How fitting that it’s St. Patrick’s Day, because after the events of last week’s Raw, Triple H is seeing green. And not the DX neon green, either. The angry, sick-to-your-stomach kind of green after you are forcibly coerced into accepting a WrestleMania match you didn’t want. However, given that he’s set to face Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania with a potential spot for Bryan in the WWE World Heavyweight Title Match at stake, The King of Kings was in no mood for insubordination of any kind.
Imagine his frustration, then, when both WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton and No. 1 contender Batista appeared to voice their frustrations, instigating a shouting match that led to The Game making one final proclamation to his protégés: If he defeats Bryan at WrestleMania, it’ll be the COO himself who joins the Title Match as the third participant. While both champion and challenger were less than pleased, it was Orton who struck first, dropping Batista with an RKO as The Game departed.
The Usos have been flying high since capturing the WWE Tag Team Championships, yet some old-fashioned American muscle may have brought them down to Earth. Jack Swagger & Cesaro, they of the recent internal struggles, put aside their scruples and acted as true brothers-in-arms, clipping The Usos’ wings for a non-title win on Raw.
Granted, it took a little while for those issues to peter out. The Usos were in perfect sync as the match started until Swagger ran interference and drew the brothers’ attention right as they were about to finish off Cesaro. Having been given a few seconds to recover, The Swiss Superman capitalized on Swagger's self-sacrifice by clocking Jey Uso with a European Uppercut before he could execute a suicide dive, following up with The Neutralizer for the win.
Oh come on, like Sheamus wasn’t going to win this one. With his home country pride at stake, Sheamus made like St. Patrick and banished the snake-like Titus O’Neil from his domain in a “St. Patrick’s Day Showdown” on Raw. Despite The Big Deal’s festive getup (including red goatee and top hat), “Irish” was not spelled “T-I-T-U-S.” Nor was “winner” when The Celtic Warrior used a nearby Hornswoggle as a human projectile to soften the rolling O’Neil up for the Ten Beats of the Bodhrán and, finally, a Brogue Kick for the win.
Alas, the Irishman took his eyes off the most persistent snake of them all, and he had only just declared hismelf an entrant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal when Christian (who also proclaimed himself an entrant in the melee) jumped The Celtic Warrior from behind and dropped him with a Killswitch. Guess Sheamus is gonna need a bigger drum.
Turns out there is something that puts the mighty John Cena on edge, and that something is Bray Wyatt. With The Eater of Worlds set as his WrestleMania opponent, Cena came clean to the WWE Universe that Wyatt’s nihilistic rage makes him uneasy in a way Triple H and The Rock never did. But even as Cena cowed to persevere against Wyatt at The Show of Shows, the man himself appeared on the TitanTron and vowed to expose the Cenation leader for the beast he believes him to be … even if it means Wyatt has to sacrifice himself to do so.
No disqualification, no problem for Daniel Bryan, who rode a No-DQ stipulation and a timely interference from Batista to notch his latest victory over WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton. The Champion of Champions had demanded the match himself in an attempt to impress WWE COO Triple H and it wasn’t long before Bryan immediately made him regret it, targeting Orton’s leg much as he did in their last singles encounter.
The tide turned mightily, though, when The Viper back-dropped Bryan on the commentary table and went to town with a nearby Kendo stick. WWE’s Apex Predator certainly embraced the spirit of the No DQ stipulation in a thorough thrashing of the "Yes!" Man and might have won ... if only Batista hadn't stormed out of nowhere and speared The Viper into Tuesday. One cover from Bryan for three (and a post-match Batista Bomb) later, and the Champion of Champions was done for the night with a capital D.
Give Paul Heyman credit: When The Undertaker isn’t in the building, the advocate for The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar can talk a pretty good game. Without The Phenom himself looming in the ring, the mad scientist had all the room he needed to prophecy the downfall of The Undertaker’s fabled Streak at Lesnar’s hands, using Lesnar’s record against The Deadman’s previous WrestleMania opponents as evidence. “I know it’s an uncomfortable thought,” said Heyman, “But on April 6, The Undertaker and The Undertaker’s Streak will rest in peace.”
Goldust may not be as much of a dancer as Fandango, despite an energetic attempt to mimic the dancing Superstar. The former Intercontinental Champion is, however, a natural at silencing his doubters, and The Bizarre One handily dealt with his latest foe in the form of Fandango. Using his dance routines to throw Fandango off his rhythm, so to speak, Goldust handily got inside Fandango’s head and followed up with a series of inverted atomic drops to leave the dancing fiend down.
A distraction from Summer Rae helped Fandango find his footing, though Fandango wasn’t too pleased by how much Summer was taken with Cody’s, well, dashing good looks. Fandango managed to persevere nonetheless, but Goldust had the last word with a hurricanrana and Final Cut after a missed top-rope leg drop.
Did Jerry “The King” Lawler use the “Yes!” Movement as his own personal court in his hometown of Memphis? Kane certainly seemed to think so, though The Devil’s Favorite Director of Operations found his one-man investigation overturned by a truly unexpected enemy: The Shield.
Kane had just summoned Lawler into the ring under the pretense of exposing him as Bryan’s inside man throughout Occupy Raw. That brought out The Shield, who at first seemed poised to put the WWE Hall of Famer down at the behest of The Big Red Monster. As it turns out, The Hounds of Justice were more than ready to bite the hand that’s scalded them in recent weeks, and instead turned their focus towards Kane himself, to the tune of a big old Triple Powerbomb. Now that’s justice.
Not only is Planet Funk whole again, but AJ Lee’s groove as Divas Champion may finally have hit its biggest roadblock. With Naomi back from the injured list (with an eye patch!) at Cameron’s side, the funkalicious females rallied to take out the Black Widow and her self-appointed muscle in Divas tag team action.
It took some time getting there when AJ & Tamina isolated Cameron and traded in offense against her for minutes on end, wearing her down until she reached Naomi for a last-minute tag. Naomi was as fresh as could be against the champion, powering past Tamina’s interference to score the win with a split-legged moonsault off the top rope. AJ was less than happy that Tamina couldn't help her get the win, though Tamina was even less happy at the champ's attitude, shoving AJ to the ground after a heated post-match exchange.
Big Show had a big showing on Raw when he came up big for his teammates in an all-star Eight-Superstar Tag Team Match on Raw, just three weeks before he throws his hat into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Granted, the giant and his buddies had a rough go in the beginning of the contest when Dolph Ziggler found himself isolated by the group’s various foes.
A rally by The Showoff ended up moot when The Essence of Excellence smothered The Showoff with a chinlock, then tagged in his teammates to follow up in turn. Ziggler found daylight against Damien Sandow and tagged Show in, though Sandow’s cohorts plunged the bout into chaos by storming the ring. The subterfuge didn’t take hold, though, and Sandow found himself hoisted sky-high for a match-ending chokeslam.
Whether Bray Wyatt truly is an “Eater of Worlds” is a matter of opinion. Yet John Cena’s WrestleMania challenge certainly feasted upon Kofi Kingston on Raw in fast-paced rematch of their confrontation at WWE Battleground. Despite Kingston having had time to stew and scout since last battling “The Man of 1,000 Truths,” their confrontation turned out the same way as it did in October, with Wyatt simply powering his way through each of Kofi’s attempts to build momentum.
Wyatt, breaking into song between bursts of brutality, made a vicious example of Kingston before the WWE Universe and, one can only assume, John Cena, tossing The Boom Squad General to and fro before sending him to sleep with Sister Abigail.
Before Daniel Bryan and Triple H go to battle on The Grandest Stage of Them All, The King of Kings deigned to give his self-appointed foe a man-to-man summit in the ring wherein The Game insisted that everything he’d done up to this point was strictly business, nothing personal, no hard feelings. But what came next certainly blurred that line.
The COO, seemingly under the guise of an olive branch, commended the “Yes!” Man’s resilience and sportsmanship and admitted he’d earned Triple H’s respect. Stephanie McMahon arrived, security in tow, and got in Triple H’s face while police officers swarmed and handcuffed Bryan in the ring. Of course, the argument was just a diversion, and the officers merely hired goons who left the helpless Bryan to suffer a brutal beating and handcuffed Pedigree from The Cerebral Assassin. But hey: no hard feelings.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Real Americans (Cesaro & Jack Swagger) (w/ Zeb Colter) defeated The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) (12:20)
- Sheamus (w/ Hornswoggle) defeated Titus O'Neil (4:07)
- Daniel Bryan defeated Randy Orton in a No disqualification Match (14:28)
- Goldust (w/ Cody Rhodes) defeated Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) (5:10)
- The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) defeated AJ & Tamina (3:40)
- Big E, Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry & The Big Show defeated Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow & RybAxel (Curtis Axel & Ryback) (11:57)
- Bray Wyatt (w/ Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeated Kofi Kingston (2:55)
Other on-screen talent