10 YRS AGO – WWE Raw Results (3-31-2014): Orton vs. Batista for World Title, Reigns vs. Kane, plus Piper’s Pit, Natalya, Big E, Usos, The Authority, Bray Wyatt

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Bray Wyatt (art credit Grant Gould © PWTorch)


The following report originally published 10 years ago this week here at PWTorch.com…

WWE Raw TV Results
March 31, 2014 – Episode #1,087
Live in Washington, D.C.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor

Announced for Raw: Piper’s Pit with Roddy Piper, WWE World Hvt. champion Randy Orton vs. Batista, The Undertaker’s final message for Brock Lesnar, The Authority “saying farewell” to Daniel Bryan’s “Yes! Movement,” and Kane vs. a member of The Shield, as voted on the WWE App.

WWE Network Pre-Game Show

Josh Mathews, Booker T, Alex Riley, and “Bad News” Barrett were on the panel this week. In a backstage interview, Renee Young talked to World champ Randy Orton about facing Batista tonight.

Near the end of the studio show, Raw GM Brad Maddox interrupted the discussion. Brad said he has a major announcement to make – a new entrant in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. He said it’s himself. After Maddox left, Booker declared that the other wrestlers in the battle royal are going to beat the crap out of Maddox.

Live Raw on USA Network

The final Raw before WrestleMania 30 opened with Michael Cole introducing the show. After a pause, The Undertaker’s bell tolled and the crowd shrieked. More shrieking as Taker’s music played and the arena turned blue and black. Taker then walked out on-stage dressed in his Super Shredder gear tonight. Taker very slowly walked down to the ring, nearly tripped on the ring steps, and raised the lights once he gathered himself.

After a replay of Taker playing tricks on Brock Lesnar last week on Raw, WWE returned to a live shot of Taker standing in the ring, the arena bathed in black and blue lighting again. Taker waited out a “Taker, Taker” chant, then said 21 men have stepped up and 21 men have been set down. (Cue up the “Triple H and Shawn Michaels count as multiple people” comments.)

Taker said The Streak will stay alive this Sunday, then tried to get into Lesnar’s head wondering how he’s going to break The Streak. Taker told Lesnar to think about what happens when he gets into the deep water. Will he try to take him down to the bottom with him? Or, will he try to turn around and swim back to shore? Taker said every opponent of his has made that decision. He said they all try to swim back to shore and not one has made it.

Taker continued that Brock is very dangerous. And he knows that many think that his time will come. And it’s inevitable that The Streak will be broken. (Boos) But, there are many more who believe in three things – death, taxes, and The Streak. Taker told Lesnar that this Sunday at Mania, he will Rest. In. Peace.

Suddenly, Lesnar’s music interrupted. Lesnar and Paul Heyman emerged on-stage to re-address Taker. Heyman spoke that Lesnar believes he does not have to win this match, but Taker must not lose. Heyman spoke over a growing “C-M Punk” chant that all it takes is one F5 and then three seconds later, Taker’s Streak is over. Heyman said it will be the most historic WrestleMania Moment since Hulk Hogan beat Andre the Giant when his client breaks Taker’s Streak. Heyman said that’s not a prediction, but a spoiler.

Lesnar and Heyman turned to leave to the back as Taker remained standing in the ring. Lesnar then turned to look toward the ring. He began walking down to the ring, prompting Taker to remove his heavy coat to prepare for a fight. “Undertaker” chant from the crowd as Lesnar paused to stare at the WM30 sign hanging above Taker’s head. Lesnar then pointed to the sign and slowly backed up the ramp to leave.

Lesnar changed his mind and walked with pace toward the ringside area. Lesnar smirked, then slowly backed up the ramp again as the crowd booed. One more tease of approaching the ring. Taker prepared for Lesnar as Heyman circled to the other side of the ring. Lesnar then completed a lap around the ring.

Suddenly, Heyman slipped a chair into the ring, which allowed Lesnar to hit the ring. Taker took control, but Lesnar responded with a big clothesline. Lesnar then scooped up Taker to deliver and F5 center-ring. Lesnar celebrated as the crowd booed, then Lesnar stared down at Taker while JBL shouted on commentary that Lesnar is one F5 away from ending The Streak. Lesnar’s music played as Taker recovered in the ring and JBL said he’s sure this is the end on Sunday.

[ JC’s Reax: Good segment, overall, filtering out the odd Taker analogies in the first-half. Too little, too late making Brock Lesnar look like a legit threat to The Streak, but this was needed to at least plant a few seeds of doubt for Sunday. ]

[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:15]

Video: WWE hyped WrestleMania Week on the Network. Included was an announcement that the four-team Tag Title match will be on the WM30 pre-show.

Moments Ago: Lesnar got the best of Taker, thanks to “a distraction” from Paul Heyman.

Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler hyped The Streak in jeopardy on Sunday.

In-ring: Big E.’s music played to bring out the Intercontinental champion for singles action. Alberto Del Rio was then introduced as his opponent for a repeat match.

1 — IC champion BIG E. vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO — non-title match

Big E. displayed his power early on with a press slam. But, Del Rio side-stepped a corner attack, sending Big E. shoulder-first into the ringpost. Del Rio followed up with a shoulder attack sending Raw to break.

[Commercial Break at 8:24]

Back from break, Del Rio was still working on the shoulder. The announcers talked about the two men in the Andre battle royal before Lawler freaked out as Big E. caught Del Rio coming off the top rope to deliver a powerslam. Big E. then mounted a comeback, ran the ropes, and tried a big splash, but Del Rio got his knees up to block.

[Q3] Del Rio prepared to deliver a standing sidekick, but Big E. ducked and tossed Del Rio into the air. Del Rio again blocked Big’s follow-up by delivering a backstabber for a two count. Del Rio took his time following up, then decided to call for the cross arm-breaker, which Big E. blocked. The champ then delivered a big splash for a two count.

Big E. got up, dropped the straps, and wanted the Big Ending, but Del Rio slapped on the cross arm-breaker. Big tried to power out, but Del Rio re-applied. So, Big E. again tried to power out, this time lifting Del Rio into the air for a big slam. A cover resulted in only a two count, though. Del Rio again cut off Big, then delivered a double foot stomp to the chest. Del Rio followed with a standing sidekick, then covered Big for the pin and the win. No kick-out from the champ.

WINNER: Del Rio at 10:28. The match was set up for Big E. to get a big victory after overcoming Del Rio again and again and again, but Del Rio got the clean, long-form victory here. Very interesting.

Announcers: Cole hyped an App vote to determine which Shield member will face Kane tonight.

Still to come: Randy Orton vs. Batista in an Evolution battle. Also, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have a “farewell/good-bye” to Daniel Bryan’s “Yes! Movement” tonight.

Up Next: The Wyatts speak.

[Commercial Break at 8:35]

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL were shown on-camera setting up a video replay of John Cena vs. Luke Harper from last week on Raw. Just as Cena was about to hit the AA on Harper, the lights went out, then Cena was wearing a sheep mask when the lights came back on.

Video: The Wyatts were shown standing by in a dark location. Bray Wyatt was shown standing upside-down, then he fixed himself and sent a message to the kids. Bray laughed to himself, then talked in riddles about “her” telling Bray that he would change the world. Bray said everyone will forget John Cena when he’s done with him and the world will see Cena the same way he does – as a monster. Bray then started singing, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Cut. Back to the announcers for a follow-up discussion.

Cole, Lawler, and JBL then transitioned to a video clip from “Total Divas.” The clip showed a contrived conversation between Natalya and Summer Rae, which led to Summer slapping Natalya. WWE replayed Natalya getting slapped a few times for added measure.

In-ring: Summer Rae was introduced to the ring for the next match. No sign of Fandango. Cole said it’s Summer vs. Natalya next.

[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:44]

Friday on Smackdown: WWE reporting live from WrestleMania Axxess.

Back live, Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero was on commentary to hype her Divas Title match at WrestleMania. Natalya was then introduced to the ring to face Summer. Apparently it’s a “shoot, brother.”


As the match started, Cole asked Vickie to explain what the Divas Title match will be on Sunday. Vickie said it’s a one-fall match. Cole said that’s not fair to Divas champ A.J. Lee facing a dozen other opponents at one time. Vickie said that’s the match. Summer struck Natalya in the mouth early on, so Natalya angrily fired off a clothesline, trying to make it look like a real fight. Summer used Natalya’s over-aggressiveness against her to then score a pinfall.

WINNER: Summer at 2:21. WWE has added to last season’s heel/face misalignment by now trying to present “shoot” matches.

Backstage: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were shown walking down the hallway. Steph was mocking Daniel Bryan’s “Yes!” chant with a smile on her face as she walked arm-in-arm with Hunter. They’re next.

[Commercial Break at 8:52]

The Authority Segment

Raw returned four minutes before the top of the hour with Triple H’s music playing to bring out Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Once in the ring, Steph declared that they are benevolent people. Therefore, they will allow everyone to say good-bye to the “Yes! Movement” before Hunter destroys Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania.

Hunter spoke that he doesn’t think this generation will care, though. He said they just want to be part of something and have a flavor of the day. Then, they move on to something else. Hunter and Steph said it’s kind of like that thing around this time last year when they did that dancing stuff. Hunter and Steph asked the audience if they remember that Fandango thing. But, the crowd just moved on and discarded a solid kid, a B-Plus Player.

Steph moved on to asking the crowd if they want to see Daniel Bryan tonight. She said even she can get the crowd to chant “Yes!” Steph said they can chant all they want, but Bryan will not be here tonight. (Boos) She said what was best for Bryan was to head to New Orleans a little bit early and rest up. Hunter said Bryan and the “Yes! Movement” are just a myth and a fallacy.

[Q5 — second hour] Hunter told the crowd that they can chant “Yes!” all they want, but it doesn’t matter. He said Bryan’s movement is a fallacy, just like the people who think he has power and success because he married well. But, the reason why he got to the top is because of his dominance in the ring. The crowd picked up a “boring” chant as Hunter went on about overcoming every obstacle in his way. Over and over again. Hunter then fed to a video package.

The video started with clips of Bryan leading the crowd in “Yes!” chants as Stephanie narrated. The video then showed past stars who have come across Triple H, like Booker T, Scott Steiner, RVD, Goldberg, who Steph said “pretends to be invincible,” Kurt Angle, and Mick Foley and Chris Jericho, who she said pander to the crowd with cheap catchphrases. Because all that’s left is Triple H. Steph said Hunter cannot be stopped and he will end the next sacrificial lamb at WrestleMania.

Back in the ring, Hunter said it’s not that those guys aren’t great, but they were just players in the game. “And I am The Game,” he said. Hunter said he is The Game more than ever. And since the crowd has cried so much about it, not only will he beat Bryan at WrestleMania, he will then step into the ring with Randy Orton and Batista to win the WWE Title.

Hunter and Steph were satisfied with their message and tried to leave, but Batista’s music interrupted. Batista strolled out in front of his hometown crowd sporting a Georgetown Hoyas college basketball jersey, jeans, Lugz boots, and his Kangol golfer hat. Once in the ring, the crowd was mixed with cheers and boos for Batista. A light “Batista” chant picked up.

Batista told Hunter that he’s being real cute saying good-bye to the “Yes! Movement.” Batista then noted that he wasn’t in Hunter’s little video, which is because Hunter has never beaten him. In classic form, Hunter dismissed that, telling him he has nothing else to say. He then dismissed Batista’s wardrobe for added insult. Batista replied by telling Hunter that he should be more concerned about Daniel Bryan because he might not be in the WWE Title match. He caught himself and said that’s right he’s supposed to go through Stephanie, who is the brawn of this operation.

Randy Orton’s music interrupted. Orton walked out to the ring and told Hunter and Steph to leave Batista alone because he’s going to beat some respect into him. Orton said he has the utmost respect for Triple H, so he is asking him to remove himself from the title picture on Sunday. Hunter told him that no amount of ass-kissing can fix the problem, then told Orton that his reign is coming to an end soon…unless Orton finds The Viper again. Hunter then changed Orton vs. Batista for tonight to a No DQ match.

Hunter’s music played and The Authority left the ring before Orton stood face-to-face with Batista to end the segment.

[ JC’s Reax: Great heel line from Hunter accusing Batista of not having anything to say when that comment applies to Hunter offering the same promo as last week. Overall, either WWE is setting up for Daniel Bryan to make a surprise appearance later in the show, or they’re not behind him as a top-line star by not giving Bryan space to deliver that big-time babyface promo on the final Raw before WM30 by responding to Hunter’s claims and dramatic beat down from two weeks ago. WWE would reason that they’re trying to be “unpredictable” by dumping on Bryan and accentuating Hunter to make it seem like Bryan isn’t going to win on Sunday, but better, long-term business would be Bryan delivering that strong, long-lasting, career-defining promo than WWE trying to be “unpredictable” to set up a “surprise” win for Bryan. ]

Announcers: Cole went back to WrestleMania I back in 1985. So, tonight, Roddy Piper is back to host a Piper’s Pit. Also, Kane faces a Shield member.

[Commercial Break at 9:12]

[Q6] Back live, the four teams in the Tag Title match at WM30 were in the ring for an eight-man tag.

3 — WWE tag champs THE USOS & LOS MATADORES (DIEGO & FERNANDO w/El Torito) vs. REAL AMERICANS (JACK SWAGGER & CESARO w/Zeb Colter) & RYBACK & CURTIS AXEL — eight-man tag match

JBL again brought up betting lines when discussing who the favorite is to win the Tag Title match on Sunday. The heels isolated Jimmy Uso early on, then the heels lost their team unity. Bodies started flying all over the place, then Swagger smashed Uso to the floor. Everyone paused, then Raw awkwardly cut to commercial without Cole sending the show to break.

[Commercial Break at 9:24]

Back from break, Cesaro cut off Uso trying to make a comeback. The crowd then picked up a dueling chant of “We The People / Let’s Go Uso.” Lawler said perhaps The Authority is right that the audience just wants to be part of something, referring to the audience backing Cesaro. Uso finally broke free and tagged in Jey Uso, who cleaned house.

[Q7] Bodies everywhere before Cesaro teased the Big Swing, but un Matador broke it up to boos. He followed with a splash to Cesaro on the outside. Swagger tried a Swagger Bomb on Uso, but Uso blocked and kicked Swagger in the face. Uso then tagged in un Matador, who flew right into the Patriot Lock. Swagger locked it on tight, but Uso broke it up. The other Matador then pulled a Switcheroo, which allowed him to small-package Swagger for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Usos y Los Matadores in 14:00.

Still to come: Orton vs. Batista in a No DQ match.

[Commercial Break at 9:33]

In-ring: Fandango was in the ring with Summer Rae back from break. Damien Sandow was also present. Cole identified Sandow as Fandango’s tag partner, then showed the Rhodes Bros. on the opposite side of the ring for a tag match.


Sandow and Fandango controlled Cody early on as JBL and Cole bickered about Fandango dancing on the ring apron in the middle of a wrestling match. Lawler then brought up Triple H heeling on the crowd for ditching Fandango’ing. Goldust took a hot tag, then double-splashed the heels. Goldust discarded Fandango, then powerslammed Sandow for a nearfall. Goldust fought off Fandango, then dropped Sandow with the Final Cut for the pin and the win.

Post-match: WWE flashed through the wrestlers in the Andre the Battle Royal, including all four men in this match. The photo gallery stopped at the favorite, Big Show. Back live, Cody and Goldust pointed to the WM30 sign to indicate their intentions on Sunday.

WINNERS: Goldust & Rhodes at 4:08.

Up Next: The Shield speak.

[Commercial Break at 9:43]

[Q8] Back on Raw, Cole and Lawler were having a conversation while JBL was looking down at the announce table writing down something. JBL then joined in as Cole fed to a video package from Smackdown two weeks ago in Houston when Kane led an attack on The Shield. Sunday, it’s Shield vs. Kane & New Age Outlaws in a six-man tag.

Somewhere: The Shield was mean-mugging for the camera. Seth Rollins spoke that he almost feels bad for Kane. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose smiled. Rollins said Kane and his geriatric sidekicks are going to find out why this fist is the new symbol of excellence. Ambrose said what’s important to remember is that The Shield did not disrespect the Outlaws and Kane, but they disrespected The Shield. Reigns added that Shield is not to be messed with. Three fists joined together to close the segment.

Somewhere Else: Bray Wyatt was shown lighting his lantern. Joined by Harper and Rowan, Bray told D.C. that they’re here.

In-ring: Bray Wyatt’s music played to bring out John Cena’s WrestleMania opponent. Cole said Bray is in action next.

[Commercial Break at 9:52]

Tomorrow on Main Event: Sheamus vs. The Miz in a singles match.

Back live, R-Truth was in the ring trying to process Bray Wyatt before the bell sounded.

5 — BRAY WYATT (w/Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) vs. R-TRUTH (w/Xavier Woods)

Bray rocked Truth early on, then took his time dissecting Truth. Bray tossed Truth to the outside, where Truth found Harper and Rowan standing next to him. So, he ran back into the ring, where Truth took more of a beating from Bray. Xavier tried to encourage Truth from the outside, but Bray was in complete control. Meanwhile, 47-year-old JBL described 42-year-old Truth as a “tough, young Superstar.” Bray eventually finished Truth for a clean victory heading into Mania.

WINNER: Bray at 4:36.

[Q9 — third hour] Post-match: Xavier Woods tried to get a piece of the Wyatts, but they discarded him. The Wyatts then went into their customary pose before a fourth man – wearing a sheep’s mask and garbageman’s outfit from Daniel Bryan’s two-week heel run with the Wyatts – slowly filled the space behind the Wyatts. The crowd shrieked as the over-sized hands and neck gave away the man’s identity.

The masked man then removed the mask to reveal… John Cena staring down the Wyatts. As the pro-Cena crowd popped, Cena cleared the ring with an AA for Rowan, then a teased AA for Bray, who escaped and bailed from the ring. Cena jumped up and down in the ring before pointing to the WM30 sign as the Wyatts recovered on the outside. Cena put on a Cena headband and stood tall in the ring to not quite close the hype for Cena-Bray on Sunday.

Still to come: Shield vs. Kane, Piper’s Pit, and Orton vs. Batista.

[Commercial Break at 10:05. At the end of the break, an advertisement hyped Brock Lesnar’s UFC fights available on UFC Fight Pass. ]

In-ring: Divas champion A.J. Lee was in the ring back from break. Naomi, without her eyepatch, was in the ring and the rest of the Divas roster was assembled ringside for a Lumberjills match. On-stage, Vickie Guerrero was surveying the scene.

6 — Divas champion A.J. LEE vs. NAOMI — non-title Lumberjills match

Chaos broke out early, then A.J. tried to take control of things, but the Lumberjills tried to soften her up before the Divas Title match at WM30. Not that it matters since Brie could pin Natalya or Eva Marie could pin Aksana or Cameron could pin Emma five seconds into the match to win the Divas Title. Chaos broke out again ringside, which A.J. got the worst of. Naomi then pinned A.J. back in the ring.

WINNER: Naomi at 4:05.

[Q10] WM30 Hype: Cole told those in New York City to feel free to drop by the Hard Rock Cafe between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. for a press conference.

Up Next: John Cena is back on Raw to talk about Bray Wyatt on Sunday.

[Commercial Break at 10:16]

Backstage: Renee Young was standing by to welcome in … John Cena. Cena was now dressed in normal Cena gear. Renee asked Cena what to expect on Sunday. Cena quickly entered preacher promo mode that Bray Wyatt continues to spread his propaganda about wanting to prove that he’s a liar. But, a man can do dangerous things when he’s forced to fight for what he believes in. So, on Sunday, there will be fire, hell, and rage. “You will see John Cena. And John Cena will be a monster,” he said.

Cena said being a monster for a day will secure his legacy for a lifetime. He said his end will not be on Sunday and it won’t be at the hands of Bray Wyatt. Cena closed by vowing to give Bray change by stuffing his foot in his ass. No guarantee of victory.

Raw Studio Panel: Josh Mathews brought in Booker T, Bad News Barrett, and Alex Riley to discuss the Cena-Bray situation heading into Mania. Barrett had some bad news for Cena that he loses when it’s three-on-one at Mania.

Earlier Tonight: Taker sent a message to Lesnar, who responded with physicality after Heyman provided a distraction.

In-ring: Jerry Lawler was standing by to announce the App vote winner. Drumroll, then a reveal of Reigns with 80 percent, Rollins with 11 percent, and Ambrose with 9 percent, which provided a gauge of babyface interest in each Shield member. The order was expected, but perhaps not as huge of a percentage for Reigns over Rollins.

In-ring: Roman Reigns hit the ring by himself after going through the crowd.

[Commercial Break at 10:26]



Kane, wrestling in slacks and dress shoes, took control early on. Meanwhile, JBL framed the voting results as the audience wanting to see the big guys fight, which is a convenient explanation when Reigns was positioned as the break-out babyface of the group before WWE right-turned to re-uniting The Shield and awkwardly turning them face.

Reigns made a comeback, which drew out the New Age Outlaws to ringside. So, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins appeared ringside to attack and take out the Outlaws. Shield then surrounded Kane and put the boots to Kane, prompting the ref to call for the bell. Post-match: Shield prepared to end Kane, but the Outlaws managed to drag Kane out of the ring to avoid a triple powerbomb. Shield stood tall in the ring as their music played.

WINNER: Kane via DQ/No Contest at 3:08.

Up Next: Roddy Piper hosts Piper’s Pit.

[Commercial Break at 10:35]

This Friday on Smackdown: Hulk Hogan appears on Friday’s show.

Piper’s Pit

Back in the arena, Justin Roberts formally introduced Roddy Piper, who was already in the ring standing on red carpet for the Pit segment. Piper said that 29 years ago today, he had the honor of being in the main event of the very first WrestleMania. He added that he did not get pinned in that match. But, one man played a huge role in WrestleMania and making Mania the monster it is today. And that man is the eighth wonder of the world, Andre the Giant.

Piper continued that this Sunday, 30 WWE stars will be in the Andre battle royal. And they will have their WrestleMania moment. And a chance to be linked to one of the greatest legends in the history of the business of professional wrestling. Piper tried to hype Big Show as the favorite to win, but The Miz’s music interrupted. Piper talked over Miz’s music that he’s talking here. Miz said he thought Piper was talking about him as the favorite to win the battle royal.

Miz, now in the ring, said he’s actually won the main event of WrestleMania, unlike Piper. Miz then ran down Piper’s Pit before Sheamus’s music interrupted. Sheamus marched down to the ring with a riddle for Miz about being stupid. He told Miz that he’s not fit to hold Piper’s kilt, then vowed to put Miz over the top rope with a Brogue Kick.

Suddenly, Titus O’Neil interrupted. Titus vowed to win the battle royal, then Piper interrupted. But, Dolph Ziggler’s music played. Ziggler said he hates to come out here and steal the spotlight – no wait, that’s what he’s trying to do. Just like on Sunday. Ziggler vowed to etch his name in SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT history, apparently responding to Piper’s pro wrestling line.

[Q12] Piper had enough. Piper addressed the four of them, then sent Miz into Sheamus, starting a fight. Suddenly, a parade of mid and lower-carders hit the ring to join the brawl. The crowd murmured as random brawling broke out, then Rey Mysterio’s music played to bring out a returning Mysterio. Rey targeted Sin Cara for a huracanrana, then nailed a 619. Sheamus nailed a Brogue Kick, then Big Show’s music played.

Show marched down to the ring to resume the Smackdown segment from two weeks ago. Show started clearing the ring, including ending Darren Young with a chokeslam. Kofi Kingston took a beating, then Heath Slater was face-planted. KO Punch ended Slater. Show had enough of Ziggler and Zack Ryder, ending them with chokeslams. Show then looked down at Rey, who begged him not to hurt him. But, Rey snuck up behind Show with a 619 to his gut. So, Show press-slammed Rey over the top rope onto a pile of bodies ringside. Roddy Piper then popped up out of nowhere to raise Show’s hand in “victory” to end the cliched build-up to the Andre Battle Royal.

Up Next: Orton vs. Batista in a No DQ match. Cole noted this was the WrestleMania main event at one time.

[Commercial Break at 10:49]

In-ring: Batista was introduced first for the main event. Slight positive reaction for Batista introduced from D.C., but it quickly faded out. Cole stressed Batista’s “personal jabs” at Triple H and Stephanie earlier in the show, then transitioned to whether Bryan or Hunter will join Batista and Orton in the WWE Title match at WM30.

Randy Orton was introduced next. The World champ emerged on-stage holding both top title belts as Cole hyped the No DQ stipulation for this match. Cole added that Hunter made this No DQ in hopes that Orton and Batista will beat the heck out of each other before WrestleMania. Before the match started, Triple H’s music played to bring out Hunter and Stephanie McMahon to join commentary.

8 — WWE World Hvt. champion RANDY ORTON vs. BATISTA — Non-title No DQ match

The bell sounded two minutes before the top of the hour. The match quickly moved to the floor, where Orton got caught up in camera cables and Batista sold a right elbow injury. The match moved into the ring, then back to the floor. Orton clotheslined Batista over the guardrail, then a chair was introduced as Steph went over the top calling this “amazing!” and “fun!”

[Q13 — over-run] Orton back-dropped Batista onto the guardrail, then picked up the chair and cracked it across Batista’s spine. Hunter said he bets Batista wishes he were on a Hollywood set right now. The fight moved back into the ring, where Batista knocked Orton back out of the ring.

Ringside, Hunter encouraged both men to turn it up. Batista obliged, then stalked Hunter before grabbing another chair. But, Orton surprised Batista with a Kendo Stick. Batista turned the tables, then had a conversation with the ref. Back in the ring, Batista dropped Orton with a spinebuster, then set up for the Batistabomb. But, Orton countered with a backbreaker as Stephanie said there’s no way Bryan could beat her husband at WM30.

Orton nailed a second-rope DDT on Batista, then the crowd suddenly popped. There’s the surprise appearance by Daniel Bryan, who jumped Hunter at the announce position. A healthy-looking Bryan pounded away on Hunter, but Orton left the ring to grab Bryan and chuck him into the ring steps. Stephanie then took off to check on Hunter. Orton threw Bryan into the ring and called for the end. But, Batista speared Orton. Batista then took a Yes! kick to the head from Bryan. Bryan followed with a knee, then he flew through the ropes with a suicide dive to Hunter ringside.

Bryan chucked Hunter over the timekeeper’s guardrail, then smashed him over and over. Bryan pounded Hunter over the ring steps, then bashed him over and over with a Kendo Stick. Hunter crawled through the ring to the other side, then Bryan kicked Batista out of the ring. Bryan was left alone in the ring standing tall and leading the crowd in “Yes!” chants as Stephanie tried to help Hunter recover. “This ends at WrestleMania!” Stephanie declared. Bryan’s music then played and he pointed to the WM30 sign while standing tall. Cole hyped Mania available on the Network and on cable/satellite.

WWE cut to a replay of Bryan attacking Hunter at the announce position. Back live, Cole gave the audience hope for Bryan pulling off a miracle on Sunday as Raw faded out with a wide shot of Bryan standing tall with the crowd joining him in “Yes!” chants. Hunter was shown being restrained by Stephanie before WWE went to a final shot of Bryan standing tall to close Raw eight minutes past the top of the hour.

WINNER: No Decision in a No DQ match around 9:00. A needed visual/fight-back from Bryan giving the audience hope on Sunday. The lack of that big babyface promo from Bryan on the final Raw before WM30 remains telling, though. As for Orton-Batista, this wasn’t a true gauge of what the match would have looked like as a stand-alone WM30 main event since it was a gimmick-heavy No DQ match. Although, it’s apparent Batista will need to spend a lot of the WM30 main event on the outside catching his breath while the other two wrestlers go at it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s WrestleMania, but WWE was unable to put all the pieces together this year. Whether because of the Network, TV negotiations, or the three-hour Raw format serving as distractions, this Mania Season was very uneven. Bryan standing tall at the end of everything was needed, but WWE giving the big babyface promo spot to Cena on the final Raw shows that it’s still his yard.

Raw Post-Game Show

After Raw went off the air, Daniel Bryan stormed the post-game studio panel to give a passionate speech directed toward Triple H, which was held off the final Raw leading into WM30.

The studio panel of Mathews, Booker, Barrett, and Riley then discussed whether Bryan can “pull off a miracle” beating Triple H, then Randy Orton and Batista at WrestleMania on Sunday.

Next up was a discussion of whether Brock Lesnar has “removed the aura” of The Undertaker after events tonight, then a discussion of John Cena matching Bray Wyatt in the psychological department. The post-game show closed with a slow-motion shot of Daniel Bryan leading the crowd in “Yes!” chants at the end of the live Raw.

RECOMMENDED NEXT: 10 YRS AGO – WWE Live Event Results (3-28-2014): Cody Rhodes & John Cena & Goldust vs. The Wyatt Family, Big E vs. Kofi vs. Miz, plus Bellas, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Ziggler, Fandango, Sandow, R-Truth, more

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Maven on the possibility of returning to WWE, sabotaging his first run, what The Rock told him before his WrestleMania 18 match

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