3/10 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Hulk Hogan delivers a WrestleMania 30 announcement, Undertaker responds to Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, John Cena vs. Erick Rowan
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Memphis, Tennessee at FedEx Forum
[Q1] Hulk Hogan made his entrance as the broadcast team of Michael Cole, JBL, and hometown hero Jerry Lawler checked in. JBL noted that Hogan headlined nine WrestleMania events. Hogan said his last couple weeks have been "off the chain." He said people have been telling him "welcome back" and he's been watching WWE Network around the clock at his home.
Hogan said he's been able to relive some of his greatest WrestleMania matches. He mentioned his matches against "the jacked up Ultimate Warrior," Randy Savage, and Andre the Giant. He said watching his match against Andre gets him pumped up and he ended up coming up with a "historic idea."
Hogan said there will be a "30-Man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal." He said the participants will be competing for the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy. He pointed to the big screen where footage of an Andre trophy was shown.
Powell's POV: I guess we know what Big Show's role will be at WrestleMania 30.
John Cena's music played and he headed to the ring to cheers and boos. Cena said he likes to be in the ring because of the energy the crowd brings, but he was there for selfish reasons. Hogan said he saw a sign that read "Hogan Still Rules" and said "damn right you do." Cena said the man who was front and center when WrestleMania was born "is back where he belongs."
Cena put over the Andre Memorial Battle Royal. Cena said Hogan vs. Andre was his favorite WrestleMania match. He said he went crazy at home and knew after that match that Hulkamania would live forever. Cena said that when a man like Hogan comes out and creates a battle royal to honor Andre, he asks himself one question.
Cena impersonated Hogan's "Whatcha gonna do, brother..." and was booed. Cena announced that he was the first man to enter his name in the battle royal. The Wyatt Family sounder played and included the town specific introduction from The Wyatt Family. Wyatt led his troops toward the ring.
The Wyatt Family stopped at ringside and Wyatt took a seat in his rocking chair. Wyatt said he has always been fascinated with pride and said it was his favorite sin. He said it blinds the strongest men, including those who claim to be immortal. He stood up and mimicked Hogan's line about saying your prayers and taking your vitamins, then worked in Cena's line about hustle, loyalty, and respect.
"You are both liars," Wyatt said. "And your bullish pride allows you to prey upon the weak and fill them up with hope, but hope is dead, as will be your legacy, John. I can see it in your eyes, you don't get it." He said that if Cena looks up at him, he will see a friend. If he looks down at him, he will see an enemy. "If you look me square in the eye, you will see a god."
Cena asked if Wyatt "listens to that weird crap you say." He said he doesn't see a god, he sees "a homeless man dude who spent too many years wasting away again in Margaritaville." Cena told Hogan he might not be able to make that battle royal. Cena said he wants Wyatt at WrestleMania 30 "and I hope to hell you say yes because you're going to get the ass whipping of a lifetime."
Wyatt said it was more empty promises and it's always fun and games "until it's you caught in a spider's web." Wyatt dropped the mic and Harper and Rowan climbed onto the ring apron and then the show cut to break...
Powell's POV: A strong opening segment that was newsworthy in terms of setting up a pair of WrestleMania matches, and also featured some strong mic work from Bray Wyatt. Cena did a good job of getting fired up while challenging Wyatt to the match and it's starting to feel like a big deal, which is impressive considering I didn't really see it getting there until now. I could have done without Cena mocking Wyatt's appearance and comparing him to Jimmy Buffett, but I don't think any real damage was done.
[Q2] [C] 1. John Cena (w/Hulk Hogan) vs. Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper). The match was joined in progress. Rowan controlled the action and Cena sold his leg injury, though Cole noted that he didn't have it taped up. Rowan went for a bodyslam late, but Cena slipped out and rolled him up for the win. Wyatt fumed at ringside as Hogan entered the ring and celebrated with Cena...
John Cena defeated Erick Rowan in 3:30 of televised time.
After the match, Wyatt sent Harper and Rowan back onto the ring apron. JBL said he wanted to find out if Hogan was immortal or not. Wyatt called them off and then went back to his side. Hogan's music played and he shook Cena's hand and hugged him. They pointed at one another, then Hogan cupped his ear as Cena smiled and pointed to the fans he wanted Hogan to check to. Hogan posed to cheers, then pointed at Cena and the cheers died. Cena posed with Hogan and got some boos...
Cole pimped the WWE Network briefly and then encouraged fans to vote for the stipulation of the Christian vs. Sheamus match, then Lawler hyped Daniel Bryan and Big Show vs. Batista and Randy Orton as the main event. Cole hyped Undertaker's appearance...
A backstage shot aired of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon walking. Lawler said they were going to address what happened with them and Daniel Bryan last week... [C]
Powell's POV: The announcers played up the question of whether Wyatt will accept Cena's challenge, so I guess the match isn't official yet. Watching Hogan and Cena together was kind of cool, but it was funny to watch the crowd go from cheering Hogan to being quiet or booing when he pointed at Cena. As big as Cena is, he looks pretty dorky doing the Hogan poses. Then again, most people do. Lawler made it seem like Rowan and Harper backed off despite Wyatt telling them to go after Hogan and Cena, but I don't believe that was the story that was being told as there was no sign of anger from Wyatt. I assume the actual story was that Wyatt pulled them back.
[Q3] A highlight video recapped the Triple H and Daniel Bryan drama from last week, including Hunter performing the Pedigree on Bryan...
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their entrance onto the stage. Stephanie said what Bryan did last week was grounds for termination, but they were going to apologize and do the right thing because they know Bryan has a niche following and therefore it was best for business. She said Bryan isn't an A-plus talent like Batista, Randy Orton, or Triple H. She said Bryan needed to return the favor and apologize by the end of the show or their would be severe consequences...
Powell's POV: A good promo. This wasn't an example of shades of gray nonsense. Stephanie was clearly snooty and insincere.
The New Age Outlaws made their entrance and shook hands with Triple H and Stephanie before heading to the ring... [C] A shot aired of Graceland and then footage from inside the Elvis Presley home was shown... Ryback and Curtis Axel were shown in the ring. A pop-box promo featured Ryback announcing that he is in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal...
2. WWE Tag Team Champions The Uso Brothers vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel in a non-title match. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn sat in on commentary. The Uso's won with a top rope splash onto Axel...
The Uso Brothers defeated Ryback and Curtis Axel in 3:00.
Powell's POV: A nice high energy win for the tag champions. Meanwhile, Road Dogg continues to act more tongue in cheek than heelish on commentary. It's cute and even entertaining, but it's not generating interest in a rematch.
Backstage, Kane lectured The Shield and said he was going to light a fire under them before they become disposable. He said the first crack in the armor seemed to be when they lost the tag titles to the Rhodes Brothers, so that match would take place on Raw.
[Q4] Seth Rollins said that was cool, but he asked whether this was more about his recent losses. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns also chimed in and they walked off as a unit... The Bella Twins commercial for WWE Network was shown... [C]
Powell's POV: I'll never complain about getting a Rollins and Reigns vs. Goldust and Cody Rhodes match. The Shield were essentially babyfaces to Kane's heel sellout character.
3. Big E vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter, Cesaro). A pop-box video showed Big E saying he's honored to be in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Late in the match, Zeb instructed Cesaro to interfere while E was draped over the ropes in front of him. Cesaro smirked and declined. Swagger questioned Cesaro, and E rolled up Swagger for the win. Swagger and Cesaro jawed at one another after the match. Colter yelled at both of them. They shook hands and Cesaro gripped tight and Swagger sold it...
Big E defeated Jack Swagger in 3:05.
Cole hyped Undertaker's appearance... [C]
Powell's POV: Can we just cut to the part where they officially split? I normally like a build, but I don't know understand why the setup always involves Big E beating Swagger in a non-title match. I assumed they were setting up a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania for the Intercontinental Title, but apparently Big E won't be defending the title since he's in the battle royal.
[Q5] Undertaker made his entrance. Paul Heyman came out and timidly told Taker that he apologized if he interrupted his train of thought. Heyman introduced himself as the advocate for Brock Lesnar. Heyman put over Taker's 21-0 record at WrestleMania. He said Shawn Michaels never got to two in a row. He ran through various performers, including Steve Austin and John Cena, who got to four but never five consecutive wins.
Heyman asked Taker not to step into the ring with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30. The fans booed. Heyman said everyone needs something to worship, and the fans worship Taker and The Streak. Heyman said that after coming so close last year, he worships Taker. He said Lesnar is the reality that is going to come crashing down around the fantasy of 22-0. Heyman said Taker needs to fear the unknown when he steps into the ring with Lesnar. Heyman said that if Taker takes the match, his Streak will be conquered by Lesnar.
"Since you seem to be Brock Lesnar's messenger boy, I want you to take this back to him," Taker said. "The fear of death is far greater than death itself, but the fear of the unknown is the greatest ear of all." Taker said that if Lesnar shows up at WrestleMania 30, he will rest in peace. The broadcast team noted that Heyman looked very uncomfortable...
Cole hyped the tag main event, and that The Authority is waiting for an apology from Daniel Bryan. Lawler hyped the Rollins and Reigns vs. Goldust and Cody match... A WrestleMania video aired. We're 27 days away... [C]
Powell's POV: Heyman did a great job of putting over The Streak by pointing out how far short some of the biggest names in the business are. It's a match I want to see because of The Streak and because of the wrestlers involved, but they have yet to do anything to make me feel like The Streak is in jeopardy. I don't know if they'll be able to bounce back from that initial angle that was lopsided in Taker's favor.
[Q6] Cole hyped Dean Ambrose vs. Mark Henry for the U.S. Championship, and A.J. Lee vs. Natalya for the WWE Divas Championship for WWE Main Event Live on WWE Network...
Powell's POV: Ryan Kester will have live coverage of WWE Main Event Live as it airs at 7:00 p.m. CT tomorrow night. We are also looking for correspondents for the Little Rock, Arkansas taping and the TNA Impact tapings in Orlando this week. If you are going to any of those events and want to help, email me at email@example.com.
4. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns (w/Dean Ambrose) vs. Goldust and Cody Rhodes. There was a cool spot early where Cody tried to pull Rollins out of the corner as he held onto the top rope, but Rollins actually flipped onto his feet. Later, Goldust cross body blocked both opponents. Reigns charged and Goldust ducked, causing Reigns to tumble to the floor. Goldusty backdropped Rollins onto Reigns, then Cody and Goldust performed dives from the ring and onto both opponents on the floor. [C]
Footage aired of Reigns performing a Samoan drop on Goldust during the break to put his team on the offensive. Later, Reigns got a running start on the floor and performed a cool jumping kick to Goldust's head as it was hanging over the ring apron. Reigns continued to work over Goldust until he came back with a cool power slam. Rollins tagged in and Goldust ended up making the hot tag to Cody.
[Q7] Later, Reigns was going for a spear on Cody, but Goldust cut in front of his brother and took the spear. Cody went for his finisher but Rollins avoided it. Rollins caught Cody in powerbomb position coming off the ropes and then performed the Buckle Bomb. Rollins followed up with the curb stomp for the win...
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns defeated Cody Rhodes and Goldust in 14:25.
Powell's POV: Another entertaining match from these teams. The crowd wasn't as hot as they were for some of their earlier matches because the dynamic has changed. Cody and Goldust are still babyfaces, but Rollins and Reigns aren't really heels anymore. The crowd was still into the match, but they reacted more to the big moves than cheering for one team over the other.
The broadcast team hyped the fan vote for the Sheamus vs. Christian match... [C]
5. The Bella Twins vs. A.J. Lee and Tamina Snuka. Natalya sat in on commentary and spoke about her title match with Lee for Main Event Live. She said she wouldn't be sitting with Cole tonight if she didn't think she was the best Diva. Huh? The broadcast team also hyped the Total Divas premiere for Sunday. Natalya said she's going to forget her manners during the title match.
Late in the match, Lee went for the Black Widow, but Nikki powered out and performed her backbreaker finisher for the win. After the match, Natalya climbed onto the ring apron and flashed a serious look at The Bella Twins while Nikki hoisted the Divas Championship over her head...
The Bella Twins beat A.J. Lee and Tamina in 4:20.
[Q8] Footage aired from NCIS Los Angeles. Renee Young interviewed LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell, who were seated in the front row. They were asked which superstar they would add to the cast. They mentioned Cena, Taker, Bryan, and The Bella Twins... Cole hyped the tag match main event, then said they were still waiting for Bryan to apologize to Triple H... [C]
Powell's POV: Next time they want to hype Lee vs. Natalya, I'd try having Lee do the talking while Natalya wrestles. Lee is fine in the ring. Natalya on commentary is never a good thing. Brace yourselves for the return of the Total Divas cast members beating the non-Total Divas cast members repeatedly now that season two is upon us. Are the rapper and Robin finished talking yet?
Cole pimped the WWE Network and said everyone was talking about it. They hyped that Bill Simmons raved about the network, and showed other mainstream sites that have been offering positive reviews... A video recapped the opening segment with The Wyatt Family, John Cena, and Hulk Hogan...
Daniel Bryan made his entrance and immediately mentioned the Yes Movement. He recalled Stephanie apologizing and said it was not sincere. He said The Authority wants to scare him into apologizing. He said he should have kicked Triple H in the face. He said that if Triple H is going to send people out to attack him, he is going to fight.
"And if you want me to apologize for standing up for myself, I don't got two words for you, I have one - No!" Bryan said. "Hunter, it ends here tonight. Tonight is when it ends. We're all tired of you. You are not listening to me, you are not listening to these people, you are not listening to any of us. Tonight, we're going to make it so that you have to listen to us." He said he and the fans "are going to occupy Raw."
Bryan said he would not leave the ring until he got the WrestleMania match with Triple H. He said he knows the fans have heard people say that a lot, but he is not alone. He said he's going to fill the ring and the arena with the Yes Movement. He said it's unlawful, dangerous, and subject to prosecution. He said he spoke with members of the Yes Movement and he invited them to join him. A bunch of fans, including Sign Guy, all dressed in his Yes! t-shirt joined him in the ring. [C]
Powell's POV: This is off to a scary start. Occupy Wall Street feels like yesterday's news, and planted fans all wearing a matching t-shirts feels as hokey as the Yes Movement catchphrase. We'll see where it goes.
After the break, the planted fans were in the ring and surrounding it. Bryan said they weren't leaving until they get what they want. He led the plants in Yes! chants, and it seemed like they were cheering more than actual fans. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon walked onto the stage and the chant shifted to "No!"
Powell's POV: No? Shouldn't they be happy he's out since they want him to take the match?
[Q9] Hunter mocked the movement and the trolls who looked like Bryan that were with him. He said Bryan and the people with him had about 30 seconds to get out of "our" ring before he called the cops. Hunter mocked the group and asked if that's all they had. He pointed out an overweight fan. Hunter called for security.
Bryan said they could set up a ring outside the building and take the fans with and then Triple H could have Raw in front of a bunch of empty chairs. Hunter sent two security guys to the ring. "All two of them?" Bryan mocked. The security guards got to ringside and then decided against taking action.
Stephanie lashed out the security guards and the fans. Bryan said The Authority and people like them underestimate the power of the people. Bryan recalled them saying that they own the ring and everything in WWE. "You don't own any of this," he insisted. He said they own the ring.
"This ends now," Hunter said. "Get the next match ready, hit somebody's music, get this show on the road. Go. Roll it." Damien Sandow's music hit. He walked to ringside and motioned for the fans to move. He stopped at the bottom of the ramp. Bryan told Sandow to join the Yes Movement. Sandow turned and started to leave.
Triple H came out and shoved Sandow's shoulder. The spoke off-mic. Steph told the mic and told Sandow not to disrespect her husband. She scolded Bryan for disrespecting her and her family. She said when she was born, the place became hers. She threw a tantrum and screamed at them to get out. Bryan said they weren't leaving until they get what they want - a match between him and Hunter at WrestleMania 30.
Hunter asked Bryan if he wanted the truth. He said the truth is that he likes him and saw something in him. He said he took it upon himself to protect Bryan from everything that would happen to him if he was successful. Hunter said he protected Bryan at SummerSlam. Hunter said he wouldn't stop until he destroyed him at WrestleMania.
"You wanna fight me at WrestleMania?" Hunter asked. "Then be careful what you wish for. You're on!" There were cheers, but Hunter actually cut them off and told them to shut up and get out of his ring. Bryan said that's not exactly all that he wants. Bryan said that as much as the fans want to see him fight Hunter at Mania, what they really want is to see him fight for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Bryan said if he beats Triple H at WrestleMania 30, he gets added to the title match. He said the main event would then be Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan in a Triple Threat match. Hunter stormed toward the ring. Suddenly, the two spineless security guards sprang to action and stopped Hunter. As they held Hunter, he got enraged and told Bryan that he can have all of it...
Powell's POV: There it is, the scenario we've been talking about ever since Batista got the title match instead of Bryan. It's official. Let's be real, the angle with the planted fans was awkward albeit symbolic. The planted fans seemed to be making more noise than the actual fans in the arena throughout most of that segment. However, none of that is going to matter to the Bryan fans who desperately wanted to see this scenario play out.
[Q10] [C] A graphic noted that if you watch an hour of WWE Network VOD content per day, it would take you three years to watch it all... Cole recapped the Bryan segment and the new WrestleMania matches... Lawler unveiled the poll results. Memphis Street Fight won with 67 percent of the vote, falls count anywhere got 19 percent, and best of three falls got 14 percent...
6. Sheamus vs. Christian in a Memphis Street Fight. The crew set up a drum set, guitars, and other objects at ringside beforehand. Christian had his arm taped after suffering the nasty cut in a recent match. They fought to the stage area and Christian performed a wild tornado DDT on Sheamus off the stage and onto the floor. Officials ran out to check on both men. [C]
Powell's POV: This worked better than the Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler street fight that also had musical instruments as weapons because the issue between Sheamus and Christian has been built up enough for a street fight, whereas that one was just thrown out there.
Both men were up and fighting after the break. Christian used a kendo stick as a weapon and Sheamus's white skin welted up big time. Later, Sheamus took the stick away and struck Christian with it, then hit White Noise for a good near fall. Sheamus performed the ten forearm shots to the chest.
[Q11] Sheamus set up for the Brogue Kick, but Christian ducked to ringside. Christian reached in and grabbed Sheamus by the legs and tried to pull him into the post, but Sheamus pulled him face-first into the post. Sheamus hit the Irish Curse on the ring steps. Sheamus set up a bass drum in the ring, but Christian avoided being thrown into it.
Christian struck Sheamus with a chair and then placed it on top of him. Christian frogsplashed onto Sheamus and the chair and went for a cover, but Sheamus kicked out. Christian threw a fit. He picked up the bass drum only to have Sheamus blast it with a Brogue Kick.
Sheamus pinned Christian in 14:25.
Powell's POV: I thought these guys might have been in a tough spot coming after the Bryan and Hunter segment, but they once again worked hard and this time they got the crowd behind them. These guys had very little crowd and commentary support for their previous matches, but they just keep working harder every time out and won over the fans this time around. It's nice to see the hard work pay off. Heck, even the broadcast team took a break from mocking Christian and raved about the match.
Cole showed viewers how to sign up for a free week to WWE Network...
Backstage, Brad Maddox was talking to Batista when Randy Orton showed up demanding to speak with The Authority. Maddox said they left the building, but the last thing they said was to settle their differences and take out Show and, more importantly, Daniel Bryan. Orton said he was willing to make it work for Stephanie and Hunter if Batista was. Batista smirked and walked away... [C] An ad aired for Main Event Live...
Powell's POV: A good segment. Batista's reaction fit his character and didn't give away his intentions.
Lana came out and set up the Andre Rusev, who spoke in Bulgarian while his music played...
[Q12] A recap of Hulk Hogan's battle royal announcement was shown. The Wyatt Family interrupted it. Luke Harper whistled and then said Cena made a big mistake. He said it's a big mistake to fall into the hands of the reaper. Bray Wyatt said he's ot of this world. He said it was a euphoric experience seeing Cena and Hogan. He said it was almost like he was looking at Cena's future. He said they are two men who are so self-absorbed that they refuse to let it go.
Wyatt said it would take a lot for Cena to admit that he's a monster like Wyatt is. He said he has a thousand faces and a million names. He said he can be a vicious beast or a smiling child. "At WrestleMania 30, John, I accept," Wyatt said. "Just remember, you are the one with everything to lose. Your time is up and I'm forever." Wyatt sang "Time is on my side"...
Big Show made his entrance for the main event... [C]
Powell's POV: The crowd was very quiet during the promo, but I really liked it. Cena vs. Wyatt is official for WrestleMania 30.
Big Show vs. Kane was advertised for Friday's Smackdown television show...
The announcers spoke as the other main event wrestlers made their entrances. JBL questioned who helped Daniel Bryan organize the fan rally. It was the second time he brought it up, so it might be a question they are playing up and not just JBL babbling...
7. Daniel Bryan and Big Show vs. Batista and Randy Orton. Bryan got the better of Orton in the first 30 seconds and they cut to commercial. [C]
[Overrun] Batista and Orton took turns working over Bryan after the break. JBL said Bryan should be sued over the Occupy Raw movement. Bryan made a tag to Show, who got got the better of Batista. Orton went after Show, only to have Batista clip his knee.
Bryan tagged back in and worked over Orton with a series of kick and got a two count. Bryan missed a top rope headbutt, but came right back with the Yes Lock, which Batista broke up. Show went after Batista, only to take and RKO. Moments later, Orton set up for an RKO on Bryan, but Batista charged at Bryan, who moved, causing Batista to spear Orton, then Bryan hit the running knee on Batista. Orton came back, but Bryan ended up catching him with the running knee and pinned him...
Daniel Bryan and Big Show beat Randy Orton and Batista in 13:00.
Powell's POV: That was the right main event finish consider that this was Daniel Bryan's night. WWE threw a lot at viewers tonight and a couple of things that should have felt important feel like afterthoughts. Most notably, the Undertaker and Paul Heyman segment feels like it took place three days ago rather than at the top of the second hour. Again, though, the story of the night is Bryan getting his match with Hunter and, more importantly, the stipulation that puts him in the main event if he wins that match. The fans got their way. I'll have more to say about this in tonight's Prowrestling.net Live and in Tuesday's WWE Raw HIt List.
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