The Road to Wrestlemania rolls on tonight on Raw. Last week, Daniel Bryan got exactly what he wanted: a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 30. The only problem is, he has to go through Triple H to get it. How will Triple H try to make his life miserable as they set up for their match on the grandest stage of them all? Also, John Cena's feud with Bray Wyatt keeps growing, with hopefully less Jimmy Buffett references. And competitors continue to throw their name into the hat for the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale.
They show fans outside the AT&T Center in San Antonio as they set it up. The Miz, Jason Albert (formerly Tensai) and Alex Riley check in with Josh Mathews. Albert says he is most looking forward to John Cena responding to Bray Wyatt. Riley is looking forward to what COO Triple H has to say about Daniel Bryan and Occupy Raw. He feeds it to a recap of that segment.
The announcers debate the situation, with Riley taking the stand that Triple H has been protecting Bryan. Miz argues opposite that point. They go to the wrap-up of Natalya's match on Superstars. She interviews with Jerry Lawler. He puts over the start of the new season of Total Divas. She says that season two will be full of surprises, and redemption is sweet. She closes with "Natty by nature, naughty by choice, and made in the Dungeon." The panel shills the show before feeding it to a recap of Bryan and Big Show taking on Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan.
The panel talks about the history between Randy Orton and Batista. Riley says they match up well and he can't wait for the match. Albert says that Batista has one thing on his mind and that's the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Miz points out the 4 year layoff that Batista has come off of and says that Orton is tired. Batista has had the time to prepare and get ready. Mathews says that we'll hear more about Cena vs. Wyatt in a few moments.
They recap the Wyatts/Hogan/Cena segments from last week. Mathews calls Wyatt the reaper that will put down Cena and asks how long he will fend the Wyatts off. Albert recaps the line from Wyatt's promo and says he believes what he says as well as his henchmen. Miz talks about being in the ring with Cena at Wrestlemania. Riley puts over Cena for beating Miz and how he's a 14-time champion. Albert says Cena is a dangerous man.
Mathews recaps Hogan's major announcement from the opening of last week's show that set up the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale. Albert puts it over as a huge moment. Byron Saxton talks to Brad Maddox in a pre-tape about the Battle Royale. Maddox starts to talk about the match, but Damien Sandow interrupts. He apologizes for his actions during Occupy Raw but wants in. Maddox says he's a smart guy and thinks it's a great idea - but Sandow has plans for Raw tonight now. Miz and Riley put it over as a huge opportunity.
They discuss opportunities to win - Albert picks Ryback, Miz wants to get in, and Riley picks Big E. Mathews asks if the Real Americans can get on the same page when they face The Usos tonight on Raw. We get a recap of what happened to the Rhodes Brothers on Smackdown, with The Usos running in for the save. Renee Young is with Jack Swagger. He says it's okay to continue without the rest of the team. The others enter and Cesaro complains about being told the interview was on the other side of the arena. Colter mediates and says they can stake a claim to the tag team championship tonight. He asks if that's what they want, which they agree to. We the People.
The panelists thank the fans for making the Network a huge success and say the free trial opportunity ends Saturday. They say that the first pay per view on the Network is Wrestlemania 30, and they feed it to a brief recap of the Undertaker and Paul Heyman's segment last week. Mathews tells us Heyman is on Raw tonight to address us. The panelists say that Heyman is good at talking and it's a lot of noise. Albert calls Heyman a master manipulator and he never wants to cross the Undertaker.
Final thoughts from the panelists cover Triple H's appearance, John Cena addressing the Wyatts, and Heyman's appearance. In the end Miz says the Yes Movement will keep on going.
Raw is moments away!
Raw, Live from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX
They open with the same recap video package of Occupy Raw that we saw in the pre-show, albeit slightly shortened to cut out Sandow's appearance. Triple H is in the ring when we come back live and he says that he wants the fans to understand it's all their fault. He says he will end the Yes Movement, crush Daniel Bryan, and end their dreams. He says it's all the fans' fault.
He says he has had a week to calm down, and at Wrestlemania he will do what he does best. Cold, calculating. He says he will have words for Daniel Bryan later, man to man. He says there's a good show in store, but Batista's music interrupts. Cole checks in and hypes up the sold out crowd in San Antonio as Batista makes his way to the ring with Triple H looking disgusted by that idea. San Antonio boos Batista as King says it might get interesting.
Batista tells Triple H that he might have big problems with Bryan but he has bigger problems with Batista. He asks who Triple H thinks he is giving Bryan a shot in his match for the WWE Championship. He says he didn't come back to be in a triple threat and asks Triple H what he's thinking. Triple asks Batista what he's thinking assuming that Bryan has a shot at beating him. Cue Randy Orton, and Triple H doesn't look amused.
Orton apologizes but agrees with Batista about this match. H repeats his stance that he will defeat Bryan and there won't be a triple threat. He asks both what the problem is and if Bryan has gotten that far inside their heads. Batista says "apparently not as much as he has gotten inside yours." Orton asks for a no-DQ match with Bryan so that he can do what "Big Dave couldn't do last week." Triple H likes the idea and books it.
Orton says the Yes Movement is not why the people are cheering Bryan - it's because they don't care about Batista. He says if Batista would have lived up to his hype this wouldn't be an issue. Batista tells Orton that as WWE Champion he sucks and he has them because of Triple H. He calls Orton a paper champion and they jaw jack. Hunter goes to leave, but Batista stops him. He says he needs to fix it and there won't be a triple threat.
Triple H asks if he wants to know what he thinks. He says he's tired of Bryan, and the fans for chanting for him. He's also tired of Hollywood movie stars coming back to tell him what's best for business. He's tired of technically gifted guys that can get the job done but can't win a match without him holding their hand. Triple H says the old man was right and that the only person you can trust is yourself. He guarantees a triple threat match, but it won't be Bryan. He says it will be Orton vs. Batista vs. Triple H for the title instead. He exits, and back in the ring Orton hits Batista with the RKO.
A decent opener that adds a bit of intrigue to the whole situation. Triple H now has more at stake, and Bryan fans will have something to worry about. I could have done without the tear-down moments between Orton and Batista though.
We get a shot of the Usos walking backstage. The announcers hype up Cena addressing the Wyatt Family later tonight as well.
They recap the end of the opening segment. Renee Young attempts to get a word with Batista, but he says "It was a big mistake coming back, I'm outta here." and leaves.
The Real Americans are already in the ring.
Match #1 - The Usos vs. The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter)
Uso controls Swagger in the early going as the announcers talk about if the Real Americans winning tonight putting them in contention for the tag titles. They also compare Zeb Colter to San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich. They continue the chatter as Cesaro tags in. The brothers continue to work tags in and out. Cesaro gets a counter into a backbraker to let the heel team take control in the corner.
Uso comes back with a corkscrew off the top rope, but he takes a big boot to the mush after Cesaro runs interference. Commercial.
Back live, Cesaro is controlling Uso. They recap what happened before the break as Uso fights his way out of the wrong corner. He takes a slam from Swagger though. Swagger Bomb into a leapfrog stomp from Cesaro. Both men end up down, and Uso hits a big spinning kick to create separation. Both fresh men get the tags. Jey goes off on offense with a butt splash for two. Cesaro tries to set up the swing but takes a kick. Momentary mayhem sends Swagger to ringside and in the ring Jey gets a little help from Jimmy to hit the Samoan drop.
Double superkick from the Usos on Swagger. He rolls out of the ring and Uso hits a flying dive out of the ring. Uso #2 tries one on Cesaro but takes a stiff uppercut. Jey and Cesaro are legal, and Cesaro follows with the Neutralizer to get the win. The Real Americans pose afterward to celebrate their win as the announcers run down the highlights.
That was a really good tag match. There was a definite "adult male" cheer for Cesaro grabbing the win. One can only assume that this is leading in the direction of the tag title match for Wrestlemania. Still hoping Rhodes and Goldust get back into the picture somehow.
Cole asks if the others have had a chance to check out WWE Slam City. Apparently characters get fired and they have to go find real jobs. He sends it to a trailer.
Afterward, Cole hypes up Orton vs. Bryan in a no-DQ match later tonight.
Storyboard hype for the Network. They go to a recap of Kane vs. Big Show, with the Shield being ringside with Kane. They refused to get involved with Kane's match.
Kane approaches The Shield and says things got out of control and decisions got made that might have bad long-term consequences. Kane says the Authority has a mission and he needs them to be united. He says if the Authority can't count on them, then they are no longer assets but liabilities. He asks if they're united and Rollins says they are. Roman Reigns speaks up and says "believe that" and Kane retorts that he will believe they will do the right thing when asked or they will find out how replaceable they are.
At ringside, Hornswaggle is passing out St. Patrick's Day gifts. Bad News Barrett rises out of the floor. He says "look at that, it's a real life leprechaun celebrating St. Patrick's Day. He says the legend is that St. Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland. He says that people will celebrate this "god awful holiday" getting inebriated. They'll wake up tomorrow with a hangover and regret what they've done with their miserable lives.
Match #2 - Sheamus vs. Titus O'Neil; St. Patrick's Day Showdown
Sheamus gets his entrance before the break. Titus comes to the ring in a top hat and a badly stuck-on goatee. Christian is on commentary and says he will be in the 30-man Andre the Giant battle royale. He joins a field that includes Damien Sandow, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Fandango, and others. Sheamus clotheslines Titus over the ropes and hits him with a shoulder block off the apron. Titus drives Sheamus into the ring post as Christian says he "is undefeated and only has beaten himself." Titus follows with a backbreaker and a fallaway slam.
Commenhatin' gets going on as Christian calls JBL a David Spade look alike in a fat suit. Titus throws Hornswoggle in the ring and roughs him around a little then tries a fallaway slam but Sheamus is back in this one. He catches Hornswoggle then throws him into Titus' crotch. Sheamus goes a clubbering with the ten forearm shots then a powerslam. He follows up with the Brogue Kick to get the win.
Renee Young interviews Sheamus. He wishes the fans a happy St. Paddies Day. He touts beating Titus and says he wants to enter the Andre the Giant Battle Royale and he will win. Christian attacks Sheamus from behind afterward, roughing him up into the steps and hitting the Killswitch outside the ring.
I guess I'm a little upset that we won't see Sheamus vs. Christian one on one at Mania, but instead it will be a story inside the battle royale. Decent consolation prize. I like that we're getting some name value inside the battle royale to give it some importance.
King hypes up that John Cena will be addressing the Wyatts, next.
Next week, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Mangionello will be the guest hosts on Raw. The announcers also hype up the WWE themed Scooby Doo special.
John Cena's music hits and San Antonio lets him know they don't all like him. The announcers hype up Cena being in Muscle and Fitness. JBL hypes that it's "always a reaction and a big one" as Cena soaks in the reaction. He says he has been with WWE for 12 years and had over 3000 matches. He says he and the fans are like an old married couple - sometimes they get along and sometimes not so much. He says he always gives his best and been honest.
He wants to say something to get it off his chest and come to grips with it. He admits to being afraid of Bray Wyatt. He says his biggest fear is they're listening to what Wyatt says. He calls Wyatt different than anyone he has ever faced and all he wants to do is destroy. He says Wyatt wants to destroy his legacy and says that Cena has been living a lie for 12 years. He says that Cena isn't who he says he is and Cena is filled with evil.
Cena says "the hell with that. I've been here too long and been through too much." He says Wrestlemania isn't about fighting Bray Wyatt, it's about fighting for what he believes in, every scar, and every fan who believes in what he says. "At Wrestlemania, I will fight for my legacy." Wyatt cut in.
On the tron, Wyatt is wearing Cena's shirt. He says that children believe in heroes because they want to believe the world is good. They haven't lived long enough to know it's all a lie. He says his childhood wasn't all butterflies and rainbows. It was his birthright to have scars. Sooner or later anything he has in life will wither away and die. He says he could sign autographs and kiss babies and sell merchandise, and go home to his castle and his plastic girlfriend (that draws some ooohs).
He says Cena is right about one thing - he is different than anyone Cena ever faced. He says he doesn't care if he lives or dies, as long as the world sees Cena the way he does. Follow the buzzards.
This was a decent segment. Wyatt is so good on the mic and he's carrying the story right now. For Cena to say he's afraid of Wyatt seemed a bit much though. There's some missing chapters here though, so let's see how WWE fills those in.
In the split screen we see Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton heading to the ring - they're up next.
Match #3 - Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan; No-Disqualification match
Orton comes out first as they recap what happened during the opening segment with Batista, Orton, and Triple H. Daniel Bryan gets a rousing ovation and Cole hypes up that the power of the Yes Movement is that three old friends nearly came to blows over him. Bryan takes it to Orton in the early going. Orton gets control and works on him at the apron then follows with a couple big uppercuts in succession. Orton catches the ropes on a whip but takes a big drop kick then a suicide dive.
Orton grabs a kendo stick from under the ring and hits Bryan with it. He jaws at someone off camera then hits a back suplex on the announce table as we go to break. Back live, Orton chokes Bryan with the kendo stick and poses with it in the ring while Bryan sells outside on the floor. Orton gets a two count out of it, then rams Bryan into the post crotch-first. Ouch. He follows with his backbreaker from the apron. Orton continues the offensive assault as the announcers talk about what happened in the opening segment.
Bryan begins to mount a comeback and the fans are in full throat. He hits his running corner drop kick and follows with a huracanrana for two. Bryan gets the kendo stick and goes on an assault between kicks and stick strikes. After the big wind-up Bryan gets a two. Bryan goes up top but gets countered by Orton. Orton cues up a superplex and hits it. A lax cover only gets him two. He hits his elevated DDT and poses, and now he's hearing voices. Bryan rolls out and grabs the stick again, and assaults Orton when he comes out after him. Bryan hits a big running drop kick on Orton into the timekeeper area.
Orton hangs Bryan up on the barrier then hits him a couple times with a chair. Bryan rolls back in and Orton brings the chair in. Out of nowhere, Batista spears Orton. Bryan nails Batista with the running knee and sends him tumbling out of the ring. Bryan covers Orton and grabs the win and leaves the ring, leading "Yes!" chants. Batista hits Orton with the Batista Bomb, complete with sit-out in the skinny jeans. Batista leaves and poses at the stage as Orton sells in the ring.
This was really good. Bryan looked like the underdog, but also looked as if he had hope. They need to be careful to not go too far, or they'll have casual fans believing that Bryan won't beat Triple H or win the title, which is not the desired effect.
Cole hypes up that Wrestlemania 30 will be on the Network. Until Saturday at Midnight, you can get the free trial of WWE Network. We look over JBL's shoulder and watch him sign up, and we see Lawler use his iPad to show all the content that is available.
Up next, Paul Heyman has a message for the Undertaker.
Paul Heyman introduces himself. "Ladies and Gentlemen...Texans...I am the advocate for the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar." He says that he wants to illustrate that the same opponents that Undertaker has barely survived, Brock Lesnar has dominated. He presents footage "without embelishment" and his testimony before them tonight will remain uncontroverted. He feeds it to a video package that shows Undertaker working Triple H, and Shawn Michaels, but Brock destroying those same men. Notoriously absent is CM Punk in this video.
Back live, Heyman says Taker's vanuted streak will be conquered by Brock Lesnar. He says that at Wrestlemania 30 the Undertaker's streak shall rest in peace. The announcers give some hype to the Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar match.
They filled in some of the gaps very well with Taker's aging. It doesn't fix everything, but it definitely helped the story.
Stephanie asks if Triple H is simply going to talk to Bryan and he says he is. She tells him that Bryan disrespected their authority and the McMahon family. She asks him what he's thinking these days and says he isn't. She poses the possibility of him being the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and being on the road. What happens to business then, Mr. COO? Triple H tells her to leave him alone and let him take care of it. Stephanie stands up and says "you better." and leaves.
This was a good segment from Stephanie. They could be laying groundwork for Triple H to at least be neutral, or perhaps a babyface turn.
Match #4 - Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Goldust (w/Cody Rhodes)
Fandango and Summer dance their way to the ring before the break. Cody and Goldust mock the dancing as they come to the ring after commercial. Fandango does some dance moves, but Goldust crawls from the corner and does some bizarre stuff to freak out Fandango. Fandango takes a hip toss then a pair of atomic drops from Goldust. Some 70's disco moves from Goldust in front of Summer who had made her way to the apron. Cody catches her when she falls from the apron. Fandango controls the offense.
A bit later, Fandango hits a suplex and sets up for his top rope leg drop. No one home. Goldust comes back with the Final Cut to get the win. Summer tends to her fallen man outside the ring.
Kane is shown walking backstage. He is up next to possibly reveal his mission for The Shield.
They hype up Undertaker making a rare Main Event appearance tomorrow night.
Kane's pyro and music hits and here comes Corporate Kane. Cole says that he and The Shield were given a mission tonight and we might find out what that is now. Kane gets a mic and says that as Director of Operations, it is his responsibility to execute what the Authority wants. He says that on behalf of the Authority he conducted a thorough investigation, he found that one man, a resident of Memphis, TN, was responsible for this. He calls Jerry Lawler to the ring.
The Shield's music hits, and they make their way through the crowd. They confront Jerry at the announce table and force him into the ring. Kane pulls his jacket off and tells Lawler to explain himself. Lawler says nothing, and Kane says he knows Jerry isn't in fighting shape and he won't like to do what he has to...well, maybe a little.
Seth Rollins takes the mic. He tells Jerry that he doesn't have Daniel Bryan to run down and save him. He tells Lawler to not worry, because the Shield always does what's best for business. They turn toward Kane. Lawler slips out of the ring. They attack Kane, with Reigns hitting his big spear. They follow up with the triple powerbomb and pose with their joined fists over a fallen Kane.
I guess the Shield are now babyfaces? That's not a bad thing, actually. They have cooled off on the breakup of the Shield, but I suppose they could create that breakup at Wrestlemania too. I guess right now it looks like it will either be The Shield in the battle royale or in a six man tag with Kane involved somehow.
Match #5 - Cameron and Naomi vs. AJ and Tamina
The Bella Twins are on commentary for this one to talk about Total Divas. Naomi has an eye patch to protect the broken orbital bone. The heels control the action in the early going, well, I guess that's what AJ is. Cameron hits a clumsy looking drop kick to make separation and Naomi gets the tag. She cleans house, hitting a Bubba Bomb for a two. Tamina breaks up the count.
Naomi scoops up AJ and AJ tries to lock on the Black Widow. She counters with a big slam then hits a split leg moonsault to get the win. The Funkadactyls celebrate as Cole sends it to the replay of the finish. JBL wants to be on Total Divas. Really. In the ring, AJ and Tamina argue after the match. Tamina shoves AJ down and the two stare at each other.
Cole sends it to a sell for WWE 2K14, with highlights of simulation of Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H. They send it to hype for the next inductee for the Hall of Fame, up next.
I pity the fool if you missed that announcement earlier. Spoiler alert?
Hall of Fame Announcement:
Cole hypes up that the Hall of Fame will be available in its entirety on the WWE Network. He sends it to the video package for the next Hall of Fame inductee. It's Mr. T! I pity the fool! They run through all the highlights of Wrestlemania 1, with T tagging with Hulk Hogan then going on to face Rowdy Roddy Piper in Wrestlemania 2. He is the celebrity wing inductee for 2014. Cole says that Mr. T and Hulk Hogan will always be linked since they were in the first Wrestlemania main event.
Mr. T. was a huge star at the time, and Foley got it right when he said that they didn't need the other stars at Mania 1. His involvement was huge.
Cole uses that to segway again to another clip of Hogan introducing the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale on last week's Raw.
Big Show makes his entrance. In a picture-in-picture promo, Big Show says he has always been compared to Andre, and he plans to enter the Andre Battle Royale and win it.
Match #6 - Big Show, Big E, Dolph Ziggler, and Mark Henry vs. Ryback, Curtis Axel, Alberto Del Rio, and Damien Sandow
Big E starts with Ryback. Big E hits a belly to belly before getting the tag to Henry. Henry catapults Big E into Ryback then splashes him as well. Henry tags out to Ziggler, who gets a nice reaction when he tags in. Ziggler hits a neckbreaker, but sells momentarily for Ryback. Drop kicks for everyone from Ziggler, then the teams face off mid-ring as we go to break.
Del Rio and Sandow are controlling Ziggler coming out of the break. Ryback follows it up with a long delayed vertical suplex, but Ziggler counters it and gets a roll-up somehow. The heels continue to control the action. Ziggler hits a big DDT on Curtis Axel, but can't get a tag. Sandow tags in and continues to control for the heels. Dolph tries a drop kick but air-mails it, and gets slingshot into the buckle. He sidesteps a charge by Sandow and finally gets the hot tag to Big Show.
Show goes to work with a corner splash. Action breaks down. Big E sends Ryback to the floor. Del Rio hits a step-up kick on Big E and he disposes of Langston. Dolph hits Del Rio with a Fameasser and throws him away. Axel sends Ziggler out over the corner. Show disposes of Axel, and Sandow attacks Show from behind. That's like a fly attacking a car. Show chokeslams him and picks up the win.
I actually thing they're setting Sandow up for something, not burying him. The rapid fire finish sequence always is crowd pleasing.
They recap the Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton match from earlier.
Backstage, Renee Young catches Batista. She says that since he is back in the building it's safe to assume he never quit. Batista says he never quit anything in his life and he doesn't care if it's Triple H or Daniel Bryan. At Wrestlemania he will claim what he came back for, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Let's remind Batista that four years ago he "quit" after being roughed up by John Cena at Over the Limit. That said, I like Batista when he talks like that - he seems more composed and intelligent.
Match #6 - Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt (w/Erick Rowan and Luke Harper)
Wyatt gets his intro, and they send it to a video package set to Eminem's "Legacy" while they make their entrance. Wyatt off to a fast start against Kingston and he dominates him with strikes. Big collision between the two as Wyatt hits his running crash block. He continues to hammer away on Kingston and sings. He hits a spinning gut buster move then taunts to the fans. Kingston tries to fight back but why bother.
Wyatt hangs upside down in the corner then sets up Sister Abigail's Kiss to get the victory. Wyatt poses over a fallen Kingston and yells "follow the buzzards!" as they cut out.
Daniel Bryan and Triple H face off in the ring next, but before that a trailer for Oculus.
The familiar "King of Kings" chord strikes and here comes Triple H. Cole says it hasn't been a pleasant week for Triple H. JBL rants about all the things that Daniel Bryan is responsible for. Some fans are doing the "bow" move in the crowd.
Triple H says he would like to ask Daniel Bryan to come out and address some things with him face to face and man to man. He asks for Bryan to come to the ring, and he obliges and leads some "yes!" chants. Triple H looks on, less than amused by all of this.
Triple H thanks him for coming to the ring and says he wants to get some things off his chest. He says this isn't a popular decision and his wife may not want to talk to him tonight. He says a lot of things have happened between the two of them since SummerSlam. He says everything he has done up until this point is because it's best for business. It's not personal. Bryan may tell him to go to hell but he wants Bryan to listen. There's a sign that says "Daniel Bryan is best for business" right in line with the hard camera.
Triple H talks about the burden of being the top executive and making decisions that are best for business. He tells Bryan that he crossed a line that can't be come back from.
He says he has no choice to end all this - "this little "yes" movement, this little uprising." He says if shutting it down means he has to end Bryan, then he will do what's best for business every single time. He says he wants to let Bryan know man to man that and he has no hard feelings. Let the best man win. He offers a handshake but Bryan refuses. Hunter says that's cool and he would have done the exact same thing.
Hunter says he has done a ton since SummerSlam. He has dumped a world on Bryan and yet he is still standing here. The fans start a Daniel Bryan chant. Hunter says they say it because they respect him. They have seen him walk through a mountain of crap and when anyone else would have folded, Bryan didn't. Hunter tells him he has a big set and, if nothing else, he has earned Hunter's respect.
Stephanie walks out and questions respect. She says that she endangered the fans, her, Hunter, and spit in her family's face. She claims that he also acted illegally and she is formally pressing charges. She calls for security to come to the ring. Out come the "rent-a-cops" to the ring. Hunter and Stephanie argue over what is going on with her saying that she had to handle his business and questions his use of the word "respect." In the ring, the cops handcuff Bryan.
Eventually, Triple H calls off the cops. He says it's enough and even says they aren't real cops. The cops back away, with Bryan handcuffed. Hunter says "besides, I'm looking forward to doing this myself." and assaults Bryan. He roughs Bryan around all over the ringside area, with Stephanie cheering Hunter on. Bryan tries to fight back, but is pretty much defenseless.
Stephanie even gets a few slaps in. Eventually, Hunter puts Bryan against the ring post and swings a chair against it - hitting mostly ring post. He hits the Pedigree on a completely helpless, defenseless Bryan. Hunter gets on the mic and yells "my house, our ring our house, there is no "yes movement" Stephanie dangles the handcuff key to end the show.
Welp, guess you gotta put some level of doubt in the Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan match somehow. That got pretty uncomfortable to watch, even for a guy like me who has seen all the old-school heat generators of the 80's. I am not a fan of the handcuff gimmick I guess, never was. It also went on far too long for my liking. They could have told the same story in half the time.
Everyone involved did play their parts well though. Some good teases by Stephanie and Triple H - teases of dissension between them, a face turn by Hunter, etc. The beating was rough and Bryan telling Stephanie she hit like a girl is actually an insult to that character.
Wrestlemania continues to build, and we've got some good stuff in play. Cena and Wyatt built on their story a little, as did the title match. I would like to see some direction for The Shield and exactly what they're planning to do with them at Mania. Their angle with Kane was good, and you know they'll appear at Mania, but in what capacity? The battle royale even got some push tonight. We still should be seeing a developing tag title program, something with the ladies, and some more filling out of the undercard. 20 days left - how will they do?
I'll have more to say in Raw Afterthoughts tomorrow night, and we'll discuss this in detail on RingRap Audio later this week. Got questions? Be sure to tweet them to us with the hashtag #AskRingRap and we'll tackle them on the air. Thanks for watching along tonight.