I heard some smart marks say the crowd in New Orleans was lame for Wrestlemania 30. I say they’re crazy. There’s no denying how amped the patrons were in the Smoothie King Center for Monday Night Raw. On the heels of the biggest event in the history of Sports Entertainment, we were bound for an explosive evening of rasslin’.
Daniel Bryan opened the show in the ring, celebrating the biggest moment and win of his career amongst an energetic audience of supporters. I still don’t necessarily get the whole Yes Movement, but it’s real. It’s darn real! Bryan cheesed it up, no-selling the banged up shoulder all the while. This burns up the Authority, who stormed to the ring with vengeance etched into their grills.
Triple H was red-faced peeved. Still, he sounded repetitive in vowing to put an end to Bryan and his little fantasy. Trips set up a match for later, booking himself vs. Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The champ is gamed. Main event on!
The New Orleans crowd was only getting started during the opening segment. They really became animated for the first match. The Wyatts against John Cena, Sheamus, and Big E is a main event level showdown that once again highlighted the pendulum swing in the WWE. You would’ve swore the roles of supposed good guys and bad guys were reversed witnessing the rabid crowd backing the Wyatts received. These backwood goons are major over and I’m anxious to see what becomes of their popularity.
As for the match, it was solid with just the dose of power moves and chaos that you’d expect. Bray took out Big E with Sister Abigal and proved to the whiners that John Cena did not “bury” him at Wrestlemania. The feud with Cena probably has a few more chapters to it.
We had to suffer through some Fandango-Santino stuff before getting to the topic that dominated Wrestlemania headlines – the end of the illustrious streak. Gotta give it up. I’m not a Paul Heyman Guy per se, but he was masterful in building Brock Lesnar up as a true beast and the only one capable of putting Taker down at Mania. He made his client look superior by boasting his monumental feat as greater than anything accomplished by the likes of Triple H, the Rock, Daniel Bryan and others. Brock didn’t say a word during the victory promo. He just smiled and ate it all up. Reality has settled. The streak is dead.
Earlier in the night, Triple H put Randy Orton and Batista in a match for the tag team titles against the Uso brothers – much to their chagrin. This was more a mangling than it was a match. Things got chaotic fast and spilled onto the outside, resulting in a double count out. The main takeaway is in how Batista and Randy Orton destroyed the tag champs. Triple H said when these three guys are on the same page, they’re unstoppable. I say Orton and Batista alone can be a powerful force if they play their cards right.
Raucous Returns and Debuts
One rumored guy showed up on Raw as Mr. Monday Night RVD made his return. The match with Sandow wasn’t anything special, but if you’re fan, then you’re just happy to see “Your Favorite Wrestler” back. RVD pretty much squashed Damien and made that Money in the Bank win an even further distant memory.
More bandwagon madness. Wade “Bad News” Barrett made his triumphant return, and judging the crowd reaction, you might have though Chris Jericho or someone of similar legendary status came back. The New Orleans faithful were solidly in Barrett’s corner for the duration of the brief, utter destruction of Rey Mysterio. Marks have been lusting for this guy to get a push since back in the dreadful Nexus days. Maybe in this era of listening to the fans, Wade will get a run we actually remember a month later.
This past Monday Night Raw marked the official debut of the Ravishing Russian Alexander Rusev. Dude was moderately impressive in destroying Zack Ryder. That manager of his, Lana – now she’s the one to watch. We’ll see where it goes.
A Message From Your Ultimate Warrior
When they announced that the Ultimate Warrior would be appearing live on Raw, I quickly locked in on the location of my remote control. This guy has a history of being brutal on the mic, and sometimes I can’t bear to see guys butcher themselves on a live platform. Had to make sure I could change the channel if things got choppy. Luckily, it didn’t get too bad. Donning a suit and cape-like coat, the man born James Brian Hellwig slipped into a mask and became the Ultimate Warrior. After some rope shaking and snorting, he “ultimately” said the fans created his legend and will continue to create new legends as the business chugs on. He seemed to have a tough time getting around a bit, but overall it was a cool moment.
I’ve been forced to pay more attention to the divas lately. With the vicious vixen Tamina at her side, AJ boasted about her Wrestlemania victory and 295 day reign as Divas Champion in the middle of the ring. Kinda reminded me of a CM Punk-esque promo and sure enough, the New Orleans crowd got to chanting his name. Paige, the current Women’s Champ over in NXT, hit the ring to a huge ovation, proving that the fans are just anxious to “pop” for any and everyone. Paige comes in peace. She just wants to congratulate the champ on the win. AJ doesn’t need the flattery, and commenced to the put the young diva in her place. In the ring! AJ called for a referee, and after a few minutes of uninspired wrestling, Paige pulled off the surprise win and ended the streak. New champ!
They got me with the Undertaker, but aside from that, WWE has been pretty predictable lately. Once the match was made, it was pretty apparent that AJ would be dropping the belt. Paige. A new internet sensation has arrived. She’s okay, but time will tell how well her niche fame translates to the main roster.
One of the biggest Wrestlemania moments saw the surging Ceraso scoop the Big Show out of the ring and secure the Andre the Giant Memorial trophy. Hulk Hogan was assigned the task of presenting the trophy to the winner in that very ring. In an interesting twist, Zeb Colter took it upon himself to speak for Cesaro. He explained how he took Cesaro, a “Zeb Colter Guy”, under his wing and essentially made him a star, despite him not being a “real American”. Cesaro snatched the mic and corrected his manager, letting him know that he was in fact, a “Paul Heyman Guy”. What? Paul Heyman hit the ring and the crowd is going crazy! It’s apparent that Cesaro is in now under the advisement of Paul E. Heyman.
Jack Swagger sought to spoil the moment for his partner when he attacked Cesaro from behind. Swagger went off and practically destroyed the trophy. I’m thinking Hogan is gonna limp out and go vigilante in the name of the Giant. Instead, we got a short, chaotic match between former partners that ended in a count out win for Cesaro. The Real Americans are done. I saw it coming but never like that. Definitely a WOW moment and very well done.
Before the main event, Stephanie gathered the Authority for a pre-match prep talk. She reminded both Kane and Shield that they would be personally accountable for seeing to it that Triple H walked out as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. All agreed reluctantly and now we know that the fix is in for sure. Would it go as planned, was the question.
Champion Daniel Bryan came to the ring first. Batista and Randy Orton ambushed the ring at about 11:00 pm EST. In no time, they pummeled Bryan, taking turns until Kane joined and delivered a choke slam. Bryan is now easy pickings for Triple, who hit the ring in his gear, ready to partake in a world title match. Before the Game can steal the the gold, the Shield arrive and thicken the plot. JBL tried to play like Daniel Bryan was in even greater peril. Triple H attempted to keep the situation calm, prevent an altercation with Batista, Orton, and Kane, who were more than suspicious of their intentions. But we know what this is. The Shield attacked the COO and a war erupted in the ring. When the dust settled, it was the amended Authority standing down to the ultra over combination of the Shield and Daniel Bryan. Raw ended on the highest of notes with the crowd cranked up past ten.
The Wrap Up
What a show! There were some promos, but this episode of was rich in action and drama. The thought of a star-studded Paul Heyman stable and potential Evolution reformation has my mind racing about how interesting things are about to get. I hate to admit it. WWE is obliterating TNA right now. From roster to storylines, the battle isn’t even close. Oh … and no Sting sightings.