Raw Report, 23rd March 2015

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March 25, 2015 by Joey Keogh

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Finally, the road to Wrestlemania has come to an end. We’ve made it all the way to the go-home show for the biggest night of the year and, although this is arguably one of the worst build-ups in WWE history, it’s still exciting because of what it is so let’s just try to focus on the good things for now. For example, selling out the Staples Center. That’s pretty cool. We’ve also got Snoop Dogg as a guest tonight, along with some lad off ESPN. And we’re only five seconds in, yet Michael Cole has already used the word “confrontation”, so obviously we’re in for some fun. Speaking of fun, Stinger is here to open the show for the first (and hopefully last) time EVER, dressed in his Sunday best from Hot Topic. Every time he shows up, I find myself focusing on how his face-paint doesn’t reach his hairline and it really irks me. Anyway, he cuts a promo about how Triple H sucks and how he’s here for one, specific reason only – to take him down. Steph shows up, feeling her own music likeSteph hammer we all would if we were her, and congratulates him on finally making it to the big time. She also reminds him that her father “eviscerated” WCW and, as a result, his career. When he grabs her arm, Trips appears, removing his tie and unbuttoning his shirt as he does so because this is serious business which means no time for suits. He stalks the ring and checks his lady is okay, as she ducks down and does her best Vince impression while handing him his prized sledgehammer. In the meantime, Sting has grabbed his bat and is just looking for an excuse to swing it. Wisely, Steph tells Trips to wait till Sunday and, although there’s some back and forth for a bit, suggesting maybe one of them will take a swing, in the end they sulk in their separate corners.

skully skull - Copy - CopyTag Team Match: Dean Ambrose & R-Truth -v- Stardust & Luke Harper
There’s a sign in the crowd that reads simply “Ryan Gosling”. This information isn’t relevant, but then again nor is the sign itself. There’s a big pop for Ambrose as he enters, and Bad News Barrett is on commentary, where indeed he should be every single week because he’s a legitimately, and comparatively, great talker. Stardust is annoyed the fans are shouting “Cody” so, to comfort him, Harper helpfully covers his ears to make the bad voices go away. Ambrose kicks things off opposite him, in the battle of the stinky jeans and days-old under-shirts, with Harper eating a clothesline right off the bat. Ambrose follows it up with a flurry of punches, before stranding him in the corner and kicking the shit out of him. He and Truth then team up to clothesline Harper out. Following the commercial break (during which, weAmbrose dance learn, Ambrose ate a big boot) Stardust has Ambrose in a headlock, and an Alabama Slam leads to the first near fall. A slingshot off the ropes, followed by a side-slam, leads to another. Stardust lines Ambrose up for a Superplex, but he counters by face-planting him off the top rope. Harper tags in again only to suffer a tornado DDT, after which Truth clotheslines Stardust and face-plants him for another near fall that Harper breaks up. He manages to win it for them anyway, though, and then he makes Ambrose dance awkwardly to celebrate.
Winners: Dean Ambrose & R-Truth

The “candid” interview with Roman Reigns from last week is replayed next, during which he literally reads his new T-shirt with the dull mantra: “I can, I will, believe DAT”. Reigns is still totally unnatural in front of the camera, both in the ring and otherwise, and segments such as this further highlight how inconceivable it is to imagine he might win on Sunday. Lesnar will be here later, so hopefully that means Heyman, a man who can actually talk, will get a chance to show Reigns how it’s done.

skully skull - Copy - Copy10-Man Tag Team Match: The Miz, Damien Mizdow, The Ascension, Zack Ryder, The Prime Time Players, Ryback, Erick Rowan & Adam Rose
This match was incredibly difficult to follow, but luckily it doesn’t count for anything. Miz gets nothing as he enters, but Mizdow gets a massive pop. Before the match kicks off, we’re treated to a small segment from an interview the two of them did with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell, as promotion for their upcoming film Get Hard. Mizdow is seated in a lower chair than Miz, which is funny considering Ferrell and Hart openly prefer him. Back at ringside, Bill Simmons of ESPN fame is on commentary in a hoodie, and if this man has ever watched a wrestling match before I will eat JBL‘s hat. Gems from him during this bout include the use of the word wrestling about sixty million times, along with such insights as “Ryback needs to be fed”. He has a weird voice for broadcasting, but thankfully this is the only time he shows up tonight. The crowd are hot for Mizdow as always, but Miz demands the tag once he gets it, and suffers at the hands of Ryback as a result. He wins it for his team with the Shellshock, meaning this is probably Ryder’s first victory in about…five years?
Winners: Ryback’s Team

skully skull - Copy - Copy2-on-1 Handicap Match: Randy Orton -v- Seth Rollins, with J & J Security
Earlier in the show, we were encouraged to get on our phones and vote for Orton’s opponent in this bout from the following choices; Big Show, Kane or Seth Rollins and his security team. Booker teases it for as long as he can before revealing the (obvious) winner but the results speak for themselves as 77% of fans want Rollins and his little team, both of whom, it must be noted, are bloody thrilled to be involved even if it means getting their asses handed to them. Mercury takes the first hit and is immediately face-planted by Orton, as Rollins screams his head off from the sidelines (even when he’s not technically working, he’s still working it). Noble tags in and gets stomped on repeatedly. He manages to elbow-drop Orton after he tries and fails to drag Rollins in, but soon pays for it when Orton lines he and Mercury up for a double DDT off the second rope. He then RKOs Noble to win. Rollins swoops in to try for a Rollinscurbstomp and misses, giving Orton the opportunity to attempt an RKO but he misses too. And, that’s it, that’s all we’re getting until Sunday (apart from last week’s match, of course).
Winner: Randy Orton

Cena apparently did an interview last week too, with Cole, about how much he loves ‘murica. Er, whatever. Backstage, Paige is doing her make-up at what appears to be a young girl’s princess vanity table when frenemy AJ shows up to warn her that they shouldn’t trust Nikki’s offer of a championship match tonight because she’s just trying to break up their super-solid tag team before Sunday, to throw them off and ensure a win even though it isn’t for anything at all. There’s a big pop for the two of them, which is nice, and Paige refers to the Bellas as “slags”, which is even nicer.

skully skull - Copy - CopyDivas Title Match: Nikki Bella -v- Paige
As it happens, Paige does not heed her buddy’s warning and emerges to face Nikki to rapturous cheers. The two of them watch the Bellas enter the arena and seem pretty unimpressed (actually, AJ looks bored throughout but anyway). Paige hits a gnarly shoulder tackle early on, stranding Nikki on the second rope and driving her knee in over and over. Cole refers to the British upstart as a “Goth” because he’s down with the kids. She hits a big elbow from the apron after Nikki flees, leading the action to spill out ringside. Nikki fires back with her knee, leading to a near fall, after which she has her in a headlock because more commercials, damn it. A succession of clotheslines by Paige follows, and a massive superkick nearly puts Nikki away. She hits an Alabama Slam (funny, as it’s a move Nikki has been perfecting over the past few weeks) but Nikki follows it up by attempting the Rack Attack, which Paige counters with the Rampaige. AJ tackles Brie on the outside so she won’t interfere, leading to a mix-up during which Paige eats an elbow. NikkiPaige Nikki Bella takes her chance for a massive forearm and hits the Rack Attack to win. Immediately following the match, Paige unloads on her tag team partner, setting the wheels in motion for Sunday and proving AJ’s prophecy right.
Winner: Nikki Bella

After the successful choosing of Rollins earlier on, we now get to select a ref for a match later on, and it’s most definitely going to be Ambrose. Snoop is here, in his pjs and accompanied by some jobber Divas, to tell us all about Snoopmania. Curtis Axel shows up to cut him off and explain that Axelmania is a real thing and Snoopmania is not. Snoop is like “the most important Mania is…this one! Sofamania! 45% off all leather interiors for this Sunday only!” Wait, sorry, no. It’s just Hogan. Oh well. Snoop vamps behind him the whole time he’s talking, which is more entertaining than whatever the hell he’s on about. Axel hulks out of his shirt, the man himself hits him with all the aggression of a cranky toddler and then Snoop chucks Axel over. He reveals he’s also in a Hulk shirt and they vamp for a bit longer. Next up, we get yet another replay of a taped interview from last week as Lesnar tells us again how he prefers to bleach his eyebrows because he reckons he looks more menacing that way. Also, sound effects people, adding a dorky noise to the Spear doesn’t make it any cooler.

skully skull - Copy - CopyInterspecies Tag Team Match: Tyson Kidd, Cesaro & Natalya -v- Los Matadores & El Torito
So apparently Nattie is a different species now. That’s pretty cool. Maybe she can hibernate in winter or fish with her bare hands or something. The Ascension should be involved in the title run, but whatever, at least we have The Usos (and Naomi, who doesn’t get to sit down because she’s a stupid woman) on commmentary, right? Otherwise, how else would we be able to follow this bullshit match that goes nowhere and whose only purpose is to get us pumped for a bout that’s been relegated to the pre-show anyway? Kidd and Cesaro do themselves proud, as always, and Nattie looks like she has it won for them after clotheslining Torito but he rolls her up to win and then Tyson is really mad at her for being so useless.
Winners: Los Matadores & El Torito

In the locker room, Kane is trying to psyche Barrett out for Sunday by demanding he hand his belt over so it can be hung above the ring later on for some reason. He’s all like “no way, mate” but eventually gives in after being threatened with a jolly good stripping. Reluctantly handing it over, Barrett emphatically calls it a “travesty” and Kane chortles about how fancy and English he is.

skully skull - Copy - CopyRusev -v- Jack Swagger
There’s a massive “We the people” chant for Swagger, which is odd considering we’re in California, not Kentucky. Rusev unloads on him, mostly in anticipation for Sunday, as the fans chant loudly for Lana. This match is all about showing off how tough and unstoppable the Russian is before his inevitable loss to Cena, which is so depressing it’s not even worth dwelling on. He puts Swagger in the Accolade to win and the commentators really lay it on thick about how strong he is, which does not bode well for his chances. The ref pleads with him but he won’t let go until Cena shows up to defend his country (even though nothing was actually said tonight) and they brawl for a bit before Rusev chucks him into the turnbuckle, and over the announce table into the barricade. He Rusev Cenaraises his flag happily but, upon realising Cena is still breathing, strolls back over to finish the job, setting him up on the table for the Accolade. The refs beg for mercy and eventually pull him off, leaving the Russian to do a quick victory lap before posing in the ring with the belt for possibly the last time.
Winner: Rusev

Bray Wyatt is here, live and in person for once, and he has some things to say about hats. Er, I mean, Taker, who he believes is a liar just like all of us. Frustratingly, the crowd chant relentlessly for the Deadman while Wyatt attempts to cut his very good promo. He gets through it and finishes with a succinct statement: “At Wrestlemania, you can finally rest in peace”. Not the most original or exciting, but he’s working a difficult angle an he writes all his own stuff so credit where it’s due. Backstage, Nattie is doing her make-up, much like Paige was earlier (women, right?) when her hubbie rocks up with some Burger King and starts whispering sweet nothings to it, which she misinterprets as being aimed at her. Upon discovering the truth, she chows down on some chicken fries (they’re back, y’all!) and tells him she wants to be alone with them because, even though he’s greasier, she prefers the food.

skully skull - Copy - CopyDaniel Bryan -v- Dolph Ziggler
As predicted, Booker reveals that Ambrose is the special guest referee for this match even though, as JBL notes in disgust, he isn’t even dressed for the job. He manages to pull on a shirt, but over his manky regular one, so it doesn’t really count (besides, he throws it off in a fit of passion later on anyway). Apparently, Bryan is being set up to win the IC title on Sunday, which makes no sense given he won the world heavyweight championship last year but apparently he’s being set up for a feud with Ziggler, so whatever. Cole reckons Bryan really wants to be the champ even though this is the first anyone is hearing of any such intention. Ambrose is kind of milking his new job role, and is particularly funny in his interactions with the two competitors,Ziggler Bryan especially when the mic picks up him telling them to get back in the ring after they’ve both been tossed out. Bryan hits a great Suplex, followed by a gnarly dropkick, after which he eats a superkick for his trouble. Ziggler hits the Zig Zag to win and Ambrose reluctantly holds up his arm to celebrate, before decking him, leading the ring to flood with all the other lads in competition for the title, all of whom take turns fighting over the ladder so they can climb for the belt.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler

Our Main Even tonight isn’t a match at all, but a confrontation between The Beast Incarnate and that fellow who didn’t deserve to win the Rumble but did anyway. Before we get started though, a glimpse is given at Lesnar’s dressing room door, which has evidently been painted black for the occasion. Heyman owns it yet again, proving that only he can sell a Wrestlemania booked this terribly, and that he should close (and open) every show. Lesnar, Reigns Lesnar tug of waron the other hand, seems distracted and is rocking a flesh-coloured beard that makes him look a bit like the greatest of reality TV villains, Spencer Pratt. His references to Lesnar’s incredibly private personal life don’t go down too well, but he ends nicely by echoing Reigns’s words from earlier,  stating simply; “You can’t and you won’t”. Of course, Reigns ruins it by showing up and snatching the belt from Lesnar’s hands, leading to a weird tug of war. But hey, at least he didn’t talk, right?

Catch Wrestlemania LIVE this Sunday, March 29th on the WWE Network at 7E/4P. Stay tuned to Gorilla Press for our predictions on how the biggest show of the year will go down.

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3 thoughts on “Raw Report, 23rd March 2015

  1. […] memory this is still the show of the year and it is impossible not to be super stoked for it. The go-home show helped matters slightly as, aside from an ill-judged tug of war over the belt at the end, it was a […]

  2. […] States Championship Match: Rusev (c) vs. John Cena John Cena has gone full Team America lately, and this is more than a US title match, its a collision of two superpowers in the squared […]

  3. […] go-home show for the biggest night of the pro-wrestling calendar may have been surprisingly great but the […]

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