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.

 

Hulk Hogan announces Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal but it is Daniel Bryan who steals the show

Hulk Hogan WWE

Image credit: WWE.com

Hulk Hogan’s teased announcement on RAW was that at WrestleMania 30 there will be an Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

30 men will compete in the Battle Royal, which is named after the larger than life legend, and the winner will receive the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy.

So far Big E and Ryback have confirmed their entry into the Battle Royal, with John Cena teasing a possible entry if he gets through his match with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania.

It remains to be seen if the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal will become a WrestleMania tradition that can elevate new or young talent, but the inaugural event will certainly be interesting.

The Undertaker’s promised announcement was merely an obligatory “Rest In Peace” promo for Brock Lesnar delivered via Paul Heyman. Heyman discussed how iconic Taker’s streak was and Undertaker followed that with a few words on the fear of death being worse than death itself. Nothing as shocking as speculated yesterday.

Elsewhere on RAW, Daniel Bryan stole the show with not one but two huge moments. Firstly, he began #OccupyRAW, where he entered the ring, along with what looked like hundreds of fans all in their YES Movement gear to occupy the ring and force Triple H into accepting a match against Bryan at WrestleMania. This scene was something special, with all the fans in YES uniform chanting in unison along with their hero Daniel Bryan.

Daniel Bryan YES movement

Image credit: WWE.com

Triple H eventually caved and accepted a match with Bryan, but Bryan pushed further and added a stipulation to that match; if Bryan beats Triple H, he is added to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania along with Randy Orton and Batista.

Bryan then went on to pin Randy Orton in the tag team main event of RAW when Bryan teamed with Big Show to face Orton and Batista.

Finally, it seemed like everything the fans have been asking and wishing for over the past number of months had come true on RAW. Not only does Bryan get the chance to have a special match with Triple H at WrestleMania 30, he also gets his chance to become the champion again on the same night.

After months of getting screwed, it finally seems like WrestleMania will be Daniel Bryan’s crowning moment.

Daniel Bryan breaks away from The Wyatt Family as RAW gets interesting

Image credit: WWE.com

Daniel Bryan has broken away from The Wyatt Family after just two weeks with the group.

Inside the steel cage last night on RAW Daniel Bryan and his then-master Bray Wyatt faced off against The Usos. The Usos picked up the win after Bryan accidentally crotched Bray on the top rope.

Things then got interesting. Bray whispered in the ear of Bryan to set up a Sister Abigail (Bray Wyatt’s finisher) but Bryan pushed him away and proceeded to beat down the leader of the Wyatt Family.

The crowd reaction to this turn, even after an extremely short time, was epic. The crowd screamed for Bryan, chanting “YES” as he kicked Bray Wyatt repeatedly and ripped off his Wyatt attire to reveal the traditional red Bryan attire.

Bryan then set up Bray for his running knee, which was where a classic RAW moment occured. Bryan led the crowd in a slow “YES” chant, and sent the crowd into a frenzy when he sealed the deal and struck Bray with a running knee.

I was angered by WWE’s decision to align Bryan with The Wyatts at first, as WWE seemingly killed all momentum Bryan had left after his WWE Title victory last year at SummerSlam. However, it seems like WWE have now either seen the light, or this was part of their master plan all along. Bryan seems as over as he ever was, and this RAW ending seemingly propels him on to the Royal Rumble, where winning it would set him up for a WWE World Heavyweight Title match at WrestleMania.

Vince McMahon has either seen the error of his ways, or he is the genius we all know he is…

WWE RAW live in Nottingham review

RAW visited Nottingham once again on Tuesday 23rd April for the WrestleMania Revenge Tour. The night was full of fun and some really good matches, and sent everyone from the little kids to the dragged-along parents home happy.

The night started off on a disappointing note with a severe lack of merchandise to choose from. This may not seem like a major point but a lot of fans like to start the night by buying their favourite wrestler’s shirt to wear in support. Here, though, there was not much choice at all. There were plenty of Cena varieties to pick from, but outside of that there was just Ryback, R-Truth, Rey Mysterio and Miz shirts.

I picked myself up a Ryback t-shirt and a Zack Ryder headband, just for fun.

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The show began with a comedy match between Heath Slater and R-Truth to warm up the crowd. It was nothing special but R-Truth got the crowd excited with his rapping and everyone hates Heath Slater, so it was a good start.

We then were treated to a Michael McGillicutty appearance. McGillicutty is the son of the late Mr Perfect and is heralded by many inside the WWE as a technically gifted wrestler. However, we didn’t get to see any of that because McGillicutty picked up the win over Brad Maddox in a matter of seconds as MAddox was taking off his tracksuit bottoms.

One for the Dads in attendance, the Divas were up next. Kaitlyn vs Tamina Snuka for the Divas Title. Now, championships don’t normally change hands at live shows so everyone pretty much knew where this was going and it was an average WWE Divas match- short, off-beat at times and below average.

Then, the arena went crazy. Dolph Ziggler, the new World Heavyweight Champion, and his heavy Big E Langston emerged to take on the team of Daniel Bryan and Kane for the Tag Team Championships. Again, the result was pretty much guaranteed but Ziggler and Bryan had a lot of fun with pre and post match shenanigans in and out of the ring. Filled with a lot of good spots and a lot of comedy, this match really ignited the crowd… Only for that fire to be put out by the intermission which followed.

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After the intermission, the crowd was a little dead when Zack Ryder and Antonio Cesaro put on the best match of the night. It was technical, lengthy and told a great story – everything you’d want from a wrestling match. Zack Ryder even got the win to the surprise of many (including myself.)

The penultimate match of the night was Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Sweet T) vs Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow.) Again, a match sprinkled with comedy with the faces Tons of Funk getting the victory but what will remain in the memories of most fans will be Damien Sandow’s high-pitched shrieking as he was running away from his monstrous opponents.

The main event saw John Cena face Ryback in a tables match for the WWE Championship. Again, the result could pretty much be guaranteed but these two still put on an entertaining match with Ryback going crazy at every opportunity to destroy Cena. The crowd were loud during this one, going back and forth with “Let’s go Cena!”/”Cena Sucks!” chants throughout the match. 

To end the show the locker room came out to celebrate John Cena’s birthday. Led by Sweet T, the arena sang a hearty rendition of happy birthday to John, who ended the night by placing Team Rhodes Scholars’ faces firmly in his birthday cake. Oh the hilarity!

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At around two and a half hours in length the show fit in a lot of entertainment, making up the price of admission. WWE always put on great live shows, and they are set to do it again when WWE Live returns to the Capital FM Arena on Wednesday 13th November 2013.

RAW 06/02/12 review: Triple H says no to The Undertaker… Or does he?

Last weeks RAW was a certified success. The return of The Undertaker alongside great wrestling matches such as Randy Orton vs Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan made the show shine in both the wrestling and entertainment aspects that WWE aim to satisfy every week. This weeks RAW, then, had to be something special to top it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t…

The show began with a top quality promo from Triple H in his usual snarky, cheeky tone highlighting the physical difference between The Undertaker of the late 90’s and early 00’s to The Undertaker we saw last year at WrestleMania 27. The key thing about this promo was the fact that Triple H refused to accept The Undertaker’s challenge to another rematch at WrestleMania 28, this April. Or at least, that was Triple H’s plan. Quickly following Triple H’s refusal, a video package aired featuring The Undertaker that was quite frankly, just awesome. It captured The Undertaker’s aura, atmosphere and mood perfectly, and once again the WWE video guys produce some stellar work. This opening segment was one of the highlights of the show, with this storyline between two of the all-time greats being a huge talking point heading into the Grandest Stage Of Them All, WrestleMania.

Following this was Daniel Bryan vs The Big Show. Going into the match you knew Bryan would continue his way of ‘weaselling his way out of matches’ as Michael Cole puts it and he did exactly that, walking out of the match midway through. WWE creative really need to move Daniel Bryan on past The Big Show as The Big Show really limits what Bryan can do and even I don’t truly buy him as a World Heavyweight Champion yet, and I’m one of his biggest fans. His matches with Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes and even WWE Champion CM Punk really show what Daniel Bryan can do within the confines of a wrestling ring.

Next was a match between Sheamus and David Otunga. This could not have been more pointless if it tried. Having your Royal Rumble winner beat David Otunga does nothing to elevate Sheamus at all. Purely filler.

Chris Jericho’s promo was another highlight of the show. I see a theme here, non-wrestling elements of RAW being highlights! Anyway, Jericho called all of his opponents in the RAW Elimination Chamber match ‘wannabes’ and his reasons for doing so were perfect. CM Punk then interrupted and trolled the troll that is Chris Jericho (Y2J). This was quite a nice touch and on paper this storyline is looking to be pure gold with two guys in Jericho and Punk who are both quite brilliant both on the mic and in the ring going head to head towards WrestleMania.

The Great Khali was involved in the next match. No, don’t close the window, stick with this blog! He was teaming with Randy Orton against the team of Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett. Without the limiting Khali, this match could of been a stand-out match but due to The Great Khali’s size and subsequent limited wrestling ability, the match wasn’t anything to go out of your way to watch. What I did like about this though, was the finish. Khali is looking to be re-established by WWE as a monster. An unstoppable force, if you will. He not only won the match, but then proceeded to attempt an attack on Orton. The attack may have been quelled by an RKO from Randy Orton, but never the less, I’d much prefer to see Khali as a monster than see a 7 foot tall man parade round pretending to be a ‘Punjabi Playboy’.

I said it earlier in this blog. I’ve said it many times before. I’ll probably say it many times over, but the WWE video production guys really are at the top of their profession. The John Cena WrestleMania video does a great job of showing how much of a spectacle and a personality John Cena is outside of the wrestling ring and also gets Machine Gun Kelly’s Invincible firmly stuck in your head, the sign of a good theme song, surely? Watch this video and enjoy: 

 Similarly, watch the equivalent for Cena’s WrestleMania 28 opponent,The Rock, here: 

The Divas were up next. Once again a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it match, as is the case with WWE’s Diva matches, with the most noteworthy thing from this match being Eve Torres apparently suffering a broken nose after a simple clothesline from WWE Divas Champion, Beth Phoenix. This is a reminder how dangerous wrestling is. Even the simplest of moves such as a clothesline can cause injury. Do not try this at home!

The main event to this episode of RAW was supposed to be a 6 Pack Challenge: CM Punk (WWE Champion) vs Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler vs Kofi Kingston vs R-Truth vs The Miz. However, only a few short minutes into the match, R-Truth took a sickening bump to the outside after The Miz failed to catch Truth from a flip over the top rope and had to be escorted to the back by doctors, once again showing how risky wrestling is. Watch the bump below: 

 After this, the match evolved into a decent TV main event with each wrestler getting in some of their trademark moves while also managing to keep the pace slow enough for the crowd to keep up with all five guys at once. The ending few minutes were really fast paced and frantic and with Chris Jericho picking up the win, it sets him up perfectly for his continuing storyline with CM Punk.

If RAW had ended here, it would of been a positive end to an otherwise mainly lacklustre show. However, a short backstage segment between Kane and Eve killed the main event’s momentum and continued the terrible storyline that is the feud between Kane/John Cena/Zack Ryder/Eve.

Overall then, not a great show but leading up to The Elimination Chamber PPV, you can expect RAW to heat up nicely building up the crescendo to follow that will be WrestleMania 28.

What to watch:

  • The Triple H/The Undertaker segment
  • The Chris Jericho/CM Punk segment
  • John Cena’s WrestleMania video
  • The 6 Pack Challenge

So, what did you think of RAW this week? Leave a comment below or tweet me your views (@DeadmanDRB).