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For one last time, The Deadman rose on Monday Night Raw to deliver one final message to his WrestleMania opponent, Brock Lesnar. Much has been made of The Undertaker’s supposed vulnerability leading into his 22nd defense of the vaunted Streak in New Orleans. Yet, despite the mounting whispers of his doubters, The Phenom remained steadfast in his promise to stave off The Beast Incarnate at The Show of Shows in six days’ time and maintain one of life's three guarantees: Death, taxes and The Streak.
Actions, ultimately, proved The Demon of Death Valley to prove more fallible than he let on; Lesnar and Paul Heyman not only interrupted Undertaker’s final message to The Anomaly, but Lesnar himself left The Deadman down when he stormed the ring and laid out the former WWE Champion with an F-5 that would have made the Devil himself cringe.
He may not have gotten a crack at Big E’s Intercontinental Championship last week, but Alberto Del Rio came through in the clutch when he faced off against his longtime rival in a non-title contest. Operating at a distinct disadvantage when it came to power, Del Rio relied on his cunning and targeted the tree-trunk arm of the powerlifting champion to rob him of his momentum.
E was able to rally and put together some solid sequences that knocked his opponent loopy, though it seemed as though Del Rio was always there to meet the titleholder before his momentum built to its peak. A Herculean escape of the Cross Armbreaker put Del Rio on his heels, yet The Essence of Excellence stomped E off the turnbuckle and sealed the win with his old standby when submission strategy fails him: A vicious kick straight to the head. Adios.
Things got a little … slappy between Summer Rae and Natalya on “Total Divas” last night, so what better way to let the two Divas vent their frustrations than by throwing them in a match together?
The Dungeon Diva and Fandango’s leading lady laid into each other almost the second the bell rang, with Natalya quickly claiming the upper hand by pouncing on her primped-out opponent. Summer dipped into her arsenal of submission holds to reverse the advantage, though it took another slap to the face to truly get Natalya’s attention. Unfortunately for The Queen of Harts, while the slap spurred her into action, it also threw her off her game plan and Summer was able to capitalize with a kick to the head to claim the win.
Are they not merciful? The Authority, in their benevolence, decided to grant the WWE Unvierse the opportunity to bid farewell to Daniel Bryan’s “Yes!” Movement, though they stopped short of giving the fans face time with The Beard, having sent him to New Orleans early for some rest in advance of WrestleMania. What they did give was a eulogy of sorts, displaying The Game’s dominance against the WWE Universe’s chosen heroes before The King of Kings vowed to fulfill his destiny as COO and WWE World Heavyweight Champion …
And then Batista showed up. The Animal was already in deep water with The Authority after last week, and Randy Orton soon made his own way to the ring to better get a glimpse at the follow-up. The COO seemed unimpressed with his Champion of Champions at the moment, however, and in a final act of motivation, made Orton’s Raw match with Batista No Disqualification.
The WrestleMania Pre-Show will become a tag team free-for-all when The Usos, The Real Americans, Los Matadores & Rybaxel battle for the twin championships. And The WWE Universe got a taste of things to come – and the emergence of a dark horse team – when The Usos & Matadores teamed up to face Rybaxel and Zeb Colter’s foot soldiers.
The champs started things strong, peppering both members of Rybaxel with ear-splitting chops to the chest (#WOO) while Los Matadores played backup. Cesaro & Swagger swung the tide back in their team’s favor when they isolated Jey Uso, though Jimmy held tough against a fresh Axel to keep his team rolling. An all-out brawl ensued that ended with Fernando trapped in Swagger’s Patriot Lock, though Diego came through when things looked bleakest by riding an Uso interference to pull the ol’ switcheroo on Swagger and roll him up for the win.
Damien Sandow’s woes began when his treachery disbanded Team Rhodes Scholars last summer; can a team-up with Fandango set The Intellectual Savior of the Masses back on the proper path? The answer lies somewhere between “yes” and “no;” Sandow looked sharp in his team-up with the dancing fiend, but their inaugural stint as a tandem ended in disappointment against Cody Rhodes & Goldust.
Fandango easily softened up his recent rivals, the Rhodes Bros., and Sandow, unsurprisingly, targeted his former partner Cody when he tagged in. The Enlightened One more or less got the better of him, too, forcing Cody to tag in his big brother and make the save. That, Goldust did, fending off both The Brotherhood’s opponents and sending “San-dango” home empty-handed with a Final Cut to the former Mr. Money in the Bank.
Truth is this: Bray Wyatt is ready for WrestleMania, but two can play at The Eater of Worlds’ famous mind games. “The Man of 1,000 Truths” got a chance to prepare himself for The Show of Shows with a bout against R-Truth. Like their previous encounter, the former U.S. Champion came correct but Wyatt was ready for him, splashing Truth into the corner and bidding him goodnight with Sister Abigail.
Bray’s display of brutality continued when he fed Xavier Woods to a Luke Harper clothesline, though his post-match celebration was stopped by the appearance of a masked individual appearing to be a new acolyte of the Family. The stranger removed his mask to reveal it was, of course, John Cena, whose presence drove the Family into a frenzy and sent them scurrying for retreat. Now that’s pulling the wool over your enemies’ eyes.
It will be every Diva for herself in the Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational at WrestleMania 30, but in a match where the entire division was set to act as enforcers, AJ Lee found herself alone in a sea of enemies. None of the assembled “Lumberjills” patrolling the outside for the titleholder’s match against Naomi wanted to lay a finger on the Funkadactyl, though they jumped at the chance to get their licks in on the self-proclaimed Queen of the Divas division.
Confined to the ring itself, AJ acquitted herself well against her most persistent opponent, though not well enough to stop the Divas from ganging up on her when she rolled to the outside for respite. Tamina attempted to cut off the attack and was similarly attacked, though AJ felt the ultimate consequence when the Lumberjills hauled her into the ring and straight into Naomi’s Rear View.
Despite the WWE Universe picking Roman Reigns as Kane’s Shield-allegiant opponent of the night via the WWE App – and despite the Director of Operations’ disqualification win – the bout ended in indecisive, if tantalizing, fashion mere days before The Shield's battle against their latest, and most seasoned, opponents. The former and current record holders for most Royal Rumble Match eliminations didn’t so much wrestle each other as engage in a monster-movie style collision, though the arrival of The New Age Outlaws left Reigns outnumbered at the moment of truth.
Happily, The Hounds of Justice run together, and no sooner had Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins arrived to neutralize the threat than Reigns struck Kane down with the Superman Punch. The Shield swarmed The Devil’s Favorite Director of Operations to shut down the match, though Kane eluded the Triple Powerbomb with the help of The Outlaws. Sunday he may not be so lucky.
Twenty-nine years ago, Roddy Piper main-evented the very first WrestleMania. And now, as the 30th Show of Shows approaches, “Hot Rod’s” special anniversary edition of “Piper’s Pit” got a little … well, rowdy. Seeking to interview the odds-on favorite for The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal brought out self-professed winners The Miz, Sheamus, Titus O’Neil and Dolph Ziggler (sporting an Andre shirt, natch).
Piper, seeing things were headed towards a melee, got things started by poking Miz in the eyes and utter chaos ensued when the locker room emptied into the ring. Rey Mysterio briefly seemed like he’d shine in the impromptu brawl, though it was Big Show who left a lasting impression by using The Master of the 619 as a human projectile against his fellow Battle Royal participants.
The WWE Universe was finally set to see who would prevail in a battle between The Viper and The Animal … but thanks to a well-timed appearance by a third party, they’ll have to keep waiting. With The Authority observing at ringside and Triple H goading his two prospective opponents into brutalizing each other, Orton and Batista clashed in a No-DQ environment like it truly was the main event of WrestleMania.
Despite Orton discovering his inner Viper via a Kendo stick and Batista countering with his Animal side, the WWE Universe rained jeers on all involved and roared chants of “DAN-IEL-BRY-AN!” at the two Superstars.
Well, ask and you shall receive: Orton was preparing for the RKO when Bryan hopped the barricade and battered The Game into a stupor, throwing a Running Knee to Batista and a kick to Orton’s head along the way as he sent all three of his prospective WrestleMania opponents running for cover. Guess he ain’t in NOLA yet after all.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Alberto Del Rio defeated Big E (10:28)
- Summer Rae defeated Natalya (2:21)
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) & Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) (w/ El Torito) defeated RybAxel (Curtis Axel & Ryback) & The Real Americans (Cesaro & Jack Swagger) (w/ Zeb Colter) (14:00)
- The Rhodes Brothers (Cody Rhodes & Goldust) defeated Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) & Damien Sandow (4:08)
- Bray Wyatt (w/ Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) defeated R-Truth (w/ Xavier Woods) (4:36)
- Naomi defeated AJ Lee in a Lumberjill Match (4:05)
- Kane defeated Roman Reigns by Disqualification (3:08)
- Randy Orton vs. Batista in a No disqualification Match ended in a no contest (9:00)
Other on-screen talent