March 23, 2015
Los Angeles, California
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WWE Monday Night Raw Pre-Show:
Scott Stanford, Corey Graves, and David Otunga hosted the show from WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Stanford hyped the Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns face-to-face confrontation, and Snoop Dogg and Bill Simmons for Raw. The hosts hyped that Sting will open Raw. Backstage at Raw, Renee Young interviewed The Bella Twins. Brie said they’re not worried about “Team Stale & Pale.” Nikki said they are going to give Divas a chance on Raw. She said she will defend her title against either AJ Lee or Paige. She said Lee and Paige have to decide which one of them gets the title match.
Otunga said Brock Lesnar has taken a page out of young Mike Tyson’s book. He said Tyson used to stare people down and intimidate them. Graves said Roman Reigns has done a great job of keeping his cool and not being manipulated by Paul Heyman. Graves said this is Lesnar’s last chance to get inside the head of Reigns. Good breakdown. The hosts focussed on the Rusev vs. John Cena match for WrestleMania 31. Footage aired of Cena’s sit-down interview with Michael Cole. Graves said Cena is fighting for 300 million Americans. Stanford questioned whether Rusev will be able to stay focussed once he’s in front of 80,000 fans and millions watching around the world. Graves said Rusev’s record speaks for itself – he’s undefeated. Otunga said working in front of 80,000 people will blow him away. Randy Orton will face Big Show, Kane, or Seth Rollins & J&J Security. The decision is up to the app voters. Sadly, “none of the above” is an option.
WWE Monday Night Raw:
Sting & The Authority Segment:
“Sting! Sting! Sting!” chants the fans as Sting holds a mic. “So, this is what it feels like to kick off Monday Night RAW, huh?!” The fans explode. Sting talks about watching Triple H rise through the ranks for years, back-stabbing people, being under-handed and doing any-and-everything to get to the top of WWE. He says he is the last solider standing from some forgotten war, but he’s not here to fight for WCW. He says that would be ridiculous at this point. He says he’s here for one reason — to take Triple H — DOWN. Before he can continue, Sting is interrupted by Stephanie McMahon’s theme. The billion dollar princess makes her way to the ring as Sting waits for her. “So this is what it feels like to be in the ring with the Stinger, the last hold-up of WCW,” opens Stephanie. She congratulates Sting on finally making it to the big-time. Stephanie tells Sting he’s lucky to be in the ring with her. She tells him to soak it in.
Sting tells Stephanie she’s had everything handed to her, but tells her it’s nice to finally meet her. Stephanie says she can tell Sting is intimidated by her. She says in WCW, Sting was a great big fish in a teeny-tiny pond, but in WWE, he’s a tiny minow swiming in an ocean. She tells Sting she’s one of the people who helped end his career when WWE defeated WCW in the Monday Night War. Stephanie goes on to compare Sting to a dog, but finishes by saying she isn’t comparing him to a dog because she doesn’t want to insult dogs. She tells Sting that this Sunday, he will lose any respect he thought he had when her husband pins him in the middle of this ring. She calls him a face-painted-freak. Sting smirks and does his “Woooo!” chant to the fans. Sting winks at her. Stephanie goes to slap him, but Sting catches her hand.
“King of Kings” hits as Sting continues to hold Stephanie’s arm. Triple H comes out and takes his tie off and unbuttons his dress shirt. He heads to the ring as Stephanie smiles at Sting. Triple H walks over to Stephanie and, off-mic, asks if Sting put his hands on her. Steph says yes. Triple H takes his sport coat off and rolls up his sleeves. Steph tells him to wait. Steph goes under the ring and grabs a sledgehammer. She hands it to Triple H, who is standing on the apron. HHH takes the sledgehammer and as he goes to enter the ring, he notices Sting now has his trademark black baseball bat. Sting tells him to come on in. The fans chant “Sting! Sting! Sting!” as HHH contemplates coming into the ring. HHH decides not to and hops off the apron and back out to the floor. Sting takes his big coat off and drops the bat and dares HHH, who is now walking back up the aisle with Steph, to come back and get in the ring. HHH heads towards the ring. He stops as the fans chant for Sting again. Steph gets in front of HHH and backs him up, telling him to save it for WrestleMania. Sting’s music plays as HHH and Steph head back up the ramp.
Josh’s Reaction: Awesome way to start off the show. I thought Sting’s promo was really good and got the crowd engage into the segment. Stephanie’s retort to Sting was pretty solid as well and she got some good heel heat. I liked the WCW dialogue during the segment and is Stephanie now in Triple H’s corner during the match Sunday? Good tease with the stare down between Triple H and Sting! Great way to start off the show who knows if it’s the last time we see Triple H and Sting on the show.
Grade for this Segment/Storyline: 90/100 A
First Match: Dean Ambrose & R-Truth vs Stardust & Luke Harper
Stardust and Truth start things off and the crowd chants for ‘Cody’. Stardust with a kick and punches. Truth holds on to the ropes and he dances. Truth with a split and punch to Stardust and Stardust falls into the corner. Stardust goes to the floor and he argues with Barrett. Stardust comes back into the ring and he tags in Harper. His similarly attired opponent Ambrose tags in as well and Ambrose with a side head lock take down. Ambrose with a wrist lock but Harper with a punch. Harper misses an elbow but Ambrose with a flying clothesline and punches. Ambrose kicks Harper in the corner. Harper with a boot and Ambrose with a knee to the midsection followed by a drop kick and La Magistral for a near fall. Ambrose with a clothesline into the corner followed by a bulldog. Ambrose with a punch to Stardust and then Truth with a punch and they clothesline Stardust over the top rope. Harper is back dropped over the top rope to the floor.Stardust with a cross arm choke. We see footage from the commercial when Ambrose punched Stardust but received a boot from Harper. Stardust runs Ambrose into the corner and he fights out of the corner but Stardust with an Alabama Slam and he gets a series of near falls.
Stardust punches Ambrose and he tags in Harper. Harper walks across Ambrose’s chest and then he rakes the eyes. Harper with a European uppercut and he slingshots Ambrose into the middle rope and he gets a near fall. Harper with a reverse chin lock and Ambrose punches Harper. Harper with a Boss Man Slam for a near fall. Harper puts Ambrose on the turnbuckles and he punches him. Stardust tags in and he climbs the turnbuckles for a superplex but Ambrose sends Stardust to the mat. Harper tags in and he knocks Ambrose off the turnbuckles to the floor. Harper stares down Barrett before he tries to send Ambrose back into the ring but he slides along the apron and clotheslines Harper. They return to the ring and Ambrose with an elbow and he hits a Tornado DDT and both men are down. Stardust and Truth tag in and Truth with clotheslines followed by a drop kick and then he does a split before hitting a Stinger Splash. Truth with a kick and sit out gourdbuster but Harper breaks up the cover. Harper with a punch to Ambrose followed by a super kick to Truth. Ambrose bounces off the ropes and hits a clothesline. Ambrose with a suicide dive onto Harper and Truth with What’s Up on Stardust for the three count. After the match, Barrett goes to the back while Truth dances in the ring. Ambrose shows that he can dance as well.
Winner: Dean Ambrose & R-Truth
Josh’s Reaction: I thought the match was good it had time! I liked Bad News Barrett commentary during the match despite the fact that JBL nor Booker T can never call a match, but that’s besides the point. Harper and Ambrose had really good sequences during the match. The top rope tornado DDT was really cool. R-Truth also got to gain some momentum after that squatch match on SmackDown last week. Good match and it’s not the last time we’ll hear about the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match tonight.
Winner: Dean Ambrose & R-Truth
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 82/100 B-
Renee Young is on the stage with representatives of the Special Olympics. Renee announces the WWE’s partnership with the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.
We see a video package on Roman Reigns
The Miz, Mizdow, Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell Segment:
Miz asks them if they used stunt doubles. Miz says that stunt doubles try to outshine you while Kevin and Will say they are there to help you. Will asks Miz how long he has had his assistant and then they say that Sandow has that look. Miz tells Sandow to leave to get him some water.
Grade for this Segment/Storyline: 85/100 B
Second Match: The Miz, Damien Mizdow, The Ascension and Adam Rose vs The Prime Time Players, Zack Ryder, Erick Rowan and Ryback
Miz with a kick and side head lock. Titus catches Miz and hits a back breaker and a fallaway slam. Young tags in and Titus with a slam and he sends Young onto Miz with a gourdbuster. Miz with a jawbreaker and he points to Sandow but tags in Rose. Rose with a wrist lock and side head lock. Rose with a shoulder tackle but Young with a discus forearm and reverse atomic drop and neck breaker. Young with a near fall. Rowan tags in and he punches Rose and follows with a head butt. Rowan with a forearm across the chest. Rowan with a fallaway slam and he tags in Ryder. Ryder with a forearm into the corner and he sets for the Broski Boot and connects. Ryder misses the Rough Ryder and Rose with a clothesline. Konnor tags in and he kicks Ryder and kicks him. Viktor tags in and he kicks Ryder in the corner and punches him.
Viktor with a slam and Konnor tags in while Viktor applies a half crab. Konnor with a leg drop and Young breaks up the cover. Konnor with a forearm to Ryder and he tags in Rose. Rose with knees to the head and kicks. Sandow tags himself in and he hits the Reality Check and kips up followed by the removal of the sunglasses. Miz demands to be tagged back in and he tags Miz back in. Miz with a kick but Ryder with a face plant and both men are down. Ryback tags in and he takes care of Miz with a forearm. Ryback with a Thesz Press and he slams Miz’ head into the mat and follows with a spinebuster. Ryback presses Rose over his head and slams him. Konnor and Viktor miss Ryback and Ryback with a double clothesline. Miz with kicks to Ryback and then he sets for the Awesome Clothesline but Ryback with a clothesline of his own followed by the muscle buster for the three count.
Winner: Ryback, Prime Time Players, Erick Rowan and Zack Ryder
Josh’s Reaction: Another solid tag team match yea it seemed odd, but it was nice to see the Prime Time Players, Ryback, Miz, Mizdow and Zack Ryder out there. All great talents and they had some solid time for this match and it was a good match. I thought the Bill Simmons commentary was really good one of the better celebrities that’s join the announce team I wish he can come back for another show. Good cross promotion for the WWE and ESPN! All around good business you had some build for the Battle Royal and you also had some great cross promotion for not only WrestleMania, but the WWE as a whole.
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 80/100 B
Third Match: Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins & JJ Security
Orton sends Mercury to the mat and he wants Orton. Rollins wants to tag in but Mercury tags in Noble instead and Rollins wants to know if Orton is that stupid. Orton with a kick and he sends Noble to the mat. Orton with the Garvin Stomp and he sends Noble through the ropes as he tries to hit Rollins. Orton pulls Rollins to the apron but Mercury stops him. Rollins hits Orton while the referee was not looking and Noble with forearms and kicks to Orton and he does the Garvin Stomp as well. Noble with a forearm to the back of the head. Orton with a European uppercut and clothesline to Noble. Orton with a clothesline to Mercury and then he sends Noble to the floor. Orton with a power slam to Mercury and he puts Mercury in the ropes. He grabs Noble as well and he hits a double IEDDT. Orton looks around for the RKO set up and Rollins tries for Black Out but Orton moves. Rollins escapes an RKO and then Orton hits the RKO on Noble for the three count.
Winner: Randy Orton
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 81/100 B-
John Cena’s WWE.com Interview Segment:
He says at Wrestlemania you will see a man fight for what he believes in. He says what he believes in. He loves this country. There is proof of his unwavering support for the troops. John says that he is going to win the US Title so he can represent the United States and show everyone around the world that they are the elite. He will show that they will not waver. He will send the message on behalf of the United States. Wrestlemania is about shutting up Rusev and bringing the title back.
Grade for this Segment/Storyline: 89/100 B+
AJ Lee & Paige Backstage Segment:
Paige is in the back applying some make up and AJ stops by and she talks about how it looks like Nikki is trying to divide them going into Wrestlemania. Paige says that she has had to suffer with these insufferable slags. She will take the match unless AJ wants it. AJ says that she won’t fall into the trap. Paige tells AJ that she must be crazy to turn down a title match. The switch goes off and AJ returns to crazy mode, but Paige tries to calm her down with a friendly hug.
Grade for this Segment/Storyline: 87/100 B+
Fourth Match: WWE Divas Championship Match
Nikki Bella (c) w/Brie Bella vs Paige w/AJ Lee
Nikki with a pie face but Paige with a double leg take down and she punches Nikki. Paige with a head butt and she connects with knees from the apron while Brie watches from a few feet away. Paige screams while Nikki falls to the floor. Paige with a head butt, but Nikki with a double leg take down. Nikki does some push ups but Paige knocks Nikki down and gets a near fall. Nikki goes to the floor and Paige goes to the apron and she hits a clothesline. Paige rolls Nikki back in and Nikki with a facebuster and she gets a near fall.Nikki with a reverse chin lock. Paige with elbows but Nikki with a spinebuster for a near fall. Nikki taunts Paige but Paige with a kick. Both ladies go for a clothesline at the same time and both go down. Paige with a series of short arm clotheslines followed by a running drop kick and she gets a near fall.
Paige runs into an uppercut and Nikki with a springboard kick out of the corner for a near fall. Nikki gets ready for the forearm but Paige ducks it and Paige with a thrust kick for a near fall. Paige sets for Rampaige but Nikki with an inside cradle for a near fall to counter. Paige with a knee and Nikki with an Alabama Slam for a near fall. Nikki gets Paige on her shoulders but Paige gets to her feet and she kicks Nikki in the back of the leg and she hits Rampaige but Nikki kicks out at two. Nikki kicks Paige and then Paige and Nikki go through the ropes to the floor. AJ stops Brie from interfering and then AJ hits Paige with an elbow by accident and Nikki hits the forearm. Nikki picks up Paige and hits Shock Treatment for the three count. After the match, AJ comes into the ring to check on Paige and Paige with a double leg take down and she punches AJ and then they have to be separated.
Winner: Still WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella
Josh’s Reaction: Stellar divas match! I would have different outcome, but it was a good and effective match.
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 91/100 A-
Snoop Dogg, Hulk Hogan and Curtis Axel Segment:
Snoop mentions that California will be the home of Wrestlemania on Sunday. He says it will be. Curtis Axel comes out and he interrupts and tells us not to change the channel. He talks about SnoopMania and then he tells Snoop that it is AxelMania. He will not listen to him talk about SnoopMania while AxelMania runs wild in Los Angeles. Axel says AxelMania is here to stay. Snoop says that Axel is the clown popping off on Twitter. He waited for him to show up. He asks Curtis what he wants to talk about and he says there is one more ‘Mania’ that he has forgotten about.
Hulk Hogan comes out because HulkaMania has to represent itself tonight. Hogan wants to tell Axel a little story. When he slammed Andre over his head in front of 94,000 people, he knew that Hulkamania would last forever. Hogan says that when he heard Snoop’s first LP he knew SnoopMania would last. Hogan wants to know what is Axel smoking. Axel rips his AxelMania shirt and then he does the finger point and he asks Whatcha gonna do. Hogan punches Axel and Snoop throws Axel over the top rope. Snoop reveals a Hulkamania shirt and they have a pose down.
Grade for this Segment: 93/100 A-
Fifth Match: Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Natalya vs Los Matadores and El Torito
Cesaro and Diego start things off and Cesaro with a forearm and he gets a near fall. Diego with a cross body and he tags in Torito. Natalya tags in and Kidd tags himself in before Natalya can do anything. Fernando tags in and he hits a neck breaker and gets a near fall. Fernando misses a cross body and Kidd punches Fernando. Cesaro tags in and he kicks Fernando and gets a near fall. Cesaro with a reverse chin lock. Kidd tags in and Ceasro with the giant swing and Kidd with a drop kick. Kidd gets a near fall and Kidd with a reverse chin lock. Fernando with an elbow and he drops him on the top rope. Kidd goes up top and Fernando with a drop kick and both men are down. Ceasro and Diego tag in and he hits a punch and a few corkscrew elbows and a flapjack. Torito tags in and Cesaro catches him. Diego with a drop kick and Torito gets a near fall. Fernando with a head scissors that sends Cesaro into the ropes. Kidd with a kick to Fernando. Torito kicks Kidd. Natalya tags in and hits a discus clothesline for a near fall. Natalya tries for a power bomb but Torito counters with a sunset flip for the three count.
Winner: Los Matadores and El Torito
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 83/100 B
Kane and Bad News Barrett Backstage Segment:
Wade Barrett cleans his belt and Kane enters the locker room. Kane says that Barrett must be proud to have the belt for 72 hours. Kane asks for the title belt, but Barrett says that has been working to get the title back. Kane says that he has been tasked to take the belt to hang it over the belt. Kane says that if Wade does not comply, he will strip him of the title. Barrett says that it is a travesty and he gives it to Kane. Kane tells Barrett he only has to beat six other men and he likes those odds.
Grade for this Segment/Storyline: 82/100 B-
Sixth Match: Rusev vs Jack Swagger
Swagger with a waist lock but Rusev with an elbow followed by punches and kicks. Rusev sends Swagger into the turnbuckles and he kicks Swagger in the back and punches him. Rusev says something to Swagger in Bulgarian and Swagger punches him. Swagger with an Irish whip but Rusev with a clothesline. Rusev with a kick to the back. Rusev with a kick to the back and then he applies a chin lock trapping the arm. Swagger gets to his feet for a moment but Rusev brings Swagger back to the mat. Swagger with an elbow and punches to Rusev. Rusev with a kick and Irish whip but Swagger with a boot. Swagger punches Rusev but Rusev pushes Swagger and misses a clothesline.
Swagger with a boot and he Irish whips Rusev and clotheslines him. Swagger goes for the Swagger Bomb sponsored by We The People. Rusev stops him and tries for a kick but Swagger blocks it. Swagger with a belly-to-belly slam for a near fall. Swagger climbs the turnbuckles but Rusev gets away and he kicks Swagger in the back of the leg and then he kicks Swagger and then he goes to the apron to clothesline Swagger to send him to the mat. Rusev with a jumping thrust kick and then he turns Swagger over and stomps on the back to set up for the Accolade. Swagger taps out.
After the match, Rusev does not release the hold because Lana is not there to tell him to release the hold. John Cena’s music plays and he releases the hold. Cena comes to the ring and he attacks Rusev. Cena with a double leg take down and then he punches Rusev. Rusev with a forearm on the floor and he sends Cena into the ringside barrier. Rusev picks up Cena and runs him into the ring post. Rusev sends Cena over the announce table and he lands on one of the chairs. Rusev grabs his Russian flag and swings it at ringside while Cena struggles to get back to his feet. Rusev sees Cena and Rusev with a jumping thrust kick to Cena. Rusev rearranges the announce table and then he sends Rusev face first into the announce table with a wheelbarrow slam. Rusev gets on the announce table and he stomps on the back and he applies the Accolade. Officials try to pull Rusev off Cena, but five referees are no match for Rusev.
Josh’s Reaction: PERFECT!!!! Great way to get some heat on Rusev! Probably the biggest statement Rusev has made since coming up from NXT! I can’t wait to see this match at WrestleMania. The match between Rusev and Jack Swagger was pretty solid as well.
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 95/100 A
Bray Wyatt Promo:
Wyatt asks why oh why do people hide from the truth? Is it because you are afraid? Is it because you are embarrassed to show who you are? Reality can be a very very difficult pill to swallow. That does not change the fact that each and every one of you are guilty. You are guilty. Somewhere deep down, you hate the person that you have become. The truth is that you hate the job because the only thing you can see is the color green. You look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see so you put on the makeup to cover up all of the ugliness and inconsistencies in you. It does not hide the fact that you are liar. Bray says that he is not like you. Bray says that he might be a lot of things, but he is not a liar. His tongue is the sword of truth. It cuts through the deception in your world.
He speaks the truth that you hide yourself from. The Undertaker is just like you. The Undertaker is a liar. He tries to hide the fact that he is lost. He denies the fact that he is trying desperately have his soul set free. The angel with the burnt wings is here to take you back to the other side. Bray says there is the mystical aura that you are used to. Can you feel it? These spirits no longer operate by your command. They belong to him now. He controls the light and the darkness and they march to his command. He is the judge of the living and the dead. Bray says the Undertaker is guilty. There is no redemption. There is no shield to carry you out. It will be marked with Sister Abigail’s kiss and Bray will take his place among the gods. You will get the mercy that you have been begging for. At Wrestlemania, you can finally rest in peace.
Josh’s Reaction: Wyatt is not only the new face of fear, but he’s the new king of the promos! Probably Wyatt’s best promo in his career so far. Another match I can’t wait to see in person this Sunday. Less is more when it comes to The Undertaker. At the same time every week on Raw Wyatt stock continues to grow and grow and grow.
Grade for this Promo: 97/100 A+
We see a video package centering around the announcement of Kevin Nash joining the 2015 class of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Seventh Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan tosses Ziggler to the mat. Bryan holds him and stomps. Ziggler turns around and goes for a pin attempt. Ziggler with a headlock now. They trade slaps and shoves and start brawling out of the corner. Ambrose cheers them on. Bryan ends up pulling Bryan to the floor with a scissors. Bryan hits Ziggler through the ropes. Bryan comes off the apron but they both crash on the floor. Back from the break and Ziggler has a sleeper hold locked. We get more back and forth with the two trading pin attempts. They end up on top and Bryan goes face first to the mat. Ziggler tries to fight off a backslide and does with one of his own for a two count. Bryan with a boot to the face for another two count. Bryan with kicks while Ziggler is on his knees in the corner now.
Bryan with the corner dropkick. He goes for another and Ziggler nails a superkick out of nowhere. Ziggler hits a Zig-Zag for the win. After the match, Ziggler goes to celebrate but Ambrose grabs him and hits Dirty Deeds. Ambrose pulls a ladder from under the ring and brings it in. Ambrose climbs up for the Intercontinental Title but Barrett runs down and pulls him to the mat. They fight. R-Truthand Stardust are also out. Luke Harper is out next. They all go at it now. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on Truth. Bryan stops Barrett from climbing for the title but Barrett sends him face first into the ladder. Barrett with a Bullhammer on Bryan. Ziggler ducks a Bullhammer and hits Barrett with a superkick. Dolph climbs up but Stardust takes him out. Stardust and Ambrose meet at the top of the ladder with punches. Harper pushes them and the ladder over. The ladder takes out Harper’s leg and he goes down. Everyone is down.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Josh’s Reaction: Really good match there between Bryan and Ziggler. I can’t believe at the level of stupidity that comes from today’s wrestling fanbase. Any one lost Bryan has “Oh he’s getting buried” You’ve have to be kidding me. I’m not sure who’s going to win the ladder match, but what I do know is that it’s going to be extremely entertaining.
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 90/100 A-
Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar Segment:
Heyman introduces himself and his client. He cuts a promo about how we’re going to get a fight on Sunday, about how Lesnar is going to give Roman Reigns a beating. Heyman says you will get your money’s worth if you’re looking for a fight. Heyman says Lesnar makes failures out of every man who steps up to him. Heyman reminds us about The Streak, about John Cena getting destroyed at SummerSlam. Heyman goes on and mocks Reigns, saying he won’t be taking the title from Lesnar. Reigns’ music hits and out he comes through the crowd.
Reigns and Lesnar face off a few feet apart in the ring as fans boo. Lesnar smirks and raises up the WWE World Heavyweight Title to mostly cheers but some boos. Reigns snatches the belt from Lesnar’s arm and holds it up to mostly boos but some cheers. Lesnar grabs the belt and they struggle for it. RAW goes off the air with the awkward shot of Lesnar and Reigns both clutching and struggling for the belt with the WrestleMania 31 banner hanging in the background.
Josh’s Reaction: If you didn’t understood the point of the tug of war at the end you weren’t paying attention to Paul Heyman’s epic promo! Less is more this is going to be a fight and we’ll see what happens this Sunday.
Grade for this Segment/Storyline: 85/100 B
Josh’s Grade for WWE Raw: 86/100 B
Follow Josh Lopez on Twitter @VoiceOfTruth94