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The PG Era Rant: Raw, 3-24-14

When last we left our heroes, their backs were against the wall. Daniel Bryan was left in a heap on Raw, while the Shield was dismantled on SmackDown. As the biggest city in America gets ready to host the biggest Raw on the road to WrestleMania, will the balance of momentum swing back in the favor of the fans' choices? Or does a milestone Mania have all the makings of gloom and doom?

The PG Era Rant for Raw, March 24, 2014.


Your hosts are the usual suspects.

Your pre-show reports:

  1. Your guest panelist is Mick Foley, because of course it is.
  2. Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker will appear tonight.
  3. John Cena and Luke Harper will rematch.
  4. Your Superstars match: Summer Rae (w/Fandango) v. Emma.
  5. I'll be honest: the recap of the beating makes it more palatable than it was live, to me anyway.
  6. Daniel Bryan will not be on the show tonight, according to his Twitter.
  7. Another Superstars match involves R-Truth and Xavier Woods against Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal. Again, I think.
  8. Special guests include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Manganiello, and Hulk Hogan.
  9. The Shield will address the Authority tonight.

We open with another look at the beatdown video package.

Stephanie McMahon is out first as we begin the show proper. Cole promises a sitdown interview with HHH for later. Stephanie thanks the audience for coming and says that Daniel Bryan is a scratch due to injuries. A lot of people on social media thought they went too far last week. Stephanie agrees with them, but they needed to do it to send a message to Daniel Bryan and everyone else: insubordination will not be tolerated. The YES Movement is a passing fad, and it won't create a false leader. (Crowd: YES!) And the only way to get the point across was to be drastic. Leadership isn't always doing the popular thing. That's what leadership is about, and people need to be led by people like... well, her. The McMahons have led the WWE forever (Crowd: CM PUNK!). Stephanie was born into power, and she's the only one who can handle this responsibility. Last week, we found out who owns the WWE and why HHH is The Game, the Cerebral Assassin, and the Greatest Of All Time. He's the most powerful man in WWE. At WrestleMania, HHH will leave Daniel Bryan dead and become WWE Champion. This hype job is interrupted... by Randy Orton. Orton is telling Stephanie to calm down on his way to the ring.

Orton isn't out here to argue with Stephanie or disrespect her. He does respect both Stephanie and HHH too much to do what he has to do to HHH at WrestleMania. Orton says if, Stephanie says when. Orton says he can't be held responsible, and with the entire McMahon family in attendance (Crowd: “DANIEL BRYAN!” Stephanie: “Chant all you want, he's not here.”), Orton will beat both Batista and HHH to a pulp. Stephanie may be a gifted, smart, intelligent, savvy businesswoman, but Orton has something to suggest: let HHH give Daniel Bryan another beating and leave a winner... by not entering the title match. Crowd is getting sick of the sucking up, and Batista's entrance is not going to help matters.

Batista is being driven crazy by the arguing and the stupid chants, when the big picture is right there: Hollywood Dave is the next WWE Champion. Batista doesn't care who the third man is, and he doesn't care about Orton, because he's going to win the title, so DEAL WITH IT. The microphone keeps going in and out, so Batista drops it and Stephanie offers hers instead. Lawler thinks the mic went out on purpose. Batista may respect Hunter, but Hunter has never beaten Batista. So if he's there, he won't win there either, nor will Orton, who makes Batista sick. Why is Orton sucking up to the Authority. “Lean in a little closer and just drool on her a little more.” He hates to break Orton's heart, but Steph's been drooled on before. A lot. Oh no he didn't!

Stephanie slaps Dave (rightly so) as Orton nearly collapses in laughter. Stephanie walks out in disgust, so Batista takes out his frustration by spearing Orton. He poses with the belts for an angry crowd before walking away.

Later tonight, Michael Cole will interview HHH in the ring. Plus, Scooby Doo and Mystery Inc. are in town! On top of that, John Cena will face Luke Harper in a SmackDown rematch. On top of that, Hulk, Ahnold, and Joe the Man are in the house. But there's more! Undertaker and Brock Lesnar are both in the building! Cole: “Is it WrestleMania season or what?”

#1 Contenders Match: Alberto Del Rio v. Christian v. Dolph Ziggler v. Sheamus. Winner faces Big E Langston on Main Event for the Intercontinental Title. Everyone attacks to start as Sheamus chases Christian and Del Rio attacks Dolph. Low kick by Del Rio gets one. Slingshot shoulderblock by Sheamus on Del Rio, but Dolph rolls him up for one. Slugfest, with Sheamus winning it but putting his head down. Doesn't matter, as Sheamus gives the Irish Hammer and kneedrop for one on Dolph. Dolph avoids a slam and gets a dropkick as Christian covers for one. Heels take advantage, with Christian low-bridging Sheamus and diving out, but Sheamus catches him and gives him a fallaway slam to the barricade. Dolph knocks Del Rio out of the ring, but Sheamus goes for the Ten of Clubs. Del Rio misses the step-up enzuigiri (looked like a botch), so Dolph drops Sheamus out of the ring and dropkicks Del Rio for two (nice cover). Christian pulls Dolph out and throws him into the barricade. He picks Sheamus up, but he gets the worst of that as Sheamus does a Cactus clothesline into the timekeeper area as we go to break.

Observation: Del Rio got hung up badly on the ropes when he tried his enzuigiri and slipped. I wonder if his knee is 100%.

Four-Way, part two. Dolph pounds away on Del Rio, who reverses a whip but gets caught with an elbow only to flapjack Dolph. Sheamus trips Del Rio and does a Finlay Roll on the floor, but Christian attacks and gets the worst of it, going into the post. Christian goes up and bodypresses Dolph, who rolls through for two. Christian gets the edge (sorry) and stomps away. Uppercut by Christian, and he steps on Dolph's head for two. Dolph punches away, but Christian dumps Dolph out of the ring and stands alone until Sheamus is behind him. Irish Hammers follow, then a shoulder ram and kneelift. Del Rio caught with the Irish Curse and Christian is dumped. Del Rio rolls to the apron, but Sheamus finds him for the Ten of Clubs. Del Rio drops to the floor, leaving Sheamus alone, so he dives from the top rope... no, wait, he gets caught up top by the X-Factor from Dolph for two. Crowd thought it was the finish. Dolph goes for ten punches on Christian, followed by the Rude Awakening. Dolph catches Del Rio with the Leaping DDT for two. Christian hangs Dolph up on the ropes, but gets caught coming in by the Fam... no, it's a powerbomb by Christian for two. Del Rio breaks with the Low Superkick for two, Sheamus saves. He tries the Cloverleaf on Del Rio, eventually getting it hooked, but he breaks to slam Christian down. Brogue Kick is signaled, but Del Rio intercepts and gets the Cross Armbreaker. He fights through, hooks the arms, and... Dolph with the Zig Zag on the pile! But Christian gets the Killswitch for the win on Dolph at 11:56. This REALLY picked up after the break. ***1/4 Langston offers a good luck handshake, but Christian refuses.

Cut to the Wyatt Family. Bray has the whole world in his hands. Most people don't believe in things they can't see or touch; that's human nature. But in Cena's case, we see him. How can you miss everything he does shoved down your throat? Bray is curious, though: does Cena see what Bray is? He leads to the City of Woe and Eternal Pain. He stands beyond time. So... what could Cena do to harm something that doesn't feel? Harper can hear Cena whisper, and now they're after him. Run.

A look at the Scooby-Doo WrestleMania movie, the first ever movie made specifically to be inducted into WrestleCrap.

The Mystery Machine enters the building! And out comes Sin Cara with a Six Flags mascot of Scooby Doo. Sin Cara even busts out the over-the-top trampoline entrance for old times' sake.

Sin Cara v. Damien Sandow. No entrance for Damien. Damien works over the gut of Cara, then gets pulled away as a Scooby Doo chant begins. Sin Cara lands on the apron on a dump and gets a springboard Coco Butt and bodypress. Cara with a headscissors and Tajiri elbow for two. Cara catches the lifting kick and goes up top, and the Senton Bomb finishes at 1:08. Just some corporate synergy.

Last week, Kane tried to claim Occupy Raw was Lawler's fault, but the Shield refused to play ball. So on SmackDown, there was a four-way tag match, and all three teams and Kane decided to gang up on the Shield, complete with the New Age Outlaws taking part. We go to commercial on it. We come back with the SmackDown ad asking if Kane has ended the Shield and tune in on Friday to find out.

Los Matadores v. Rybaxel. We find out that both men have been withdrawn from the Andre Battle Royal and will instead face the Usos at Mania. Epico attacks Axel to start, getting a chop and a criss-cross before Axel gets a dropkick. Axel drops elbows, but the crowd is distracted as the Shield heads to the ring. They stand in the crowd, which allows Epico to roll Axel up for the pin at 1:01. Now the Shield head to the ring with a much nicer pop than last week and surround Rybaxel. Reigns pulls Axel out, allowing Ryback to be double-teamed. Axel is thrown into the barricade, and Reigns spears Ryback. It's Triplebomb time. Crowd loved this much more than they loved the attack on Kane.

A lot of movie stars are in the building! Hulk! Ahnold! Joe Man! Batista... wait, sorry, I said movie stars. Never mind. But up next, Michael Cole will talk to Triple H in the ring.

Watch the Hall of Fame on WWE Network! Warrior! Roberts! Mr. T! Bearer! Lita! Colon!

Michael Cole introduces HHH, but he doesn't seem too happy to do so. Lawler even notes it. JBL and Lawler talk about the attack last week as HHH enters. Cole notes this is usually a dot-com thing, but Cole felt it had to happen on Raw in front of the fans, because of this last week. Cole's first question: how can you justify that? HHH says it's a confusing question, since he sees being COO and being a competitor are two different things. See, Bryan knew what he was asking for, as were the fans, and so they got what they wanted. Now HHH asks if Cole has had no choice but to submit to someone else's will. Cole points out the handcuffs from last week, but HHH means the Occupy Raw segment. HHH says that Bryan came out and got the fans to go into harm's way so that he could take over in a coup. So Cole, where was your mock horror to all of that? Oh, that was memorable, but HHH was despicable? Cole says it's because they were inspired by Bryan, but HHH was being a thug and acting beneath his station. HHH plays the COO/competitor duality card. Daniel Bryan wanted the Game and he got it, despite HHH's reluctance. Everyone forced the issue and forced his hand. So now that HHH is a competitor, he did what HHH does. And that's what Daniel Bryan deserved. And now, people will cry.

Since HHH stopped competing (he says), the world's gone soft. He used to do despicable things, and he saw the lust for success in other people. They fought back and fought the system, but now he sees apathy and softness. The crowd is just pathetic little people with no power or desire who cry when they don't get what they want. HHH tells them to tweet him about how they feel. He's sick of the whole thing, so he's going to have to step up and change the future. So he has to start the Reality Era. As of right now, the Reality Era begins, meaning: he will win and end the run at the top. (He's tossed the chair aside and Cole takes a step back in nerves.) HHH will end the YES Movement at WrestleMania and go into the triple threat match. No one living off of their past or off their untapped potential will stop him. Why? Because Reality is that he's got the power to make it happen and they know it. That's Reality: he's going to walk out the champ. And with that, HHH leaves.

Up next, John Cena faces Luke Harper. Also, Brock Lesnar and Undertaker are both in the building.

Sidenote: I'm probably the only one who feels this way, but HHH saying “I will win because I can make sure I win” just took me out of the moment. I don't want to be reminded that Paul Levesque can book himself to win. I want to believe he's strong enough to win twice and that Daniel Bryan is a major underdog. That's one thing HHH got right last week – his massive beating made him a massive favorite over Daniel Bryan, and he did what Orton and Batista couldn't. The last thing we need is for the curtain to be pulled back at all. I got bad Russo vibes on that segment. Otherwise, an excellent segment.

We look back on Goldust against Fandango and Cody saving Summer Rae... and how she appreciated it.

Fandango v. Cody Rhodes. Cody with a wristlock, but Fandango elbows out but walks into a drop toehold. Cody with a cradle for one, then he punches Fandango. Brisco rollup is blocked by Fandango, who stomps away. Springboard legdrop gets two. Fandango with an uppercut and wristlock suplex for two. He goes to a top wristlock, but Cody punches out only to get beaten down. Cody with a clothesline to cue the comeback. Fandango dumps Cody, who lands on the apron and comes in with a dropkick for two. Fandango blocks a whip, but Cody gets one only for heads to collide. Goldust decides to mock Summer Rae (“Are you mocking me?” “YES I AM!”), and a DANCE-OFF breaks out until Summer twists her ankle. Fandango stares in disbelief, so Cody gets the Disaster Kick to win at 2:45. Goldust moonwalks to celebrate. 1/2* Summer Rae seems fine. JBL cracks the worst pun ever.

Here's a sneak peek at Sabotage, featuring Arnold and Joe Man! (Sorry, I'm only spelling those names out once.) They'll all be here tonight, next, alongside Hulk Hogan!

Hogan in the house! The Wednesday Dot-Com interview will be Hogan instead of HHH. Hogan doesn't mean to be nostalgic or crybaby, but geez, we're two weeks away from WrestleMania. It was in New York (not Brooklyn, but still) that WrestleMania 1 happened, with Hogan and Mr. T making history. Hogan's excited about Mania 30 and about the Andre Battle Royal. He's also excited about meeting Ahnold and Joe Man, from Sabotage, so he brings them out. (For the record, he mangles Joe Man's last name too.) They come out to Abdullah's Hall of Fame music. Ahnold is happy to be in Brooklyn. See, a year ago, he was in New York inducting Bruno Sammartino into the Hall of Fame. Today, he's in a Raw ring with Hulk Hogan, another great hero of his. Look at him! He's huge! Cheer him! (That's not me; that's a summary of Ahnold.) He also wants a big hand for Joe Man, who is pumped to be hosting his first ever Raw, RIGHT HERE IN BROOKLYN! (No thumbs up, sadly.) But he's also pumped to be in the ring with two icons in Ahnold and Hogan. Ahnold asks about the Andre Battle Royal (“Andre the Giant is one of my favorite wrestlers of all times.”), and he says he and Andre were good friends and Andre visited him on the set of Conan the Destroyer. He asks Hogan if there's room for two more. But we interrupt this love-fest with the Miz.

Really? You two in the battle royal?” He asks the crowd if they really want to see this (they do). Really??? Hey, he loves Ahnold and he's gonna go see the movie and all. And he knows Ahnold is a fan of his, too. (“You boo, but you know you watched it.”) But see, you're just actors, you're not a tough guy. Miz is a tough guy who acts. And that's why Miz will win the Andre Battle Royal. There's no act here, he will win.

Hogan offers a wake-up call: this is Hogan Country. Miz, though, is the most must-see WWE Superstar ever. He main evented a WrestleMania and defeated John Cena! And hey, Ahnold and Joe Man don't belong in wrestling. Neither does Hogan anymore. Hogan's ready to fight, but Joe Man tells Miz to MAKE them leave. A shoving match breaks out, and Miz seemingly walks off, but tries to sucker punch Joe. Joe blocks and returns fire, and two actors and a senior citizen beat up Miz. Well, if HHH would job to Ahnold, so can Miz, right? Right?

Undertaker and Brock Lesnar are both here tonight!

USA Today had a piece on the Rock being Hercules, a role he was born to play.

Titus O'Neil v. Big Show. Now, to be fair, I liked this match on Main Event, so let's see if this measures up. Lockup won by Big Show as he punches away and smacks Titus hard with a chop. SILENT CHOP OF DOOM follows, then a Hammer Throw, but the blind charge eats boot. Titus clubs away on Show, kicking to keep Show down. Legdrop connects for two, brother. Titus stays on him, pounding away in the corner, and getting a Vader Avalanche twice over. Show reverses a whip as a CM Punk chant comes out, but the charge misses and Titus tackles down Show for two. Titus yells at Show and clubs him down, punching away and clotheslining him halfway out of the ring. Show returns with a spear and pulls the straps down, and the WMD finishes it at 2:24. Disappointing after their Main Event outing. 3/4*

Backstage, the Authority are hanging out when The Shield enters. Rollins says he knows they know what happened, and he wants to know where the hell HHH was since Kane is the Authority guy and the Outlaws are HHH Guys. So where do they stand? HHH says it's none of his business, and between the participants only. Stephanie says that if they want to vent, they can get We The People. Then they can sit down and discuss this. Believe it.

John Cena is focusing in a mirror in the locker room restroom. Erick Rowan is watching around the corner, but ducks away when Cena whirls around. That match is later tonight. Cena/Harper, I mean.

We look at the match from SmackDown to set up...

John Cena v. Luke Harper. Something tells me the Brooklyn crowd will favor Chikara alum Luke Harper over John Cena. The crowd claps along with the Wyatt theme music. Harper wild-eyed stare is a thing of beauty. Cena gets a waistlock, but gets knocked down. Harper with headbutts and he rips at the nose. Crowd is firmly behind Harper, who Hammer Throws Cena. Harper checks with Wyatt for strategy before picking up Cena and punching him out. It gets two. Cena locks another punch and fires back, but runs into a backbreaker for two. Harper chops away on Cena with the crowd egging him on. Cena reverses and punches away, getting a Stinger Splash, but running into a forearm smash. Pumphandle fallaway slam thing gets two. Harper dumps Cena to the outside. Harper eventually follows out, getting a throat thrust and slamming Cena into the apron as the crowd chants Fruity Pebbles. Cena drops Harper's throat on the top rope, but runs into a high elbow on his way back in and we go to break.

Cena/Harper, part two. We come back with Harper holding a headlock, but Cena pries it out and begins the comeback... only to run into an inverted atomic drop and big boot for two. Harper with an uppercut as the fans do the Cena chants for Harper. Cena with a German suplex for two. AA try, but Harper is out and superkicks Cena for two. Harper measures Cena, but the discus lariat misses and Cena gets the Protobomb. Cena has his mojo back now, but Harper kicks him to stop You Can't See Me and gets the Michinoku Driver for two. Harper sets up for a powerbomb, but the Cenacanrana leads to an STF try. Harper powers Cena out of the ring to block. Harper with a tope suicida (!!) to Cena to knock Cena into the barricade. Even Harper doesn't believe what Harper did. Harper throws Cena in and looks for advice from Bray. He stalks in, but Cena hooks the STF out of nowhere. Harper claws the eyes to break, then kicks at the leg and nails a DDT for two. Harper is confused – well, more so than usual – and works over Cena in the corner. He puts Cena up top, then uppercuts him off, then PULLS HIM BACK UP. It's a butterfly superplex try, but Cena powers out of the butterfly hold and punches Harper down. Diving Famouser gets two. Bray is exhausted and he's just watching. Commentary is making a big deal out of Harper. Cena with another Protobomb and a quick Five Knuckle Shuffle, staring at Bray as he picks Harper up. Harper slips out and gets a wheelbarrow slam for two. Harper readies in the opposite corner, but Cena nails Harper on the charge with a clothesline. Another AA try, but then the Wyatts interrupt as they do and during the blackout there's noises of a scuffle. We return with Cena tied in the ropes and a sheep's mask on. The Family looks over him and says they've shown his true face. Call the match at 14:15 or so. Follow the Buzzards. Crowd loves it because Cena looks bad. Shame, because that match should've had an ending – Harper deserved it. ***1/2

WWE and Drew Brees, alongside the Boys and Girls Club, are doing a global auction for charity.

As a reminder: tomorrow night, Big E Langston defends against Christian for the Intercontinental Title on Main Event Live.

And now for some mood whiplash as we go from looking at Cena being masked and tied up to...

Naomi v. AJ Lee. New Jersey girl AJ Lee gets cheers. Of course there are CM Punk chants. AJ mocks Naomi's half-eyesight and is instantly dropkicked. Naomi slides to the apron on a whip and gets a high kick. Butt butt is dodged as AJ bails. She has the belt and doesn't need the match, walking out at 1:10. So AJ is still Divas' Champion... even though I don't remember the belt being on the line.

Oh, wait, here's Vickie Guerrero. Vickie isn't happy about what AJ said on SmackDown. She's willing to forgive the history between the two – but AJ's still a real bitch. So, at WrestleMania, AJ Lee will defend in the Vickie Guerrero Divas' Championship Invitiational. The opponents: Naomi, Cameron, Brie, Nikki, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Layla, and Tamina. Basically everyone. AJ looks sick. Tamina smiles at the belt as Vickie laughs.

We go back to Main Event, where Paul Heyman addressed the Taker/Brock match and got choked down, with Taker saying he'd be in Brooklyn and Brock can find him. They're both here! Tonight! On RAW! Plus, we have one more person to enter the Hall of Fame. I think I saw who this was based on a Facebook spoiler, but we'll see.

Sidenote: So that's fourteen people in the Divas' Title match. And yet, I'm certain AJ still wins. My friend says they're putting the belt on Eva Marie because Total Divas wants them to and WWE has sold out. Then again, Batista would be facing Orton one on one if they sold out totally, so... we'll see.

And our final entrant into the WWE Hall of Fame (show to be hosted by Jerry Lawler) is... SCOTT HALL! And it looks like he's going in as Razor Ramon. Let's hope Kevin Nash inducts him. Though honestly, I would've put them in together as the Outsiders. Eh, I guess they can deserve to go in separately. Also, much love to DDP for saving him and Jake Roberts.

Let's look back at how Batista crossed about fifty lines. It's the opening segment. Scroll up. Next week, Batista and Orton will meet, and in Batista's hometown of Washington, DC! (It's my hometown too, btw.) Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan says he's not medically cleared to be at Raw.

The Shield are headed to the ring as we look back on SmackDown. Revenge is coming – they hope – after the break.

On SmackDown, our main event is Bray Wyatt against Big Show.

Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins v. Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger. The fight begins in the aisle. Crowd is on We The People's side. The bell rings with Ambrose and Cesaro starting. Cesaro punches down Ambrose, who avoids a charge and punches back. He stomps a mudhole in Cesaro, then rakes Cesaro's eyes on the top rope. Cesaro recovers with a kneemsash, but the Shield do the Hart Attack for one. Cesaro punches out of an arm wringer, and Swagger enters only to get punched down by Rollins. Rollins with the Three Amigos to Swagger (which starts an Eddie chant), and the third one is a double suplex by the Shield. It gets two. Ambrose punches down Swagger and gets the Power Drive Elbow for one. Ambrose ties Swagger up and gets a dropkick. Rollins enters and gets a dropkick of his own for two. Rollins chops away, bringing Ambrose in for a double-team. He floors Swagger for two. Ambrose ties up Swagger's legs and hooks the nose, but Cesaro distracts and Swagger gets a high spinebuster. Cesaro in, and he uppercuts like a lunatic, adding a stomp to the back for two. Cesaro chokes out Ambrose on the ropes, and Swagger gets a belly-to-belly for two. Vaderbomb and leapfrog stomp follows, getting two for Cesaro. Cesaro with a chinlock on Ambrose, who boxes out but runs into a turnbuckle. Swagger in, and he stomps away and goes for a second Vaderbomb. It hits boot. Ambrose up to the middle rope, and a big uppercut connects. Cesaro cuts off the tag with a big boot to Rollins, but he turns around into a backdrop... that he reverses to the GIANT SWING OF DOOM (15 rotations) for two, Rollins saves. Cesaro and Rollins go at each other before Cesaro knocks Ambrose to the floor. Swagger tags in and goes outside, as We the People throw him into the barricade and we go to break.

Sidenote: it seems like Cesaro's the only over person in this match right now.

Shield/WTP, part two. Ambrose kicks Swagger away, but Cesaro stops the tag and gets a front chancery. Crowd now cheers the Shield as Ambrose fights out and gets a backslide for two. Cesaro kicks him down and slaps him (“Let's go Shield, huh?”), but each slap just fires Ambrose up and makes him ask for more. He fires back on Cesaro, but gets booted hard only to reply with a massive lariat. Hot tag Rollins, and Swagger gets the worst of it with a big boot and chops. Flying kick and a Stinger Splash follow. STO into the middle turnbuckle gets two. Cesaro charges and gets monkey flipped into the third row, and Rollins sends Swagger to the floor before diving onto each man individually. Crowd is going ballistic for Rollins. Back in, springboard kneesmash gets two, Cesaro saves. Ambrose tackles Cesaro and pounds away, but gets T-Boned over the top and out. Rollins clears out Cesaro, but Swagger launches Rollins into the Patriot Lock. He makes the ropes. Swagger alley-oops Rollins, who lands on his feet and gets the enzuigiri and Blackout (now named the Piece of Mind) for the pin at 13:57. ***1/2 Cesaro cleans out Rollins, but gets Superpunched by Reigns. He then spears Cesaro on the outside. The Shield clears the table and chases Colter away, bringing Cesaro over and Triplebombing him through the table. Crowd is going nuts.

But wait – Kane's on his way to the ring with the New Age Outlaws, all in suits. Kane says that there will be a six-man tag at WrestleMania: Kane and the Outlaws v. Shield. At Mania, they will annihilate the Shield. Believe that. Quick and painless.

Brock Lesnar is here, and he's headed to the ring.

Haven't said this in my recaps yet, so let's say it now: HERE COMES THE PAIN! Brock's shirt reads I'm A Paul Heyman (Guy crossed out) Beast. Heyman introduces himself and Brock Lesnar, then talks about the Streak and how big a deal it is. In fact, it's not just a Streak, but an Undefeated Streak. So when Brock Lesnar breaks it by beating the Undertaker, it will take nothing away from what the Deadman has done. Twenty-one straight wins is a big deal. For example: John Cena couldn't do 21 in a row. Andre the Giant didn't go 21 in a row. Brock Lesnar couldn't even do it. WrestleMania is a big deal, where titles are won, grudges are settled, and one era ends while another begins. The only guaranteed ticket to immortality is if you Break The Streak. So when the Undertaker choked Heyman down or when he attacked Lesnar on Raw... and Brock wants the mic.

Enough, Paul; enough.” Brock Lesnar is not here for the hype; he wants a fight. He knows Undertaker is here, so he wants the fight right now!

We get the Ominous Latin Chanting and a casket. We get some druids to surround the casket and wheel it to the ring. Heyman is nervous as Brock is waiting. The druids place the casket by the ring and exit. Lesnar smirks at the casket, clearly waiting for the Undertaker to emerge. The chanting continues as we reach a standoff of sorts. Lesnar approaches the casket, kicking at the hood and trying to activate the Undertaker within. Heyman is so nervous he's unable to stand. Lesnar keeps pounding on the casket. The chanting keeps going, by the way. Heyman decides to leave, but Lesnar's going nowhere. He finally opens the casket...

...and it's empty. Well, that was anticlimactic. Lesnar's not amused. “Is this some kind of joke!?” He begins to yell at the Druids, following them as they back away. Lesnar then returns to the empty casket and closes it. Crowd wants the Undertaker himself, as does Lesnar. Heyman tries to talk Lesnar into staying, saying it's all a mind game. The Streak is Brock's holy grail. So if the Undertaker challenges Brock Lesnar to show up and doesn't show up? Really? The only thing he brings is an empty casket?

Um, it's not empty anymore.

Undertaker's now in it, and he's sitting up and ready. Heyman just about loses it. Lesnar, in fact, is taken aback. Heyman tells Lesnar to run for it. Brock attacks and gets the worst of it, as Undertaker pounds away. Taker clotheslines Lesnar onto the casket headfirst as Heyman tells Lesnar to bail. Lesnar is impressed, and just points to the sign in response – and Undertaker returns. The crowd is so into this they chant for Randy Savage. Undertaker gets them back on his side as the gong sounds and his music plays.


They knew they wouldn't have Daniel Bryan or CM Punk for tonight in Ring of Honor's backyard, so they knew they had to deliver something that fired on all cylinders. Did they? Well, they came close if they didn't. Harper/Cena made the Wyatt Family a big deal. Shield/People was a great match, and the Shield now has all the momentum. The only thing I didn't like was HHH breaking the fourth wall, but that's a minor nitpick because he was so on point tonight otherwise. Even Batista and Stephanie brought it large.

There wasn't much wrestling going on, but it's WrestleMania ramp-up season, so you don't expect much. Also, it's clear they want to get everyone on the show, given some of the names in the Andre match (Heath Slater! Justin Gabriel! Zack Ryder!) and the Vickie match. It's also interesting to see them set up stories that will carry over after WrestleMania.

If you had told me that the Brooklyn Raw would miss Daniel Bryan and CM Punk and it would still entertain me, you'd likely have made some money.


MATCH TIME: only 48:36 over eight matches
BEST MATCH: Shield/People
WORST MATCH: Matadores/Rybaxel
NIGHT MVP: Luke Harper

FINAL SCORE: 8. And this doesn't even include the Family/Shield dark match I hear being set up in the background of Backstage Pass.

We're almost there, folks! Brian Bayless will tell me what I was wrong about later tonight; Tommy Hall will look over Impact and SmackDown; Scott Keith will give you NXT; and on Saturday, I'll review the MSG show from June 3, 1991. I'll join you in the Main Event live thread if I'm able. See you then.

In the meantime – Hey, Scott! Think you can get me a press pass for Raw in DC?


  1. Hall going in as Razor opens the door for the nWo to be in the Hall of Fame. And if the nWo gets in, EVERYONE gets in. Hall of Famer Vincent! Hall of Famer Stevie Ray! Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman!

  2. Ugh Scott Norton

  3. Ok so that casket deal at the end.....

    if they opened it up and a motionless CM Punk was inside (even a wax
    CM Punk), just the tease of him as a WM interloper makes Taker-Lesnar
    100x more intriguing, no?

  4. Great backdoor way to get Macho Man in, though.

  5. HHH fucking killed it tonight. That is all

  6. You gave that show an 8 out of 10?!?!?!?!? Your reviews are so weird! You hated last weeks killer episode, but you liked tonight's pile of shit?

  7. Sting and nWo Sting inducted at the same time!

  8. DDP will be the only WCW non-HOF member then.

  9. Pretty sure anything in that casket besides Taker would have made it 100x more intriguing.

  10. I will still say without hyperbole that Luke Harper is not only the best big man wrestler currently but the best one to come out in a decade. He's that good,

  11. LOL at the thought of Bischoff in the HoF

  12. Hey, *very* few people have contributed as much to the success of WWE!

  13. "Brian Bayless will tell me what I was wrong about later tonight"


  14. I think he meant in your review.

  15. Felt like a "stall momentum" show. Too much time between EC and WM. The mid card matches they're setting up for WM are bloated, confusing messes of talent. Still confused about the Divas match, does not compute. No Bryan -- inexplicable that the top face in the top angle was not even present. Taker/Lesnar feels stale, creative isn't even planting a seed that the Streak may be in jeopardy, and no, Brock's new shirt doesn't count. This show was a big miss for me.

  16. Bag it and tag it.

  17. When HHH is on, he's fucking on.


  19. I know he was referring to the recap, but still. Makes it seem like he thinks I am a know-it-all or something. Maybe I am reading too much into this.

  20. Also I didn't think Ambrose would be the one to start using the Nigel McGuinness slingshot lariat. Well, him and Kyle O'Reilly.

  21. Does Scott have the power to give him a press pass?

  22. From the open mic thread...Bearer gave it all away in his shoot with Cornette. Drive a cucumber through Taker's heart, Brock! Streak conquered.

  23. I see what you did there

  24. The thing that I hate about Lesnar vs. Undertaker is (a) there's no way he's going to win (b) it's absolutely idiotic if he does win.

  25. Yes, you are. The last lines are always delivered with tongue firmly planted in cheek. It was just a play on you two disagreeing with the bigger angles.

  26. It's almost like people have different opinions and shit.

  27. Yeah Andy definitely meant no harm with that comment

  28. Contrarians gonna be contrary.

  29. He didn't really hate last week's episode so much as he disagreed with the length of time given to the last segment. And tonight featured a decent HHH interview, three good matches (Harper, IC no. 1 contender, Shield), and attempts at progressing all major angles (some worked, some didn't). Average? Sure. Pile of shit? Not so much.

  30. I thought so but just making sure. I have no problems with Andy at all. All I have to say is the last segment just about put me to sleep.

  31. If the casket revealed a bottle of lube and a glossy 8 x 10 of Judy Martin it would have been more intriguing than the last segment


  33. Again, to a 10-13 year old who doesn't know better, the logic makes sense. Thats the key here. The match may have a superkick/pedigree moment that'll get the crowd crapping themselves regardless of what a non-threat Brock is.

  34. I said "I". I frankly don't give a shit what a 10-13 kids cares about.

  35. I've been trying for press passes to WWE events for years. At one point I think I even said my name was Chevy Chase and theirs wasn't.

  36. 10 to 13 year olds are easier to please.

  37. I've barely watched any WWE since Harper debuted, but is Harper really better than Brodie Lee? That's crazy! Lee was awesome....

  38. Must... resist... urge... to make... very obscene joke

  39. I get that, but a lot of people seem to hate the feud for those exact reasons so I was clarifying for the inevitable people saying "I agree."

  40. What logic makes sense? They talk about Lesnar like he's going to beat the streak but it's clear that he's the underdog in each of their face-to-face encounters. That's illogical, no matter what age.

    And it's all supposed to build up to a brief pop like the superkick/pedigree moment? I'm confused.

  41. To 10-13 year old kids, who have seen Taker once a year, it is not going to be all that special for them. It comes off as corny

  42. I love that we're ROH's backyard and the (tounge-in-cheek, I'm sure) implication WWE is in trouble without ROH heroes Punk & Bryan.

  43. Rob Feinstein would upvote this, but he's still being watched.

  44. Lee was great in Chikara I'll give you that but he was pretty much just a generic bully picking on the smaller roster. Which worked fine but as Harper he's got this maniacal look and seems much more sinister and dangerous.

    And he could have done great in ROH but Adam Pearce didn't see anything in him.

  45. Adam Pearce is a joke

  46. It's really sad because Gabe brought him in and wanted to push him but he was literally fired the first show Brodie worked on.

  47. Exactly what I think of when I think of Brooklyn.

    Ring of Honor.

  48. The reason his HHH feud worked at 27/28 is because he dropped the supernatural aspect.Their Feud was basically a western showdown where both had been around for a long time and wanted to finish their issues.


  50. Plus, the Undertaker really respects HHH, so it wasn't implausible that HHH might win.

  51. TJ: Ahmed Johnson once played Suge Knight in a VH1 movie?! That's the most random thing ever

  52. HBK was another asset to make it work,His the guy that has tried and failed,he doesn't want his friend to sacrifice himself for a ego issue.

  53. They did up that video package a couple weeks ago showing Brock destroying people who Taker struggled to beat, not to mention hes likely going to get an upper hand over Taker in the go-home show (given that hes losing the match and WWE has the tendency to let the loser stand tall over the winner before the PPV. Regular Cena shirt-wearing marks may not have caught onto that).

    And even someone like Brock, who is no candidate to end the Streak, can probably get the crowd believing he can end it with a huge nearfall, and if Taker's still got a bit left in the tank he can probably have an awesome, hard-hitting match with Lesnar that can get everyone fired up and into it.

  54. Zombie Undertaker is the worst character on WWE Television.


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