The night after Wrestlemania XXX brought with it a lot of hope. It also brought a lot of sadness, but mostly a lot of hope.
The hope was that it truly was the dawning of a new era. Daniel Bryan led a group of sub-40-year old winners on the Showcase of the Immortals. Maybe a new generation of performers was finally ready to rise.
The sadness of course was that after 21 straight wins at Wrestlemania, The Undertaker lost in what was quite frankly an uncomfortable match to watch. Many, including yours truly, speculated that this was his swan song.
And speaking of swan songs, this show gets an unexpected one in the form of the return of the Ultimate Warrior in his final public appearance.
The reality of all these things proved different of course, but for one night, we’ll go back to the night when hope sprang eternal for World Wrestling Entertainment for the first time in recent memory. We’ll be watching the RAW after Wrestlemania XXX, airing April 7, 2014 from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Show time is at 7pm Eastern Saturday. That’s 6pm Central, 4pm Pacific, 2pm Hawaiian, and 11pm in Britannia. (This may be wrong if you’re in Britain, as I believed they’ve switched over to Summer Time this week, so be sure to consult your local World Time Buddy for showtimes.)
As always, we’ll be watching the WWE Network version of the show, so an active subscription is required for the best experience. If you don’t have one, you can get one here... just in time for Wrestlemania 33. Or whatever else you may feel like watching. I mean, it’s free for a month if you’re a new subscriber. Or you can fetch a Network subscription card at any Gamestop, 7-Eleven, or Wal-Mart if you’re not up for giving your credit card number online.
Hi! I’m Eddie Mac. We’re watching retro wrestling now.
Then, now, forever.
The show opens with the Daniel Bryan "Monster" video package that aired during Wrestlemania XXX the night before. It's one of the best video's WWE's ever done, and you really oughta see it if you haven't. Slight edit as it ends with still pics of D-Bry winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as thousands chant "YES! YES! YES!"
The "YES!" chants continue as Justin Roberts introduces the NEWWWWWWWWWWWWW WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan! Many more YES chants! YOU DESERVE IT! I mean, this crowd is drowning him with adulation and joy. And it's amazing.
D-Bry says that he deserves it a little bit, but we deserve it more. The "YES!" chant isn't a word, it's about the power to make change, you know, like beat the Authority and stand as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Enter Triple H, who took two L's last night even though he only wrestled once. He's salty as hell. Stephanie's there too. Asshole chants and such. Haitch wants to get in and kick Daniel Bryan's ass, but he doesn't wanna get in there with Daniel and his two new friends. So Daniel introduces Haitch to his two new friends.I'm sorry, Haitch. My friends are a little loud. You'll have to speak up. Haitch says it won't last forever or even through the night, and he'll see to it himself, as Daniel Bryan defends the World Heavyweight Championship... against Triple H. He'll shut up the world, this is his show, and there's nothing you can do about it. Daniel and his two friends along with the New Orleans crowd just drowns him out.
Still pics from Wrestlemania XXX. There’s gonna be a few of these montages throughout the show.
After the break, Triple H and Stephanie talk about the main event when former WWE Champion Randy Orton and Batista burst in. What about their rematch, they said. Haitch says they'll get it, just not tonight (FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: They actually NEVER get their rematch. Like... ever.). As for tonight, Batista and Randy Orton will take on the Usos for the tag titles. Neither are ok with this.
New Orleans... we're here. Wyatt Family in action versus John Cena, Big E, and Sheamus... after the break.
Match 1: The Wyatt Family defeated John Cena, Sheamus, and Big E in 13:46. And your oddest trio of 2014 goes to... John Cena, Sheamus, and Big E. WYATT'S GONNA KILL YOU. WYATT'S GONNA KILL YOU.
Bo Dallas promo video. He's coming soon.
Match 2: Santino Marella and Emma defeated Fandango and Summer Rae via submission in just 90 seconds. FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: Three years later, Fandango's Fashion Po-Po, Summer Rae's got a broken neck (or something), Emma's evil, and Santino's retired. Wrestling is weird.
Brock Lesnar makes his first public appearance since his big win at Wrestlemania... after the break.
After the break, here comes the pain. Paul Heyman with the Beast Incarnate and the Conquerer of the Undertaker's undefeated streak at Wrestlemania, BAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOCCCCCCCCKKKKKKK LEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSNNNNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
What follows verbatim is perhaps one of the greatest victory speeches in the history of anything:
"Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman and it is the greatest privilege of my career to serve as the advocate for the beast incarnate, Brock Lesnar, the conquerer of the Undertaker's streak. A streak that lasted nearly a quarter of a century, a quarter of a century that ended in three seconds at the hands of Brock Lesnar. I understand how you feel; you're in shock, which shows me your lack of intelligence because we hate to say we told you so but ladies and gentlemen, we told you so.
"My client stood before you in this shirt. Here it is. Now, I know how difficult it is for you to read but it says 'Eat. Sleep. Break the Streak.' And you had the temerity to doubt the strategy of the greatest manager in sports entertainment history, Paul Heyman, or the physical credentials of the most dominant athlete in WWE ever, Brock Lesnar. Hey, let's get one thing straight: Brock Lesnar is not here to put smiles on people's faces. Brock Lesnar is here to shock the WWE Universe and put tears in the eyes of children.
"But now that you know all the headlines, let's go a little bit off page and shoot from the hip, shall we? Five seconds after walking through the curtain at WrestleMania, the Undertaker collapsed. And as all the para... oh, I know, you don't want to hear this story do you? It's a little too real for you. So as all the paramedics and the doctors are panicking and there's chaos backstage, the most ruthless man that's ever had the pleasure of meeting me, the Chairman of the Board, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, left WrestleMania and rode to the hospital with the Undertaker. The Undertaker is being treated today to a severe concussion. He came this close to a broken neck, this close to a cracked skull. And the greatest thing the Undertaker ever did was not getting his shoulder up on that third F-5 because if he did, he would have had a broken neck. Brock Lesnar would have cracked his skull. Brock Lesnar was prepared to beat on the Undertaker to such a degree that the complexion of this television show would have changed tonight because Brock wasn't done until the streak was dead.
"Here's what really gets to me: when the match was over, John Bradshaw Layfield and those two other things that call themselves announcers, stood up and gave a standing ovation along with 80,000 other people in the Superdome -- Superdome, Hogan, not Silverdome -- and gave a standing ovation to the Undertaker. Gave a standing ovation to the guy that lost the fight. Here's what I don't understand: Brock Lesnar always taught me in every fight there's a winner and a loser. Well, last night Undertaker was a loser. And the winner, whether you like it or not, was Brock Lesnar.
"But since this is supposed to be the wildest crowd of the year, you should all feel empowered. Because each and every single one of you is exactly like every single member of that WWE locker room. You're all a bunch of wannabes. When Brock Lesnar walked through that curtain last night, nobody gave him a standing ovation. Everybody looked down. You know why? Because nobody respected Brock Lesnar, which is fine for Brock because Brock respects nobody. He barely tolerates me. And he certainly doesn't respect someone who is going to fly in from around the world to sit here on the Monday after WrestleMania trying to get noticed on worldwide TV.
"So notice this, okay. There are a lot of people in the back who sit here and say, 'I could have been the one to jump from the ring to the Octagon'. But Daniel Bryan never fought in an Octagon. John Cena never fought in an Octagon. The Undertaker never fought in an Octagon. You know why? They're all wannabes. Brock Lesnar is the one. There are a lot of people who wanted to be the NCAA Division 1 heavyweight champion, the Ultimate Fighting champion, the undisputed WWE champion. The Rock never pulled that off; Hulk Hogan never pulled that off; Stone Cold Steve Austin never pulled that off. You know why? They're all wannabes. Brock Lesnar is the one.
"And then you got a bunch of guys in the locker room last night coming up to me saying, 'hey Paul, I could have been the one to break the streak; I could have beaten the Undertaker.' So why didn't you? Randy Orton didn't break the streak; Shawn Michaels didn't break the streak; Triple H didn't break the streak. Know why? They're all wannabes. Brock Lesnar is the one. Because Brock Lesnar is the one in 21-1.
"I'm sorry. Are you saying 'what' to me? Oh, I forgot who you are. So I'll say it slowly for you. Brock Lesnar is the one in 21-1.
"Ladies and gentlemen, there are WWE Hall of Famers, there are legends, and there are WWE superstars, and the key to that is that they're all plural. They're all lumped together. And then there's only one that stands head and shoulders above the rest on a platform of his own. There's only one beast incarnate. There's only one conqueror of the streak. And there's only one Brock Lesnar."
Brock and Paul should just retire now. It only goes downhill from here.
Hulk Hogan will present the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy to Cesaro a little later.
Match 4: Rob Van Dam defeated Damien Sandow in 2:50. Welcome back, RVD.
Journey to Wrestlemania XXX: Daniel Bryan tomorrow on WWE Network. (FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: Watch it. Gripping stuff.)
Hey everyone! It's Bad News Barrett! Ladies and gentlemen! I'm afraid I got some bad news-BOP! Rey Mysterio makes Barrett catch them hands.
Match 5: Bad News Barrett defeated Rey Mysterio in 3:50. FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: An odd bit of trivia for you: this is actually Rey's last WWE match. No... seriously. He took time off to heal a wrist injury, during which time his WWE deal expired. It rolled over without Rey's knowledge, and Rey Rey got a little hot about it. So hot, he stopped cashing WWE's checks. Eventually the two sides end up working it out... 10 months later when Rey leaves.
Sadly, less than a month after Rey leaves, he's involved in a match where Perro Aguayo Jr. died after suffering neck and spinal damage.
Promo package for Alexander Rusev.
A second promo package for Adam Rose, coming soon.
After the break, Lana, "the ravishing Russian" as they call her, introduces super athlete Alexander Rusev.
Match 6: Alexander Rusev defeated Zack Ryder via submission in 80 seconds. Rusev holds the camel clutch (he calls that the Accolade) until Lana calls him off. FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: Those two are married, kids. Yeah. Good on them.
WWE Hall of Fame highlight video, then after the break we get the 2014 headliner, The Ultimate Warrior.
UNSTABLE! The crowd go mental for Ultimate Warrior. This is his first appearance on RAW since July 8, 1996--6,482 days--and his first appearance on any major wrestling show since 1999. There's an entire generation of people that have never seen him on a live wrestling show. Crazy, right?
SPEAK TO ME WARRIORS! He tries to find a way to thank the people, but Warrior pulls out a Warrior mask and decides he'll do the talking from here, thanks. And he delivers a hell of a promo.
"No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend markers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. Ultimate. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever!"
FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: A promo that surely would have been lost in the ether within a week becomes the stuff of legend within 24 hours. Warrior dies of a heart attack at age 54 the next day. It's all covered here, but at least he got to hang with the WWE Universe one last time before going out.
WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee after the break.
A WWE Thank You video to the fans. It's a pretty awesome video and a cool nod to a pretty important cog in the company: you.
After the break, WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee enters with Tamina Snuka. Despite winning last night, she is salty as hell.
"295. For 295 days, I have been your Divas champion; the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time. And a couple of months ago, I stood at the top of that stage and I tore all the Divas a much deserved new one. But I gave them a chance. I gave them 294 days to prove me wrong, and they couldn't. Last night, they proved that I am the hero of this story. Last night at Wrestlemania, it was ‘AJ Lee vs The World' but it's always been that way. The odds were 13 to 1 but it's always been those odds. She has gone from a poor girl in New Jersey to the best girl in the world. I am the savior of your Divas Divison. I AM the Divas Division."
SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHH two drums.
Enter NXT Women's Champion Paige. Wait.. what?
AJ wants to know what she's doing here. Paige just wants to congratulate AJ. AJ thinks that's nice, now go back and run along to NXT, k thx bi. AJ then realizes... you're dressed for combat, how about a match, yeah? Paige is like nah I'm not ready, I just wanna congratulate you and—SLAP! Are you ready now?
Divas title match NOW says AJ Lee. Get her a referee.
Match 7: Paige defeated AJ Lee in just 79 seconds to win the WWE Divas Championship. AJ hooked in the Black Widow, but Paige reverses into the Paige Turner for the one-hit kill. Paige, just 21 years old is your new Divas Champion. FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: To go from THAT to being persona non grata in just three years... that's staggering. Also that 295 day record would be classified as obsolete just over a year later when Nikki Bella surpasses the mark with a 301-day reign. Charlotte would kinda sorta surpass that mark right after with a 309-day title reign that spans the Divas and the new Women's Championship.
Promo video for Wrestlemania 31, coming March 29, 2015.
After the break, we get another promo video for Bo Dallas, coming soon.
Then out comes Hulk Hogan who wants to tell us something brother. He nails the name of the building on the first try this time (SUPERDOME). He mentions that the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal will now be a yearly thing, so cool. Here's your Andre Battle Royal winner, Cesaro.
Cesaro comes out with Zeb and Cesaro poses and such. Zeb says let a REAL AMERICAN talk. Zeb talks about how he made and molded Cesaro, but Cesaro cuts him off. He's not a Zeb Colter guy. He's A PAUL HEYMAN GUY.
Paul Heyman introduces himself as the advocate for the KING OF SWING. Ok, this is a shock to all of you and all that, and Paul heads to the announce table to explain himself. Jack Swagger jumps Cesaro and Swagger breaks the trophy. Cesaro is pissed and he damn near kills Swagger as we go to break.
Match 8: Cesaro defeated Jack Swagger by countout in 5:10. Swagger takes a powder with Zeb and THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE. And Cesaro didn't even get to do his swing. Seriously, Jack. SERIOUSLY.
After the break, we get stills of 21-1 making worldwide news. We also get a replay of parts of the opening segment.
Back in the office, Stephanie is talking with The Shield and Kane and says last night doesn't matter, tonight they are to make sure Triple H wins the title. Seth wants to know where are the New Age Outlaws, and Kane says they're on thin ice and Haitch sees them as nameless, faceless, expendable pawns. And he mentioned that Haitch gave the word to Kane to attack The Shield. Stephanie calls D-Bry and his "YES! Movement" an injustice and The Shield's gonna right that and take him out. Crystal clear says Roman Reigns.
After the break, YOUR MAIN EVENT.
Match 9: Daniel Bryan and Triple H fight to a no contestu for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 3:00. Champ enters first... never a good sign. And it wasn't. Randy Orton and Batista attack the champ. Then Kane comes out and gives D-Bry a chokeslam. I guess no Team Hell No reunion. Then out comes Triple H, whose left leg was taped. The Shield come out shortly after the bell rings to "HOUNDS OF JUSTICE" chants. Hunter said, this isn't the time to do this. The Shield aren't listening. They're looking to kill Kane, Orton, Batista, Haitch, and maybe D-Bry. Triple H turns to Roman...who spears him out of his boots. ANARCHY ENSUES. D-Bry gives Hunter THE KNEE THAT BEAT JOHN CENA, as the new champ stands tall with The Shield.
Reprise the theme song and roll the credits.
EDDIE MAC'S QUICK REVIEW
This is probably my favorite episode of RAW in recent memory. As I said earlier this week, hope springs eternal on Wrestlemania Monday. Everyone starts fresh (mostly), new stars, new stories. We all know the reality that came from it, but once in a while, WWE produces a show that's far beyond everything that it could possibly be. And I totally recommend it. A very easy 5 stars out of 5.
Check out Geno's review from the morning after the show here. And the live blog from the show's original airing here.