Saturday, December 27, 2014

WWE Raw results (02/24/14): 10 observations from this week's episode

Monday, Feb. 24 will be a day that is not soon forgotten in the history of WWE. Not only did the WWE Network launch in the morning and had Twitter buzzing throughout the day, but two legends made their returns to the company.

WWE Raw results (02/24/14): 10 observations from this week's episode

WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio. (Photo courtesy of WWE)
WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio. (Photo courtesy of WWE)

Monday, Feb. 24 will be a day that is not soon forgotten in the history of WWE. Not only did the WWE Network launch in the morning and had Twitter buzzing throughout the day, but two legends made their returns to the company.

It was an eventful night to say the least at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisc. So let’s to get to my 10 observations and highlights:

Undertaker returns to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, stabbed him in the hand

You read that right, Undertaker committed some form of crime in front of thousands of witnesses in Green Bay, but will not go to jail anytime soon because kayfabe, brother! Also, I don’t think the police want to go to Death Valley to try to handcuff Undertaker.

All jokes aside, not much came out of this besides Undertaker’s big return. Whether it was previously or not, Undertaker’s eventual return was widely expected anyway.

Paul Heyman cut a great promo talking about how the Authority didn’t want to give Lesnar a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania, but offered him the option of choosing whatever opponent he wanted. Heyman said the Lesnar only wanted a chance at history at WrestleMania, which brought out the Undertaker, who was sporting a jet-black goatee.

Lesnar immediately signed the contract handed the pen over to Undertaker, but he stabbed him in the hand with it and choke slammed him through a table to end the show.

I have to be honest here. Three years ago, maybe even two years ago, I was really looking forward to this match. Now, I’m still very much looking forward to it, but not as much as I did circa 2011.

To be fair, Lesnar wasn’t with WWE until 2012 and when he did come back, he went into a program with Cena at Extreme Rules and then Triple H for Summerslam and WrestleMania. In hindsight, the latter program was a mistake. Lesnar’s first WrestleMania match back with the company probably should have been with the Undertaker.

With that said, I’m looking forward to seeing how the WWE goes about casting some sort of doubt that Undertaker will go 22-0. Right now, I don’t see any way or any reason for Lesnar to end the streak. Even before the stabbing and choke slamming Monday night, I didn’t believe Lesnar would end the streak.

Another interesting thing of note is that this will be the second year in a row Heyman will be managing Undertaker’s opponent at WrestleMania. Last year, it was CM Punk.

Daniel Bryan versus Triple H sure looks like it’s going to happen

Daniel Bryan made it quite clear what he wanted at WrestleMania, and apparently it is not another chance at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Instead, he wants to face Triple H. Bryan versus Triple H makes sense from a story aspect and has the potential to be a great match, but it is not what the fans want to see. I know the fans in Green Bay all chanted, “Yes!” But we all would rather have Bryan in the title match.

To be fair (again), WrestleMania is six weeks away and there is plenty of time to add stipulations to this match that could land Bryan in the title match.

Or the match doesn’t happen at all and Bryan is simply slotted into the match from the beginning. Either way, there’s still a lot of time.

At the end of the day though, Bryan just beating Triple H at WrestleMania will not be enough consolation for fans. They want one thing and one thing only: for Bryan to close WrestleMania having won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

It’s the only ending that would be fitting of closing the show. The story is too good to pass up on. Right?

Randy Orton versus Batista sure looks like it’s going to happen

I know it’s a little redundant, but bear with me.

The reason I used the same sentence and just switched the names is because people feel the same exact way about this match than they do about the Bryan-Triple H one. If anything, they feel a lot worse about this one.

At least Bryan against Triple H makes sense from a story standpoint. There is some recent history between the two and some good heat for the match.

Orton and Batista have nothing. Absolutely nothing.

There is no story other than Orton just so happens to be the champion and Batista just so happen to win the Royal Rumble, so let’s throw them into the main event of the biggest WrestleMania to date.

Sure, there is history between the two, but it was too long ago for anyone to really care. They were in Evolution 11 years ago. Think about that for a second. Let that sink in. Eleven years ago! I was just graduating from middle school (I’m 25 years young) when Evolution formed.

They had these two feud five years ago with the same premise: they used to be in the same faction and now their paths are crossing. It didn’t set the world on fire then and it won’t now.

And how can I forget about the jeers for Batista, which gets louder and more profound every week. WWE even went as far as to acknowledge them during Batista’s match with Alberto Del Rio and the post-match promo that followed.

The WWE has to fix this at some point. It has time to do so, but it almost has to insert Bryan into the match somehow. It absolutely cannot have Orton go against Batista one-on-one in front 70,000 hardcore fans from all over the world in New Orleans. It cannot happen. If it does, WWE would look very stubborn and out of touch with their fans.

Hulk Hogan returns, brother!

The much-hyped return of the Hulkster surprisingly opened the show Monday.

Hogan returned to a thunderous ovation from Green Bay and cut a short promo about how momentous an occasion it was for WWE and the WWE Universe.

We didn’t see Hogan the rest of the night during the broadcast, as he was saved for an interview on the WWE Network, but I guess he was effective nonetheless.

Seeing Hogan walk out in the red and yellow and in front of thousands of roaring fans made me think just how far down the totem poll TNA Wrestling is from WWE.

TNA had the same guy, with the same voice, the same mannerisms and still couldn’t make as much money off him in four years that WWE will with one event.

Say what you want about WWE and it’s booking decisions, but its promotional machine is unmatched in the entertainment industry. It’s incredible.

John Cena has an altercation with the Wyatt Family

Sunday and Monday night essentially cemented that John Cena will face Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania.

The WWE kicked off the program by having Cena call out the Wyatts for a fight. The Wyatts obliged and ganged up on him.

 During the scuffle, Cena seemed to have hurt his leg. Whether or not it was real I don’t, but it did make for some awkward moments during the segment.

The Wyatts would put the boots to Cena only to back off so he could get to his feet. Once Cena would make it to his feet, he would hop over to them on one leg and get beat up some more. It was kind of weird.

The promo Wyatt cut before he got in the ring was the best part of the segment, in my opinion. Hopefully, they can pick it up next week.

Jack Swagger cost Cesaro a victory

Cesaro went up against Big E Monday in a match that went a couple minutes too long, in my opinion.

It was a solid for both men, but it seemed to drag on a little bit. In any event, at one point of the match Cesaro dumped Big E out of the ring. Swagger attempted to clothesline Big E, but missed and received a clothesline instead.

Big E got back in the ring and continued his match with Cesaro. Swagger apparently didn’t take too kindly to what Big E did to him and jumped into the ring and started beating on him, causing Cesaro to get disqualified.

Cesaro and Zeb Colter were upset, but seemed to forgive Swagger in the end; this look like another step on the road to the Real Americans splitting up at some point. WWE seemingly has big plans for Cesaro and feels as though he does not need Swagger for those plans to come into fruition.

Dean Ambrose cost Roman Reigns a victory

I know. This was redundant again, but don’t blame me. Blame WWE for using the same finish to further two story lines.

Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were backstage questioning his whereabouts during the latter stages of their match against the Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber. Ambrose claimed that he was simply taken out and that he didn’t leave his teammates hanging.

The Wyatt Family then interrupted the trio. Roman Reigns challenged Bray Wyatt to a one-on-one match. Wyatt accepted and the two went to the ring alone and had a good match with each other.

However, the other members of the Wyatt Family, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, decided to show up. Before they could interfere in the match, Seth Rollins appeared from out of nowhere and took them out.

Harper and Rowan didn’t stay down long as they got the best of Rollins. After a little bit of a delay, Ambrose finally showed up to even the odds. He eventually jumped into the ring and began beating on Wyatt, causing Reigns to be disqualified.

Although the ending made sense, it was still kind of lazy to have the same finish to further almost identical story lines. There could have been a different way to get out of that match without Reigns or Wyatt being pinned.

The Usos beat the New Age Outlaws in quick fashion

The New Age Outlaws were scheduled for a non-title rematch against the Usos. After the bell rang, the Outlaws wanted their opponents to leave the ring so they could do their pre-match ritual with the crowd.

The Usos obliged, but only temporarily as they jumped into the ring to abruptly end the proceedings with a super kick to Road Dogg. Since the fans love singing along with the Outlaws before the match, the Usos actually got booed for cutting it short. The fans eventually cheered them again after one of them hit a frog slash onto Road Dogg to pick up the quick win.

I didn’t think the Usos should have cut off the Outlaws because they got a heel reaction, but I liked the angle overall.

Emma beats Summer Rae

Emma made her in-ring debut on Raw and made it an impressive one with a victory over Summer Rae via the Emma Lock.

Emma’s entrance was complete with bubbles, which was well, interesting. The match itself was good. I did like Summer Rae yelling at Santino during the match.

Sheamus lands cool Brogue kick on Christian

Sheamus and Christian had yet another Monday, but at least this one ended in a cool manner.

Christian jumped off the top rope, but was met by a Brogue kick from Sheamus. It was pretty cool to see.

Vaughn Johnson Sports Producer
About this blog
The Squared Circle is a one-stop shop of pro wrestling news, recaps and observations. You can also enjoy interviews with some of your favorite stars from the world of professional wrestling both nationally and locally. Reach Vaughn at vjohnson@philly.com.

Vaughn Johnson Sports Producer
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