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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 3/24: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Taker & Lesnar face-to-face, Cena gets spooked, no Bryan, WM30 developments, more

Mar 24, 2014 - 10:10:42 PM
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WWE Raw TV Results
March 24, 2014 - Episode #1,086
Live in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor


Raw opened with another replay of Triple H's orchestrated beat down on Daniel Bryan to conclude last week's Raw. The final image was Hunter and Stephanie McMahon standing tall over a fallen Bryan.

In the arena, Justin Roberts introduced Stephanie McMahon to begin the show. Michael Cole introduced the show as Stephanie walked out with a big smile on her face. Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL were shown ringside commenting on the end of Raw, then Cole plugged a sit-down interview with Triple H later in the show.

Stephanie entered the ring and disingenuously thanked the crowd for coming to Raw tonight. She said unfortunately Bryan will not be here tonight. (Boos.) Steph said she agrees with people on social media who say they went too far last week. But, they needed to send a message to Bryan and the rest of the locker room that they will not tolerate insubordination. She said they will not allow a passing fad to create a false leader (pause for "Yes!" chants) that will lead to self-destruction.

Stephanie continued talking, focusing on leadership and the burden of responsibility. A loud "C-M Punk" chant picked up, then faded out when Stephanie chose to ignore it. Stephanie called her husband, Hunter, as the greatest Superstar in history who will go on to become the new WWE World Hvt. champion at WrestleMania.

Suddenly, Randy Orton's music interrupted to bring out the current WWE World champion. Steph smiled as Orton made his way to the ring with something to say about Steph's claim. Orton said he's not out here to disrespect Stephanie and Hunter, but things will be different if - (when, Steph said) - Hunter beats Bryan at WrestleMania. Orton spoke over a "Daniel Bryan" chant, so Steph interrupted and said he won't be here tonight. "Sorry, Orton, for the interruption," she said.

Orton continued that he can't be held responsibility for what he does to Triple H at WrestleMania. He told Steph to make sure Hunter leaves Mania a winner by just facing Bryan, only. Pause for a "boring, boring" chant. The crowd timed it well, as Orton and Steph were actually awkwardly pausing waiting for Batista's music to interrupt.

Out came Batista to loud boos. Batista paced the ring, then said this is really driving him crazy. Batista said they're all missing the big picture - he is the next WWE World Hvt. champion. More loud boos. He said he doesn't care if it's Hunter, Bryan, or Orton because he's leaving with the title. His mic broke up as he tried to tell the crowd to deal with it. Lawler asked if that was done on purpose.

Batista continued his promo that the fact is Hunter has never beaten him. And *if* (no "when" from Stephanie) Hunter makes it to the title match, he won't beat him there, either. And neither will Orton. Batista told Orton that he makes him sick kissing everyone's backside. He told Orton to stop drooling over Stephanie, then said he thinks Steph has been drooled on a lot. Stephanie took exception to that, as she reached back and slapped the glasses right off Batista's face. Steph left the ring in a huff as Orton had a big laugh in the background. Batista smirked, then turned around and charged Orton to spear him.

Batista grabbed Orton's title belts and posed to boos, then his music played and he left the ring. WWE replayed Stephanie slapping Batista from a few different angles, then cut to a shot of Batista posing on the stage while Orton recovered ringside.

[ JC's Reax: That was a complete mess and yet the trainwreck was curiously riveting two weeks away from WM30. The live audience helped make it happen and give this a "WrestleMania Season feel," whereas this would be been a double whammy in front of a quiet, disinterested crowd. ]

[Q2] Still to come: John Cena vs. Luke Harper again. Plus, Scooby Doo. Also appearing are Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Joe Manganiello. And, The Undertaker is here to confront Brock Lesnar. Cole acted excited, saying it must be WrestleMania season.

[Commercial Break at 8:17]

In-ring: Back from break, Alberto Del Rio and Christian were in the ring. IC champion Big E. was ringside, then Dolph Ziggler was introduced for a match announced as a #1 contender match to for an Intercontinental Title match tomorrow night on WWE Network. Sheamus then came out as the fourth participant.

1 -- SHEAMUS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. CHRISTIAN vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO -- fatal four-way match to determine #1 contender to Big E.'s IC Title

Fast-paced brawling in and out of the ring early on. Meanwhile, the announcers noted that all four men will be in the Andre battle royal at WrestleMania. Sheamus then took himself and Christian over the guardrail with a clothesline. Del Rio sold a knee injury and Ziggler recovered elsewhere leading to a break three minutes in.

[Commercial Break at 8:25]

Raw returned with Del Rio tossing Ziggler high into the air, sending Ziggler crashing down to the mat. Sheamus then yanked Del Rio to the floor, where Sheamus dropped him with a rolling senton. Back in the ring, Sheamus delivered offense to all opponents before snapping off Ten Forearms to Del Rio's chest. Sheamus then wanted a top rope move, but Ziggler dropped him with a Super X Factor, but it was only good for a two count.

[Q3] At 10:00, Christian caught Ziggler with a sit-out powerbomb. Another nearfall. Sheamus then called for the Brogue Kick on Christian, but Del Rio cut off Sheamus with a kick to the gut. Del Rio slapped on the cross arm-breaker, but Sheamus powered to his feet, only to take a Zig-Zag from Ziggler out of nowhere. But, Christian snatched Ziggler for the Killswitch. It was good for the pin and the win.

Post-match: Big E. slid into the ring and extended his hand toward Christian, but Christian smirked and walked off. Back-and-forth camera shots of Christian and Big E. wrapped up the segment.

WINNER: Christian at 11:55 to face Big E. for the IC Title on Main Event. Strong opening match backed by a hot, invested crowd.

Suddenly, the Wyatts's theme interrupted. Bray Wyatt was shown humming "He's got the whole world in his hands," then addressed John Cena. He said they can all see him - billboards, merchandising, etc. Whereas, he is the way and he stands beyond time. Luke Harper interjected that they're coming to find Cena. "Run," Bray closed before Raw abruptly cut to break.

Network plug: Well, Raw cut to a plug for WWE Network featuring Hulk Hogan, the aforementioned Cena, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Then, to break.

[Commercial Break at 8:37]

Back from break, Cole introduced a "sneak peek" on the Scooby-Doo WWE movie.

Back in the arena, the Mystery Machine pulled up to ringside. Out came Sin Cara to random music. A mascot version of Scooby-Doo then popped out of the Mystery Machine as Cole started singing the Scooby theme song. Sin Cara ran into the ring, then guided Scooby-Doo through a victory lap. Already in the ring to face Cara was Damien Sandow.

2 -- DAMIEN SANDOW vs. SIN CARA (w/Scooby-Doo)

Cara and Sandow traded control as the announcers speculated on who drove the Mystery Machine down to ringside. Sin Cara then came off the top with his Swanton finisher for a quick pin and the win.

WINNER: Sin Cara at 1:10. Only a matter of time before "Damien Sandow" is trending with questions on what happened to his career.

[Q4] Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL transitioned to Kane trying to blame Jerry Lawler for the "Occupy Raw" business two weeks ago. But, The Shield refused to take Kane's orders last Monday on Raw. Cole then fed to follow-up footage from Friday's Smackdown of Kane leading an attack on The Shield.

[Commercial Break at 8:47]

This Friday on Smackdown: Kane follows up on trying to end The Shield.

In-ring: Los Matadores's music was playing back from break. WWE showed the duo in the ring, then cut to a shot of Ryback and Curtis Axel. Cole announced that Ryback and Axel have dropped out of the Andre Battle Royal in favor of receiving a Tag Title "opportunity" at WrestleMania. Cole presented it as if there will be more than one team receiving the "opportunity."

3 -- LOS MATADORES (DIEGO & FERNANDO w/El Torito) vs. CURTIS AXEL & RYBACK

Forty-five seconds into the match, the crowd popped as The Shield walked through the crowd to watch the proceedings ringside. Un Matador then rolled up Axel from behind for a quick three count.

Post-match: The Shield hopped the guardrail and surrounded Axel and Ryback, who benefited from helping Kane carry out an attack on The Shield last Friday. Shield's numbers advantage allowed them to take out Axel, then give Ryback a triple powerbomb. The trio stood tall in the ring with their fists joined together.

WINNERS: Los Matadores at 1:01. Shield's face act seems like the NWO Wolfpack - they're doing a similar cool routine as when they were heels, and now the audience has permission to cheer them, but it feels watered down. Follow-up has not been strong thus far.

Still to come: Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Joe Manganiello. Up Next: Triple H's sit-down interview with Michael Cole discussing Daniel Bryan.

[Commercial Break at 8:54]

Triple H Promo Segment

In-ring: Michael Cole was standing by to introduce Triple H. In the ring were two interview chairs and a black carpet to make this "official." Hunter then came out on-stage, alone, dressed in a suit with a serious demeanor. Cole opened by replaying what happened at the end of last week's Raw when Triple H beat down a handcuffed Daniel Bryan while Stephanie watched.

[Q5 -- second hour] Cole asked Hunter how he could justify the attack last week. Hunter said the question is confusing. He asked Cole if he wants him to answer as the COO or as a wrestler. Hunter then flashed back to the "Occupy Raw" movement, where Bryan put the fans in harm's way in an attempt to take over and get what Bryan wanted. He asked Cole where his mock horror was when that happened. But, what he did last week was heinous and despicable.

Hunter continued that Bryan asked for The Game, not the COO, so he gave everyone what they wanted - a competitor. Hunter said Bryan got exactly what he deserved as a result. Hunter then flashed back to his full-time career when he did horrible things in this ring and he would look into the audience and see the same hunger and lust for success. Now, he sees apathy and a bunch of little people with no power who cry until they get what they want. Hunter mockingly asked them to send him a tweet voicing their displeasure.

Hunter said maybe it's on him to decide where this whole thing goes. Maybe he starts the "Reality Era." He said the reality is this - at WrestleMania, he ends Daniel Bryan's supposed "little run at the top." And he ends this "pathetic Yes! Movement." And when he's done with that, he's going to step into a triple threat match and no one living off their past glories or untapped potential is going to stop him. Because the reality is he has the power to make it happen and "they all know it's true." Hunter growled that reality is he will walk out of WrestleMania as WWE World champion. Hunter threw down the mic, then walked out of the ring to the back.

Still to come: Cena vs. Luke Harper. And, Taker-Lesnar face-to-face.

[Commercial Break at 9:07]

Back from break, Fandango and Summer Rae were posing in the ring underneath Fandango's light-up logo. Goldust's music then played to bring out Goldust and Cody Rhodes for singles action. It's Cody with the assignment this week.

[Q6]

4 -- CODY RHODES (w/Goldust) vs. FANDANGO (w/Summer Rae)

On commentary, Cole claimed that "over 25" wrestlers have entered the Andre battle royal. Only 17 have been announced, so eight have mysteriously not been accounted for. Or, there's a new WWE Math problem. The announcers then discussed Summer Rae being revealed as a "stooge" last night on Total Divas. JBL made a WWE writer's room crack, then Goldust stalked Summer Rae at ringside. Goldust danced for Summer, who sold an ankle injury. Fandango took a peek, then Cody dropped Fandango with the Disaster Kick for the pin and the win.

Post-match, Fandango rolled out of the ring to check on Summer, who indicated that she's fine now. Summer then posed and got her TV time, unconcerned about indirectly costing Fandango the match as Fandango sold the effects of taking Cody's finisher.

WINNER: Cody at 2:45. The match was very secondary to stooges, dancing, and Total Divas. Meanwhile, are they setting up for Summer ditching Fandango?

Up Next: Hogan, Arnold, and Joe.

[Commercial Break at 9:20]

Hulk Hogan TV Segment

Back from break, Hulk Hogan's music played to unceremoniously bring out Hogan on-stage. Hogan marched down to the ring as Cole hyped a sit-down interview with Hogan on WWE's website this week. Hogan hit the ring and tried to hype the crowd up to Hulkamania level. Once his music stopped, Hogan paused for a "Hogan, Hogan" chant.

Hogan did his nostalgia intro for a pop, then told the Maniacs that he doesn't mean to come out here and be nostalgic or crybaby, but WrestleMania 30 is less than two weeks away. And in this very city, history was made at WrestleMania I when he teamed with the newest WWE Hall of Famer Mr. T. Pause for another "Hogan, Hogan" chant, so Hogan pointed to the WM30 sign in the arena.

Hogan said he's really excited about WM30 and the Andre Battle Royal, but he's also really excited for tonight's Raw guest stars from "Sabotage." Hogan then welcomed out Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello. Arnold posed with Hogan in the ring, then asked for some applause for "these monsters right here."

Arnold said in his trademark accent that it's wonderful to be back again, which popped the crowd. Long-lasting pop. Arnold said that one year ago he had the great pleasure of inducting Bruno Sammartino into the Hall of Fame, which drew cheers. Today, he is standing here in the ring with another hero, Hulk Hogan. Arnold noted Hogan's biceps, triceps, and pecs, then shouted out to Joe, who went for a cheap pop shouting out to Brooklyn. Joe said he's pumped to be standing in the ring with two legends and icons.

Arnold spoke next that he has a question. He said Andre the Giant was one of his favorite "wrestlers" of all-time. Hogan said the respect was mutual. Andre then asked Hogan if he has room for two more athletes in the Battle Royal. Suddenly, The Miz's music interrupted before Hogan could confirm their bookings.

[Q7] Miz walked out on-stage holding the mic in a cocky fashion. "Really? You two in the battle royal?" he asked rhetorically. Miz said he's a huge fan of Andre and he's going to the movies to watch "Sabotage" on Friday, but that's just acting. He said they play tough guys, whereas he's the opposite. "I am a tough guy and I do a little acting on the side," he said. Miz vowed to win the Andre Battle Royal.

Hogan responded that Miz needs a wake-up call because he's in Hogan Country. Miz responded that he's the most must-see WWE Superstar of all-time. He claimed that people are still talking about him defeating John Cena in the WM27 main event. Miz then told all three that they don't belong here. Hogan dropped his mic, then Joe stepped up to Miz, telling him to make them leave. Miz smirked, then Joe playfully pushed him.

Miz turned to leave, then turned back and tried a right hand, but Joe blocked and punched him. Arnold punched him, then Hogan tossed him over the top rope to the floor. Miz sold on the floor as Hogan's music played to set up a curtain call for Hogan, Arnold, and Joe.

Still to come: Taker and Lesnar face-to-face.

[Commercial Break at 9:33]

Earlier Today: The Rock's "Hercules" character was featured in USA Today. Cole described Rock as "their friend."

In-ring: Titus O'Neil was standing by for singles action. Big Show was then introduced as Titus's opponent. Cole hyped the "over 25" wrestlers in the battle royal, then WWE flashed through a photo gallery of participants, which included the mysteriously unaccounted for eight wrestlers, which included Zack Ryder, Justin Gabriel, Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, and Darren Young. Mysterio has moved so far down the totem pole that his WrestleMania match was announced via photo gallery flash-through.

5 -- BIG SHOW vs. TITUS O'NEIL

O'Neil started in control as the announcers picked up a "C-M Punk" chant. Titus then tried to "eliminate" Big Show with a clothesline over the top rope, but Show blocked, dropped the strap, and delivered a KO Punch for the win. Cole said Show has to be the favorite to win the Andre battle royal in two weeks.

WINNER: Show at 2:22.

Backstage: Stephanie was shown adjusting Hunter's suit, then The Shield walked in. "Hey guys," Hunter casually said. Seth Rollins spoke first that he wants to know where Hunter was Friday on Smackdown. Dean Ambrose followed up by asking where they stand. Hunter blew off their issue as being with Kane and the Outlaws, not him. Stephanie spoke up next that they'll put them in a match against the Real Americans tonight. Then they can sit down and talk things out. Shield walked off and Stephanie looked toward Hunter to see if they were in the clear.

Restroom: John Cena was shown having some issues. Cena washed his head in the sink, breathed deeply, and looked into the mirror. He thought he saw something in the mirror, but no one was there. Cena went back to trying to collect himself in the sink area. Cole described Cena's odd behavior as Cena getting ready for his match against Luke Harper tonight. He beat him two nights ago on Smackdown, so what's the issue?

[Q8] [Commercial Break at 9:44]

Back live, John Cena's music played to bring out Cena for a re-match from the main event of Smackdown. Cena hit the stage, mean-mugged for the camera, and flashed the front of his new t-shirt - "You Can't Stop Me" - toward the camera. Cole said Bray Wyatt is in Cena's head, then the Wyatts interrupted. Bray told Brooklyn that they're here, then blew out the candle and the trio made their way to the ring in the darkness.

6 -- JOHN CENA vs. LUKE HARPER (w/Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan)

The bell sounded and a ritualistic dueling chant for and against Cena started up. In the ring, Luke started with a big elbow smash to the face that rocked Cena to the corner. The chants turned into "Let's Go Harper" from the vocal males, then Cena fought back with a corner attack. This drew boos, then Harper cut off Cena to cheers.

Harper dumped Cena to the floor and the crowd picked up a "Fruity Pebbles" chant. Cena sold concern being so close to Bray Wyatt on the floor, then Cena fought back with a neck-snap. But, Harper came back with an elbow smash. Harper remained in control heading to break.

[Commercial Break at 9:54]

Raw returned with Harper big-booting Cena in the face, drawing applause from Bray in his rocking chair. Cena suddenly ducked a clothesline and nailed a release German Suplex. Cena teased the AA, but Harper smashed him in the face to escape. Moments later, Cena came back with a sit-out slam. He smirked as the crowd booed the Five Knuckle Shuffle to follow, but Harper smashed him in the face for a two count.

At 9:00, Harper stalked Cena for a powerbomb, but Cena turned it into an awkward-looking huracanrana. Harper cut off Cena's follow up, sending Cena to the floor. Harper then flew through the ropes with a suicide dive, exciting Bray Wyatt.

[Q9 -- third hour] Harper tossed Cena back into the ring, but Harper was slow to follow up. This allowed Cena to apply the STF, but Harper eye-gouged to escape. Harper then clutched Cena for a super-butterfly suplex from the top rope, but Cena blocked with right hand strikes. Cena then came off the top with a guillotine leg drop for a nearfall.

Reset at 12:30 with both men on their feet. Cena hit the sit-out slam, then delivered the Shuffl. Cena eyeballed Bray, then set up Harper for the AA, but Harper blocked and face-planted Cena for a two count. Harper measured Cena for a big corner move, but Cena came running at Harper with a huge clothesline. Both men sold the effects of the move, then Cena stalked Harper for the AA. But, the Wyatt theme suddenly played. The lights went out. Suddenly, Cena was tied in the ropes wearing the Wyatts's signature sheep mask. The crowd went for a "this is awesome" chant as the camera zoomed in on Cena hanging in the ropes with his face covered by the mask. Raw suddenly cut to break.

WINNER: ??? went Raw cut to break at 15:05. Solid TV match until the "WrestleMania Season" non-finish when WWE is more concerned about advancing Mania stories (via the Wyatt sympathizer in the production truck who played their theme) than delivering finishes to matches involving top Mania players.

[Commercial Break at 10:06]

Main Event plug: Big E. vs. Christian for the Intercontinental Title.

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL talked about the "stunning scene" at the end of Cena-Harper moments ago.

In-ring: Cameron and "pirate" Naomi were introduced next for a Divas match. Justin Roberts called it a singles match for Naomi. Out as her opponent was Divas champion A.J. Lee, accompanied by Tamina.

7 -- Divas champion A.J. LEE (w/Tamina Snuka) vs. NAOMI (w/Cameron) -- non-title match

The crowd picked up a "C-M Punk" chant as A.J. started the match by mocking Naomi's lack of sight in one eye. So, Naomi dropkicked her to jumpstart the match. A.J. then bailed from the ring and decided she didn't want to wrestle anymore, so she get herself counted out as Tamina followed close behind.

WINNER: Naomi via count-out at 1:10.

Suddenly, Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero walked out on-stage. Vickie said A.J. made some "uncalled for" comments about her this past Friday on Smackdown. Vickie went through their history, then said the one thing she does want to tell her is that she is a real "b----." Which is why she is here to announce that at Mania, A.J. will compete in the Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational.

[Q10] Vickie said that A.J.'s opponents will be Naomi and Cameron. And Brie Bella. And Nikki Bella. And Natalya. And Eva Marie (boos). And Emma. And Aksana. And Alicia Fox. And Summer Rae. And Rosa Mendes. And Layla. And Tamina, who sold shock as she stood next to A.J., who clutched her title belt as Vickie cackled to herself. A.J. was on the verge of a break-down as her Divas Title opponents stood in the ring and on the stage.

Main Event Flashback: The Undertaker sent a message to Brock Lesnar through Paul Heyman.

Tonight: Taker-Lesnar face-to-face.

Up Next: Who will be the next WWE Hall of Fame inductee?

[Commercial Break at 10:19]

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL were shown on-camera to reset the show. Cole then introduced the next Hall of Fame announcement, which was Scott Hall. The video focused on Hall as Razor Ramon and his "cool factor" acting like the "bad guy." Hulk Hogan said in a soundbyte that Hall made it "cool to be bad." The video paused on the Hall vs. Shawn Michaels ladder match at WrestleMania X. Sean Waltman had a soundbyte along with several current stars. Nothing on his WCW/NWO run as Scott Hall. They're actually branding him as Razor Ramon.

Earlier Tonight: Batista went too far saying Stephanie McMahon has been drooled on a lot. Orton enjoyed it too much, so Batista speared him.

Next Week: Randy Orton vs. Batista in Batista's hometown one week before WrestleMania. Cole also re-noted that Daniel Bryan says he has not been medically to appear tonight on Raw.

In-ring: The Shield made their way to the ring for a tag match against the Real Americans. WWE replayed events on Smackdown when Kane and the New Age Outlaws took out The Shield. Now, Shield is looking for revenge on Real Americans, who provided assistance.

[Q11] [Commercial Break at 10:30]

Friday on Smackdown: Big Show vs. Bray Wyatt.

Back live, the Real Americans were slowly being led down to the ring by Zeb Colter, but The Shield jumped Cesaro and Jack Swagger in the aisleway before the match started. The brawl continued ringside as the vocal males picked up a "We The People" chant. Ambrose rolled Cesaro into the ring and the match started.

8 -- THE SHIELD (U.S. champion DEAN AMBROSE & SETH ROLLINS w/Roman Reigns) vs. REAL AMERICANS (JACK SWAGGER & CESARO w/Zeb Colter)

Cesaro battled back against Ambrose early on. Rollins then tagged in and snapped off two of the Three Amigos suplexes on Swagger, drawing "Eddie, Eddie" chants. Meanwhile, Lawler flashed back to Shield seemingly having issues a few weeks ago, but now they're on the same page. Cesaro then tagged in to a crowd pop. The crowd got behind Cesaro with a "We The People" chant, then Real Americans isolated Ambrose, who the crowd didn't get behind in the sympathetic role. Because he's Ambrose and miscast in a face role.

Cesaro cut off Ambrose trying to make a lukewarm tag to Rollins, then put him in the Big Swing. 20 revolutions on the Big Swing, which popped the crowd. Rollins broke up a pin, though. Cesaro and Swagger then swung Ambrose into the barricade on the floor. "We The People" shout by the Real Americans, which the crowd joined in on, as Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break at 10:41]

[Q12] Back from break, Ambrose broke free of Swagger to tease a tag to Rollins, but Cesaro cut him off. They continued to try to build steam for Ambrose tagging in Rollins, which resulted in Ambrose starting to slap him himself around to fire himself up. Ambrose delivered a massive rebound clothesline, which finally drew crowd interest.

Rollins tagged in, then slapped around Swagger before kicking him in the chest. Rollins flew across the ring splashing Swagger for a two count, then dumped Cesaro over the top rope to the floor. Rollins then dumped Swagger to the floor before splashing Cesaro, then Swagger on the floor. Big crowd reaction for Rollins's high-flying attack.

Things settled down with Swagger and Rollins in the ring. Swagger tried the Patriot Lock, but Rollins broke free. Rollins then face-planted Swagger into the mat for a three count and the win.

Post-match, Cesaro attacked Rollins from behind, but Reigns entered the ring to Superman Punch Cesaro. Reigns followed with a massive spear to Cesaro on the outside. Reigns and Co. then cleared the announce table, popping the crowd for impending doom sending a message to Kane and the Outlaws. Reigns set up Cesaro and delivered a triple powerbomb through the table. The crowd cheered this, then Kane's music interrupted.

Kane and the Outlaws came out on-stage dressed in suits. Kane informed Shield that they have been signed to a six-man tag match at WrestleMania. "Believe that," Kane told Shield. JBL called it The Shield vs. The Suits at Mania.

WINNERS: Shield at 13:58. A SWOT Analysis is needed for this one. Strengths - Rollins is breaking out as a babyface, they do cool moves, and the triple powerbomb is over. Weaknesses - Ambrose is miscast as a face, Reigns was set to be the break-out face when Shield was on the verge of breaking up, and the group started off on a poor note when they officially turned face. Opportunities - big spotlight match against Kane and the Outlaws, who have managed to get a non-battle royal WrestleMania match. Threats - in this particular match, the crowd was really backing Cesaro, which took away from Shield's babyface spotlight.

Backstage: Brock Lesnar was shown walking down the hallway with Paul Heyman.

[Commercial Break at 10:53]

Lesnar-Taker Show-Closing Segment

In-ring: Brock Lesnar was introduced to the ring for the main event segment. Lesnar has a new t-shirt: "Eat Sleep Break The Streak." Once in the ring, Paul Heyman said he stands before the audience tonight as the advocate for Brock Lesnar. Heyman said Lesnar's opponent at WrestleMania holds one of the greatest accomplishments in history. His name is The Undertaker and his record at Mania is 21-and-oh.

Heyman humbly submitted that it's not just a streak, but an undefeated streak. Which is why on April 6, 2014, when Lesnar defeats The Undertaker, this will take nothing away from the enormity of 21 consecutive victories on the Grandest Stage. Heyman said no one else has come close to Taker's accomplishment.

[Q13 -- over-run] At this year's Mania, Heyman said, one era will end and another will begin when Lesnar breaks The Streak. Heyman continued to talk, but Lesnar took the mic and said that's enough. Lesnar said he's not here to promote, but to fight. "Undertaker, you're here. I'm here. Let's do thiiiis!" Lesnar threw down the mic and braced himself for Taker as Heyman stood off to the side flummoxed.

Long pause, then the familiar sound of druids chanting filled the arena. Druids led a casket down to ringside, then positioned it next to the ring. In the ring, Lesnar laughed while Heyman sold concern, having seen this before. Hands-on-hips for Lesnar. Lesnar started looking around the arena as the sound of druids chanting continued to play in the arena. Fog started to come out of the casket, so Lesnar kicked it. And again.

Heyman started to leave the ring, but Lesnar decided he wanted a piece of the casket. Lesnar then carefully lifted the casket lid, which contained no one. Heyman stood off to the side selling annoyance. "Is this some kind of joke?!" Lesnar shouted. Lesnar then left the ring as the druids started walking up the ramp. Lesnar then slammed the casket shut as the crowd chanted for Undertaker.

Lesnar entered the ring and said he's not here to play games. Heyman called this so typical. "I'm leaving!" Lesnar shouted. Heyman said this is the game Taker wants to play, then said Taker challenged Lesnar to show up for a fight tonight in a slum like Brooklyn (boos), and all he does is deliver an empty casket. Suddenly, the casket popped open. Taker was lying in it. The camera zoomed in on Taker, who then sat up inside the casket. Taker turned to glare at Lesnar as Heyman freaked out.

The lights came on as Taker stalked Lesnar in the ring. Taker delivered a right hand blow, then lit up Lesnar with rights and lefts. Taker followed with a clothesline that put Lesnar on top of the casket. Lesnar and Heyman backed up the entrance ramp, then Lesnar recovered and pointed to the WM30 sign. Apparently that was his attempt to make the save on his character's presentation in this segment. Taker matched his point, then did the throat-slash gesture. Taker's bell tolled and the arena was filled with blue lights and fog again. Lesnar and Heyman stood atop the entrance ramp in retreat mode as Cole, Lawler, and JBL recapped the developments between Taker and Lesnar this week. Raw signed off ten minutes past the top of the hour.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Gimmicky end to the show, which can be hit or miss when involving Taker's mystical character. Overall, though, Mania Hype still doesn't feel "tight" and "in the zone." Whether it's the three-hour Raw format, shifts to the top-line, or part-time stars in and out each week, WM30 still feels a bit all over the place. Not as bad as a few weeks ago, but not cleaned up to where it probably should be at this point.

***

Raw Post-Game Show

- Studio Panel: Josh Mathews, Booker T, Mick Foley, and Alex Riley were positioned backstage. The post-show opened with a look at The Undertaker leaving up the ramp to the back.

- Backstage: Renee Young tried to get a word with a frustrated Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Lesnar wanted nothing to do with an interview, then Heyman tried to put up a front about being confident against Taker at Mania.

- On the studio panel, Mick Foley did an about-face on now backing the WM30 card. Alex Riley asked Foley if he's just saying that because he's on the Network. The focus then shifted to John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt and Riley filled in the blank on the non-finish to John Cena vs. Luke Harper that the ref took off when the lights went down on the Wyatts's lights-out theme.

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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