WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 3/2: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Heyman speaks for Lesnar, Rollins-Daily Show angle, more promos, WM31 build continues
Mar 2, 2015 - 10:10:56 PM
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WWE Raw TV Results
March 2, 2015 - Episode #1,135
Live in Newark, N.J.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
- The Card: Paul Heyman speaks for WWE World Hvt. champion Brock Lesnar, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart responds to Seth Rollins, more WM31 build-up, Nikki Bella vs. Paige for the Divas Title, and more.
Live Raw on USA Network
Full pyro and fireworks kicked off Raw from the Prudential Center. Michael Cole said they are 27 days away from WrestleMania. After a pause, Seth Rollins's music played to kick things off. Out came Rollins holding his MITB briefcase as Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury followed close behind. Cole hyped Rollins in a "verbal battle" with "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart. Cue up clips from last Thursday when Rollins interrupted Stewart's show.
Back in the ring, Rollins soaked up boos from the crowd. Rollins said he has just received word that New Jersey's own, Jon Stewart, has just wrapped up his little comedy show and he is on his way to Raw to confront him. Rollins issued a warning to Stewart that unless he is coming to Raw to beg for forgiveness, he should turn right back around and head home. Rollins said he is not comic foil for his amusement, and this is not a Jerry Lawler-Andy Kaufman situation. Pause for a "You Suck" chant.
Rollins said that tonight he is going to show the entire world that he can do Stewart's job far better than he can. "Because I am the future of WWE," he said. "I am Mr. MITB, I am the hand-picked shining jewel of The Authority, and unlike the Daily Show, where they give away their tickets for free, every single person paid to see Seth Rollins."
Suddenly, The Shield music interrupted, bringing out Roman Reigns through the crowd with a smirk on his face. Reigns hopped the rail and smoothly slid into the ring still sporting a big smirk. Boos once his music stopped. Reigns looked around the arena, then told Seth not to stop talking because he came out here to listen to the crowd tell him he sucks live. "You suck!" chant mixed with boos.
Rollins said that what he was about to say is that he is worth more than Michael Jordan. Big laugh from Reigns. "Because I can out-work everybody!" Seth shouted. He said he can out-rap Wiz Khalifa (next week's Raw guest star) and out-eat Mark Henry and out-wrestle Roman Reigns. Fans clapped in the background. "I, not you, am going to be the next WWE World champion," Seth told Reigns.
Seth said Reigns thinks he's going to be the next WWE World champ, but Jersey agrees with him that Reigns cannot beat Brock Lesnar. He said Seth is a nearly indestructible, but he can beat Brock. "I can beat Brock Lesnar and I can beat you," Seth told Reigns. Reigns laughed. Reigns noted that Seth didn't get the job done against Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, but he'll give him an opportunity. Reigns asked Seth if he's man-enough to cash in his MITB briefcase in the main event of WrestleMania. (Reigns spoke over a "C-M Punk" chant, trying to stay poised.)
Seth said he could do that, or he could wait until Reigns and Lesnar tear each other to pieces and maybe he could cash in on whichever wrestler is left standing. Or, he could wait until the night after WrestleMania. Or, maybe he could do what he's always done, which is wait. Reigns covered Seth's mic, saying maybe he could just punch him in his face right now. Seth shoved him, so Reigns punched him in the face. Reigns took out J&J after clearing Seth to the outside, then stood tall in the ring to a mix of boos and cheers. The MITB briefcase was still in the ring, so Reigns stood over it, challenging Seth to come get it, but Seth headed to the back. Cole said Reigns is getting tired of people telling him that he cannot beat Lesnar.
[ Reax: Rollins is on another level on the mic right now. Reigns is slowly improving, but Seth's delivery and heelish boasting is top-notch. The three-way title match teaser was interesting, likely playing off people wondering if Lesnar will make WrestleMania after walking out on Raw last week. ]
Still to come: Rollins hosts his own version of Daily Show. Also, Nikki defends the Divas Title against Paige in a Fast Lane re-match.
Backstage: Dean Ambrose was shown walking down the hallway with possession of the IC Title belt. Cole said Ambrose faces the actual champ, Bad News Barrett, next.
[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:14]
Backstage: Rollins, Noble, and Mercury regrouped as a stagehand hung around in the background. Randy Orton then walked up to Rollins to taunt him about being embarrassed. He asked Seth where his crack security was, reprimanding them for letting Reigns get within 10 feet of Seth. Orton offered him a little advice, telling Seth he should demand a match against Reigns tonight. That way Seth can prove that he can out-wrestle Reigns. Seth shot back that he can out-wrestle anyone on the WWE roster. He said he appreciates the advice, but he can handle this on his own. "Just trying to help," Orton calmly said.
In-ring: Dean Ambrose was introduced for the opening match. Ambrose walked past a ladder positioned on the stage and they showed IC champ Barrett already in the ring. R-Truth joined the announce trio of Cole, JBL, and Booker T for commentary on this match.
1 -- IC champion BAD NEWS WADE BARRETT vs. DEAN AMBROSE -- non-title match
The ref did not take the title belt prior to the bell sounding, so Dean stood in the corner still holding the title. He eventually dropped the belt and locked up with Wade. Cole relayed news that Truth will be part of the IC Title ladder match at WrestleMania. Truth was not excited, selling concern about the ladder element.
In the ring, Dean put Barrett on the mat and applied a submission. Dean then climbed to the top turnbuckle, but Barrett cut him off. Barrett then kicked Dean out of the ring to the floor. Barrett picked up his title belt, which was left behind in the corner. Barrett held up the title belt heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:23]
Back from break, Barrett had Dean in a reverse chinlock on the mat. Dean fought back with jabs to the gut, but he ran into a back-elbow smash that sent Dean rolling to the floor. Barrett kicked Dean in the head, then rolled him back into the ring. Barrett paused to yell at Truth, who stood up and got shoved down. Truth didn't understand why the hostility. Dean then dropkicked Barrett through the ropes, took him to the other side of the ring, and ran off the ring apron with a flying elbow.
Meanwhile, Truth grabbed the IC Title belt and returned to the announce position to keep it away from Barrett. Back in the ring, Dean lit up Barrett with repeated chops. But, he ran the ropes and ran into Winds of Change for a two count. Suddenly, Luke Harper showed up and stood right behind Truth. "What he want?" Truth asked. Harper slowly pushed Truth's chair away, then held out his hands looking for a hand-out. Truth gave him the IC Title belt and Harper slung it over his shoulder to begin walking away with the belt.
Back in the ring, Barrett yelled at Harper, who kept on walking, then Dean hit Barrett from behind and nailed Dirty Deeds for the pin and the win. Dean didn't realize that Harper took the belt, so he looked around for the belt. Dean left the ring to confront Truth, who smiled at him and said the big guy left with the belt. Cole said there is some strange stuff going on here in WWE.
WINNER: Ambrose at 9:20. Talk about a match that did not matter. Or, an IC champion who doesn't matter. Or a title that doesn't matter. WWE moving away from Dean Ambrose questing to win the title in a singles feud has not produced good results.
[Q3] Last Thursday: The Miz took over Damien Sandow's TV commercial shoot.
Backstage: A group of wrestlers and Divas stood backstage talking among themselves. The Miz interrupted, thanking them for their attendance at this special screening. Damien Mizdow tried to tell Miz that he might want to screen this privately. Miz talked over him, not wanting to hear it, then called for the commercial to roll. It was Miz unknowingly pitching "Niagara," a take-off on Viagra for erectile dysfunction.
Back live, the locker room laughed at Miz, who yelled that he has plenty in his arsenal. Miz then got in Sandow's face, telling him that he is nothing and he would not be on the roster without him. Miz slapped Sandow across the face, drawing an angry look from Sandow. Sandow contemplated striking Miz, but he stood still. Miz asked what he has to say for himself. "Sorry," Sandow muttered. The camera stayed on Sandow shaking as he tried to keep his emotions in-check.
[Commercial Break at 8:36]
Back live, Cole tried to reset the show, but Bray Wyatt's video interruption played. Bray was live in the building, as opposed to a pre-taped backstage promo. Bray walked out in the arena led by his lantern, stopping at a wooden coffin (six-sided vs. standard WWE casket) on the stage. Bray stood next to the coffin to talk about that "wicked feeling" in the air.
Bray wondered what is truly left of the mighty Undertaker. Is he still capable? Or, have the hands of time finally ripped him apart? Bray tauntingly called for Taker to appear, noting that Mania is approaching. Bray said he thinks he has something Taker would like - a hand-made wooden casket. "But, where are you?" Bray asked. Bray said Taker is torturing and mocking him with silence. But, he understands his apprehension. See, everything comes at a price.
Bray pulled out a gas can. He said he's always had this fascination with the natural instincts of fire, taking Bray's character back to the inferno match with Kane at Summerslam 2013. Bray shouted that Taker cannot hide from him. He said that Taker will burn at WrestleMania. Bray set the coffin on fire, then stood back to watch the lid burn. Bray stood in front of the fire and watched it flicker. It started to fade out, so Raw suddenly went dark. Off to break.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:44]
Back live, Cesaro's siren wailed to bring out WWE tag champs Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, joined by Natalya. Lilian Garcia announced a six-person tag match up next. The Usos then came out on-stage for their traditional intro to be joined by Naomi. Notably, WWE monetized their in-show hashtags by introducing Cricket as a hashtag sponsor.
2 -- WWE tag champions TYSON KIDD & CESARO & NATALYA vs. THE USOS & NAOMI -- six-person tag match
Kidd and Cesaro double-teamed Jey early on. But, Cesaro ran into a Samoan Drop. Jey measured Cesaro for a corner butt splash, but Cesaro rolled out of the ring. Uso then tagged in Naomi, which meant Natalya had to enter the match. Natalya ran right into a swift kick to the side of the head, then she sold a leg injury from last week's events. Naomi tried to take advantage with a pin, but Natalya escaped, then kicked Naomi out of the ring. Natalya made it to Kidd, who tagged in and battled Jimmy. Jimmy took control, then the Usos measured Kidd for a double-superkick, but Kidd bailed to the corner to tag in Natalya. Natalya was not happy about being tagged in when she was hurt, then Naomi rolled her up from behind for the win.
Post-match, Natalya threw a fit, shouting at Kidd that he knew her ankle was hurt. Kidd tried to play peace-maker, then threw his arms around Natalya. Kidd, a true heel, alternated between facial expressions of "yeah, I'm good, I'm fixing this, oh wait, pretend to be concerned." Natalya started crying as Kidd pulled away to check on his wife.
WINNERS: Usos & Naomi at 2:54.
Still to come: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins is the main event. JBL said it seems like Seth took Orton's advice. Or, The Authority realized they need a main event and decided to give this one away.
Up Next: John Cena addresses his WrestleMania plans after being denied a U.S. Title re-match by Rusev.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
Vignette: Sheamus is returning. Still no date.
John Cena Addresses Life
Back live, John Cena's music played to a mix of boos and cheers. Cena marched out on-stage sporting his black & blue color scheme. "John Cena suuuuuucks" sing-along to his theme music tonight. Cena smirked and stormed the ring to look around the arena and check out the audience. Cena pointed to the top level before WWE replayed events last week when Rusev denied Cena a U.S. Title re-match at WrestleMania.
[Q5 -- second hour] Cena said the audience is divided tonight. But, this is one of those rare occasions where people not in his corner are having a wonderful time, because they got to see Rusev beat him at Fast Lane. And, got to see him get denied a U.S. Title re-match last week on Raw. For those not in his corner, they shouldn't stay happy too long. He said that as much as he wants to give Rusev his first loss at WrestleMania, if it's not meant to be, he's not going to whine or complain, but adapt and overcome. Cena did one of his ra-ra speeches to boos mixed with cheers from pro-Cena fans.
Cena went on record saying that Rusev is a marked man and he will get his hands on him. But, his focus is on WrestleMania. Cena said that if you're one of 70,000 in Levi's Stadium or one of the millions watching WrestleMania, you will see him enter the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. The crowd booed. Cena vowed to honor one of the greatest giants in WWE history.
Suddenly, Stephanie McMahon's music interrupted. Stephanie walked out on-stage and played to the crowd. Inaudible reaction. Steph then marched down to the ring to have a chat with Cena. Stephanie asked when Superstars get to declare what match they're in. Cena said he's pretty sure everyone else did - Miz, Fandango, even Adam Rose. He said that's not exactly murderer's row. Steph shot back that she takes it a little personal when he disparages Andre, who was a personal friend of hers. Cue up photos. So, her answer is no.
Cena said what he likes about the picture of Steph on Andre's knee as a girl is that she wasn't a b---- like she is now. Steph shot back that women in power are often-times called that. Cena adjusted and said that he was trying to honor the legacy of Andre by entering his name in the battle royal, then listed his credentials. Steph said the problem is he's not exactly been a friend of The Authority. Cena said this isn't about The Authority, but about *WrestleMania*.
Steph was not impressed, then listed Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock, and Bret Hart as guys who thought they would leave and WWE would sink. But, WWE not only survived, but thrived. She said that if Cena were to "sit this one out" - which she thinks these people want - and the crowd chanted "Yes!" mixed with some "No!s," then WrestleMania will still go on. Steph said she actually likes this chant tonight. Steph told Cena to think about where he would be without WWE, not the other way around.
Suddenly, Curtis Axel's music played. Axel said he's been in the Royal Rumble for over 35 days and is the longest-running Rumble entrant ever. He said that he knows he's already in the Andre Battle Royal, but he wants Rusev at WrestleMania. Axel said he respects Stephanie. And her voice - her words - are inspiration. Steph said here is someone who finally understands respect. "Axel-Mania" chant from the crowd, as WWE finally found a way to get Axel over. At least short-term, like Fandango'ing.
Steph said that Axel's star is rising, while Cena's is well, on the way down. She told Cena to prove himself right now against Axel. But, if he wants to face Rusev at WrestleMania, he'll have to change Rusev's mind. "Good luck," Steph told Cena as Cena leaned against the ropes selling major conflict. Axel then asked Cena what he's going to do when Axelmania runs wild on him. Axel ripped his t-shirt Hulkamania style to a pop.
Cena sternly replied to Axel that he will give him one shot to leave the ring. The crowd booed Cena in super-serious mode. Because if he doesn't leave right now, he won't leave the ring in one piece. Cena removed his cap as Raw faded to break before Axel made his choice.
[Commercial Break at 9:13]
3 -- JOHN CENA vs. CURTIS AXEL
Back from break, the bell sounded. Axel was still in the ring posing and acting cocky. Cena remained stern-faced standing in the corner. Long zoom on Cena's scowl. He then charged out of the corner and clotheslined Axel hard to the mat. Axel started hulking up, pointed to the WM31 sign, and took a big clothesline. Cena delivered the AA, then slapped on the STF. Axel tapped out.
WINNER: Cena via submission at 2:02. Not exactly the best crowd to get this two-part segment over in front of, especially setting up top heel Stephanie to get cheers, watering down the value of The Authority finally getting their comeuppance. Overall, it was a taste of Heel Cena, but more about Cena's character being lost and needing to get back on-track on the type of journey they could have done after Summerslam.
Post-match, Cena took a knee and continued to scowl. He looked up at the WrestleMania sign, then Rusev's music played. Rusev came out on-stage waving the Russian flag as Lana stood behind him. Lana offered fake congratulations, then Rusev spoke that Cena has to force him to change his mind to face him at WrestleMania 31. Since it's his decision to make, his answer is ... long pause ... "Yes!" chants from the pro-Cena crowd. Rusev shouted that it's his decision, not theirs. "You ignorant Americans!" he shouted.
Rusev set up his decision again. This time a "U-S-A" chant. Rusev said that U.S.A. or not, his decision is still no. The Russian flag dropped from the rafters again, humiliating Cena as he stood in the ring. Cena tried to keep his emotions in-check as Cole continued to play up the idea of Cena possibly not being part of WrestleMania for the first time in a decade.
[ Reax: Rusev and Seth Rollins are neck-in-neck for best heel promos right now. Rusev's timing and retorts are impeccable. ]
Announcers: Cole transitioned to Triple H vs. Sting hype. They aired clips of Michael Hayes and Arn Anderson talking up Sting in Cole's sit-down interview last Wednesday on WWE's website.
Video Message: Daniel Bryan made his first appearance of the show in a video message hyping WWE's "Superstars for Hope" campaign. WWE tried to sneak in an out-of-character clip of top heel Stephanie McMahon acting nice with kids before Bryan ended the message.
[Commercial Break at 9:22]
Triple H Addresses Life
Back live, Triple H's music played to bring out Hunter for another speech. In the ring, Hunter said that in 1995, he looked Vince McMahon in the eyes and said all he wants is an opportunity. Hunter said he's pretty sure he made the most of that chance after his career.
Hunter said he offered the same chance to Sting for his career to last forever and be immortalized. But, he traded that opportunity in for one chance - one fleeting chance at just a moment on the grandest stage of them all. He said that part of him understands that, but he chose to do that with the wrong guy. Not much noise from a crowd worn out on talking.
[Q7] Hunter said he has his theories on why Sting came to WWE after all these years. He pointed to JBL, then Booker T, who knew Sting in WCW. Hunter asked Booker to get in the ring, engaging the crowd. Booker entered the ring to go face-to-face with his WrestleMania 19 opponent. Hunter said he heard what Booker said before the break that Sting would have come to WWE, but he felt like there was a lid on his chance in WWE, thanks to Hunter.
Booker said he knows both men. He said he knows Hunter will use his power to step on some toes and if he were in Hunter's position, he probably would have blocked Sting from coming to WWE. Hunter smirked, saying he thought Booker was better than buying all these conspiracies. He said Booker sounds like these kids on the Internet banging around like they know what's going on. Booker said he's just saying that what's best for business or not, no one can control Sting. Ric Flair couldn't. Hogan couldn't. The NWO couldn't. Not even Eric Bischoff could.
Booker warned Hunter that he is here in WWE. And now he has to deal with it at WrestleMania. Hunter said maybe Sting didn't come to WWE because he didn't want to be here. He said "control" is a funny thing. When you have it, you can do a lot of things, and when you don't have it, that's frustrating. He said that's a scary thing. Hunter thanked Booker for his opinion, then said, "Oh, by the way, you're fired." Booker held his pose in the ring, then turned around to face Hunter, who leaned against the ropes with his hands folded.
Booker paused, left the ring, dropped the mic on the ring steps, grabbed his notes from the announce table, and left the ringside area. Booker kept walking as the crowd chanted "C-M Punk." Hunter stopped Booker. He said he's just messing with him. "I'm not firing you," Hunter said. He said Booker is a very valuable part of the team, but that was an example of what control is and who has control in this situation.
Hunter turned toward the hard camera. He shouted that he has ultimate control. He said he has been handed a chance on a silver platter, a chance to end a legacy and to end an icon - the last vestige that is and was WCW. And he will do what he does better than anyone else - make the most of that opportunity by ending Sting.
Hunter left the ring to a light reaction and walked past Booker, who didn't appreciate being played. Hunter patted him on the back as Cole muttered that he's better off keeping his thoughts to himself. Booker walked back toward the announce position selling being upset by the turn of events.
Still to come: More talking. Cole said that Jon Stewart is on his way to Raw, but Seth Rollins will try to embarrass him first by hosting his own version of Daily Show.
Still to come: Actual wrestling. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns and Nikki Bella vs. Paige for the Divas Title.
[Commercial Break at 9:38]
In-ring: Paige's music played to bring out the Divas Title challenger. WWE cut to an on-camera of Cole trying to get Booker T to re-focus on the match after being embarrassed by Triple H. JBL sold being conflicted as the usual spokesperson for The Authority. The Bellas were out next for the title defense. Lilian handled formal ring introductions for the match. That'll show those "#GiveDivasAChance" ingrates, so thought Vince McMahon.
4 -- Divas champion NIKKI BELLA (w/Brie Bella) vs. PAIGE -- Divas Title match
Booker tried to re-focus on the match as Paige quickly knocked Nikki out of the ring. Nikki recovered on the floor as Raw cut to break less than one minute in.
[Q8] [Commercial Break at 9:46]
Back from break, the match was ongoing with Nikki working on Paige in the ring. Double knockdown and both Divas sold on the mat. Paige fired back, bringing Brie to the ring apron. Paige knocked her off, then put Nikki in the PTO. Before Nikki could tap, Brie hit the ring for a DQ.
Post-match, the Bellas double-teamed Paige. Is this where A.J. returns in her home state? It is, as A.J. returned to Raw sprinting to the ring to take down the Bellas. Nikki smashed A.J. from behind, though, but Paige kicked Nikki in the face. Paige stood up recognizing she had a friend, then joined A.J. kicking the Bellas out of the ring.
WINNER: Paige via DQ at 6:37; Nikki retained the Divas Title.
Up Next: Seth Rollins hosts his version of the Daily Show.
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
Next Week: Wiz Khalifa guest-stars on Raw.
Backstage: A.J. Lee was shown skipping around the hallway. Renee Young caught up to A.J. to discuss her return, but Paige interrupted. She asked what A.J. is doing getting in her business. A.J. said she couldn't sit back watching The Bellas bully the entire division, not giving the Divas a chance. She added that the enemy of her enemy is her friend, so that makes them ... friends. Paige wasn't sure, but accepted the friendship offer. Tentatively.
Seth Rollins mocks The Daily Show
Full graphics intro, then Seth Rollins was shown sitting in the ring behind a desk with Mercury and Noble standing behind him. Rollins mockingly shouted out to Newark, New Jersey, then said it's the armpit of America. Rollins, who retrieved his MITB briefcase at some point since the opening segment, rolled footage of how he invaded Stewart's show last week.
[Q9 -- third hour] Back live, Rollins laughed at the second airing of his Daily Show invasion. He said he is here to prove that he can do Stewart's job far better than Stewart ever could. Topic #1 - where is Jon Stewart? Rollins said Stewart talked a pretty tough game last week, but much like the Oscars audience last week, he's been dead-silent today. He called him a wuss and a phony, since he is from New Jersey.
Seth said they should give Stewart some credit by not showing up tonight. Just like all of America didn't show up to the movie he directed last year. Seth said he wouldn't show up tonight, either, after all he wants to retire on his own terms. He vowed to force Stewart to retire immediately because it's tough to do a phony news show with your jaw wired shut.
The theme music interrupted to bring out Jon Stewart on-stage dressed in a suit. Stewart played to the crowd, then walked down to the ring as Seth, Noble, and Mercury mock-applauded his presence. Stewart took a victory lap, then entered the ring. Awkwardly, like Emma. Stewart cheap-popped the crowd on the mic as Seth welcomed him to his show. They sat opposite each other for an awkward intro exchange.
Stewart tried to break the silence by mocking Rollins's look. Another cheap-pop to try to keep the crowd engaged. Seth said they're not worried about the Curb Stomp because that's how they greet each other in the morning. Seth told Joey and Jamie to settle down. Stewart said he's old-school because he remembers the wrestlers who earned it. Bruno Sammartino. Gorilla Monsoon. He said Seth never fought his way up like Mick Foley. Like Stone Cold. He said Seth never fought through injury after injury to become a legend like The Undertaker. Stewart said Seth thought he could take a shortcut by cheating and becoming the poster-boy for The Authority.
Stewart had a joke about posters, boy. He said they get taken down when people get tired of them. Stewart said Seth might be better than him physically, but he has respect. Seth laughed at the claim. He said The Authority doesn't care about Seth. If they cared about Seth, then he would be fighting for the title at WrestleMania. Seth seethed. He said Seth is supposed to be better in the ring, right? Stewart said no matter whether Lesnar retains or Reigns retains, Seth is going to be left holding his briefcase. Which Seth did not earn. And he was there.
Seth told Stewart to shut up. Seth stalked Stewart around the desk, backing him into the corner. Stewart tried to use comedy to calm himself in a tough situation, then Seth grabbed Stewart around the throat. Suddenly, Randy Orton's music played. Orton walked out on-stage, then started walking toward the ring, so Stewart used the distraction to kick Rollins in the groin and bail from the ring. That was symbolic for half of America. Orton was like, "Oh man, sorry about that." Orton pretended to curse his bad luck and left to the back as Rollins sold in the ring. Stewart then ran up the entrance ramp to join Orton as Seth continued to sell in the ring.
[ Reax: Rough start, but Stewart at least showed good storyline knowledge to play a role taunting Rollins to keep the WM31 build-up going. Overall, just too many talking segments tonight to keep the audience engaged without dependence on cheap pops. ]
Total Divas season finale teaser: Brie Bella is teasing walking away to be a mom.
[Commercial Break at 10:11]
Back from break, Cole plugged the reason why Stewart was on Raw - his guest-hosting gig on a Comedy Central special this Sunday.
Moments Ago: Jon Stewart kicked Seth Rollins in the groin to run away from Rollins after the distraction from Orton.
[Q10] Backstage: Renee Young caught up with Jon Stewart to discuss his left foot to the groin. He got nervous thinking about the wrestlers walking back this way. Renee asked Stewart about maybe sticking around in WWE after leaving Daily Show. Stewart said he's a little nervous about that since he got winded just talking out there. He continued to feel nervous standing in the hallway, so he took off.
In-ring: Luke Harper, holding the IC Title belt he took earlier in the show, came to the ring after walking past the ladder on the stage. Daniel Bryan was introduced as his opponent, showing what WWE thinks of their last PPV main-eventer not announcing his match ahead of time.
5 -- DANIEL BRYAN vs. LUKE HARPER
Harper knocked Bryan out of the ring in the opening seconds, then Raw cut to break 55 seconds into the match.
[Commercial Break at 10:20]
Back from break, Harper worked on Bryan, who sold an injury. But, Bryan responded with the Yes! Lock in the middle of the ring. Harper was forced to tap, giving Bryan the win.
WINNER: Bryan via submission at 6:20. Basic set-up for the post-match...
Post-match, Bryan did a one-arm Yes! celebration before hopping on the announce table to celebrate and point to the WM31 sign. Meanwhile, Bad News Barrett marched down to ringside to retrieve his IC Title belt from Harper. But, Dean Ambrose cut him off in the entranceway, sent him back into the ring, and gave him the rebound lariat. But, Harper blasted Ambrose with a bicycle kick. Suddenly, R-Truth showed up and grabbed the belt. Harper stopped him in his tracks, though. Truth placed the belt down on the ground and tried to leave, but Harper nailed him with a lariat.
Harper started to leave as the crowd chanted for Dolph Ziggler. Harper stood on the stage and posed, making it seem like the segment was going to end, but Ziggler popped out from the back and superkicked Harper on the stage. Ziggler's music played and WWE went to back-and-forth shots of Ziggler and Bryan, who did Yes! chants from across the arena. Cole hyped all of these men in a ladder match at WrestleMania. Ziggler then climbed the ladder on the stage and stood on the top rung looking toward the carnage. Back to Bryan for Yes! chants. Back to Ziggler holding up the title belt. Back and forth.
Up Next: The next Hall of Fame inductee officially announced. No commercial break, as they went right to the announcement.
[Q11] Video Package: History of women's wrestling in WWE. They stopped on Alundra Blayze (Madusa). The video showcased her AWA run before she turned into Alundra Blayze in WWF/E. Included were soundbytes from current and recent Divas. But, when she left WWF and joined WCW, she threw the WWF Women's Title in the trash on Nitro. Daniel Bryan and Paul Heyman talked about the moment. WWE brought it back to Blayze's accomplishments as a trend-setter for women's wrestling. Cole said she'll be "inducted with the others" the night before WrestleMania.
Authority's Office: Seth Rollins complained to J&J about Jon Stewart ruining his moment hosting Daily Show. Randy Orton marched in wanting his thank-you because he saved Seth's dumb-ass from getting himself fired and sued. Seth wasn't in the mood for that. Orton told Seth that if he needs his help against Roman Reigns, then all he has to do is ask. Instead, Big Show and Kane walked up behind Orton. They offered their services instead, catching on to Orton's plot. Jamie Noble told Orton they won't need everyone tonight. Orton got the message and left.
[Commercial Break at 10:35]
Back live, Lilian Garcia welcomed Paul Heyman. Heyman was already in the ring.
Paul Heyman Promo
Heyman introduced himself and said he is the advocate for the reigning, defending WWE World Hvt. champion, Brock Lesnar. Heyman said he is here to address the rumors and speculation. Yes, his client will be at WrestleMania. Believe that, he said. Heyman said his client will be anywhere he damn well pleases before WrestleMania. After WrestleMania, too. And he will be there as Undisputed WWE World Hvt. champion because his client will be the champion as long as he damn well pleases. Believe ...
Heyman's mic cut out. He said their sound guy is obviously from New Jersey. Heyman said the problem is people buy into these fantasies, like thinking Daniel Bryan would win at Fast Lane. Because if Bryan ever came up against his client, he would be squished like a cockroach against Brock Lesnar. Now, there's Roman Reigns. Some boos. Heyman's mic cut out, so he asked for a different mic. Lilian handed him a new mic, so he said it's about time she did something right. Ooohs.
"Don't give me an oooh!" he said. Heyman said he'll give them something to ooh. He said everyone thinks Reigns is going to win at WrestleMania, and they even have the confetti and celebration lined up. Heyman said not one person disputed him last week when he said no one could beat Brock Lesnar, not Bruno, Austin, Hogan, Rock, Cena, or even Reigns. Heyman side-tracked to shout at a fan in the crowd saying Andre. "He's dead, stupid!" Heyman shouted. But, everyone walks to the side when Reigns comes down the hallway, and he's not afraid of a fight.
Heyman said WrestleMania goes down one of two ways: Lesnar beats Reigns down, like he did to John Cena at Summerslam, or Lesnar simply Ronda-Rousey'es Reigns's ass. Heyman's mic "cut out" again. He sent a message to Reigns that he is going to be embarrassed, humiliated, and conquered by Brock Lesnar. "Believe that!" Heyman shouted.
[ Reax: Heyman had to bring it strong for the fourth, fifth, sixth? TV promo of the night, and he did while getting the job done trying to indirectly present Reigns at Lesnar's level while also playing up a "worked shoot" on Lesnar's WWE status trying to control the message. ]
The Shield's music played to bring out Roman Reigns through the crowd. Heyman slowly backed out of the ring, giving Reigns the ring for the main event. As Reigns entered the ring, Cole hyped the new WWE Network documentary on Booker T airing tonight after Raw.
[Q12] [Commercial Break at 10:45]
Next Week: Wiz Khalifa guest-stars on Raw from his hometown of Pittsburgh.
In-ring: Seth Rollins was ringside talking to Show, Kane, Joey, and Jamie. Before the main event started, WWE cut to a replay of the Rollins-Reigns confrontation at the top of the show. Twix sponsored a Tale of the Tape on the main event...
6 -- ROMAN REIGNS vs. SETH ROLLINS (w/The Authority)
Reigns was greeted by a "You Can't Wrestle" chant at the start of the match. Rollins bailed from the ring to regroup early on, then returned to the ring to work on Reigns's left arm/shoulder. Reigns was pulled to the outside, then Rollins tried to capitalize with a suicide dive, but Reigns punched him, then punched J&J. Back in the ring, Reigns missed with a corner attack and sold further injury to his shoulder.
Suddenly, Randy Orton's music played. Orton walked out on-stage, apparently thinking it was time to offer Rollins his help. Show and Kane tried to remain calm as Orton walked down to ringside heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:55]
Back from break, Rollins was working on Reigns's injured shoulder as Orton was kind of hanging out ringside. Rollins settled into a chinlock as Show yelled at the ringside fans. Reigns broke free of Rollins, then avoided a corner attack as they hit the top of the hour.
[Over-run] Reigns made his comeback at the start of the over-run. Reigns delivered successive corner clotheslines, nearly getting himself DQ'ed for being over-aggressive. Reigns teased the Superman Punch to boos and some scattered cheers, but J&J grabbed his foot from outside the ring. Reigns shook them off, but Rollins smashed Reigns for a two count. Cole said it appears the ref is afraid to DQ Rollins for fear of punishment by The Authority.
Back in the ring, Reigns and Rollins battled on the top turnbuckle. Reigns shook off Rollins, then clotheslined Noble off the ring apron. Rollins took advantage of the distraction with a superkick to Reigns for a two count. Notably, Orton inched closer to the ring in the background.
Rollins went to the top, but Reigns caught him and rolled him up into a powerful sit-out powerbomb, but only got a two count. Reigns then went after Big Show, taking him out with a clothesline on the outside. But, Kane jabbed Reigns in the gut with a chair. Kane rolled Reigns back into the ring, where Rollins covered Reigns for a two count. Not much reaction for Reigns kicking out of the pin to escape a stacked deck.
Rollins then stalked Reigns for a Curb Stomp, but Reigns ducked and nailed the Superman Punch on Rollins. He delivered another one to J&J, then went for his spear, but Orton grabbed Reigns's foot from behind as the ref was pre-occupied with The Authority. The trip from Orton allowed Rollins to roll up Reigns from behind for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Rollins at 15:32. Reigns was not over at the end of the three hours in this talk-heavy show in front of an audience that already isn't convinced about him in that spot. Major over-exposure for Reigns and Rollins tonight. Meanwhile, that Orton sure is crafty...
Post-match, Orton cockily walked around ringside acting like he was running this operation now. "I told you!" Show said, convinced that Orton was part of the group. But, Orton kept on walking to the back while Reigns got up and got angry. Reigns, angered, jumped over the top rope to splash The Authority. Reigns took out Kane, absorbed a jab from Show, speared Rollins in mid-air coming off the top, and gave Show a big spear in the ring. Orton, having angered Reigns and set up The Authority for a post-match beating, was nowhere to be found, safe from Reigns's wrath.
Once the dust settled, WWE replayed Reigns's big spears on The Authority. Cole said that could be Brock Lesnar's fate at WrestleMania. Reigns continued to stand tall in the ring to a light reaction as refs checked on The Authority scattered around the ringside area.
FINAL THOUGHTS: WWE burned out this audience with so many promos throughout and secondary matches early on, making the three-hour format really tough to endure. By the time Raw got to WrestleMania headliner Roman Reigns in the main event, the crowd seemed ready to go home. The show also seemed to hurt top babyfaces John Cena and Daniel Bryan. Cena for now playing a character who is all over the place chasing the U.S. Title and Bryan for being knocked down a peg as just another guy in the weird IC Title situation. The common denominator? Associating with devalued secondary titles, capturing a long-term booking problem. Meanwhile, it was a good night for heels like Paul Heyman, Seth Rollins, who had to handle so many segments, and Rusev, who was strong in his brief, but memorable promo.
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