Monday Night Raw – March 17, 2014: The Pathos to Wrestlemania

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 17, 2014
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler

We’re under three weeks to Wrestlemania now and we’ve got the biggest matches down now. The main story coming into tonight will be HHH retaliating against Daniel Bryan as he promised to do on Smackdown. Other than that we’re likely going to get some more entrants into the Andre battle royal. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Occupy Raw last week.

HHH is in the ring and says what happens at Wrestlemania is all going to be our fault. He’s had a week to think about what happened with Daniel Bryan and it doesn’t sit well with him. At Wrestlemania, he’s going to do what he always does in the ring, but we’ll see that in twenty days. He tells us to enjoy the rest of the show but here’s Batista to interrupt.

Batista says HHH has problems with Daniel Bryan but the real problems are with him. HHH has no right to add Bryan to Batista’s main event because he’s back to be WWE Champion. Batista wants to know what HHH is thinking, but HHH wants to know why Batista thinks Bryan has a chance to make it to the title match at all.

This brings out Randy Orton to throw in his two cents. Orton is worried about Bryan being added as well but HHH cuts him off and asks if Bryan is really that much in their heads. The fans chant YES and Batista says Bryan may be in their heads, but nowhere near as much as he’s in HHH’s. Orton asks for and receives a No DQ match against Bryan tonight to prove he can do what Batista couldn’t.

Orton and Batista argue with Batista saying the YES Movement exists is because Orton sucks. He calls Orton a paper champion who only has those belts because of HHH’s support. HHH tries to hold them apart but gets shoved away so he just leaves. Batista says HHH has to fix this but HHH says he’s sick of this.

He’s sick of the little troll face Daniel Bryan, the fans chanting for him, of Hollywood movie stars telling HHH how to run this business, and of talented guys who need him to hold their hand to win a match. Maybe the old man was right: the only one you can trust in this world is yourself, so there’s going to be a triple threat at Wrestlemania, but Daniel Bryan won’t be in it. Instead, HHH is going to beat Daniel Bryan and go into the match himself. In other words, the winner goes to the title match. HHH leaves and Orton lays out Batista with an RKO.

Batista leaves and says coming back was a big mistake.

Real Americans vs. Usos

Non-title and this is a result of the Usos saving Cody Rhodes and Goldust from a post match attack by the Real Americans on Smackdown. Jey runs over Swagger to start and catches him in a spinebuster. Cole screws up early this time and says a win for the Tag Team Champions could give the Real Americans a shot at the titles. Cesaro comes in and works over Jey in the corner but gets caught by a kick to the chest.

Off to Jimmy for an uppercut and a slam. Jey comes back in and tries a leapfrog but jumps into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Off to Swagger again for a chinlock but Jimmy fights up and tags his brother back in to speed things up. A Cesaro distraction lets Jack kick Jimmy to the floor and we take a break. Back with Cesaro in control of Jimmy but he punches his way out of the corner.

Swagger catches him in a belly to belly suplex for two, followed by the Vader Bomb/Cesaro double stomp spot. The announcers praise the company for some awards the WWE App has won as Cesaro nails Jimmy with a European uppercut. Jimmy avoids a charge from Swagger and knocks Cesaro to the floor. A spinning kick to the back of Swagger’s head is enough for the hot tag to Jey who shouts US a lot before the corner Umaga attack gets two.

Jimmy breaks up a Cesaro Swing attempt and throws Cesaro at Jey for a Samoan drop and a near fall. Swagger comes back in and gets caught by the double superkick to send him to the floor. Jimmy dives onto Jack but Cesaro blocks a Jey dive with the European uppercut, setting up the Neutralizer for the pin on Jey at 12:25.

Rating: C. The amtch was fun but at the same time can we PLEASE stop having new champions lose matches to set up a future Tag Title match, which will likely have the New Age Outlaws as well. Here’s a simple way to do this instead: “The following contest is for the #1 contendership to the Tag Team Championship!” Throw Los Matadores out there and have a match, making both the champions and challengers look strong. Why do I have to give writing lessons to a WRITING TEAM?

We look at WWE Slam City, an animated series about what happens when the wrestlers all get fired and have to get day jobs. I’ve heard worse ideas actually.

Clip from Smackdown of the Shield costing Kane a match and leaving him laying after a Reigns spear to end the show.

Kane comes up to Shield in the back and says all four of them made mistakes on Friday. Ambrose doesn’t seem to care but Kane says they have a mission. If he can’t count on them then the Authority can’t count on them, meaning they’re a liability. Kane asks if he can count on them. Rollins says they’re united and Reigns says believe it. Kane gets even more serious and calls them replaceable.

Hornswoggle hands out t-shirts to fans when Bad News Barrett rises up on his podium. He makes fun of the leprechaun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and talks about St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland. However, the bad news is the fans will spend all day getting drunk, have a hangover tomorrow and regret all the stupid things they’ve done.

Sheamus vs. Titus O’Neil

Hornswoggle is still at ringside. Titus is officially in the battle royal and comes out with a big green and white hat and a bright orange beard painted on his face. Christian is on commentary and announces himself as an entrant as well. O’Neil hammers Sheamus into the corner to start but gets sent to the floor and shouldered off the apron. Titus rams him into the post as Christian says he’s undefeated except for the losses he’s caused himself.

Christian says JBL looks like David Spade in a fat suit and JBL nearly loses it. Titus slams Sheamus to the mat and then the floor before throwing Hornswoggle inside. He tries a fall away slam but Sheamus comes back in and catches the little guy before throwing him into Titus’ ribs. There are the ten forearms to the chest and a powerslam setting up the Brogue Kick for the pin at 4:11.

Rating: C. Decent little power match here but Titus needs to win a match that matters instead of just being a jobber to the stars. He showed so much potential before the Darren Young match but this is his first appearance in weeks. It’s better than having nothing to do though so it could be worse.

Sheamus enters the battle royal post match but Christian attacks him and hits the Killswitch on the floor because this feud just can’t end.

Next week’s guest star: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine will be there as well.

Here’s Cena to talk about the Wyatts. He says he’s been here 12 years and has had over 3,500 matches which makes him like family to the WWE Universe. They’re like an old married couple and he has a secret for them: he’s afraid of Bray Wyatt. He’s afraid of everything Bray stands for and what he is, because he’s never fought anyone like Bray before.

Bray is trying to convince the people that what you see with John Cena isn’t real. Cena won’t take that because he believes in everything he’s done and stands for because Wrestlemania is about fighting for every scar and injury he’s been through. He’ll fight for his legacy at Wrestlemania and here are the Wyatts on screen.

Bray is wearing a Cena shirt and says children believe in superheroes because they want to believe the world is good. They haven’t learned the truth about life yet. Bray’s childhood wasn’t all rainbows and butterfliers. He has scars of his own because the world gave them to him. Everything he loves in life is going to wither away and die.

The fans chant for Cena as Bray says he could be just like John. He could sign autographs and kiss babies to make sure people bought his merchandise and go home to his plastic girlfriend in his castle while making jokes about everything to make himself feel better. At Wrestlemania, Bray doesn’t care if he dies as long as the world sees Cena the way he does. Follow the buzzards.

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan

No DQ and non-title. Orton hammers him into the corner to start but can’t ram Bryan face first into the buckle. Daniel scores with a knee to the ribs and wraps Randy’s leg around the post. Back in and Orton uppercuts Bryan down and heads to the floor for some forearms to the chest. Daniel comes back with a hard shot to knock Orton off the apron before nailing the FLYING GOAT. Orton pulls a kendo stick out from under the ring and says there’s no bell to ring because it’s No DQ. He belly to back suplexes Bryan onto the announce table and we take a break.

Back with Orton still in control and working over Bryan’s back before crotching him against the post. He hits the backbreaker from the apron to the floor in a nice looking move as the announcers talk about HHH losing his cool earlier tonight. They head inside again with Orton throwing Bryan into the corner before stopping to do the YES motion. Bryan backflips over Orton out of the corner and hits the running clothesline.

Daniel hits the running dropkick in the corner to set up a top rope hurricanrana for two. It’s kendo stick/YES KICK time with Daniel going off on Orton. The big kick to the head gets two more but Randy pops up and crotches Daniel on the top rope. A superplex gets two for the champion and he just stomps on Bryan out of frustration.

The Elevated DDT puts Daniel down but he rolls to the floor before the RKO. Orton comes outside and gets caught by the running dropkick, sending Orton into the timekeeper’s area. Randy gets a chair and blasts Daniel in the ribs and back before heading back inside, only to have Batista spear Orton in half. Bryan dropkicks Batista outside and steals the pin on Batista at 14:32.

Rating: B-. These guys get better each time they’re out there and this was their most entertaining match in awhile. The No DQ rule helped a lot and even though it was pretty obvious Batista was coming back, the stuff we got leading up to that was entertaining as well. Good match here.

Batista hits the Bomb on Orton post match.

How to get the WWE Network.

Here’s Heyman with something to say. He says Undertaker has gotten a lot of wins at Wrestlemania but barely survived. Those same opponents have been easily beaten by Brock Lesnar and Heyman has proof. We get a video of Undertaker’s Wrestlemania matches, showing how much more difficult each victory has been because Undertaker is getting older. On the other hand, Brock has destroyed HHH, Mark Henry and CM Punk. The video closes with a great line: “Now he will conquer death itself.” Heyman says the Streak will Rest in Peace at Wrestlemania.

HHH and Stephanie are in the back and Stephanie doesn’t like the idea of HHH talking to Bryan tonight. She’ll ignore him saying he wants to talk to Bryan “like a man” and goes on a rant about Bryan spitting on the McMahon legacy. HHH says it’s just talking but Stephanie wants to know what happens when HHH wins the title and has to go on the road. What about their business or the family. HHH glares at her and says he’s got this so don’t worry about it. Stephanie says he better take care of things before storming out.

Goldust vs. Fandango

Goldust looks at Summer Rae and still catches Fandango coming after him. A few atomic drops have the dancer in trouble and Goldust does a few steps of his own. Summer gets on the apron as Goldust does some disco dancing. He barks at Summer but Cody catches her, only to have Fandango get in some cheap shots.

Summer doesn’t mind being caught by Cody but Fandango isn’t pleased. We hit the chinlock for a few moments before Goldust fights up, only to get caught in the chinlock again. Goldust has a bit of blood next to his right eye. A suplex gets two on Goldust but Fandango misses the top rope legdrop. Goldust hits a quick Final Cut for the pin at 5:13. Goldust looked angry about the cut.

Rating: C-. You know what? I kind of liked this. No story, no reason for the match, nothing after. Just two guys having a match for about five minutes and the bigger star getting a clean pin. Everything has a point most of the time and it gets a bit tiring at times. I rather enjoyed just having a quick match with no meaning to it at all. Not a bad match either.

Here’s Kane to address the Shield. He talks about all the safety codes that were broken last week in the Occupy Raw movement and blames someone for causing it. Jerry Lawler of all people was apparently responsible for getting those fans into the ring, which JBL accused him of doing last week. Lawler won’t get up so here’s Shield to deal with the problem. Kane unbuttons his shirt and says he’s known Jerry for a long time. Lawler isn’t in fighting shape so Kane is only going to enjoy this a little. Jerry is given the chance to speak on his own behalf as Shield surrounds him.

Instead it’s Rollins saying he sees the look in Lawler’s eyes and has a good feeling Daniel Bryan isn’t coming to save him. The Shield however, always does what’s best for business. They slowly turn to face Kane and Lawler takes the opportunity to run for his life. Kane stares the three of them down and shakes his head. He says Reigns doesn’t know what he’s about to do and the beating is on. Kane fights them off for awhile but Rollins kicks his head off and the spear drops him. There’s the Triple Bomb and Kane is left laying. This still didn’t feel like a face turn but rather an anti-Kane turn.

Funkadactyls vs. AJ Lee/Tamina Snuka

Naomi is back with a patch over her eye (and of course it has glitter) and the Bellas are on commentary. Nikki thinks she should get a Divas Title shot, even though Naomi is #1 contender. Cameron hammers away on Tamina to start but gets her head taken off by a clothesline. AJ comes in and puts on a chinlock as the Bellas tease JBL with talk of tattoos. Back to Tamina but Cameron makes the tag off to Naomi. Everything breaks down and AJ grabs a guillotine choke on Naomi, only to be slammed down, followed by the split legged moonsault for the pin at 3:42.

Rating: C. For commercial for Total Divas. Multi-Diva match at the PPV. Next.

AJ yells at Tamina post match and gets shoved down. Tamina walks off.

The latest inductee into the Hall of Fame is Mr. T., which was announced earlier today.

We look back at Hogan announcing the battle royal last week.

Big E./Big Show/Dolph Ziggler/Mark Henry vs. Alberto Del Rio/Damien Sandow/Curtis Axel/Ryback

All eight of these guys are in the battle royal. Big E. and Ryback start things out and a weak Goldberg chant begins. Ryback shoves him into the corner but Big E. runs him over with a big shoulder. Off to Henry vs. Axel with Mark kicking Curtis’ face off. Ziggler gets the tag to a high pitched pop and grabs a neckbreaker on Ryback. A dropkick sends the power guy to the floor and it’s a standoff as we go to a break.

Back with Sandow working over Ziggler before it’s off to Ryback for a delayed vertical suplex. He takes a bit too long though and Dolph counters into a small package for two. Back to Axel for some elbows to the head but Ziggler comes back with a DDT. Sandow breaks up the hot tag attempt and sends Dolph head first into the buckle. He misses a charge though and goes head first into the buckle as well, allowing the hot tag to Big Show. Everything breaks down and people are thrown up and over the top rope. Big Show and Sandow are left alone and it’s a chokeslam for the pin at approximately 12:00.

Rating: C-. This was just a preview for the battle royal and there’s nothing wrong with that. Much like everything else tonight, the wrestling wasn’t the point here and it really didn’t need to be. The battle royal is going to be a big part of the show and it’s going to be a fun match so points for actually building it a big.

We look back at the Bryan/Batista/Orton situation from earlier.

Batista tries to leave again and says he’s never quit anything in his life.  He’s leaving Wrestlemania with the title no matter who the third man is.

Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston

Before the match we get a video on Bray vs. Cena set to a rap song about a guy being strange since birth and talking about legacy with clips of Bray’s original backwoods videos, comparing them to Cena’s mainstream appeal. This is really starting to work. The match is a total squash with Bray destroying Kofi while singing about having the joy down in his heart. He runs Kofi over with a clothesline and drives in right hands before dropping him with a gutbuster. Sister Abigail ends this squash at 2:55.

Trailer for Oculus, a new movie from WWE Studios. It’s a horror movie about an evil mirror.

Here’s HHH for the big talk with Bryan. Daniel accepts his invitation down to the ring and HHH says this has never been personal. It’s always been about what’s best for business whether Daniel can understand that or not. Somehow this has been where it’s always led and they’re going to fight in three weeks at Wrestlemania. HHH won’t apologize for what he does to Bryan in that ring and he wouldn’t expect an apology from Bryan either. Bryan has crossed a line and HHH has to put an end to it at Wrestlemania because he has no choice.

HHH has to end the YES Movement and end the uprising and shut everything down. He has to do that and if he has to destroy Daniel to do that, then so be it. There are no hard feelings in all of this and may the best man win. HHH sticks out his hand but Bryan shakes his head no. That’s cool with HHH because he would do the exact same thing. HHH has tried to stop Bryan since Summerslam and dumped a world on top of him, but Bryan is still standing here. The fans chant for Daniel Bryan because he hasn’t folded under the pressure. Now the fans try a CM Punk chant as HHH says Bryan has earned his respect.

He goes to leave but here’s Stephanie to rant about respect. Bryan endangered people’s lives last week including HHH’s, so she’s pressing formal charges. Cops come out to arrest Bryan, though I’m not sure they have jurisdiction over something that happened in Tennessee. The cops surround Bryan and forcibly take him to the ground with nightsticks. They don’t beat him, but HHH has that evil smile on his face. He calls the cops as Bryan’s hands are bound behind his back.

HHH says this isn’t what he wants because these aren’t even real cops. They leave the ring and Stephanie is smiling as well. HHH is looking forward to this and goes after a defenseless Bryan. They head outside with HHH sending him into the steps and announce table as Stephanie cheers him on. Bryan comes back with some headbutts, only to be dropped on the announce table again.

He screams about his arm before HHH throws him into the barricade and punches even more. The beating keeps going with Bryan just getting destroyed. HHH lays him on the table one more time and Stephanie mocks the YES motion. She gets in a few slaps for good measure. Bryan: “YOU HIT LIKE A GIRL!” HHH lay shim against the post and cracks Bryan in the head with a chair like a Concharito. Daniel is out cold so HHH adds a Pedigree and kisses Stephanie.  He says this belongs to them and there is no YES Movement.

Overall Rating: B+. Tonight was all about the emotions leading up to Wrestlemania. We saw it in the triple threat story, heard about it with Cena being afraid of Bray Wyatt, heard it from Big Show when he talked about what the battle royal meant to him and saw it with Kane being angry at the Shield.

The matches are all set but tonight was a big step in making us care. Having a good match is one thing, but making the fans CARE about it is a different story entirely. The latter is very rare but they’re going for it with this Wrestlemania. That’s the right way to go about a big show and they’re giving it the effort it needs. Tonight made me want to see these matches on a different level than I did before and that’s exactly what these shows are supposed to do.

Results

Real Americans b. Usos – Neutralizer to Jey

Sheamus b. Titus O’Neil – Brogue Kick

Daniel Bryan b. Randy Orton – Pin after a spear from Batista

Goldust b. Fandango – Final Cut

Funkadactyls b. Tamina Snuka/AJ Lee – Split legged moonsault to AJ

Big E./Big Show/Dolph Ziggler/Mark Henry b. Alberto Del Rio/Damien Sandow/Curtis Axel/Ryback – Chokeslam to Sandow

Bray Wyatt b. Kofi Kingston – Sister Abigail

 

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3 comments

  1. zappa says:

    It amuses me that they have Randy Orton say that Batista is boring, no one wanted him back etc. Take the least emotional speaker. As if to say yes we know it didn’t work but it was the plan all along you see.

  2. Jay H. (the real one) says:

    I am very excited for Wrestlemania to see what happens. There is no doubt in my mind that Daniel Bryan is winning both Matches and walking out of WM 30 as Champion. Its looking like a very good Show and can’t wait to see that scene on April 6th. KB I am jealous you will be there to see it.

  3. Awesome_Miz says:

    Very nice Raw indeed. My only complaint was the long ass beatdown from Haitch to Bryan. I get it that makes people wanting to see HHH get what he deserves. However, it felt a little bit over done.