. It was just a case of establishing Batista as a jerk, which is a natural role for him.
There was a rundown of everything to come later. I'm sure they'll remind us another ten times during the show.
Big E was at ringside watching this four way match for a shot at the IC Title on Main Event this Tuesday.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian vs. Sheamus
This could be good if they get time. First pinfall or submission wins. There was a lot of fast paced action early on. Sheamus gave Christian a fallaway slam into the barricade while Ziggler's dropkick sent Del Rio to the floor. Sheamus was sent out to the ring. He ended up giving Christian a clothesline that sent them both over the barricade. All four guys ended up lying on the floor for the vintage floor to commercial break spot.
Back in the ring, Del Rio tossed Ziggler up in the air and that sent Ziggler crashing to the mat face first. Sheamus hit the rolling senton outside the ring on Del Rio. Christian shoved Sheamus into the steel post. Cross body block off the top by Christian on Dolph countered into a two count for Ziggler. Christian threw Ziggler over the top to the floor. Sheamus went after Christian in the ring with forearm shots and a high knee. Backbreaker to Del Rio, then Sheamus sent Christian to the floor and the ten clubbing blows to Del Rio. Sheamus was all alone in the ring. Sheamus went to the top while looking at Del Rio, so Ziggler hit an impressive facebuster off the top rope for two. Great nearfall from the crowd that loves Ziggler. Ziggler sent Christian to the floor and then Ziggler with a leaping DDT on Del Rio. Christian with a Powerbomb on Ziggler for two. Del Rio kick to Christian for two as Sheamus broke it up. Cloverleaf submission by Sheamus on Del Rio and then a Powerslam to Christian. Del Rio came back with a Cross Armbreaker to Sheamus. Ziggler showed up to hit a Zig Zag as Sheamus was fighting out of it. Christian snuck in the ring and hit the Killswitch on Ziggler. He covered Ziggler to win the match after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Christian
Post match, Big E wanted a handshake. Christian just walked away. They meet on Main Event on Tuesday.
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very good TV match featuring four guys that can really go. The four way format allows for a lot of great nearfalls and flurries of offense for different performers. It makes sense that a heel would win to get a title shot against Langston. It was also great to hear the crowd support for Ziggler, who is an awesome performer that has been lost in the shuffle. Hopefully management was listening. I liked the finish with Christian winning out of nowhere. A crafty win for a smart heel.
Bray Wyatt and his family did a promo backstage. He spoke about how everybody can see John Cena because how can you possibly miss him being shoved down our throat every day. "We see you." He wondered if Cena could see him. Wyatt wondered what Cena could do to possibly harm something that just can't feel. Harper said he could hear Cena whispering and now they're coming to find him. Wyatt: "Run."
Analysis: Just another typical good promo from Wyatt.
There was a video about the Scooby Doo WrestleMania movie that is released tomorrow although people have told me they have seen it. I have not. I'm sure WWE is happy that they didn't put CM Punk in this one.
A "Mystery Machine" truck drove into the arena as Sin Cara walked out along with somebody in a Scooby Doo outfit. I loved Scooby Doo about 20 years ago. I feel old.
Sin Cara w/Scooby Doo vs. Damien Sandow
The awful Sin Cara dim lights were in effect. Cross body block by Sin Cara followed by a headscissors and then back elbow for two. Kick to the head by Sin Cara and then he hit a Senton Bomb off the top. He pinned Sandow after one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Sin Cara
Analysis: You couldn't get JTG for this? Poor Sandow. He's way better than this.
There was a video package from Smackdown with Kane and The New Age Outlaws destroying The Shield. That's going to be a WrestleMania match. In case you didn't know, The Shield are babyfaces now.
Los Matadores vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel
Cole said Ryback and Curtis Axel are out of the battle royal because they're getting a tag title shot at WrestleMania. In other words, WWE changed their plans. The Shield walked to the ringside area through the crowd. Axel was distracted, so one of Los Matadores rolled up Axel and covered for the win. That match went about one minute.
Winners by pinfall: Lost Matadores
Analysis: The worst finish in wrestling strikes again. They just jobbed a team getting a tag title match in one minute to a team that is barely on TV. I guess match results don't matter.
After that "match" it was time for Smackdown payback as The Shield went after Ryback and Axel. Reigns tossed Axel into the barricade at ringside. Then Reigns hit a Spear on Ryback. Three man Powerbomb on Ryback by The Shield.
Analysis: The story is Ryback and Axel helped Kane on Smackdown, so The Shield got their revenge here. Good storyline continuity.
Triple H interview conducted by Michael Cole is up next.
In-Ring Interview with Triple H
Michael Cole welcomed Triple H to the ring for a promo. They had chairs in the ring along with the black carpeting because that makes this more official. They aired a video from last week's Raw with Hunter attacking Bryan while he was in handcuffs. Same thing they showed at the start of the show.
Hunter was asked about why he did what he did. He said that we got what we were asking for when we saw the competitor in Triple H. He mentioned Bryan bringing fans to the ring for the "Occupy Raw" segment from a couple of weeks ago. Fans were chanting "yes" as Hunter complained about the fans attempting to take over the show. Hunter wondered why Cole wasn't mad about what the fans did. Cole said that what Bryan did was inspiring while what Hunter did was thug like action. Hunter said is he COO or competitor? Hunter correctly said he didn't want to fight Bryan, but he was forced into it and they got what they asked for when they made him a competitor.
Hunter what happened since he stopped competing full time. He called the fans soft and pathetic. He called them little people with no power or no desire that end up crying about it. "Why don't you send me a tweet to express your displeasure?" Hunter said maybe this is the "Reality Era." He spoke about ending the Yes Movement and then at WrestleMania he's going to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship because nobody can stop. He said he had the power to do it. Then he went into deep wrestler voice mode: "The reality era means that the reality is that I am going to walk out of WrestleMania as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion." He walked away proud of himself. That segment went about 10 minutes.
Analysis: It was fine. Hunter's much better as a heel and always have been. Fans want to boo him. Glad he's embracing. From a character standpoint, what he says makes a lot of sense. It's likely that all of his talk about doing it because he has the power to do it could lead to the TV return of Vince McMahon to remove him from power. I'm not sure about that, but that's where it feels like it's going.
Coming up, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar are actually there. That's cool.
Replay of Goldust's win over Fandango last week even though Goldust was mad after he won because they messed something up. Apparently this feud must continue as Fandango danced with Summer Rae.
Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Cody Rhodes (w/Goldust)
The announcers were talking about Total Divas as these two had a back and forth match. They bonked heads at one point. Goldust went over to Summer Rae. He danced by her. Then she danced. Then she hurt her foot. Fandango was distracted by an idiot, so Cody hit a Disaster Kick for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cody Rhodes
Analysis: 1/2* I don't know if the creative team believes this is good booking, but if they do they are wrong. Apparently Summer gets offended when people dance by her and Fandango is easily distracted. That's all I got from it. The match didn't even matter.
There was a preview of the movie Sabotage starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello, both of whom are at Raw. Hulk Hogan appears with both of them up next.
Hulk Hogan, the host of WrestleMania 30, entered to a big ovation. It's not Madison Square Garden, but it's an appreciative crowd in Brooklyn. I actually don't mind seeing The Hulkster after some of the segments earlier.
The crowd was hot with some "Hogan" chants as Hulk did the "well let me tell ya something brother" to a big ovation. He mentioned that WrestleMania 30 is less than two weeks away. Hulk mentioned that history was made in New York at WrestleMania 1 as he teamed up with Mr. T - he did mention it was a different borough. He mentioned the Andre the Giant battle royal again and also the guest stars for Raw.
Hulk introduced Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello. They entered the ring. Sounds like Hulk totally botched his name when he introduced him. Arnold said it was wonderful to be back again. Big ovation for him. He mentioned inducting Bruno Sammartino in the Hall of Fame last year and put over Hogan talking about how he's jacked up. "Give him a big hand - this man is the real deal." He also told the fans to give Joe a big hand too. Joe sucked up to the fans by mentioning Brooklyn and said how excited he was to be in there with two icons in Arnold and Hulk. This is setting the record for compliments.
Arnold mentioned Andre the Giant was one of his favorite wrestlers and Hulk mentioned that Andre was friends with Arnold. He wondered if Hulk had room for two more athletes. Hulk was going to talk about it, but he was cut off.
The Miz interfered with a promo doing his "really" routine. He said Arnold and Joe play tough guys, but he's really a tough guy that does acting on the side. Miz said he'll win the battle royal at WrestleMania. Hogan said that Miz is standing in the middle of Hogan country. Miz said he was the most see WWE superstar of all time. People are still talking about him main eventing WM27 against John Cena. Heels lie. Miz said none of them belonged there. Hulk was mad. Joe told Miz to try to make them leave. Joe shoved him. Miz went for a punch, but Joe blocked it and punched him in the ribs. Arnold hit Miz in the face with a backhand. Hogan threw Miz over the top to the floor.
Analysis: That was a good way to use celebrities. It advances what looks like a heel turn for The Miz, which is smart because that's something he needs. Arnold and Joe didn't look out of place. Hulk got the respect he deserved from the crowd. I didn't mind that segment at all. It's a shame that nobody asked Arnold if he had a tumor. If they did, Raw may have got a 10 out of 10 just for that. "It's not a tumor" is a classic, brother.
There was another reminder of Lesnar and Undertaker on the show later.
They mentioned The Rock's role as Hercules with the poster being released.
Titus O'Neil was in the ring for a match with Big Show. They mentioned 25 guys in the 30 man battle royal in tribute to Andre the Giant and they showed the images of the guys in the match.
Big Show vs. Titus O'Neil
O'Neil hit a leg drop for two. He's not a Hulkamaniac, brother. Two corner splashes. Fans were bored so they chanted "CM Punk" as O'Neil got a shoulder tackle for two. Show came back with a Spear. The KO Punch by Show ended it after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Big Show
Analysis: * Remember when the Prime Time Players broke up even though they shouldn't have and people thought maybe it was because O'Neil will get a push? Well, that's not happening. At least not right now. As for Big Show, they're booking him strong to make him the favorite for the battle royal. It may be too obvious, though. I'm not sure who my pick is right now.
Backstage in their office, Triple H and Stephanie were hanging out when The Shield showed up. Seth Rollins wondered where Hunter was, Dean Ambrose was wondering where they stand and Hunter said that's their business with Kane as well as the New Age Outlaws. Stephanie made match for tonight between the Real Americans and The Shield. After that they can discuss it. Reigns said they will. "Believe that."
Analysis: That's a solid job of continuing the story with Hunter acting as if everything was cool with them. Just remember that heels lie.
They showed Cena washing his face in a washroom. In the mirror was somebody in the sheep mask that Erick Rowan wears. Cena turned around, but that person was gone.
Analysis: Good way to show that Cena is worried about The Wyatt Family.
A clip from Smackdown showed Cena beating Luke Harper. That's the match they're doing again on Raw. Cena was rocking a new "You Can't Stop Me" shirt because he needs to buy more cars. Also, I saw his bus on Total Divas. He really doesn't need more money, but he does use it wisely. Harper was joined by his buddies Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan of course.
John Cena vs. Luke Harper (w/Bryan Wyatt and Erick Rowan)
The hashtag for this match is #CenavsWyatts apparently. Show some respect to Harper, you hashtag nerds. The crowd hated Cena. They were even chanting "let's go Harper" at one point and Cole said the crowd was "emotional" regarding Cena. Usually they say electric at that point. It was a slow pace early on as they went to break with Harper in control.
Back from break, boot to the face by Harper for two. There were more "Let's Go Harper" chants as Cena did a German Suplex? Really? He doesn't do that. Harper came back with another boot to the face for two. Cena hit his spinning suplex. Harper countered the attack with a sitout slam for two. Maybe Cena shouldn't set up his move named after masturbation. Harper wanted a Powerbomb, but Cena hit a sloppy hurricanrana to get out. Harper sent Cena outside the ring and then Harper hit a great dive on Cena between the top/middle ropes. Harper continued to control the action as he nearly gave Cena a suplex off the top rope. Cena powered out of it and hit the leg drop to the back of the head off the top rope. The announcers talked about how great Harper has looked. They're right. Cena hit his spinning suplex again and then the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Harper fought out of the AA with a slam that sent Cena face first into the mat for two. Harper was setting up in the corner, so Cena destroyed him with a powerful running clothesline. That was impressive. Harper went for the Attitude Adjustment, but the Wyatt Family graphic appeared on the screen. Lights went out.
When the lights came back on, Cena was tied up in the ropes as the three Wyatt Family members stared at him. What was special about the scene was that the sheep mask was on Cena. Crowd chanted "this is awesome" for that. They went to break there. It went about 15 minutes.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: ***1/4 That was an awesome wrestling match. I know a lot of people hate Cena, but his value as a performer is that he can have meaningful TV matches with guys like Harper and it makes Harper look more credible. His ability to hang with Cena like he did makes fans believe in him as a star. The moves he does in the ring show that he's clearly a very good performer for a big guy. I'm glad they did the match that way instead of Cena crushing him in under ten minutes. As for the ending scene, it was done to give Cena sympathy heat yet the crowd was busy chanting "this is awesome" at the site of Cena suffering.
Plug time: TJRWrestling Radio returns this Tuesday night at 10pmET. Join The Ace, Matt Seagull and myself as we go over the WrestleMania 30 card with predictions. We'll also answer reader questions based off things asked on Facebook and Twitter. It's going to last 90 minutes. You can listen live here or that same link will work after the show is over, so you can listen at your own convenience. You can get it on iTunes as well.
There was a video about WWE working with the Drew Brees charity organization in New Orleans.
A replay of Cena getting attacked was shown. Sheep Mask Cena is pretty funny. Wyatt just laughed at it.
Naomi w/Cameron vs. AJ Lee w/Tamina Snuka
Naomi is still wearing that awful looking eye patch. I think some fans were chanting "CM Punk" at AJ. I think she's aware of her boyfriend, people. Naomi got a kick to the head and went for the flying ass move, but AJ rolled out to the floor. AJ said she didn't need this match, so she walked away. Actually, she skipped away. One minute into the match, that was the end of the match.
Winner by countout: Naomi
Post match, Vickie Guerrero showed up on the stage. She spoke about AJ making inaccurate comments about Vickie on Smackdown. Vickie mentioned their history together. Vickie: "You are a real bitch." That's why she's there to announce a match at WrestleMania at the "Vickie Guerrero Championship Invitational." The divas in the match are Naomi, Cameron, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Layla and Tamina. During all of this, Tamina was standing beside AJ. She was shocked by it. Vickie laughed to end the segment.
That's 14 women in the match. Some women that are barely visible on TV are getting title matches just like that. There was no specification about what the match will be. It's probably not going to be a battle royal because they're already doing one of those at WrestleMania. Perhaps it's a match where the first pinfall wins or maybe there are eliminations. We don't know the rules for it, but it's likely that AJ is going to lose the title. My pick for right now is Nikki Bella although I'm hoping it's Natalya.
There were clips from Smackdown with Paul Heyman and Undertaker doing promos to help the WrestleMania 30 match. Lesnar and Undertaker are both there.
The WWE Hall of Fame announcement is next.
The next inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame is Razor Ramon. They showed some clips of Razor Ramon, who was basically a knock off of Al Pacino in Scarface. Great gimmick. They had some WWE personalities talking about him like Hulk Hogan, Christian and Randy Orton. They mentioned he was a 4 time Intercontinental Champion. Then they talked about the Ladder Match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 10, which was 20 years ago. Heyman made a great point talking about how we're still talking about that match today and we should be. I agree with that.
Analysis: It was an excellent video as usual. The video completely ignored his work as Scott Hall in WCW, which also included another WWE run in 2002. It's surprising that they would completely his role in WCW considering how much impact the New World Order had.
They replayed the segment from earlier with Batista insulting Stephanie. On Twitter, many people pointed out that Batista's jeans ripped. He tweeted about it: " Thank God I wore my good underwear tonight! They weren't even my tight jeans!! Shades of the Deacon..."
It was announced that next week on Raw in Washington, DC (hometown of Batista) that it will be Randy Orton vs. Batista.
They showed a tweet from Daniel Bryan saying he wasn't medically cleared to be on Raw even though he was at WWE live events on the weekend. It's just a case of selling the injuries from last week on Raw.
The Shield entered for their match as the show went to break there.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (w/Roman Reigns) vs. Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter)
The Shield attacked right after the break. Rollins hit a nice neckbreaker on Cesaro as the ROH fanboys marked out at those two working against each other. Rollins hit two rolling vertical suplexes (nice Eddie Guerrero tribute) and then he tagged in Ambrose for a double suplex. Running dropkick by Ambrose on Swagger. Rollins hit a running dropkick too. Ambrose did some trash talking, so Swagger slammed him and then brought in Cesaro who crushed Ambrose with a series of uppercuts. Swagger belly to belly suplex, Swagger Bomb and then Cesaro tagged in with the double foot stomp on Ambrose for two. Swagger missed his Swagger Bomb on the second attempt, so Ambrose hit a back elbow to break free. Cesaro tagged in and booted Rollins in the face. Cesaro Swing on Ambrose to a huge ovation. They chanted along for every revolution as Cesaro reached about 20. Rollins broke it up. Cesaro knocked Ambrose to the floor. Swagger tagged in as they rammed Ambrose into the barricade. There's the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Ambrose was still isolated in the heel corner. It's weird seeing Ambrose getting worked over as the babyface in the match, but that's what happened. Ambrose got fired up and hit a big clothesline on Cesaro. Hot tag to Rollins while Swagger also tagged in and Rollins hit him with a big kick as well as a Stinger Splash. Face first into the middle turnbuckle for Swagger. Rollins launched Cesaro feet first over the top to the floor. Clothesline sent Swagger over the top to the floor. Rollins hit a dive on Cesaro on one side of the ring. Then he went on the other side of the ring and did a somersault plancha over the top to take out Swagger. Back in the ring, he nailed Swagger with a running boot, but Cesaro saved him. Cesaro suplex on Ambrose sent him out of the ring. Swagger put Rollins in the Patriot Lock. Rollins countered it by landing on his feet and hit a boot to the face. Rollins hit the Curb Stomp. Cole said he calls it the Peace of Mind. He covered for the win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose
Analysis: *** That was an entertaining tag match as a way to put over The Shield as a new babyface trio. The best part of the match was when Rollins received the hot tag and put on an aerial display that few others in the company could do. He's an incredible athlete. When they really let him shine as a babyface he's going to take off. I'm glad they have a name for his finisher too. It needed one. I'm not sure if the Real Americans will get put into the tag title match at WrestleMania or not. It's hard to know what WWE has planned for the tag titles at this point.
Post match, Reigns hit Cesaro with a Superman Punch as well as a Spear outside the ring. The Shield cleaned off the announce table and then they put Cesaro through the announce table with the Three Man Powerbomb. The crowd cheered it as their way of showing they fully supported The Shield.
Kane's music started up. He walked out along with the Road Dogg and Billy Gunn. All of them were in suits. They stood on the ramp. Kane made it official for WrestleMania: The Shield vs. Kane and the New Age Outlaws.
Analysis: If you were hoping for The Shield to break up before WrestleMania it's not happening. It will likely happen soon after since they're babyfaces, so Ambrose and perhaps Rollins can turn on Reigns. The goal is to make Reigns a huge babyface star, so it makes more sense to do it this way. Expect a Shield win in that match. No reason for them to lose to older guys like that.
Paul Heyman was backstage walking with Brock Lesnar, who was in his new "Eat Sleep Break The Streak" shirt. It's time for the main event of the show.
The music of "The Beast Incarnate" Brock Lesnar started up as he entered the ring along with his manager Paul Heyman.
Paul Heyman said he was the advocate for Lesnar like he usually does. He mentioned Undertaker's 21-0 streak at WrestleMania. Heyman said that Lesnar is going to defeat The Undertaker and it will do nothing to diminish what Undertaker has done. Heyman mentioned guys like John Cena as well as Andre the Giant. Even Lesnar can't claim 21-0. Heyman kept on rambling on. Lesnar took the microphone from him.
Lesnar said "enough Paul, enough." Lesnar said he's not there to promote. He's there to fight. "Undertaker, you're here. I'm here. Let's do this." I wonder if that's the pickup line he used to get Sable. Okay so maybe I don't wonder about that.
Instead of Undertaker's music, some druids wheeled down a casket down to the ring. The casket remained closed as Lesnar was getting anxious for it to open. You could see the apron shaking at one point, so Undertaker was either getting in or out of it. He stomped his foot on it. Lesnar slowly opened the casket. There was nothing inside it. Lesnar started yelling "is this some kind of joke." He started stalking the dudes in the druid costumes. Lesnar closed the casket. Then he went back in the ring.
Lesnar spoke into the microphone: "I'm not here to play games." He said he was going to leave. Heyman talked about how Undertaker didn't show up and he also ripped on Brooklyn. Then as Heyman mentioned "an empty casket" it finally opened up. This time, Undertaker was lying inside it. He sat up in the casket in his ring gear.
Undertaker stood face to face with Lesnar. They started brawling. Undertaker looked quick with his punches. Undertaker gave Lesnar a clothesline that sent Lesnar over the casket and up the aisle. Lesnar pointed at the WrestleMania. Undertaker pointed at it too. Undertaker did his throat slash pose to end the segment. That was the end of Raw as they had a staredown.
Analysis: The casket could mean they're going with a Casket Match at WrestleMania, but they didn't say anything officially. Most of Lesnar's matches since he's returned have been gimmick matches, so this could be one too. It was a segment that went nearly 15 minutes, didn't have much in the way of action and ended with them at a standstill. It was the second time that Undertaker got the advantage, though. Lesnar hasn't really been able to get control. Perhaps that is coming next week with Lesnar getting the advantage to
It was not a hot ending to Raw. There was nothing wrong with it, but it would have been more effective if they had a longer brawl. It was maybe ten seconds of action before Lesnar retreated. I get that they're saving it for April 6. I just think more of a brawl would have helped them.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Luke Harper
2. Seth Rollins
3. John Cena
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2014 Average: 6.58
2014 High: 8 (January 13/March 3)
2014 Low: 5 (February 3)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 7, 8, 7, 6
It gets a 6.5 from me, which is right around the average for the year. Solid show, but lacked something needed to be special.
Three matches on the show hit around the three star level. They were given time and they delivered in terms of being entertaining.
The show missed Daniel Bryan. Nobody else can really touch him in terms of the energy he brings. It's understandable that they kept him off the show because he was selling injuries from last week, but completely keeping him off the show may not have been a good idea. It would have been nice if they had him do a run-in to attack Triple H at some point.
I'm surprised that we only saw Batista and Orton in the first segment and then nothing else. I thought they'd be on again.
Most storylines were advanced for WrestleMania although we still don't know much about the tag titles. Hopefully that is addressed soon.
One more week to go until WrestleMania. I'm looking forward to seeing it in person.
As mentioned earlier, TJRWrestling Radio returns this Tuesday night at 10pmET. Join The Ace, Matt Seagull and myself as we go over the WrestleMania 30 card with predictions. We'll also answer reader questions based off things asked on Facebook and Twitter. It's going to last 90 minutes. You can listen live here or that same link will work after the show is over, so you can listen at your own convenience. You can get it on iTunes as well.
Check out my column archive at WhatCulture.com as well as visiting that site daily and have a great week. Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org