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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 3/3: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Bryan vs. Batista, WM30 hype, new Tag Champs, C.M. Punk from start to finish, more

Mar 3, 2014 - 10:15:44 PM
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WWE Raw TV Results
March 3, 2014 - Episode #1,083
Live in Chicago, Ill.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor


WWE Network Pre-Show

Josh Mathews was joined by Booker T, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, and Alex Riley. ... Earlier today, Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella were shown arriving at the building. Renee Young asked Bryan about facing Batista. Bryan said he'll show Batista what a real man looks like in their singles match. The studio panel then hyped Batista vs. Bryan and The Wyatts vs. The Shield tonight. ...

John Cena's "health status" will be addressed on Raw. Riley said Cena is still refusing an MRI on his knee. At the end of the bit, Mathews interestingly acknowledged "C.M. Punk" chants in the background since they're in Punk's hometown of Chicago, but said they have not heard from Punk since the Royal Rumble. ... The panel hyped the "NXT Arrival" show last Thursday on WWE Network. ...

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed New Age Outlaws about defending the Tag Titles against the Usos tonight. ... 25 minutes into the pre-show, Mathews brought up the end of last week's Raw, which focused on The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. It captured how over-looked this year's Streak match currently is. ... Renee Young filed a report from outside Lesnar's locker room. Paul Heyman interrupted and acted like he had something to hide.

Live Raw on USA Network

Raw opened with Michael Cole hyping the show. The crowd chanted "C-M Punk" over Cole's TV intro before WWE hyped The Shield vs. The Wyatts and Daniel Bryan vs. Batista tonight. Cult of Personality then played and the crowd popped. Long pause. The crowd began to realize Punk was not coming out, then Paul Heyman emerged on-stage to loud boos.

Heyman entered the ring and said he deserves louder than that. A second round of very loud C.M. Punk chants started up in Punk's hometown. Heyman then sat down Indian-style in the ring, selling exhaustion. Punk placed the mic near his mouth and breathed heavily. And, the re-direction... Heyman said he came here to tell the story of a Paul Heyman Guy. (boos)

Heyman said this Paul Heyman Guy is who "they" thought was too small to main-event WrestleMania (boos). He said this PHG did not have the right corporate guy, had too many tattoos, would rebel against the system and the authority and the First Family to such a degree that they didn't want him in WWE from Day One and they don't want him in WWE right now. A loud "C.M. Punk" chant followed.

Heyman continued that he's here to tell the story of a PHG who had the balls to say what no else had the balls to say. This man was born in, raised in, and still lives in Chicago. "My name is Paul Heyman and ladies and gentleman, this is my pipe bomb about C.M. Punk," Heyman said. "Who is not here this evening." (boos)

Heyman said the biggest part of his pipebomb is coming. Pause for another Punk chant. Heyman said he agrees with the crowd because no one is more disappointed not to see Punk perform in the ring tonight than he is. Heyman said if he were here tonight, this man would be proving his detractors wrong and showing the entire WWE audience why he is the Best in the World.

So, why isn't Punk here tonight? Why won't anyone talk about Punk anymore? Heyman said there is a finger to point around here. Someone to hold accountable why Punk just wouldn't put up with it anymore. And, tonight, in this very ring, he will point the blame at each and every single fan. (boos)

Heyman said the fans can boo him all they want, but the truth hurts. He said this is why he's found it so much easier to lie in life because it's easier. Heyman said when Punk was with him, Punk was the longest-reigning WWE champ of the last 25 years. And then the audience took him away. "You made C.M. Punk your hero," he said. Heyman said it resulted in taking Punk away from everyone.

Heyman said he blames someone else. The Undertaker. (There's the Lesnar vs. Taker tie-in for Mania.) Heyman said this downward spiral began at last year's Mania when Punk could not break The Streak. He said he wants revenge this year and there is only one man who can take The Streak. "I want the Streak conquered!" Heyman said. Heyman stood up and said this man in his best friend in the world, the conqueror, Brrrrrock Lessssnar.

Lesnar came out on-stage with his right hand taped up to sell the attack by Taker at the end of last week's Raw. On commentary, Cole said Lesnar has a chance to beat The Streak because Taker has never faced someone as brutal as Lesnar.

Once Lesnar entered the ring, Heyman went to a video review of last week's Raw ending when Taker chokeslammed Lesnar through the contract table hyping their WrestleMania match. Back in the ring, the crowd went for another Punk chant. JBL warned the crowd not to make Lesnar any angrier than he already is.

Lesnar then took the mic. Lesnar said he believes in his heart that Taker is scared to death of him. He said many have tried to conquer The Streak, but all have failed. Shawn Michaels. Triple H. And baby boy C.M. Punk. "Failures," he said. "At WrestleMania 30, The Streak is going to get conquered by me. Brrrrrock Lessssnar." Heyman chuckled at his client attempting his introduction. Lesnar's music then played for Lesnar and Heyman to exit the ring.

[Q2] Suddenly, Mark Henry's music played. Henry emerged on-stage with eyes on Lesnar, who smirked and shook his head "no" not to make a move. Lesnar backed down to the ringside area as Henry made his way down to ringside. Lesnar then tried to run off the ring steps toward Henry, but Henry blocked. Henry ate the ring steps after Lesnar reversed a whip, though.

Lesnar removed the ring steps as the crowd chanted for Punk, then planted the steps into Henry's face. Lesnar began clearing the ringside area, including the announce table. Lesnar accidentally tossed one of the TV monitors into the crowd, drawing big ooohs from the crowd. Lesnar then put Henry through the announce table with an F5. The crowd picked up another Punk chant as Lesnar surveyed the damage. Cole asked if this will be Taker's fate at WrestleMania.

WWE replayed Lesnar's attack on Henry and F5 through the announce table before going back to a live shot of Lesnar smiling at his work. Another Punk chant and Lesnar's music led Raw to break. The announcers went heavy on Taker's Streak in jeopardy to close the segment.

[ JC's Reax: Only Paul Heyman could have weaved together several different related and unrelated stories into one final conclusion trying to create interest in a Lesnar vs. Taker match that needed a shot in the arm and addressing the C.M. Punk aspect in Chicago. Also, the announcers were almost comically heavy-handed trying to hype Taker's Streak in jeopardy, which seemed like the result of Taker basically winning the feud last week on Raw during Week 1. ]

Up Next: New Age Outlaws vs. The Usos for the Tag Titles.

[Commercial Break at 8:20]

Back from break, the New Age Outlaws were introduced for their latest Tag Title defense. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn emerged in matching WrestleMania 30 basketball jerseys that looked like Minnesota Vikings jerseys. Ringside, Cole, Lawler, and JBL were sans table and they went back to over-playing Taker's Streak in jeopardy.

In the ring, Road Dogg polled the crowd on whether they're ready. Dogg said he doesn't think Chicago is worthy of hearing his catchphrases, so he dropped the mic in the corner. (Outlaws finally acting like heels by dropping the crowd-pleasing ritualistic intro.) The Usos were then introduced as the challengers.

1 -- WWE tag champions NEW AGE OUTLAWS (ROAD DOGG & BILLY GUNN) vs. THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY) -- WWE Tag Title match

Dogg almost scored a pin on Jey 30 seconds into the match. Uso then rolled to the floor for a breather, but Gunn threw him back into the ring to land right hand blows. Outlaws retained control heading to an early mid-match break.

[Q3] [Commercial Break at 8:30. A local spot for the Smackdown taping in two weeks in Houston advertised Cena, Bryan, and Sheamus vs. Kane, Wyatt, and Del Rio in a main event. Plus, The Shield and Triple H in the house. ]

Back from break, the Outlaws were still controlling Jey Uso. Uso then kicked Dogg in the head, giving the crowd hope. Jey tagged in Jimmy, who came in hot on Gunn, who also tagged in. Samoan Drop to Gunn, then sit-out slam to Dogg. Jimmy followed with a Rikishi Bomb to Dogg, then a cannonball splash to Gunn, but it was only good for a two count.

Reset at 8:00. Uso went to the top rope for a splash, but Dogg provided a distraction. Gunn tried to roll up Uso from behind, but Uso escaped a pin that included a hook of the tights. Gunn then wanted the Fameasser, but Uso blocked and tagged in Jimmy, who superkicked Gunn. Uso then climbed to the top turnbuckle and delivered a Superfly Splash for the pin and the win.

Post-match: Big celebration in the ring for the brothers winning their first Tag Titles. The crowd was hot for the title change as Cole hyped the Usos finally reaching the top of the mountain. Cole said Rikishi is sitting at home with a big smile on his face as WWE showed the Usos celebrating in the corner while a Colt Cabana big-head was visible in the crowd background.

WINNERS: Usos at 9:25 to capture the Tag Titles. The crowd initially seemed resistant to playing along with the rest of the show after the Punk teaser in the opening, but eventually got into the match and helped create a big moment for the Usos. Smart booking by WWE, too, giving a potentially hostile crowd a crowd-pleasing moment in Hour 1.

Video: "Need for Speed" teaser featuring Aaron Paul.

Backstage: Divas were assembled backstage to comment on Aaron being on his way to Raw. The Bellas teased tension with Aksana as they watched a backstage monitor.

[Commercial Break at 8:39]

Back from break, IC champion Big E. was in the ring. Cole said Big E. is facing Cesaro, a re-match from last week's Raw.

2 -- IC champ BIG E. vs. CESARO (w/Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter) -- non-title match

Cesaro, the heel, showed off his strength early on, popping the crowd. Big E. responded with a belly-to-belly suplex, which drew some boos. Cesaro then clotheslined Big E. to the outside as the production crew was shown re-assembling the announce table.

Big E. returned to the ring and walked into the Big Swing from Cesaro. Ten revolutions on this one. Suddenly, Jack Swagger entered the ring and gave Big E. a Swagger Bomb. Cole said this is exactly what happened last Monday.

Post-match: Zeb sold frustration with what's going on. Swagger tried to explain himself to Cesaro, then he jumped down to the ringside area. Cesaro then turned around and took the Big Ending to boos. Big E. left the ring, then WWE re-focused on the Real Americans having issues.

WINNER: Big E. via DQ at 1:26. Greg Parks providing the analysis @GregMParks on Twitter: WWE not doing Big E. any favors putting him in there with burgeoning fan favorite Cesaro.

[Q4] Still to come: Daniel Bryan vs. Batista. Cole noted Bryan wants to face Triple H at WrestleMania.

Suddenly, The Shield's music played to a strong reaction. The trio emerged through the crowd for their re-match with The Wyatts from Elimination Chamber before Raw went to break.

[Commercial Break at 8:46]

Back from break, WWE zoomed in on The Shield showing unity with their fists aligned in a circle. The Wyatts's video then interrupted and Bray Wyatt announced to Chicago that they're here. As the Wyatts walked down to the ring, Cole recapped Dean Ambrose disappearing from the six-man tag at the Chamber PPV and having no explanation for what happened. The announcers also re-visited last week's main event, which saw Ambrose indadvertedly get Reigns DQ'ed against Wyatt when Dean attacked Bray. Last week, the announcers said Reigns was happy to have help. This week, the announcers said Reigns was upset by the DQ loss. Which is it?

3 -- THE SHIELD (U.S. champion DEAN AMBROSE & SETH ROLLINS & ROMAN REIGNS) vs. THE WYATTS (BRAY WYATT & ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER) -- six-man tag match

Chaos before the bell sounded, then chaos after the bell sounded. Ambrose then accidentally shook the ropes, causing Rollins to fall off the top rope. From the ring apron, Reigns asked what happened there. The Wyatts took control of Rollins heading to break. Frantic pace to the show since the opening segment.

[Commercial Break at 8:54]

Raw returned with Luke Harper mid-conversation while working a headlock on Rollins. Harper cut off Rollins's comeback attempt as the announcers brought up the Wyatts's attack on John Cena last Monday on Raw. Suddenly, Rollins was ready to make a tag, but Ambrose was drawn away from ringside by Bray's presence. Reigns tried to track down Dean to get him back to the Shield corner, but by the time they returned, the Wyatts regained control on Rollins.

Rollins eventually tagged in Ambrose, who came in hot on Rowan. Included was a dropkick to Rowan's knee. He followed with a figure-four leglock center-ring, which was odd for Ambrose's character. Ambrose leaned back on the figure-four, which drew in Harper to knee Dean in the gut to break up the hold. Chaos broke out again.

[Q5 -- second hour] Bray Wyatt found himself alone in the ring with Dean, then the Wyatts slowed things down wearing down Dean. Another Punk chant broke out, then faded out. Next was a loud "Roman Reigns" chant as the announcers discussed whether Harper and Rowan are brothers or cousins.

Ambrose eventually broke free and walked over to The Shield corner to tag in Rollins, but Rollins jumped off the ring apron. Rollins bailed on Ambrose, then Reigns tried to talk to Rollins. Rollins audible said he can't be the glue anymore, pointing out the failed tag earlier. Rollins told them to figure it out, then he left to the top of the ramp.

Back in the ring, the Wyatts almost pinned Ambrose, but Reigns broke up the pin. Reigns then teed off on the Wyatts with Superman Punches. Ambrose remained legal, though, and worked with Reigns for some double-team moves on the Wyatts. Reigns then speared Rowan through the new announce table. Suddenly, Harper went flying through the ropes with a suicide dive to Reigns. Ambrose then tackled Harper on the floor, but Bray posted Ambrose face-first. "This is crazy," Lawler declared.

Back in the ring, Bray looked to end the match on Ambrose while Rollins watched from the top of the ramp. Bray then dropped Ambrose with Sister Abigail and scored the pin for the win.

Post-match, Rollins sold inner conflict as he remained standing on the ramp. Cole said Rollins has tried to keep The Shield together for the past few months, but he had enough tonight. Does he regret it now? Does he feel vindicated? Cole said a lot of questions about Shield's future must be answered now.

WINNERS: Wyatt at 13:54. A ton going on here, but WWE slowed things down at the end to focus on The Shield crumbling. The Wyatts's victory was secondary, similar to their attack on Cena last week being secondary to Cena's odd injury angle.

Backstage: Renee Young brought in Batista for a transitional interview. Batista appeared on-screen to boos. Renee asked Batista about facing Daniel Bryan tonight. First, he called the "Yes! Movement" the dumbest thing he's seen ever seen. He said it's crazy what passes for a Superstar today. Batista mumbled that the audience might not like him, but they will have to deal with the reality of the situation.

[Commercial Break at 9:09]

WM30 Alert: WrestleMania is 34 days away.

Earlier Tonight: The Usos captured the Tag Titles from the New Age Outlaws.

Main Event plug: The Usos vs. Outlaws Tag Title re-match will take place tomorrow night on WWE Network.

[Q6] In-ring: Fandango and Summer Rae were dancing in the ring. Emma's music then played to bring out Emma and Santino for mixed tag action.

4 -- FANDANGO & SUMMER RAE vs. SANTINO & EMMA -- mixed tag match

Cole noted that Emma thinks she is a couple with Santino, which Santino isn't so sure about. Santino and Fandango were prepared to start the match, but tags were made. Then, again. The deal was Santino mixed up a high-five with Emma for a tag. The referee, Marc Harris, got his name on the air trying to sort this out.

Eventually, Fandango took out Santino to start the male vs. male portion of the match. "We Want Ziggler" chant before the Divas tagged in. The males got involved again, with Santino chasing Fandango with his Cobra sock puppet. Emma then put Summer in her Mutalock submission for the win. Cue up Santino and Emma celebrating in the ring.

WINNERS: Santino & Emma at 3:19.

Last Friday: Sheamus and Christian got into it on Smackdown. So, tonight, it's Sheamus vs. Christian in another round of their rivalry.

[Commercial Break at 9:22]

WWE Network hype: Stephanie McMahon delivered a message about everyone being connected. Via the Network. Stephanie played up a "parents sharing WWE with their kids" family element.

In-ring: Christian was introduced for the next match. As Sheamus was introduced, the announcers mocked Jim Ross in response to Steph mentioning Vince McMahon's days as an announcer.

5 -- CHRISTIAN vs. SHEAMUS

Christian bailed from the ring before the bell sounded, then eventually re-entered the ring for the opening bell. Christian came face-to-face with Sheamus and slapped him twice. Sheamus smiled, then chased Christian out of the ring as Lawler referred to Sheamus as "Italian" instead of "Irish." Lawler said Santino is still on his mind.

[Q7] Sheamus chased down Christian in the ring, then bodyslammed him. Big knee drop to the mouth for a two count. JBL mocked Christian's physique as Sheamus continued to work on Christian. Irish Curse backbreaker resulted in a two count, then Christian airballed a plancha on the floor when Sheamus just stepped out of the way. Another Punk chant started up as Sheamus tried to chase Christian around the announce table leading to break.

[Commercial Break at 9:32]

Back from break, Sheamus was controlling the match in the ring. Christian then shoved Sheamus clear off the top rope to the floor below. The ref checked on Sheamus, who sold on the floor before Christian chucked him over the guardrail at the feet of the timekeeper. Back in the ring, Christian made a cover for a nearfall. But, he airballed a top-rope frogsplash to give Sheamus an opening.

Reset at 10:00 with Sheamus delivering a fireman's carry drop. He went for a running high knee, but Christian avoided. Christian elbowed out of Ten Forearms to the Chest, then put Sheamus face-first into the turnbuckle. But, Sheamus blocked another top-rope attempt and this time delivered Ten Forearms to the Chest, followed by a high knee. Christian regrouped to the corner and begged off, which Sheamus took the bait on. Christian then came off the top with a frogsplash for a close two count.

Reset at 13:00 with the crowd becoming restless, picking up Punk chants. Sheamus then dropped Christian with White Noise for a close two count. Lots of crowd noise and calls for the match to end. Sheamus then ducked a clothesline from the ring apron and delivered a Brogue Kick for the pin and the win. The crowd cheered, which sounded more like for the end of the match than Sheamus's victory.

WINNER: Sheamus at 13:58. The audience just seems tired of Sheamus's act, which was not refreshed when he returned from injury in January.

Still to come: Daniel Bryan vs. Batista. Plus, John Cena addresses the Wyatts.

[Q8] [Commercial Break at 9:45]

Backstage: Renee Young was standing by. She brought in Sheamus, who talked about his hard road recovering from injury. Christian then jumped Sheamus from behind and bashed him with various props from the interview set. Christian asked Sheamus if he thinks he's better than him, then refs eventually pulled Christian away. Sheamus sold a left shoulder injury as refs called for the trainer.

6 -- THE BELLAS vs. AKSANA & ALICIA FOX

The Divas were in the ring back to live action, which provided a reminder that guest-star Aaron Paul has not appeared on Raw yet. The announcers treated the match like a comedown match leading to the top of the hour. Foxsana eventually lost control after a drawn-out sequence, allowing Nikki to pick up the win on Fox. WWE replayed the finish and closed out with the Bellas celebrating.

WINNERS: Bellas at 4:10.

Backstage: Daniel Bryan was shown walking down the hallway. He faces Batista next.

[Commercial Break at 9:55]

Back from break, WWE showed a sneak peek of USA's "Sirens" show, then showed two cast members on the front row.

Daniel Bryan-The Authority Confrontation

In-ring: Daniel Bryan's music played to a strong reaction. Loud "Yes!" chants as Bryan made his way into the ring, then loud "Yes!" chants once Bryan entered the ring. Once Bryan's music stopped, he stood center-ring with mic in-hand.

[Q9 -- third hour] Bryan said this is what he likes to hear. Because the people here in Chicago understand one thing - you have a voice. "We have a voice!" he declared. "And tonight, we are going to hi-jack Raw!" Bryan paused for loud "Yes!" chants. Bryan smiled, then said he is not going to leave this ring until one of two things happens. Pause for a "C-M Punk" chant, which drew a big smile from Bryan.

Bryan continued: "I will not leave this ring until Batista comes down to fight (boos) or until Triple H comes down here to answer my challenge." Bryan said Hunter turned him down for WrestleMania, which drew boos and "No!" chants. Bryan told the crowd that they get it. Suddenly, Triple H's music played.

Stephanie McMahon walked out ahead of Hunter, who embraced her from behind on the way down to the ring. Steph then entered the ring first as Hunter hung back. Steph, in heels to look taller than Bryan, smiled as Hunter entered the ring second. The crowd greeted Hunter with "C-M Punk" chants, which Hunter smiled at. Boos once Hunter's music stopped.

Loud boos over Steph, who tried to talk to Bryan over the loud boos. Bryan ignored her, then walked right up to Hunter. He said he is not going to let it rest. He has been beaten and screwed over the past six months, but every time he gets close to the title, something screwy happens. But, here he stands unbroken with the people behind him. Loud "Yes!" chants followed. Hunter brushed it aside.

Bryan said he is stronger than ever, then challenged Hunter to a match at WM30. Hunter smirked, then laughed to himself. "That's not going to happen," he said before the boos drowned him out. More boos as Hunter tried to tell Bryan to just accept his failures and shortcomings. He said this is the Excuses and Blame Era. Hunter seemed to lose his place, then said everyone seems to think they were held down, buried, or screwed over.

Hunter then tried to talk over loud "C-M Punk" chants that anyone who failed here in WWE was not good enough. Hunter said that's the reality. He told Bryan that his reality is he's a B-Plus Player. He said he doesn't get why that's a bad thing. He said that's a "good, little spot for you, Daniel." Hunter told Bryan that it's going to take a lot more than a B-Plus Player to get him to lace up his boots at WrestleMania. The crowd shouted "a-hole," which Hunter said means it's Bryan's turn.

Bryan said Hunter can deny holding him or anyone else down, but the crowd can see through Hunter's lies. Which is why they chant. "Yes!" shouts from the crowd. Bryan said Hunter tries to do what's best for business (boos), but Hunter doesn't listen to the people, who want to see him and people like him succeed. And the only way Hunter will see that is if he beats the crap out of Hunter, and at WrestleMania.

Stephanie spoke up next to very loud boos. Vickie Guerrero-level boos as she tried to talk. Steph said she's been here for a while and the crowd will turn on a dime, faster than Bryan realizes. She said the only people who will not turn on him are The Authority. Bryan said she gets it that the Yes! Movement and people asking for his autograph might go to his head. Stephanie said all of this - the production trucks, ring crew, TV distribution, etc. is for Bryan and because of them. She said Bryan wouldn't have any of this without them. "Let's face it - we made you," Stephanie said.

Bryan paused for the crowd to get in their noise and "Daniel Bryan" chant, then told Steph that her delusions of self-importance are intriguing. He suggested that Steph put on Triple H's trunks and Hunter puts on her skirt, then they have a match at WrestleMania while Hunter sits back and watches. Loud "Yes!" chants as the crowd popped for the match teaser. Hunter then went for a line that he's pretty sure that Steph would whip his ass, too. Hunter said he's not taking the bait, then got down on his knees to tell little Daniel Bryan that it's just not going to happen. Hunter said WrestleMania is the Showcase of the Immortals, while this just does not measure up.

Hunter told Bryan to get out of his ring. Bryan said this is not Hunter's ring, but their ring. More "Yes!" shouts from the crowd. Hunter clarified for Bryan and everyone else that everything in this arena, including the fans and Bryan, belongs to them. Loud boos. Hunter told Bryan to get the hell out of his ring. "No!" shouts from the crowd. Bryan got in Hunter's face, telling him to make him. From behind, Steph called out for Kane.

Pyro shot off to bring out Kane to handle their business. Bryan dropped his mic and flew through the ropes with a suicide dive to Kane before he could enter the ring. Steph called for security, but refs hit ringside instead. Steph re-asked for security. Wrestlers dressed as security eventually pulled Bryan away as Steph yelled from the ring for Bryan to stay out. Bryan slowly backed up the entrance ramp as the crowd chanted "Daniel Bryan!" over and over. Bryan stood stoically on the ramp before Cole plugged Bryan vs. Batista still happening later tonight. Plus, Cena addressing the Wyatts.

[ JC's Reax: Effective redirection trying to get the most fired-up crowd of Mania Season to make it seem like they're (a) hot for the Summerslam to WM30 storyline and (b) backing Bryan vs. Hunter at Mania to distract from Bryan not being included in the more-desired WWE Title picture and Punk's absence. The actual rankings are probably (1) Bryan in the WWE Title match, (2) Bryan vs. Stephanie, and (3) Bryan vs. Hunter at this point. ]

[Q10] [Commercial Break at 10:16]

Studio Panel: Josh Mathews was standing by with Booker T, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, and Alex Riley. Booker talked up the Usos's Tag Title victory, Duggan did his thing, and Alex Riley hyped Taker's Streak in jeopardy. As for Hunter-Bryan, Booker said he doesn't think Hunter will accept Bryan's Mania challenge.

In-ring: Alberto Del Rio was in the ring. After a pause, some revving sounds played in the arena. Del Rio sold not understanding what was going on. A vehicle then emerged ringside, mocking Del Rio's old entrance. Dolph Ziggler's music then played to bring out Ziggler from the passenger side along with Raw guest star, Aaron Paul. Ziggler sold being fired up entering the ring with Paul, who posed in the ring while Del Rio hung back ringside.

7 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO

Aaron Paul joined commentary as the match started. Del Rio quickly teed off on Ziggler, then mocked Ziggler's pose wiping his hair back. Ziggler then snapped off a dropkick before delivering corner punches. Ziggler then walked into an arm-yank from Del Rio.

Suddenly, Aaron Paul stood on the announce table to distract Del Rio. It was enough to allow Ziggler to recover and drop Del Rio with the Zig-Zag. Ziggler covered for the pin and the win, with an assist from Aaron Paul. JBL said he doesn't think Del Rio will be seeing "Need for Speed" after this.

WINNER: Ziggler at 2:45. Another crowd-pleasing outcome on the show. This one was more of the Zack Ryder/Hugh Jackman one-off, guest-star variety that has a lower chance of meaning something going forward.

Up Next: The next 2014 WWE Hall of Fame inductee, joining Jake Roberts, Ultimate Warrior, and Lita.

[Commercial Break at 10:28]

[Q11] Back from break, Michael Cole introduced this week's 2014 Hall of Fame induction video. The video revealed ... Paul Bearer as the next inductee. The video package included past soundbytes from Vince McMahon, Big E., Jerry Lawler, "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan, and McMahon again commenting on Bearer's act.

8 -- IC champion BIG E. vs. JACK SWAGGER (w/Cesaro and Zeb Colter) -- non-title match

Back in the arena, Big E. and Swagger were standing by for another Real Americans segment. As soon as the bell sounded, Cesaro jumped into the ring and dropped Big E. with the Neutralizer, causing a DQ.

WINNER: Big E. via DQ at 0:06. How did Big E. end up in the middle of this?

Post-match, Cesaro mockingly pretended to not be aware of what he was doing, like Swagger the past two Cesaro matches. Cesaro said they're even now, but Swagger wasn't so sure. Swagger pushed Cesaro, so Cesaro dropped him to the mat. Cesaro teased the Big Swing, but Zeb told Cesaro not to do it. Zeb told Cesaro not to listen to the audience. So, Cesaro eventually released the hold. Zeb told Cesaro to help his brother up. Cesaro extended his hand, so Swagger reluctantly accepted his help up.

Zeb told them to separate, then hug it out right now and put this in the past. They awkwardly hugged each other, then Zeb asked them to stand up straight and tall and proclaim: "We The People." Real Americans's music played and Cesaro and Swagger went back to arguing with each other. The announcers said Zeb should be sent to Russia and the Ukraine.

Up Next: Cena addresses the Wyatts.

[Commercial Break at 10:38]

Main Event Plug: Usos vs. the Outlaws on WWE Network tomorrow night. ... Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL were shown ringside. Cole announced Daniel Bryan vs. Kane will also be on Main Event tomorrow.

Cena Speech

John Cena's music played to bring out Cena hobbling and selling his left leg/knee/groin/big toe injury. Cameras focused on Cena's knee as he gingerly entered the ring before posing for the crowd. Cena's music stopped and he was greeted by boos, some cheers, and rising C.M. Punk chants. The Punk chants grew louder, prompting Cena to smile and wait for the crowd to quiet down.

Cena thanked the crowd for the warm welcome, which drew boos. He noted he was injured by the Wyatts last week (cheers). Cena said he will not have a match tonight (cheers) as a result. Loud "Yes!" chants followed. Cena said that must mean "get well soon," which drew boos. Cena said he might not be competing tonight, but he wanted to come out here. Loud "C.M. Punk" chants answered him.

[Q12] Cena said he wanted to come out here and hear the energy and passion of an entire city. He said he doesn't have a match tonight, but Allstate Arena has always had a special place in his heart. Cena said Brock Lesnar kicked the crap out of him here. And, he had a very special moment with someone at the Money in the Bank PPV. Cena paused for the obligatory Punk chant to start up.

Cena said Chicago hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with him, but he respects this city. He said the crowd may boo him out of the arena, he always hears them, knows that they're honest, and knows they're loud. Cena said he's been listening to tonight and the hi-jack business. He said the audience wants change. "Yes!" chants followed.

Cena paused and said he respects it, but they need to respect that success is earned in this company and it goes through him. So, for anyone out there listening, especially Mr. Wyatt, he is wrong. Cena said his name is John Cena and he's given the last 12 years of his life to this business. And, he's in the same building where his career started. He's doing the same thing now that he did back then - standing tall.

Suddenly, the Wyatts's video interruption played. From the Titantron, Bray Wyatt taunted Cena by saying he's surrounding himself with a false sense of security. Bray equated Cena to a racehorse who's slowing down and about to face the reality of a mercy-killing. Bray said he is the reaper and he is going to put him down.

Bray said he knows what Cena is really afraid of. He called him a lonely man sitting atop his empty castle. He asked Cena what will be left for him when he takes it all away. "Follow the buzzards," Bray said before cackling to himself. The video feed cut out.

Backstage: Batista was shown walking down the hallway in anticipation of the main event. Suddenly, WWE World champ Randy Orton stopped him. Orton, making his first appearance of the night, wished Batista luck against Bryan tonight. That's all. Batista went back to warming up for the main event.

[Commercial Break at 10:52]

Back from break, evil Lana walked out on-stage and told America to stand up and acknowledge Alexander Rusev. Rusev marched out on-stage and took his place atop a podium as evil music played. Rusev spoke in his native language while staring straight ahead. Rusev then raised his arm in the air.

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL flashed back to Hull Hogan returning to WWE last Monday. Cole introduced a clip of Hogan on NBC's "Today Show," where he hyped his role guest-hosting WrestleMania 30.

Next Week: Hulk Hogan will be on Raw for a WM30 announcement.

In-ring: Before the main event, Randy Orton was introduced to ringside. Orton slowly walked down to ringside and held up his title belts to taunt the crowd. Batista's music then played to loud boos. Batista bounced out to the ring as Orton locked eyes with his current WM30 opponent.

[Q13 -- over-run] At the top of the hour, Daniel Bryan was introduced as Batista's opponent. Bryan hit the ring as Batista flexed his right shoulder warming up for the match.

9 -- DANIEL BRYAN vs. BATISTA

The bell sounded two minutes past the top of the hour. Bryan and Batista locked up, then Batista shoved down Bryan. Bryan shook it off, then took a back elbow to the face. Batista followed with a shoulder knock down, sending Bryan to the corner to recover. The crowd tried to rally with a "Daniel Bryan" chant as Batista glanced down at Orton. Bryan then kicked Batista's left knee, setting up Bryan's attack using repeated kicks.

Batista came back with a hard clothesline, drawing boos. Batista hobbled toward Bryan to follow up as the crowd taunted Batista with more chants. Suddenly, Cole went to a commercial break. During the over-run.

[Commercial Break at 11:06]

Raw returned with Bryan making a comeback as Orton watched from ringside. Bryan measured Batista for a corner dropkick, then a second. He wanted a third, but Batista bailed from the ring. So, Bryan re-directed with a suicide dive to the outside. Back in the ring, Bryan delivered a top-rope missile dropkick for a close two count.

As Bryan prepared for another top-rope move, The Authority slowly walked down to ringside to boos. Hunter, Stephanie, and Kane took a good look at the action, which turned into Batista chucking Bryan into Orton's lap ringside. Batista then slowly re-entered the ring to go after Bryan, but Orton hit the ring and attacked Batista, causing the bell to sound.

Post-match: Chaos broke out also involving Triple H and Kane as Punk chants broke out. Hunter then leaned down and told Bryan that he's getting tired of his fantasy crap. But, Bryan kicked Hunter in the face. Batista then grabbed Bryan and dropped him with a Batistabomb. After Batista took care of Bryan, Hunter scooped up Bryan and delivered a Pedigree. Cole called it a gross mis-use of power.

Hunter and Kane then stood over Bryan before Stephanie joined in doing the mocking "Yes!" chants, flashing back to the beginning of the feud in 2013. Loud "Punk" chants picked up as Cole challenged Hunter to face Bryan at WM30. WWE went to a replay of the events, including Hunter giving Bryan a Pedigree. WWE went back to a final shot of Hunter, Kane, and Steph standing tall over Bryan. The trademarks flashed on the screen and Raw signed off 15 minutes past the top of the hour with no C.M. Punk on the show.

WINNER: Bryan via DQ at 10:10. Big tease for a Batista vs. Orton vs. Bryan three-way match at WM30, or WWE simply goes the direction of fleshing out whether The Authority is favoring Orton or Batista heading into WM30.

FINAL THOUGHT: WWE listed The Undertaker for Raw, but showed good restraint not over-exposing Taker before WrestleMania. It was fine not having him on the show one week after his return, where he, again, basically won the feud over Lesnar.

Alerts: Follow PWTorch staffer's live, real-time tweets during Raw at Twitter.com/PWTorch/torch-staff .

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Raw, email to pwtorch@gmail.com .


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