Wrestlemania is 13 scant days away. It sure doesn’t feel like it, if you’re in my shoes. Anyhow, tonight WWE is teasing their final Hall of Fame inductee for 2015. Who might that be? Also, on Smackdown this past Thursday Randy Orton said he had a challenge for Seth Rollins. Looks like it’s pointing to a Wrestlemania match. Will Rollins respond the way Orton wants him to? And will Rollins get some momentum back after taking a beating last week. The struggling challenger Roman Reigns plods on to his match with Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Lesnar isn’t slated to appear tonight – so how will his advocate Paul Heyman fill the void?
Show Open, Live from the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA
Then, Now, and Forever. They open with clips of Randy Orton’s interview with Michael Cole. He talks about how he was biding his time to get his revenge on Seth Rollins. He called it “the perfect time” to strike, saying he saw fear in Rollins’ eyes. He enjoyed beating the holy hell out of Seth Rollins. He says he knows there will be hell to pay but it’ll be worth it. He says he will find Rollins, spit in his face, and challenge him to a match at Wrestlemania.
Live in the arena, Rollins’ music is playing. Kane, Big Show, J&J Security, and Seth Rollins are in the ring. Rollins’ reaction is a bit mixed, given he is from Davenport, IA. Rollins isn’t happy. He says they chant his name now but they all loved “that” (the Orton video package). He says that is called betrayal, and there’s no other way to describe it. He says the fans don’t understand because “in order to be betrayed you have to be somebody.”
He says for important people like him who made it out of Iowa and made something of their lives, that is betrayal. He says that’s what happened, courtesy Randy Orton. He pauses and waits out an “RKO” chant. He says it’s not that Orton betrayed him but it’s how he did it. He says Orton mocked him while he was suffering. Rollins says he called Orton a friend and a family member and he betrayed him.
He tells the fans to not get it twisted and compare it to what Rollins did to The Shield. He says what he did to the Shield was a sound business decision, made to secure his future. What Orton did was “so much different.” He says it was done in cold blood and without the slightest trace of human decency and it was borderline sociopathic.
For three weeks, Orton schemed and conned his way into the Authority. He says Orton made fools of Triple H and Stephanie as well. He says if it weren’t for them opening their arms and welcoming Orton back, none of this would have happened. “It disgusts me.”
Big Show gets a mic and gets some heat. “Seth, I owe you an apology. I’m sorry. I feel as though I’m personally responsible for what happened to you.” Show says he thinks of him as the future and the “best damn talent in WWE.” He calls Orton’s acts cruel and says he betrayed their trust. He says Orton is like Rollins said – a slimy no good snake in the grass. “You know what I do to snakes in the grass?” Show says he crushes them under his boot and that he’s a giant.
Kane also apologizes and says that he wasn’t as gullible as Show but he got sucked in as well. He says Orton will pay for betraying all of them. Noble gets the mic and calls himself the “secret weapon of the Authority.” He says he didn’t see a snake, but did smell a rat. He says he doesn’t care about himself, but he cares about Rollins. He says it hurt Joey Mercury the most.
Mercury attempts to speak, but can’t. He hands the mic off and cries on Big Show’s chest. Rollins says it did hurt, but Orton’s ego will hurt the most. “For years and years, Randy thought he could get away with whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, with no consequences.” Rollins says Orton has never messed with anyone like him.
He says Orton wants to challenge him to a match at Wrestlemania. The fans chant “yes.” Rollins says he accepts, but only on one condition. “You agree to face me tonight in this ring on Monday Night Raw.” Rollins says that Orton likes to call himself the face of WWE…and he gets interrupted by Orton’s music.
Orton comes to the stage with a mic. “Seth, I’m not the face of WWE. I’m just a guy, a guy who last week made you look like a little bitch.” He says he will beat Seth’s ass tonight because he accepts the challenge to face Rollins in the main event of Raw. He says he knows it will be five on one and that Rollins will stack the deck against him. He says that’s okay because he has enough venom for all of the Authority.
He says if he suffers a beatdown from the Authority, it will make it all the sweeter to beat him at Wrestlemania. He says if Rollins doesn’t end it tonight, and Orton makes it to Wrestlemania, he will end the future of WWE.
Why doesn’t Orton end it tonight? Anyhow, not a bad promo segment to sell the main event of the show, as well as set up the Wrestlemania match. Rollins did a nice job of turning his home-state fans against him. With the Authority folks in the ring, they must have done more to get them riled up.
Cole says that’s how bad that Orton wants to get his hands on Rollins, that he’s willing to walk into a trap. JBL says that Orton should know better. Cole says that we’ll also make it official tonight as John Cena and Rusev will sign their contract for their Wrestlemania match.
JBL also hypes up a pre-taped interview with Brock Lesnar, who will speak out about the main event of Wrestlemania. Backstage, AJ and Paige are heading to the ring. They’re going to be out first for the first match.
I really wish WWE would hype Lesnar segments better ahead of time. A pre-tape, given Lesnar’s contractual schedule, is must-see at this point, so they really need to get more mileage out of them.
We get an ad for Wrestlemania, 13 days out.
Match #1 – AJ Lee (w/Paige) vs. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella)
As AJ and Paige come to the ring, JBL rants at Cole for not selling Mania harder. I can’t say I blame Cole for not being excited. Anyhow, in a picture in picture, Nikki and Brie talk about how AJ and Paige used to be at each other’s throats, but now they’re suddenly friends. They’ve been sisters their whole lives. “Give Divas a chance? Give us a break.”
Early going, AJ gets an arm bar. Nikki scoops up AJ but she turns it into a huracanrana that looks a bit sloppy. They go to break (yes, you read that right) with Nikki selling outside the ring.
Back live, Nikki is in control, but AJ starts to fire back. Nikki takes AJ down with an elbow for two. Nikki starts to focus on the arm with an arm breaker for two. Nikki runs AJ to the corner and focuses the offense on the arm as the announcers talk about how women hate each other. Score them points, Booker.
AJ turns the armbar into a submission of her own, but Nikki runs her into the corner. AJ comes back with a Thesz press and a corner splash. AJ hits a neckbreaker, then after tripping Nikki she hits a cross body for two. Nikki plants AJ with a facebuster off the knee for two.
Nikki tries for an Alabama Slam but AJ counters with a sunset flip. AJ hits a drop kick but Nikki sends AJ to ringside. Paige runs over to keep the numbers even. Brie and Paige argue, and Paige ends up eating the ring post. Off the distraction, Nikki hits a big forearm shiver then follows with the Rack Attack to get the win. They recap the finish as the Bellas pose to very little reaction.
That wasn’t terrible. I was quietly surprised they got a two-segment match. I am cautious to think they’ll be doing more beyond this feud, but we’ll see where it goes. Definitely did add to my interest in their match coming up at Wrestlemania. Paige getting tossed into the ring post drew a reaction, but not much else did.
Cole talks about the Intercontinental Championship ladder match. Six of the seven men will be in a tag later tonight. Also, Mark Henry appeared on Smackdown, but he got speared by Roman Reigns. JBL says we will get a full recap, next.
Back live, the announcers hype all of the upcoming Wrestlemania programming, as well as a grand total of six hours of show coverage on Wrestlemania Sunday. Oh boy.
They run a recap of Mark Henry interrupting Roman Reigns on Smackdown. Henry mocked him about respect, then got speared through the barricade.
Backstage, Renee Young interviews Big Show and Kane. Kane says he has decided that Show will be in Rollins’ corner tonight. Show and Kane bicker about Kane making that decision on his own. Rollins enters the picture and rants, telling them that they need to see the bigger picture. He reminds them that they represent the Authority, Triple H, Stephanie, and him.
Kane tells Rollins that Stephanie may speak to them however she likes, but Rollins may not. Kane says he feels partly responsible for last week, but kind of liked it. He says that Rollins has been acting like a spoiled and entitled brat ever since Kane enabled him to win Money in the Bank. He says that’s why he won’t be at ringside tonight. He asks Show if he chooses to be at ringside. Show simply stares at Rollins, then leaves.
This could all be a swerve. Kinda dumb, because they could attack Orton without all of this song and dance.
Ryback makes his entrance. He’s got the next match, against Miz.
Back live, they give us a recap of Miz saying he could beat Ryback by himself without Mizdow. Ryback beat him up.
Match #2 – Ryback vs. The Miz (w/Mizdow)
Ryback leads “feed me more” chants as we get a shot of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale trophy. Miz makes his entrance. Fans cheer for Mizdow but boo Miz. Miz says in a pop-box promo, saying that he has a personal assistant to help him win the Andre Battle Royale, or he will be fired. JBL tries to insist that the cheers are for Miz saying that Iowans are slow. “We want Mizdow.” chants start.
Miz starts off fast on Ryback in the corner with kicks and punches. Ryback counters with a press and slam. Outside the ring, Ryback tells Mizdow to hit him. Miz tells him to not do it. Back in the ring, Ryback hits a spinebuster, then the Meathook. “Finish him!” Shellshocked by Ryback nets the win. Booker notes that Mizdow didn’t move to help Miz.
In the ring, Mizdow helps Miz to his feet. Miz tricks him and hits the Skull Crushing Finale on him. He gets booed, but Mizdow gets cheered.
The Miz/Mizdow story has been one of the few highlights of Wrestlemania. It seems like they might just peak this at the right time – I thought it might have gone on too long, but I might have to retract that.
The announcers talk about the US Championship match between Cena and Rusev. Cole feeds it to a video package recapping last week’s exchange between Rusev and Cena that got Cena his match at Wrestlemania. Lana agreed to the match after a second STF by Cena.
United States Championship Contract Signing:
Michael Cole will be our official for this one. He introduces Cena first. He tells Cena that the contract is present on the table, and if he will sign it. Cena takes it and looks it over. He says that he has signed a lot of them, and this one is the most important. He says in moments we’ll be introduced to a super athlete, a hero to the Russian federation – Rusev. He says that as US Champion, Rusev represents all of the fans.
He says he could come down to the ring and whip Rusev all over the ring, but it will do no good. As long as he wears the US Championship, Rusev continues to represent the fans. He says he will sign the contract because enough is enough. He says Rusev lives in America, and has had opportunities presented to him but continued to belittle the US. He says it disgusts him that Rusev belittles a country we’re all proud to call home.
A “USA” chant gets going. Cena tells the fans to let that chant fill them with love and pride for the US. He talks about standing on the front lines with the US Military. In the same breath, he is ashamed that he has to look them in the eye and say Rusev is the man bringing their title into battle. “In my eyes, that contract is a declaration of independence and Wrestlemania is a revolution.”
Cena says he believes that the United States is the greatest country on earth. He says that Rusev will learn that you can only push the US so far “before we just come back and kick your ass.”
A good promo, but the military lines were a bit too much.
Cole introduces Rusev to a chorus of boos. He comes out without Lana at his side, in a suit. He has a gentleman join him and walk behind him though. JBL and Booker debate who this man is. Cole asks Rusev to sign, and Rusev examines it. Des Moines wants Lana. Cena says “apparently this crowd wants the one with the balls.”
The man identifies himself as the attorney for Rusev. He says Rusev won’t sign, and he did not agree to this or any match. He feeds it to “exhibits A and B,” which are video footage of Stephanie McMahon saying that Cena had to change Rusev’s mind regarding the match, and Lana agreeing to it.
Back live, the man – who by the way has a really shitty Russian accent – says that Rusev never agreed to the match, so the contract is null and void. He goes on to say that if Cena will allow Rusev to read a prepared statement without “American brutality,” he will sign the contract for the match. Booker and JBL make fun of the “Russian attorney” and ask where they found him.
Rusev pulls a paper from his pocket. He talks about how Americans live and die on second chances. He cites beating Cena at Fast Lane, but yet Cena wants another chance. He goes on to run down the US, saying that the parents of America are failures and taught their children to be failures. He says that the US will die, then signs the contract. He flips the table toward Cena, but runs. Cena jaws at him and says that he has the contract while Rusev poses at the stage.
That “actor” was terrible. I’ve seen porn with better acting….err…wait…
The segment was fine, and got them to the match, bad actor aside. They played into the fact that Lana, and not Rusev, agreed to the match but still got to it.
Match #3 – New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E, w/Xavier Woods) vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya)
In a pop up promo, Kidd and Cesaro talk about New Day, mocking their routine and saying “no way!” Los Matadores music hits and they make their way to the ring to look on. In a short match, Cesaro ends up hitting Kofi from behind while he’s distracted to get the win.
Afterward, Los Matadores attack Woods and feed him in to Cesaro, who hits the Neutralizer on him. Torito attacks Cesaro and sends him out of the ring. Los Matadores are standing tall to celebrate in the ring afterward.
The pre-tape was the best part of that sequence.
They replay footage of the Bray Wyatt and Undertaker segment from last Monday. Cole says that Wyatt will respond to Taker later on in the show. Up next though is Brock Lesnar, and his sit down interview.
They run an ad for WWE 2K15, featuring gameplay action between Sting and Triple H.
Backstage, Seth Rollins is with J&J Security. He talks about them working together and not letting things unravel like they did last week. Noble speaks up and says if he didn’t argue with them, they wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with. Rollins slaps Noble, and threatens to fire him and send him “back to whatever backwoods true detective hellhole you came from.” Noble says he can’t fire him, because Noble quits. Rollins says to Mercury that they didn’t need him anyhow. Mercury then walks out.
This is a ruse, right? It seems unnecessary – they are the Authority and could do whatever they want without repercussions.
Brock Lesnar Pre-Tape:
Lesnar says he was put on this earth to seek and destroy. He says that it seems sadistic to some. “Is that controversial? I enjoy it.”
“What does Wrestlemania mean to Brock Lesnar?” He says it’s a day where he shows up and gets paid to beat someone’s ass. They roll footage of Lesnar defeating Undertaker last year at Wrestlemania 30. He talks about how Undertaker didn’t stand a chance against him. He says he doesn’t care about the people who were disappointed that he defeated Undertaker. He laughs and says he loves every minute of it.
He talks about his contract. “If I stay, I will be WWE Champion. If I go, I will leave WWE Champion.” He talks about beating The Rock to win the title the first time in 2002, and says he sent Rock to Hollywood. He goes on to say that he suplexed Cena out of the main event. He says that Lesnar in defense mode is more dangerous than Lesnar in hunt mode.
He has a message for Reigns. He tells him he can dream and wish that he will beat Lesnar, but Lesnar will kick his ass. He says it’s no fairy tale with a happy feel good ending. “At Wrestlemania, I am going to f**k up Roman Reigns. The end.”
Back live, Cole says he shudders to think of Lesnar in defense mode, but that is what we’ll get in 13 days.
This is always good when they have Lesnar do the pre-taped segments. This was a good use of Lesnar, and the UFC style promos work out very well with him. They need to find a way to get Reigns over to make the match feel important now. It might be too late though, because they could have done so much more with Daniel Bryan because of how over he already is.
Match #4 – Big Show vs. Erick Rowan
This never gets started. Show attacks Rowan before the bell rings. He roughs Rowan up, then hits him with the WMD Punch. He follows with an elbow off the second rope for good measure. Officials tend to Rowan as the announcers say that Show is on a mission to win the Andre the Giant Battle Royale because he has been compared to Andre.
Hall of Fame Package:
Cole says that it was announced on Rolling Stone that Larry Zbyszko will be the next Hall of Fame inductee. They roll into a video package highlighting his career.
Congratulations again to Larry Zbyszko. We had a report on the site earlier about his induction.
Cole hypes up the six man tag and the main event, saying Rollins’ support is eroding.
Andre the Giant Battle Royale Segment:
Fandango, Goldust, Heath Slater, Titus O’Neil, Curtis Axel, Alex Riley, Adam Rose, Jack Swagger, Darren Young, and Kane are all in the ring. Kane tells us to forget Axelmania, and he says he called everyone out to show them what would happen at the Battle Royale at Wrestlemania. Axel ducks out to ringside.
Mark Henry comes out. He talks about the Battle Royale being its own version of March Madness and declares his entry. Kane and Henry essentially dump everyone else to ringside in seconds. Henry gets Kane by the ropes, and Axel attacks them. Henry dumps Kane, then throws Axel out. He goes out to eye the trophy afterward.
That did zero for me to get excited for this concept.
Cole hypes up a six-person “Interspecies” tag match for Smackdown between Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, and Natalya vs. Los Matadores and El Torito. Yes, that’s happening.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman.” Heyman is in the ring for a promo segment, saying that he is the advocate for the reigning and defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Heyman says that Lesnar views the concept of rules and regulations imposed on a title match as something that must have been written by a pacifist. “Brock Lesnar is not coming to Wrestlemania to make love, Brock Lesnar is coming to make war, on Roman Reigns.”
He asks what they will do. “Will they turn off the lights? Will they cut the feed to the pay per view? Will they give you your money back?” He says that we’re stuck with Brock Lesnar as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. The mic gets cut off again.
Heyman taps the mic. “Doing that to me is one thing. But what are you going to do when Brock Lesnar does what he’s not supposed to do.” Heyman says no one, not even Reigns, can stop Lesnar. Heyman says that Reigns will get a prison beating from Lesnar.
“To my client, Reigns is not the next great Samoan-American…he’s the next great Samoan-Ameri-can’t.” Heyman repeatedly says that Reigns cannot beat Lesnar at Wrestlemania. He says his father should have told him that a long time ago.
Reigns’ music hits, and he comes through the crowd. He’s got a new shirt – “I can, I will.” JBL says that Reigns is going to answer Heyman right now. Reigns gets in the ring.
He tells Heyman that he respects him. He says Heyman is the best talker in the business and that people think Heyman is talking trash about his family. He says he thinks Heyman is giving fair warning about who he is, and where he is from.
Reigns tells Heyman he will address his client. He turns to the hard cam and says he would say this to Lesnar’s face if he were there. He says they see eye to eye now about this being a fight. He says he will have plenty of family to carry him out at Wrestlemania, but they will carry him out with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship over his shoulder. He talks about the chip on his shoulder and people telling him that he can’t. He says he will beat Lesnar’s ass at Wrestlemania. “Because I can, I will, and I believe that.”
Heyman was great here. I like the tone of what they’re doing here, billing this as a fight and playing into the danger of Lesnar going into business for himself and/or ignoring the rules. How you view that depends on where you stand as a fan – casual or more die hard. Reigns got a mixed reaction that wasn’t over the top negative. There was a chant for Bryan at some point in there, which is going to be loud at Mania, I guarantee.
The announcers recap the various segments through the night featuring Seth Rollins and the decaying support around him as he gets ready for his match with Randy Orton. The six-man tag featuring competitors in the Intercontinental Championship ladder match is up next.
Backstage, Renee Young asks Heyman for comments on what Reigns said. He says that Reigns is cool, calm and collected, and wants to play chess with the chess master. He says that Reigns won’t have to wait til Wrestlemania to get in Lesnar’s face, and will give him that chance next week on Raw. He says his toes are curling with anticipation. He says that Reigns can say whatever he wants, and Lesnar can say, or do, whatever he deems appropriate as well. He says Reigns might want to take the week to think about it, but there’s nothing he can do about it.
This is important to get Lesnar and Reigns in the same shot. They needed to do more of that throughout this build, but I’ll take what I can get.
Match #5 – Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett, Luke Harper and Stardust
The heels don’t get a live entrance. Bryan gets a big “yes!” chant as he comes out. Ziggler also gets a rousing ovation as well as Ambrose. R-Truth comes out to watch on, and probably steal the belt again. Actually, he has it clipped to his back.
Ambrose starts with Stardust, who does a cartwheel. Ambrose throws a couple shoulder blocks. Truth has the IC title clipped to the back of his jacket. Action continues in the ring with Ambrose hitting a bulldog and a suplex before tagging in Bryan. They exchange strikes, then Bryan locks on a surfboard. The faces control going to break.
Back live, Ziggler sells for the heel team as the announcers talk about Truth learning stuff in Surfing School. Barrett gets a near fall back in the ring, then throws ZIggler to the corner. Harper whips Barrett toward the corner for a big boot but Ziggler moves. Barrett goes over the top, then Ziggler sends Harper to ringside.
Ziggler looks for a tag but his teammates get taken out. Harper tries a powerbomb, but Ziggler counters to a facebuster and comes back with the Fameasser for a near fall. Action breaks down, with all six men fighting. A bit later, Harper hits a big boot then hits the sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Commercial.
Back live, Bryan goes off, hitting Harper and Stardust with a running drop kick. A little later, a finisher sequence ensues. Ziggler hits a superkick on Bryan and Harper. Barrett loads Wasteland on Ziggler but dumps him out of the ring onto Harper and Stardust instead. In the ring, Barrett tries to hit the Bull Hammer, but Ambrose counters and hits Dirty Deeds for the win.
Truth tries to escape with the belt. Stardust and Harper corner him, and Stardust tries to get away with the belt. Ambrose stops him and sends him back to ringside. The belt falls at Truth’s feet, and he tries to take it again. Harper confronts him at the ramp. Truth tosses it to the ring, where it lands at the feet of Daniel Bryan.
Bryan and Ziggler both grab it. Stardust tries to hit the Disaster Kick, but Ziggler ducks and superkicks him. Bryan hits Harper with the running knee. Barrett gets back in the ring and cleans house with Bull Hammer elbows for everyone. He gets his title belt and poses. He confronts Truth at the ramp and jaws at him, then hits him with the Bull Hammer also.
That was the best tease for the ladder match so far. The action was physical and non-stop. This had an edge to it that got away from the silliness of title belt stealing and calling people turds. I do think the ladder match will be great at Wrestlemania. The build has been wanting though.
Backstage, Seth Rollins enters to talk with Triple H and Stephanie. He says that everyone is quitting on him and wonders what they will do to fix this. Stephanie tells him that he made his own bed by isolating himself from everyone and now it’s time to lie in it. Rollins gets worked up and says that they wouldn’t be in this spot if she didn’t send Kane and Big Show home last Monday.
Triple H asks if Rollins thinks he’s talking to. Rollins asks Hunter if he’s taking a break from playing hide and seek with Sting. He asks if Hunter will screw with the future of WWE. Stephanie steps between them and tells Rollins to take responsibility for his actions. Hunter tells him to run along before his situation goes from bad to worse.
Cole hypes up Bray Wyatt to address Undertaker accepting his challenge, next.
Back live, they recap the contract signing between Rusev and John Cena. They hype up Cena vs. Rusev. They then hype up Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt, feeding it to a recap of how Taker accepted his challenge last week.
Wyatt cut in. He cuts a promo, talking about the first time he saw Abigail. He says Undertaker tried to use his memory against him, and tried to burn fear into his heart. He says the only thing Undertaker did was turn a chair into dust. He pours out ash from an urn.
“Here’s the big question, Deadman. Everyone’s asking what’s left of you? Is it agony, is it fear?” He says last year we saw a broken streak, and now he’s scared to show his face because people’s eyes have been opened. He calls it a tragedy that Undertaker’s destiny was taken. It almost brought him to tears. He says that Undertaker’s fate is sealed. “Wrestlemania will be your requiem, your final resting place. But it will also be my coronation.” He brags that he will make Abigail proud and take his place among the gods. “After Wrestlemania, no one is safe. Behold, the new face of fear.”
The main event is next. Cole asks what Rollins has in mind now that his support has eroded.
They hype Snoop Dogg and Bill Simmons (an ESPN personality) appearing next Monday on the go-home show for Wrestlemania. Also, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns will go face to face.
Match #6 – Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins:
Orton gets his entrance. JBL says that what Orton did last week was brilliant, and hypes that Orton will get Rollins at Mania. Rollins comes out alone, and gets a little bit of a hometown pop. He has a mic and addresses Orton. He tells Orton that it took him three weeks of scheming to get the Authority to look like fools. He laughs and says that it only took him three hours to make a fool out of Orton.
Triple H’s music hits, and here comes all of the Authority. They’re all together, and Orton rolls out to get a chair. Fans are chanting “We Want Sting” as the Authority surrounds the ring. Rollins calls his shots as he climbs up on the apron. The rest join him on the apron on opposite sides. Crow sound.
The lights go down, and when they come back up Sting is standing next to Randy Orton, with the trademark baseball bat. He and Orton unload on the Authority. Sting hits J&J with a Stinger Splash, then hits Noble with the Scorpion Death Drop. Orton follows up with the RKO on Mercury. Sting and Orton jaw at Triple H and Rollins as the announcers recap it.
This was a cool moment. It did leak out that Sting was in Des Moines earlier in the day, but it seemed to go fairly well off-radar so the surprise was fun. Cole really laid it on thick here, and cut off Booker to hype the interview that would take place next on the Network. Booker was emotionless there, which was a bit odd. The fans were really into seeing Sting live, from what I could tell.
There will be an interview with Sting and Orton on the Network, next! That’s how the USA Network broadcast of the show ends.
On the Network:
Cole addresses Orton and Sting, saying that it’s a goosebump inducing moment for them to be side by side. Orton starts out by saying that he doesn’t need anyone to help him, “but I gotta admit, that was pretty damn cool.” Orton and Sting shake hands.
Cole turns to Sting and asks him about the moment. He says he has waited 14 years to get inside this ring right here. He says it feels “smokin’ good, by the way.” He says he meant what he said when he told Triple H that someone had to take him down. “That’s exactly what I plan to do at Wrestlemania!” Sting plays to the fans as they show Sting hitting the Scorpion Death Drop on Noble and Orton hitting the RKO on Mercury. Sting plays to the fans from the stage as Cole sends the show off.
Short and to the point. That’s fine though. You don’t want to overexpose Sting here. Sting looked good. He’s in the best shape that he’s been in throughout his run in TNA.
Raw in a nutshell – thumbs in the middle. It wasn’t without its low points, but it really finally put some emphasis behind Wrestlemania, which is what this show NEEDED to do desperately. Very much improved over what we’ve seen the past few weeks in that regard.
I like the build to Reigns and Lesnar going face to face next week. There’s a hook to get people to tune in. I still think the Andre Battle Royale is in a bad place, as is the tag team championship, but I see some hope to get excitement going for the big show.
Ring Rap Audio records tomorrow evening, so be sure to hit us up with questions and discussion points for Wrestlemania, Raw, and all things pro wrestling. You can hit us on Twitter @RingRap or on our Facebook page, and we’ll be sure to include your topics on the show. Thanks for following along tonight.