Daniel Bryan is scheduled to announce his retirement in his home area of Seattle, Brock Lesnar is on Raw for a contract signing, A.J. Styles and Chris Jericho are scheduled, and more…
WWE Raw TV Report
February 8, 2016 – Episode #1,185
Live in Seattle, Wash.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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- Daniel Bryan’s retirement
- Contract Signing for #1 contender match to the WWE World Title at Fast Lane involving Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Brock Lesnar.
- More to be announced.
Raw opened with a video package tribute to Daniel Bryan. WWE showed Bryan as a young buck, then flashed forward to his rise to the WWE World Title at WrestleMania 30. WWE displayed the tweet from Bryan earlier in the day announcing his retirement, effective immediately.
In the arena, full pyro and fireworks shot off as Michael Cole introduced the show. Cole said it will be an emotional night on the Road to WrestleMania. He said they are in the home state of Daniel Bryan, and Bryan will be here live tonight.
In the arena, Lilian Garcia introduced Stephanie McMahon to loud boos. Stephanie was in the ring standing next to a contract table. Steph welcomed everyone to Raw. The “Daniel Bryan” chants picked up right away. Steph had flashbacks to when this was a nightly occurrence on the Road to WM30. Steph waited and smiled as the crowd kept chanting. She said the fans in Seattle always seem to be confused because the winner at Fast Lane will not be going on to face Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, but her husband, The Game, Triple H! (Loud boos.)
Steph said that Hollywood might have Batman vs. Superman, but only WWE has the Lunatic Fringe vs. the Roman Empire vs. The Beast. Steph said all three competitors will be signing this contract …… Ambrose’s music interrupted to bring out Ambrose dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans, while holding the IC Title belt. Big reaction for Ambrose as he entered the ring and paced around like a nut.
Ambrose sat down on the contract table glaring at Stephanie, who told him he’s early. “Can we cut to the chase? Please!” Ambrose said. He said he has unfinished business with Brock Lesnar. Dean called out Brock right now to a loud reaction. Steph told Ambrose that he does not tell her what to do because she’s in control of this. Suddenly, The Shield’s music played to bring out Roman Reigns. Steph sold annoyance as Reigns popped up in the crowd and did some hand motions before stomping down to the ringside area.
Reigns entered the ring to shrieks from the female crowd and a mixed reception from the male audience. Steph sarcastically welcomed Roman to the contract table. Reigns said they should sign on the dotted line, then his boy, Dean Ambrose, can punch Brock Lesnar in the face. Steph said isn’t this interesting that Reigns keeps trying to steal his spotlight. Dean laughed off this attempt to drive a wedge.
Steph then introduced The Conqueror, Brock Lesnar, to another big reaction. Brock bounced out on-stage with a lot of energy as the crowd made a lot of noise for Brock’s arrival with Paul Heyman. The crowd picked up a “Suplex City” chant as everyone felt out their space in the ring. Paul spoke first. Steph cut off Paul before he could introduce himself, drawing boos. Steph said everyone wants to get this signed, so let’s do this.
Dean signed the contract, then Reigns signed the contract. They stared at Lesnar, who approached the table and signed the document. Brock folded the contract folder, shoved it over to Steph, who said her business her is done, and she exited the ring.
Everyone looked at each other, then Paul told Dean to ask his Samoan Brother what it’s like to get a beat down from The Authority as opposed to Brrrrock Lesssnar. Brock smirked as Paul dipped out of the ring. “Suplex City” chant as Cole noted that tension is mounting right now. Dean then walked around the contract table and got right in Brock’s face. Brock smirked, then punched Dean right in the face before chucking him into Reigns. Brock then tossed the table onto Reigns, then quickly scooped up Dean and emphatically dropped him with an F5. The crowd buzzed at the physicality.
Brock left the ring. Suddenly, Triple H’s music played to bring out the WWE champion. Hunter sauntered out on-stage with the title belt over his shoulder as Steph clapped it up for his arrival. Heyman tried to hold back Brock as he approached Hunter. Hunter then smirked at the sight of the events as Dean recovered in the ring with Reigns’s help.
[ Reax: Hot opening segment. Lots of energy from the crowd – the Daniel Bryan Effect – making the build-up to Fast Lane and WrestleMania come alive. Dean is the clear babyface, but the crowd liked seeing Brock do his thing at Dean’s expense, while Reigns is in-between right now. It’s an interesting mix in the main event scene. ]
Announcers: Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton reset to Daniel Bryan announcing his retirement earlier in the day on Twitter. Cole hyped Bryan addressing the audience later tonight.
Bryan Flashback: The start of NXT back in 2010 when the brand launched with D-Bryan as a “contestant.” They showed Bryan’s opening match against Chris Jericho.
[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:15]
Moments Ago: The contract signing broke down into physicality, with Brock getting the upper hand.
Backstage: Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were shown walking down the hallway recovering. Dean swore that by the end of the night, he was going to get Brock Lesnar. Reigns nodded along.
In-ring: Kevin Owens was introduced to the ring for the opening match. Dolph Ziggler’s music played to bring out Ziggler as the opponent. It’s another match in their recent series, with Ziggler taking last week’s TV match.
1 — KEVIN OWENS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Ziggler was pre-occupied with the referee when the bell sounded, allowing Owens to blindside him with a forearm. Owens followed with a cannonball dive in the corner as Saxton noted that Owens hates losing more than Cam Newton. 21 minutes in for the first official Super Bowl reference. Owens continued to blast Dolph, then he paused to yell at Cole to shut up.
Owens trash-talked Ziggler in-between offense, then Dolph suddenly hopped on Owens’s back with a sleeperhold. Owens could not get out, so he flung both of their bodies through the ropes. They landed hard on the floor and sold the effects heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:24]
Back from break, Owens had Ziggler in a mid-ring chinlock. Owens continued to grind Ziggler, but Dolph fought back with hard elbows into a leaping elbow to the chest for a two count. Dolph tried to follow up, but he walked right into a superkick from Owens. Owens wanted the pop-up powerbomb, but Dolph slipped out and planted Owens with a DDT.
[Q3] Owens rolled underneath the ropes to recover while Dolph walked around ringside to deliver the Fameasser off the apron down to the floor. Both men sold being knocked out on the floor as the ref hit a seven count. Eight count. Nine count. Owens slipped back into the ring before 10 and Dolph did not, but referee John Cone awarded Ziggler the benefit of the doubt. That was odd. Cone talked to both wrestlers as they recovered, then Owens went for a cannonball splash, but Dolph moved. Dolph then rolled up Owens from behind and put his feet on the ropes to secure a three count with the ref missing the feet on the ropes.
Post-match, the announcers argued about the babyface cheating to win. Dolph headed out of the ring as Owens argued with the ref, then he threw a fit at ringside. Owens cleared the announce table as Cole and Co. backed away, not wanting part of his temper tantrum.
WINNER: Ziggler at 11:03. One of those outcomes where WWE tries to get cute with wins & losses by showing Dolph getting desperate and Owens about to explode from the recent losing.
Still to come: The Usos vs. WWE tag champs New Day in a Tables match. Plus, Chris Jericho on Miz TV. And, Daniel Bryan’s retirement.
Bryan Flashback: Night of Champions 2010 when Bryan beat The Miz for the U.S. Title.
[Commercial Break at 8:35]
Locker Room: The Usos were painting each other’s facepaint. Suddenly, The Dudleys walked in. Bubba Ray confused The Usos, then Devon said they should be facing New Day in a tables match. Devon said they are known for putting people through tables. Jey said they respect The Dudleys 100 percent, but it’s their match tonight. Bubba said they don’t like New Day, The Usos don’t like New Day, and they should team up against New Day. Jey said they should make it happen if they can get it approved. And, who would join New Day to make it four-on-four? Or, are babyfaces not interested in being fair tonight?
Announcers: JBL complained about The Dudleys getting in The Usos’s business. Cole then hyped Bray Wyatt facing Ryback later tonight.
Video Package: Ryback.
In-ring: Divas champion Charlotte was introduced to the ring flanked by Ric Flair. The crowd popped for Ric as he walked to the ring with his daughter. Cole then made it official that Charlotte will face Brie Bella for the Divas Title at Fast Lane. This based on Brie pinning Charlotte non-title last week on Raw. Raw cut to break with Charlotte in the ring.
[Commercial Break at 8:43]
2 — Divas champion CHARLOTTE (w/Ric Flair) vs. ALICIA FOX — non-title match
The bell sounded back from break. Cole noted that Alicia is usually accompanied by Brie Bella, but Brie will be out with her husband, Daniel Bryan, later tonight. Down at ringside, Flair got excited as Charlotte dominated early on. Charlotte enjoyed dominating Fox, but Fox fought back with a dropkick into a backbreaker for a two count. Charlotte then trapped Fox in the figure-eight leglock and Alicia tapped out. Cole wondered if Brie can avoid that at Fast Lane.
WINNER: Charlotte via submission at 5:19. Dominant victory for Charlotte to re-establish her title reign heading into the PPV.
Backstage: The Miz was shown checking his fixed teeth for Miz TV with Chris Jericho.
[Commercial Break at 8:54]
Still to come: The Authority, the heels, made the Tables Match fair by making it The Dudleys & The Usos vs. New Day and a mystery fourth partner later tonight.
In the ring, The Miz was standing by. He said that Miz TV is usually a place for wrestlers to come to the ring and settle their differences. Miz said everyone could and should feel awesome. But, last week was none of that when his guest was A.J. Styles. Miz flashed back to last Monday when Styles had enough of Miz running him down, so he smacked him in the mouth. Cole emphasized the “pitbull” label for Styles.
Miz called that disgusting. He said he was going to take that “redneck rookie” to the top, and he needs to recognize who he is – an A-Lister who main-evented WrestleMania. Just look at what he did for the career of Daniel Bryan. (Boos for the heel, Miz, taking credit.)
[Q5 — second hour] Jericho’s pyro shot off to bring out Jericho dressed in jeans and a jacket. Jericho marched down to the ring as Cole hyped Jericho facing Styles this Thursday on Smackdown. Jericho said he just spent two minutes talking and he did not hear his name one time. Miz said he was getting to Jericho. Jericho told him to shut up, then noted that everyone here and watching at home want to see a Highlight Reel, not Miz TV. “No, no, no!” Miz shouted back.
Suddenly, the production team stormed the ring and cleared Miz’s furniture. The carpet was rolled up in favor of blue carpet for Jericho’s segment. The Jeritron was lowered in the background and Jericho welcomed everyone to Raw is Jericho.
The Highlight Reel
Jericho said that tonight his guest is The Miz. Miz said this is his show. “This is not right!” Miz shouted. Jericho said he’s right that this is not right. Jericho asked for his potted plant and nice stool. JBL said the stool is over. Jericho then asked Miz about suffering two crushing losses last week – first, a loss to A.J. Styles, then his teeth when Styles knocked them out.
Jericho had a good laugh at Miz losing a tooth. “You look stupid” chant toward Miz, who stood in the ring with hands on hips. He said he could not possibly look stupid because he’s not Sheamus. Miz asked the crowd if they have any idea how much this (his teeth) cost to get fixed. He said it cost $10,000, each. And, he had a major audition with Steven Spielberg. If not for his team of celebrity dentists, WWE might have lost their TV idol.
Miz turned around to ask Jericho what’s so funny. Jericho sang about Miz missing his two front teeth. Miz responded by yelling at the crowd, saying this is not funny. The crowd broke into a loud “Yes!” chant for Daniel Bryan. Miz said he has a microphone and he can be louder than every single person tonight. He said what he thinks is funny is that he was not the only one who was shown up by the so-called Phenomenal One. They flashed back to two weeks ago when Styles beat Jericho in his WWE debut singles match.
Miz told Jericho that losing to Styles is eating him alive. The crowd broke into an “A-J-Styles” chant, which Jericho acknowledged. Jericho asked if Styles is great, not just good. He said they’ll find out this Thursday on Smackdown. Jericho said he will remind Styles that he is the best in the world at what he does.
Suddenly, Styles’s music played to bring out A.J. Styles on the stage posing with fireworks. Miz and Jericho stood in the ring watching Styles, but Miz suddenly smashed Jericho from behind. Miz unloaded on Jericho until Styles hit the ring to clear Miz. Styles and Jericho had a big stare down, then they worked together to dump Miz out of the ring.
Jericho and Styles remained in the ring, where Jericho pushed Styles in the back. Styles slowly turned around to go face-to-face with Jericho. Styles pointed at Jericho’s chest, then Styles slapped his hand away. They came to blows, then Miz yanked Jericho out of the ring from behind. Jericho smashed Miz into the announce table, then Jericho turned around to look back into the ring, where Styles glared down at him. Jericho then slowly walked away from ringside as Styles’s music played.
[ Reax: Eventually they got to the big hype for Jericho vs. Styles … on WWE Smackdown. That’s not something you see every year. ]
Backstage: Dean Ambrose paced around waiting to fight Brock Lesnar.
Bryan Flashback: Back in 2011 when D-Bryan won the Money in the Bank ladder match to get a future title shot.
[Commercial Break at 9:12]
[Q6] Back from break, Bray Wyatt’s music played. Out came Bray Wyatt joined by his henchmen, who took out Big Show last Monday on Raw. No promo from Bray, as Ryback’s music played to bring out Ryback in his new trunks, drawing early “Goldberg” chants.
3 — RYBACK vs. BRAY WYATT (w/Luke Harper, Braun Strowman, and Erick Rowan)
Ryback found himself staring at tough odds outside the ring when he got knocked out of the ring early on. Ryback tried to keep his head on a swivel, but ended up taking a big knock-down clothesline from Bray. Raw cut to break with Ryback in trouble.
[Commercial Break at 9:23]
Back from break, Bray had Ryback in a headlock trying to keep him grounded. Ryback fought back, then went for the big Meathook Clothesline, but Bray lured him right into Sister Abigail to counter. Bray covered Ryback for the three count.
Post-match, the henchmen hit the ring to join Bray standing over Ryback. Bray said that Ryback’s heart is still beating, so they need to eliminate him. Ryback stood up and tried to fight before he got mauled, but the henchmen pounded him down to the mat. Full-nelson slam from Rowan, then a discus clothesline from Harper. Strowman then awkwardly pushed Ryback out of th ring before whipping him into the ring apron. Strowman struggled to drive Ryback into the ring steps. The henchmen then picked up Ryback for Bray to smash him with Sister Abigail on the floor. Bray ranted & raved as Raw cut away.
WINNER: Bray at 6:51. And, Ryback does not have friends. Babyfaces having issues tonight.
[Q7] Bryan Flashback: Daniel Bryan and Kane as the dysfunctional tag champions.
Still to come: Bryan’s retirement speech.
[Commercial Break at 9:32]
Bryan Tweets: WWE flashed through tribute tweets for Daniel Bryan sent out earlier today.
Announcers: Cole and Co. were shown on-camera. JBL said he talked to Bryan earlier today about having to retire due to injuries, which he knows about. Cole said Bryan will be here later tonight.
Backstage: New Day was working on a table for later tonight. Big E. polished it, Kofi measured it, and Xavier made some calculations. Renee Young then walked in to discuss the tables match becoming an eight-man tag later tonight. Renee asked if New Day has found a tag partner for tonight. Big E. got upset by this line of questioning, then Big E. sent them back to working on the table.
Backstage: Dean Ambrose paced around looking for a fight. Roman Reigns walked up to Dean to try to talk to him. Dean said he doesn’t care if he gets another F5 tonight because he just wants a piece of Lesnar. Reigns said that fool hit him with a table, so he wants a piece of him, too. Dean said this is his battle. Reigns asked if he’s still hot about Smackdown. Dean said this isn’t about Smackdown, but him getting a piece of Lesnar.
In-ring: Titus O’Neil was introduced to the ring for singles action up next.
[Commercial Break at 9:40]
Back from break, WWE ran a promotional spot for Tapout. Cole said it’s coming in April. Social Outcasts’s music then played to bring out Adam Rose flanked by Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, and Bo Dallas. Rose warned Titus about their match, then the under-carders did their under-card routine, including a note about millions of people watching the Super Bowl last night.
4 — TITUS O’NEIL vs. ADAM ROSE (w/Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, and Bo Dallas)
Titus dominated early on, having some fun with Rose. Titus then missed a shoulder tackle into the ringpost, giving Rose an opening. The Seattle fans picked up a “Sea…Hawks” chant as Rose continued to get in offense. Titus then mounted a big comeback until the Outcasts yanked Rose out of the ring to help him out. Titus cleared all of the heels down at ringside with a big clothesline.
Back in the ring, Titus took his eyes off the prize and Rose suddenly rolled him up from behind for the win. As soon as the bell sounded, Titus angrily clotheslined Rose over the top rope to the floor. Titus yelled down at the Outcasts as they regrouped on the floor.
WINNER: Rose at 3:15. When will the individualistic babyfaces form some teams or pairings to combat the teamwork and group-minded heels? This is all backwards. Not a good night for babyfaces outside of A.J. and D-Bryan, who is retiring and has not even appeared on the show yet.
Backstage: Dean Ambrose was looking for a fight. Dana White…er…Dean is on the other side of the break.
Bryan Flashback: Summerslam 2013 when Bryan beat John Cena to win the WWE Title.
[Commercial Break at 9:50]
Back from break, Cole hyped Black History Month. WWE flashed through still-shots of African-American wrestlers such as Big Cat Ernie Ladd, Tony Atlas, Rocky Johnson, Sweet Daddy Siki, JYD, Sonny King, and Ron Simmons posing with the WCW Title. JBL talked up his former tag partner’s historic title win in 1992.
In-ring: Dean Ambrose’s music played to bring out Ambrose as the announcers talked about Dean being crazy. In the ring, Dean said he thought the F5 was supposed to hurt him, crush him, and conquer him. So, where are you? Dean shouted that Brock cannot get the job done. He told him to come back out here and try it again. “He’s crazy,” Cole commented.
No Brock. Dean said maybe Triple H was right last week that Suplex City is going soft. He said Brock Lesnar has gone soft. “That sounds like a personal problem,” Dean said. “What’s the matter – can’t get it up for the big fight?” No Brock. Dean said maybe Paulie did not give Brock permission. He understands Paul being an advocate, but he did not think Brock gave him his balls to hold. No Brock. “Brock Lesnar!” Dean shouted and Brock’s music finally played.
[Q9 — third hour] Brock slowly walked out on-stage amused by Dean’s speech. Heyman sold being disturbed by Dean’s fighting words. Brock slowly, slowly walked down to ringside, so Dean jumped out of the ring and attacked Lesnar. But, Lesnar fought him off, slammed him into the ring apron, and chucked him into the guardrail. Brock stood over Dean, then slowly picked him up and chucked him back into the ring.
Brock slowly circled the ring stalking his prey, then he slowly slid back into the ring. Brock charged Dean with a big clothesline, but Dean kept getting up. Dean pulled himself up by the ropes and took another big clothesline. Dean recovered, then crawled toward Brock, looking for more. This time, Brock picked up Dean and dropped him with an F5. Cole said you have to give Dean credit, but he asked for it. Dean got up, though. He called back toward Lesnar with a crazy look in his eyes.
Lesnar’s music stopped and Brock walked back toward the ring as Dean used his eyes to sell being crazed like a mad animal. Brock prepared to try to finish Dean again, but Roman Reigns’s music played. Reigns walked out on-stage and slowly walked down to the ring. Suddenly, Dean low-blowed Brock from behind, drawing a chuckle from Reigns. Dean then left the ring still in one piece and nodded at Reigns. And, Dean collapsed on the stage. Brock sold crotchal pain as Reigns checked on Dean and told him he’s crazy.
Still to come: The tables match.
[Commercial Break at 10:04]
Moments Ago: Dean Ambrose picked a fight with Brock Lesnar, who beat him up, but Dean kept fighting back. And then Roman Reigns provided a distraction that allowed Ambrose to low-blow Brock. All three will be in the #1 contender match at Fast Lane in two weeks.
In-ring: Lucha Dragons’s music played to bring out U.S. champion Kalisto and Sin Cara, who is returning from injury. The League of Nations’s music then played to bring out their opposition, sans Sheamus.
5 — LUCHA DRAGONS (U.S. champion KALISTO & SIN CARA) vs. LEAGUE OF NATIONS (RUSEV & ALBERTO DEL RIO w/King Barrett)
The League dominated Sin Cara early on to take advantage of Sin Cara being rusty. Sin Cara then kind of dropped Rusev to the mat in a move that looked like it hurt him more than Rusev. But, Sin Cara tagged out to Kalisto, who entered to a solid reaction. The action quickly broke down with Sin Cara knocking out Rusev on the floor.
Del Rio then tossed Kalisto into the ringpost and nailed a kick to the back of the head. Barrett provided a distraction from the outside, then Del Rio hung up Kalisto in the corner and delivered his two-foot stomp to the chest. Del Rio covered Kalisto for the win to get a pin on the U.S. champion before their title match at Fast Lane.
WINNERS: The League in 6:00. Another rough go for the faces being outnumbered by the heels.
[Q10] Earlier Today: R-Truth was shown walking around Seattle. Truth was on his phone telling someone he’s going to check out the Jimi Hendrix museum. Goldust was there dressed like Hendrix. Truth had enough of Goldust’s act, then security came over and escorted Goldust away.
In-ring: Sasha Banks was introduced to the ring. She’s on commentary for the next match.
Bryan Flashback: Occupy Raw on the Road to WrestleMania 30.
[Commercial Break at 10:19]
Back in the arena, Becky Lynch was introduced to the ring as Sasha talked on commentary about teaming with Becky at one time in NXT, but she’s really out here to scout her. Cole noted Sasha agreed to an alliance with Becky, then announced Becky & Sasha against Tamina & Naomi at Fast Lane in two weeks. Tamina was introduced to the ring as Becky’s opponent.
6 — BECKY LYNCH vs. TAMINA (w/Naomi)
Sasha complained about Team B.A.D. being jealous of her spotlight, so they broke up with her. Meanwhile, Tamina used her size advantage to overpower Becky early on. Tamina then turned her attention to Sasha down at ringside. Naomi came over to also share some words with Sasha and things turned violent when Naomi smashed the shades right off Sasha’s face. Becky then came to the outside and suplexed Naomi on the floor. But, Becky stormed back into the ring and walked right into a swift superkick to the jaw. Tamina pinned Becky for the win.
WINNER: Tamina at 3:40. That was a violent series of events.
[Q11] Backstage: New Day interviewed a tag team candidate off-camera. So, what do you say? Big E. extended a unicorn horn to Mark Henry, who took the unicorn, put it on, and thought things over. Henry also needed to test the trombone. A little rusty. He also needed some work on his hips to get the dance moves going. Henry worked into a groove as Raw faded to commercial.
[Commercial Break at 10:34]
Bryan Tributes: WWE flashed through various tribute tweets for Daniel Bryan sent out today, including top star John Cena.
This Thursday: A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho.
In-ring: New Day’s music played to bring out the WWE tag champions for the default main event. New Day said they are not serving a Table for 3 (Network plug), but a Table for Four. Out came Mark Henry ready to do battle with New Day. Apparently Henry is heel tonight. The Usos were out first for the babyface foursome. The Dudleys came out next and the fight suddenly broke out.
7 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (BIG E. & KOFI KINGSTON & XAVIER WOODS) & MARK HENRY) vs. THE DUDLEYS (BUBBA RAY & DEVON) & THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) — eight-man Tables match
The babyfaces quickly took control, looking good early on by knocking New Day completely out of the ring. Henry was left alone to take a four-on-one attack. The Usos then flew over the top rope to splash the heels on the outside. Raw cut to break after a hot start from the face unit.
[Commercial Break at 10:43]
[Q12] Back from break, the heels were now in control. Henry delivered World’s Strongest Slam to an Uso, then he got tired of New Day bossing him around. So, Henry decided to walk, leaving New Day by themselves. The Dudleys and Usos combined for a double whassup? to New Day, then called for tables. Usos placed Xavier on a table looking for a big splash, but Big E. pulled Xavier to safety. But, after the table was re-arranged, the Dudleys caught Big E. and sent him through the table for the win.
WINNERS: Dudleys & Usos at 7:30.
Post-match, everyone re-grouped as Jey Uso sold a left knee injury. Jimmy checked on Jey as Bubba challenged New Day to come get some more. Jey eventually made it to his feet to get the shine. But, suddenly, the Dudleys turned on The Usos, smashing them with clotheslines. The Dudleys then put each Uso through tables as the crowd chanted “ECW.” The announcers tried to figure out what the Dudleys are doing as they talked down at The Usos that they are the Dudleys.
Video Package: Daniel Bryan through the years. He speaks next.
[Commercial Break at 10:55]
Fast Lane: It’s a #1 contender match to determine who faces Triple H at WrestleMania. But, now, it’s Daniel Bryan time.
[Q13 — over-run] Bryan’s music played for the first time in seemingly ages. Bryan emerged on-stage with a trimmed beard and haircut looking five years younger. Huge chants and applause in his home market. Bryan entered the ring and stood still as the crowd continued to applaud. Bryan soaked up the moment by closing his eyes and feeling the moment.
Bryan spoke first that he decided to close his eyes and feel that moment since they’re supposed to keep their eyes open at all times. WWE cut to a woman in the crowd crying as Bryan spoke emotionally about this moment. Bryan said it’s time to address the giant elephant in the room. “No!” the crowd shouted. Bryan deadpanned that he did not want to shave his beard.
Bryan said he wanted to cut his hair, but he thought he would look silly with just a giant beard. Bryan then talked about cutting his hair for an organization for Wigs for Kids as WWE cut to kids crying in the crowd. Bryan said the organization provides wigs for children with cancer, so hopefully there is something worthwhile that comes out of this moment.
Now to some less fun stuff. Bryan said he does not want to do this any more than you want me to. Bryan said he’s been wrestling since he’s 18-years-old. And, within the first five months of his career, he had three concussions. For years after that, he would get a concussion here and there. Then, it got to the point where he had been wrestling for 16 years and that’s a lot of concussions. He said it got to the point where they told him he cannot wrestle again. Bryan said for a long time he fought that.
Bryan said he got brain MRIs and evaluations and all of them said that he was fine, and that he could come back and wrestle. Bryan said he would train to come back and train to come back to be ready to wrestle because he has loved this in a special way. Bryan choked back tears and nervously stroked his beard as the crowd picked up a “Thank You, Daniel” chant.
Bryan said that a week-and-a-half ago, he took a test that said maybe his brain is not as okay as he thought it was. He said he has a family to think about, and his wife and he want to start thinking about having kids soon. The crowd broke into a “Yes!” chant. Bryan went from his meek voice to an aggressive “That’s what Brie says all the time!” light-hearted comment. The crowd responded with a “That’s what she said” chant.
Bryan got serious again. He said it is with a heavy heart and utmost sadness that he officially announces his retirement. But, if there is one thing. He said he’s gone through a lot of complex emotions of anger, sadness, frustration, and everything. But, today when he woke up, he felt nothing but gratitude. Bryan said he wants to talk about all of the things he loves.
Bryan said he loves the Seahawks. Big pop. Fans held up their “12” signs for the 12th Man, then Bryan said he also loves that moment right before his music hits. He said he also loves diving through the ropes, making him feel like Superman. Bryan said their reaction makes him feel like Superman. Here’s something else he loves. Bryan said he has wrestled in the parking lots of gas stations and in front of 70,000 people in New Orleans.
Bryan said he also loves the people he’s met, like a super-smart monster called Kane. Also, a mentor and friend for over 16 years, William Regal. Also, children who are stronger than he ever thought anyone could be, like Connor the Crusher.
Bryan said he is grateful. And, he is grateful because wrestling does not owe him or anyone backstage anything. He said WWE does not owe him anything. He said they do this because they love to do this. And then it was strange. All of a sudden, the fans got behind him in a way that he thought was never possible. Bryan said fans aren’t supposed to get behind someone like him. Yet, they got behind him in a way that made him feel like he was more than just himself.
Bryan said he is grateful because a little over two years ago in this very arena, the Seattle fans hi-jacked Raw. The crowd popped. “Yes!” chants followed. Bryan said they were trying to do a big coronation between John Cena and Randy Orton, and they had all the former champions out there. And, this was going to be the most important match in WWE history, but you guys wouldn’t stop chanting “Daniel Bryan.” On cue, the crowd picked up a Bryan chant.
But, that’s not why he’s grateful. Bryan said his dad was sitting in the crowd right over there (he pointed to a fan standing about three rows back). Bryan said his dad got to see his son get that kind of reaction. Bryan choked back tears. And that was the last time his dad ever got to see him wrestle, and the fans made it special for him and his entire family. “I am grateful,” he said.
Bryan said he is grateful that because of wrestling, he got to meet the most wonderful woman in the world, who is beautiful, smart, and she completes him. Bryan said he is grateful because he gets to come out here in front of what he feels like are his hometown fans and he gets to announce his retirement in front of a bunch of people who love him. “That special moment I had with my dad, I get to share with my mom,” he said as he started crying. Bryan acknowledged his mom, sister, and family on the front row.
Bryan said he gets to share this with them and the fans and his wife in the back and all of these people he has spent the last 15 years of his life with. “I am grateful,” he said.
Now, tomorrow morning, he wakes up and starts a new life where he is no longer a wrestler. But, that is tomorrow, and not tonight. Bryan said he has one more night to feel this energy and feel this crowd. He asked for one last “Yes!” chant. The crowd broke into a huge “Yes!” chant as Bryan’s music played. WWE went to wide shots of the crowd chanting in unison.
Brie Bella then walked out on-stage and walked down to the ring to join Bryan in the ring. Big smooch in the middle of the ring. Bryan and Brie embraced as Cole thanked Bryan. He said they are grateful for the opportunity for Bryan to come into their lives. Bryan hugged his family down at ringside as Cole said the celebration continues on WWE Network. Raw signed off with Bryan doing “Yes!” chants around the arena and the WrestleMania banner hung over him in the background. Raw ended 25 minutes past the top of the hour.
WWE Network Follow-Up
Raw continued with the entire locker room filling the stage to celebrate Bryan’s career. Vince McMahon was front-and-center playing nice CEO with tears in his eyes. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon flanked him on the stage as Bryan looked to the stage. Bryan then returned to the ring to lead the arena in another “Yes!” chant. The locker room was shown joining in as Bryan asked for one more round of “Yes!” chants. WWE cut back to Vince crying as he watched Bryan do his thing in the ring.
Bryan left the ring and hugged fans on the front row. Bryan then hugged WWE personnel down at ringside before continuing his victory lap with the fans on the front row. JBL said he got to retire in Texas, and now Bryan gets to retire his home state. Bryan hugged Saxton, then Cole, and JBL, who told him well done. Bryan continued the victory lap as JBL talked about every once in a while someone comes along to transcend wrestling.
Cole said Bryan captured the power of the WWE audience. Bryan continued his victory lap to the production area, waving to all of the fans around the arena. Bryan hugged fans and shook hands with everyone he could reach. Meanwhile, Cole talked up Bryan conquering Evolution all on the same night at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. Bryan made his way up the stage and was joined by Brie for another big smooch.
Bryan and Brie then led the crowd and locker room with Yes! chants. Bryan approached Vince for a big hug, then he walked through the locker room to the backstage area, ending his WWE main event journey the way it really started when Bryan emerged through the locker room on the stage to get a WWE Title shot that started the Yes! movement. Raw officially ended 32 minutes past the top of the hour.
REAX: A fitting conclusion to Bryan’s career. It felt authentic, genuine, emotional, and real. The so-called “Reality Era” is fiction, but it was appropriate here because Bryan’s wrestling character always felt like a real, genuine person. It’s what connected him to the audience along with the portrayal of a scrappy underdog who overcame odds just to get to WWE, much less win the WWE World Title in the main event of WrestleMania 30. A great conclusion to a great career, like Edge five years ago.
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