Last week, Monday Night Raw was all about Daniel Bryan and his Wrestlemania push. The leader of the Yes Movement got everything he wanted, including a match against Triple H with a special condition stipulating that he will be inserted into the WWE World Title match should he win. If you’re anything like me, you at least had an idea that this week would center on sweet retribution for the Game.
Speaking of the devil’s son in-law, Raw opened up with Triple H in the middle of the ring. As you could imagine, he was peeved about what transpired last week, for which he blamed the WWE Universe. He promised to put the mash on Bryan and in the process, destroy the fans’ dream, effectively putting an end to the Yes Movement. Trips started to tease what he might have in store for Bryan in the middle of that very ring when Batista came out and crashed the party.
Batista let it be known that he wasn’t thrilled about Daniel Bryan potentially being involved in the title match at Wrestlemania, a spot he thought should be his alone due to coming out of the Royal Rumble victorious. This bout of whining brought Randy Orton to the ring, who agreed that Bryan even having a shot at the title match is BS. Triple H told both of his former Evolution mates to calm down, stating that Bryan has no chance of getting by him. There was a lot of back and forth bickering between all three parties until Trips dropped a bombshell that surely has the IWC quivering in their collective britches. If he beats Daniel Bryan, then he will be the one to join the threeway dance in the main event. With that, Trips walked off. Batista, unfortunately, ate a surprise RKO from the Viper. We’re off and running!
The first match of the evening was a good one as the Usos took on the Real Americans in a non-title bout. Been keeping up? Then you know Swagger and Cesaro have been giving old Zeb the blues with their failure to work as a unit. They weren’t necessarily the Midnight Express out there, but managed to get the win in impressive fashion. Jey went for a plancha-style dive on Cesaro, only to catch a devastating uppercut, followed by the Neutralizer that laid him out for the pin.
Another match that established Cesaro as the clearcut standout of The Real Americans is what we got here. I still have no idea what either of these two teams will be doing come Mania, but a rematch for titles could be in the cards.
If you thought Titus O’neil was poised for a big push after the split of the Prime Time Players, then you don’t know jack about WWE booking. This thing is mimicking the Cryme Tyme debacle of a few years ago almost to a tee. On this evening, Titus was the victim of Sheamus, who after the match, declared himself as a participant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Sheamus was also blindsided by Christian, who teased that he’ll be entering the Battle Royal as well. I’m cool with that. Anything is better than these two having another one-on-one match at Wrestlemania, no matter how interesting it might be.
John Cena came out to share a few words on his Wrestlemania match with Bray Wyatt. Like the Rock telegraphs the People’s Elbow from two hops and a skip away, this promo was about as predictable as they get. Cena assured us that he doesn’t fear Bray. Then the Wyatts interrupted with an on-screen promo of their own. Bray talked in riddles, claiming that he would be Cena’s toughest challenge to date. Of course he closed by telling us all to “Follow the Buzzards”.
I don’t know. I like the Wyatts. Respect the hell out of Cena, but still I’m not very pumped about this feud. Maybe it’s because it feels forced. Or maybe I just didn’t get enough of the Wyatts-Shield rivalry. Should be a decent match at Mania, either way, so let’s hold out hope for that.
In a rematch we’ve seen countless times since last fall, Daniel Bryan took on WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton – this time, in a no holds bared encounter! You know when these two are involved a solid match is in store. More often than not, the questions lie in what type of outside foolery will come into play. Interestingly, it was Batista who interfered as he came in and delivered a spear on Orton, which positioned Bryan for the pinfall victory. After the match, he gave the champ a Batista Bomb then got into a staredown with Bryan, who was on the stage by now.
Has Randy Orton, a multi-time world champion, had a worse title run than this clustermother of a reign? The Miz feels bad for this guy. I’ll always be a fan, but I can’t wait until he drops the belt(s) to someone.
Things were shaky for the Authority all night. Stephanie and Hunter had some of their issues air out backstage as she essentially challenged him to handle Bryan in the name of the McMahons. Corporate Kane, on the other hand, had his own troubles to contend with. In attempt to sick the Hounds of Justice on Jerry Lawler for allegedly conspiring with the Memphis crowd in last week’s Occupy Raw segment, Kane ended up on the short end of the stick when the Shield turned and put the smackdown on him.
I’ve been calling the Shield split for months, but they just keep on going on. Me being wrong aside, I’m happy with that. I love factions and the Shield is easily the best stable going today.
There was also an eight man tag team match featuring Big E, Big Show, Mark Henry, and Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, Ryback, and Curtis Axel. This was a fun, fast-paced match that turned out a lot better than I would’ve thought. The ring filled up a couple of times before guys start hitting signature moves and dumping one another out to the floor. In the end, it was Big Show giving Sandow a chokeslam to secure the win. I expect of all these guys to be in the Wrestlemania battle royal. Not much else going on for any of them right about now.
The moment we had been working our way up to was the encounter with Triple H and Daniel Bryan. Trips called out Bryan and they engaged yet another war of words. Lots of snoozery here, but some interesting dialogue as well, including what sounded like a stiff jab at CM Punk, which the fans amplified perfectly by chiming in and chanting his name. Long story short, Hunter lured Bryan into a trap, playing the “I respect you” card and using a gang of fake cops to subdue him so he could drill the screws. We saw some of the old school Game here as he virtually destroyed D-Bry from pillar to post, and even allowed Stephanie to get a few licks in. Topping the shellacking off with a Pedigree, the corporate power couple stood proud in the ring, Daniel Bryan crumbled at their feet as Raw went off the air.
The Wrap Up
Last week, Daniel Bryan was standing tall and riding high. This week, he got clobbered and according to reports after the show, ended up being stretchered out of the arena. I’m sure he’s okay. You know how that stuff goes. The stakes at Wrestlemania 30 are now higher than ever for both the hero and the evil corporate dictator. Apparently with no faith in Randy Orton and no trust in Batista, Triple H is taking it upon himself to rid the world of the trifling Yes Movement. The story continues to unfold next Monday, when we’ll be less than two weeks away from wrestling’s Super Bowl.