Post-WrestleMania RAW ushers in a new era

Daniel Bryan WWE Champion

Daniel Bryan begins his championship reign.

The post-WrestleMania RAW has become a focal point of the WWE calendar over the past few years and this year’s edition really felt like the start of a new era in WWE.

The post-WrestleMania RAW in 2012 saw The YES Movement begin, 2013 saw the crowd Fandangoing and 2014 saw the crowd embrace the new era.

The crowds are always incredible at these shows. High on WrestleMania, the post-WrestleMania RAW crowds are full of passionate fans from around the world and they always create a special atmosphere.

Firstly, the spearhead of the new era: Daniel Bryan. After winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, Bryan came out on RAW to a huge reaction and a sea of YES chants, much like the night before. Adored by the fans, he spoke from the heart and thanked these fans for bringing him to where he is today.

Paige wins Divas Championship

Paige after pinning AJ for the Divas Championship.

Secondly, the introduction of the NXT stars to the main roster. NXT Women’s Champion Paige debuted on RAW, winning the Divas Title from AJ Lee. This moment was something special, as Paige got a crowd reaction not seen for the Divas since the Lita and Trish Stratus era. While AJ Lee is the most talented Diva in the WWE, Paige is equally as talented and these two could now have a feud similar to Lita and Trish Stratus if booked correctly.

Alexander Rusev also debuted, squashing Zack Ryder with a great display of power, strength and athleticism. Rusev is a big, athletic guy and could be a great foreign heel in 2014.

Bo Dallas and Adam Rose had vignettes aired during RAW which will lead to debuts in a short while. Dallas has a wonderfully annoying Bo-lieve gimmick, which sees him play a frustratingly positive heel and Adam Rose, formerly Leo Kruger plays a camp party-goer who is surely going to catch on with the singing and dancing WWE crowds.

Paige’s debut was a huge, shocking moment and the vignettes aired showed the WWE crowd what to expect in the coming weeks. NXT is full of stars and they seem to be slowly infiltrating WWE TV as WWE under Triple H’s command looks forward to the future.

Cesaro

Cesaro and the Andre the Giant Trophy.

Thirdly, Cesaro. Cesaro won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30, scooping up The Big Show in a moment strikingly similar to Hulk Hogan slamming Andre at WrestleMania 3 and on RAW he had the penultimate spot on the show, getting a rub from Hulk Hogan and then aligning himself with Paul Heyman.

Heyman’s ‘guys’, apart from Brock Lesnar (Ryback and Curtis Axel), have faltered in the past and have led to them being separated from the mastermind that is Paul Heyman. Cesaro should buck the trend, though, as he has all the skills to be a top star in the WWE. Only time will tell, of course, but all signs seem to point to Cesaro being a major player in the coming years.

The Shield

The Shield look menacing.

Finally, The Shield turning face and The Authority faltering. 2014, so far, has been the year of The Authority. They have kept Bryan under thumb and ruled WWE TV. At the end of RAW, however, The Shield finally snapped and attacked Triple H, leading to Bryan and The Shield standing tall as RAW went off the air.

While this moment may not seem as big as Paige’s debut or the start of Bryan’s title reign, The Shield turning face mean they now have a fresh load of match-ups and storylines against The Authority with Bryan leading the way of champion. Expect The Shield and Bryan to be some of the top stars for the rest of 2014.

The rest of the show saw some great crowd reactions, which you can see below:

All photos courtesy of WWE.

 

Elimination Chamber, WWE Network, Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker return. Analysing a very busy few days in the WWE.

The Undertaker strides to the ring, glaring at Brock Lesnar. Image credit: WWE.com

What a few days it has been in the WWE. First the Elimination Chamber, which provided a number of big talking points, then the long-awaited WWE Network launched and then WWE bought back the legendary Hulk Hogan and the iconic Undertaker on RAW. Time to analyse all of the big talking points from the last two days.

Elimination Chamber: The Shield and The Wyatt Family tear it up

Wow. What a match we were treated to on Sunday night at the Elimination Chamber PPV. The anticipation and expectation had reached a fever pitch, even before the match had begun. After both teams made their respective entrances and engaged in a pre-match stand-off, the fans began chanting “this is awesome” before the match had even started.

Once the match started though we were treated to a fantastic match. Each individual character shone brightly at different stages in the match; Ambrose’s volatility boiled over in a pre-match brawl, Rollins’ high flying athleticism was showcased in a great spot with Luke Harper and Reigns’ power and strength was demonstrated throughout. As for The Wyatt Family; Rowan provided the craziness, Harper showed a degree of athleticism never seen before from The Wyatts and Bray Wyatt, the leader of the cult, showed that he is not just a character; he can wrestle, too.

The match was a brilliant clash of two brilliant teams and with the crowd duelling with themselves chanting each team’s name, the match had a fantastic atmosphere to boot.

The Shield face off against The Wyatt Family. Image credit: WWE.com

Elimination Chamber: Daniel Bryan screwed again

Elsewhere at the Elimination Chamber PPV, Daniel Bryan had the match won before Kane interjected, distracting Bryan and allowing Randy Orton to RKO Bryan for the win. This left the fans smarting and booing the finish, but really there was no other outcome. Randy Orton was always going to retain and go on to the WrestleMania title match against Batista. However, that did not soften the blow. Bryan had been screwed over again, a theme that has been running since SummerSlam last year. Orton vs Batista remains the main event of WrestleMania 30 while Daniel Bryan looks elsewhere for challenges.

The WWE Network

At 9am EST on Monday the WWE Network finally launched. At $9.99 a month and with a one week free trial you get to watch all of the PPVs WWE produces in the year, as well as a massive on-demand library of past WWE, WCW and ECW shows, live, original programming and weekly WWE TV Shows. The only catch is it is currently only available in The United States of America.

I did find success in using a friend’s American address to sign up for the free trial, though, and I found the content available very exciting. As a wrestling fan there is so much content for you to sink your teeth into that it actually becomes a task in itself simply deciding what to watch. The on-demand content streamed fine and in good quality on both a laptop and an iPad, but the live content was unavailable to watch from the UK. The WWE have since blocked all UK users using this method to access the Network, but with the live programming an issue anyway, it may be worth holding off on the Network until it officially launches in the UK and other territories later this year and early next year. If you do want to access the WWE Network, you can subscribe to a DNS-changing service and it does work that way. 

What the WWE Network does is changes the dynamic of how wrestling is provided to fans. Currently, WWE’s TV shows will take a while to be able to watch on-demand on the Network, because of the current TV deals the WWE has in place. Even so, the sheer amount of content available, with more being added as time goes on, is mind-blowing. There’s WCW, ECW and WWE content spanning years and there is something for everyone to watch. It really is a game-changer.

Hulk Hogan is all smiles on RAW. Image credit: WWE.com

Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker return on RAW

With the WWE Network out to the masses, Monday Night RAW was always going to be huge in terms of turning viewers into subscribers. Enter Hulk Hogan, who returned to the WWE after a long hiatus and a stint in TNA. Hogan opened the show to a huge ovation, and provided all the classic Hogan-isms that the fans wanted to see, brother. Hogan plugged the WWE Network, and reminded everyone that he will be the host of WrestleMania 30 and then went on his way.

Later in the night, Brock Lesnar was in the ring with a contract for a WrestleMania match. Then, all of a sudden, the famous gong went off and The Deadman returned. The Undertaker has been missing from WWE since a brutal beatdown from The Shield last year, and as it is WrestleMania season, it was time for The Undertaker to return. Taker strode to the ring, pointed at the WrestleMania sign, signed the contract for a match with Brock Lesnar and then proceeded to chokeslam Lesnar through a table. Drama, excitement and a very simple way to announce a WrestleMania 30 match.

WrestleMania 30 begins to take shape

So Hogan has returned and announced he will be the host of WrestleMania 30. The Undertaker has returned to challenge Brock Lesnar. Daniel Bryan, as I mentioned earlier, is looking for a challenge. On RAW, Bryan challenged Triple H to a match at Wrestlemania, which The Game shrugged off and disrespectfully declined; don’t let that fool you though. Bryan vs Triple H will surely happen at WrestleMania as it will give Daniel Bryan the chance to finally get back at the authority figure that has been holding him down and screwing him over for months. It should provide a good WrestleMania moment for Daniel Bryan, even if it’s not the title win that the fans have been clamouring for for months.

WrestleMania 30 will take place on Sunday, April 6th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Elimination Chamber: Why The Shield vs The Wyatt Family is so exciting

Image credit: WWE.com

On Sunday at WWE’s Elimination Chamber PPV two of the most exciting and unique teams on the modern era will go face to face; The Shield will face The Wyatt Family.

The Shield debuted at Survivor Series 2012 and for months went on to dominate and destroy everyone and everything in their path, including The Undertaker and John Cena. They didn’t lose for a number of months and at one stage they all held championships. Dean Ambrose won the United States Championship and still holds the title to date, while Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns won the Tag Team Championships. The Shield have a unique entrance, a unique promo style with the handheld camcorder gimmick and a great style to boot.

Rollins is the fast paced, athletic member. Ambrose is the crazy, unorthodox member. Reigns is the powerhouse. Each element meshes extremely well in matches and The Shield’s 6-man tag team matches have been a highlight of WWE programming since their debut match at TLC.

Image credit: WWE.com

The Wyatt Family debuted in summer 2013 after a number of vignettes teased their debut. The Wyatts are a creepy, cult-like team who are led by Bray Wyatt. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan make up the muscle of the team and they are often seen doing Wyatt’s bidding.

Again, The Wyatt Family have a unique entrance but instead of entering through the crowd like The Shield, they enter with nothing but a lamp guiding their way to the ring and a rocking chair in tow for Wyatt to sit on. The Wyatt’s don’t have varying styles like The Shield, instead they are primarily based on power with Wyatt and Harper being deceptively quick.

Over the last few weeks, WWE have teased The Wyatt Family challenging The Shield at Elimination Chamber with a number of tense stand-offs that have had the crowd buzzing at the prospect of the match.

Both teams are incredibly popular and even the mere hint of a brawl between the two has elicited big reactions from the crowds. On Monday’s RAW, the two teams finally went at it in a brawl to close the show but on Sunday at Elimination Chamber there should be a fantastic 6-man tag team match featuring the present and future of the WWE – Roman Reigns is being primed for the big time, in case you missed it.

The match at Elimination Chamber is so big it could be saved for WrestleMania but on Sunday we should get a WrestleMania quality match; it has excitement and intrigue, power and athleticism.

Wyatt vs Reigns. Harper and Rowan vs Rollins and Ambrose. The Shield vs The Wyatt Family.