WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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The week before WrestleMania, WWE returns to Brooklyn, New York for the final WrestleMania hype featuring a full house roster of part-time WrestleMania stars.
WWE Raw TV Report
March 28, 2016 – Episode #1,192
Live in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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- Final hype for WM32
- Full House roster of part-time WrestleMania stars
- Divas champion Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch (non-title)
- Chris Jericho vs. Zack Ryder
- The Undertaker and Shane McMahon to discuss Vince McMahon’s decree that Taker must beat Shane at WM32, or else it’s Taker’s final WrestleMania
- Triple H to address Roman Reigns before their WWE Title match at WM32
- Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman to address Dean Ambrose before WM32
- John Cena teasing Raw TV return
- Announcers: Michael Cole, JBL, Byron Saxton
Live from the Barclays Center, Michael Cole introduced the show before The Undertaker’s bell tolled. The crowd popped, blue lights and smoke filled the arena, and Taker eventually emerged on-stage to a roar. Taker paused on the stage as Cole hyped the arrival of the “greatest of all-time.”
As Taker completed his ring entrance, the announcers hyped Sunday potentially being Undertaker’s final WrestleMania if he loses to Shane McMahon, per Vince McMahon’s stipulation announced last Monday on Raw. Taker entered the ring and paced around as the crowd loudly chanted “Under-Taker.”
With the arena still dark, Taker spoke from the ring. Taker said this WrestleMania will NOT be my last. The crowd cheered. “Yes!” chants from the crowd. Taker continued. He said he has made it clear to Vince McMahon that the blood of his son is on his hands. But … “Vince’s blood very well may be on mine.”
Taker said he knows Shane will fight for his legacy until he draws his last breath. “But, WrestleMania is my yard,” he said. “Hell in a Cell is my house.” Taker continued, “At WrestleMania, Shane McMahon will … Rest In Peace.”
Suddenly, Shane McMahon’s music played and Taker removed his jacket and hat to prepare for physicality if needed. Shane danced out on-stage waving to the crowd before pausing at the giant WWE logo on the stage. Shane picked up a mic and waited out “Shane O’Mac” chants.
Shane shouted out to Brooklyn, then addressed Taker from the stage. Shane said they are going to rip each other apart, then said he is fighting to win and Taker is fighting not to lose. Shane said Taker might be his father’s instrument of destruction, but he is the instrument of change. Shane said that after Hell in a Cell, whatever is left of his body will crawl in the ring the next night on Raw and he will be in control of Raw.
Shane continued to pace the stage by saying if he has to cement his legacy by destroying Taker’s, then he will. Taker shouted from the ring that he needs to shut his mouth. He said Shane doesn’t get to talk about his legacy.
Shane started walking down to the ring at this point. Shane then hopped on the ring apron as Taker shot him the death stare. Shane wanted to talk about legacy, so he entered the ring to go face-to-face with Taker. Shane took Taker back to WrestleMania two years ago. “Your legacy died,” Shane said right in Taker’s face as the crowd oohed. Shane backed away. Taker rubbed his temple and stared off into space as the crowd picked up a “Suplex City” chant.
Taker told Shane, “You know what. You’re just like your old man.” Shane shook his head. “And it figures seeing that from the very day you were born, you’ve been your daddy’s b—-.” Shane thought about that, then tossed the mic and charged Taker. Shane landed a few blows in the corner, but Taker chucked him over the top rope onto the ring apron.
Taker followed on the outside by attacking Shane and throwing him into the guardrail a few times. Shane sold pain as Taker cleared the announce table looking to do early damage tonight. Taker wanted the Last Ride powerbomb through the table, but Shane hopped over Taker and landed on his feet. Shane did his amateurish punches, then grabbed a TV monitor and bopped Taker in the face. Shane then punched Taker in the face again with the monitor.
Suddenly, Shane got a wild idea. Shane climbed into the ring, then climbed up the turnbuckle as the announcers yelled at Shane to get down. Shane perched himself on the top rope, then went flying off the top with an elbow to Taker’s chest, sending both men crashing through the table. Taker had a cut eye from the TV monitor shot and remained KO’ed on the table scraps as Shane writhed in pain.
[Q2] Shane eventually made it to his feet and slowly backed away from the announce position trying to catch his breath. Shane’s music played as he stumbled away from ringside. WWE cut to a replay of Shane’s leaping elbow smash, then Shane hit the top of the ramp.
Suddenly, Taker sat up on the announce position, stood up, and warned Shane with the throat slash gesture. Shane stared back at Taker, then pointed to the WM32 sign over Taker’s head. WWE went to back-and-forth shots of Shane and Taker to close the segment.
[ Reax: Shane is right – Taker’s WrestleMania legacy is dead selling this much for Shane. They did what they had to do to sell this to the masses with a strongly-worded promo exchange and crowd-pleasing physicality, but it’s such a preposterous match concept for WrestleMania. ]
[Commercial Break at 8:17]
In-ring: Zack Ryder was standing by in the ring. No entrance for one of the IC Title challengers at WrestleMania. Chris Jericho was introduced to the ring as Ryder’s opponent. Before the match started, A.J. Styles’s music played. Styles cut off his music dressed in a cap and pants. He asked Jericho if he really wants to sit out this year’s WrestleMania than face him. Jericho nodded along. Styles said he’s not leaving here tonight until he gets a WrestleMania match. He stood next to Byron Saxton as the bell sounded.
1 — CHRIS JERICHO vs. ZACK RYDER
Ryder nearly rolled up a surprised Jericho from behind, but Jericho kicked out before three. Jericho then kicked Ryder out of the ring and used JBL’s cowboy hat to pummel Ryder. Jericho sent Ryder back into the ring, then yelled at Styles in-between moves. Ryder came back with a corner forearm smash, then tried the Broski Boot, but Jericho blocked and tried the Walls of Jericho. Styles cut him off from ringside with a “Y-2-Jackass” chant. Jericho stared down Styles, then Ryder suddenly rolled him up from behind for a three count.
WINNER: Ryder at 1:55.
Post-match, Jericho sprung on a celebratory Ryder with the Codebreaker. Styles chased after Jericho, who left the ring and started chucking production equipment. Jericho smashed a chair on the ground, then into the ringpost. He hit a cameraman after grabbing a mic.
Jericho yelled at the crowd to shut up. As Styles stood in the ring, Jericho told Styles that he’s stupid. You want to embarrass me? Jericho told Styles that he just kicked the hornet’s nest and he’s going to regret. “You stupid ass,” Jericho said. “Be careful what you wish for. You want me at WrestleMania? You want the best in the world? You want Jericho versus Styles? You got it.”
Jericho told Styles to wipe that smile off his face because this will be his 12th WrestleMania. He said he has won titles and spilled blood, but Styles wouldn’t know anything about it, rookie. Jericho vowed to make Sunday the first and last WrestleMania for Styles. He vowed to make it the worst night of Styles’s life. Jericho’s music played as WWE went to back-and-forth shots of Jericho and Styles.
[Q3] Up Next: Becky Lynch and Divas champion Charlotte (with Ric Flair) were shown walking down the hallway on a split-screen. They face off next.
[Commercial Break at 8:31]
Exterior Shot: AT&T Stadium in Arlington for a great shot of Texas at sunset.
In-ring: Sasha Banks was on commentary for the next match hyping the three-way Divas Title match at WM32. Becky Lynch came out first, then Divas champion Charlotte and Ric Flair were introduced to the ring.
2 — Divas champion CHARLOTTE (w/Ric Flair) vs. BECKY LYNCH — non-title match
On commentary, Cole said tonight is about building momentum. WWE inadvertently cut to a shot of referee Rudy Charles giving Becky some time cue instructions before the opening bell sounded. Charlotte and Becky went back and forth, then Charlotte forearmed Becky from the ring apron. Charlotte turned around to mock Sasha’s signature pose heading to break less than one minute in.
[Commercial Break at 8:39]
Apparently during the break, a “C-M Punk” started up. But, other crowd members tried to drown it out, according to correspondent Romeo. Back live, Becky knocked Charlotte out of the ring, drawing over Sasha for a chat. Charlotte ran away from both WM32 opponents, then Ric grabbed Becky by the foot as she tried to re-enter the ring. Charlotte took advantage by pinning Becky.
WINNER: Charlotte at 6:35. Same thing from Charlotte & Ric from the past few months with no one neutralizing Flair.
[Q4] Backstage: Renee Young was standing by to welcome in Vince McMahon for a rare backstage interview. Renee asked McMahon about the physicality from Shane and Taker earlier. Vince hyped that as a sample of what will happen at WrestleMania. He said Shane will do anything to win at WrestleMania, then referenced Taker’s comments earlier. Vince said Shane doesn’t want Taker’s house or yard, but the whole nation, world, and universe. He said Shane should realize that he just angered Taker, which is the Taker he wants representing him at WrestleMania.
Suddenly, Shane walked into the shot. Shane said he’s watched Vince discard people like human waste his whole life, and Vince thinks he’s some kind of god who is everywhere and all-powerful. Shane said this Sunday at WrestleMania, he’s going to take 40 years of anger, frustration, and hatred out on Taker, letting it all loose. Shane said that Vince stole this company from his father (call-back to the Vince McMahon, Sr. award that started all of this), so on Sunday, he’s taking the company from Vince.
[ Reax: That was the equalizer from Shane making it seem like he has a shot against Taker. Not the pillow punches or idea that he can physically beat Taker at WrestleMania, but letting loose a Vince-driven rage that the son of a tyrant character would have built up inside him. ]
[Commercial Break at 8:47]
WM Flashback – WM24 in 2008: Jim Ross’s voice called Shawn Michaels retiring Ric Flair.
Ringside: WWE showed the Andre the Giant trophy positioned ringside. Meanwhile, the Social Outcasts were hanging out on the ring apron. “Happy Birthday, dad,” Curtis Axel slipped in before the Outcasts entered character mode. Big Show’s music quickly cut off the Outcasts. Kane’s music followed to bring out Show’s tag partner.
3 — BIG SHOW & KANE vs. SOCIAL OUTCASTS (CURTIS AXEL & BO DALLAS w/Heath Slater and Adam Rose)
The other Outcasts hit the ring to attack Show and Kane 30 seconds into the match.
WINNERS: Show & Kane via DQ at 0:31.
Suddenly, Goldust, Tyler Breeze, and the Superstars/Main Event roster hit the ring. Included were R-Truth, The Ascension, Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow, Fandango, and Darren Young. Show and Kane cleared them, then Mark Henry eventually hit the ring and took a double chokeslam for his trouble. What a send-off for Henry returning home to Texas for likely his final WrestleMania doing nothing. The Outcasts then returned to the ring and took stereo chokeslams. No Wyatts in the battle royal preview.
Last Monday: Roman Reigns attacked Triple H in the parking garage when Hunter tried to pick up his wife at work.
This Sunday: Hunter vs. Reigns for the WWE World Title. Cole said Hunter is on his way to the ring next.
[Commercial Break at 8:57]
[Q5 — second hour] Network plug: Daniel Bryan’s retirement special airs tonight after Raw on WWE Network. “I wasn’t ready to be done. I’m still not ready to be done,” Bryan said in a soundbyte.
Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped a WWE Network subscription to see D-Bryan’s retirement from a behind-the-scenes perspective.
Triple H Promo
Triple H’s music played one minute past the top of the hour to bring out the WWE champion flanked by Stephanie McMahon. Hunter and Steph paused on the stage and embraced before making their way down to the ring. Cole plugged Stephanie on ESPN SportsCenter tomorrow morning in the 10:00 a.m. EST hour. Then, Hunter in the weekly ESPNews segment with The Coach in the 9:00 p.m. EST hour.
Hunter entered the ring proudly holding up the WWE Title belt as Steph took a mic. Steph shouted at everyone to get up and show respect to the champion. Now, get on your knees and bow down to the king. Hunter smiled as he listened to his wife give it to the people.
Hunter said that in six days, millions will watch around the world. And they will watch for one reason and one reason only – for the WWE World Title. Hunter said it’s the most important thing in this industry. He said it’s the dream of everyone else to be in this match. Hunter said it’s the dream of everyone sitting here in the crowd watching him. “Whether you admit it or not, everyone has had the dream – the fantasy – to stand in the ring at WrestleMania and hold the WWE World Hvt. Title high above their head,” Hunter said. But, Hunter said the thing is that will never happen for anyone watching.
Hunter said Roman Reigns can be one of those one-in-a-million with a shot to turn his dream into a reality. The crowd started booing. Hunter said Reigns is so good that he was able to become WWE World Hvt. champion.. for all of five minutes and 15 seconds. Hunter said he walk the aisle at WrestleMania for the 20th time. And, for the ninth time, he will compete for a World Title. “More than any man in history!” Hunter shouted.
Why? “Because I’m obsessed with it,” he said. “I’ve always been obsessed with it. Since Day One, I was obsessed with being WWE champion.” Hunter said that obsession led him to become the most successful WWE Superstar in history. The crowd booed. Hunter said that obsession led him to becoming 14-time WWE champion. “That obsession led me to being the greatest WWE Superstar in history,” Hunter said. The crowd didn’t take the bait.
Hunter said for a while he told himself it was okay to put on a suit and go to the office, setting aside his obsession. Then, four months ago, Roman Reigns powerbombed him right over there through a table. He said Reigns re-lit his obsession. Maybe people forget about how good he was, or maybe it was Reigns’s audacity to say his name and put him through a table. Then, it wasn’t too long afterward that he was WWE champion once again.
Hunter said Reigns made the fatal mistake four months ago of re-lighting his obsession. He said his obsession meets the end of Reigns’s dream at WrestleMania. Hunter vowed to leave WrestleMania as WWE World Hvt. champion. The crowd was unmoved.
Stephanie spoke next to lively boos that WrestleMania isn’t about ladder matches or unicorns or anything else, but all about her husband, The Game, the Cerebral Assassin… suddenly, The Shield’s music played. Roman Reigns marched out on-stage and marched down to ringside, then jogged into the ring to boos.
Hunter met Reigns with stomps, but Reigns cut him off with a punch. Hunter turned it around, but Reigns blocked him. Stephanie kind of got in the way, which allowed Hunter to roll out of the ring and head to the back. Reigns stood alone in the ring to loud boos as Hunter regrouped on the stage checking his face for another cut. Stephanie eventually joined him with the title belt. The vocal crowd was very much against Reigns, so WWE quickly played Reigns’s music as he left the ring with the WM32 sign hanging over his head.
[ Reax: Well, WWE tried to go all-out heel with Hunter boasting about being the greatest, doing a classic long-winded Hunter promo, and having Stephanie act like a meaniehead, but the crowd saw through the heelish act. There were some cheers for Hunter when he flipped the physicality on Reigns, but not anything to indicate it will be a strong pro-Hunter crowd at AT&T Stadium. It might be strong Hunter come Sunday when Hunter isn’t cutting promo and definitely anti-Reigns, but there might be more indifference than strong feelings, likely related to where the match is slotted. Reigns will have to do something amazing/crazy to get the crowd behind him on Sunday. ]
[Commercial Break at 9:12. The advertised six-man tag for post-WM32 Smackdown in Houston has completely changed from last week to this week.]
Hype Video: Tapout is coming. It’s landing at JCPenney soon.
[Q6] Moments Ago: Roman Reigns and Triple H battled.
Backstage: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon marched down the hallway. Hunter muttered toward Stephanie and went looking for someone/something.
In-ring: New Day’s music played to bring out the WWE tag champions. Lilian Garcia announced Kofi Kingston for singles action. After a replay of League of Nations beating down New Day two weeks ago, the announcers confirmed that New Day vs. The League will not be for the Tag Titles at WrestleMania. Instead, it will be four-on-three.
In the ring, New Day danced and gyrated before plugging Booty-O’s as the official cereal of WrestleMania. Xavier Woods told the crowd to get a box right now. Kofi asked who will never, ever get a box? Who? Who? Who? League of Nations, of course. Kofi, Big E., and Xavier ran down the concept of each League member having a box of cereal named after them. Big E. then rapped about throwing up League in a box. Big E. signed off with the “New Day Rocks” tune before The League’s music played.
Rusev emerged on-stage leading the group, then all four bro-hugged as Alberto Del Rio prepared to fight. All four had their own custom black t-shirt noting their country of origin.
4 — WWE tag champion KOFI KINGSTON (w/Big E. and Xavier Woods) vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO (w/Rusev, Sheamus, and King Barrett)
Xavier taunted Del Rio with his trombone early on, but Del Rio blasted Kofi from behind to put New Day in trouble heading to another early break less than one minute in.
[Commercial Break at 9:23]
Back from break, Del Rio continued to work on Kingston as JBL flipped a year of cheerleading New Day into running them down for insulting The League. Del Rio went for his corner double stomp as Kofi hung upside down in the corner, but Kofi moved just in time. Kofi mounted a comeback and nailed the SOS, but Del Rio kicked out of a pin. Del Rio followed with the backstabber to cut off Kofi.
[Q7] Del Rio started to tune up the band for a Si! Superkick, but Kofi intercepted with a kick to the face for a very close two count. Del Rio tried to respond with the cross arm-breaker, but Kofi rolled through into a quick pin while emphatically trapping Del Rio’s shoulders to the mat for a three count.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston at 7:35.
Post-match, a random voice was heard. It was The Coach walking out on-stage to join New Day on the stage. Coach said he has a big announcement. He said that they are bringing SportsCenter live to WrestleMania this Sunday. And, he also loves some Booty-O’s. Coach pulled out a box, then awkwardly danced with the tag champs.
Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Saxton hyped WrestleMania on WWE Network this Sunday. They followed by reading through the Mania Week Schedule. The verbiage for Mania has changed to “up to seven hours of WrestleMania” programming on Sunday.
Backstage: WWE shot the outside of Brock Lesnar’s locker room door. Cole said Lesnar is here tonight.
[Commercial Break at 9:34]
Exterior Shot: Raw is live at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Announcers: Cole, Saxton, and JBL reset the show by noting the Warrior Award at this year’s WWE Hall of Fame. Cole introduced footage of John Cena on NBC’s “Today” show noting Joan Lunden receiving this year’s award. Cole added that Dana Warrior will induct Lunden on Saturday night.
Earlier Tonight: The Undertaker pushed Shane McMahon’s buttons, setting off physicality that ended with Shane escaping a Last Ride powerbomb and putting Taker through an announce table with a top-rope elbow smash. Then, Shane confronted Vince backstage. He said that he is going to take 40 years of mental and physical anguish and let it all loose on Sunday, taking the company that Vince stole from his father.
Backstage: Renee Young brought in Roman Reigns for an interview. Before Renee could get in a question, Bully Ray showed up at the interview set taunting Reigns. Bully wanted to finish what they started on Smackdown. Suddenly, Devon walked into the shot and Bully gloated about Reigns finding himself in a predicament. Reigns ignored the threat and decided to fight Bully, then Devon.
Suddenly, Triple H entered the shot to attack Reigns from behind. Hunter, Bully, and Devon triple-teamed Reigns before Bully put Reigns into the wall. The Dudleys backed off, leaving Hunter to stalk Reigns. Hunter grabbed the title belt and shoved it in Reigns’s face, telling him that he will never get his hands on this. Hunter then bashed Reigns’s face into the title belt. Hunter grabbed the belt and walked over Reigns, leaving him out cold on the floor.
[Q8] [Commercial Break at 9:44]
Moments Ago: The Dudleys fought Roman Reigns until Triple H attacked Reigns from behind as part of a pre-meditated set-up.
Announcers: Cole and Co. discussed Hunter’s attack on Reigns in response to Reigns embarrassing him earlier in the ring.
In-ring: Lucha Dragons’s music played to bring out U.S. champion Kalisto by himself. Cole plugged Kalisto defending the U.S. Title against Ryback this Sunday. Already in the ring was Konnor of The Ascension for an unspoken re-match from last week’s WWE Superstars.
5 — U.S. champion KALISTO vs. KONNOR (w/Viktor)
The announcers carried over the narrative from Superstars of whether Kalisto’s high-flying and athleticism can work against a much-larger wrestler. Of course, Konnor is presented as half the competitor of Ryback, making this like facing a #16 seed before facing a #8 seed in the NCAA tournament. Kalisto shook off Konnor’s size, Viktor’s interference, and landed Salida del Sol on Konnor for the pin.
WINNER: Kalisto at 1:50. A shorter version of their Superstars match.
Post-match, Viktor tried to get some, but Kalisto took him out, too. Suddenly, Ryback’s music played. Ryback stormed the ring and confronted Kalisto as the crowd chanted Goldberg’s name. Ryback looked down at Kalisto, then shouted “Feed Me More.” Ryback left the ring as Kalisto shook his head that it’s not happening on Sunday.
Backstage: Paul Heyman knocked on Brock Lesnar’s locker room. Heyman told Lesnar that his public awaits. Cole said Lesnar is next.
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
WM32 plug: WrestleMania is six days away. The Rock will be part of the show. Doing something.
Brock Lesnar Promo
[Q9 — third hour] Back live, Brock Lesnar’s music played to bring out Lesnar fresh off a trip to SportsCenter on Monday morning. Lesnar, chewing gum, bounced out on-stage with Paul Heyman before making his way to the ring. Cole hyped Lesnar against Dean Ambrose where everything goes this Sunday at WrestleMania.
In the ring, Heyman listened to the crowd chanting “Suplex City” before beginning his promo. Heyman introduced himself and said he is the advocate for the Baddest Beast on the planet today, Brock Lesnar. Heyman said his job tonight is to hype the fact that WrestleMania is six days away. He said Sunday is the rare opportunity to see a once-ever athlete at his peak, in his prime, do his thing. Heyman said not one single member of that locker room can hope to achieve this man’s status.
But, there is that one exception to the rule – one goof, banana, dreamer, idiot, or lunatic who actually believes that he has what it takes to bring the fight to Brock Lesnar. The One who believes that he can beat The One in 22-and-1. That lunatic’s name is Dean Ambrose. Heyman said he’ll give Dean a lot of credit for being a lot smarter than anyone thinks.
Heyman said Dean thinks he can take an NCAA champion and former UFC champion out of his elements and use weapons against Lesnar (“oops, is that politically incorrect to say ‘weapons’ now?” dog whistle). But, Lesnar is not afraid of what Dean is bringing to WrestleMania. Heyman said that Dr. Brock Lesnar will take every single politically incorrect weapon and perform a colonoscopy on Dean Ambrose in the middle of the ring at WrestleMania. Heyman repeated his lines from two years ago that this is not a prediction, but a spoiler that the winner and undisputed champion of the No Holds Barred Street Fight is …
Suddenly, Dean Ambrose’s music interrupted. Ambrose wheeled a wagon down to ringside presumably containing various weapons. Ambrose flung the DA-logoed wagon down to ringside and – the amusement of Brock Lesnar – reached under the ring to retrieve various weapons. Dean found a barbed wire baseball bat he was looking for and placed the bat inside the wagon. Ambrose grabbed a few other items, then found Terry Funk’s chainsaw and placed it inside the wagon.
Dean flung a kendo stick in the air, which ended up in the ring. Brock picked it up and played with it while watching Dean. Dean started to leave ringside with his wagon full of weapons, but decided he needed the ring steps. Lesnar continued to sell amusement as Dean wheeled the wagon away from ringside. Heyman sold concern for Dean being nuts – and therefore dangerous – as Lesnar stood in the ring with the kendo stick over his shoulder. The announcers noted Dean just completely ignored Brock’s presence as he picked his choice of weapons.
[ Reax: Nice way of differentiating this match from the other big Mania matches on the final Raw before Mania. They couldn’t have Dean take yet another big beat down from Brock, so they just stuck to Dean’s craziness – like Shane’s anger-fueled rage – being the equalizer against Lesnar. ]
Still to come: More Authority. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon finish their promo from earlier.
Backstage: Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox, and Brie Bella talked amongst themselves. Paige faces Emma next.
[Commercial Break at 10:10]
Back from break, Cole hyped Triple H on the next Muscle & Fitness magazine cover. Cole then hyped John Cena on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon tomorrow night.
6 — PAIGE (w/Natalya, Alicia Fox, and Brie Bella) vs. EMMA (w/Naomi, Tamina, Summer Rae, and Lana)
Cole plugged this will be a 10-on-10 situation at WrestleMania, but Team Bellas needs to find a fifth partner. Meanwhile, Cole noted that Summer and Lana have never gotten along, but they’ve formed an alliance with Team B.A.D. to fight the “Total Divas/Team Bellas” unit. Dark Emma, wrestling on Raw for the first time in a long time, took control of Paige in the NXT Alumni match. Paige came back with an overhead slam as the ringside participants got involved. Lana suddenly entered the ring and kicked Paige in the face as a brawl broke out ringside. Emma pinned Paige for the win.
WINNER: Emma at 2:55.
Post-match, a fight broke out between Brie and Lana. Summer then pounded Brie in the corner. The heels controlled the ring as the babyfaces sold down at ringside. Suddenly, Eva Marie’s music played to loud boos. Eva hit the ring to louder boos and helped the Total Divas/Team Bellas unit clear the heels from the ring. The other four reluctantly stood tall with Eva, whose reaction was acknowledged by JBL.
Backstage: Goldust and R-Truth talked in the locker room. Truth said he won’t have his back in the Andre Battle Royal on Sunday. He said it’s brother vs. brother, man vs. man. Goldust said that’s okay because they’re not a team. Truth teared up and said that’s what makes this so difficult. Truth cried as he thought about it being every man for himself. He wiped his nose in Goldust’s t-shirt, then stormed away.
Up Next: WWE randomly plugged a six-man tag of Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, and Sin Cara against Kevin Owens, Stardust, and The Miz. This will plug the seven-way IC Title match at Mania, with the odd-man out being Zack Ryder, who beat Jericho earlier.
[Commercial Break at 10:21]
Announcers: Cole and Co. announced Snoop Dogg for the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame celebrity wing.
In-ring: The Miz and Stardust were introduced first, followed by IC champion Kevin Owens for the heel trio. Sin Cara was out first for the face trio, followed by watered-down babyfaces Sami Zayn and Dolph Ziggler.
7 — IC champion KEVIN OWENS & THE MIZ & STARDUST vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & SIN CARA & SAMI ZAYN — six-man tag match
The crowd tried to rally behind Zayn with loud “Ole! Ole!” chants. Zayn acknowledged the chants before locking up with Miz.
[Q11] Suddenly, Owens tagged in, popping the crowd for a potential Owens-Zayn meeting, but Owens bailed from the ring via tag to Stardust to boos. Miz just stared down Owens on the ring apron as Zayn and Stardust battled in the ring. Stardust was then greeted by taunting “Coooody, Coooody” chants as he battled Ziggler. Suddenly, Ziggler found himself in the heel corner, so he superkicked Miz right off the ring apron. Raw cut to break with Ziggler controlling the match.
[Commercial Break at 10:33]
Back from break, Ziggler and Stardust were battling mid-ring. Ziggler then tagged in Sin Cara as the crowd seemed to be entertaining themselves. Naturally, a “C-M Punk” chant broke out. Not even Zayn tagging in could get the crowd to re-focus. Eventually, the crowd broke into an “Ole!” chant for Zayn. The chant caused Zayn to lose focus, though, allowing the heels to isolate Zayn. Stardust then mocked the chant before reacting to “Cody, Cody” chants.
Hot tag to Ziggler, who cleaned house and did some showboating before dropping an elbow to Stardust. Suddenly, Miz elbowed Ziggler from the ring apron to break Ziggler’s control of the match. A random “RVD” chant broke out as the heels kept working on Ziggler. The crowd randomly started booing something happening in the arena. Suddenly, Raw cut to break with the heels working on Ziggler. WWE hoping the crowd runs through all of their chants during another break? Or, just trying to stretch this match all the way to The Authority’s show-closing promo?
[Commercial Break at 10:42]
[Q12] Back from break, the heels were still working on Ziggler. The crowd picked up a “This is Booty” chant. The faces begged for a tag as Ziggler fought back to his feet. Meanwhile, Cole tried to own the uncooperative crowd as a rowdy audience getting ready for WrestleMania. Ziggler and Miz knocked each other down, then Ziggler mercifully tagged out to Zayn.
Stardust also tagged in opposite Zayn, who lit up Stardust with offense. Hard clothesline, then he cleared Owens from the ring apron. Zayn followed with a flying cross-body splash to Stardust and Miz. Zayn then flew over the top rope aiming for Owens, but the director missed the shot to see if Zayn actually hit Owens or not.
Back in the ring, Sin Cara went for a Swanton to Stardust, but Stardust blocked with knees to the gut. Sin Cara tagged Zayn back in, and Miz caught Zayn with the Skullcrushing Finale. But, Ziggler sprung on Miz from behind with the Zig-Zag. Suddenly, Owens was the only man left standing. Owens tagged himself in and went after Zayn, telling him that he’s nothing. Owens wanted the pop-up powerbomb, but Zayn kicked him in mid-air. Suddenly, Miz and Stardust bailed from the match, leaving Owens alone in the match.
After Miz and Stardust headed to the back, Owens turned around to find Zayn stalking him. Zayn nailed a Tornado DDT, then a Helluva Kick in the corner. Zayn covered Owens for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Team Zayn at 21:21. That was one long stretch trying to bridge to the show-closing segment. The crowd saw this as the “takeover match” with a majority of watered-down, over-exposed WWE characters in the mix for a formula WWE tag match.
Announcers: Cole plugged The Dudleys vs. The Usos and the 10-Divas tag match on the WrestleMania pre-show, along with the Andre Battle Royal.
Backstage: Triple H was shown walking down the hallway with Stephanie McMahon. The announcers plugged The Authority finishing their message next.
[Commercial Break at 10:52]
WM32 Exterior Shot: WWE showed AT&T Stadium as preparations were ongoing for WrestleMania.
This Thursday: Dean Ambrose vs. Erick Rowan on Smackdown.
Triple H Promo #2
Back live, Triple H’s music played to bring out the WWE champion and Stephanie McMahon once again. As the crowd milled around in the background, Steph did another promo looking down on the crowd. She tried to equate it to Roman Reigns’s dreams coming crashing down on Sunday.
Steph said everyone is hopeful for new leadership and new champions on Sunday, but that isn’t happening. She said that title isn’t going anywhere, and neither are they.
Triple H then took the mic. Hunter said he hears the talk about attacking from behind and running away. He just didn’t seem interested in this promo, then tried to hype himself up by talking about not caring about morality. Suddenly, Roman Reigns’s music played.
[Q13 — over-run] Reigns walked out again, then limped down the aisleway to meet Hunter for another fight. Hunter rocked Reigns into the ringpost, but Reigns flipped Hunter over the guardrail into the timekeeper’s area.
Stephanie then waved down heels to storm ringside. The League of Nations and Dudleys and other heels grabbed Reigns to allow Hunter to attack Reigns. Suddenly, The Usos, New Day, Ziggler, and others hit ringside to try to separate the two. Mark Henry showed up to stand in the middle, but Hunter and Reigns broke into another fight, trying to do a pull-a-part before WrestleMania.
Hunter eventually rolled into the ring and Bubba Ray helped him out of the ring. Heels pulled Hunter away, then he started to walk away towards the ramp. Suddenly, Hunter charged ringside thinking about fighting Reigns, opening himself up for Reigns to fly over the top rope to wipe out heels and partially Hunter.
Triple H eventually got up and crawled away to the stage, where Stephanie McMahon waited for him with the title belt. As Reigns stood in the ring, the crowd picked up a chant that sounded like “You still suck.” Hunter eventually held up the title belt on the stage, then Reigns’s music played to boos. Cole closed with final hype for what he called “the main event” of Hunter vs. Reigns for the WWE Title. WWE stayed with back-and-forths of Hunter and Reigns until signing off four minutes past the top of the hour.
FINAL REAX: WWE sure made it seem like Hunter-Reigns is going on last after last week’s show made it seem like Taker-Shane is going on last at Mania. Reigns’s anticipated title victory will be some story on Sunday if it’s the last image of WrestleMania. WWE and Reigns will have to pull out something big to make that palatable for the audience. As for the show itself, a typical Raw that faded and faded and faded as the three hours dragged on. Lots of energy early, but that third hour really dragged after the show came to its natural conclusion with the Lesnar-Ambrose segment.
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