Hulk Hogan kicked off Monday Night Raw for the second time since his return, with the ‘Hulkster’ delivering big news to the Memphis crowd.
The WWE Hall of Famer announced plans for a match at Wrestlemania 30 that would honour the memory of the late, great Andre the Giant, a 30-man over-the-top battle royal will decide who wins the ‘Andre the Giant’ trophy.
The Wrestlemania host was then joined by John Cena, who announced his intentions to be involved in the prestigious pay-per-view match. But he was soon to withdraw from being in the match, after the Wyatt Family appeared, leading Cena to give Bray Wyatt an open challenge for a clash in New Orleans in a month’s time.
The Wyatt Family have been in an exciting rivalry with the Shield, but from recent weeks on Raw, it has become evident that a feud between Cena and Wyatt was emerging and a match at Wrestlemania seemed inevitable.
Raw continued with Cena clashing with ‘Family’ member Erick Rowan and despite Rowan dominating for much of the match, demonstrating his brutal wrestling style, Cena emerged victorious in an unorthodox fashion with a schoolboy pin.
Respect the Authority
As the Wrestlemania match card continues to shape up, Triple H was next up on Raw to address last week’s ending to the show, where he delivered a ‘Pedigree’ to Daniel Bryan after his match with Batista.
It was Stephanie McMahon, of course, that did most of the talking, calling out Bryan to apologise to The Authority for his actions by the end of the show, or he would face serious consequences. She once again addressed the fact that Bryan, in their opinion, is a ‘B+ player’ and not worthy of a match against her husband.
This rant was followed by tag-team action, with new champions The Usos taking on Rybaxel. The New Age Outlaws, who lost the belts last week and still have a tag-team title rematch, watched on from commentary as The Usos were triumphant.
Big E Langston was next up, facing Jack Swagger. The match managed to last longer than 10 seconds at least, after Big E’s last three encounters against either of the Real Americans had ended in DQ victories due to interference.
The match surprisingly was decided by a pinfall victory after Cesaro distracted Swagger to allow Langston to take advantage, as the Real Americans’ relationship continues to collapse.
Dead Man Walking
After a relatively lacklustre start to proceedings, the WWE Universe was treated to a rare Raw appearance from The Undertaker. As his match at Wrestlemania with Brock Lesnar creeps ever closer, the ‘Phenom’ appeared, only to be interrupted by Paul Heyman.
Heyman paid homage to the Undertaker’s ’21-0’ historic Wrestlemania streak, appearing to compliment him by stacking up his achievements next to other legends in the business, such as Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin. But, of course, Heyman’s speech led to him warning the Undertaker and how entering the ring with Lesnar would end his streak.
Then, in a typical dark and haunting style, The ‘Deadman’ responded by warning Heyman that the match at Wrestlemania would mean that Lesnar would ‘Rest in Peace’. Vintage Undertaker.
The show moved on to another tag-team match, with the Rhodes Brothers taking on Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of the Shield.
In an even contest, both sets of competitors put in impressive performances throughout the match, with plenty of high-flying moves in one of the better encounters of the night. The Shield dominated for periods, with Reigns’ attire sporting the rubbed off gold paint from Goldust’s face, which showed how physical the match was.
Rollins eventually picked up the win with a stomp to the back of Rhodes’ head, in an impressive victory for two thirds of the Shield.
A victory for The Bella Twins against Divas Champion AJ Lee with Tamina Snuka followed, before Daniel Bryan showed up after being told to apologise earlier on the show.
After declining to apologise, Bryan announced he would not leave the ring until he got what he wanted, in the form of a Wrestlemania match against Triple H, and even filled the ring with members of the ‘Yes! movement’, in order to stress his point and “occupy Raw”.
The actions of Bryan and his gaggle of followers managed to enrage The Authority, who tried and failed to continue with the show. Damien Sandow came out to compete in the next match, but could not enter the ring due the large number of people surrounding and inside the ring. This naturally led to the inevitable outcome, Triple H’s hand being forced into setting up a match between him and Bryan at Wrestlemania 30.
Bryan’s demands didn’t end there though, and he managed to secure an inclusion in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match should he beat the COO.
This would be a huge result for Daniel Bryan should he defeat Triple H, and would surely be the favourite to overcome Batista and Randy Orton despite already competing. The overwhelming support from the WWE Universe has forced the hand of ‘The Authority’, into thrusting Bryan into the Wrestlemania spotlight.
The WWE App decided the stipulation in the next match and Sheamus and Christian would face off in a ‘Memphis Street Fight’. Matches between the two had been dull in the previous weeks and certainly needed a boost in order to make it slightly exciting.
It worked, with the use of weapons spicing the encounter up and a ‘Brogue Kick’ through a bass drum provided an exciting finish, as well as victory for Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior soon posted a picture on Twitter (below), showing the ghastly battle scars he received during the fight.
Bray Wyatt appeared once again, accepting the challenge given to him by John Cena earlier in the night, confirming their clash at Wrestlemania 30.
The night concluded with a tag-team match, with Randy Orton teaming up with Batista while the Big Show teamed up with man of the night, Daniel Bryan.
It was an unlikely partnership for Orton and ‘The Animal’ to be teaming up, but worked well together in the early proceedings; a throwback to their Evolution days. But it was Daniel Bryan, who had dominated much of the night’s talking points, who pinned Orton for the win.