Wrestlemania 30 is two weeks away now. Last Monday, Triple H really threw Daniel Bryan a curve ball. He offered him to come to the ring and "get a few things off his chest," telling Bryan in the end that he respects him for all his work and resiliency. It all came to a crash though when Stephanie brought out fake cops and had Bryan cuffed and Triple H beat him all over the ringside area. Will Bryan extract some revenge, or will Triple H continue to keep the upper hand over him going into Wrestlemania?
The Road to Wrestlemania heats up with just a scant two weeks left to go until the big night.
Pre-Show, Live from the Barlclays Center in Brooklyn, NY
They give us a shot of the Barclays Center as it fills up. The announcers hype up Undertaker and Brock Lesnar being on the show tonight. The panel is Mick Foley, Booker T, and Alex Riley joining host Josh Mathews. Booker is all over the map. They hype up John Cena facing Luke Harper of the Wyatt Family on Raw. They say that John Cena's dad says that Cena is more worried about this match than any other he has had at Wrestlemania. They touch briefly on the beating Triple H gave Daniel Bryan and also point out that Hulk Hogan took note of it and is concerned as the host for Wrestlemania 30.
Josh Mathews sends it to the ring to highlight Divas action in the ring. It's Emma vs. Summer Rae. Emma flips herself into the ring to a polite round of applause. They show a bit of the match.
Back to the panel Josh Mathews sets up a video package highlighting the end of last week's show when Triple H beat down Daniel Bryan after he was handcuffed. They read a tweet from Bryan, who says he isn't medically cleared but it won't stop him. Booker says it's clear Triple H doesn't respect Bryan.
They go backstage where Renee Young tries to get a word with Stephanie McMahon. She says she plans to address what happened on Raw last week in front of the world. She wishes Renee a nice evening and compliments her wardrobe.
Josh sets up a video recap of the open of last week's show where Batista and Randy Orton confronted Triple H about the stipulation on his match with Daniel Bryan. Triple H promised a triple threat championship match when he entered himself if he beats Daniel Bryan. Back live, the panel debates if there will be a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Wrestlemania. Booker T talks about his experience in facing Orton. Riley says that Orton has a 66% chance of losing, but if Triple H gets in the match he will ensure Orton wins. Foley disputes that, saying that Triple H will be about himself.
Renee Young tries to get a word with Paul Heyman, who is on the phone. She apologizes for the interruption, but he goes on a rant about being sorry. He asks if Undertaker will say he's sorry for choking Heyman on Main Event. He asks if Renee is looking for a job or a date, tells her to go on the View and be Barbara Walters. He tells her to leave him and Lesnar alone, then says Brock Lesnar appreciates all her hard work. He exits. They feed it to the video package that emphasizes the age issues Undertaker faces, with Lesnar easily dispatching those who Taker has struggled to beat.
The panelists discuss this story. Foley talks about being tossed off the cage years ago, and Riley and Booker T both say that if anyone can beat the Streak, it will be Brock Lesnar. Mathews hypes that Lesnar and Undertaker will both be at the arena tonight.
After an ad for the "Blunders" edition of Countdown for tomorrow, the announcers talk about Bray Wyatt wanting to end the legacy of John Cena. They talk about Cena facing Luke Harper tonight on Raw. Riley says it's hard to beat a man or team three times in a row. They have more discussion, with someone making the point that Wyatt is scouting Cena so he can take his legacy back to Maragaritaville.
The panel talks about the story between The Shield and Corporate Kane. The Shield took a beating on Smackdown and they will be demanding answers tonight from the Authority. They hype Arnold Schwarzenegger being on Raw and Riley tries an imitation. The announcers are being introduced, with JBL and King getting good reactions from the live crowd.
Final thoughts. They discuss what will happen between Undertaker and Lesnar, and Booker says there's a confrontation coming. That's the end of the pre-show.
Raw, Live from Brooklyn, NY
We open with a recap of the beating that Daniel Bryan took at the hands of Triple H at the end of last week's Raw.
Back live, we get an intro for Stephanie McMahon, who gets some boos but not all-out heat from the live crowd. She smiles as she walks to the ring as Cole hypes the attendance and lets us know it's two weeks to Wrestlemania. Cole says she watched gleefully as she watched Triple H assault a handcuffed Daniel Bryan. Now that the music's done you can hear better heat.
She says Daniel Bryan won't be on the show tonight. She says she's been reading on social media that fans think it was uncomfortable and hard to watch. She says she agrees but they did what they had to in order to send a message to the locker room that insubordination will not be tolerated. She says the only way to get Bryan to listen was to take drastic measures. She says they won't always make popular decisions but the fans need led by "people with intellect like us." LOUD CM Punk chant as she says she was born into power as a part of the McMahon family.
She says that her husband is the Cerebral Assassin and the greatest of all time. She says that after Triple H leaves Daniel Bryan laying in the ring again, he will go on to claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. She lauds Hunter as the most powerful man in WWE. Randy Orton's music hits and he heads to the ring.
He says he isn't there to disrespect her or Triple H, but he doesn't want to do what he has to do if Triple H makes it into the match. Stephanie corrects him and says "when" and Orton agrees. The fans are all over this and chant for Bryan. Stephanie plays in and reminds them that Bryan is not supposed to appear and mocks his chant. Orton says he's tuning them out. The fans turn their chant to "boring." He goes on and says he will have to beat both Batista and Triple H to a pulp and encourages Stephanie to talk Triple H out of the title match.
Batista's music hits, and he heads to the ring. He says that everyone is missing the point. "I've said it since day one, you're looking at the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion." He says he doesn't care if it's Bryan, Orton, or Hunter, he will walk out with the title. He starts to talk about respecting Hunter, but his mic cuts out.
Stephanie tells him she can't hear him and points to a mic on the ring mat to use. Someone on commentary (I missed it) asked if the mic cutting out was intentional. Batista says that he respects Hunter but he will do what he has to at Wrestlemania.
Batista tells Orton he makes him sick. One week drooling on Triple H, one week on Stephanie. He tells him to lean in closer and drool a little more. He says that Stephanie's been drooled on before, and in fact a lot. Burn! Stephanie slaps him and leaves. Orton's keeled over in laughter, but Batista turns around and spears Orton. He holds the belts up and he gets booed. Batista exits as the announcers recap what happened.
Batista struggled here. The old "spotlight Batista" did much better, and maybe they'll get back to that after Wrestlemania. If he delivers a standard heel promo he's fine, but in a scripted exchange, no good. And he's an actor? Overall the segment was good though - it did what it was intended which was to sell the heat between all parties.
Cole hypes up that he will interview Triple H in the ring later about why he assaulted a handcuffed Triple H. King hypes up Scooby Doo being a theme of the night, Cena facing Harper, and we get hype for Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Joe Mangianello being on the show. Also, hype for Undertaker and Lesnar being under the same roof tonight.
Stacked show, it seems. The fans seem hot right now too, which should help feed the show.
Match #1 - Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian vs. Sheamus; #1 Contender for the Intercontinental Championship, Fatal Four Way Rules
This title defense for Big E will be tomorrow night on Main Event. Big E was sitting at ringside to watch the happenings. Fast paced brawling action to kick things off. Sheamus and Christian end up outside the ring, and a clothesline sends them into the timekeeper's area. Del Rio sells a knee injury as we go into break.
Back from break, Del Rio takes a Finlay Roll from Sheamus. Christian sends Sheamus into the ring post, and goes up top. Dolph rolls through his cross body and gets a near fall. A bit later, Sheamus goes a clubbering with Del Rio and lands the chest shots. Sheamus goes up top, but Ziggler goes up with him and hits an X-Factor to get a good near fall. The fans like Ziggler, who lands punches on Christian, then a big DDT on Del Rio.
Dolph tries the Fameasser, but Christian counters with a sit-out powerbomb. Del Rio kicks Christian for a near fall that is broken up by Sheamus. He locks Del Rio in the Cloverleaf but breaks it for a slam on Christian. He cues up the Brogue, but Del Rio gets involved and locks on the Cross Arm Breaker. Sheamus hoists him up, and Ziggler manages to hit the Zig Zag. Christian sneaks in and hits Ziggler with the KillSwitch to get the win. Big E offers a handshake, but Christian laughs and leaves.
This was a good four-way. The crowd was invested in it, which really helped out. Christian gets his title shot tomorrow night on Main Event.
Bray Wyatt cut in. He sings "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" first, then says it's not often that people believe in things you can't see. He says that's not the case with John Cena. He says one can see him because of all the billboards shoved down our throats. He says that he is the way to woe and he stands beyond time. He asks Cena what he can do to harm something that can't feel. Harper says he can hear the whispers, and now they're coming to find him. "Run."
We get hype for the Scooby Doo Movie, then back live we see the Mystery Machine come in to the stage area. Sin Cara emerges from the van with Scooby, then does his leaping entrance into the ring.
Match #2 - Sin Cara vs. Damien Sandow
Mood lighting ensues as Sandow starts off aggressively. Sin Cara goes on a run with a cross body and a huracanrana. Just that quick, Sandow takes a swanton from Sin Cara and Cara picks up the win.
Poor Sandow, that's all I know to say.
Cole talks about how Kane tried to pin the Occupy Raw movement on Lawler, then feeds it into a recap from Smackdown where The Shield got beaten by Kane as well as the others that were in the match. Kane chokeslammed all three members of The Shield after the beating.
Match #3 - Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback
No entrances for either. Rybaxel is getting a tag title shot at Wrestlemania, so they're out of the Battle Royale. JBL says that good employees get rewarded. The Shield makes their way through the crowd for the distraction, and Los Matadores roll up Axel for the win.
Afterward, The Shield surrounds the ring. Axel tries to get after Reigns, but not so lucky. He eats the security wall and Reigns gets back in the ring to hit a big spear on Ryback. They hit him with the triple powerbomb and show unity in the ring. The announcers recap it for us.
I still think that your tag title match at Mania is a multi-team match. I'm good with the Shield's face turn, but they need someone to work with that's hot. The crowd was into this, but not like they would have been with a hotter act. Still not understanding why they moved away from the Wyatts.
King hypes up Hogan, Schwarzenegger and Mangiello appearing. Cole will interview Triple H in the ring about last week's incident, next.
Michael Cole gives a simple introduction for Triple H, who comes to the ring while JBL gushes over Triple H and saying we're going to see the end of the Yes Movement at Wrestlemania. Triple H shakes hands with Cole as they sit down on director's chairs. Once the music dies down we get some boos.
Cole says usually they sit down on Wednesdays but he felt, as did Hunter, that it would be appropriate to have this in Brooklyn in front of a live crowd. Cole feeds it to a video recap of the assault as King reminds us that Bryan was handcuffed by "fake cops" during this segment.
Cole asks how he can justify, as COO, the attack of Daniel Bryan. Hunter says it's confusing itself, whether he is being asked as a competitor or as the COO. He says Daniel Bryan and the fans got what they asked for. He asks Cole what it's like to be handcuffed, so to speak, by something. Cole thinks it's about being handcuffed by Triple H but Hunter turns it around and talks about the Occupy Raw moment.
He says that Bryan put fans in harm's way and attempted to hijack the show to get what he wants. Hunter asks Cole where his mock horror was for that moment. Cole says that many considered the moment inspiring, but what Triple H did was despicable as the COO of WWE.
Hunter says there's the confusion again between COO and competitor. He reminds that he didn't want to take this fight, but the fans forced his hand. He says the fans made him a competitor again and Bryan got exactly what they asked for. He asks what has happened to this world. He says he used to do horrible things in the ring when he was an active wrestler, but he saw fire for people to succeed back then. Now he sees apathy and says people are more content to cry about it. He mocks and says the fans should send a tweet to express their displeasure.
He proposes a "reality" era and says that he should end the Yes Movement and "Daniel Bryan's little run at the top." He says he will enter the triple threat match and "no one living off past glories, or no one living off untapped potential will stop him." He says the reality is that he has the power to make it happen "and they all know it's true." He says the reality is, at Wrestlemania 30 he will walk out the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He exits, smirking at the stage before he exits.
That was less than impactful. It's not that it was bad, but fans went from the "What?" treatment to just not really reacting at all. They probably could have gone with the standard Hunter heel promo and gotten the same effect out of the deal. I was expecting Bryan to interrupt, but that didn't happen.
King and JBL hype up John Cena vs. Luke Harper and Undertaker and Brock Lesnar facing off, later.
Match #4 - Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Cody Rhodes (w/Goldust)
Cole hypes up Total Divas as Fandango hits a slingshot leg drop for two. Fandango starts to take control of the match as King says he wants to go out with Summer one time. Rhodes comes back with a drop kick as the announcers talk about Triple H's reality era. Late in this one, Goldust mocks Summer Rae, but she seems like she twists her ankle. Rhodes hits the Disaster Kick to get the win. The brothers celebrate in the ring afterward.
Is there a mild tease there for Summer ditching Fandango? The ankle twist thing ended up being a farce as she motioned she was fine afterward. The match was a come-down from the Hunter segment, or at least that was the plan but there was nothing to come down from.
Cole talks about our guest hosts - Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manginello. He feeds it to a trailer for Sabotage. Hulk, and those two, are up next.
Hulk Hogan Segment:
Hulk's music hits and he gets a good reaction from the live crowd. Cole says that he plans to sit down with Hulk on Wednesday for an interview. He runs down all the links to Wrestlemania that Hogan has, like Mr. T, as Hogan plays to the crowd. Big time Hogan chants when the music dies down.
"Let me tell you somethin', brother." He doesn't mean to come out to be nostalgic and crybaby, but Wrestlemania 30 is less than two weeks from right now. Maybe in a different borough, but in this city he and Mr. T made history at Wrestlemania 1. Brooklyn loves Hulk as he points to the Wrestlemania sign. He says he's excited about Wrestlemania 30 and the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale. He says he's jacked up for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Mangianello and he brings them to the ring.
Arnie says it's wonderful to be back again and he gets a rousing chant. One year ago he had a privilege to induct Bruno Sammartino to the hall of fame and tonight he gets to be with Hulk Hogan. He puts Hogan over as the real deal, and puts over Joe. Joe is excited to host his first ever Monday Night Raw and to be with two legends. Arnold says Andre was a favorite of his and he and Andre were friends. He asks if Hogan has room for two more. Hogan goes to respond but Miz's music interrupts.
"Really? You two in the battle royale?" He says he's a big fan of Arnold and will go see Sabotage, and imagines that Arnold is a big fan of his in Marine 3 and the Christmas movie. The fans boo but Miz says "you boo, but you watched it." Miz puts himself over as winning the Battle Royale.
Hogan tells Miz he is standing in the middle of Hogan Country. Miz says he's the most must see WWE superstar of all time and that people are still talking about his win over John Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania 27. He tells the three that they don't belong. Joe steps in and says he has it, and if Miz wants them to leave he should go ahead and try.
After a standoff, this doesn't end well for Miz. Joe hits him with a punch, as does Arnold, and Hogan tosses Miz over the ropes. Miz sells at ringside while the three in the ring celebrate.
This wasn't a very good segment at all. I guess Miz is a heel now. At least he didn't curtain call with the celebs like he did with Michael Strahan.
The announcers hype up Undertaker and Brock being in the same building tonight.
Match #5 - Big Show vs. Titus O'Neil
They hype The Rock's new movie "Hercules" coming out this summer and JBL calls Rock the best Hercules of all time. Titus got no ring entrance. They run through snapshots of the 30 men who will be in the Battle Royale at Wrestlemania. Show slaps Titus across the chest a couple times but Titus gets Show down and controls him by putting the boots to him and dropping the leg.
Disorganized CM Punk chant picks up steam as Titus hits a couple splashes and a flying shoulder block for two. The announcers talk about winning the battle royale as Big Show comes back and hits a spear. Show hits the WMD Punch and that's the end of Titus. JBL says that Show can knock them out, but you have to get them over the top.
Stephanie and Triple H are chatting when The Shield walks in. They want answers for what happened on Friday night, saying "since Kane represents the Authority, and the New Age Outlaws are your old buddies." Ambrose wants to know where they stand. Triple H says that what happened between Kane and The Outlaws and The Shield is their business. Stephanie poses they get some vengeance by facing The Real Americans, then they can sit down and discuss things. Roman Reigns says "believe that" and they leave. Stephanie looks at Hunter to see if they're in the clear.
Cena is in a locker room, washing his face off. He turns quickly, thinking he hears something, then turns back to the mirror.
They run a Smackdown recap of Cena defeating Luke Harper.
Match #6 - John Cena vs. Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan)
Cena's music hits to a strong mixed reaction. Cena's got new gear - the shirt says "You can't stop me" on the front and "Even Stronger" on the back. The announcers talk about how Wyatt is in Cena's head. "Brooklyn, we're here." comes across the Tron after the strange Wyatt cut in. Fans are clapping along with Wyatt's music.
Dueling chants get started, with the derogatory chants overriding for the most part. Cena gets a big elbow to the mush to start off. The two battle in the early going, with Cena getting a little bit of the better of Harper in the corner. The vocal males chant for Harper as Cena mounts a corner attack. Harper takes back control of the match and dumps Cena to the floor. Fruity Pebbles chant gets started. Cena snaps Harper across the ropes but takes another elbow to the mush going into the break.
Harper controls out of the break. Cena tries his shoulder blocks but takes an atomic drop and a big boot. A bit later, Cena tries for the AA but Harper counters and takes Cena down for two. Cena comes back with his side slam and takes too long setting up the Five Knuckle. Harper comes back with a slam, then tries for a powerbomb. Cena counters with one of the ugliest hurancanranas I've seen in a while. Cena tries for the STF but Harper counters, throwing Cena from the ring. Harper hits a suicide dive, impressive for the big man.
Cena gets the STF, facing Wyatt. Harper counters by raking the eyes then hits a DDT. Cena rolls to the corner after a near fall. Harper sets Cena up top and tries a move off the ropes but Cena counters and follows up with the top rope leg drop for a near fall. Cena hits his side slam and Five Knuckle. Cena sets up the AA but gets planted for another two count.
Harper backs to the corner, looking for his finish. Cena comes back with a clothesline of his own that Cole calls desperate. Cena sets up the AA and the Wyatt cut-in hits. The arena goes dark and you can hear voices and scrumming around. They come back with The Family having Cena wrapped up in the ropes with the sheep mask on. The fans chant "this is awesome." The match is a no contest.
Cena's character shifting - from singing Jimmy Buffett songs to being worried to hyperventilating - isn't genuine. Now, the match itself was good, and the non-finish was unique, but it certainly wasn't awesome.
Cole hypes Christian facing Big E tomorrow night on Main Event for the Intercontinental Championship. Cole recaps what happened at the end of the match, with Cena ending up wearing the sheep mask.
Match #7 - Naomi (w/Cameron) vs. AJ (w/Tamina)
No sign of tension between Tamina and AJ, and she's the local girl so she gets a bit of a cheer even as a heel. Cole puts over her title run while AJ mocks the eye patch. Naomi comes back with a drop kick and a big kick to the head from the apron. Naomi tries for the Butt Butt but AJ bails. AJ grabs her belt and says she has the belt and doesn't need the match. AJ gets counted out.
Vickie comes out - long time no see. She addresses AJ's comments on Smackdown, calling them uncalled for. She runs through some of the history they have and says calls AJ a "real bitch." She says she is there to announce that AJ will compete in the Vickie Guererro Divas Championship Invitational. AJ will compete against Naomi, Cameron, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Natalya, and Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Layla, Rosa Mendes, and Tamina. Tamina and AJ look at each other, and Vickie cackles. AJ screams and Tamina sort of smiles. King says that what goes around comes around.
The live crowd gave the "real bitch" line a reaction, but they didn't know what to think of the match that Vickie booked. It's a creative way to get the popular ladies on the show, but is it a gauntlet, a battle royale, or something else?
They recap Undertaker confronting Paul Heyman on Main Event, and hype up that the two men are in the same arena tonight. Some hype for another Hall of Fame Inductee coming up after the break.
Hall of Fame Segment:
Cole reminds us that the Hall of Fame will be shown live on the Network. He feeds it into a video package for the next Hall of Fame inductee. It's Razor Ramon, also known as Scott Hall. He made it "cool to be the bad guy." The four time Intercontinental Champion was a part of the first ladder match. Heyman says we should be talking about that match. The live crowd gives him a standing ovation.
This was leaked through some news sites, but it's still a great induction. We talked on RingRap Audio about thinking the class was stacked and likely filled out - but wow was this an addition.
Cole resets the top of the show for us, and feeds it into a recap of when Batista insulted Stephanie. Orton laughed, but he got a spear for his troubles. Next week, however, Orton faces Batista a week out from Wrestlemania. Cole reads a tweet from Daniel Bryan, saying he can't be stopped at Wrestlemania.
Match #8 - Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, The Shield (w/Roman Reigns) vs. The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter)
The Shield gets their entrance prior to the break. Cole recaps the Smackdown beatdown they took again, saying Triple H had something to do with it through Kane. As the Americans make their entrance, Rollns and Ambrose head out to go after Cesaro and Swagger on the ramp. They battle to the ring and it settles down to a normal tag match. Ambrose beats down Cesaro in the corner. Blind tag on Rollins and he and Ambrose team up on Cesaro. Blind tag for Swagger to get in the ring and he gets beat up a little. Rollins hits the Three Amigos suplex spot, with an assist from Ambrose on the third. Ambrose and Rollins continue to control Swagger.
Swagger mounts a comeback. The vocal males chant "We the People" as the Americans hit a double-team leapfrog stomp. The Americans continue to control with quick tags. Ambrose counters a Swagger bomb and hits a twisting elbow off the second rope to create separation. Cesaro kicks Rollins and sets up Ambrose for the Cesaro swing. Brooklyn loves that idea and counts along. 20 laps! Rollins breaks up the cover and Ambrose gets blasted off the apron. Swagger and Cesaro team up to swing Ambrose into the barrier going to the break.
Real Americans continue to control the action, but Ambrose hits a backslide. Cesaro slaps him, but Ambrose wants more. Exchange of strikes, and Ambrose follows with a big clothesline. Both fresh men tag in. Rollins goes off on Swagger with kicks and chops. Rollins mocks the Real Americans then hits a splash and bounces Swagger off the buckle for two. Cesaro tries to get involved but gets dumped out. He takes a dive from Rollins, and Swagger takes one on the opposite side. Rollins is going off!
Knee to the head on Swagger. Things break down a little, with Ambrose taking out Cesaro. Cesaro sends Ambrose out of the ring. In the ring, Rollins hits a kick on Swagger then the Curb Stomp (that they're calling Piece of Mind) to get the win.
Afterward, Cesaro attacks Rollins and throws him out of the ring. Enter Roman Reigns, who hits a big Superman punch on Cesaro then goes out of the ring to hit him with a big spear. They clear off the announce table and put Cesaro through it with the triple powerbomb. As the Shield pose in the ring, Kane comes out with the New Age Outlaws - all three in suits. Kane tells them the Shield has been signed to a match against the three of them at Wrestlemania, and they will annihilate the Shield. Believe that.
I motioned "thumbs down" at that match prospect. My hope is that The Shield goes over in a convincing fashion, but this doesn't excite me all that much. Rollins really looked good here, and won the live crowd over to The Shield's side. This match just feels inconsequential.
They show Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman walking backstage. They're out next.
Brock Lesnar's music hits, and he heads to the ring with Paul Heyman. He's got a new shirt too - "Eat, Sleep, Break The Streak." Brooklyn likes him. Heyman introduces himself and he says he stands before us as the advocate for the "beast incarnate, the conquerer, Brock Lesnar." He puts over the Undertaker and says his streak is a staggering accomplishment. His record at Wrestlemania is 21-0. He says it isn't just a streak, it's an undefeated streak. That's why when Brock Lesnar breaks the Streak and defeats the Undertaker, it will take nothing away from the enormity of 21 consecutive wins on the grandest stage of them all.
He references Cena and says he can't go 21 straight wins. Andre the Giant couldn't do it. Brock Lesnar himself will never be able to claim it either. Heyman puts over Wrestlemania as the showcase of the immortals, where one era will end and another will begin. The one guaranteed ticket to immortality is to break the streak. When Taker grabbed him and when he slammed Undertaker....and Brock grabs the mic. He says "Enough Paul, I'm not here to promote, I'm here to fight. Undertaker - you're here, I'm here...let's do this."
The arena goes dark, and the Druids come out and surround a casket on the stage. They wheel the casket toward the ring. Lesnar paces in the ring and Heyman looks concerned. A spotlight is on the casket and Lesnar looks at it and looks around. He walks over to the casket and kicks it, but nothing happens. You can hear Heyman saying "I don't like this, let's just leave." Lesnar says "I'm not scared of him." and goes back to the casket again. He opens the casket, and it's empty.
Lesnar barks "is this some kind of joke!" and heads to the druids who are on the ramp. They slowly back away and Lesnar goes back to the ring. He yells into the mic that he's not there to play games and he's leaving. Heyman says that the streak might be born in Death Valley but Undertaker challenged him to a fight in a slum like Brooklyn and the only thing he brings is an empty casket.
The casket flings itself open. Undertaker is laying in there now. He sits up and climbs into the ring. Lesnar looks like he has seen a ghost. They stare each other down, then they exchange strikes. Taker whips Brock across the ring and Lesnar holds on to the ropes. Taker clotheslines Lesnar out on top of the casket. Lesnar and Heyman back up the ramp as Undertaker's music plays and he poses in the ring. JBL says "streaks were made to be broken" to end the show.
Maybe the casual fan is really excited over this prospect, but as bad as the Taker vs. Punk build was last year this is just as bad, if not worse. Lesnar has no heat right now, at all. They need to make him look like a badass and really generate a level of questioning that Taker can hang. But right now, Taker is in full control of this match and this story, and Lesnar just looks like a chump.
This show stared out with promise, but it fell apart. The show felt newsworthy at times with the establishment of a couple more matches and such, but this really felt like a long, flat show. It seemed like it would be a hot show early and the crowd was hot, but it really started to cool off quickly. Most importantly, I don't know if I feel any more excited than I was going into tonight about any particular match on the show. I think not seeing Bryan (albeit selling storyline injuries) took a little energy out of the crowd.
I'll have more to say about this show in Raw Afterthoughts tomorrow night. We'll also talk about this show in RingRap Audio on Thursday as well. Be sure to join in and send your questions and comments in via Twitter with the #AskRingRap tag. See you then, and thanks for following along tonight.