Raw: Authority reasserted in San Antonio
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
WWE fans everywhere seemed to enjoy last week's big twist, which saw Daniel Bryan get promised a spot in the WrestleMania main event if he can defeat Triple H earlier that same night. Of course he forced the Authority's hand to get to that point, which may not turn out well for him tonight in San Antonio. We'll see as we go live on USA for another edition of Raw.
On the heels of the confrontation I mentioned in the lede, COO Triple H comes to the ring and is greeted by boos. He blames the fans for what’s happened, saying they forced him to take action to end Bryan and crush the Yes Movement. He’s joined quickly by Batista, wearing a scowl on his face. As you might expect, the Animal is none too pleased that Bryan has wormed his way into the WWE Heavyweight Championship picture. Batista isn’t cool with being in a title match where he doesn’t even have to be pinned to lose. Trips asks rhetorically if Batista thinks Bryan even has a chance in hell of getting past him, at which point Randy Orton decides to join the fun. He’s also concerned, and he wants a No Disqualification match against Bryan tonight. Triple H grants his request, and Orton goes on to say the fans are cheering Bryan because they don’t believe in Batista. The Animal begs to differ, saying the problem is that Orton sucks as a champ. The Game tries to stop the bickering but gets frustrated and turns to leave. He’s sick of everything: the fans, Hollywood movie stars telling him what’s best for business and a technically gifted champion who needs his hand held to win matches. With that in mind, Triple H says that a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania is guaranteed, because if he wins, he’s going to be in it. Amid the uproar, Orton nails Batista with an RKO.
An unhappy Batista tells Renee Young that coming back here was a big mistake. He looks like he’s leaving for the night.
Match 1 - The Real Americans vs. The Usos
JBL says he was at the Alamo earlier today with Zeb Colter, who assured him everything is okay with his stable. Cesaro and Swagger work together in the opening minutes, but can they stay on the same page? Jimmy Uso gets tagged in and fires off a series of moves that ends with a corkscrew splash out of the corner for a near fall on Jack Swagger. A big boot ends that momentum, sending Jimmy to the floor and us to commercials.He eventually tags Jey to end his suffering, and Cesaro has to kick out at two following a corner charge. Could it be Cesaro Swing time? It is not, though the Swiss Superman manages to kick out after a Samoan drop. Swagger gets taken out by a dive to the floor, but Cesaro escapes the same fate with a vicious uppercut from the apron, followed by a Neutralizer that seals a victory.
How about a sneak peek at WWE Slam City? What is it, you ask? It’s an animated series that sees the WWE superstars getting day jobs. Um. sure.
Kane and the Shield discuss what happened on SmackDown, with the Director of Operations wondering if he can count on a united trio. Seth Rollins says they’re united, to which Kane says he thinks they’ll do what’s asked of them or risk finding out how replaceable they really are.
Hornswoggle is spreading St. Patrick’s Day cheer, but it’s about to be interrupted by some bad news, delivered by Bad News Barrett. Apparently most people will end up regretting what they did on this “fake holiday.”
Match 2 - Sheamus vs. Titus O’Neill
Christian is out with the announcers to watch this all-Irish battle. At least Titus has the right last name to be Irish. O’Neill’s strength is enough to toss Sheamus around on the outside, but Hornswoggle rallies the fans to get behind the Celtic Warrior. That gets him some unwanted attention, and it looks like O’Neill is going to beat up the little leprechaun. Sheamus revives in time to catch Hornswoggle and hurl him back to head butt Titus in the gut. Ten clubbing blows on the apron set up the Brogue Kick, and Sheamus earns his St. Patrick’s Day victory. He’s having a good holiday, and he celebrates it by officially entering the Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal. That proclamation doesn’t save him from an ambush by Christian, who delivers the Killswitch on the floor.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello are going to be on Raw next week to promote Sabotage. Plus Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Machine. I’m not making that up.
Not only on the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine, John Cena is also out in the ring. Sounds like more boos than cheers from this crowd. He says he’s been in over 3,500 matches during his 12-year career, and while not everyone likes him, Cena thinks he’s always given his best. With that in mind, Cena says he’s afraid of Bray Wyatt, or at least scared that the fans are listening to what Wyatt has been saying. Unlike all of his other opponents, all Wyatt wants to do is destroy Cena’s legacy. At WrestleMania, John vows to fight for everything he’s ever worked for and every person who’s ever believed in him. The rebuttal comes from the big screen, with Wyatt explaining that children believe in super heroes and other myths because they’re too young to know the truth. Not surprisingly, Bray’s childhood was different, and he learned the hard truths early on. He admits to being different, saying he doesn’t care if he lives or dies at WrestleMania as long as people end the night seeing Cena the way he does.
Match 3 - Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan comes out like a house on fire, but Orton methodically evens things up until a drop kick knocks him out to the floor. Bryan dives through the ropes to greet him, but Orton grabs a kendo stick and uses it to good effect. He suplexes Bryan off the announce table, which doesn’t break. Commercial time. Orton keeps up the kendo stick assault, getting a near fall before smashing Bryan into the post on the outside. A backbreaker is next, and Orton stomps away on his opponent’s midsection and clobbers him in the corner. Bryan finally gets some speed built up, delivering a jumping clothesline, a corner dropkick and a hurricanrana for a two count. Now the kendo stick is in Bryan’s hands, and Orton’s attempts to beg off go for naught. The WWE Heavyweight Champ digs down deep for a superplex, but his lackadaisical cover allows a kick out. The elevated DDT is next, and Bryan has to roll out of the ring to compose himself. Orton tries to pursue, only to get repeated kendo stick shots to the face that drive him over the barrier. The Viper strikes back with a steel chair, hurling Bryan back into the ring. But Batista runs down to connect with a spear, and after Bryan sends the Animal to the outside with a dropkick, he covers Orton to get the pinfall. Bryan celebrates, but poor Orton has to suffer through a Batista Bomb.
Paul Heyman wants to say something. Actually he wants to show something, his own video package suggesting that the Undertaker is ripe for the picking because … well, he’s getting old.
Stephanie and Triple H have a little marital conversation, and it’s McMahon who is a little fired up about tonight’s turn of events. He tells her to leave it alone and he’ll take care of it. Steph’s response? “You better.”
Match 4 - Fandango vs. Goldust
There’s some ringside foolishness between Cody Rhodes and Summer Rae. The fans chant for Goldust as he struggles to get into the match. A messed up spot almost leads to disaster, but Goldust is able to bounce back and hit the Curtain Call to get the win. He’s also apparently busted open.
Kane sounds off on last week’s “Occupy Raw” stunt, saying Bryan had an accomplice in pulling it off. He calls for Jerry Lawler to join him in the ring, suggesting that the King used his Memphis connections to aid Bryan. Lawler doesn’t budge, so here comes the Shield. Rollins tells Lawler the Shield always does what’s best for business -- and he and his teammates turn to surround Kane. The Shield attacks the Director of Operations, crushing him with a Roman Reigns spear and a triple power bomb.
Match 5 - The Funkadactyls vs. AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka
The Bella Twins join the announcers to pimp the second season of Total Divas. Naomi looks good in her return to in-ring action (albeit with an eye patch), getting a near fall against AJ. She also powers her way out of a Black Widow attempt, slamming AJ down and hitting a split-legged moonsault to get the pin. That’s a big win for her and the Funkadactyls. AJ screams at Tamina after the bell, blaming her for the loss. This doesn’t look like it will end well.
The next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame is … Mr. T (going into the celebrity wing, obviously).
Match 6 - Big E, Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry and Big Show vs. Curtis Axel, Ryback, Damien Sandow and Alberto Del Rio
Well, this one is going to be hard to recap. It’s worth noting that all eight of these guys will be in the Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal. There’s a mid-match commercial break, during which Ziggler ends up taking a beating. He’s still in trouble when we resume live action, though the fans are trying to fire him up. Sandow catapults him into a corner, but he sidesteps a leaping move and manages to crawl over to tag in Big Show. The ref loses control of this one as everyone gets involved. Eventually only Sandow and Show are left, and one of them gives the other a choke slam to get the pinfall. I’ll let you figure out who gave it and who received it.
Batista confirms to Young that he did not quit. He also says he doesn’t care who ends up in the main event at WrestleMania, because he’s going to come back with the WWE Heavyweight Championship either way.
Match 7 - Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt
The video package set to Eminem that airs before the match is more noteworthy than the match itself, because Wyatt wins it quickly. Guess Kofi is back to getting jobbed out. Boo!
Triple H asks for Bryan to come to the ring so he can be addressed face to face.Hunter begins by stating that nothing he did was personal, and it was all done with the long term health of the WWE in mind. But a lot has happened, and last week Bryan crossed a line he can’t come back from. Nevertheless, The Game feels like it was meant to be, and he’s been left with no choice but to put an end to all this in the ring at WrestleMania. He has no choice but to shut down the Yes Movement, because it’s what’s best for business. Trips says no hard feelings and offers a handshake, which Bryan refuses. He does say Bryan has earned his respect, but not so much when it comes to Stephanie. She calls what Bryan did illegal and sends police officers to arrest Bryan. Six cops with nightsticks head down the ramp, and we’ve got a full-fledged marital blowout going on. The police officers cuff Bryan forcefully despite his protests, a development that makes Steph smile. Triple H says this isn’t what he wants and reveals those weren’t even real cops. The COO shows his true colors by stomping away on a defenseless Bryan as Stephanie urges him on. The leader of the Yes Movement takes some brutal chair shots, and the Authority celebrates with some in-ring kissing as Raw goes off the air. See you in seven!
Nick Tylwalk will not be in New Orleans for WrestleMania this year, and he's still having a hard time coming to terms with that fact. Console him on Twitter (@Nick_Tylwalk), on Google+ (+NickTylwalk) or by email (email@example.com).