Monday night was the last Raw before WrestleMania XXX down in New Orleans. The final stop on the road to WrestleMania was the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
The fans in our nation’s capital got to see a solid show with some good wrestling and a very hot ending. Before we dig deep into my observations, here are the results of the matches that took place Monday night:
- Alberto Del Rio def. Big E
- Summer Rae def. Natalya
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) & Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) def. Ryback, Curtis Axel & The Real Americans (Cesaro & Jack Swagger)
- Goldust & Cody Rhodes def. Fandango & Damien Sandow
- Bray Wyatt def. R-Truth
- Naomi def. AJ Lee
- Kane def. Roman Reigns via disqualification
- Randy Orton vs. Batista went to a no contest
Now, for what I observed from the show:
Daniel Bryan stands tall to close the show
There was no way WWE was going to keep the biggest babyface going off Raw for two weeks in a row heading into WrestleMania. That’s why when Stephanie McMahon said early in the show that he was not in the building, it set off a red flag for me that he was indeed going to show up. The only question was when.
WWE set up a good time for it to happen during the main event between Randy Orton and Batista, as he attacked Triple H while he and McMahon were doing commentary. Once Bryan got his hands on Triple H, he commenced to beating the hell out of him.
When it was all said and done, Bryan had taken out Triple H, Batista and Orton and stood tall to led a “Yes!” chant as the telecast went off the air.
Everything that Bryan and Triple H have done the last month I have been a fan of. From the Occupy Raw segment to Triple H beating the holy hell out of him last week and the final segment of the show this week — everything has clicked. The two men have really tapped into the emotions of the fans and have given this match the feel of the main event of WrestleMania. It will not be the main event given the stipulations, but it certainly has the most heat and anticipation going in it. Not to mention, it has the best and most detailed story.
Without this match and everything that has occurred leading up to it, the WrestleMania card would seriously be lacking real genuine anticipation from fans besides the fact that it’s WrestleMania.
John Cena dons the sheep mask, attacks the Wyatt Family
After Bray Wyatt squashed R-Truth Monday night, he did his usually pose alongside Erick Rowan and Luke Harper. There was one problem: a fourth man entered the ring wearing a sheep mask.
After about 20 seconds of wondering whom the fourth person was, Cena gave the Wyatts their answer when he took off the mask and handed out some knuckle sandwiches. After hitting Rowan with the attitude adjustment, he attempted to give Wyatt one, but he escaped.
That was a cool way to have Cena gain a measure of revenge on the Wyatts and incorporate the sheep mask again. The visual of Cena walking in behind the Wyatt Family was very cool and was well thought out, in my opinion. The devil is in the details. Notice the lights were out when the Wyatts did their pose. That doesn’t normally happen. If they were on, it would have taken away from the visual of Cena walking into the pose from out of nowhere.
I also liked the promo Cena cut later in the show where he said that Wyatt was going to bring the monster out of him at WrestleMania. He also had some choice words about which part of Wyatt’s body he was going stick his foot, which was cool because we usually don’t see Cena get that angry. Like Diamond Dallas Page used to say back in 2002, that’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing.
Brock Lesnar finally gets the best of The Undertaker
Geez, it only took five whole weeks for it to finally happen. Quite frankly, it had to happen this week. It was the last Raw before WrestleMania for crying out loud.
Although Lesnar finally got his hands on The Undertaker and created a slither of doubt that he could end the streak, the segment still didn’t feel that special to me.
Maybe it’s because WWE has dropped the ball with the build to this match heading into this week that it has kind of soured my interest a little. With that said, I’m still looking forward to the match itself. That should make up for the last five weeks of lame build. Everything that has occurred to this point was pretty much standard fare and that’s not what you want from one of your headlining matches at WrestleMania.
The other headlining matches, Bryan versus Triple H and Cena versus Wyatt, both have a unique and special feel to them. Meanwhile, this one does not. The Undertaker and Lesnar are capable of doing so much more. I understand that both are on limited schedules with limited dates, but I still feel as more could have been accomplished heading into this match.
Triple H speaks the truth during promo
Before Bryan ambushed him, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon cut a promo talking about how they were going to kill the so-called “Yes Movement.”
Triple H saw his promo as giving the fans a chance to say farewell to the movement.
That wasn’t the most intriguing part of his promo, however. The most intriguing part was when he talked about how fickle fans can be sometimes. Triple H talked about how people latch on to things simply to be apart of something, but when it comes actually supporting it, they don’t and move on to something else to be apart of. According to him, the “Yes Movement” is one of the things.
He even gave an example of Fandango last year. For about month after WrestleMania last year, Fandango was the talk of the wrestling world with the chant that people created during WrestleMania weekend. But eventually people moved on from it. Whether it because the people simply got tired of doing it or whether it was because Fandango was relegated to mid-card purgatory is a different discussion for a different day. Triple H still had a point nonetheless, especially when it comes to society in general. People latch on to fads and move on from them in a matter of days. Remember the Harlem Shake? Remember Gangam Style? What the hell does the fox actually say?
When it comes to Fandango he had a point, when it comes to Bryan it’s a different story. His chant has lasted two years now. I said two years. Who would have thought that him losing in 18 seconds two years ago would lead to this point? But here we are.
Piper’s Pit turns into melee/battle royal plug
My new friend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper made an appearance on Raw this week with Piper’s Pit. The Miz and a handful of other participants in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal quickly interrupted him.
The Miz and Sheamus then got into fisticuffs, which brought out seemingly every other participant in the battle royal because they were all standing by the curtain at the same time apparently.
Eventually, Big Show came out, cleaned house and stood tall with Piper to close the segment. There wasn’t much else to speak of from this segment.
Batista sucks up to hometown
Batista is from Washington, D.C., but despite being a heel, he wore a Patrick Ewing Georgetown jersey to the ring for his promo.
The WWE fans have shunned Batista essentially since the day he came back and he couldn’t even get a positive reaction in his hometown in a Georgetown jersey. I must give Batista credit though. He has been a full-time performer just like he said he was going to be. While other big names have been merely part-timers, Batista has fully-dedicated himself to wrestling. He’s even wrestling on free television. For that, I give him kudos. For ripping his skinny jeans on national cable television, I give him shame.
No eye patch for Naomi
After suffering a nasty eye injury a couple of months back, Naomi has seemingly made a full recovery just in time for WrestleMania. She worked her match against AJ Lee Monday without an eye patch, which was a welcome sight (no pun intended).
I must say I am very happy for Naomi. Not only because she’s very aesthetically pleasing, but because she was very close to missing out on WrestleMania for the second year in a row. For those who remember, her, Cameron, Broadus Clay, Sweet T, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow and the Bella Twins were supposed to be involved in an eight-person tag match at last year’s WrestleMania, but the match was completely cut from the show due to time constraints.
Naomi worked hard throughout the year to improve her in-ring work and was on her way to a featured spot on this year’s show before her eye injury put all of that in jeopardy. But everything seems to have worked in her favor.
Tag Team title match relegated to pre-show
The four-team tag match for the WWE Tag Team Championships will be the pre-show match at WrestleMania XXX. The only problem I have with this is that the Usos deserve better. After coming so far in the last year, the looked to be primed for a championship win over the New Age Outlaws at WrestleMania.
Instead, the are stuck in a match with a couple of matadors and Ryback and Curtis Axel. At least The Real Americans are in the match.
On the bright side, at least the Usos are on the card some way. Last year, they were up in the press box with me watching the show. I’m sure they’ll much rather not be a spectator again.