There was a lot of anticipation for the March 3 edition of Raw and it was mostly because of someone who hasn’t been seen on WWE television since the end of January.
The WWE stopped by the AllState Arena in Rosemont, Ill., not far away from the hometown of that certain someone.
The Raw of epic proportions turned out to be just another Raw for the most part, as the company furthered the storylines it has in place for WrestleMania XXX.
Without further adieu, here are my observations of Raw:
CM Punk a no-show at Raw, chants persist throughout the night
Despite reports of his return, CM Punk was not in the building Monday at Raw. If he wasn’t at Raw in Chicago, he probably won’t be back before WrestleMania either.
Although he was not there in person, his name was heard echoing throughout the arena at various points of the show.
However, the chants never went into hijacking territory and that’s because WWE handled the situation fairly well, in my opinion. It even addressed the situation and even made it apart of a storyline, which brings me to my next observation.
Paul Heyman trolls Chicago
The show opened with CM Punk’s music blaring over the speakers, but Heyman came out instead. Heyman went to the ring and sat in the middle of it just like CM Punk would when he would drop his verbal pipe bombs.
At first, Heyman was with the crowd in their praising for CM Punk, but brilliantly flipped the switch and made his promo apart of the angle between Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker.
Heyman said that the WWE fans were responsible for CM Punk leaving. He also blamed the Undertaker, saying that CM Punk hasn’t been quite the same since losing to him at last year’s WrestleMania.
Heyman eventually brought out Lesnar to further build for his match against the Undertaker. This was brilliantly done, in my opinion. WWE chose not to just blindly ignore the CM Punk situation and even found a way to weave into an existing story that will probably headline the biggest event of the year.
Triple H pedigrees Daniel Bryan to end the show
Bryan confronted Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, as he once again challenged Triple H for a match at WrestleMania. Triple H and McMahon did their best to belittle Bryan, but the boos were so loud that you could barely hear them speak.
Later in the night, Bryan went against Batista, which was cut short as Randy Orton interfered in the match. All heck broke loose as Bryan hit Orton with a running knee, kicked Kane in the head and then took a spear from Batista.
Triple H tried to talk some sense into Bryan again, but caught a kick to the head for his troubles. Batista then hit him with the Batista Bomb, which allowed Triple H to then hit the pedigree.
The way this all went down, it certainly looks like Bryan is going to be involved with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match in some way, shape or form. How the WWE gets to that point is unknown at this time, but I have a feeling that Bryan and Batista were put together for a reason.
I also have a feeling how the WWE is going to get to that point.
Hulk Hogan announcement scheduled for next week
It was announced Monday that Hogan was going to make an announcement regarding WrestleMania XXX next week. What that announcement will pertain to is unknown to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has something to do with Bryan and what he will be doing at WrestleMania.
As the special guest host, Hogan does have some authority on the show. The Rock did when he hosted three years ago, as he had The Miz-John Cena match restarted after Cena was counted out.
Brock Lesnar beats up Mark Henry… again
When is Mark Henry going to learn? Just leave Lesnar alone. He clearly isn’t going to get his revenge against this guy so maybe it’s time to induct someone else into the hall of pain.
In all seriousness this is getting kind of old. I get why it’s being done — to build up Lesnar as this unstoppable force — but we’ve seen Lesnar destroy Henry twice already.
Doing so a third time isn’t going to all of a sudden convince me that he’s going to end the streak, especially when we know that he is more than likely going to lose anyway.
The Usos win the WWE Tag Team Championships
I thought this should have waited until WrestleMania, but the Usos won their very first tag team titles Monday when they defeated the New Age Outlaws.
Although it came five weeks too early, it was still a nice moment nonetheless. The crowd in Chicago was firmly behind the team and they seemed to genuinely enjoy winning the titles.
The Usos deserve these titles and I hope they get a good run with them. When they come out for a match they look like they’re genuinely having a good time with each other and the fans recognize it. It’s refreshing to see wrestlers who are genuinely enjoying themselves and not just putting on a fake smile for the cameras.
Now, the Usos are supposed to defend those titles on Main Even this week and could very well lose them only to gain them back at WrestleMania.
If that’s the case, there was no reason for them to win Monday.
Seth Rollins walks out on The Shield
Rollins has been playing peacemaker between Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose for weeks. Well, he had finally had enough Monday during The Shield’s rematch against the Wyatt Family.
Rollins started off the match like a house of fire, as he was jumping from end of the arena to the next. But when he needed to tag out, his partners were distracted by their own bickering back and forth and weren’t there for him.
Rollins eventually got fed up and left to stand on the ramp. There he watched his two partners temporarily fight off the odds until the numbers game caught up with them and the Wyatts scored another victory over The Shield.
The match itself was great once again with the just pure chaos ensuing every 20 seconds. I do like the wrinkle of Rollins being the one to split away for a second in an attempt to get his partners on the same page. This wasn’t a full-blown breakup in my eyes. It was just Rollins sending a message to Ambrose and Reigns to get their act together.
Jack Swagger/Cesaro screw each other out of matches
Early in the show, Cesaro was set to face Big E, but Swagger wasted little time in interfering and getting Cesaro disqualified for the second week in a row. Later in the night, Swagger had a match against Big E, but Cesaro returned the favor by hitting Big E with the neutralizer.
After the second screw job, Swagger and Cesaro almost came to blows, but Zeb Colter helped cooler heads prevail. From the looks of it, we’re not only going to see a breakup of the Real Americans, but we’re also going to get a triple threat match at WrestleMania between Swagger, Cesaro and Big E for the Intercontinental Championship.
Aaron Paul helps Dolph Ziggler win a match
Well, he didn’t really, but you have to believe the only reason why Ziggler actually won a match this week was because he rode into the arena with Paul.
By next week, Ziggler is more than likely going to go back to being beaten with seconds again.
Emma makes Summer Rae tap out…again
For the second week in a row, Emma made Summer Rae tap with the Emma lock. Last week, it was in a one-on-one match. This time, it was in a mixed tag match with Santino and Fandango.
Emma and Santino had a funny little gag at the beginning of the match where Santino was ready to start the match, but he would high five Emma, which made referee tell him that he had tagged out. Emma then entered the ring only to tag Santino back so he could start the match.
When Santino jumped back into the ring, he high fived Emma again, which meant he tagged out again. The duo did the whole process over again and nearly did it a third time.