WWE Monday Night Raw Review - March 17th, 2014
The show began with an in-ring segment featuring Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista. Fantastic mic work from Triple H throughout the whole thing and he announces that at WrestleMania there will be a Triple Threat match regardless of who wins his match with Daniel Bryan because if he wins, he'll be in the match! So Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H is now basically a #1 Contender's Match. Great segment and a good way to add more emotion and high stakes to the Bryan/HHH match.
1) The Usos vs. Jack Swagger & Cesaro
Wow! Awesome way to start the show with a phenomenal tag team match. The Usos were entertaining as always and The Real Americans held their own against the highflyers. Zeb Colter must have done some work with his guys because Swagger & Cesaro were totally on the same page and put in a impressive performance here. Their hard work paid off as they managed to get a victory over the tag team champions after a hard fought match. The final exchange between the two teams was so great - Jimmy dove onto Swagger on one side of the ring while Jey went to dive out onto Cesaro, but Cesaro caught Jey with a VICIOUS uppercut. Cesaro then gets in the ring and hits the neutralizer on him! It's always fun watching these four compete.
Match rating - 8/10
2) Sheamus vs. Titus O'Neil
An entertaining bout here between two powerhouses. I would love to see a feud between Sheamus and Titus as it would do wonders for Titus' career. This would a solid match up and was very enjoyable. Titus plays the heel perfectly by bullying Hornswoggle and throwing him in the air, but Sheamus catches him. Titus turns around and gets nailed with a Brogue Kick. Good, brief match. Really hoping for more between these two.
Match rating - 6/10
After the match, Sheamus announces that he is entering himself into the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Before Sheamus can leave, Christian, who was on commentary, jumps Sheamus and beats him down at ringside by hitting the Killswitch on him. I really like how there are several feuds being built into this battle royal. It's sure gonna be loads of fun. If I was WWE, I would book a triple threat between Christian, Sheamus, and Titus on Smackdown.
John Cena headed to the ring at the top of the first hour to discuss The Wyatt Family. Cena says he is afraid of Bray Wyatt. Interesting statement that leads to Bray Wyatt appearing on the titantron. Bray cuts an absolutely phenomenal promo that needs to be seen if you missed it. He's only 26 years old and he's the best mic worker in WWE right now period. Imagine what he can do in the next few years after he's had all that practice!
3) Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan - No Disqualification Match
There's just a certain chemistry between these two when they face off on Raw that I can't quite describe. Needless to say, they tore the house down once again here. Just a wonderful match with alot of action. Bryan and Orton work so well together. It's always fun watching them compete against each other. With it being No DQ, several weapons were brought into play include a kendo stick and a steel chair. That was just enough. Bryan and Orton don't need anything else to create a great match. Batista ran down and speared Orton allowing Bryan to get the pin. Awesome match.
Match rating - 9/10
Paul Heyman made his way to the stage at this point in the show to discuss Brock Lesnar's match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Heyman built up the match like only he could. A video package hyping the match was shown afterwards. It was also announced that The Undertaker will be on Main Event this week for the first time ever!
4) Goldust vs. Fandango
After several heated segments, it was time for a fun, cool down match and this did the job. Although there were a few botches that visibly took a toll on Goldust, this was still an enjoyable segment/match. Even though it was a bit random.
Match rating - 5/10
Kane heads to the ring to discuss the job that The Authority gave him. He claims that Jerry Lawler allowed Daniel Bryan to occupy Raw last week and that now is the time for him to get payback. The Shield comes down and forces Lawler into the ring before executing their long awaited face turn by attacking Kane instead of Lawler. Good segment! I'm expecting The Ascension to debut alongside Kane soon to set up a huge six man tag for WrestleMania. This feud is certainly getting interesting.
5) AJ Lee & Tamina vs. Naomi & Cameron
After a brief hiatus because of injury, Naomi is back in action and she was certainly the highlight of this match. I've said it before, but she's easily the most athletic Diva on the WWE roster. Very fun to watch compete. This was a decent Divas tag team bout. The Divas Divison has really been improving lately. It's a good thing to see. The Bellas were on commentary and they're actually starting to grow on me. Decent match, but what was more important is the actions that took place afterwards. Tamina and AJ got into it and Tamina pushed AJ to the ground. I smell a match at Mania coming!
Match rating - 5/10
6) The Big Show, Dolph Ziggler, Big E, & Mark Henry vs. Ryback, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow & Alberto Del Rio
As previously mentioned in this review, there are many feuds being tied into the WrestleMania Battle Royal and this is yet another example of that. All eight of these men will be in the battle royal and they delivered a fun match here. Loved the ending where it broke down and everybody just went nuts hitting big moves on each other. Typical eight man tag, which is never a bad thing.
Match rating - 7/10
7) Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston
This match honestly wasn't necesarry. Bray's promo and interaction with Cena earlier in the show was all he needed. We've seen him beat Kofi multiple times so the outcome of this match was no shock to anyone. Complete squash in which Kofi got very little offense.
Match rating - N/R
The final segment of Raw was a stand off between Triple H and Daniel Bryan. It soon turned into a brutal beating as Triple H got fake cops to handcuff Bryan. Hunter then beat down Daniel Bryan for nearly 10 minutes. Throwing him onto the announce table, slamming him into the barricade, hitting him IN THE HEAD with a steel chair - all while remaining handcuffed. This was a brilliant way to end Raw. I totally got caught up in the moment and didn't realize how great this was as first. That means WWE did their job. The storytelling in this angle is unbelievable. It has an old school feel to it. I love it. Beating Bryan like this means the crowd will love him that much more and the arena will explode at WrestleMania when he wins. Amazing final segment.