With Wrestlemania less than one week away, the final Monday night Raw before the event in New Orleans kicked off in an explosive manner, with the Undertaker appearing to open the show.
After last week ending with the Undertaker emerging from a coffin to deliver an attack on opponent Brock Lesnar, the Deadman started things off by talking about his impressive Wrestlemania streak.
He was soon to be interrupted, and while Paul Heyman responded by backing ‘his client’ to win the bout, Lesnar approached the ring, looking for revenge on the Undertaker. After circling the ring in a shark-like manner, Lesnar took advantage of a Heyman-provided distraction by launching an attack against the Phenom. A devastating F-5 allowed the Beast Incarnate to get his revenge, as he looks forward to what is sure to be a volatile and entertaining match-up at Wrestlemania.
The evening moved on after an action-packed opening, with Intercontinental champion Big E Langston taking on Alberto Del Rio. Both competitors are to be involved in the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal on Sunday at Wrestlemania, and the match gave the two competitors a chance to face-off before they met in the chaotic trophy match.
Langston looked the favourite to gain a routine victory, but Del Rio’s impressive resilience saw him grab a huge victory, finishing the match with a powerful super kick to the head of the champion.
Bray Wyatt appeared next briefly backstage in another attempt to intimidate John Cena, before Divas action saw Summer Rae grab a surprise victory over Natalya. The pair wil meet again at Wrestlemania, however, in a 14-diva strong match that will see champion AJ Lee defend her title in the ‘Vickie Guerrero Invitational’.
Say No! to the Yes! Movement
COO Triple H made his entrance, accompanied by wife Stephanie McMahon, as they gave the WWE Universe the chance to ‘say farewell to the Yes! Movement’ as they looked forward to the clash against Daniel Bryan.
They stirred up the crowd and announced that Bryan would not be present on Raw, in order to give him extra-preparation for Wrestlemania. A promo video was then shown that outlined the dominance of The Game against various fan favourites, such as Mick Foley, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle.
This inevitably led to Triple H making his intentions for Wrestlemania abundantly clear, stating that he would beat Bryan and then become WWE World Heavyweight champion.
Batista interrupted, mocking the fact he had never been beaten by the COO, before being joined in the ring by the champion Randy Orton, who he would face later in the evening in a no-DQ match.
Another match that previewed Wrestlemania was next on Raw, with an eight-man tag-team match taking place. The Usos teamed up with Los Matadores to face Rybaxel and The Real Americans before the pay-per-view event on Sunday would see all teams clash in a Fatal-Four way match for the titles, currently held by the Usos. It proved to be an explosive encounter, with athleticism meeting brute strength in the huge clash.
The Usos and The Real Americans shone throughout, but it was Los Matadores who grabbed the win, after they took advantage of their identical appearance to switch during the match, allowing a fresh Diego (although it might have been Fernando) to win the match via a roll-up pin on Jack Swagger.
Summer Rae appeared for the second time in the evening, this time accompanying her dance partner Fandango, who joined Damien Sandow in tag-team action to take on The Rhodes Brothers. Goldust claimed the victory, delivering a Final Cut on Sandow for the win.
The Shield were next to make their presence known, speaking ahead of their Wrestlemania match against Kane and the New Age Outlaws, as well as looking forward to a match against Kane on Raw, with the WWE Universe choosing which member would participate via the app.
I’m here, but you can’t see me!
Their battle would not take place there and then however, and the next superstar in action was Bray Wyatt. After his earlier eerie backstage rant once again condemning John Cena, he took on the equally bizarre R-Truth in singles action. The maniacal Wyatt faced a tough test against an impressive acrobatic performance from Truth, but eventually overcame his opponent in a familiar way; via the Sister Abigail.
As the Wyatt Family celebrated in-ring, a fourth member appeared behind them, causing mass confusion. The figure, wearing a Wyatt lamb mask and a boiler suit, soon revealed his identity, and it was of course Cena. He attacked Rowan and Harper, and got Wyatt up on his shoulders, who managed to escape his clutches before being the victim of an Attitude Adjustment.
It was the first time Cena had really got the advantage over Wyatt, a feat he’ll be hoping to repeat on the grand stage on Sunday.
The second Divas match of the evening took place next with AJ Lee taking on Naomi for the second week in a row, in a ‘Lumber Jill match’. All the competitors of the ‘Vickie Guerrero Invitational’ surrounded the ring, while Naomi picked up the victory.
The results of the WWE App vote was then announced to decide who would face Kane on Raw, and with an overwhelming 80 percent of the votes, Roman Reigns was chosen. It was certainly a heavyweight clash, and despite his corporate image change, the Big Red Machine still lurked within, and showed his brutal power in the opening stages.
Reigns grew into the match, but it was eventually ended via DQ, with the remaining members of the Shield first attacking the New Age Outlaws, before turning their attention to Kane, concluding the bout.
WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper then made a brief appearance, hosting a ‘special edition’ Pipers Pit, but plagued with interruptions, chaos ensued when many of the ‘Andre the Giant battle royal’ participants flooded the ring to brawl ahead of the real thing at Wrestlemania on Sunday.
Raw would then come to an end with a no-DQ clash between Orton and Batista, but before their clash could even begin, The Authority made another appearance to spectate the affair.
The pair eventually began to trade blows but mass excitement was detonated when Daniel Bryan made an appearance. Emerging seemingly out of nowhere, Bryan launched a devastating assault against Triple H, attacking him with a kendo stick, as well as striking Orton and Batista.
Chants of ‘Yes!’ echoed throughout the arena and Bryan will be looking to make history on Sunday by defeating Triple H before going on to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.