With Daniel Bryan absent from the WWE Raw this week to sell the injury he received last week from Triple H, a few matches were added to a WrestleMania card that needed more.
WWE dedicated a small amount of time to the WrestleMania main event and the title picture, so the show revolved around the pay-per-view's midcard, including the Divas title and The Shield.
Throughout the night, the three members of The Shield were out for revenge on the teams that helped attack them on WWE Smackdown. If you missed it, on Smackdown on Friday, The Real Americans and Ryback and Curtis Axel attacked Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, while Roman Reigns was being attacked by Kane and The New Age Outlaws.
On Raw, The Shield first showed up while Axel and Ryback were facing Los Matadores. As Axel was distracted, he was rolled up and pinned. The Shield attacked the two after the match.
The Shield later confronted Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, and while they denied any involvement with Kane’s actions, they gave The Shield a match against The Real Americans, which they won. After that match, Kane and The New Age Outlaws came out, and Kane said that a six-man tag team match was made between The Shield and Kane and the Outlaws.
Another question was answered on Raw. AJ Lee was going to defend against someone, but the question was who? As we found out, the answer is ... everyone.
AJ and Tamina were supposed to have a match against The Funkadactyls, but after a few moves, AJ bailed to the outside and was counted out. As she made her way up the ramp, Vickie Guerrero came out. AJ had made some less-than-flattering comments about Guerrero on Smackdown.
Guerrero announced that there was going to be a Divas Invitational at WrestleMania, pitting AJ against 13 Divas: Naomi, Cameron, Nikki and Brie Bella, Natalya, Emma, Eva Marie, Alicia Fox, Aksana, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendez, Layla and Tamina.
It’s unsure exactly what the format of this match will be, but the favorites to win have to be Naomi and Tamina. This is clearly a way to get everybody on the WrestleMania card, but they’ve actually been building towards this as it seems like almost all of those Divas have had a run-in with AJ in the past few months, so it makes some sense.
So, with those matches, and presumably a three-way match for the tag team titles between The Usos, The Real Americans, and Ryback and Curtis Axel that was teased on Smackdown, that makes eight matches on the card at WrestleMania. Most of the matches (the WWE world heavyweight title match, Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker and the Battle Royal) will all take up a good amount of time, that will almost certainly be enough to fill the four hours. They could add another match in there, maybe a match to showcase NXT wrestlers, but as of now, it seems like most of the roster is accounted for, and I wouldn’t expect too much tinkering in the next week.
The rest of Raw:
-- The final member of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Class was announced: Razor Ramon. I’ll have more on this later this week, but I find it very interesting that they are specifically inducting Razor Ramon, and not Scott Hall. It’s a subtle distinction, but I think one that could be important down the line.
-- The other midcard WrestleMania match that was built up a lot was The Wyatt Family's feud with John Cena. Throughout the night, it was built up that, psychologically, The Wyatt Family was getting to Cena. This included a shot of him over a sink, looking stressed, while in the mirror someone held a sheep mask into the doorway. He later had a match with Luke Harper (featuring another great outing from Harper). At the end of the match, the lights went out, and when they came back on, Cena was tied in the ropes, while wearing a sheep mask, with Bray Wyatt laughing over him.
-- Batista and Randy Orton had an interaction in the ring with Stephanie McMahon. Orton complimented McMahon and Triple H, while Batista ran him down for being a suck-up, and insulted McMahon. They’ve actually been booking this decently since they announced there would be another member in the title match. Both Orton and Batista have taken turns being the tweener, and it’s made the crowd more interested.
-- Although Bryan wasn’t there, Triple H did put over his feud with the crowd favorite. He also used a really interesting line, saying that he was starting the “Reality Era” (as opposed to the Attitude Era). He turned it into saying the reality is that he’s going to ends the "Yes!" movement and end Bryan’s run, but it’s a nod to the fact that some people are actually starting to call this the “Reality Era” with so much breaking of the fourth wall in the past few years.
-- Lesnar and Heyman came out, and did the same bit they’ve been doing over the past few weeks, putting over The Undertaker’s streak, and bemoaning that they have to end it. The druids came out with a casket, which turned out to be empty. After slamming it shut and stomping on it a few times, Heyman insulted The Undertaker, only to have the casket open back up, revealing The Undertaker. After some brawling, The Undertaker knocked Batista out of the ring, and Lesnar and Heyman made their way back up the ramp. While it’s fun to see the standard Undertaker scenes, this feud is starting to feel a little bit flat. It might be because The Undertaker has gotten the upper hand in every segment he’s been in. Next week, it’s likely that Lesnar finally gets to beat down The Undertaker before The Undertaker wins again at WrestleMania.
-- Arnold Schwarzenegger (and Joe Manganiello) had a segment with Hulk Hogan. While it was more or less a throwaway segment, it was pretty cool to see Schwarzenegger in the same ring as Hogan. Granted, it was 20 years too late, but the live crowd seemed to get a kick out of it. The Miz came out and ran down all three of them. Eventually, all three teamed up to throw The Miz out of the ring.
-- Christian won a fatal fourway match against Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler to earn a shot at the Intercontinental title against Big E Langston. He’ll get that shot Tuesday on Main Event. This seems to be another effort by the WWE to get people to watch Main Event, as it’s now their only live wrestling show on the WWE Network before WrestleMania.
-- The Big Show beat Titus O’Neil in a match that was used to build the Battle Royal. I still don’t get what they’re doing to O’Neil. By using him against The Big Show, you got a true sense of just how big O’Neil was, which was impressive, but he needs to win some matches.
-- Cody Rhodes beat Fandango in a near-squash. Summer Rae and Goldust started an impromptu dance-off on the outside, and Summer Rae slipped and held her ankle. While Fandango looked out at her, Cody got the win via a disaster kick.
-- Sin Cara beat Damien Sandow in a short match. Sin Cara came out in the Mystery Machine, as well as someone in a Scooby Doo costume, to promote the new Scooby Doo/WWE crossover movie.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun