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ThunderStruck: WWE Raw Analysis 03/10/14

Hulk Hogan kicks off Raw by announcing the 30 man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30. John Cena joins him and talks(he initially wants to enter the Battle Royal but things change). The Wyatts come out. Cena challenges Bray to a match at WrestleMania XXX. They tease a brawl but nothing happens.

^I like the battle royal idea and I dislike it at the same time. I hate the idea of cramming a bunch of wrestlers into one match just so they can fit onto the Mania card. However, I’ll like the match more if they decide to put some big names in it and have an incentive for the winner(besides a trophy). Hogan and Cena interacting is just beyond cheesy, but a lot of traditional fans probably find it pretty cool. I’m glad Cena made the challenge for Mania the way he did; it means the match has time for more build between now and April 6.

John Cena takes on Erick Rowan. Cena wins the match with a rollup and celebrates with Hogan after the match.

^Cena beats a big guy with a rollup in an indecisive way? That’s just strange to me. Maybe they wanted to save a big AA spot for later on. Not anything special for a match, but I like the overall storyline and the use of Hogan in Cena’s corner(better than seeing the Hulkster wrestle, no?).

Triple H and Stephanie come out and talk. Stephanie apologizes for last week and says Daniel Bryan needs to do the same later tonight…or else.

^This is becoming a bit too typical for me. The Authority does something bad and they apologize. And then they do it again. And again. C’mon, WWE. Your fans aren’t stupid. Stop insulting our intelligence with this sort of thing; evil Vince never would have apologized for his actions in 1999.

The New Age Outlaws are on commentary while the Usos defeat Ryback and Curtis Axel. Jimmy pins Axel for the win.

^I like the continuation of the feud between the Outlaws and the Usos. While I wish WWE would push younger teams into the title scene(I’ll never understand the split between the PTP), you can see that the Outlaws can still go in the ring and bring out the best in their opponents. One big blowoff match on the WrestleMania pre-show would be a great way to give the Usos that boost to the next level(Champions who can defend their gold and retain against one of the greatest tag teams of all time).

Kane argues with the Shield backstage after telling them he wants to light a fire under them. They don’t respond so well and Kane books Rollins and Reigns in a match with the Rhodes Brothers.

^This was funny. Correction, Dean Ambrose was funny. Roman needs to stop saying “believe in the Shield” in people’s faces. It’s not believable and it comes across very silly to me. Come up with something new and real for the guy to say.

Big E. defeats Jack Swagger(again) after a Cesaro distraction. He wins with a rollup pinfall. The Real Americans argue after the match as Zeb tries to maintain the peace. They end up shaking hands but Cesaro squeezes Swagger’s hand until Zeb makes him let go.

^Is this split going to happen or not? It can only be teased for so long before it gets old. I do give WWE credit for giving a storyline time to develop, but there has to be some new material involved to keep it interesting. Why aren’t these two having tag team matches on a regular basis? Big E. is in the battle Royal, and that means the IC Title won’t be defended at WrestleMania. Let me hide my surprise.

The Undertaker comes out. He’s immediately interrupted by Paul Heyman. Heyman has words about Lesnar and Taker being afraid of the unknown. Taker has words back and says Lesnar will rest in peace at WM 30.

^Not much said by the dead man, but it was very effective stuff. Heyman is speaking for Lesnar(he can only appear so often), and what he said was decent. I don’t see the streak ending, but they need to make a portion of the audience believe that it could happen. Nice job with the realism here.

Rollins and Reigns defeat the Rhodes Brothers. Rollins wins the match with the curb stomp on Cody.

^More Rhodes Brothers please. It’s like WWE used them for awhile and then just tossed them to the side rather than putting them into a different storyline. Can we please get some continuity for characters and not let them fall off the map?(Ziggler, Kingston, Ryder, Sandow, etc.)

Nikki pins AJ Lee when the Bellas defeat Tamina and the Divas Champion. Natalya does commentary during the match and stares down Nikki Bella after the match.

^I like that WWE wants these women to be relevant, but my concern is that they just bounce ideas week to week with no long term planning. With the improvement of the Bellas in the ring mixed with the talent of Natalya and AJ, we could have some potentially fun matchups in the future if WWE chooses to go in a more solid direction with these ladies.

Daniel Bryan occupies Raw with other fans from the yes movement. He forces Hunter to agree to face him at WrestleMania 30. He also forces Hunter to allow him to enter the WWE World Title match IF he can beat Triple H on the same night. Hunter is livid but accepts as he has no other choice.

^Best segment of the night. I finally woke up. Everything up until this part of the show was just somewhat average(solid, but not super exciting). WWE seems to realize that Daniel Bryan is the hottest thing in wrestling, and putting him in this feud with Hunter and allowing him to most likely win the WWE World Title at WrestleMania is the right move for all involved. I’m genuinely pleased with the outcome(despite many of us doubting it would happen).

Sheamus defeats Christian in a Memphis street fight(the fans voted for it). Sheamus brogue kicks through a drum into Christian’s face before getting the three count.

^This was a lot of fun and told a good story. We had a decent mix of brawling and wrestling(more brawling) and the match seems like a decent blowoff for their feud. Maybe now one or the other can interfere in a match and keep the rivalry going as both men will probably be entered into the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at Mania.

Daniel Bryan and Big Show defeat Batista and Randy Orton in the main event. Bryan gets the pinfall on Orton after nailing the running knee. Dbry celebrates as the show goes off the air.

^That wasn’t much of a match until the final two minutes. I was genuinely fearful that Big Show was going to end up in the World Title match instead of Dbry, but WWE seems to have the right idea going forward. Dbry getting the pin on Orton just adds to his momentum. Good finish to a solid show.

Everything about this Raw delivered in a solid way. While I personally found the Cena/Hogan interaction to be a little cheesy, I like the direction for all the matches that are in the works for WrestleMania. Should be a darn good show. I give this episode of Raw a 7.5/10 for giving us the overall goods.

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