Oh, Brother! Monday Night Raw exploded into life as Hulk Hogan made his highly anticipated return after six years away from the WWE. The legend superstar received a rapturous welcome as he was introduced to the Green Bay crowd, with ‘Hulkamania’ certainly still running wild among the WWE Universe.
Hogan, who has been confirmed as the host of Wrestlemania XXX, kicked the evening off by speaking about the launch of the ‘WWE Network’, a new subscription service for fans of wrestling (but not the UK yet) to access every past and upcoming pay-per-view events, as well as a huge amount of other features; exciting times in the digital age of the WWE for sure.
The evening’s wrestling then kicked off with an Elimination Chamber rematch. After a particularly uninteresting and poorly received bout the night before, Batista squared off with Alberto Del Rio.
Randy Orton came out during the match, distracting Batista, allowing Del Rio to gain a surprise victory. The two superstars then traded insults, beginning the build-up to their match for Orton’s WWE World Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania. The crowd hardly seemed excited by the prospect however, and a lot will have to be worked on in order to win over the negative WWE Universe.
Big E Langston then clashed with Cesaro in an impressive match that showcased both of the upcoming wrestlers’ extreme strength. Cesaro looked to gain victory, after he managed to perform the ‘Cesaro Swing’ on Langston, but fellow ‘Real American’ Jack Swagger’s involvement meant that he would lose via DQ rules.
There was evident tension between the tag-team partners as a result, but Cesaro calmed himself by hitting Langston with the ‘Neutraliser’.
John Cena then graced the crowd with his presence, questioning why the Wyatt Family interrupted the Elimination Chamber match, costing him the chance to win the title. The Wyatt’s appeared, with Bray Wyatt launching a verbal tirade against Cena before the all of the Wyatt family entered the ring to attack him physically.
The encounter could see Cena and Bray Wyatt square off at Wrestlemania and the next month will reveal how far the rivalry will go. It would certainly be a popular match, especially considering the positive reception The Wyatt Family have got in recent weeks, during a meteoric rise in the company.
A pre-show clash of words determined the next match of the evening, as Elimination Chamber match participants Christian and Sheamus faced off. The Irish superstar was eliminated by Christian at the pay-per-view event, and had the chance to get revenge.
He did exactly that, pinning his opponent after hitting a devastating ‘Brogue Kick’. Christian attempted a high-flying manoeuver to gain the upper hand, but Sheamus countered by kicking him mid-air.
An incident from earlier in the evening was then shown where Daniel Bryan confronted Triple H backstage. While the Chief Operating Officer of the WWE spoke about the launch of the ‘WWE Network’ with wife Stephanie McMahon, Bryan expressed his rage at how he felt he was being denied getting close to the title.
He even challenged Triple H to a match at Wrestlemania, and the possibility of this happening would surely be appealing to fans. Bryan has established himself as a crowd favourite, but has found himself shunned by ‘The Authority’. He was, however, given the opportunity to relieve some of his frustration on Raw, after he was given a match against Director of Operations, Kane.
Bryan lost against Kane on the previous week on Raw after the ‘Big Red Machine’ announced he would fight him after he had already competed against Christian. Kane then prevented Bryan from winning Randy Orton’s title at Elimination Chamber, and the match was certainly an opportunity for Bryan to vent his frustration.
Kane looked to gain the advantage in the match by attacking his opponent’s injured shoulder, but was eventually defeated by the irrepressible Daniel Bryan. Kane looked to have won when he delivered a huge chokeslam to his opponent but succumbed to defeat after a flying knee from Bryan.
NXT up and comer Emma was next in action, taking on Fandango’s dance partner, diva Summer Rae. Summer Rae dominated, but tapped out to the ‘Emma Lock’. This match was followed by a swift victory for the Usos in a non-title rematch against the New Age Outlaws. Road Dogg’s trademark pre-match speech was interrupted with a super kick and allowed the Usos to end the match seconds after the bell had rang.
Clash of the Titans
The Shield were interrupted by the Wyatt Family during a heated backstage conversation earlier in the evening and a match between Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt was arranged. The relationship between Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns appears to be at breaking point, and a split in the Shield could well be imminent.
To make matters more interesting, it was promised that ‘the Family’ and ‘the Hounds’ would not accompany Wyatt and Reigns to the ring, meaning the so-called leaders of the two biggest factions in the company would face off, without support.
But after periods of Reigns dominance from Reigns, the Wyatt Family soon turned up to intimidate from outside the ring. Seth Rollins appeared first, soon followed by Dean Ambrose, whose attack on Bray Wyatt ended the match in disqualification.
The attention then turned to Brock Lesnar who entered the ring with the ever-present Paul Heyman. Heyman announced Lesnar’s intentions for Wrestlemania, and how he feels he should be involved in the title match. Then, perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was delivered, with the Undertaker’s entrance music playing and ‘the Phenom’ himself appearing. His return received a huge reaction from the overwhelmed WWE crowd and gave confirmation to recent rumours that the Undertaker would be taking on Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX, in what will surely be considered one of his biggest challenges to date.
The contract was signed by Lesnar, and also by Undertaker, but in a less orthodox manner; by chokeslamming ‘The Beast Incarnate’ through a table.
Can Taker make it 22-0, or will Lesnar finally end the streak?
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