Before RAW on Monday, we had seen just about everything in the Triple H/Daniel Bryan feud.
We had seen Triple H throw everything he had politically at Bryan, and Bryan overcome it. We've seen Triple H get physical with Bryan, and we've seen Bryan get some small strikes in here and there.
We saw the brutal attack Triple H put on Bryan a couple weeks ago. And finally, on Monday, we got the final piece of the puzzle: Bryan finally getting his hands on Triple H for a beatdown of his own.
Earlier in the night, Triple H and Stephanie had promised that Bryan wouldn't be there, and ran down previous “flavors of the months” that he had beaten.
They played a perfectly-done video showing Triple H beating the likes of Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Goldberg, Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy (the last two were particularly interesting since they're both currently in TNA).
They then promised that Bryan would prove to be another flavor of the month that he ends.
As Triple H was doing commentary during the main event of Batista vs Randy Orton, Bryan raced out of the crowd. He jumped on Triple H, started punching him on the announcing table, and beat him all over the ringside area.
He threw him into the stairs, beat him with a Singapore Cane, and leapt onto him on the outside. He also managed to fend off Orton and hit Batista with the knee in the process.
The crowd went wild, as loud as I've ever heard a D.C. crowd. This was built up perfectly, with Bryan not getting more than a knee or kick to Triple H to this point. The crowd had been desperate for this moment for months, and as much as people dig on Triple H, he sold the entire beatdown beautifully.
He flipped over barricades, had a spasm for every shot, and made it look like Bryan was unstoppable. And with him leading the crowd in a unified "Yes" chant, it certainly was a big moment to head to Wrestlemania on.
There's of course the question now about what's happening at Wrestlemania. After all, usually the man standing tall in the final show before a Pay-Per-View doesn't end up on top.
However, I think this was more just the natural build. Every other person involved in the title picture had their moment. This was simply Bryan's turn. And while I think there's a chance he won't win against Triple H (I think there's a chance for a draw, either a double-DQ or double-count out to make a Fatal Fourway), it's hard to see Wrestlemania not ending with Bryan on top.
The Rest of RAW
- Batista, somewhat unsurprisingly, got the biggest cheers since his return in his hometown of Washington, D.C. It really makes me wonder if his run would be any different if they had gone to D.C. If he had received big cheers like that at some point early in his run, perhaps the boos wouldn't have caught on as quickly and become the norm.
- After Bray Wyatt beat R-Truth, the Family did their standard pose in the ring. All of a sudden, a second person in a sheep mask appeared. After the Wyatt family stared at him for a few seconds, he took his mask off to reveal Cena. Cena was able to get to Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, but Wyatt was able to escape.
Afterwards, Cena had a serious promo where he swore to bring out the monster that Bray has been calling for. I have heard a few complaints about the in-ring segment, but I thought it was done brilliantly. It was shot in a way where at first glance, you almost didn't even notice anything wrong, as it was shot so similarly to their typical pose.
Then after a double-take, you realized he was standing there. Just artistically, it was done well, and it was a bit different from the norm, which is good.
- Undertaker opened the show by promising that the streak would continue. Brock Lesnar finally was able to get one-up on Undertaker, flooring him with an F5. It was needed, though I almost wish Brock had done a little more to Undertaker.
Undertaker had been getting over on Lesnar for weeks now, and just one F5 doesn't really even the score. This feud has been a little bit disappointing, though I do believe the match will be strong.
- Roddy Piper hosted Piper's pit, which served to hype the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. He started talking about it, when Miz, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler and Titus O'Neil all came out to proclaim they'd win.
They got into it physically, and others involved started running out. Finally, at the end, Big Show came out and cleared the ring, and the segment ended with Piper raising Show's hand.
- Kane faced Roman Reigns, which ended in a no-contest after the Outlaws came out, then the other members of The Shield joined them.
Before the match, The Shield had a great face promo. It's impressive how they can just slightly tweak their gimmick for their face turn.
Unlike some people or groups, who try to change everything, The Shield only slightly tweaked some of their mannerisms, and the crowd is really getting behind it.
- Alberto Del Rio beat Big E in a nontitle match. It's an interesting time for the win, as the IC title won't be defended at Wrestlemania. I assume we'll be seeing more of this during the Battle Royal, and then maybe set up something for Extreme Rules.
- The four teams involved in the Tag title match fought in an 8-man, with the Usos and Los Matadores teaming against the Real Americans and Rybaxel. The face team won after Los Matadores pulled a little “Twin magic” if you will, allowing the fresh man to get in.
It was announced that this match would be on the pre-show, which has to be a little bit disappointing to them. While it's all on the Network anyways, you'd like the titles to be defended on the main card. It also only leaves 7 matches for the 4 hours of Wrestlemania. Even giving the fact that most of the matches will be pretty long, that seems slightly light.
- The Rhodes brothers beat Fandango and Sandow in a tag match. I still wonder why they're putting the Rhodes brothers in the Battle Royal instead of the tag match. You could swap them with Los Matadores, and I think it really would improve the tag title match.
- Naomi beat AJ in a Lumberjill match, which ended when all the divas on the outside beat up AJ. They also announced that the divas match at Wrestlemania will be a one-fall match with all of them in the ring. I can't even fathom how that's going to work cleanly, but we'll see at Wrestlemania.
- Summer Rae beat Natalya.
- While I understand the need to film Smackdown before RAW during Wrestlemania week, I think it really affected the crowd during the last hour or so of RAW. They were completely dead during Kane/Reigns, not even jumping all that much when Reigns went through his setup to the Superman punch. It's something the WWE should think about for the future, if they have a choice.
- This week look out for an interview with Mick Foley (who will be in Baltimore next week) as well as my Wrestlemania predictions toward the end of the week. I will be heading down to New Orleans, so I also hope to get some live diaries from Wrestlemania Weekend for you.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them below, and follow me on Twitter: @TheAOster.