Scott’s Raw Recap 3/31/14

A prelude to Sunday? (Courtesy WWE)
A prelude to Sunday? (Courtesy WWE)

Monday Night Raw
March 31, 2014
Washington DC

Time for the go-home Raw before the big show in New Orleans, and on the anniversaries of WrestleManias I and XII, we’re joined to start by the guy who beat Diesel that night in 1996. Out comes the Undertaker to a raucous ovation. Taker talks about the 21 wins he’s accrued at WrestleMania. He says that he will take Brock Lesnar to the deepest part of the water and take him down to the deep. He rhetorically asks Lesnar if he’ll take the Deadman with him or swim to shore. Taker said there’s things that will never die: Death, Taxes and The Streak. Taker tries to fire off his last line about resting in peace but Brock Lesnar’s music cuts him off. Brock is with Paul Heyman. He says this is a match that Brock Lesnar doesn’t have to win, but it’s a match that Undertaker can’t lose. Heyman says it’s one moment, or one F-5 and three seconds later the Streak is over. Heyman says “that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.” Not a bad pair of promos between two guys who have great history together. Brock was about to leave but he turns around at the top of the ramp and starts walking to the ring. Taker undoes his cloak and then takes it off, ready to go to war. Brock stops at the end of the ramp, then turns around and leaves. Or does he? He decides to turn around and head right to the apron. Brock smiles and backs off again. Or does he? Now he and Heyman split and go to opposite sides of the ring outside. Heyman slides a chair in and Lesnar slides in from behind. They start brawling and Taker is dropped. Brock then F-5’s Taker. This has been a solid enough build. Will the match live up to the hype? Not sure, but it will be fun to watch.

There’s a full week of WrestleMania programming live on the Network, starting with Tuesday’s press conference in New York. You can also watch the Hall of Fame ceremony live Saturday night at 9pm on the WWE Network.

MATCH: Big E vs. Alberto Del Rio

At least some drama coming from Sunday is whose going to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Still, Big E should be defending the IC Title at WrestleMania. Why does it bother creative so much that they can’t add more title matches at the biggest show of the year? Del Rio isn’t going to win, but hopefully it won’t be too blatant that he’ll be sliding further down the card. The guy did so much in 2013 yet is being treated like an afterthought. He does get Big E in the arm bar but the champ dead lifts him and drops Del Rio to the ground. I have a feeling Del Rio won’t last the year in WWE and will head back to Mexico. Del Rio does pull off the upset by booting Big E in the face after Big E fell off the corner turnbuckle.

Kane faces a member of the Shield tonight, and on WWE App you can vote for which.

We go back to last Monday when The Wyatts continued to get in John Cena’s head.

We go live to the Wyatts in a dark corner. Bray Wyatt gives his usual liturgy about Cena and how the world doesn’t understand.

We have Total Divas highlights. Really? IT’S THE GO-HOME RAW BEFORE WRESTLEMANIA. We don’t have time for this.

MATCH: Summer Rae vs. Natalya

Vickie Guerrero is at the table talking about the super divas match at WrestleMania which involves every Diva going after AJ’s Divas Title. It’s pretty much a glorified handicap match. Summer Rae wins with a boot to the head. WINNER: Summer Rae

The Authority is heading to the ring.

BOW DOWN TO THE KING. Triple H and Stephanie head to the ring. Stephanie says she and Triple H are benevolent people, so they will allow the WWE Universe to bask in the glow of the YES Movement before Triple H crushes it at WrestleMania. Triple H says this generation doesn’t care about loyalty, they just want to be part of something. They make fun of the Fandango-ing from a year ago and now he says the crowd moved on from it. Stephanie asks if they want to see Daniel Bryan tonight and she starts the YES chants. Stephanie laughs and thinks they’re all puppets. Triple H says the YES Movement is a myth. He says everyone thinks he has the power because he married well. He says even though he married “spectacularly”, he says it’s because he was dominant in the ring. They then show a video of all the guys Triple H has beaten over time. It includes guys like Booker T, Scott Steiner, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho. I’m sure the IWC will really bounce off the walls after that one. He continues putting himself over and says at WrestleMania he will be COO and WWE World Heavyweight Champion. They are about to leave when out comes Batista, who faces Randy Orton later tonight in the ORIGINAL WrestleMania main event. Batista’s wearing a Patrick Ewing Georgetown throwback jersey. As incredibly AWESOME as that is, I’m not changing my mind. Batista says he wasn’t in Triple H’s video because he’s never lost to him. Triple H rips the jersey and then the Animal says he’s the brains and Stephanie is the brawn. That brings out Randy Orton who wants Stephanie to hold back slapping him until after Orton beats him. Orton also thinks Triple H will beat Daniel Bryan but asks to reconsider being in the triple threat match. Triple H says Orton’s reign is ending because he isn’t “The Viper” anymore. His match with Batista tonight is a no-disqualification match. This promo was rough to watch but Daniel Bryan will be here tonight. Bank on it.

EIGHT MAN TAG MATCH: Los Matadores & The Usos vs. Rybaxel & Real Americans

There will be a Fatal Four Way Tag Team title match on the Mania pre-show. Why not on the actual show? It is four hours and we have what, like 6 matches? The tag division is continuing to grow but no heel team can be as dominant as The Ascension is in NXT. The Usos should keep the titles at Mania and be sacrificed to the new heels when they debut, maybe next Monday. Los Matadores win with a roll-up on Swagger. WINNERS: Usos & Matadores

Who cares? Cheap babyface pop. #midgetmantaur won’t win the tag straps.

MATCH: Fandango & Damien Sandow vs. Rhodes Brothers

Nice filler match here, but I’m still torn over this Triple H promo from earlier. When Vince was a heel and he used to tear into the crowds back during the Attitude Era, I didn’t take it personally. That was the storyline. For some reason this time I feel truly bothered. I feel Triple H and Stephanie really think their fan base are nothing but sheep. Oh, Rhodes Brothers win. They’re both in the Andre Battle Royal. WINNERS: Rhodes Brothers

We go back to Friday on Smackdown when the Shield took a beating from Kane and a myriad of heels. We go to the Shield in the back who they it was Kane that disrespected them, not the other way around.

MATCH: Bray Wyatt vs. R-Truth

No Daniel Bryan so far, and maybe no John Cena? That’s an interesting creative decision. Truth gets some token shots in but Bray wins. WINNER: Bray Wyatt

Harper & Rowan pummel Xavier Woods. As they look over him another guy walks up to them with a lamb mask on. It’s Cena and he chases them off. That was actually pretty slick.

Maybe the coolest part of the entire week preceding WrestleMania is the FULL Hall of Fame ceremony Saturday night at 9pm.

LUMBERJILL MATCH: AJ Lee vs. Naomi

I think AJ wins this for two reasons: 1) There’s no one else better than her,  and 2) WWE will do what they can to keep CM Punk smiling, even if it’s from a distance. Remember Ultimate Warrior’s return at WrestleMania VIII? I’d like to think they’re planning on something like that, if he is indeed coming back Sunday. He may still not be. Naomi wins after AJ gets the crap beat out of her by the other divas. WINNER: Naomi

AJ has a ring on her finger. Did Punk? Nah…..well?

Renee is with Cena, who cuts his usual promo. It was good, and I think that match could be the best of the night. “Could be”.

Booker T, Alex Riley and Bad News Barrett are at the Post-Raw table.

MATCH: Kane vs. Roman Reigns

Reigns wins with 80% of the vote, that’s not a shock. Incidentally the WrestleMania pre-show is two hours, starting at 5pm. Kane wrestling in suit pants is hilarious, kind of like IRS. Kane has separated himself from Triple H and the rest of that storyline after Daniel Bryan beat him like three times in a week. The Outlaws start coming down to the ring but Rollins and Ambrose run down and beat the crap out of them. They head into the ring and beat Kane down, forcing the DQ. WINNER: Kane by disqualification

This six man tag is very puzzling, not a clear-cut winner/loser here.

We are now joined by 2005 Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and a special Piper’s Pit. He puts over the first WrestleMania 29 years ago today, and that he wasn’t pinned in that main event. He says no one had as big an impact on what WrestleMania would become than Andre the Giant, and he talks about Sunday’s battle royal. He starts talking about who the favorite is and out comes The Miz. He says unlike Piper and Andre, he’s won a WrestleMania main event. Then out comes Sheamus, who faces Miz Tuesday on the live Main Event on the Network. Piper wants to continue but then out comes Titus O’Neil as we will now have a myriad of guys continuously coming down the ramp. Piper, LET THE GUYS TALK. Next is Dolph Ziggler. If I see Great Khali come down I quit. They all start brawling and the rest of the competitors come down. Down comes Rey Mysterio who will probably blow his knee out Sunday. This mess ends with Big Show double chokeslamming Ziggler and Zack Ryder then chucking Rey out of the ring. Piper talks over Show’s theme. Jesus Hot Rod what happened to your timing?

NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH: Batista vs. Randy Orton

The Authority comes down to watch (or scout). They’re actually doing commentary. I wonder if they’re going to try to prove that this main event would be better. That’s why they made it no disqualification. While the match is going on in the ring Daniel Bryan must have come through the crowd and start beating down Triple H on the announce table. Randy Orton tries to stop him twice but he can’t. Batista spears Orton in the ring but then eats a Daniel Bryan knee to the mush. Bryan then trashes Triple H with a kendo stick. He’s carried off by Stephanie while Bryan gets the YES YES YES chants going. With that, our final Raw before WrestleMania ends. WINNER: No Contest

SCOTT’S TAKE: All bases were covered, and all major storylines are given teeth. Triple H is old school when it comes to creative, so he’s dicking around the fans by having Daniel Bryan get the upper hand to end the show. That usually means heel wins, but of course that won’t happen here. One guy who will never be a heel is Graham Cawthon, purveyor of thehistoryofwwe.com. Follow him on Twitter @thehistoryofwwe. Also volume 4 of his awesome “History of Professional Wrestling” series is out soon! Here’s Graham’s Raw Tweet of the Night.

@TheHistoryofWWE I’m fairly certain that is NOTHING Batista and Randy can do to make the crowd care about this.

They didn’t. That’s why that goat-faced guy is in the match Sunday.

 

Author: Scott Criscuolo

Scott Criscuolo is a co-founder of the Place to Be, co-host of the Place to Be Podcast, and was in the radio business for 10 years. He loves all things pop culture, and someday he will be the ghost writer for Triple H's autobiography. Send Scott an email