WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 3/17: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Hunter's big response to "Occupy Raw," Evolution Explodes, Bryan vs. Orton, more
Mar 17, 2014 - 10:18:06 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
WWE Raw TV Results
March 17, 2014 - Episode #1,085
Live in San Antonio, Tex.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
- Announced for Raw: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan in a No DQ match and WWE tag champs The Usos vs. Real Americans in a non-title match.
WWE Network Pre-Game Show
This week's panel was Josh Mathews along with The Miz, Tensai, and Alex Riley. Miz was filling in for Booker T, who is touring Australia promoting this summer's WWE tour. Tensai is now Jason Albert, of note.
Backstage: Wade Barrett requested to be entered in the Andre the Giant battle royal. Raw GM Brad Maddox said he's in, but he needs to learn some lessons around here.
Backstage: Renee Young brought in Jack Swagger, who tried to do a solo interview. Swagger told Renee to start the interview, then Cesaro and Zeb Colter jumped in and Cesaro complained about Swagger telling him the interview was on the other side of the arena. Zeb calmed them down, then asked if they're on the same page before facing The Usos tonight. If not, they can stop wasting their time and go their separate ways. They agreed to be on the same page. For now.
Live Raw on USA Network
Raw opened with a video review of last week's big "Occupy Raw" segment, which ended with Triple H (and Stephanie McMahon) granting Daniel Bryan a match against Hunter at WrestleMania. And, if Bryan wins, he gets added to the WWE Title main event.
Live in the arena, Triple H's music was playing and Hunter was in the ring by himself. After waiting out boos, Hunter surveyed the crowd before beginning his show-opening promo. Hunter said he wants everyone to understand something - when it's all over at WM30, it's the audience's fault. "It didn't have to come to this," he said. "But now I'm going to crush your dreams, end the Yes! Movement, and end Daniel Bryan. And that is on you."
Hunter said he's not upset about it after taking a week to think about it and calm down. He said he will be cold, calculating, and without remorse at WM30. But until then, he has a few things he would like to say to Daniel Bryan. Hunter said he will say them to his face man-to-(bent over to Bryan's level)-man.
Hunter tried to hype the rest of the show, but Batista's music interrupted. Batista emerged to boos as Hunter sucked in his breath to sell having another headache to deal with. Batista entered the ring with eyes locked on Hunter, then the crowd booed once his music stopped. Batista approached Hunter and told him he has bigger problems than Daniel Bryan.
Batista asked Hunter who he thinks he is giving Bryan the chance to be in his match at WrestleMania. Batista said he didn't sign up for this; he came back to be WWE World champion. He said he earned the right by winning the Rumble - the Royal Rumble. Batista said he's not cool with a potential three-way match. "What the hell were you thinking?" Batista asked.
Hunter replied that Bryan has no chance of beating him at WrestleMania, so there's no problem. Suddenly, Randy Orton's music played to bring out the WWE World Hvt. champion. Hunter and Batista shifted to opposite sides of the ring as Orton marched down to the ring, then entered the ring to join the conversation.
Orton told "H" that he's going to have to agree with "Big Dave" on this one. He said even the possibility of the title match becoming a three-way is a big problem. Hunter asked if they really think there is a chance of him losing to Bryan at Mania. "Yes!" shouts, then chants from the crowd as Hunter said there's no chance of this happening. Hunter asked what their problem is - has Bryan got inside their heads? Batista whispered to Hunter: "Apparently not as much as he's gotten into yours."
Hunter sold thinking about Batista's words, then Orton proposed a singles match against Bryan tonight - No DQ. Hunter gave it to him. Orton then addressed Batista, saying the reason why the people are cheering Bryan is not because of the Yes! Movement, but because they don't believe in Batista. He said when Batista left, no one cared. And they cared even less when he came back. Batista shot back that the reason why they like Bryan is because Orton sucks as WWE champ. Batista told Orton he's a paper champion and doesn't deserve to hold the titles.
Orton and Batista argued as Hunter tried to hold them back. Hunter had enough and left the ring to the ring apron. Batista shouted back that he's not going anywhere until he fixes this. Hunter turned back to look at them. He said he's sick of everything around here. He's tired of little trolls like Bryan, sick of the crowd cheering him, and sick of Hollywood movie stars coming back and telling him what's right for this business. Hunter and Batista got in each other's faces, then Hunter said he's sick of gifted guys who are so messed up in the head that they can't win without him holding his hand. Orton seethed at Hunter's angry speech.
Hunter calmed down, then said he's thinking maybe the old man was right - the only one you can trust in this world is yourself. Hunter said there will be a triple threat match at WrestleMania. Daniel Bryan will not be in it, he claimed. Hunter said when he beats Bryan, the triple threat match will be Orton, Batista, "and me." Hunter stomped off, Batista threw a fit, and Orton dropped Batista with a big RKO. The crowd cheered, but not all the way since Orton's character still isn't likable. Orton did his pose to close the segment.
Still to come: John Cena responds to the Wyatts.
Backstage: The Usos were shown walking backstage. They get the Real Americans next.
[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:14]
Moments Ago: Triple H vowed to be in the WWE Title match at WrestleMania.
Backstage: Batista was shown hurriedly walking down the hallway with his traveling bag over his shoulder. Batista muttered to interviewer Renee Young that coming back here was a "big mistake." Batista disappeared into the parking garage area, apparently taking off for the evening. Apparently.
1 -- WWE tag champs THE USOS vs. REAL AMERICANS (JACK SWAGGER & CESARO w/Zeb Colter) -- non-title match
The announcers (Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL) presented an Alamo theme for this match, which led to various Texas-related references to paint the picture of "coach" Zeb Colter trying to get his men on the same page in the battle. The Real Americans were on the same page heading to break, as Swagger delivered a big boot to Jimmy Uso, sending him over the top rope to the floor.
[Commercial Break at 8:25]
Back from break, the Real Americans were still in control of the match. Jimmy finally back-dropped Cesaro over the top rope to the floor, but Swagger cut off a hot tag attempt. So, Jimmy regrouped and kicked Swagger in the head. Jimmy then reached his corner to tag in Jey. Moments later, chaos broke out. Cesaro then took a toss-up Samoan Drop for a close two count. Swagger helped Cesaro out of the ring, but took a double superkick from the Usos.
[Q3] Jimmy went flying over the top rope to splash Swagger, then Jey tried to follow on the other side of the ring on Cesaro, but Cesaro intercepted with a big uppercut out of nowhere. Cesaro followed right up with the Neutralizer for the pin and the win. The Real Americans then stood tall in the ring to celebrate a united win.
WINNERS: Real Americans at 12:20. Really good opening match. The crowd was hot for the action and strongly behind the Usos, which is a good sign.
Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL transitioned to hyping the new "Slam City" animated series aimed at kids.
Still to come: WWE World Hvt. champ Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan in a non-title No DQ match.
[Commercial Break at 8:35]
Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL hyped WWE Network. Cole then switched to Friday's Smackdown when The Shield ignored Kane's orders to take out Big Show. Kane then tried to chokeslam Seth Rollins, but Roman Reigns speared Kane.
Backstage: Kane approached The Shield in a hallway area. Kane calmly said they all made regrettable decisions last Friday. Reigns chuckled at Kane, who said The Authority has given them a mission and he needs a united Shield by his side. Otherwise, they cease being an asset and become a liability. Kane asked if he can count on them. Seth Rollins casually said, "Yeah, we're united." Reigns smirked in Kane's face. Kane told them they will do the right thing or else they will find out how replaceable they are. Ambrose sarcastically shot Kane a double thumbs up after he left.
Arena: Hornswoggle, with a full head of hair, was delivering St. Patrick's Day gifts. Suddenly, Wade Barrett's music interrupted. Bad News Barrett looked down at Swoggle and said that is a real-life leprechaun in the building celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Barrett said he's afraid he has some bad news. He said most people will spend this "stupid holiday" getting inebriated and vomiting. Then, they will wake up tomorrow with a hangover and spend the rest of your life regretting those decisions.
Making the save was Sheamus's music. Sheamus walked out sporting an Irish rugby jersey. Sheamus and Swoggle posed together in the ring before Cole hyped Titus O'Neil as Sheamus's opponent tonight.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:45]
Back from break, Titus O'Neil emerged wearing a giant green hat, fake blonde goatee, and goofy tie. Meanwhile, Christian was ringside for commentary to watch Sheamus vs. Titus.
2 -- SHEAMUS (w/Hornswoggle) vs. TITUS O'NEIL
Christian said not only is he here to watch the match, but he has entered the Andre the Giant battle royal. Cole added that Titus has entered the match. As Sheamus and Titus battled, Christian retorted to all of the jabs from JBL the past few weeks on Raw. Titus then left the ring and flung Swoggle into the ring. No Sheamus to make the save.
Titus toyed with Swoggle, slapped him around a little, and taunted him to boos. Titus wanted to end it, but Sheamus caught Swoggle in the air. Titus then turned around and took a Swogglebutt to the mid-section. Sheamus nailed Ten Forearm Strikes to the Chest, then measured Titus for a Brogue Kick. Sheamus followed with a pin for the win as Christian continued to complain about Sheamus.
Post-match: Renee Young entered the ring to interview Sheamus. Sheamus said he just kicked Titus's head off, Ireland beat England in rugby, and he will win the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal. "I'm going to win!" Christian retorted, still on commentary. Christian then dropped the headsets, stormed the ring off-camera, and shoved Sheamus off the ring apron. Christian beat down Sheamus, then gave him the Unprettier on the floor as Swoggle sold concern.
WINNER: Sheamus at 4:07.
Up Next: Cena responds to the Wyatts in the top-of-the-hour segment.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
Raw returned one minute before the top of the hour with a plug for next Monday's Raw. Arnold Schwarzenegger will guest-star, along with stars from "Sabotage." Schwarzenegger was shown doing Daniel Bryan's "Yes!" in a pre-taped clip.
Also next Monday, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Machine will be on Raw.
[Q5 -- second hour]
John Cena Promo Segment
John Cena was introduced to the ring at the top of the hour. Cena posed for the crowd, then surveyed the arena before his music stopped. The crowd booed and cheered, then Cena said there's a lot of energy tonight here in "San An." Cena said there's some excitement and some disappointment. He said he's been here for 12 years, had over 3,500 matches, and they've spent a lot of time with each other.
Cena said sometimes they get along, and other times they don't. But, he's always given the audience his best. Cena wiped his head after removing his cap, then said he wants to get honest here. He said he's afraid of Bray Wyatt. Who he is, what he stands for, and how he goes about his business. Cena said he's afraid that people are actually listening to what he says.
Cena said his other opponents, like Triple H and The Rock, have been about getting in the ring and proving who's the best. But, Bray doesn't care about that. All he wants to do is destroy his legacy. Cena said Bray has been trying to convince the audience that he is a phony. On commentary, Lawler said he thinks Bray is getting into Cena's head. Cena said he believes in everything he says, stands for, and will do. He excitedly said WM30 is not about fighting Bray Wyatt, but for fighting for every injury he's suffered and every person who has ever believed a word he says.
"At WrestleMania 30, I will fight for everything. At WrestleMania, I will fight for my legacy," he said. Suddenly, the Wyatts's theme interrupted. Bray Wyatt was heard whistling on the Videotron. The camera pulled back to show Bray wearing a cut-off Cena t-shirt. He said kids want to believe in Cena because they haven't lived long enough to see that it's all lies. Bray said he has a few scars from his childhood. He said he learned that fires are hot, blades are sharp, and everything he loves will wither away and die. "Cena, Cena" chant from the crowd.
Bray said he could be just like Cena signing autographs, kissing babies, making sure everyone buys his merchandise, going home to his plastic girlfriend in his castle (oohs from the crowd), and telling jokes. But that's not him. He said at WrestleMania, he doesn't care if he dies, he wants the world to see Cena like he does. "Follow the buzzards," Bray said. The video feed cut out. No rebuttal from Cena.
Backstage: Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton were shown walking down the hallway on a split-screen. Their DQ match is next.
[Commercial Break at 9:07. A local spot for Smackdown TV in Houston tomorrow night focused on The Undertaker, plus Team Cena & Bryan in a six-man tag.]
In-ring: Back from break, Randy Orton's music played to bring out the WWE World Hvt. champion. WWE showed Batista leaving the building an hour ago, then Daniel Bryan's music played to bring out Bryan to loud "Yes!" chants. More "Yes!" chants once Bryan hit the ring. Cole excitedly said Bryan is the center of happenings, as Hunter, Batista, and Orton argued at the top of the show and nearly came to blows because of Bryan.
3 -- WWE World Hvt. champion RANDY ORTON vs. DANIEL BRYAN -- non-title No DQ match
Bryan yanked Orton into the corner post early in the match. Bryan then took a big uppercut from Orton in response. Meanwhile, JBL tried to hype Hunter vs. Batista vs. Orton at WM30, but Cole noted Hunter has to beat Bryan. So, Lawler said he's looking forward to Bryan vs. Batista vs. Orton at WM30. The announcers continued to figure things out before Bryan came back with a suicide dive to the outside.
On the floor, Bryan fired up the crowd with "Yes!" shouts, but then took a Kendo Stick shot to the face. Orton had pulled a stick out from under the ring while Bryan was playing to the crowd. Orton then taunted the timekeeper that he can't ring the bell because it's No DQ. Orton followed with a back body drop sending Bryan into the announce table. Lawler checked on a slumped-over Bryan heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:18]
Back live, Orton was choking Bryan with the Kendo stick back in the ring. Orton then wrapped Bryan around the ringpost as Cole noted Hunter is off somewhere smiling as he watches this attack. Orton continued to go after Bryan, mixing in kicks & stomps with taunts toward the crowd. Bryan suddenly flipped over Orton, ducked a clothesline, and nailed a clothesline.
Bryan started to shake and shake and shake as the crowd fired up with "Yes!" chants. Bryan nailed a corner dropkick, then a top-rope huracanrana for a two count. Bryan then picked up the Kendo Stick and measured Orton, who begged off. Bryan ignored him and delivered a combination of Kendo Stick shots and Yes! kicks. A roundhouse kick finished the deal. But, Orton kicked out before three.
At 11:00, Bryan climbed to the top rope, but Orton crotched him. Orton tried to follow with a superplex, and he connected for a nearfall. Orton then stomped Bryan before setting up for a second-rope DDT, which he also connected with. Orton wanted an RKO after taunting the crowd, but Bryan slid out of the ring to avoid the RKO. Orton then tried to follow up, but Bryan popped him in the shoulder with the Kendo Stick. Bryan unloaded with more stick shots, then dropkicked Orton right in front of the timekeeper. But, Orton blocked a follow-up attempt.
While still on the floor, Orton retrieved a chair and jabbed Bryan with it. Then, a chair shot to the back. Orton whipped Bryan back into the ring and brought the chair with him back into the ring, but Batista re-appeared and speared Orton. Then, Bryan gave Batista a running dropkick to send Batista out of the ring. Bryan covered a downed Orton for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Bryan stood tall after leaving the ring, then Batista returned to the ring and gave Orton a big Batistabomb. Batista stood over Orton as the crowd chanted, "One more time." WWE replayed the finish involving Bryan, Orton, and Batista, then cut back to a live shot of Batista leaving the ring. Batista stopped at the stage to listen to the crowd, then raised his arms in the air to boos. Meanwhile, Orton recovered in the ring.
WINNER: Bryan at 14:28. Solid singles match between Orton and Bryan. More fuel to the fire of a potential three-way match between Bryan, Orton, and Batista at WM30, but things feel a bit messy at the moment. WWE has two weeks (and the rest of tonight's Raw) to clean things up after twice changing up the potential WM30 main event.
[Q7] Announcers: Cole hyped a free trial offer for WWE Network that runs through Saturday night. Lawler then attempted to demonstrate how to use the Network.
Up Next: Paul Heyman speaks. He has a message for The Undertaker.
[Commercial Break at 9:33]
Paul Heyman Promo
Back live, Justin Roberts introduced Paul Heyman to the live crowd. Heyman emerged on-stage and greeted the audience. And Texans. He said his name is Paul Heyman and he is the advocate for Brrrrrock Lesnar.
Heyman said he came here to illustrate the point that Undertaker's last several Mania victories have been about barely surviving. Heyman said those same opponents have been victimized by his client, Lesnar. Heyman then introduced a video package hyping The Streak, but the video showed Taker becoming older by the year. And, as Taker struggles with each opponent, Lesnar is prime and ready to finally end The Streak.
Back live, Heyman proclaimed that Undertaker and his streak will rest in peace at WrestleMania. No interruption. On commentary, Cole said Heyman has made some compelling points the past few weeks. A graphic was introduced hyping the match at WM30.
Backstage: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were shown sitting in their office. Steph asked Hunter if he really wants to just *talk* to Bryan tonight. Hunter calmly said he just wants to get some things off his chest. Steph angrily said Bryan disrespected her, them, and her family. She asked Hunter if he's even thought about what would happen if he beats Bryan at WM30, then becomes WWE champion. Hunter calmly said he'll take care of this on his own. Got it? Steph stood up and glared at Hunter. "You better," she said before walking off. Hunter stewed and sold being on the verge of taking out his anger on someone.
In-ring: Fandango's music played to bring out Fandango and Summer Rae for singles action. Cole said Fandango takes on "the bizarre Goldust" next. Is Fandango on the way up or Goldust on the way down?
[Commercial Break at 9:43]
[Q7] In-ring: Goldust was introduced to the ring. On the way to the ring, Goldust and Cody Rhodes mocked FandangoRae by doing a dance number on the stage.
4 -- FANDANGO (w/Summer Rae) vs. GOLDUST (w/Cody Rhodes)
Goldust had some fun with Fandango early on. Cole laughed and said that's what Goldust is about - having fun, being bizarre, and winning matches. A few months ago, that important third item was omitted from commentary. Summer had enough of Fandango's antics, so she confronted Goldust, who danced in her face. But, Fandango blasted Goldust from behind. Cody then grabbed Summer for a ringside dance, which distracted Fandango.
Goldust delivered right hand strikes, but Fandango made a comeback. Goldust sold being a bit woozy, then Fandango suplexed Goldust before climbing to the top rope. He missed with a top-rope legdrop, then Goldust nailed the Final Cut for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Fandango rolled to the floor to be consoled by Summer Rae. Meanwhile, Goldust stumbled to his feet with blood trickling from his forehead. Cody helped him stand on his feet to finish the match.
WINNER: Goldust at 5:10. And the answer is on the way down based on Goldust's character being watered down to the level of a few years ago. The crowd was quiet until the finish, reflecting Rhodes Bros. lacking momentum and placement on the show.
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
Tomorrow on Main Event: The Undertaker live on WWE Network. Taker will respond to Paul Heyman.
In-ring: Kane was introduced to the ring dressed in a suit. Kane stood in the ring and said it is his responsibility to execute the vision of The Authority. One thing not in the vision was last week's "Occupy Raw" movement by Daniel Bryan. Kane said it was dangerous and not up-to-code. So, on behalf of The Authority, he has investigated the events and has found one person who helped Bryan last week in Memphis. Jerry Lawler.
[Q9 -- third hour] Kane looked down at Lawler, who shook his head "no" that he didn't have anything to do with it. Lawler didn't enter the ring, so Kane called out The Shield to enforce this. Shield came through the crowd and confronted Lawler, telling him to get in the ring. Cole and JBL debated whether Lawler actually helped Bryan last week in Memphis as Kane undressed himself to prepare for action.
Kane said they know Lawler is not exactly in fighting shape, so he won't enjoy what he has to do. He asked Lawler if there's anything he would like to say for himself. Instead, Seth Rollins spoke up, standing next to Lawler. Rollins said he doesn't think Daniel Bryan will come save him. "Yes!" shouts from the crowd. Because The Shield always does what's best for business. Rollins dropped the mic to the mat.
Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose then slowly turned away from Lawler toward Kane, drawing a medium reaction. Lawler dropped off the ring apron to the floor in the background, then Shield circled around Kane. Kane singled out Reigns, then Kane decided to fight before he took a beating. But, Shield cut him off and Reigns delivered a big spear to get a reaction. Shield followed by delivering a Triple Powerbomb to end Kane's night.
[ JC's Reax: This didn't get the big reaction WWE was seeking for Shield's first big babyface moment on Raw, as it was a three-on-one beating, Shield is still in a weird tweener position, and it's a dramatic right-hand turn from Shield teasing tension and a potential split a few weeks ago. Another messy situation that needs to be cleaned up before WM30, depending on what Shield's actual match is. ]
Still to come tonight: Triple H-Daniel Bryan man-to-man. JBL flipped out, then Cole told him to relax heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:06. Another local spot advertised Taker at Smackdown TV in Houston tomorrow night. They're really trying to push for a sell-out at Toyota Center.]
Moments Ago: Shield dropped Kane with a triple powerbomb. Cole asked Lawler if that made him happy. Silence.
In-ring: The Bellas were positioned ringside for commentary on a Divas tag match. Out first were Cameron and Naomi, who was making her TV return sporting an Oakland Raiders-themed eye patch. A.J. Lee's music then played to bring out the Divas champion, flanked by Tamina.
5 -- CAMERON & NAOMI vs. Divas champion A.J. LEE & TAMINA SNUKA
Cole: "Hey, Nikki, you've had the Divas champ's number recently." Nikki: "I have. And I won a match over her, too." Cole went for the save asking Nikki if she thinks she should get a Divas Title shot. Nikki said she does. Naomi, who was in line for a title shot before her eye injury, watched from the ring apron as A.J. worked on Cameron early on. Naomi then took a tag and pinned A.J. for the win.
WINNERS: "Pirate" Naomi & Cameron at 3:40. And, A.J. takes another loss in the name of "looking vulnerable" as champion. Or something like that.
[Q10] Post-match: A.J. angrily shoved away Tamina, who was trying to offer help. Tamina then shoved her back, echoing the Gail Kim-Lei'D Tapa break-up from TNA Impact. However, they didn't come to further blows, simply staring each other down to close the segment.
Announcers: What else could WWE plug on this show? The "WWE 2K14" video game. WWE introduced hypothetical footage of a 2013 Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H match at WrestleMania, which inadvertently made the game look dated based on the length of Bryan's hair and beard.
[Commercial Break at 10:19]
Back live, WWE showed a clip of Riverwalk in San Antonio. Back in the arena, Cole officially introduced Mr. T as the next WWE Hall of Fame inductee, noting that TMZ "broke the story." Included in the HOF and WM1 package were soundbytes from Jerry Lawler, "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Daniel Bryan, and Mick Foley. The video transitioned to a look at Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T at WM2.
Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL were shown on-camera again. Cole said Mr. T will always be linked to Hulk Hogan, which led to a flashback to last week's Raw when Hogan announced the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WM30.
Back live, various wrestlers were assembled in the ring. Big Show's music then interrupted Cole to bring out Show for an eight-man tag match. From an inset promo, Show noted that he has been compared to Andre his entire career, so he will win the battle royal in his honor.
6 -- BIG SHOW & IC champion BIG E. & MARK HENRY & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. RYBACK & CURTIS AXEL & ALBERTO DEL RIO & DAMIEN SANDOW -- eight-man tag match
All eight men have entered their names in the Andre battle royal. Also in the match are Christian, Sheamus, and Titus O'Neil. JBL then slipped in a betting reference that Big Show has to be the PaddyPower favorite right now. JBL jumping the gun before the betting odds are released.
[Q11] The babyfaces dominated early on before Ziggler tagged in to a decent reaction. Axel continued to take a beating, but Ziggler lost control and the heels began working on Ziggler as the announcers speculated on whether Dolph can return to form on top of WWE. Ziggler made a comeback, then the faces stood their ground in the ring. Raw cut to break with the heels trying to sort things out on the floor.
[Commercial Break at 10:32]
Back from break, the heels were working on Ziggler again. Lawler mixed up Sandow and Del Rio, which was understandable considering they were dressed exactly the same in shiny, dark trunks, kneepads, and slicked-back dark hair. Ryback then tagged in and tried a delayed suplex, but Ziggler countered with a quick roll-up for a nearfall.
Ziggler broke free on Axel, but Sandow cut off a tag. Ziggler finally broke free for good and tagged in Big Show. Chaos broke out, bodies started flying over the top rope to demonstrate the battle royal, and Show grabbed Sandow around the throat for a chokeslam. It was good for the pin and the win. Afterward, the faces celebrated in the ring. Hugs all around, then a curtain call for an appreciative crowd.
WINNER: Show at 11:57 to remain the Andre Battle Royal favorite.
Earlier Tonight: Daniel Bryan beat Randy Orton after Batista took out Orton. Batista then dropped Orton with a Batistabomb to repay him for an RKO at the top of the show.
Backstage: Batista was shown walking down the hallway. Renee Young asked Batista if it's safe to say that he didn't quit. Batista said he never quits, then said he doesn't care who wins between Bryan and Hunter at WrestleMania because he will be WWE World champ after it's over.
Up Next: Bray Wyatt in action.
[Commercial Break at 10:42]
Main Event plug: The Undertaker on WWE Network tomorrow night.
Friday on Smackdown: John Cena vs. Luke Harper.
In-ring: Kofi Kingston was in the designated jobber role this evening. The Wyatts's video interrupted, then Bray Wyatt told San Antonio that they're here. Back in the arena, Bray led the Wyatts down to ringside for the default main event. But, first, a video package showing Cena's in-ring accomplishments and out-of-the-ring charity work contrasted with Bray's claims about Cena being a phony. The video was set to Eminem's appropriately-titled "Legacy" song. In the video package, Bray referenced a woman talking in his ear. The video suddenly cut off to reveal Bray in the ring.
7 -- BRAY WYATT (w/Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) vs. KOFI KINGSTON
Bray toyed with Kofi early on, then started singing "Joy, Joy, Joy" down in his heart. Where? Down in his heart. Meanwhile, the announcers hyped Cena's "legacy" on the line against Bray at WrestleMania. Bray did his upside-down pose in the corner, then walked backward to resume his attack on Kofi. Actually, Bray had enough, as he scooped up Kofi and delivered Sister Abigail for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Bray at 2:55. Decisive match to keep building up Bray on the way to Cena at Mania. Overall, the whole idea of Cena's "legacy" being on the line feels a bit abrupt unless Cena is planning to retire this year. Because Mania's Big Four was set up on such short notice this year, they had to make up for the lack of a long build by going heavy on something that could carry the perception of being "huge" on the line. It just feels disjointed despite the strong performances from Bray and the cool video package before the match.
Up Next: Hunter-Bryan face-to-face. But, first, something else to plug on the show. A trailer for "Oculus" from WWE Studios led to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:55]
Raw returned two minutes before the top of the hour with a plug for Arnold Schwarzenegger on next week's Raw.
Live in the arena, Triple H's music played to bring out Hunter still dressed in a suit. Hunter marched down to the ring as JBL complained about Bryan ruining things. Hunter stood in the ring as a big "We Want Punk" sign was visible over Hunter's left shoulder. WWE didn't shy away from the sign appearing in the background filming Hunter's opening remarks.
[Q13 -- over-run] Daniel Bryan was introduced to the ring. Hunter thanked Bryan for coming down to the ring, then said he wants to get a few things off his chest. He said he'll be lucky if his wife talks to him tonight, but he wants to talk to him like a man. Hunter said a lot of things have happened to them since Summerslam and he wants to explain that everything he did up to this moment was because he believed it was best for business.
"None of it is personal," he said. Hunter said he wants Bryan to understand that this was about what is best for WWE. He said he doesn't want to debate it, and he can't expect Bryan, the fans, or anyone else to understand the burden of what is best for this company. But, that being said, a lot has happened. Last week, Bryan crossed the line that you don't come back from. But, he is willing to let it pass because it just feels like it was supposed to happen this way.
Hunter said the fact is that in three weeks at Mania, they are going to step into this ring together. And they are going to fight. And he will not apologize for what he does in the ring. Nor should Bryan apologize to him. Hunter said they are going to do it better than anyone else at Mania. But, Bryan crossed the line and he has no choice but to put an end to all of it. "I don't necessarily want to; I have no choice," he said.
Loud "Yes!" chants picked up steam, prompting Hunter to go from calm to angry, saying he has to shut it down. No apologies if he has to shut down Bryan, either. Hunter said it's what's best for business. He said he wanted to look him in the eye and say no hard feelings. "May the best man win," he said.
Hunter extended his hand for a shake. Bryan shook his head no, which Hunter brushed off. He said he would understand if he were in Bryan's position, too. Hunter then calmly told Bryan that he has dumped a ton on him since Summerslam, thrown roadblocks at him, and dumped a world on top of him, yet he is still standing here. "Daniel Bryan" chant from the crowd. Hunter paused for the chant to get airtime, then he said Bryan deserves that chant because they respect him. He said anyone else would have folded a long time ago and gone home. But, not Bryan. Hunter said Bryan has a big set and if nothing else, "Daniel Bryan, you have earned my respect."
Hunter started to leave the ring, but Stephanie's voice suddenly interrupted. From the stage, Steph said what Bryan did last week was not only disrespectful, but illegal. Stephanie said she is formally pressing charges, then she called out officers from the back. San Antonio's finest (independent wrestlers) emerged from the back and walked down to the ring.
Hunter left the ring and argued with Stephanie about having this under control. "You respect him? What the hell is that?!" Steph shouted at Hunter. Hunter calmly said he has this under control as Stephanie said this is her business. "It's our business," Hunter replied. Steph said that's right, so he needs to do this with her.
In the ring, the officers took down Bryan and handcuffed him. Bryan demanded they get off him, then Hunter finished arguing with Stephanie and entered the ring. Hunter told the cops he didn't want this, then told them they're not even real cops. Hunter said besides he's really looking forward to this. Hunter then kicked Bryan in the head, drawing a satisfied smile from Stephanie at ringside. Cole called it a set-up.
Hunter then dragged a cuffed Bryan to the floor, where Bryan headbutted Hunter in self-defense. But, Hunter fired back by planting Bryan into the ringpost. Steph barked orders from a safe distance, then Hunter chucked Bryan into the guardrail as Cole called for someone to help. Steph taunted Bryan, then Hunter picked up Bryan and slapped him around a bit as the crowd sat quietly in stunned silence. Hunter continued the assault, then Bryan tried to fight back with his feet, but Hunter threw him into the guardrail again.
Hunter stripped Bryan of his t-shirt, then Hunter suplexed Bryan onto the announce table. Everyone stood around in fear as Hunter continued the assault. Meanwhile, Steph mocked the crowd by doing "Yes" motions. Hunter, his shirt also ripped up, stood over Bryan, then mocked Bryan with "Yes" motions of his own. Hunter then held up Bryan for Stephanie to slap Bryan. And a second time. "You hit like a girl!" Bryan shouted back. And a third slap. Hunter then put Bryan in the corner and grabbed a chair.
Hunter delivered a chair shot to the ringpost, where Bryan's head was nearby. It looked like a safe chairshot near the head spot. Hunter then ripped off his dress shirt and stood tall in the ring as Stephanie taunted Bryan. Steph told Hunter to finish Bryan. Hunter then scooped up Bryan's lifeless body and delivered a Pedigree mid-ring. But, not after milking it for a long time. Steph excitedly entered the ring and stood over Bryan, then Steph and Hunter made out over Bryan's fallen body.
Hunter wasn't done. He grabbed the mic and said this is their ring and their show. "There is no Yes! Movement," Hunter declared before his music played. Hunter and Steph stood tall again, then Steph kind of dangled a necklace over Bryan. Raw faded out 17 minutes past the top of the hour.
[ JC's Reax: A needed hot angle at the end of the show building heat on Triple H leading into WrestleMania. Well-done from all parties. ]
FINAL THOUGHTS: Bryan-Hunter remains the best part of the WM30 build-up, whereas Taker-Lesnar feels off in the distance, Cena-Wyatt is too much too soon, and Orton-Batista is a background player for Bryan-Hunter. Then, there are the little booking messes throughout the show reflecting WWE's split efforts to hype an animated show, the Network, a video game, other people's movies, their own movie, the Network again, a reality show, etc. It leads to things like Shield's character-changing turn on Kane/The Authority losing its effectiveness without follow-up. Specifically, a response from The Authority if Shield is to be perceived as a big deal. But, it was presented as just another part of the show. WWE has too much happening at one time, but they have recognized their top feud is Hunter-Bryan and they're riding that vehicle to WrestleMania.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**