Monday Night Raw – March 31, 2014: I’m Ready For Wrestlemania

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 31, 2014
Location: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler

It’s the final Raw before Wrestlemania so I wouldn’t expect the most exciting shot tonight. Everything is set up for Sunday and all there is left to do is give us the hard sell. There’s a chance to have something else change before we get there but I can’t imagine it would be anything big. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Undertaker to open the show. As he makes his entrance to the ring, we see a clip from the end of last week’s show. He looks at the sign and says twenty one men have stood up and twenty one men have been sat down. At the showcase of the immortals, he will go further than anyone else and that is why the Streak stays alive. Brock is probably thinking how he’s going to break the Streak, but what he should be thinking is what happens when Undertaker takes him out into the deep water.

What is Brock going to do when his feet can’t hit the bottom? Will he try and take Undertaker down with him, or will he try to swim back to shore? Of course there are some people that think the Streak will end one day. However, there are three things that can’t be beaten: Death, taxes, and the Streak. He goes to say the catchphrase but here are Lesnar and Heyman to interrupt.

Paul says this isn’t a match Brock has to win, but rather a match Undertaker can’t lose. All it takes is one F5 and then three seconds later it’s all over. This Sunday is the biggest Wrestlemania moment since Hulk Hogan defeated Andre the Giant, and that’s a spoiler. Lesnar turns to leave but looks back and walks down to the ring. Undertaker gets ready to go so Brock stops to point at the sign. He circles the ring and gets in after a Heyman distraction. Undertaker gets in some shots but gets caught in the F5, laying Undertaker out for the first time in the feud.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E.

Battle royal hype time. Del Rio gets run over for an early two and a fall away slam gets the same. Big E. avoids a charge into the post and hurts his shoulder, allowing Del Rio to crush Big E.’s hand into the steps. Back from a break with Big E. suplexing Del Rio down and trying to get some feeling back into his shoulder.

Alberto grabs the armbreaker over the ropes but Big E. catches him coming off the top to take over. A belly to belly looks to set up the Big Ending but Del Rio escapes into the Backstabber for two. The armbreaker is countered into a powerslam for two but now the armbreaker goes on. Big E. tries to power out but gets put in the full hold.

He rolls up again and powers Del Rio up into a modified powerbomb for two as Del Rio grabs the rope. Big E. misses another charge and gets hung up in the ropes, allowing Alberto to go up for a HUGE double stomp to the chest, drawing a big gasp from the crowd. The superkick is good for the pin at 10:29 as Del Rio continues to be Big E.’s Kryptonite.

Rating: C+. This was by far the best match these two have ever had and a lot of it is because they had the time to work on things. That being said, can we please have them fight for the title now? Del Rio has pinned Big E. clean at least twice in a row now, but there’s never any mention of him wanting the title. Either hav ehim go after the belt or stop having them fight.

We look back at the Wyatts knocking out Cena and putting him in the mask last week.

Bray says the world craves change. However they turn a blind eye to the landfills because you can’t just whisper in people’s ears anymore and expect them to listen. He gets right up in the camera and asks if he has their attention now. She told him that he would be the one to change diamonds into dust and change the world. They’re going to cry for Cena but in time they’ll forget him when Cena is left with nothing. Bray says he’s the monster and sings about having the whole world in his hands.

We get a Total Divas recap, which I can’t believe has taken this long.

Natalya vs. Summer Rae

This is a result of a fight on Total Divas. Vickie is on commentary and tells us that the Divas match on Sunday is going to be one fall with all fourteen girls in there at the same time. They’re not even trying to keep things calm. Natalya takes Summer down and the dancing girl screams a lot. She comes back with a bad looking clothesline and puts on a chinlock for a few moments.

Nattie fights back with a low dropkick and snap suplex. Summer slaps her in the face so Natalya returns the favor. Rae charges at her but gets taken down, only to kick out of the Sharpshooter. She comes back with a quick kick to the head and gets the pin on Natalya out of nowhere at 2:23.

Here’s the Authority for the end of the YES Movement. Stephanie says tonight is the chance for everyone to say goodbye before HHH destroys Daniel Bryan on Sunday. HHH talks about how people are looking at Bryan as the flavor of the month. He and Stephanie demonstrate Fandangoing before saying the fans are the reason nothing came from that. Stephanie starts a YES chant and says anyone can get that going.

Daniel Bryan won’t be here tonight because it’s best for business. HHH says people don’t understand business, such as when they say he has power because he married well. While it’s true he married spectacularly, the reason he has what he has is because of his dominance in the ring. It didn’t matter what guy you jumped on as the savior, because HHH was going to take them down.

This takes us to a video, narrated by Stephanie, of various people he’s taken down over the years, such as Booker T, Scott Steiner, RVD, Jeff Hardy, Goldberg, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle. All of them rose up for a bit but now all that’s left is the Game. At Wrestlemania, Daniel Bryan will be another sacrificial lamb and the fans will lose another chosen one, because there is only one HHH. This was AMAZING and sold the idea perfectly.

Back live and HHH says they were all just players, but he’s the Game now more than ever. On Sunday, he’ll destroy Daniel Bryan and then walk out as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. They go to leave but here’s Batista to interrupt. Batista digs the video, but noticed he wasn’t in it because HHH has never beaten him. HHH makes fun of Batista’s Georgetown (local college basketball team) jersey but Batista says HHH shouldn’t be worried about a title match he’s not even in yet. HHH says go get ready for your match and Batista says that’s a good idea, which makes sense because Stephanie is the brawn of this family.

Orton comes out and says he wants a front row seat if Stephanie is about to slap him again. Orton says he respects the Authority and loves the idea of a triple threat, but asks HHH to think again about being in the title match. HHH tells Orton that no amount of sucking up is going to get him out of this because his title reign is coming to an end very soon. That is, unless Orton can become the Viper again. HHH makes the main event No DQ to try and make Orton all the more evil.

Usos/Los Matadores vs. Real Americans/Ryback/Curtis Axel

Ryback shoves Jimmy into the corner to start but Jimmy comes back with kicks in the chest. The Usos hit a double kick to the ribs, only to have Ryback run Jey over and make the tag off to Axel. Jey catapults Curtis into a forearm from Fernando and Diego follows in with a slingshot splash. Axel gets double teamed by both teams until it’s back to Jey for a wristlock.

Off to Cesaro for some hard forearms before Swagger comes in to stomp away. Jey fights back with right hands and clotheslines before sending Ryback out to the floor. Fernando comes in and tags out to Jimmy before anything happens. Jimmy and Fernando dive over the top to take out the Real Americans, setting up Jey with a top rope cross body for two on Swagger.

Jack sends him to the floor and knocks him off the apron for a crash. Back from a break with Cesaro dropkicking Jey down for two and getting the same off a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Swagger comes in and literally throws Cesaro into the corner onto Jey. Ryback comes in and puts on a chinlock until Jey fights up and hits a bulldog. The hot tag brings in Jimmy to clean house and speed things way up.

A release Samoan drop puts Axel down and the running Umaga attack in the corner gets two. Ryback gets superkicked to the floor and Axel gets two off a rollup. Jack makes a blind tag and kicks Jimmy in the face for two with Diego making the save. Cesaro loads up the Swing but Fernando breaks it up to a lot of booing. Back inside and the Vader Bomb is countered but Jimmy avoids the Patriot Lock and kicks Swagger in the face. Diego dives off the top but lands in the Patriot Lock but doesn’t tap. Swagger goes after Jey but the Matadores switch, allowing Fernando to roll Jack up for the pin at 13:55.

Rating: C. It’s not a bad match but the division just isn’t all that interesting. Los Matadores being employed still makes my head shake, especially when El Torito isn’t involved. The ending with the Twin Magic wasn’t a terrible idea and it’s nice to see them add another team that could win the titles on Sunday.

Cody Rhodes/Goldust vs. Fandango/Damien Sandow

Fandango takes Cody into the corner before it’s off to Sandow to stomp away, knocking Rhodes out to the floor. We hit a chinlock on Cody before a drop toehold breaks up a hot tag attempt. Cody kicks Damien away and tags Goldust anyway to clean house. Goldust takes both heels down with the top rope cross body before getting two on Sandow. Cody dives off the top to take down Fandango, allowing Goldust to hit the Final Cut for the pin on Damien at 4:08.

Rating: D+. There wasn’t much to see here as it was nothing more than a way to get people on the show before the Wrestlemania match on Sunday. That’s something you often get on the go home shows, which doesn’t exactly make for good TV but it’s something you have to do to avoid injuries.

We recap Shield vs. Kane/Outlaws.

Shield says they almost feel bad for Kane. One of them will be facing Kane tonight, decided by a WWE App vote. Rollins says the geriatric Outlaws will be joining Kane on Sunday and be shown why the fist is the new symbol of excellence. Ambrose promises to show the old guys a new things about attitude. Reigns says Believe in the Shield.

R-Truth vs. Bray Wyatt

Bray runs him over to start and laughs a lot, only to run into a leg lariat. Wyatt comes right back with the hard running cross body before hammering away with right hands and headbutts. We hit a quick camel clutch for a bit before a belly to back suplex into a facebuster puts Truth down again. Sister Abigail is enough for the pin at 4:35.

Rating: D. It’s just a long squash. There really isn’t much else to say about this match. However, Bray continues to be totally dominant and that’s what you need coming into the biggest match of his career. Sunday could be a huge moment for Bray if it’s done right, which doesn’t mean he needs to win.

Xavier Woods gets beaten down post match. The Wyatts pose but there’s another guy in coveralls and a sheep mask. Bray looks up at him and it’s John Cena to an ERUPTION. Rowan takes an AA but Bray escapes to fight on Sunday. That’s one of the loudest pops for Cena that I’ve heard in months. Bray gives Cena a bizarre look from the ramp.

We look back at Vickie making the Divas Title match.

AJ Lee vs. Naomi

Lumberjill match with the other challengers on the floor and Vickie on the stage. AJ is immediately sent to the floor and thrown back in but Naomi doesn’t get the same treatment. Now the champion is sent outside again and the other girls throw her right back in. Back in and AJ fires off kicks to the ribs before it’s off to a guillotine check.

A swinging neckbreaker gets two on Naomi but she comes back with a kick to the head. AJ is sent to the floor again but Tamina tries to protect her. That’s fine with them though as Tamina gets beaten down as well. The Divas throw AJ back inside after one heck of a beating, allowing Naomi to hit the Rear View for the easy pin at 4:04.

Rating: D. Build for the PPV, I don’t know why we’ve got the AJ vs. Vickie feud after months of AJ getting pinned but that’s the WWE for you. I have a bad feeling AJ leaves with the title, but I’m hoping Paige shows up the next night on Raw to take the title. It wasn’t really much of a match anyway but the girls looked good on the floor.

A nervous John Cena talks about Bray Wyatt spreading his propaganda. Cena has just shown Bray what happens when he gets backed into a corner. On Sunday John Cena will be a monster because being a monster for a day secures a legacy for a lifetime. Yes he’s afraid but the moment you realize he has the ability to face it, everything is worth it. Cena is bringing the change to the eater of worlds on Sunday and tells us all to be watching on Sunday.

The expert panel talks about Bray vs. Cena.

We look back at the opening segment.

Roman Reigns wins the poll with 80% of the vote.

Roman Reigns vs. Kane

Kane gets pounded down in the corner but raises a boot to stop a charging Reigns. A hard clothesline sets up the chokeslam but Reigns powers out of it. Some right hands stagger Kane and there’s a BIG running clothesline to drop Kane. Kane gets knocked into the ropes and the running boot to the side of the heads knocks him back inside. He loads up the Superman Punch but here come the Outlaws. Ambrose and Rollins cut them off though, allowing Reigns to nail the Superman Punch. The other Shield members get inside to surround Kane and the beating is on for the DQ at 3:09.

Rating: D+. This was the buildup match for the six man which still isn’t all that interesting. I see the Outlaws coming to the ring and the idea of them facing Rollins and Ambrose at Wrestlemania just doesn’t work for me at all. They look like a team you bring in on Raw for a special moment to set up a PPV match against a big team. But hey, the Outlaws want to have the match and that’s what matters.

It’s time for Piper’s Pit with a surprise guest. Piper says it’s Wrestlemania season and is thrilled that Wrestlemania I was 29 years ago today. He talks about how important Andre the Giant was to the first Wrestlemania and says the winner of the battle royal will get their Wrestlemania moment. Piper is about to talk about his favorite for the match but here’s Miz to interrupt.

Miz brags about actually winning in the main event of Wrestlemania, meaning the other 29 superstars don’t compare to him at all, just like the Pit doesn’t compare to MizTV. This brings out Sheamus to make Piper even angrier. Sheamus says Miz isn’t fit to hold Roddy’s kilt before talking about winning the battle royal. Cue Titus as Piper is getting hilarious with his ranting over the interruptions. He spells out his name and barks in Piper’s face.

Here’s Ziggler, drawing out a “REALLY??? REALLY??? I’M TALKING HERE!!!” from Piper. Roddy looks at all of them and has something to say to each ot them. Piper pokes Miz in the eye and throws him to Sheamus as a fight breaks out. A bunch of other guys in the battle royal hit the ring for a ten to twelve man fight.

Rey Mysterio comes out with music to kick Dolph in the head. Sin Cara takes a 619 and Brogue Kick until Big Show comes out to really clean the ring. Rey and Big Show are the only ones left standing and Rey begs off, only to hit a 619 to the ribs. A top rope seated senton is just dumb though and Rey is thrown to the floor in a big pile. Roddy raises Big Show’s hand to end the segment.

Batista vs. Randy Orton

No DQ and non-title. Batista is the hometown boy and gets a decent reaction from the crowd. Before the match here are HHH and Stephanie coming down to do commentary. Orton takes him down to the floor to start and hammers away but gets sent into the post. Back in and Randy stomps away before sending Batista out to the floor and into the barricade.

Batista’s arm is rammed into the announce table a lot and a belly to back suplex onto the barricade has him in even more trouble. Randy nails him in the back with a chair before they head back inside. Batista knocks Orton right back to the floor and slams him into the announce table a few times. HHH says show him the Animal so Batista rams Orton spine first into the apron. He gets a chair of his own but Randy pulls on a kendo stick to blast Batista.

Back in again and the spinebuster puts Orton down but the Batista Bomb is countered into the backbreaker. There’s the Elevated DDT but Daniel Bryan jumps over the announce table and jumps HHH. Orton goes outside to take out Bryan but gets taken down as well. Randy gets back up and sends Bryan into the steps as Stephanie checks on her “baby”. Batista nails Orton with the spear but Bryan kicks him in the head and hits the knee. FLYING GOAT takes HHH down as everything is going nuts. A bunch of kendo stick shots knock HHH into the ring before Bryan dropkicks Orton off the apron. The match is thrown out at about 8:00.

Rating: C+. This was a nice brawl but it was all about the moment of course. Bryan had to show up here and tonight was his night to end the show. Orton vs. Batista actually wasn’t bad but thank goodness they didn’t do it as the main event of Wrestlemania. It was good but it wasn’t THAT good.

A huge YES chant erupts as HHH shouts that Bryan is done to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. This is a show where you have to take something big into account. This was all about getting ready for Sunday and the wrestling took a huge backseat to the building process. The matches were pretty lame, but the matches all got TV time and I’m more excited for Wrestlemania than I have been in years.

Results

Alberto Del Rio b. Big E. – Superkick

Summer Rae b. Natalya – Kick to the faceless

Los Matadores/Usos b. Real Americans/Curtis Axel/Ryback – Rollup to Swagger

Cody Rhodes/Goldust b. Damien Sandow/Fandango – Final Cut to Sandow

Bray Wyatt b. R-Truth – Sister Abigail

Naomi b. AJ Lee – Pin after the lumberjills beat up AJ on the floor

Kane b. Roman Reigns via DQ when Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins interfered

Randy Orton vs. Batista went to a no contest

 

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9 comments

  1. how are you watching wm30 kb?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    In person.

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

    Even though Daniel Bryan stood tall tonight he is still winning on Sunday. I do like the little seed of doubt on Sunday. Everyone (myself included and im sure you KB) will be on pins & needles. Good final push to WM 30 and I am very excited to see what happens this year.

  3. ted says:

    You didn’t find the triple video dry? It just seems to be trying way to hard to tell how important triple h is.

  4. WAR says:

    The Rear View is still one of the worst finishers I can remember.

  5. Blaze Frazier says:

    Kb, Where are you sitting in the Superdome? Not being stalkerish. Just wondering around what section since I am looking to buy tickets too. Not sure where to sit.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    If you’re looking at the stage from the ring I’ll be in the lower arena on the right hand side.

    Blaze Frazier Reply:

    I’ll be in Section 143. Don’t know if you know, but the Squared Circle subreddit is putting together a bar crawl. You should come out.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I don’t drink.,