SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com five years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
APRIL 7, 2014
NEW ORLEANS, LA.
LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-A video package aired on Daniel Bryan’s win at WrestleMania 30.
-Justin Roberts introduced Bryan. As Bryan came out, throwing the WWE Title in the air with each “Yes” chant with the big gold World Title belt wrapped around his waist, Cole called his victories at WM30 “one of the great performances in WrestleMania history.” JBL said, “Fairy tales do come true. A farm animal is now WWE Champion. Lord help us.” The crowd went bonkers the whole time, and when he entered the ring, they greeted him with a loud and forcefully enthusiastic chant of “Daniel Bryan.” JBL called it one of the most incredible things he’s ever seen. Bryan soaked it up as Lawler told Bryan to not stop and let them go on. Bryan finally laughed and said they never get tired, do they? The crowd chanted “No!”
(WK Reax: I’d like to hear Cole stand up to JBL’s insults and outlandish comments about Bryan. He should be say what the fans are thinking and be that conscience of the show.)
Bryan said he doesn’t understand how hard it is to throw his arms out into the air over and over with that belt in his hand. The fans were just crazy-into Bryan. The fans chanted “You deserve it!” Bryan said the fans deserve it. He said because of the fans’ power, he went into WrestleMania 30 and beat The Authority and right now stands there as the new WWE World Hvt. Champion. At 7:11 CT, Triple H’s music played and out walked Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Triple H said he’s not going to get into the ring because he doesn’t want to do something he’d regret. Bryan got in his face and shot the belts into the air over and over and yelled “Yes!” Triple H said this celebration won’t last the night because he will have to defend against him later. “This is my show and there is not a damn thing you can do about it,” Triple H said. Lawler said it’s like WrestleMania all over again. [c]
(WK Reax: Really good segment. Glad they started the show with the feeling that Bryan’s win was the headline and give him and the fans that moment to celebrate. Good main event, too. It should draw, and then set up whatever they’re going to set up for Extreme Rules.)
(2nd Screen: Renee Young’s interview with John Cena right after his match last night airs. Cena says he might have been too vicious out there with Bray Wyatt. I like the sports-like feel of the sweaty post-match interviews, and Renee Young strikes just the right tone which brings wrestlers into that mindset and comfort zone to play it real and be convincing.)
-A slideshow aired of big images from WrestleMania 30 including Triple H’s gaudy entrance, 21-1 on the big screen, Bryan’s celebration, etc.)
-As Stephanie McMahon gave Triple H a pep talk, Batista walked in and said this wouldn’t have happened had he not lost to Bryan. Batista said he earned a one-on-one match at the Royal Rumble. Randy Orton walked in and said he has a rematch clause and he wants it tonight. Triple H said he runs the company, and they’ll get rematches, but not tonight. 0Stephanie said they’ll settle everything after Raw, but tonight the two of them will be in tag team action against the Usos for the tag team titles. Orton said, “You say that like it’s a good thing. If we wanted the tag titles, we’d take the tag titles. I don’t care. I want the World Title.” Triple H said when they are all on the same page, no one can stop them.
-The ring entrance for the Wyatt Family took place. Cole plugged their match up next. [c]
(2nd Screen: Tom Phillips interviews Fandango and Summer Rae.)
(1) JOHN CENA & SHEAMUS & BIG E vs. THE WYATT FAMILY
The crowd was into the Wyatts and booing the babyface team. The drunken vacationing post-WrestleMania crowd letting WWE know how lame they find WWE’s top babyface characters. When asked if he’s surprised, Cole said, “No. You know what Raw is like after WrestleMania.” [c]
Huge “Let’s Go Rowan” chant after the break. Crowd booed loudly any tease of a comeback by Cena. Then came a song version of “John Cena sucks” and then a Cena battle chant. Sheamus hot-tagged in to boos. And right before Bray finished off Big E, even a “Bray’s gonna kill you.” Cena, who had been dumped to ringside, looked on from the aisle afterward looking stunned and scared.
WINNERS: Wyatt Family when Bray pinned Big E. [c]
(2nd Screen: Phillips interviewed Byron Saxton about his suit, Undertaker’s loss, and other WM30 happenings. Then Saxton did the Fandango dance.)
(2) EMMA & SANTINO MARELLA vs. SUMMER RAE & FANDANGO
WINNERS: Santino & Emma. [c]
(2nd Screen: Cody Rhodes talked solemnly about the backstage reaction when Brock Lesnar pinned Undertaker.
-As Lesnar walked to the ring with Paul Heyman, the announcers talked about the Streak ending. Cole said Undertaker spent the night in the hospital after suffering a severe concussion. Heyman gloated and said Lesnar is the “Conquerer of Undertaker’s Streak.” The crowd chanted “Bullsh–” and Heyman said they are clearly in shock, but it shows their lack of intelligence. He pointed out that “we told you so!” He pointed at Lesnar’s shirt which clearly reads: “Eat – Sleep – Break the Streak.” He went on and on, masterfully, gloating. “Last night, Undertaker was the loooo-zer and Buh-r-ock Les-nar was the win-ner!” Heyman the wrestlers in the back are saying they could have been the one to jump to the ring and into the Octagon, but Daniel Bryan, John Cena, and Undertaker never fought in an Octagon. “You know why? They’re all wannabe’s and Brock Lesnar is The One.”
(WK Reax: Heyman was so phenomenal here, verbally and visually. And Lesnar knows how to play off of him perfectly, too. No one should have sold the end of Undertaker’s Streak other than Heyman. No one else could have gotten out of it what Heyman did there.) [c]
(2nd Screen: Interview aired with Usos after their tag team title win last night at WrestleMania 30)
-An Adam Rose intro vignette aired for his “Exotic Express” tour bus.
(3) THE USOS vs. RANDY ORTON & BATISTA
The crowd loudly chanted “Y2J” and “C.M. Punk” chants. The heels dominated and beat up the Usos at ringside. The ref counted out both teams. Batista and Orton seemed to be on the same page, smiling at each other in celebration of their beat down of the tag champs.
WINNERS: Double countout. [c]
(4) ROB VAN DAM vs. DAMIEN SANDOW
RVD made his surprise return to WWE to give WWE a little post-WrestleMania 30 spark, not that it needed it.
(WK Reax: Sandow has totally been reduced to a virtual jobber. He deserves better. Too bad. I hope on this run, since Lesnar is a part-timer and Heyman needs an excuse to be on TV every week, that RVD turns heel and becomes a Heyman Guy going after Bryan.)
(2nd Screen: Saxton threw to a backstage interview with Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock right before their WrestleMania 30 promo. Cool interaction with the Big Three.)
(5) WADE BARRETT vs. REY MYSTERIO
Barrett did his “I’ve got some bad news for you” schtick when he entered the ring, but Rey cut him off. Instead of getting a babyface pop, the crowd booed. They booked Rey throughout and cheered everything Barrett did including pinning Rey.
(WK Reax: I said from the start that the “Bad News” Barrett gimmick was worth a wait and see attitude. Vince liked it and was going to see it through, and it seems to be catching on and working for Barrett.)
-They went to the announcers at ringside who said they’ve been invited onto The Soup. [c]
(2nd Screen: Renee Young interviewed Dolph Ziggler about losing in the battle royal. Zack Ryder interrupted and was happy that “we made it to WrestleMania, bro!” Ziggler wasn’t quite as happy. In walked The Miz who asked, “Really? Really?” as if it was 2009 and that phrase was still slightly original.)
(6) ALEXANDER RUSEV vs. ZACK RYDER
-The announcers threw to a video package on the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, noting it aired live on the WWE Network. [c]
-The Ultimate Warrior walked out in a suit, with short gray hair, and no face paint. He slapped hands with fans and smiled on his way to the ring. He put on a Warrior Facepaint mask. “I am Ultimate Warrior, you are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever.” He snorted and his music played. He seemed to have trouble taking off his mask for a few seconds there.
(WK Reax: Did they tame the Warrior? He stayed on script, so to speak, and was acting like a normal wrestling character and not some defensive oddball.)
-The announcers threw to a video showing Daniel Bryan walking out to an empty arena and looking sad, and the phrase on the screen: “There is no WWE without YOU.” Then they aired clips of fans and ended with “Thank you.” [c]
-A.J. Lee skipped to the ring with Tamina Snuka as Cole said it’s Day 295 in her historic Divas Title reign. A.J. bragged about the length of her reign and said “a couple months ago I stood on top of that stage and tore all the Divas a much-deserved new one.” She said she gave them a chance, 294 days to prove her wrong. She said they couldn’t. She said last night they proved that she is the hero of her story. Some applause. She said last night at WrestleMania it was “A.J. Lee vs. The World,” and it’s always been that way. She said she overcame the 13-1 odds, just like she’s overcome odds her entire life. A loud “C.M. Punk” chant broke out. A.J. paused, considered the moment, and then continued with her promo. She said, “I am the Divas Division.” She was interrupted by Paige’s entrance music. Cole said she is the current NXT Women’s Champion.
A.J. asked, “What the hell are you doing here?” Paige said she came to do what no one else would. She congratulated her on her win. A.J. said every Diva should line up and congratulate her for everything she’s done. Then she told her to run back to NXT “because the champion does not like being interrupted.” Paige said she just wanted to say congrats. A.J. patronizingly called her “the sweetest little crumpet.” A.J. said she’d be happy to beat her like she did every other Divas last night. Paige said bashfully that she wasn’t ready. A.J. slapped her and asked if she’s ready now. She offered to put her title on the line and called for a referee. “This is my house, I’ll tell you when we’re ready.” The crowd chanted “This is Awesome!”
(7) A.J. LEE vs. PAIGE – Divas Title match
A.J. attacked her from behind, then skipped around the ring. Paige countered A.J.’s submission and scored a sudden surprising decisive win. Cole said she’s just 21 years old. Lawler said she wasn’t even ready to be in WWE because she was in NXT.
WINNER: Paige to capture the Divas Title.
(WK Reax: A little bit of a Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid vibe. Lots of differences, but that young underdog upsetting a cocky heel on Raw reminded me of it.)
-The first WrestleMania 31 commercial aired with no “31” but instead the “Play” triangle and they’re listing it as taking place in Silicon Valley, Calif. The whole theme was that technology and entertainment combine to connect people to big events. [c]
(2nd Screen: Natalya talked about the debut of Paige.)
-A vignette aired for the pending debut of Bo Dallas with the catchphrase “Bo-lieve in yourself.”
-The announcers commented on the victory by Paige over A.J.
-Hulk Hogan made his ring entrance. Cole raved about the opening to WrestleMania 30 with Rock and Steve Austin. JBL said, “It was like the Mount Rushmore of Sports Entertainment came to life!” Hogan entered the ring where the Andre the Giant statue rested. He got a bit of a mixed and muted reaction. He got right to it and said, “Well, let me tell you something, brother.” He said Superdome and got a pop for getting it right. The crowd chanted “Ce-sar-o!” when Hogan pointed at the Andre the Giant trophy. Hogan said Andre will be remembered every year at WrestleMania. Hogan said it was supposed to be 30 men in the battle royal, but it turned into 31 – and that last entrant was Cesaro. The crowd cheered.
Cesaro walked out with Zeb Colter. The crowd sang to his song. Lawler threw to a replay of Cesaro freeze-frame highlights from WrestleMania including his Giant Swing of Swagger, and then tossing Big Show over the top rope. As Cesaro was about to speak, Zeb said, “I’ll take it from here, Cesaro. Let’s let a Real American talk here.” Cesaro looked impatient. Zeb said Cesaro is a guy who 8-10 months ago was brought into the fold even though he’s “not from here.” He said he made him a Real American and a Zeb Colter Guy. Cesaro said, “I’m not a Zeb Colter Guy, I’m a Paul Heyman Guy.” The crowd popped. Heyman came out. There hasn’t been a bigger transfer of a wrestler between managers since Bobby Heenan sold Ken Patera to Sheik Adnon El Kaissey in the AWA in the early 1980s.
Heyman called Cesaro the “King of Swing” and informed Zeb that this is the week of shocking moments for Paul Heyman Guys. Cesaro put his arm around Heyman’s shoulders as Heyman spoke on his behalf. The crowd chanted “King of Swing.” Heyman went to tell the announcers how he they are supposed to speak of Cesaro from now on. Swagger them jumped Cesaro from behind and threw the trophy to the floor where it shattered. Cesaro charged into the ring and attacked Swagger, sending him to ringside with uppercuts. They cut to a break.
(2nd Screen: Heyman held what was left of the statue above his head and then conferenced with Cesaro. After some stalling to fill out some commercial time, the bell rang and the match started. The crowd was totally into it as they cut back to Raw.)
(8) JACK SWAGGER (w/Zeb Colter) vs. CESARO (w/Paul Heyman)
Heyman clutched the Andre statue part of the trophy near him like a baby as the match continued. The crowd chanted “Paul E.!” Lawler wanted to know why Cesaro would associate himself with a “leech like Paul Heyman.” The crowd popped for a top rope superplex by Cesaro, but the key was Cesaro lifted Swagger from the ring apron while standing on the second rope and tossing him into the ring. Cole said, “Cesaro is a machine.” Swagger bailed out a few minutes into the match. Zeb chatted with him as the ref counted him out. Cesaro held up the Andre statue part of the trophy.
WINNER: Cesaro via countout.
-Cole said Main Event on WWE Network will features The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family live. Then the debut of the Daniel Bryan Special. [c]
(WK Reax: The Tuesday line-up continues to be a good bonus for Network subscribers. Making Main Event relevant and having premiere content right after it that’s timely such as a Bryan special is part of making the Network feel important to WWE fans.)
(2nd Screen: Saxton interviewed Xavier Woods who bragged about winning the video game challenge and winning a PS4 during WrestleMania Axxess. Saxton said, “We find victories wherever we can, I suppose.”
-The announcers discussed the end of Undertaker’s Streak including shots of various website headlines including the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Newsday, BBC, Sports World News, SB Nation, Hollywood Life, and The Big Lead. They actually blurred out any “.com” graphics on the websites they showed. Then they threw to the show-opening celebration for Bryan.
-Backstage Stephanie stood between The Shield and Kane, trying to make peace between them. She said what is really important is that Triple H become the 14 time World Hvt. Champion tonight “and all of you are going to make sure that it happens.” Seth Rollins sarcastically asked where Kane’s buddies are. Dean Ambrose said as long as they’re around, the New Age Outlaws will never be seen again. Kane said Triple H sees the Shield for what they are – “nameless, faceless, expendable pawns.” As Kane went into a rant, Steph yelled at him to stop. She said nobody understand injustice better than The Shield. She said the Yes Movement is disrespectful and is an injustice in and of itself. She told them tonight to all be on the same page because what Triple H wants, he gets. She asked if she made herself clear. Kane submissively said yes. Reigns said, “Crystal.” The Shield walked away.
-Cole announced that Cesaro faces Big Show on Smackdown this Friday. [c]
(WK Reax: The decision to keep Cesaro heel, if that’s what they’re doing, is intriguing. Having him battle Swagger and Zeb casts him as a face, but putting him with Heyman and now against Big Show puts him in a heel slot. Not sure if this is good or bad short-term, but I’m intrigued by whether this is part of a very long-term plan for a Cesaro vs. Lesnar match at WrestleMania 31, given the Heyman connection and Cesaro being pushed as being so effectively strong.)
(2nd Screen: Saxton interviewed A-Train, calling him Jason Bloom. Bloom said he loves WrestleMania, but one of his favorite nights is the night after WrestleMania on Raw. He said he wants to party with Adam Rose. Phllips then walked in and said he just interviewed Hogan for the post-show. He was marking out. Bloom complained that he didn’t get to interview Hogan. Phillips and Bloom did Yes chants to promote the main event up next.)
-Bryan made his ring entrance. Batista and Orton walked out and attacked Bryan. Batista gave him a Batista Bomb. JBL said, “Looks like we’re not having a championship match.” Kane’s pyro blasted and he walked out. Kane told Batista and Orton to back off. The fans chanted for “Hounds of Justice.” Kane chokeslammed Bryan, showing he just wanted Bryan to himself for a minute. Then a “3MB” chant broke out. Instead, Triple H’s entrance took place. He had his left thigh heavily taped. Before the bell rang, The Shield came out to a big pop. Triple H didn’t look convinced this was a good thing for him. The crowd loudly chanted “Hounds of Justice.” Triple H looked at them and said, “This is not going to happen.” The Shield entered the ring as the crowd chanted “This is awesome!” Triple H told them to stand down. Kane, Batista, and Orton entered the ring. Hunter pushed Kane back and said he is not letting this break down into a war.
Reigns then speared Triple H. The crowd exploded. A big brawl broke out with the two trios. Reigns fought off a chokeslam and gave Kane the Superman punch. Stephanie looked wide-eyed at ringside. The Shield surrounded Triple H next. The crowd yelled “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Triple H began to get up from the spear and saw how outnumbered he was. He turned around and got hit with a running knee from Bryan. Kane pulled Triple H out of the ring. It was now nine minutes past the top of the hour and there was no match. JBL said the fairy tale continues with a farm animal still WWE Champion. He said the Hounds of Justice have dealt out justice tonight. The show ended with Bryan and the Shield standing together in the ring as the crowd continued the “Yes” chants.
(WK Reax: One of the best Raws in years. Start to finish, full of memorable moments and reason for optimism headed into the new WWE season).