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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 2/24: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Chamber PPV fall-out, Hogan's return, Taker's return, stage set for WM30, more

Feb 24, 2014 - 10:32:48 PM


WWE Raw TV Results
February 24, 2014 - Episode #1,082
Live in Green Bay, Wis.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor

On the half-hour WWE Network pre-game show, Josh Mathews hosted a studio discussion with Ric Flair, Booker T, and Alex Riley. In addition to Superstars matches being taped in the background, the pre-show included a discussion of Elimination Chamber events, Brock Lesnar's return hyped, and Christian vs. Sheamus set up for Raw.

To USA Network, where Raw started with a live arena shot and Michael Cole introducing the show. Hulk Hogan's classic music played to start the show. Big crowd reaction from a surprised crowd seeing Hogan in the opening segment. Hogan made his WWE TV return for the first time in nearly seven years with the red and yellow colors, feather boa, yellow sunglasses, and black jeans. At the announce position, Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL gave Hogan a standing ovation. Cole said it's thunderous in the Resch Center. "Hulk Hogan's home," Cole declared.

Once Hogan's music stopped, the crowd greeted him with a "Hogan, Hogan" chant. Hogan peered at the WM30 sign hanging in the arena before Hogan took the mic. "Well, let me tell you something, brother!" he shouted to a pop. Hogan said he wants to let everyone know that tonight marks the turning point of his career. He said he is officially home, brothers.

Hogan went back to 30 years ago - something that turned into a global phenomenon, the very first WrestleMania. Hogan said history was made that day and today with the launch of the "WWE Universe." He corrected himself: "The WWE Universe is launching the WWE Network." Hogan said his Hulkamaniacs were a huge part of launching the Network. Hogan name-dropped Bruno, Shawn Michaels (strong pop), Steve Austin (big pop), and The Rock (small pop) as stars he can watch on the Network.

But, for the future, he's looking ahead to WM30. Hogan announced that he is the official host for WrestleMania 30. In closing, he has one question: "Whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania, the WWE Network, and WrestleMania 30 runs wild on you, brother?" Hogan's music played, then he posed in the ring, pointing to all sides of the arena.

Ringside: Cole and Co. hyped the Network launch earlier today. Cole called it an "incredible value" for $9.99. WWE cut to Hogan leaving up the ramp before cutting back to Jerry Lawler playing on the App. Back to Hogan posing on-stage. Back to Lawler, who said he's going to watch WM1 during the show. Cole and JBL demonstrated more Network items. Then, Cole hyped "streaming devices" being the way to watch on your TV.

Moving to the Elimination Chamber last night, Cole hyped Daniel Bryan vs. Kane tonight. Cole tried to go from joyful about the Network to indignant about what happened to Bryan in the Chamber main event. Plus, Brock Lesnar is back on Raw and Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Chamber re-match is next on Raw. Why? Perhaps the answer is in the match.

[Commercial Break at 8:09]

In-ring: Alberto Del Rio was introduced to the ring for the opening match. No crutches and a neckbrace like last night. Batista's music then played to boos mixed with some cheers. Batista bounced out on-stage and posed. "Like it or not, Batista is the #1 contender to the WWE World Hvt. Title," Cole said. Lawler acknowledged a "Boo-tista" chant last night, while Cole said the WWE audience is always vocal. Batista posed in the ring to loud boos, which WWE captured on-camera. "Okay," Batista mouthed, then smirked while finishing his pose.



The crowd picked up a dueling chant when the match started. It sounded like "You Can't Wrestle / Boo-tista." Del Rio quickly targeted Batista's fictional shoulder injury, putting Batista face-down on the mat. Batista came back with a suplex to boos. Cole rhetorically asked if the audience's reaction is going to get to Batista. Lawler answered, anyways, that Batista won the Royal Rumble match when it was at the height of Daniel Bryan's popularity. "And he wasn't even it," Lawler said of Bryan's exclusion. Del Rio smashed Batista into the ring steps heading to break.

[Commercial Break at 8:18]

Back from break, the crowd was making noise and Del Rio was still in control of the action. Del Rio posed with a cocky grin, then airballed a charge against the ropes. Del Rio fell to the floor, allowing Batista to catch his breath in the ring. Batista followed up with a top-rope superplex, but sold it taking more out of him than Del Rio. The two men came to their feet and traded bombs. Batista landed a clothesline. Then another. He followed with a powerslam for a two count.

Batista sold the effects of the arm work as he tried to follow up, but Del Rio yanked down on his arm. Del Rio wanted a standing sidekick on Batista, but Batista stalled for so long that Del Rio lost momentum and missed Batista. But, Batista sold as if Del Rio caught him. The announcers sold the move grazing Batista's head. Batista then barely moved out of the way of a corner charge and followed with a spinebuster. Batista shook the ropes to boos, then Randy Orton's music suddenly interrupted.

WWE World champ Orton walked out on-stage with the title belts as Batista shot him a look from inside the ring. Suddenly, Del Rio rolled up Batista from behind for a very fast three count. Post-match, Batista popped up and complained to the ref about Orton.

WINNER: Del Rio at 9:33.

On-stage, Orton said that's funny how easily distracted Batista is. Orton then noted the audience doesn't like Batista very much, which drew some cheers. Orton said he wouldn't doubt that Batista is sorry he came back. Batista now had a mic in the ring. "C-M Punk" chant as Batista paced the ring. Batista caught his breath, then told Orton that he's wrong. He told Orton and everyone to get this through their heads: "I. Love. This. Business." Boos. Batista said he loves that they have a voice, but so does he. So, if they boo him, then he boos them back.

Batista said it's being honest, something Orton knows nothing about. Batista got to business that he will go to WrestleMania (boos) and beat the hell out of someone he used to call his friend. But, now this guy has turned in a whiny kiss-ass. Batista told Orton that he is the next WWE World Hvt. champion (boos). "Deal with it!" Batista shouted over the boos to close the segment.

Backstage: Cesaro and the Real Americans were shown walking down the hallway on a split-screen with IC champion Big E. It's Cesaro vs. Big E. in a battle of disappearing names next.

[Q3] [Commercial Break at 8:30]

Back from break, Big E.'s music played to bring out the Intercontinental champion. "Langston" has been removed from the weight plate graphic on Big E.'s Titantron. "We The People" then brought out Cesaro, Swagger, and Colter. Before the match started, Cole hyped NXT Arrival as the first live event on WWE Network this Thursday. Cole added that Cesaro and Big E. came through NXT to Raw and Smackdown.

2 -- IC champion BIG E. vs. CESARO (w/Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter) -- non-title match

"We The People" chant early on. Big E. knocked Cesaro to the outside, where Cesaro regrouped with his stablemates. Back in the ring, Big E. overpowered Cesaro again. The match slowed down, so the crowd picked up a "U-S-A" chant. The Swiss get 11 medals at the Olympics and all of a sudden they're a threat? Meanwhile, JBL tried to get Cole to reveal what "E." stands for. Elephant? Cole eventually let out Big E.'s real name of Ettore, then grumbled about JBL putting him on the spot, as usual. Cesaro suddenly came back with a big power move to take control heading to break.

[Commercial Break at 8:40. Nice product placement advertising a new Swiss Cheese item at Sonic in-between match segments.]

Back live, Cesaro was controlling Ettore. Cesaro delivered a big corner uppercut, but Big E. kicked out of a pin attempt. Cesaro then settled things down with a reverse chinlock.

[Q4] Big E. broke free of the chinlock, but Cesaro dropped the champ with a big powerslam for a close two count. Swagger threw a fit ringside after the lack of a three count, then JBL randomly asked if there's some jealousy between Swagger and Cesaro. It sounded like a line fed through the headsets to change the conversation. Back in the ring, Big E. and Cesaro traded blows. Big E. then ripped off a series of clotheslines into a powerslam for a two count. Slight reaction for Big E., who followed with a running splash for a two count.

Big E. dropped the straps for the biggest reaction of the match. But, Cesaro escaped the Big Ending and delivered his pop-up European Uppercut for a two count. Cesaro then called for the Big Swing to the biggest reaction of the match. But, Big E. kicked Cesaro away to boos. Big E. with a corner clothesline, but he only scored a two count on a pin attempt.

"We The People" chant as Cesaro sent Big E. to the outside. Swagger tried to run at Big E., but the IC champ ducked and clotheslined Swagger. JBL said Swagger could have gotten Cesaro DQ'ed. Back in the ring, Cesaro dropped Big E. to the mat and put him in the Big Swing, popping the crowd. Big E. took ten revolutions, then Swagger hit the ring and put Big E. in the Patriot Lock, causing a DQ.

Post-match: Cesaro sold being stunned by Swagger's interruption. Zeb then entered the ring to reprimand Swagger, who realized what he did. Cesaro tried to stay cool as Swagger tried to explain himself. JBL, the heel commentator who shoots down every conspiracy theory, said perhaps there's more to this from Swagger.

Suddenly, Big E. charged Swagger to attack him. But, Cesaro smashed Big E. from behind and dropped Big E. with an impressive-looking Neutralizer. The crowd didn't know how to handle all of this and sat quietly before the Real Americans left the ring to their music.

WINNER: Big E. via DQ at 15:45. What a booking mess. Face IC champ is lacking support since WWE has done little to nothing to connect his character to the audience. Meanwhile, the heel has the coolest move in WWE right now - the Big Swing. The result was the audience sitting on their hands waiting for the cool move, not investing in the one-dimensional face champ, and WWE apparently prioritizing a Real Americans break-up. Too many messy stories heading into Mania, the chief one being Batista.

Up Next: John Cena addresses the Wyatt Family costing him the WWE Title Chamber match last night. Cena's response prioritized over Daniel Bryan's thus far.

[Commercial Break at 8:53]

Cena Promo

Back from break, John Cena's music played to bring out WWE's top star charging the ring. Cena pointed to the crowd and did some posing before JBL said Cena was robbed last night. Cole and Lawler were stunned hearing that. Cena said he wants to say something from the WWE fan in him that it's great to see Hulk Hogan back in WWE hosting WrestleMania 30.

Cena said the WWE Universe is going to remember tonight and the fans here tonight in Green Bay. Because Raw is the day the world changed with the Network launch. Cena said he's been talking pretty hard the past few weeks that if they think they have the guts and what it takes to carry WWE into that future, you have to go through him to prove it.

[Q5 -- second hour] Cena paused to hear some noise in the crowd. He said there's mixed emotions tonight, but the underlying theme is respect. He said the future of the business goes through him. Enter Bray Wyatt. He said this misunderstood monster has caused quite the stir in WWE. Cena said he thought they would come face-to-face one day, just not in the Elimination Chamber match, which is supposed to be a secured structure. He said Bray cost him a WWE Title match at WM30. He then asked if Bray wants to make another bold move right here, right now.

Cena removed his cap and t-shirt to get ready for a fight. The Wyatts's video interruption played, then Bray told Green Bay that they're here. Out came Bray, Erick Rowan, and Luke Harper walking down to the ring. Ringside, Bray sat down in his rocking chair and said this world has an infection known as the human race. Bray sarcastically said the world needs its hero to save the day. But, Cena is hollow and full of empty promises. He said Cena promises to save these people and keep them safe, but he's a liar. "You're a liar!" he said. "This is a terrible, cold, dark, and lonely place."

Bray said he stands for everything that is real. Now Cena says the future has to go through him and he couldn't agree more. Bray excused himself, then properly introduced himself. "My name is Bray Wyatt," he said as Cena continued to glare down at him. "We are the reapers that bring death to this era of lies."

From the ring, Cena introduced himself to Bray. Cena said he's telling Bray one thing that if one of them slides under the bottom rope, they're starting something they might not be able to finish. Cena said it's "go time, Jack," sounding like Si Robertson. Bray then hit the ring apron, with his henchmen following. Bray, Harper, and Rowan beat down Cena, with no help coming. Some "Yes!" chants started, then picked up steam as the ringside medic checked on Cena. A C.M. Punk chant followed. Cena sold a knee injury, then rushed the Wyatts with one good leg. Cena eventually rolled to the ring apron clutching his left knee.

Cena sold real pain on his face as the Wyatts backed away. Cena pulled himself up by the ropes and stood in the corner before the Wyatts quietly left the ring. Cena waved off the ringside trainer with his finger, then hobbled across the ring to try to scare off Rowan. But, Bray snuck in the back door with a big clothesline to Cena. The Wyatts stood over Cena, who remained KO'ed on the mat. "Follow the buzzards!" Bray shouted before the feed cut out to commercial.

[Commercial Break at 9:09]

Moments Ago: Cena took a three-on-one beating from the Wyatts and appeared to injure his knee when Rowan lifted him in the air for a takedown. "Then again, I don't know," JBL said. During the break, Cena was put on a stretcher and wheeled out of the arena while a medic checked on his left knee.

On commentary, Cole said Bray seemed to accuse Cena of being a "false idol" lying to the WWE audience. Lawler switched to talking about the knee, wondering if it's Mania or even career-altering.

In-ring: Christian was introduced for the next match. Christian sold the effects of the Chamber match as he hobbled down to the ring. WWE then showed footage from the Network pre-game show where Raw GM Brad Maddox booked Christian vs. Sheamus tonight. Sheamus was then introduced as Christian's opponent.



Big brawling early on as JBL went back to the Big E. "Ettore" business from earlier in the show. Sheamus then posed Christian on the outside before bringing him back into the ring to continue the punishment. JBL moved to mocking Christian's tan, sounding like McMahon running down Christian's look. "Hogan's Beach" reference from JBL, too. Meanwhile, Sheamus knocked Christian to the outside and clotheslined him to the floor. Cole said he can't wait to read Twitter during the break.

[Commercial Break at 9:20]

Back from break, Christian crotched Sheamus on the top rope. "I should be the champion!" Christian shouted to boos. The crowd then picked up a "Go Pack Go" chant as the match continued with Christian in control and the crowd not invested in Sheamus. Cole relayed an update that Cena is undergoing an evaluation in the trainer's room and he has "quite a bit of swelling" in the knee. JBL said it's hard to tell about knee injuries at this point, but he said Cena's Mania future is in doubt. Lawler said the good news is Cena was not immediately rushed to a hospital.

Sheamus fought back on Christian with uppercuts, but Christian kicked him in the mouth. Christian wanted a top-rope move, but Sheamus ducked and Christian crashed to the mat. Sheamus followed with a knee lift, then a double sledge. Sheamus followed with his trademark Ten Forearms to the Chest that the crowd joined in on. Light cheers followed. Sheamus with a battering ram shoulder tackle for a two count, then he teased White Noise, but Christian blocked and scored a close two count.

[Q7] Christian wanted to follow up, but Sheamus bodyslammed Christian for a two count. Sheamus then recovered to the corner and got the crowd into the action with a Brogue Kick teaser. Christian ducked, though, and kicked Sheamus in the face. Christian tried a second rope move, but Sheamus intercepted with a mid-air Brogue Kick. It was good for the pin and the win, plus a big endorsement from the announcers.

WINNER: Sheamus at 15:47. Regarding the mid-card, it's clear going into Mania season that audiences are mainly reacting to cool moves/signature spots, but not connecting with the characters (Sheamus, Big E., Batista). Creative has some issues to sort out over the next month.

Announcers: Cole fed to footage from earlier today when Daniel Bryan confronted The Authority.

Earlier Today: The Authority arrived in their limo. Renee Young hyped the Network launch, then asked Triple H about the vibe at WWE HQ this morning. Stephanie talked about the Network, then Daniel Bryan yelled at Hunter and Stephanie about what he has to do to get the WWE Title because every time he gets close, they screw him. Bryan yelled at Hunter that he wants to fight him right now or even at Mania if they won't let him near the title. Hunter said that's funny because he's just a B-Plus Player. He said hopefully he'll find Bryan a spot on the card. Steph spoke to Bryan that he should take out his frustrations on Kane tonight. Hunter muttered to himself about Mania, but looked over his shoulder in-case Bryan came after him while security held Bryan back.

Still to come: Bryan vs. Kane.

[Commercial Break at 9:35]

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL hyped the Network launch today. JBL said he plans to watch himself all day. Cole then transitioned to Black History Month. This week, WWE recognized Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson, father of The Rock.

Back in the arena, The Shield were shown standing in a deep, dark part of the building. Seth Rollins asked Dean Ambrose to explain again what happened to him during Shield's loss to the Wyatts last night. Ambrose said if they don't trust him, then he's outta here. Ambrose stomped off, then Rollins talked to Roman Reigns about wanting to believe Ambrose's (unstated) explanation. The Wyatts then walked into the shot. Bray came face-to-face with Reigns, who proposed a singles match. Bray called him an interesting creature, then accepted the match.

Packers Locker Room: Aaron Rodgers's uniform. Cole hyped the Raw pre-show debuting tonight on the Network, then sent it to Josh Mathews with Booker T and Ric Flair at the studio panel. Mathews hyped the night, then asked what he's looking forward to tonight. Booker talked about the past with Christian vs. Sheamus, then hyped Reigns vs. Bray on a collision course. Flair said he wants to know what happened with Cena and then wants to watch Bryan vs. Kane. Flair did "Yes!" shouts before Daniel Bryan's music played in the arena.

[Q8] In-ring: Daniel Bryan was introduced to the ring to loud "Yes!" chants. Bryan posed for the crowd as Cole noted Bryan gets to take out his aggression on Kane next.

[Commercial Break at 9:46]

Back from break, Kane's pyro shot off. Kane emerged on-stage dressed in his new ring gear of a white tanktop undershirt, dress pants, and now black elbow pads.


The match started with the announcers arguing about Bryan's feud with The Authority. Kane went after Bryan's injured shoulder, which was taped up. Meanwhile, Lawler sounded tired of having the same argument/explanation with JBL since August. Bryan then mixed in "Yes!" with "How you like that?" while kicking Kane. The announcers moved to discussing a hypothetical Bryan vs. Hunter match at Mania. JBL said Hunter is too busy trying to run a business to have a match. Lawler asked isn't it about what's best for business?

Kane went back to the shoulder to re-take control, drawing a "Daniel Bryan" chant. Meanwhile, Cole told JBL to just be The Authority's p.r. director and run all of their press conferences. Bryan then made a comeback with a kick to Kane's face, but he ran into a fist. To the floor, where Kane ran Bryan shoulder-first into the ring steps leading to break.

[Commercial Break at 9:55]

Back from break, Bryan was trying to make a comeback, but "Corporate" Kane cut off Bryan. Cole speculated that Kane's marching orders from his bosses are to maim Bryan. He added that it would get Triple H off the hook not having to face Bryan if he's injured. Bryan made a comeback, drawing "Yes!" shouts. Bryan delivered kicks, but missed a roundhouse kick and Kane regained control.

[Q9 -- third hour] Kane tried a top-rope move as Lawler sarcastically suggested Bryan vs. El Torito at WM30. JBL said that would be great. Bryan blocked Kane, then delivered a corner dropkick. And a second. But, Kane blocked a third as Cole lost credibility with the audience by saying the Network launched "successfully" today, which is why Hunter is too busy to deal with Bryan right now.

To the floor, where Bryan dropkicked Kane into the guardrail. "Daniel Bryan" chant as Bryan rolled Kane back into the ring. Bryan delivered a top-rope dropkick, then kipped up. Kick to the head, but Kane kicked out. Bryan then wanted a top-rope dive, but Kane grabbed Bryan around the throat for a chokeslam. Kane covered, but Bryan kicked out just before three, popping the crowd and stunning Kane. Cole said he bets Hunter just came off his high-end leather couch backstage. As things settled down, the announcers argued over the ref's count on a replay.

Reset at 15:00. Bryan wanted the Yes! Lock, but Kane blocked. Bryan tried again, but Kane elbowed Bryan away. Bryan then ran the ropes and caught Kane with the running knee smash. Bryan covered for the pin and the win. Cole said he hopes Hunter is watching because Bryan is an A-Plus Player.

WINNER: Bryan at 15:40. Solid TV match. Bryan has the emotional connection with the audience to go with his moveset being over to separate him from the majority of the roster.

Post-match: Bryan took the mic. Bryan said he confronted The Authority earlier today and he would like to make one thing clear. "Triple H is a coward!" he shouted. He repeated, this time louder. Bryan said he challenged Hunter to a match at Mania and he hid behind his wife's skirt. Ooohs. Ever since Hunter put on that suit, he has ignored what each and every fan wants. He told the crowd to make their voice heard. "Yes!" chants. Bryan shouted toward the camera if they are listening. Bryan said an entire arena is chanting "Yes!" He told Hunter to give the crowd what they want to see at Mania - Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan at WM30 (some audible groans in the crowd before Bryan convinced the audience to back the match). Bryan's music played as he posed in the ring.

[ JC's Reax: Crafty attempt to try to convince the audience that they want to see Bryan vs. Hunter at WM30, as opposed to Bryan finally get his WWE Title victory over Randy Orton. ]

Still to come: Brock Lesnar is here. He's coming out, but why? Plus, Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt.

Backstage: Summer Rae and Fandango were shown dancing. Summer's in action next.

[Commercial Break at 10:09]

Smackdown this Friday: Batista "unchained." The announcers said Batista plans to tell the audience exactly what he thinks about them.

Vignette: Scary woman. Scary music. Scary back-drop. Scary man. He's Alexander Rusev.

In-ring: Summer Rae and Fandango were dancing in the ring. For the NXT Divas showcase match, Emma was introduced next, flanked by Santino. Full ring entrance, including clumsy entrance.


5 -- SUMMER RAE (w/Fandango) vs. EMMA (w/Santino)

Once the bell sounded, Emma tried to dance around Summer, who was not having it. Rae took control of the action as Santino tried to help from the outside. Rae couldn't keep her down, though, and Emma came back with a Northern Lights submission that could pass for a Muta Lock. Rae tapped out, giving Emma a clean win. Cue up the Emma & Santino post-match celebration.

WINNER: Emma via submission at 3:30.

Announcers: Cole hyped Hulk Hogan returning to WWE. Lawler said "everyone broke the story" last week about Hogan re-joining the company. WWE then went to footage from earlier tonight when Hogan returned to WWE and noted he will guest-host WM30.

Up Next: There were "shenanigans" involving the New Age Outlaws at Elimination Chamber. The Usos get another match against the Outlaws tonight. But, apparently not for the Tag Titles.

[Commercial Break at 10:22]

6 -- WWE tag champions NEW AGE OUTLAWS (BILLY GUNN & ROAD DOGG) vs. THE USOS -- non-title match

Back from break, the tag champs were in the ring. So were the Usos. The bell sounded, then the Outlaws noted this match is pre-determined. Dogg told the Usos to get out of the ring so they can do their standard ring introduction, then they get back in the ring and take the loss.

The audience chanted along to the Outlaws's intro, then Dogg walked into a superkick from Uso. On commentary, Lawler didn't realize the bell had already sounded and the crowd booed the Usos's interrupting the ritualistic intro. Uso then came off the top with a Superfly Splash to Dogg for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Usos at 1:15. That was something. And more inefficient booking. Apparently the goal was for the Usos to out-smart the Outlaws, but WWE has to address at some point that their mid-card characters are not over and that cutting off a cool move/signature spot/ritualistic item is going to get booed. (Also see Big E. cutting off the Big Swing in the Cesaro match.)

Announcers: Cole said they are "making memories" tonight. This led to a Network discussion. Cole hyped sign-up details and the tape library aspect. Lawler hyped Legends House (out in April), then talked about something currently on the Network - the Hart vs. Michaels rivalry. Cole then hyped ways to watch the Network on TVs - Apple, Roku, and XBox.

[Q11] In-ring: The Shield's music played to bring out Roman Reigns through the crowd by himself. He faces Bray Wyatt next.

[Commercial Break at 10:32]

Video: WM30 is 41 days away.

In-ring: As Roman Reigns stood stoically in the ring, The Wyatts's music played for the second time tonight. Out came Bray Wyatt as WWE replayed the Wyatts taking out John Cena earlier in the show. Cole narrated footage of Cena being taken away from the building in an ambulance for a knee evaluation. Lawler said that's a little bit worse news than before. Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt arrived ringside by himself.


Bray was hesitant to enter the ring to start the match. He then stalled on the outside after an initial exchange with Reigns. Back in the ring, they locked up mid-ring to a quiet crowd response. Bray took control to try to build heat for Reigns's comeback, which included Reigns smashing Bray on the outside. Reigns in control heading to break.

[Commercial Break at 10:43]

[Q12] Back from break, the two men were battling in the ring. "Jerry, Jerry" chant from an apparently disinterested crowd. Uh-oh. Bray continued to control the action as pockets of vocal males picked up various non-match-related chants. The crowd then skipped ahead a segment with "Undertaker" chants. Meanwhile, Reigns made his comeback and delivered a Superman Punch. Reigns then delivered his running dropkick to the head on the outside.

Back in the ring, Reigns delivered a sit-out slam for a nearfall. Reigns prepared to end it, but the Wyatts's video interrupted. Harper and Rowan showed up ringside, but Seth Rollins came out of nowhere with a flip dive to the henchmen. No sign of Dean Ambrose. Suddenly, Ambrose showed up ringside in a leather jacket. Chaos ringside. Back in the ring, Reigns delivered a Superman Punch to Bray. Reigns wanted the Spear, but Ambrose hit the ring and attacked Bray, repeating the Cesaro vs. Big E. DQ ending from earlier.

Post-match: The Wyatts and The Shield went after each other to continue the fight from last night. Dean, Seth, and Reigns eventually stood tall in the ring, but without Reigns selling anger with Dean. JBL noted Reigns lost the match due to Ambrose, but Reigns didn't seem to care. Cole said Reigns might be happy that Dean showed up when he needed him. But, it's Roman Reigns, not El Torito.

WINNER: Bray via DQ at 13:56. Apparently WWE has realized that Raw is so long that the audience won't remember the same finish from two hours ago. Overall, this felt like the wrong timing for this match. Reigns has benefited from juxtaposition being the most likable of the heel Shield trio. He wasn't ready to be in a solo, default babyface position and at the very end of a long show with a worn-out audience. (Or, as Sean Waltman tweeted after Raw: "This match should have been placed earlier in the night. They would have had a fresh crowd. You don't put a cold match on this late.")

Backstage: Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar returned to TV. Paul suggested they act like gentlemen when they go out to the ring tonight.

Going to break, WWE ran a "Yes!" Movement t-shirt offer on their Shop site.

[Commercial Break at 10:54]

- Next Monday: Someone is guest-starring on Raw next week from Chicago. The voice-over announcer identified him as Aaron Paul from "Need For Speed."

Final Segment

Raw returned three minutes before the top of the hour with Brock Lesnar's music playing. Lesnar and Paul Heyman walked to the ring with a purpose and approached a black table resting on a black carpet in the ring. Not much crowd noise before Heyman began his promo, drawing boos for his name introduction.

Heyman said he stands here as the advocate for the obvious #1 contender to the WWE World Title. Heyman said this man should be main-eventing WrestleMania. Heyman shifted to tonight's "grand celebration" theme. But, he said that Lesnar is not in a good mood this evening. Heyman said it's become apparent to Lesnar and everyone that Orton vs. Batista should get out of the way, with the winner facing Lesnar at WM30. That's the Daniel Bryan booking. Heyman said when he presented that to The Authority, but they instead offered Lesnar an open contract at Mania. To Lesnar, that's a consolation prize for Lesnar.

[Q13 - over-run] Heyman said the thing about WWE is they give you everything in WWE except for what you want the most. Heyman said Lesnar wants to make history, but Triple H and Stephanie will not put that history in front of Lesnar to conquer. And that's how they get you in WWE. Heyman said Hunter and Stephanie have tried to impose their authority on Lesnar, but this open contract doesn't mean a thing to WWE. Heyman said Lesnar wants to make history in WWE. So, their answer is "no, thank you."

Heyman said Lesnar doesn't have to chose his opponent, so The Authority will give Lesnar history to conquer. Or else. Heyman started to leave, but the bell tolled. The Undertaker's theme played. Out came Taker on-stage as Lesnar stood his ground in the ring with a quizzical look toward the entrance ramp. Taker then made his slow walk down toward the entrance ramp. Taker hit the ring steps and the lights revealed Taker sporting a black chin-beard and big eyes.

Taker entered and paced the ring, then turned to face Lesnar. Taker walked toward Lesnar to go face-to-face. "Undertaker" chant from the crowd. Lesnar took a big gulp, then Taker eyed the WM30 sign hanging in the arena. Heyman, having been through this with Punk last year, sold concern in the background. Lesnar then pointed to the "consolation prize" open contract. Heyman opened the folder and Lesnar signed it while Taker stood his ground. Does Taker's character do contracts? Lesnar shoved the pin at Taker's chest, then Heyman noted that Lesnar has signed the contract.

Heyman told Taker that he can sign it, too, to have the match at Mania. Taker did so with emphasis by holding Lesnar's arm down to the contract and forcing Lesnar's hand to sign. Taker then gripped Lesnar and chokeslammed him through the table. Taker's hood flipped up revealing an aged Taker sporting a mohawk. Taker then posed in the ring, Cole said Challenge #22 is Lesnar, and Taker's entrance played as Lesnar sold on the table scraps. WWE replayed Taker's chokeslam then cut back to an aged-looking Taker slowly walking down the entrance ramp. Cole hyped the post-game show on the Network as Raw signed off 11 minutes past the top of the hour.

FINAL THOUGHTS: WWE book-ended Raw with Taker and Hogan to try to start and end the show on nostalgic high notes, but there are some serious, serious issues in the middle. The one ray of hope for Bryan fans is Heyman was produced to tease the possibility of a follow-up match after the Orton-Batista title match at WM30. So, WWE is at least acknowledging that possibility, even if that was teased for Lesnar tonight.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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