This is going to be a monumental episode of Raw without a doubt. Following last night's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event, we have a rather clear picture of what matches we will see at WrestleMania XXX. On top of that, this is the launch of the WWE Network and in turn, you can expect some big things to happen to draw attention. The Undertaker almost always shows up around this time, and it would seem odd if Vince McMahon weren't there, and Hulk Hogan has already been confirmed with rumors and speculation have also pointed to other stars like Ric Flair and perhaps even Sting showing up!
We're starting off immediately with Hulk Hogan in full Hulkamania Regalia. He gets on the mic and says he's officially home. He's going to be the host of WrestleMania XXX, as expected.
Alberto Del Rio is going to have a rematch with Batista tonight, Kane will face Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar is going to show up.
MATCH: Alberto Del Rio vs. Batista
LOTS of boos for Batista as soon as his music starts playing. This crowd is giving him a worse reaction than most heels normally get. Michael Cole tells us that whether we like it or not, Batista's the #1 contender. [That's a great mentality. "Too bad, fans".] The Bootista chants start up. Batista tries to go right for Del Rio with a vengeance and it seems like the story of the match is to try to be as rough as possible and convince the fans that it's cool because it's tough and brutal, but the fans aren't buying it at all.
We're back from the commercial and Del Rio is back in control, but that quickly changes as he pulls the usual spot where he misses jumping through the ropes. [Does Del Rio ever do anything but hurt himself in that spot? How pointless.] They trade a series of punches, with Del Rio being cheered and Batista being booed. Batista gets a two-count with a power slam. Del Rio gets ready for his kick and...kind of kicks Batista. It's a complete botch where Batista was supposed to move out of the way but didn't, so Del Rio simply got confused and didn't know what to do. Batista starts getting pumped for a Batista Bomb and gets distracted by Randy Orton's music. Del Rio capitalizes and rolls him up for the three-count and the win.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio via pinfall.
Orton is getting cheered and his promo is playing into it, saying the WWE Universe is booing the hell out of Batista. CM Punk is being chanted. Batista tells everyone to "get this through their head", that he loves this business and he loves that the fans have a voice and so does he. If the fans cheer him, he cheers back. If they boo him, he'll boo them back. "It's called being real, honesty, something you know nothing about" (to Orton). He calls Orton a sniveling whining kiss-ass suckup that he's going to beat. He ends the promo by saying he's going to be the next champ, "deal with it". [And the fans still could not care less, especially not for what's supposed to be the main event of the biggest pay-per-view of all time.]
MATCH: Big E vs. Cesaro
Immediately as the match starts, a "we the people" chant breaks out. Just like last night, Big E has been taken down a notch and Cesaro is controlling this match. JBL pokes and prods at Cole to explain what the E in "Big E" stands for and Cole stalls before he finally caves in and says Ettore. JBL asks if he means the Winnie the Pooh character (Eeyore) and that it sounds too close to Igor.
Just like in the first match, we have the spot where they're trading blows. This time, though, the reaction goes a little more according to plan, even if Cesaro is still pretty over with the crowd. Big E presses Cesaro to show off his strength and spears a turnbuckle instead of Cesaro. Cesaro puts Big E in a sleeper hold, but Big E escapes. Big E hits a belly-to-belly suplex and follows it up with a splash for a two-count. The straps go down for Big E, who picks Cesaro up for the Big Ending. Cesaro gets out and tosses Big E up for an uppercut, which earns him a two-count. Cesaro calls for the Cesaro Swing, which pumps the crowd up. Big E kicks out of it and hits a variation of a clothesline / Rock Bottom maneuver. Cesaro tosses Big E to the outside. Swagger goes for a cheap shot but Big E ducks and clotheslines him. Big E comes back in the ring and gets a Cesaro Swing for his efforts. Swagger comes in and puts the Patriot Lock on Big E, causing a disqualification that Cesaro is not happy about.
WINNER: Big E via disqualification
Swagger and Cesaro argue about the end of the match. Big E goes after Swagger and Cesaro saves him. He hits the Neutralizer on Big E very awkwardly (almost in danger of injuring Big E) and the Real Americans leave the ringside area.
*John Cena is going to address the Wyatt Family after this commercial break*
John Cena comes out to take the mic. He's been saying that the future of the business has to run through him. He's slipping into doing the thuganomics voice quite a bit. Bray Wyatt comes out and says Cena is a liar, running down the whole idea that he's going to keep people safe and all that jazz. "We are the reapers that bring death to this era of lies." The Wyatts attack Cena in typical 3-on-1 fashion. Sheamus should be coming down soon to help save him, or someone else. Cena acts like his leg is injured but he goes to attack them anyway, being outmatched again. The Wyatts keep standing back and watching Cena get up. [This is awkwardly done.] They take Cena out again and Wyatt tells everyone to follow the buzzards.
MATCH: Christian vs. Sheamus
Sheamus and Christian argued backstage earlier and Brad Maddox made this match happen. Christian gets a few slaps in on Sheamus, which just pisses him off. Christian sets up Sheamus's legs around the ring post on the outside, but Sheamus pulls Christian face-first into the post instead. Sheamus flips Christian onto the outside and then tackles him.
Now that we're back from the break, naturally Christian is back in control. throwing Sheamus into the steps. Sheamus starts fighting back with some shots of his own, but Christian turns it back around. He misses a crossbody attempt and Sheamus hits a running high-knee. Sheamus sets Christian up for the 10 chest smacks. Sheamus puts Christian in a Texas Cloverleaf, but Christian breaks the hold with the ropes. Christian reverses a White Noise attempt into a pin for a two-count. Sheamus hits a power slam for a two-count of his own. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick, but misses. Christian gets to the top rope and when he jumps, catches Sheamus's boot with a Brogue Kick.
WINNER: Sheamus via pinfall.
Earlier tonight, Daniel Bryan got into an argument with Triple H and challenged him to a fight at WrestleMania, which Triple H declined because he's not an A+ player.
The Black History Month retrospective continues. This time, it's a video package of the Soul Patrol (Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas).
The Shield are backstage. Ambrose says he's sick of explaining himself and sick of Reigns and Rollins ganging up on him. Ambrose leaves and Rollins says he doesn't trust him. The Wyatt Family comes up to Reigns and Rollins. Reigns challenges Bray Wyatt to a one-on-one match. "You leave the Family behind, I leave the Hounds behind". Wyatt accepts.
Josh Mathews is on the special panel with Ric Flair and Booker T. They're excited.
MATCH: Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
Daniel Bryan instantly takes the fight to Kane and is relentless. Kane eventually regains control and the match slows down. It's time for a break as—you guessed it—Bryan is on the outside.
After the commercial, the match keeps a pretty steady pace at being even between the two as they get their signature maneuvers in (such as Bryan hitting a suicide dive). Bryan is able to kick out of a chokeslam. Kane counters out of the Yes Lock. Bryan hits the running knee and wins.
WINNER: Daniel Bryan via pinfall.
Bryan gets a microphone and says Triple H is a coward that is hiding behind his wife's skirt. "Ever since Triple H put on that suit, he's ignored what each and every one of you want." He again challenges Triple H to a match at WrestleMania.
Generic promo for Alexander Rusev and Lana.
MATCH: Summer Rae vs. Emma
Emma's dance doesn't seem to be going over with the crowd anywhere near as much as it does in NXT, even with the addition of bubbles that she's trying to pop. "I used to be addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but I turned myself around." - Jerry Lawler. Summer pushes Emma down while she's dancing. After some generic Divas action, Summer nails Emma with a nice kick in the head and starts putting a knee on her neck, pushing her against the ropes, and taunting with her. Summer misses another kick and Emma throws her down, then puts her in her finisher [the Emma Lock?] for the win.
WINNER: Emma via submission
MATCH: New Age Outlaws vs. The Usos
This isn't for the title. Road Dogg gets the microphone after the bell rings and tells the Usos to leave the ring so he can give their introductions. The Usos interrupt and make short work of Road Dogg with a kick and a splash for the win.
WINNERS: The Usos via pinfall.
Time for some more WWE Network plugging.
Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring.
MATCH: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
Reigns sacks Wyatt with a solid punch, which makes him go to the outside to regroup. They lock up and Reigns starts controlling the pace. Wyatt gets back on top, but not for too long as Reigns tosses Bray to the outside and hits him with a clothesline. You know what that means, it must be a commercial break!
For some reason, the fans are doing their usual chants of Randy Savage and other people instead of paying attention to the match. It may not be the most exciting one ever, but it's got two popular guys at the moment and it's no more boring than Sheamus vs. Christian was. Reigns hits a jumping clothesline and the fans wake up a bit. Reigns gears up for his spear and out comes Rowan and Harper. Then, to the rescue, Seth Rollins leaps over the top rope onto them. Bray tries to roll Reigns up, but gets only a two-count. Dean Ambrose comes down to fight his share of the Wyatt Family as well. Reigns hits the Superman Punch. Ambrose goes after Bray Wyatt, resulting in a disqualification—the same exact outcome with Swagger and Big E from earlier.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman come out. Heyman says Lesnar should be the #1 contender, but Triple H won't let him get a title shot. Instead, Lesnar has an open contract where he can name his opponent. The Undertaker's gong goes off and the lights dim. Lesnar signs the contract. Undertaker stabs Lesnar's hand with the pen and chokeslams Lesnar through the table.
While some important things happened on tonight's show that were necessary to build up WrestleMania, the overall segment by segment recap felt very boring to me. From the start of every segment, it became pretty obvious how things would turn out and that just helped make it feel like it was droning on even more.