Welcome to the biggest RAW of the year and with Scott’s DirecTV out (he is crestfallen), I’ll be grabbing the reins again in his stead. So things happened at WrestleMania XXX and I was glad to be in person at the official PTBN WrestleMania party in Rhode Island to witness them. Daniel Bryan is our WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the Streak is shockingly over. Be sure to check out the Place to Be Podcast Mania recap as well as our PTB Network Reaction show.
We start things off with an awesome video package recapping Daniel Bryan’s time in WWE (sans Justin Roberts tie incident) and the package segues into a recap of the Authority feud. And here is the raucous post-Mania crowd already YES!-ing at full power. We don’t have to wait long as the new champ is out first, wearing one belt and YES! chanting with the other. A “Daniel Bryan :clapclapclapclapclap:” chant rages on forever and Bryan is floored. We also get a “You deserve it” chant which even my wife thought was awesome. Bryan puts over the power everyone has to make change happen and out comes Triple H and Stephanie. Solid old school “Asshole” chant and Bryan goes nose-to-nose with Triple H while pushing both belts in the air in another big YES! chant. Triple H is out to shut up the world and tonight Bryan will defend his title against him in the main event.
We come back from break and Batista and Randy Orton both confront Triple H. They both want rematches and Triple H says they’ll get them eventually, but not tonight. Triple H then calls back to Evolution and talks about how unbeatable they all are when they’re on the same page. Orton and Batista will face the Usos for the tag titles tonight.
BIG E, SHEAMUS, and JOHN CENA vs. THE WYATT FAMILY
Cena retains his post-Mania RAW crown as the biggest heel in the building as the crowd erupts for the Wyatts. Every piece of offense Cena gets off is booed. Sheamus is pretty familiar with this reaction as he was a victim last year in his match with Orton. Big “Let’s go Wyatts” chant throughout. Sheamus kind of eggs the crowd on and for some reason throws some real shitty strikes at Rowan. Big E shows off his strength with the extended back breakers on Rowan and the crowd gives him some love. “Let’s go Harper” is next as Luke controls Cena with a big DDT. “He’s got the whole world in his hands” singing now as they build to Bray’s hot tag. Bray gets his one-armed chokeslam (ala Bruiser Brody) but Cena kicks out and tags in Sheamus. Sheamus mocks Bray’s movements and gets clotheslined by Rowan. Big E vs. Bray now and Big E gets off some big power moves before Harper helps out. Rowan and Harper wipe out Cena and Sheamus to the outside and Bray goes into spider mode. We get a “Bray’s gonna kill you” chant (!) – shades of Samoa Joe there – and Sister Abigail finishes Big E off. WINNER: The Wyatt Family
FANDANGO and SUMMER RAE vs. SANTINO and EMMA
For one night only Fandango-ing is cool again. Speaking of Summer Rae, be sure to check out the good work we do with Total Divas Watching Total Divas here at PTBN. I feel like we’ve seen this match 20 times over the last month. Both teams dance, and Emma gets to flash some of her cool submission moves. She gets Summer Rae to tap very quickly. WINNER: Santino and Emma
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman join us so time for some quick thoughts on the streak ending. First, it was obviously Undertaker’s call, including who he wanted to lose to. The rumors go back to 2010 that he wanted Brock to be that guy. When watching live I lamented that they didn’t use The Shield and Roman Reigns in that spot but with their face turn, it makes a lot of sense to have a hated heel do this. Plus this wipes Brock’s slate clean in terms of previous losses. Hopefully he picks up some more dates and we get a Brock/Bryan feud this summer. Heyman talks about Vince riding to the hospital with Undertaker, citing his serious concussion and being very close to a broken neck. Brock’s sporting a nice black eye himself. Heyman throws a “Superdome” dig at Hogan (!). Heyman calls the crowd and the rest of the boys in the back “wannabes” and puts over Brock’s accomplishments. Brock’s the “1” in “21-1”. Heyman then repeats that very slowly to reiterate how stupid he thinks the crowd is.
We get an Adam Rose promo (coming soon) which leads into:
BATISTA and RANDY ORTON vs. THE USOS for the TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Cool spot for the Usos here so of course the crowd is more interested in getting Undertaker, Y2J, CM Punk and fucking JBL chants over. Chanting for JBL is the worst. The match spills outside and both teams are counted out. Orton rips off a draping DDT from the security barrier and Batista fires off a powerbomb onto the steel steps. The specific Usos were not identified for these two moves. Batista and Orton pose in the ring after the destruction. These two working together is probably the best way to try to build intrigue for a potential triple threat rematch. They have to tell some kind of different story if that’s the way it’s going to go (purely speculative). WINNER: No contest
Here’s your first big return of the evening as RVD comes out to face Damien Sandow. The crowd is happy for the surprise but let’s not act like this will carry over to future live shows. I still chuckle at how dead the crowds were to him last summer as they desperately tried to play up his big return at the Money in the Bank PPV.
ROB VAN DAM vs. DAMIEN SANDOW
“R-V-D”, “E-C-DUB” and “You still got it” chants for RVD here. He gets in his usual high spots – spinning kick to Sandow draped over the wall, rolling thunder, five-star flog splash (a pretty good one) and that’s it. Pretty sure Sandow didn’t get an ounce of offense in here. WINNER: RVD
REY MYSTERIO vs. WADE BARRETT
Wade is naturally super over with the pro-European crowd (this was foreshadowed at the Hall of Fame also) and he picks up a mic to do his bad news bit but Rey stops him. Rey trolls the crowd a bit with a Randy Orton-like pose while we get “Bad News Barrett” chants. I’m just as excited as the crowd that Wade is actually back in the ring. He is severely underrated by the WWE. Wade hits the black hole slam (not his name of the move obviously) but Rey comes back with a flippy DDT (that’s a technical term). Wade powers him around though and hits the bull hammer while Rey is draped on the turnbuckle. Crowd goes nuts and Barrett yells that he’s back. I am 100% behind this. WINNER: Wade Barrett
RUSEV vs. ZACK RYDER
It was cool seeing Rusev at the Rumble, especially that they trusted him enough to be the key cog in Kofi’s big elimination save (he caught him). He finally makes his way to the ring after coming out for weeks and doing nothing. Rusev does not wear shoes and kicks Ryder into a crumpled mess. The European crowd (JBL’s words) ironically chants “USA” and Rusev casually puts Ryder into a camel clutch and buries him. WINNER: Rusev
The Ultimate Warrior comes out in a suit with a cool-ass Warrior-painted trench coat…AND HE SHAKES THE ROPES. Awesome. He puts on a Warrior mask and TRANSFORMS INTO THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (telling himself to shut up in the process) and cuts a promo in his old voice. He puts over the younger stars in the back and tells the crowd they will make them legends as well. The spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever. Short and sweet. Awesome work by him for the entire weekend.
Here’s AJ and Tamina – AJ’s reign is up to 295 days and she retained at Mania in one of the worst booked matches I’ve ever seen. Yes, they worked out a couple of cool spots between 2-3 divas, but the other ten had to sit outside the ring for most of the match. Why weren’t they breaking up all the pinfall attempts and specifically the ending submission sequence? Big “CM Punk” chants for her promo here and PAIGE interrupts! Big pop for her. Paige just wants to congratulate AJ and declines AJ’s invitation to wrestle, saying she’s not ready even though she is in her gear. AJ dominates this promo and declares she’ll put her title on the line.
AJ LEE vs. PAIGE for the DIVAS TITLE
For being a big name in NXT, Paige looked totally out of her league when she came out. AJ wails away on her, even ratcheting on the Black Widow just seconds in. Paige escapes and hits a sloppy Paige Turner and there’s your 295 day reign. WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Paige
Hulk Hogan hasn’t flown home yet so he’s out for the Andre the Giant Battle Royal Memorial trophy presentation. Somehow RVD was more over than Hulk is here. Good cheer for Hulk making sure he got the Superdome name right. “CESARO” chants and man was Cesaro’s finish of the Big Show awesome at Mania. Zeb and Cesaro come out and the crowd sings along with his entrance music. Zeb talks about making Cesaro an American and a “Zeb Coulter Guy”. Cesaro interrupts – he’s not a Zeb Coulter Guy, he’s a PAUL HEYMAN GUY. Heyman comes out and introduces himself to the crowd as the advocate for the “King of Swing” Cesaro. Big “Yes!” chants for this. I’m not big on the “King of Swing” moniker and here is Jack Swagger to fulfill the trophy’s contractual obligation to be destroyed. Cesaro dumps Swagger and I guess this official break-up match is happening now:
CESARO vs. JACK SWAGGER
Interesting with Heyman here – this is pretty much heel vs. heel and the crowd starts to tire. Heyman is clutching the top of the gold Andre part of the trophy. We get some uppercuts and Cesaro blocks the Swagger Bomb. Cesaro, on the turnbuckle, suplexes Swagger from the outside in a good strength spot, given Swagger’s size. Cesaro fires off some more uppercuts and calls for the swing as the crowd is back. Swagger bails for the count-out and Cesaro poses with Heyman and the trophy. WINNER: Cesaro
The Shield vs. the Wyatts is announced for tomorrow night’s Main Event broadcast. Don’t have to tell me twice.
Backstage Stephanie instructs Kane and The Shield to make sure Triple H wins tonight. The Shield ask where the Outlaws are. Kane implicates Triple H in the Shield attack a few weeks back. Stephanie cries that there is an injustice here – the Yes movement and the fact that Bryan is the champ. She wants them all on the same page tonight because that’s what the boss (Triple H) wants. I think we all see where this is going.
DANIEL BRYAN vs. TRIPLE H for the WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Batista and Orton come out (without music) prior to Triple H’s intro. They both get in the ring and just attack Daniel Bryan before the bell, softening him up for Triple H. RKO from Orton is followed by a Batista Bomb. Now Kane’s music hits and he chokeslams Bryan. “3MB” chant (I laughed) rains down on the Authority stooges in the ring as Triple H finally gets his entrance. Trips coerces the ref into ringing the bell to start the match, despite Bryan being lifeless in the ring. Trips goes to pick up Bryan and The Shield make their way down, complete with the skull masks they wore at Mania. Loud “Hounds of Justice” chant and we get a “This is awesome” chant as Triple H warns everyone to stay back. This is a great follow-up to The Shield’s squash last night and cements them as top babyfaces. Reigns SPEARS Triple H as Ambrose and Rollins wipe out Orton and Batista on the outside. Superman punch for Kane and all three Shield members surround Triple H. This allows Bryan to hit his flying knee out of nowhere and Kane drags Triple H out of the ring as Bryan and The Shield stand tall to end the show. WINNER: No match
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