The following report was originally published as a VIP-exclusive article on PWTorchVIP.com ten years ago this week…
(And yes, it did suggest that, based on the hype and the usual psychology of WWE, Lesnar was being set up to end Undertaker’s streak at WM30.)
KELLER’S RAW REPORT
MARCH 24, 2014
LIVE ON USA NETWORK
[Hour One] -They opened with clips of Triple H’s beatdown of Daniel Bryan in handcuffs last week… Stephanie McMahon walked out as Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL introduced the show. She said Daniel Bryan would not be there this week. She said last week they sent a message to everyone in the locker room that insubordination will not be tolerated. She called the “Yes Movement” a “passing fad” that will lead people to a path of self-destruction. She said drastic measures were needed. She said, “I didn’t ask for this power. I was born into it.” She said she believes no one else could handle the burden of the responsibility of running WWE. She then called Triple H the most powerful man in WWE and predicted he would win the WWE Title. Randy Orton strode to the ring with both title belts.
He said he respects Stephanie and her husband too much to do what he ultimately will have to do if Triple H beats Bryan at WM30. Steph interjected, “You mean ‘when.’” He said he can’t be held responsible for what he’ll do in front of their kids and parents, sponsors and clients. A loud “Daniel Bryan” chant broke out. Steph said they can chant all they want, he won’t show up. She did a mock version of the “Yes!” chant. Orton complimented Steph, gushing about her business skills. He suggested another beating from hell for Bryan. Orton suggested that Hunter walk away from the World Title match if he beats Bryan. Steph paused and then, after a few awkward seconds, Batista’s music played.
Batista’s mic didn’t work well. It kept cutting out. He was perturbed with everyone thinking anyone but him was going to win the World Title. Stephanie instructed Batista to pick up a mic that was throw into the ring behind him. Lawler wondered if Batista’s mic was cut on purpose. Batista didn’t kiss up to Stephanie like Orton did. He even said she’s been drooled on by more people than Orton over the years. She slapped him. Orton laughed. Batista tackled Orton in response and picked up both belts.
The announcers were on camera pushing that Triple H would be out later to answer questions. Lawler plugged Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Machine would be out later, plus John Cena vs. Luke Harper. Cole plugged Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Manganiello, and Hulk Hogan would appear together for the first time ever later. Cole plugged Undertaker and Brock Lesnar would also be out later. [c]
(1) Christian beat Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, and Alberto Del Rio to become the no. 1 contender for the IC Title at 11:55.
Big E watched the match from ringside. Cole noted everyone in the match will be part of the Andre the Giant battle royal at WM30. They cut to an early break. [c] Loud “Ziggler” chant for a few seconds. As the pace picked up late, the crowd chanted “This is awesome!” Del Rio intercepted a Sheamus Brogue kick attempt on Christian, then applied the Cross Armbreaker. Ziggler gave Sheamus a Zig Zag from behind as Sheamus stood up. Christian then gave Ziggler a Kill Switch for the win. Christian gets his title shot on Tuesday’s Main Event show on WWE Network.
(WK Reax: So why did Del Rio beat Big E. in three minutes last week on SD if he wasn’t going to be the next Big E challenger?)
-A vignette aired with the Wyatt Family. Bray talked about Cena being all over billboards, so why does he ask “Can you see me?” He asked if Cena has taken time to see him, Bray, for what he really is.
[2nd Screen: During the break, they showed footage of Daniel Bryan struggling to walk out of a cage with his shoulder wrapped over the weekend at a house show.] [c]
(2) Sin Cara (w/Scooby Doo) pinned Damien Sandow at 1:10.
A video package aired on the Kane/New Age Outlaws-Shield angle on Smackdown last week. [c]
[2nd Screen: Curtis Axel & Ryback interview, with Curtis accusing Ryback of calling him a “jobber.” Ryback then breaks into “Oh yeah!” Macho Man catch phrase. Odd.]
(3) Los Matadores beat Curtis Axel & Ryback at 1:01.
The Shield interrupted the match. They knocked Axel out of the ring and then Roman Reigns speared Ryback. All three then gave Ryback a tirple powerbomb. Cole said The Shield believes Ryback made a deal with Kane. [c]
A video package aired on this year’s Hall of Fame airing live on WWE Network.
[2nd Screen: WWE Fact: 70 percent of WWE Universe thinks Triple H wouldn’t have agreed to face Bryan at WM30 if not for the Yes Movement. Duh.]
[Hour Two ] Cole stood mid-ring and introduced Triple H for a sit-down interview session. A clip aired from last week. Cole asked how as COO of WWE how he could justify that attack. Hunter said the question he asks is confusing itself. “Do you want me to answer you as COO or as a competitor at WrestleMania?” he said. Triple H complained about Bryan inviting fans into the ring in an attempt to hijack Raw and forcing him to agree to his stips. Cole said what he did last week was unbecoming of a COO. Hunter said he’s confusing a COO and a competitor again. Hunter said when he looks around now he sees apathy and little people with no power, no desire, and when they don’t what they want they cry about it. He mockingly asked them to send him a Tweet to express their displeasure. He said maybe it’s his time to step up and “start the reality era.” He stood and tossed aside the chair and said at WM he ends Bryan’s supposed run at the top. He said at WM no one will stop him, especially those living off of past glories (Batista) or those unachieving with untapped potential (Orton). He said the Reality Era means the reality is he is going to walk out of WrestleMania as the WWE World Hvt. Champion.
(WK Reax: If this is the “reality era,” does that mean everything Triple H has done before the so-called reality era was the “scripted era”? Or the “phony era”? Why bring up these phrases in the context of a wrestling show, especially since if I’m confused by what he means, I imagine the mainstream 90 percent of the audience who just tunes in to watch a coherent story of cool guys they want to cheer on to victory facing jerks they enjoy watching getting handed their ass on a platter are probably totally lost and disinterested in this drivvel. Why is Hunter wasting WM30 hype time on Raw talking about Twitter and confusing his wrestling character with the COO character he plays? This is just a mess.)
[2nd Screen: Interview with Fandango and Summer Rae. Fandango: “Cody Rhodes, I don’t trust you. I don’t trust any man who shaves his mustache off.”]
(4) Cody Rhodes (w/Goldust) pinned Fandango (w/Summer Rae) at 2:45.
Goldust disturbed Summer Rae at ringside. She dropped and sold an ankle injury after dancing to try to show up Dustin. Cody then finished Fandango with a Disaster Kick after Fandango turned to check on Summer’s ankle. JBL: “She caught her heel and Fandango is a heel.” Cole: “That was so bad. That was awful, actually.”
[2nd Screen featured short interview with Xavier Woods.]
Hulk Hogan made his entrance as Justin Roberts introduced him as host of WrestleMania 30. Cole said on WWE.com this Wednesday he’s going to have a sitdown interview with Hogan. Hogan shifted into a plug for “Sabbotage” and the special guests on Raw. Arnold Schwartzenegger and Joe Manganiello came out and hugged Hogan. Arnold talked about inducting Bruno Sammartino into the Hall of Fame last year. He said he cannot believe he is standing in the ring with “another hero of mine, Hulk Hogan.” Miz interrupted it all, then compared his movie stature to theirs after starring in “Christmas Bounty.” Miz said none of those three belong in his ring. Manganiello challenged Miz to try to take him out. Miz swung at him. Joe blocked it and punched him. Miz sold it. Arnold punched Miz next. Hogan tossed Miz out of the ring. Miz flew high over the top rope to the floor. JBL: “There goes The Real World!” [c]
Cole plugged an article in USA Today on The Rock who stars as Hercules this summer. Cole said he says he was born to play that role. [c]
(5) Big Show beat Titus O’Neill at 2:22. The crowd chanted “C.M. Punk” again for a little while.
(WK Reax: This existed only so announcers could say Big Show is the favorite to win the battle royal at WM30. At least they didn’t replay that awful battle royal angle from Smackdown.)
Backstage The Shield confronted Steph and Hunter to complain about Kane. Hunter said that’s between them and Kane. Steph rewarded The Shield with a chance to face The Real Americans.
Backstage a camera was with John Cena in the bathroom. He was hyperventilating and splashing cold water on his face, selling the idea that Bray was getting inside his head. [c]
(5) John Cena wrestled Luke Harper to a no contest in 15:00.
Early on there was a loud “Cena sucks” chant followed by “Let’s Go Harper.” The announcers addressed the chants. [c]
[Hour Three] Another loud “Let’s Go Harper” chant after the break. Eventually the lights went out just as Cena set up the Attitude Adjustment. Viewers heard a beatdown taking place in darkness. When the lights came on, Cena had his arms tied up in the ropes and a the sheep mask on as the Wyatt Family surrounded him and gloated. The crowd chanted “This is awesome!” [c]
The announcers reacted in solemn tones to the previous segment.
(6) Naomi beat A.J. Lee via countout at 1:10.
Lee just skipped around the ring and got intentionally counted out. Lawler said she knows she has to get pinned to lose Divas Title.
Vickie Guerrero walked out onto the stage and said she heard the disparaging comments Lee made about her on Smackdown. She then announced a Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitiational would take place at WM30. She has to face Naomi, Cameron, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendez, Layla, and Tamina. Vickie then let loose with her hysterical shrieking laughter. Lawler said, “What goes around, comes around.”
Cole threw to highlights of Undertaker confronting Heyman on Main Event. [c]
Cole then threw to the announcement of Razor Ramon into the WWE Hall of Fame. [c]
Cole announced Bray vs. Big Show on Smackdown.
(7) The Shield beat The Real Americans at 13:58.
Loud “We the People” chant early. A Rollins flip dive onto Swagger late in the match drew a “Holy sh–” chant that drew uncomfortable laughter from announcers. Rollins rallied against Swagger and scored the pin. Good match. Best of the night.
(WK Reax: This match backfired because just as WWE is promoting the heroic cool babyface qualities of The Shield, they matched them against Cesaro who was the most popular guy in the match.)
Afterward, The Shield gave Cesaro the triple powerbomb onto the announce table. “That’s the brand of justice the Hounds of Justice deal out!” declared Cole. As the Shield celebrated, Kane and the New Age Outlaws walked onto the stage in suits. Kane announced the Shield would face the three of them at WM30.
They showed Brock Lesnar and Heyman walking toward the entrance tunnel. [c]
[2nd Screen: In backsage interview, A.J. screeched in protest at Vickie’s announcement. Tamina had no comment.]
Heyman and Lesnar came out to Lesnar’s music. Heyman went into his usual spiel. Lesnar took the mic and said, “Enough, Paul. Enough.” He said he wasn’t there to promote, he wanted to fight. Undertaker’s music played and his druids walked out. The spectacle really tested Lesnar’s patience as they brought a casket to ringside. Lesnar kicked it and then backed away. He finally yelled, “Is this some kind of joke! I’m not here to play games!” The crowd chanted “Un-der-ta-ker!” When Lesnar threatened to just leave, Heyman said that’s the game he wanted him to play. Finally, after they challenged Taker to actually show up, Taker popped up out of the casket. Heyman freaked out and fled the ring. Lesnar “looks like he’s seen a ghost,” said Cole. Taker punched away at Lesnar with a barrage of blows and clotheslined him over the top rope. Lesnar landed head-first onto the coffin and tumbled to the floor. Taker stared bug-eyed at Lesnar as Heyman ran to check on Lesnar. Lesnar backed away and caught his breath. He pointed at the WM30 banner and said, “See you there.” Taker did the throat-slice gesture.
(WK Reax: I don’t get this approach at all. They’re destroying Lesnar’s mystique and taking away any sense of jeopardy for the Streak. Do they have something huge planned next week? I can’t imagine what will make up for this. I’m confused and don’t see any rationale for this at all. This is being done so poorly if the story of the actual match is Taker overcoming jeopardy and extending his streak that I think the only option is this is all setting up an unlikely, unexpected, ha ha we fooled you loss by Taker to Lesnar. Except that makes even less sense than the way WWE is promoting this match.)