WWE takes Raw into Chicago tonight.  Last week brought a very newsworthy show, featuring the return of Hulk Hogan and Undertaker.  Hulk made his role known as the host of Wrestlemania 30.  Undertaker returned to accept a challenge of sorts from Brock Lesnar.  Will Lesnar conquer more history, or will Undertaker lay him to rest as well and run the venerable Streak to 22-0?  Their story starts tonight.  And we've got a guest host, and a rowdy Chicago crowd that might be looking for their hometown hero, CM Punk.

Raw Pre-Show:

Josh Mathews welcomes us in to Chicago, and is joined by Booker T, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Alex Riley on the panel.  Riley says it's his favorite building and it's going to be rocking tonight.

Booker T is looking forward to The Shield vs The Wyatts in their rematch from Elimination Chamber tonight.  Duggan is looking forward to the Usos taking on the New Age Outlaws.  Riley sells the guest host, Aaron Hall from "Need for Speed."

They talk about the upcoming Wrestlemania and how everyone is jockeying for a shot on the card.  Intensity and focus is different this time of year.  Booker talks about Big Cat Ernie Ladd talking about how they need to step on toes and keep walking.  You can hear loud CM Punk chants in the background.

Mathews feeds into a recap of Daniel Bryan confronting and challenging Triple H for a match at Wrestlemania.  Renee Young has an interview with Bryan and Brie.  Renee tells Bryan that he has a match with Batista and he says he will fight whoever the Authority puts in his way.  He quotes Batista's promo on Smackdown and says he will show "that 245lb jacked up wanna be movie star" who a real man is.  From there, they send it to a recap of Batista's scathing promo on Smackdown where he told fans to deal with it.

Booker T says Bryan will put something on Batista.  He admires what Bryan did with Triple H by calling him out as he did.  Hacksaw says that Bryan has heart and an arena full of fans supporting him.  Riley thinks Batista will squash Bryan like he did Ziggler on Smackdown.  Booker reminds Riley that he's a different person than Ziggler.  More "CM Punk" chants in the background.

We get a video package to highlight the Shield vs The Wyatts and their match tonight.  Riley talks about the dynamic between The Shield and their arguing amongst themselves as well as the dynamic with them and Triple H.  The Wyatts are more unified than The Shield and they need to decide who the real leader is.  Mathews uses that as a segway to talk about the interaction between John Cena and the Wyatts, feeding it to a video package from last week's segment between Cena and the Family. 

Cena tweeted earlier that tonight's Raw will be can't miss and he will address the Wyatts tonight.  They discuss the nature of injuries in the business and how Cena has recovered quickly.  Mathews briefly addresses the CM Punk chants, saying we haven't seen him since the Rumble.  He shills an interview with the New Age Outlaws next.

I wondered how long it would take to go to the CM Punk card.

Back, they talk about the launch of the Network and how amazing it has been.  Mathews feeds it into a highlight package of the airing of NXT ArRival from last week.  NXT can be seen every Thursday on the Network.  Riley says it was electric and he was there live, and says Triple H was like a proud daddy after the show.  Booker T puts over Adrian Neville, and Duggan mentions how the modern rookie talent is better than it was in the past because of their better training and nutrition.

Interview with the Outlaws.  They have Wrestlemania 30 jerseys already.  Road Dogg says they've been fighting champions defending their titles every week.  They will have two words for the Usos when it's over - "still champs!"

They go out to talk to the Los Matadores with Jerry Lawler after they won their match on Superstars.  They crack a horny joke with him, then say that maybe the next time they talk to the team they'll be tag team champions.  Yes, more CM Punk chants going on.  Mathews tells us Raw will be starting in about five minutes and they'll call for predictions when they come back.

Back, the panel touches on the card.  The Shield vs. the Wyatts, Bryan vs. Batista, and the tag team champions New Age Outlaws defend the title against the Usos.  Backstage, Renee looks for an update from Brock Lesnar, but Heyman tells her that when Lesnar is ready to talk he will.  He compliments her dress and goes back behind closed doors.  Riley says the roof will blow off when Heyman and Lesnar come out.  They will also get an interview on the post-show with Aaron Paul.  More "CM Punk" chants.

A decent enough pre-show.  Still too much playing around by the panel if you ask me.  I am betting we see Punk tonight.

WWE Raw, Live from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL

Cole welcomes us in, and you can hear CM Punk chants going.  The Shield vs. The Wyatts is billed as "Armageddon is upon us" and Batista vs. Daniel Bryan will happen "for the first time ever.  It's go time though - Cult of Personality hits and Allstate EXPLODES.  CM Punk chants get started, but here comes Paul Heyman to a chorus of boos.  This was not expected, and Cole admits that it's not who Chicago was expecting.

It is deafening in the Allstate Arena with CM Punk chants.  Heyman holds the mic out to the fans, then says "I believe he deserves louder than that" to get them going again.  Heyman sits down in the ring and says he came here tonight to tell the story of a Paul Heyman guy who was never truly wanted in WWE.  A guy "They" thought was too small to main event Wrestlemania, that didn't have the right corporate look, and would rebel against the system and the first family to such a degree "they" didn't want him in WWE from day one, and they don't want him now.

He came to tell the story of a Paul Heyman guy that had the balls to say what no one else had the balls to say.  He came here to tell about a Paul Heyman guy who was born, raised and still lives in Chicago.  "My name is Paul Heyman and this is my pipe bomb about CM Punk...who is not here this evening."  He gets boos for that.  He starts to continue but the chants interrupt him.  He says if Chicago is looking for him to disagree he won't, because he wants to see CM Punk in the ring as well.

"What really happened?  Why isn't CM Punk here?  Why won't anyone talk about CM Punk anymore?"  He says there is someone to hold accountable for why CM Punk wouldn't put up with it anymore.  He points the finger of blame for the fact that CM Punk isn't there at the fans.  He tells the fans they can boo all they want but they can't handle the truth.  When CM Punk was with Heyman he was the longest running champion of the past 25-years and he provided "the bosom from which his soul could be nourished."  He accuses the fans for taking Punk away from him.  The fans' respect and admiration didn't take them far, because "you didn't take CM Punk from me, you took him away from yourselves."

He also blames The Undertaker and says the downward spiral started after losing to the Undertaker.  He tells "whoever wants to carry a message to the Undertaker" that he is responsible for this.  He poses the question how someone can kill something already dead.  He says there is only one man who can conquer the Streak, and that's the  Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar.  Lesnar comes out with his hand bandaged from last week's stabbing.  Cole says Heyman has hitched his cart to a guy that can actually beat the Streak.  JBL says it's possible, but King says that Taker has faced a lot of brutal opponents.

Heyman feeds it to a recap of last week's show.  More "CM Punk" chants.  Lesnar takes the mic and says that unlike some he doesn't make claims he can't back up.  He says that Undertaker is afraid of him.  He says that many have tried - like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, "and you're own baby boy, CM Punk."  He says that the Streak will get conquered by Brock Lesnar.  King says that Taker has always been the favorite.  JBL talks about how Lesnar faced Randy Couture and he hasn't been seen since.

Mark Henry's music hits and he comes to the ramp.  Lesnar tries to jump over the stairs at him, but Henry meets him with a big right hand.  Henry goes after Lesnar, but he takes charge.  Lesnar uses the steps to knock Henry down, then clears off the announce table.  Lesnar picks Henry up to hit the F5 and delivers it through the announce table.  More CM Punk chants, and Heyman raises Lesnar's hand.  Cole poses if this might be the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.  They run through a recap of the beatdown.  Back live, Lesnar smiles back toward the ring.

That was a pretty strong opening segment.  Certainly opens the door for Punk to align with Heyman since he didn't badmouth Pun if he comes back.  Chicago is hot, for sure.

Up next, the Usos get a shot at the New Age Outlaws to win the tag titles.

Match #1 - The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, c) vs. The Uso Brothers; WWE Tag Team Championship

Road Dogg asks if Chicago is ready, and it's not a real strong reaction, so he says they're not worthy of their catchphrases.  Mild boos for that.  The Usos make their entrance to a nice reaction.  As they come out, we get a recap of how the Usos got their shot tonight via last week's Raw.  JBL pleads a "catchphrase exception" even though the bell had rung.  Recurring theme of the night - more "CM Punk" chants.  The Outlaws control the early going, with Road Dogg hitting a clothesline going into commercial.

Jey continues to sell coming back live.  He gets a kick on Road Dogg and gets the hot tag to Jimmy.  He goes on a run, hitting Billy with a Samoan Drop and Dogg with a Bubba Bomb.  He hits the butt splashes on both in the opposite corners, then a nice corkscrew off the ropes for a near fall.  He goes up again but spies Road Dogg and hits him with a superkick.  Gunn rolls him up for two, then hits a tilt-a-whirl slam for a near fall.

Gunn sets up the Fameasser but Jimmy avoids.  Off the ropes, he tags his brother and hits Dogg with a dive.  Jey is the legal man and he hits Gunn with a superkick and follows with a splash off the ropes to secure the win and the tag team championship.  King and Cole walk us through a recap of the finish as the boys celebrate.

A good match that may have meant more on the Wrestlemania stage.  The live crowd popped for the title change and closing sequence.

Cole hypes up Aaron Paul as our guest host, and feeds it to a trailer for Need for Speed.  Backstage, Aksana, Natalya, the Bellas and Alicia Fox talk about it.  They pick on Nikki for having a need for speed (for dating John Cena who has fast cars) and Aksana speaks up saying she wants a ride with Paul.  Awkward moment.

Match #2 - Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger) vs. Big E.

Cesaro hits a big backbreaker right off the bat to a nice reaction from Chicago. Big E comes back with a belly to belly then tries to set up the splash but ends up out of the ring.  Swagger takes a right hand from Big E.   Back in the ring, Cesaro hits Big E with the swing to a nice reaction.  For whatever reason, Swagger gets in the ring and hits the Swagger Bomb for the DQ victory.

Afterward, the Real Americans argue about what happened, and Big E hits Cesaro with the Big Ending.  Chicago boos about that.  The Real Americans continue to bicker.

This just continues the story of breaking up the Real Americans, I guess.  It didn't do much else, really.

Cole hypes the Bryan vs. Batista main event for later.  The Shield's music hits and they make their way down through the fans to a nice reaction.  Cole says that Armageddon is upon us.

Match #3 - The Shield (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan)

The Shield poses in the ring before the Wyatts get their entrance.  Chicago already thinks this is awesome.  In the early going, Seth Rollins goes off against the Wyatts, hitting Harper and Rowan with dives outside the ring.  The live crowd is eating this up.  He sets up for a top rope move, but Ambrose runs interference to stop Bray from getting involved.  He runs Wyatt into the ropes, which knocks down Rollins.  That allows the Wyatts to take control going into commercial.

The Wyatts continue to control the action out of the break.  Wyatt draws Ambrose off the corner and Reigns gives chase, leaving no one for Rollins to tag as he gets separation.  The Wyatts get some more offense but Rollins breaks away and gets the tag to Ambrose.  Ambrose attacks the leg of Rowan, hitting a dragon screw whip then the figure four.  Harper attacks him, and that draws Reigns out to attack.  Reigns throws Harper to the timekeeper area.  Back in the ring, Wyatt hits Ambrose with a one-armed slam.

The numbers are still in the Wyatts' favor.  They control Ambrose as the fans chant for CM Punk.  Rowan uses a head vice but Ambrose counters by pulling his beard.  Harper tags in as the fans start chanting for Reigns.  Series of uppercuts, but Ambrose hits a wicked clothesline to create separation, but Harper gets the tag to Wyatt.  Ambrose hits a big DDT after Wyatt took Reigns out of the match.

Ambrose crawls to the corner, but Rollins drops down away.  He walks away and Reigns confronts him on the ramp.  Rollins tells Reigns that he's tired of being the glue holding things together, and tells Reigns and Ambrose to figure it out and leaves. In the ring, Ambrose takes a cross body from Wyatt for a near fall.  Chaos ensues as Reigns hits a couple Superman punches on the Wyatts.  He hits his big leaping kick at the apron on Harper.  A bit later, Regins spears Rowan over the announce position, then takes a dive from Harper to send him back over the table.

Rollins watches from the ramp as back in the ring Wyatt sets Ambrose up for Sister Abigail.  He hits it, and the Wyatts win.  Cole hypes up the dissension among the Shield.  We get a recap, and then the announcers discuss Rollins departing the match.

A different kind of energy, but still a very good match between these two teams.  The Elimination Chamber bout was better overall, but this was great high energy stuff.  I am guessing they're feeding into a triple threat between the Shield down the road somewhere.


Renee Young interviews Batista.  She asks him about facing Bryan and the Yes Movement.  He calls it the dumbest thing he's seen and fans watch too many movies and it's a fantasy.  He says that people like her and the fans may not like it but they need to deal with it.

A good interview from Batista - just talking, rather than being a wrestler.  The live crowd wasn't responsive though.  Maybe they didn't care much.

We get hype for Wrestlemania being 34 days away, then they roll into highlights of the Usos winning the tag titles.  The announcers point out that the New Age Outlaws will challenge for the tag titles in a rematch on Main Event, live tomorrow night at 7PM EST.

We will have some sort of coverage of the live Main Event, as it will be staying in that time slot until Wrestlemania via the Network.

Match #4 - Santino Marella and Emma vs. Fandango and Summer Rae

We get a recap of last week's match between Emma and Summer Rae, and CM Punk chants start.  A comedy spot with several high fives between Emma and Santino so that feeds several tag-in tag out moments.  Fandango has had enough and attacks Marella.   Fandango hits a leg lariat for two.  Now we get "We Want Ziggler" chants I believe.  Emma uses the "tarantula" in the ropes on Summer.  After some more forgettable action, Emma puts Summer in the EmmaLock to get the submission win.  A clumsy celebration takes place with the faces afterward.

The Emma we saw on NXT ArRIVAL is so much better than what we just saw.  I guess they needed something to come down from everything that's been going on, but it doesn't work for me.

They highlight the ongoing feud between Sheamus and Christian.  They'll be going at it later.

Stephanie McMahon talks about the WWE Network and being able to share memories with her daughters.

A nice sell from the personal family side of the business.  I won't complain too much about this.

Match #5 - Christian vs. Sheamus

As Christian comes out they hype up the live Main Event program tomorrow night.  Christian and Sheamus jaw, then Christian slaps him.  The chase is on outside of the ring now and Sheamus runs Christian into the barrier a couple times before throwing him back in.  Sheamus continues to control, hitting a high knee to get a two count.  Christian takes back control of the offense, standing on Sheamus' chest and posing for the crowd to boos.

Christian slaps Sheamus again, and gets an Irish Curse backbreaker for his troubles.  Sheamus charges, and Christian drops him over the rope then hits him with a baseball slide.  He tries a dive, but Sheamus casually sidesteps it then throws him into the stairs.  More action outside the ring, as Sheamus tries to take Christian to the post but he slips away.  A standoff at the announce position enuses, drowned in CM Punk chants going to break.

After the break, Christian controls the offense.  Sheamus throws some right hands but takes a back suplex then plays to the crowd.  He tries a splash but Sheamus moves.  Sheamus comes back with a Finlay Roll and both men sell. An exchange of strikes, then he spears Christian in the corner.  Christian ends up on the apron and Sheamus tries to go a clubbering but that doesn't happen.  Christian goes up top but gets caught then hung out to dry.  Sheamus goes a clubbering with the forearm shots, then hits two high knees for a two count.

Christian gets some offense in, hitting a frog splash to get a near fall.  The live crowd starts up CM Punk chants again.  Sheamus hits White Noise for a good near fall.  Late, Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick off the apron to get the win.  The announcers give us a recap of the close of the match.

The announcers hype the main event between Bryan and Batista, and the fact that Cena will address the Wyatts.


Renee Young interviews Sheamus.  He says it's been a hard road back from injury.  Before he can go on, Christian attacks him from behind until referees and agents break things up.  He's yelling "you think you're better than me?" the entire time.

Match #6 - The Bella Twins vs. Aksana and Alicia Fox

Cole reminds us it's a sellout as the Bellas work over Aksana.  You can find out untold stories of Wrestlemania via iTunes.  Brie yells at the Chicago fans and hits a running knee at the ropes on Aksana.  Aksana gets separation and tags in Alicia.  The heels control the action as the commentators do some commenhatin.  Alicia Fox gets a near fall on Brie.

Hot tag to Nikki and she goes off on the heels.    Facebuster on Alicia then a big body drop.  Aksana breaks up a pinfall, and Brie hits her with a missile drop kick.    Nikki hits the torture rack move to get the win to polite applause.  The Bellas celebrate as the heels limp away.

The fans didn't care about this.  Aksana was working differently for sure in this one - gunshy after the incident with Naomi.

They show Daniel Bryan is heading toward the ring.  He will take on Batista, next.

They show shots around Chicago, including Wrigley Field.  A shill for "Sirens", a new USA Series, airs then they show the cast in the audience.

In-Ring Segment:

Daniel Bryan gets his entrance to a huge ovation, with "yes!" chants.  He says that's what he likes to hear, and the people of Chicago understand they have a voice.  Tonight, "we" will hijack Raw.  That gets Chicago all fired up.  He says he won't leave the ring until one of two things happens - until Batista comes down to fight or Triple H comes out to answer his challenge.  Last week, Bryan challenged him to a match at Wrestlemania but Triple H turned him down.  He says there are reasons, but before he can go further Triple H's music hits.  Chicago greets him with boos and ridiculously loud CM Punk chants.  Trips plays into them.

Stephanie admires his tenacity for trying to hijack Raw after all his losses.  Bryan blows by that and addresses Triple H, saying that for the last six months he has been screwed over and beaten - out comes The Shield, Kane, or a screwball referee.  He tells Triple H even he Pedigreed him.  Bryan insists he's unbroken and has the fans' support. Rousing "Yes!" chants.  He says he's stronger than ever and reasserts his challenge for Wrestlemania 30.

Trips laughs and says it won't happen.  He asks what is it with his generation and why can't he accept his failure and inadequacy.  He leans to Stephanie and says he'll call it the excuses era.  He says people blame everyone else - "they held me down, they buried me, they screwed me."  Deafening "CM Punk" chants as Trips continues to talk.  He says that if anyone failed it's because they just weren't good enough.  He calls Bryan a B plus player and doesn't understand why people get mad about it.  He says it's a good spot, and it will take a lot more than a B plus player to get him to lace his boots up for Wrestlemania.  "Asshole" chants, and Trips says it's his turn.

Bryan says the people can see through their lies and that's why they chant.  "Yes!" chants.  Bryan says that Trips claims to do it for the fans and what's best for business but he doesn't truly listen.  The only way people will see is if he faces Triple H and beats the crap out of him at Wrestlemania.  Stephanie tells Bryan he has a compelling argument and starts drowning in boos.  She asks him why he would listen to the fans because they will turn on him on a dime.  She and Hunter are the only ones who won't.

She says the chants and being asked for his autograph are intoxicating.  She says it's gone to his head, "especially where you're from."  She says without her family, he would have nothing and be nothing.  21 trucks showed up to this arena "to do this for you."  She mentions the ring and all the social media platforms, saying that was all for him too.  She says without her family, there wouldn't be Yes! Shirts, the underdog persona, or the people chanting.  She says they made him while the fans chant no.

Bryan tells her that her delusions of grandeur are compelling.  Bryan tells Stephanie to don Triple H's trunks, and Triple H can wear her skirt, and he and Stephanie can have a match at Wrestlemania while Triple H sits back.   Triple H asks if he has to break it down to kindergarten level and it's not his first rodeo.  He tells Bryan he can forget the Wrestlemania match.  He says it's the showcase of the immortals, and Bryan clearly is not an immortal. 

Triple H tells him to get out of his ring. He walks to one side of the ring and Stephanie joins him.  Bryan says that this is the fans' ring.  Stephanie says that it is, and Triple H says that all of it, "including them and even you, belong to us."  He tells Bryan to leave the ring.  Bryan defies again and tells Hunter to make him.  They stare down and Stephanie calls for Kane.  Kane's music hits and he makes his way down, but Bryan dives out and attacks Kane before anything can get going.  Stephanie calls for security to come out.

Security and officials separate Kane and Bryan.  Security forms a wall between Bryan and the ring.  The fans go ape for Bryan, and he smiles and backs to the back.  The announcers sell the main event match between he and Batista.  They hype John Cena addressing the Wyatts also.

This is good execution really.  Fans will be let down by Bryan facing Triple H otherwise, because they feel Bryan should be in the title match.  So building it this way will get fans excited about the match when it actually comes to be.  It won't do it for everyone, but it should help the majority.

We get highlights of Brock Lesnar roughing up Mark Henry earlier in the show, and destroying the announce position.  Cole hypes the Network and the pre-show, and sends it to the panel for a brief discussion of the show.

Match #7 - Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Aaron Paul)

Ziggler gets his entrance in a Shelby Mustang.  You can hear it rev up at the beginning of the match. Nice ride.  Del Rio didn't get a televised entrance.  Aaron Paul joins the announcers and talks about the movie, and how they don't use green screens or CGI.  Del Rio hits his superkick for a near fall.  Aaron gets on the announce table and distracts Del Rio.  Ziggler comes back moments later with the Zig Zag to get the win.

Inoffensive enough to have Paul on the show.

Hall of Fame Announcement:

It's time for the next inductee.  It's Paul Bearer (William Moody), who passed before last year's Wrestlemania.  They run a nice video package highlighting his career with a number of stars talking about him.  He will be inducted with Lita, Ultimate Warrior, and Jake the Snake Roberts.

One of the best managers ever.  Well deserved, just a shame he can't experience this in person.

Match #8 - Big E. vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter and Cesaro)

No match really here, as Cesaro jumps in and hits Big E with the Neutralizer for the DQ.

Afterward, the Real Americans argue amongst themselves.  Cesaro knocks Swagger down and teases the Big Swing but Colter pleads to not do this.  He demands that Cesaro help up Swagger, then tells them to put it behind them and hug it out.  Eventually they do, and Colter tells them to stand up straight and tall, and real Americans stand up and say "we the people."  They're still looking each other up though.

More tension between these two, and I guess one of them ends up spinning off to a singles act.

King hypes up that Cena will be out next to address the Wyatt Family situation.

In-Ring Segment:

John Cena's muisic hits, and Chicago boos him straight out of the building.  He tries to run to the ring but his knee is heavily taped so that's no good.  He smiles and does his pose in the ring as Cole resets the show attendance for us.  Cena waits out boos and heavy CM Punk chants.  Cena thanks them for the "Warm Chicago Welcome."

He says he was injured by the Wyatts last week, which draws a cheer.  He says because of doctor's orders tonight he won't have a match. More cheers and a "yes" chant that he answers with a "that's your way of saying get well soon."  He says that even though he won't compete he wanted to come out.  More "CM Punk" chants and he says he wanted to hear the passion and energy of a city.  He says the Allstate Arena has always had a special place in his heart; he competed in Wrestlemania here, Brock Lesnar kicked the crap out of him, and he had a special Money in the Bank moment "with someone" there.

Chicago and he haven't always seen eye to eye, but he's big on respect and he respects the city, and even though he might get booed out he knows they're honest and loud.  He says he has been listening tonight to the "hijack business."  He says he understands the fans want change - which gets "yes!" chants.  He respects that, but the fans need to respect that success is earned and change will go through him.  He tells Wyatt that if he thinks he's in the driver's seat because of last week he's wrong. He says he has given the last 12 years to this business.  Ironically he's in the same place his career started and he's doing the same thing he did then, standing tall.

Wyatt cut-in image hits.  He addresses Cena and says he has built an empire around him.  He asks Cena if he can feel the people and the energy.  He says Cena reminds him of a thorobred horse that just keeps winning.  One day, the horse slows down, and that's when reality sets in.  Now he's not looking for the next finish line, but instead the back of a barn laying down on a slab.

Wyatt asks how long he thinks he can hold them off.  He says mercy is calling by name, and Wyatt is the reaper.  He will put Cena down.  He tells Cena what he's really afraid of.  He says it's the man sitting alone on top of his empty castle.  Follow the buzzards.

This was a good promo segment, even if it was Cena's Greatest Hits.  They need to really do something to get heat on the Wyatts though going ahead to Wrestlemania.  They're not there yet.

They show Batista backstage heading to the ring.  He comes across Orton, who wishes him luck against Daniel Bryan.  Batista smirks and continues the walk.

Back live, Lana comes out and introduces Alexander Rusev.  He says a few words in his native tongue that can't be understood.

They recap Hulk Hogan's return to WWE and some of the media appearances he has made on behalf of WWE to hype the Network and Wrestlemania.  Hogan will make an appearance in Memphis next week to make a Wrestlemania announcement.

Randy Orton's music hits and he comes out to the ring.  He wants a closer look apparently, so he joins the announce position after holding up the belts that would never be seen together again.

Match #9 - Batista vs. Daniel Bryan

Batista gets some heavy boos from the Chicago fans as his pyro goes off.  Orton holds the titles up to Batista as he poses in the ring.  Chicago really doesn't like him.  Bryan's music hits and the fans light up for him.  The announcers talk about the earlier promo segment with him and Triple H, and how Triple H wouldn't get in the ring with Bryan.  Bootista chants as this gets going.

Batista shoulder blocks Bryan down then looks at Orton.  Bryan takes his offense to the knee and takes Batista down that way and works on him at the ropes.  He unleashes kicks in the corner while the fans chant for CM Punk.  Bryan continues to work the leg with a half crab.

Out of break, Bryan starts to fire up.  He hits a running drop kick in the corner, then sets another up but Batista ducks out.  Batista takes a dive from Bryan then a missile drop kick.  Bryan unleashes his series of kicks on a kneeling Batista to get a near fall.  Bryan goes up top, but here comes Triple H, Stephanie, and Kane.  The distraction allows Batista to gain an advantage.  Batista throws Bryan to the stairs, then into Orton.  Batista stares at Orton then gets in the ring.  Bryan hits a kick as "overrated" chants start.

Orton jumps in the ring and hits Bryan, so the match ends.  Orton hits his Viper Pose and teases the RKO, but Batista shoves him off into a running knee from Bryan.  Kane goes to get involved but Bryan kicks him and he falls into Triple H.  Bryan setts up for a dive, but Batista spears him.  Triple H and Kane jump in the ring, but Triple H begs off Kane to the corner.  Triple H gets a mic and tells Bryan he has had enough of his fantasy crap.

Bryan kicks him in the head, but Batista gets the better of Bryan and hits him with the Batista Bomb.  Triple H follows up with the Pedigree, and the Authority stands over him.  Stephanie chants "yes" while Triple H stares out at the fans.  That's the end of the live show.

Well, WWE successfully trolled Chicago.  Sorry guys.  There was so much talk up front about hijacking the show by the fans and so much else, but WWE did what I didn't think they could do.  They delivered a hot show and kept the fans engaged in all the goings on. 

I guarantee a number of fans went home disappointed by the fact that CM Punk did not appear tonight.  There were a lot of rumors flying that he was going to be there, and WWE even played into it early on with Heyman's promo starting with Punk's entrance music.  A lot of viewers would probably feel the same way.  But WWE kept the show on track and didn't let it get out of control.  They were able to get stories advanced and turned in a really good program.

We'll have more to say on this show tomorrow night in Raw Afterthoughts, and on RingRap Audio this week.  Tomorrow night, Main Event coverage as well as your Smackdown Spoilers.  Be watching for that and more here on Ring-Rap.com