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Raw: Tag team turmoil and an anti-authority movement in the Windy City
By MATTHEW ASHER - SLAM! Wrestling


Triple H pedigrees Daniel Bryan. Photo by Ricky Havlik, RickyHavlik.com


The big topic before tonight's episode of Raw was CM Punk's potential return to the WWE. During the show, it was all about tag teams as several teams look to be on their last legs as well as a changing of the guard regarding the hierarchy of the division.

Other than the YES Movement, the chants for CM Punk to return have been the most vocalized. With tonight’s Monday Night Raw coming from the Allstate Arena in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, it’s possible that Punk would show up for his first WWE event since the Rumble. Because if Punk is a no-show at this event, the odds of him returning before ‘Mania will fall somewhere between “slim” and “none”.

It looks like that question will be instantly answered as “Cult of Personality” blares throughout the arena. The fans give a huge pop to...Paul Heyman? Heyman walks into the ring and allows the WWE Universe to boo and chant for Punk. Heyman says he agrees with the Universe and that he wants to explain why Punk will NOT be showing up tonight.

Heyman then sits down in the middle of the ring, crosses his legs just like Punk’s “Pipebomb” promo. Heyman says that the WWE never wanted this “Paul Heyman Guy” because he didn’t fit the mold of who they believe should main event ‘Mania. Heyman says he knows who to put the blame squarely on and that he’s not afraid to say it: the WWE Universe.

We’re reminded that when Punk was a Heyman Guy, life was great and it wasn’t until last year’s WrestleMania defeat by the Phenom, that Punk’s life started to spiral out of control. Heyman hates that Taker cost him their friendship and now is hellbent on conquering the Streak. Cue Brock Lesnar.


Brock comes to the ring and has a wrap over his right hand, thanks to Taker stabbing it last week. After more CM Punk chants from the crowd, Brock finally starts talking. He says he believes that Taker is afraid of Lesner. He goes on to list the various opponents that have made up the Streak. They are failures and Brock will do what he always does: conquer.

As Lesnar and Heyman head up the ramp, Mark Henry comes out for a little payback. Mark gets a few good shots in but after he is Irish whipped into the steel steps, Brock takes control. Lesnar hits Henry with the steps and then tears apart the announce table. Henry finally gets up but Brock hoists the World’s Strongest Man on his shoulders and delivers an F-5 to Henry on top of, and breaking, the announce table.

We’re told the first match of the night will be for the Tag Team Titles: The Usos vs. the New Age Outlaws. An interesting night so far.

Match 1- Tag Team Championship Match: Usos vs. New Age Outlaws (c)

Road Dogg and Billy Gunn come to the ring sporting what I assume is the official WrestleMania 30 sports jersey (I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be a hockey sweater or a football jersey). It looks like the WWE has finally learned how to make the Outlaws heels again: don’t let Road Dogg do his traditional introduction speech.

For a quick explanation of this match, the Outlaws retained their titles at Elimination Chamber. However the Usos were able to beat the Outlaws last week so they get a rematch. From what it sounds like, this is the Usos final chance to win the titles for a while. Jay Uso gets one of the longest extended beatdowns I can remember. He starts the match and after about ten minutes including a commercial break, he still hasn’t been able to tag in his brother Jimmy.

Jimmy finally gets the hot tag and goes to town on both Outlaws. He hits Billy with a Samoan Drop and then follows it up with a modified Samoan Wrecking Ball (the move their uncle Umaga used). Both Jimmy and Billy get a few 2 counts. Billy goes for the Fameasser but Jimmy ducks it and is able to tag in Jay. Jay nails his superkick and we have new tag champs.

Winners by pinfall...and NEW Tag Team Champions the Usos.


The Usos are the new WWE tag team champions.

The brothers celebrate. But before we go to commercials, we’re reminded that Aaron Paul, who played Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad, is tonight’s guest star and we’re shown a sneak peak of his new movie Need for Speed. My take on it? Not enough car chases, yo.

Match 2- Singles: Big E vs. Cesaro w/ Zeb and Jack Swagger

This match isn’t for the IC title, but right off the bat we get some great examples of both Cesaro’s and Big E’s freakish strength. Langston gets caught up in the Cesaro Swing and I counted eight rotations. But as soon as Big E is released, Swagger hits him with the Swagger Bomb and gets Cesaro DQ’ed for the second time in a row.

Winner by disqualification...Big E Langston

Cesaro isn’t happy with Swagger’s interference. The three Real Americans start arguing and Big E sneaks up and hits Cesaro with the Big Ending before he heads off to the locker room. I think Cesaro may now really be over because the crowd was booing Big E for that move.

Match 3- Six-Man Tag: The Shield vs. The Wyatts

Can you say epic rematch? The Shield makes their way to the ring and we go to commercials. When we get back, we get a custom opening message from Bray Wyatt. His message is simple: “Chicago...we’re here.” That got a huge pop.

We’re shown a recap of the past 8 days with the Wyatts and Shield. Because the PPV match was so good, it would be unfair to critique this match. Like the PPV, all 6 men get their chances to shine. This time, Dean Ambrose is the Hound of Justice that has the numbers game work against him.

All three Wyatts go to town on Dean but can’t put him down. Bray is able to knock Roman Reigns off the apron, forcing Dean to tag in Rollins. But when Dean gets close, Rollins steps off the apron and heads up the ramp. Roman stops him halfway and Seth tells him that he’s sick of being the glue and trying to keep them together. Rollins says Roman and Ambrose need to figure it out.

This seems to work as Reigns Hulks up and goes on a tear. Of course, the numbers catch up and Bray is able to hit Sister Abigail for the win. Seth Rollins is fuming as he looks upon the destruction from the top of the ramp.

We go backstage to Renee Young who is interviewing Boo-tista. Fortunately he’s not dressed like a hipster tonight as he wears a black hoodie. She asks him his thoughts on the YES Movement and Boo-tista says it’s the dumbest thing he’s seen in his life. Blah blah blah...something about the WWE Universe reading way too many comic books (clearly irony is lost upon the guy playing Drax the Destroyer)...blah blah blah...Daniel Bryan can’t beat him...blah blah blah.

We come back from commercials and are told that tomorrow night on Main Event, the Outlaws invoke their rematch clause and will take on the Usos on the WWE Network.

Match 4- Mixed Tag Match: Fandango & Summer Rae vs. Santino & Emma

Summer Rae is wearing some obnoxiously yellowish-green attire. If you’ve seen the Baylor Bears basketball jerseys, you know what color I’m talking about. JBL finally references something that is very timely. He describes Emma as being as graceful as Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars.

Emma and Santino have some fun exploiting the rules of a mixed gender match to start off. In the end, Emma is able to put Summer Rae in the Emma Lock and that’s all she wrote.

Winners by submission...Emma and Santino

Match 5- Singles: Christian vs. Sheamus

So Christian is now officially a heel. The match was actually very enjoyable. Both men were given of plenty of time to showcase their abilities. However, the Chicago crowd is feeling a little anti-establishment if you can believe it, and chant “This is awful” periodically. In the end, Sheamus is able to hit the Brogue Kick on Christian for the win. The cool thing about the finish was that Sheamus was on outside the ring on the apron with Christian inside. I’ve never seen Sheamus kicking someone into the ring.

Winner by pinfall...Sheamus

We’re reminded of the Daniel Bryan/Batista match later tonight. But before that, John Cena is scheduled to address the Wyatts. But first we have commercials. When we get back, we’re following Sheamus backstage. Christian isn’t happy with losing and nails Sheamus with a stage light before he leaves.

Match 6- Divas Tag: Bella Twins vs. Alicia Fox & Aksana

With the WWE having so many Diva tag matches, I wonder when (not if) they are going to introduce a Divas tag title division. The Bellas win this one with Alicia Fox being pinned.

Winners by pinfall...The Bella Twins

We return from commercials and JBL starts talking about the Curse of the Billygoat. I’m not sure if he intentionally did that because Daniel Bryan comes to the ring just as JBL finishes that thought. If it was accidental, it was a timely one.

Daniel lets the Chicago crowd voice their thoughts for a while before he speaks. He says he loves Chicago because the crowd knows how to use their voice and that tonight, the YES Movement is going to hijack Raw. Bryan says he is not leaving this ring until one of two things happen: Batista comes down to fight or Triple H comes down to answer his challenge about a match at ‘Mania.

Hunter’s music hits and the Authority makes their way to the ring. Any time the Authority starts talking the crowd is having none of it, booing extremely loud. Daniel throws down the challenge again and Hunter says no. He asks why Daniel can’t accept that he’s not good enough. Hunter says it’s going to take more than a B+ wrestler to get him to lace up his boots again.

Steph goes on a tirade about how Bryan owes everything he’s ever accomplished to the WWE. Daniel suggests that Steph put on Hunter’s tights and face him at ‘Mania while Trips watches the match, wearing one of Stephanie’s dresses. Hunter says he’s 90 percent sure Steph would still kick his ass.

Hunter tells Bryan to get out of his ring and Daniel tells Bryan to make him. Instead of that, we get Kane coming to the ring. Daniel hits Kane with a suicide dive and starts to unload on the Director of Operations. Officials and security come and escort Bryan backstage as the crowd chants for him and CM Punk.

We come back from commercials and are introduced to the Raw preshow panel: Josh Mathews, Booker T, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Alex Riley. Alberto Del Rio makes his way to the ring and prepares for his match.


Dolph Ziggler and Aaron Paul.
Match 7- Singles: Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler

Finally 2 ½ hours into the show, the guest host of Raw, Aaron Paul, finally makes an appearance. Much like John Cena’s WM 23 entrance, Paul drives into the arena in a Shelby Mustang with Ziggler as his passenger. Paul sits down at the new announce table and talks with King, JBL and Cole as the match goes on. ADR gets the upper hand, but Paul decides to play distraction. He starts goading ADR which allows Dolph to hit the Zig Zag for the win.

Winner by pinfall...Dolph Ziggler

Before we go to commercials, we’re told that when we get back we’ll find out the fourth member of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame. Unfortunately it will be a posthumous induction as the late great Paul Bearer is the newest inductee. A good addition as Bearer was definitely one of the best managers in the WWE.

Match 2a- Singles: Big E vs. Jack Swagger

While the Cesaro match was at the beginning of the show, it just feels right to consider this a continuation of that match. The bell rings and Cesaro jumps into the ring and hits the Neutralizer on Big E for the automatic DQ of Swagger.

Winner by disqualification...Big E Langston

Cesaro and Swagger start arguing. Swagger pushes Cesaro which is a dumb idea. Cesaro knocks down Swagger and sets him up for the Cesaro Swing. Zeb tells Antonio to stop. Despite the crowd chanting for the swing, Cesaro agrees, releases Jack and helps him up. Zeb wants the two men to “hug it out” which they do. We end this segment with the traditional Real Americans pledge of allegiance.

After the commercial break, John Cena makes his way to the ring. His left knee is taped up and he’s definitely having trouble walking. Of course the Chicago crowd greets him with their usual displeasure and starts chanting for CM Punk.

Cena says that thanks to the Wyatt attack last week, Cena won’t be competing tonight. But John wanted to come out because he enjoys the history he’s had at this arena, his first match as well as the WWE Championship match he had with Punk at the 2011 Money in the Bank. John says the road through greatness still goes through him and if Bray wants him, he’s ready.

Bray comes on the Titantron and delivers his typical cryptic messages. Bottom line is that Bray will put Cena down because Bray knows what makes Cena scared: being alone atop the mountain (or something like that).

Before we go to commercials we are backstage and see Boo-tista getting ready. He runs into Randy Orton who simply wishes him good luck in tonight’s match. Could this be foreshadowing some kind of Evolution reunion? When we get back from commercials, we have another live promo by the Super Athlete Alexander Rusev.

Main Event- Singles: Daniel Bryan vs. Boo-tista

Randy Orton heads out to the ring and gets on commentary for this match. During the match we learn that Paul Bearer is the #1 trend worldwide on Twitter. Bryan is in control and about to deliver a top turnbuckle move when Kane, Steph and Hunter all make their way to the ring, giving Batista an opportunity to recover.

Boo-tista takes Bryan out of the ring and Irish whips him first into the steel steps and then right in the lap of Randy Orton. Cole and JBL both agreed that Batista was sending Orton a message with that move. Bryan starts a rally but Orton comes into the ring, hitting Bryan and forcing the ref to call for the bell.

Winner by disqualification...Daniel Bryan

Orton isn’t finished and prepares to deliver an RKO to Batista. Big Dave counters the move and sends Orton right into a Bryan running knee. Bryan unloads on Kane but Batista spears Bryan before he can rally. Hunter grabs a mike and stands over a fallen Bryan saying he’s sick of Daniel’s fantasy world.

Bryan kicks him in the head, but Batista hits him with a Batista Bomb. That’s just the beginning as Hunter hits him with a Pedigree and Steph stands over Bryan mocking him. The crowd is chanting for Punk as we go off the air.

RELATED LINKS

  • WWE Monday Night Raw in Chicago Photo Gallery

    Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist currently living in Atlanta. He wonders if Kane, the Undertaker or Mick Foley (or a combination of the three) will be the one(s) to induct Paul Bearer into the Hall of Fame. Who do you think will have the honors? Email him your thoughts.