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The PG Era Rant: RAW IS YES!

When last we left our heroes, they knew how we felt and wouldn't let us stop them. Meanwhile, the pressures of WrestleMania were getting to everyone. Groups were splintering, teams were losing winnable matches, titles were not safe. But with even the leader of the WWE being called to the carpet, and the most iconic wrestler ever ready to change the game, will the Show of Shows change drastically by the time the show is over?

Not doing the live look-in. The pre-show covers it.

The PG Era Rant for Raw, March 10, 2014.

Live from Memphis.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and some guy they picked up while they were in town.

Your pre-show, meanwhile, has the following to say about Raw:

  1. Your celebrity guest is Jimmy Hart.
  2. Added match: Daniel Bryan and Big Show will face Batista and Randy Orton.
  3. Hulk Hogan has something to say.
  4. The Undertaker is in the house.
  5. Superstars Match: Sin Cara against Alberto Del Rio.
  6. Sheamus and Christian are meeting again in a WWE App match.
  7. John Cena faces Erick Rowan.
  8. Dolph Ziggler has a match on Superstars. I can't tell who his opponent is.
  9. HHH has nothing to gain from challenging Bryan, but everyone thinks he's scared.
  10. The Shield are united. Maybe. They seem to be.

And we open with the man himself, Hulk Hogan. He mentions how much fun he's had talking about coming back to WWE, and how everyone loves having him back. Also, he spends all day on the WWE Network, watching his best matches. Why doesn't this surprise me? He watches the Warrior match (Hopefully the first one), the Savage match, and the Andre match. But watching the Andre match makes him get excited. Apart from saying he slammed Andre through the mat, he keeps to reality. He gets so pumped up he thinks he pull the bumper off a Cadillac. Really. But he has an idea, and he wants to tell everyone. The idea: a 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, to be held at WrestleMania. Hm, not the worst idea. He closes by giving the “Memphonites” the question about how the memory of Andre will run wild.

And before we can continue, here's John Cena. And man, he looks amped to be in the ring with Hogan. The sound goes out on his opening line, but he's excited about being in a hot crowd. He points to a Hogan Still Rules sign, and he agrees, welcoming Hogan home. Hogan is right back where he belongs. And tonight, the battle royal is starting a new tradition. Cena says that Mania III is his favorite WrestleMania moment. He can't imagine what it was like for Hogan, but Cena was more or less marking out, and he knew Hulkamania was immortal. So Cena asks himself one question about the battle royal: what's he gonna do? The answer: ENTER IT. So John Cena is entering the battle royal.

Wait, what? Hang on...

However, they're here. The Family, that is. Bray takes his spot in the rocking chair and says he's fascinated with pride – “my favorite sin”. Pride can make strong men blind, even take out immortals. He mocks both Hogan and Cena, “as if they can do you any good”. He calls both men liars, and says their pride makes them prey upon the weak and give them hope. “Hope is dead... as will be your legacy, John.” He can tell Cena doesn't get it, and he can't comprehend it. So here's the truth: Wyatt is a friend if you look up at him, but looking down shows an enemy. But looking straight at him? You see a god.

Cena's rebuttal? “Do you even listen to all that weird crap you say?” Wyatt's talking about pride and calls himself a god. It doesn't make sense. Cena notes that Wyatt looks more like Jimmy Buffett than a god. But he didn't find his lost shaker of salt, just two goons and a rocking chair. Bottom line, Bray needs to prove he IS someone. Cena cancels his battle royal plans and demands Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania, and if Bray says yes, “You gonna get the ass-whippin of a lifetime”.

Wyatt says it's empty promises, and notes it's always fun and games with Cena until he's caught in the spider's web. And with that, the Family approaches, but Hogan and Cena are ready. Harper and Rowan climb to the apron, and it's a standoff as we go to break.

And that, my friends, is how you talk people into the building.

John Cena v. Erick Rowan. Joined in progress with everyone still at ringside as Rowan cuts off a comeback with a clothesline. Rowan floors Cena for two. The camera cut to Bray and Harper, so I don't know how. Double noogie follows as the duelling chants hit. Cena powers out, but Rowan cuts him off and gets a pumphandle backbreaker for two. Rowan drops an elbow, but Cena avoids a stomp only to get slugged down. Rowan misses another elbowdrop, and Cena fights back but gets caught in a fallaway slam. Avalanche in the corner gets two. A second avalanche misses and Cena leaps at Rowan, but is caught again, this time in a bearhug. Cena is calling something to Rowan, then twists around in the hold and breaks only to get clubbed in the back. Powerslam by Rowan, and he goes for another, but Cena cradles for the pin at 3:29 shown. 3/4*

Hogan celebrates as Bray is furious. Then he starts laughing. And Harper and Rowan jump on the apron. We get our staredown again, but this time the Wyatt boys back down. Hogan builds up Cena in trash-talking, and Bray walks away as we play Hogan's music. Because Cena and Hogan need to do the posing. (Justin, if you don't get at least one caption out of this for WrestleCrap, I lose faith in you.) I never thought I'd say this, but this was a waste of Erick Rowan.

Tonight, Christian and Sheamus face off in a WWE App Match: Falls count anywhere, Best of three, or Street fight. Later tonight, our main event: Big Show and Daniel Bryan face Randy Orton and Batista. Plus, the Undertaker is here.

The Authority is WALKING! They'll be here next.

After the WWE Rewind of how last week ended, we have the Authority headed to the ring. (Random thought as they come to the ring: last week, JBL said “this is what happens to insubordinate employees”. Why doesn't HHH just fire Daniel Bryan at this point if he's so sick of the guy?) They stop at the stage an say that Daniel Bryan “viciously attacked” HHH and suffered the consequences. These are grounds for firing, but they'll lead by example instead, so they offer “a very sincere apology”. It's what is best for business – keeping Daniel Bryan around, even if he's not an A+ brand. He has value, he has a niche following... so why fire him? Well, Bryan still needs to apologize to them. Bryan needs to admit that he's wrong and not man enough to face HHH. (Crowd: NO! Stephanie: You're right, he's not.) See, HHH is above Daniel Bryan in every manner of speaking. So if Daniel apologizes, we move forward; otherwise, there are “severe consequences”.

The New Age Outlaws hug HHH and Stephanie on their way to ringside. They will be on commentary during the next match.

Ryback and Curtis Axel v. The Usos. Ryback will be in the Andre match. Ryback starts with Jimmy and gets chopped a bunch. Ryback reverses and gets a headlock, but Jimmy with an armdrag. Axel tags in but gets caught with an uppercut. A criss-cross leads to Axel sending Jimmy out of the ring. Ryback tags in and throws Jimmy in, getting two. Ryback with a suplex, and Axel gets an elbow and chinlock. Back suplex try, but Jimmy flips out and escapes Axel's grasp. Jey with the hot tag, and he gets a Hotshot and clothesline. Jey with an uppercut to Ryback, and Axel eats Samoan Drop. Jey ducks the Meathook, gets the Rikishi hip check, and superkicks both men. Tag dive and Jimmy with the big splash for the pin at 3:01. 1/2*

Meanwhile, Kane is talking to the Shield about how they're abandoning each other and leading to losses. And on SmackDown, they were unprofessional. Ambrose asks what the point is, and Kane says he wants them to remain the valuable asset they are. The first cracks appeared when the title were lost, so it's Rollins/Reigns against Cody/Dustin. Rollins accepts, but he asks if it's about the Shield or about how Kane lost to Daniel Bryan. Repeatedly. Kane is not amused, and he orders the Shield to step it up. Ambrose says they will exorcise the demon... and Reigns makes it clear they'll take out any Demon that gets in their way.

The free trial is still going.

Big E Langston v. Jack Swagger. Swagger calls for time and tells his seconds to stay away. Swagger with an attack in the corner to start, but Langston reverses and gets a pair of cross-corner shoulder rams. Ten punch countalong is stopped at five when Swagger does his high-leg tackle. Short clothesline gets two, and Swagger goes to the butterfly lock. Meanwhile, Langston will enter the Andre match. Langston fights out, but Swagger gets a big boot for two. Swagger punches away, kicking Langston down but getting caught with clotheslines. Greco-Roman suplex follows, but Swagger avoids the Ultimate Splash and gets a chop block. Swagger chokes Langston in the ropes, and Colter asks Cesaro to add his two cents, but Cesaro refuses. Swagger is confused about this, so Langston rolls him up for the pin at 3:04. Cesaro finds this turn of events funny. *1/2

Swagger is having a fit and gets in Cesaro's face. Cesaro actually makes Swagger back down as each one blames the other. Colter finally snaps and blames both of them. And he's sick of this garbage and rips his jacket off. Cesaro tries to calm Colter down, but Colter insists on handshakes. Swagger protests, but Cesaro calmly offers. Eventually, Swagger agrees... but neither man will let go. Cesaro has a death grip on Swagger just to prove a point.

The Undertaker will be here next.

Two thoughts: one, this show needs more wrestling. And two, I can't figure out who's going to turn on whom in We The People. The first I don't like; the second I like.

Hey, vote on the WWE App for the Sheamus/Christian match! And you can't vote to have it not happen.

Gong. The Undertaker is here. Cole talks about how the experts are not giving Lesnar a chance, but JBL points out Lesnar upset Randy Couture too, so it's not like the experts mean anything. Lawler says Brock has never faced the Undertaker, and Cole and JBL immediately add the “at WrestleMania” qualifier.

But before Undertaker can say anything, Paul Heyman appears on stage. He's nervous. He apologizes in advance for interrupting. He came out tonight to tell Undertaker to preserve his Streak. See, so many people toss his record around that it seems meaningless. It's an historic accomplishment. To use a comparison: Shawn Michaels never won at back to back Manias. HHH never won three in a row. Hulk Hogan never won four in a row. Steve Austin never won five in a row, nor did John Cena. And here the Undertaker has won 21 in a row. It makes a man become myth, myth become legend, legend become god. So, Heyman is here asking him to preserve the Streak... by calling off the match. The Undertaker is the Streak, and people worship that, even Heyman. But Brock Lesnar will destroy the streak. Sure, Lesnar doesn't know what he's getting into, because nothing compares, but he's not afraid. Undertaker should be, though. Because if that match happens, he will be conquered.

As Heyman steps back, Undertaker speaks. Since Heyman is the messenger, he can tell Brock this: “the fear of death is far greater than the death itself, but the fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all.” One more thing: tell Brock that if he's there at WrestleMania, he will Rest In Peace. Heyman puts the mic down and slowly backs away.

Later tonight, Show and Bryan face Batista and Orton. Also, will Daniel Bryan apologize? Plus, up next it's the Rhodes Brothers against Reigns and Rollins.

Tomorrow on Main Event on the WWE Network, Dean Ambrose defends against Mark Henry, while AJ Lee defends against Natalya.

Goldust and Cody Rhodes v. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Sign guy sign: “Architect? Seth can't make a sandcastle!” Rollins will start with Cody. He backs Cody into the corner and kicks away, slugging Cody down and stomping away. Rollins with a suplex try, but Cody reverses to a stalling front suplex, getting one. Cody brings Goldust in, and Dustin gets a snapmare and running elbow. Rollins backs Dust into the corner and pops him one, but Dustin reverses a corner whip and gets a back drop for two. Cody in off the top rope, and he gets a Hammer Throw. He tries an alley-oop bomb, but Seth flips through to his feet and sends Cody into the turnbuckle (!!). Rollins traps Cody in the Shield corner and brings Reigns in. Reigns powers Cody down for two. He punches away and headbutts Cody, raking his elbow in Cody's face. A palm strike follows, and Rollins returns with a fistdrop off the top. Rollins with a snapmare and kneedrop, getting two. Rollins with a smothering chinlock, and Reigns enters. Cross-corner whip, but a blind charge misses and Goldust gets the hot tag. Kneeling uppercut to Reigns, Rollins is knocked away, and Reigns eats spinebuster for two. Goldust stops a double team and gets a twisting body press on both men before throwing them both out of the ring. Both brothers take off and dive on their opponents, and Ambrose threatens to do something about it as we go to break.

Brotherhood/Shield, part two. Reigns has Goldust in a front chancery, but Reigns gets a slam for two. During the Break, Reigns got a Samoan Drop on Goldust. Reigns with a huge uppercut, and Rollins comes in. Snapmare by Rollins into a ground sleeper. And with a break in the action, we get a CM Punk chant. Rollins with a Stinger Splash, and Reigns gets the Drive-By Dropkick. Reigns drags Goldust's carcass to the Shield corner and mocks him (“He ain't going nowhere, Dean.”) before picking him up. That just allows Goldust a flurry before he runs into an elbow for two. Rollins tags in and kicks away on Goldust, getting two. Rollins works the arm on Goldust, but Goldust punches out only to get caught with an enzuigiri. Reigns in, and he corners Goldust with kicks and a corner clothesline. Reigns charges a second time, but Goldust with a powerslam. Rollins stops the hot tag, but not for long as Goldust kicks off an gets the tag. Cody gets the Brisco rollup for two, then the sliding uppercut. He flips out of a back suplex try, then gives Reigns the Disaster Kick and Rollins a moonsault press for two. Ambrose is nervous about this as Cody knocks Rollins onto the turnbuckle and gets a MUSCLEBUSTAH! Reigns saves. Goldust dropkicks Reigns out but gets tossed, and Cody and Rollins crack heads. Reigns spears Goldust, but Cody drops Reigns and gets a Cross Rhodes try. Rollins escapes and catches Cody with the buckle bomb and Curbstomp for the pin at 14:20. That's more like it. **3/4

Vote on the WWE App about the match you've seen for the last six or seven shows! Lawler really wants a Memphis Street Fight. Of course he does.

We take a quick look back at SmackDown and how Natalya made AJ tap.

AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka v. The Bella Twins. Natalya is at commentary. Tamina starts with Nikki, and after a clean break, Tamina shoves Nikki around. Nikki fires back with forearms, but Tamina with a back elbow. Nikki works the arm and brings Brie in. The twins get a running knee double-team, but AJ distracts and Tamina superkicks Brie out of the ring.Tamina with the JACKET THROW OF DOOM, and back in, she stomps Brie for two. She goes to a chinlock as Natalya quotes Owen's catchphrase. Tamina with headbutts, and she throws Brie into the AJ corner. Of course this is when AJ enters, and she gets a spinkick for two. Hard throw, but Brie blocks a charge. AJ tries a tornado guillotine choke, but Brie fights out and gets a dropkick off a sunset flip try. Hot tag Nikki, and AJ gets dropkicked. Nikki with a running clothesline, but AJ gets the feet up only for Nikki to get a jawbreaker for two, Tamina saves. Brie dives off the apron onto Tamina, so AJ kicks Brie down and has Nikki at her mercy. Black Widow is blocked, and the Shock Treatment gets Nikki the pin at 4:19. *1/4

But wait, Nikki is posing with the belt only for Natalya to stare at her, since, hey, she's next in line, right?

They're doing a sneak peak at NCIS Los Angeles, which explains why the fans ignored the twins and chanted for LL Cool J in the last match. Along those lines, LL and O'Donnell are interviewed by Renee Young. They're asked who they want to recruit for the show, and they pick Cena (O'Donnell). LL says Undertaker, Daniel Bryan, or the Bellas. This is just USA Network synergy.

Later tonight, the main event of Bryan/Show and Orton/Batista, with a potential apology. Cole: “You think that's gonna happen?” Lawler: “No.” JBL: “It better.”

Earlier tonight, Hogan and Cena and Bray and stuff. Scroll up. We'll hear from Bray Wyatt later tonight.

There's a lot of YES, so I'm guessing it's Daniel Bryan time. Bryan says the Yes Movement is real and live. He talks about Stephanie's apology (using air quotes, too), but he knows the crowd thought it was phony. So did he. The Authority wants to scare Bryan into apologizing and falling in line, but he should've attacked HHH months ago. But they can't have it both ways. If HHH wants to be corporate, that's one thing; if he wants to fight, that's another; but he can't attack Daniel Bryan and expect him to back down, can he? Bryan WILL FIGHT. And if HHH wants an apology for defending himself, Bryan only has one word: NO. Bryan says it ends tonight. HHH doesn't listen to Bryan or the people, but tonight, he'll make HHH listen. Tonight, it's OCCUPY RAW. JBL: “What does that mean?” Good question, actually.

Bryan says he's not leaving the ring until he gets the match. And yeah, people say that all the time, but Bryan is not alone. He will have the ring and arena filled with the Yes Movement. And yeah, maybe all of this will be unlawful and dangerous, but he wants members of the Yes Movement to come to the ring RIGHT NOW. And yes, fans (plants, I know, but still) are flooding the ring! Daniel Bryan says they will stay in the ring until they get what they want! And on that, they go to commercial.

I think JR would put it best: “Business has picked up.”

We come back, and there's like 200 guys surrounding the ring!! Holy hell, this is something! YES chants everywhere. Bryan: “YOU CAN'T IGNORE US FOREVER!” I honestly don't know what'll happen next. JBL is screaming for the cops as Cole calls it a revolution. HHH and Stephanie come out and get a lot of NO. HHH patiently walks around before congratulating Bryan on his movement. He says the hippies and trolls must be happy. And yeah, now reality sets in because they have 30 seconds to leave or they get arrested. Not one person moves. The NO chant takes up the whole 30 seconds. HHH eggs them on to chant some more. And now, HHH asks for security... but Bryan asks for the whole damn audience to leave. The crowd likes that idea. They want their own Raw. With blackjack and stuff.

HHH demands security take them out, but it's just two guys. Bryan is giddy. Security just turns around and says they have no chance. Stephanie demands they do their job, then says the fans are Bryan's sheep. It's all a power trip. Power can go to someone's head, but it's false power, and Bryan's the wrong horse to back. “You think Daniel Bryan is worth it?” Crowd chants for Bryan. Bryan then turns it around: they don't get the power of the people. Last week, Stephanie said they own the ring... well, how about now? “YOU DON'T OWN ANY OF THIS. WE OWN THIS RING!” HHH takes the microphone and says it's over, asking for the next match, asking the show to continue.

And next out is Damien Sandow. He wants them to move aside, but no one is moving. JBL asks for martial law. Bryan eggs Sandow to enter. Bryan basically asks Sandow to join the movement. Sandow decides... forget it, he's outta here. HHH re-emerges and tells him to get in the ring. Sandow's like “How?” A Hijack Raw chant starts. Stephanie tells Sandow not to disrespect the McMahons. She owns the WWE and owns the fans, demanding they leave... but no one is budging as she gets more shrill. Bryan, though, says he won't leave until he gets what he wants, and no one is moving. All Bryan wants is the match. More YES from the whole arena... and HHH walks away. This is Bryan's ultimatum.

Finally, HHH says... that he likes Daniel Bryan and saw something in him, so he protected Bryan. Because when Bryan became successful, he'd be run over. He protected Bryan throughout the fall and winter. So why isn't he accepting? Because HHH will win and he will destroy Bryan. He will not stop until he destroys Bryan. “You wanna fight me at WrestleMania?” Crowd: “YES!” HHH: “Be careful what you wish for; YOU'RE ON!”

But before we go anywhere, Bryan says he has one more demand. You see, even though the fans want to see Bryan win, they really want to see him in the title match. Crowd goes nuts with YES. So here's their new demands: a Bryan win means he joins the main event. HHH charges the ring, and now security tackles HIM out. HHH agrees to everything and says he'll end it all at WrestleMania!

Folks, this is why we love wrestling. THIS is why we watch. This, right here, is what we love – the fans not just getting what they want, but setting up one of the biggest moments in Raw history. When we look back on history, this will be the moment that Daniel Bryan is made a wrestling icon. This is the most electric I've seen an arena in months, and it wasn't a match. The WWE has spent months pretending not to listen. They then gave us everything we wanted. Was this the plan all along? It doesn't matter. What matters is we got what we wanted – our #1 face in the high profile match.

The WWE knows how to work the fans. Congratulations, Vince. This is why I gave you my Network money.

Anyway, later tonight, Bryan and Big Show face Orton and Batista. Up next, the WWE App Match.

Look back at it. LOOK AT IT. You will remember this. Daniel Bryan, you are MADE.

Jerry Lawler is in the ring ready to talk about the WWE App match. We are getting...

Memphis Street Fight (67%): Sheamus v. Christian. Out of curiosity, who was Damien Sandow's opponent? JBL actually namedrops the Gentrys – fun fact: the lead singer of this one-hit wonder the Gentrys was Jimmy Hart. Yes, THE Jimmy Hart. There's a drum kit at ringside, and other blues instruments. Brawl to start, which of course Sheamus wins. Sheamus tosses Christian but misses the Brogue Kick and gets punched. He recovers and clotheslines Christian out of the ring. He sends Christian into the barricade, then the announce table a few times. He grabs an acoustic guitar, but Christian ducks and the ringpost eats it. Christian gets a second guitar and spears Sheamus with it. Into the post goes Sheamus, but he reverses a whip and sends Christian into the steps. Twice. Sheamus then stomps Christian's head onto the steps, but Christian escapes and they go up the ramp. Sheamus catches Christian and goes to slam him off the ramp, but Christian throws Sheamus off it instead. Christian with a Tornado DDT off the stage onto the floor, and both men are down and out as the refs check on both men and we go to break.

Memphis Street Fight, part two. Sheamus hits the post off an in-ring charge, and Christian finds a kendo stick. He jabs it into Sheamus and fires away, smacking him over and over to floor him. He gets two out of it. More kendo usage, as he jabs Sheamus in the corner, but a running charge misses and Sheamus punches back. Christian with a knee to the gut to stop it, and he gets the stick back... before discarding it and getting a new one. JBL implies Lawler orchestrated the Occupy bit. Please make that real. Anyway, Christian off the top and Sheamus catches him with a punch to the gut. Sheamus stops a punch and comes back with Polish Hammers and a shoulder ram. Kneelift and clobber, then Sheamus finds the stick only gets nailed with a boot on the charge. Christian up, but Sheamus catches him with a Finlay Roll. It gets two. Sheamus catches Christian on the apron, but Christian blocks the Ten of Clubs and drops Sheamus on the top rope. The two men race to the kendo stick, but getting a hold of it. Sheamus wins that war of wills and goes nuts with the stick. White Noise follows, getting two. Christian gets to the apron, but that just leaves him set up for the Ten of Clubs. Er, SEVENTEEN of Clubs. Running powerslam follows, and it's Brogue Time. Christian bails out before he can run up, catching Sheamus but getting sent into the post. Sheamus delivers the Irish Curse off the steps to the floor and throws him in, following with a chair or two. Or four. He then sees the drum kit and goes for the big bass. Christian avoids going into the drum and kicks away, then gets a chair and goes to town with it. He stacks two on Sheamus, and the frog splash sends them into his gut. It gets two. Christian eyes the bass drum and snatches it, ready to attack, but it's a Brogue Kick through the drum to Christian to end it at 14:26. ***1/4 Cole: “After that [kick], Christian is seeing Yellow Submarines.”

Credit where credit's due here: after that insane Occupy Raw segment, the street fight kept the crowd into it. Amazing. It's like WrestleMania 13 and the underrated Street Fight there.

Go! Sign up for the WWE Network! I mean it! Look, they'll even walk you through it!

Brad Maddox is trying to calm Batista down over the main event change, saying HHH and Stephanie left after the Occupy moment. Randy Orton jumps in, and he's just as mad at what happened. Maddox tells both men (on the Authority's behalf) to settle their differences and take care of Bryan and Show. Orton says he'll do it for them if Batista is. Batista doesn't respond, just walking off.

As the only Randy Orton fan left in existence, his part of this story intrigues me more than anything else. I wonder where he's going after WrestleMania, and we didn't think anything of him before the story began.

But before our main event, here's Lana to give us Alexander Rusev and his podium. She gets WHAT chants. Lawler: “This is Memphis; we barely speak English. What the heck was she saying?” Rusev says stuff.

We recap the announcement of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Honestly, good for WWE for making Andre immortal, especially since he died before most fans were born.

But the recap is cut off by the Wyatt Family. Harper tells Cena he's made a really big mistake. He's falling into the hands of the Reaper. Wyatt addresses us upside down, then tells us it was euphoric seeing Cena and Hogan next to each other. It was like seeing the future of Cena. “Do you see yourself in him, John?” He does – the self-absorption, anyway. It would take a lot to admit that Cena is also a monster, but he is. Challenging him was the most foolish thing he did. He has a thousand faces and a million names; he can be a vicious beast or a smiling child. Bray accepts the challenge. “Just remember, you are the one with everything to lose. Your time is up. My time is forever. Ti-i-i-i-ime is on my side...” Yes, we just had a reference to “Fallen”. There, I saved you a Googling. Oh, yeah, almost forgot: Run.

Big Show – who at this point has been reduced to the other guy – comes out for the main event.

SmackDown's main event is Kane against Big Show. Sorry, Tommy.

Big Show and Daniel Bryan v. Batista and Randy Orton. Cole: “It's been an exciting night, thanks in part to this man.” JBL: “What do you mean, in part?” Orton, Bryan, and YES start. Orton pounds away on Bryan and sends him into the buckle. He adds a kick but gets low-bridged, and Bryan follows with a tope suicida. He fires up the YES chants as we go to break.

Main event, part two. Bryan has a chinlock of sorts on Orton as we return. He adds uppercuts, but Orton reverses a whip and gets a knee to the gut. Batista in, and he kicks Bryan in the head and works him in the corner. Hammer Throw and more shots to the gut follow, then a forearm to the back. He chokes Bryan in the corner, then tags Orton in. Bryan tries to fight back, but Orton with headbutts to keep him down. Bryan still gets to his feet only to get caught with a powerslam. It gets two. Orton brings Batista in, and the Animal gets a suplex and slams a forearm into him on the apron. He sends Bryan into the apron spinbuster style and throws him in. Blind charge eats boot, but Batista recovers with a lariat for two. Orton in, and Batista holds Bryan open for Orton to slug away and get a headbutt. Orton kneedrop misses, and it's hot tag Big Show. Batista is bowled over repeatedly, adding an avalanche and sidewalk slam. Show goes up... but stops to catch Orton with the goozle. Orton with a Hotshot and Batista adds a chop block. Orton back in, and he stomps away on Show, kicking him to keep him down and getting two. Batista in again, but a big boot misses and Show chops him only to get speared. Batista Bomb try, but Show backdrops out of it, and here's a sentence you don't expect to see every day: Big Show makes the hot tag to Daniel Bryan. Bryan slugs away on Orton (YES), then does the video game sequence. He dropkicks Batista off the apron before doing the YES Kicks to Orton, including the roundhouse. It gets two. Bryan goes up, kicking Batista away as he does, and the Ram Jam... misses. Orton with a rollup for two. Bryan switches to the Yes Lock, but Batista saves. Big Show with a huge kick to Batista, RKO to Big Show, and everyone's down. Orton stalks Bryan, but Batista charges in and spears... Orton, missing Bryan. Knee Plus to Batista, but Orton avoids a corner dropkick. Orton with the Draping DDT to Bryan (complete with SIGN POINT OF DOOM), and he riles up the crowd. He stalks for the RKO, but Bryan with a backslide for two. Knee Plus ends it at 13:02. **1/2


We can argue all we want about what the original plans are. It's what we do. But the fact is, these are the plans now. All the twists and turns we took emotionally – whether they were audibles or planned all along – no longer matter. We have the matches we were begging for at WrestleMania.

It's time to deliver.


MATCH TIME: 55:41 over seven matches.
BEST MATCH: Christian/Sheamus
WORST MATCH: Usos/Rybaxel
NIGHT MVP: It's a tie; Daniel Bryan and the Fans.

FINAL RATING: 9. A Raw is remembered by its biggest moment. If it's good, the rating is inflated; if it's bad, the rating is dropped hard. This was amazing television. Nothing else matters, and nothing else will be remembered.

Which is crazy, because we had a lot of good on this show. The Andre match being announced is a fantastic tribute to the Giant, although I imagine Big Show wins it. Cena/Wyatt is interesting, because a win for Wyatt would be a big deal, but I don't know if he isn't already bulletproof.

But none of that matters. We got a moment that will be on Best of Raw DVDs until 2093.

Whew. Tommy... I'll see you for SmackDown. Scott... I'll see you for NXT. Guys... I'll see if I have it in me to do Main Event tomorrow.