It has taken a while to get there, but everything surrounding the main event at WrestleMania XXX finally seems to be in place.
WWE Raw kicked off Monday with Triple H in the ring, running down Daniel Bryan. Both Batista and Randy Orton came out to complain about the possibility of Bryan being added to the title match.
Triple H teed off on both of them, before dropping a bombshell of his own. Not only would Bryan get added to the title match if he beats Triple H, but if Triple H wins that match, he'll be added to the title match.
This does a few things for the storyline.
First, to get it out of the way, this is not ending with Triple H beating Bryan cleanly, then winning the title. As much as people like to bash Triple H for his ego, that's not happening. But, in the casual fan's mind, it does cast some doubt on whether Bryan will win.
It also led me to this possibility: Why not have Bryan and Triple H wrestle to a draw, via a double-countout or run-in interference? You could put them both in the title match in a Fatal Fourway. It would eliminate the issue I presented a few weeks ago with Triple H seeming like a basic roadblock for Bryan when he should be more than that, and it makes Bryan's eventual win even more epic. It would be hard to beat a moment when Bryan beats Triple H, Orton and Batista in the same match.
Either way, they've set up all the interactions nicely. Later in the night, Bryan faced Orton in a no-disqualification match, and he won after Batista came in and speared Orton. After Bryan won, Batista gave a Batista Bomb to Orton.
In the final spot, it seemed like Triple H had a bit of a change of heart, saying he respected Bryan (while taking some less-than-subtle shots at CM Punk) and looked forward to their match. Stephanie McMahon came out, still angry about last week, and said she called the police to arrest Bryan for his acts on last week's WWE Raw. After the handcuffs were placed on Bryan, Triple H revealed they weren't real cops and proceeded to absolutely destroy Bryan, including a chair shot sandwiching Bryan's head between the chair and the ring post.
So the main event continues to evolve, but with two WWE Raw episodes left before the pay-per-view, the only question left seems to be what happens at WrestleMania, as everything seems to be in place.
The rest of Raw:
-- Probably the biggest nontitle moment happened with The Shield. Kane came out, looking to punish Jerry Lawler for “helping” Bryan last week. He called out The Shield to do his dirty work, but as they had Lawler cornered, they turned around, seemingly literally making a face turn, and attacked Kane. We'll see if this is a true face turn, or simply making them a rogue group, but it looks like they will remain a group for now. I agree with keeping them together for now. Roman Reigns was getting too many cheers to leave as a pure heel group, and there's nothing really keeping them as heels. All of their characters work as faces, and it opens up some new feuds for them.
-- John Cena's feud with Bray Wyatt is now revolving around Cena's legacy (complete with a video package to Eminem's “Legacy"). Cena had one of his serious promos, really putting Wyatt over as someone who could bring him down. Wyatt came on via video, wearing a Cena shirt (which was a great touch) and running down the way people view Cena, including saying he could be like him “going home to his castle and his plastic girlfriend.” It will be interesting to see if he catches any heat for that line. Wyatt later came out and beat Kofi Kingston.
-- The Real Americans finally came together on the same page, beating The Usos cleanly in a nontitle match. I think Cesaro had said he was going to be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, or I'd guess that this would lead to a title match at WrestleMania. If they don't have the title match at the pay-per-view, it's a bit confusing to have that win here.
-- Speaking of the Battle Royal, Sheamus beat Titus O'Neil. Hornswoggle had come out earlier for St. Patrick's Day, and during the match, O'Neil started attacking Hornswoggle, and Sheamus used the distraction to win. After the match, Christian, who was on commentary, attacked Sheamus, continuing their feud. Both Sheamus and Christian are going to be in the Battle Royal. Also, it's a bit confusing using O'Neil in this role. The thought process behind breaking up the Prime Time Players seemed to be to push him, and so far they've done nothing to do that.
-- The Big Show pinned Damien Sandow in an eight-man tag team match with participants from the Battle Royal. I still think The Big Show should be considered a favorite to win it.
-- Mr. T was announced as the sixth member of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame class. I expect one more person to be announced before the event.
-- The Funkadactyls beat AJ and Tamina after Naomi pinned AJ. Naomi was wearing an eye patch as her orbital bone still isn't completely healed. After the match, AJ yelled at Tamina, and Tamina shoved AJ to the mat. At this point, it seems like at least four different Divas have a credible claim to a title shot for pinning AJ or feuding with her (Naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Tamina).
-- Goldust beat Fandango in a pretty solid mid-card match.
-- Paul Heyman came out to say The Undertaker's streak will end. It also was announced that The Undertaker would be on WWE Main Event on Tuesday. They've been airing Main Event live to continue to test bandwidth on the WWE Network in preparation for WrestleMania, so I assume this is an attempt to drive traffic to the network to run another test.
-- Currently, there are only five matches officially listed for Wrestlemania XXX -- the WWE world heavyweight title match; Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan; Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker; Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena; and the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. While there are other feuds and possible matches simmering, with only two WWE Raw episodes left, the WWE really has to flesh out this card, and quickly. There will likely be a Divas match, but there still needs to be another match or two on top of that to fill out the show.
Thoughts on RAW? Leave a comment here or find me on twitter: @TheAOster
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