Triple H destroys Daniel Bryan
While last week's Occupy Raw segment fell flat with this writer, this week's show-closing angle was a major hit.
"The Cerebral Assassin" Triple H showed fans just why he earned the nickname in the first place as he perfectly lured Bryan into a false sense of security, then capitalized on a handcuffed and detained Bryan and beat him senseless for several minutes, finishing the assault with a Pedigree.
The beating went a long way in creating doubt as to whether or not Bryan can actually defeat Triple H at WrestleMania and earn a WWE Championship opportunity. While most expected Bryan to have his crowning moment on April 6 in New Orleans, there is now doubt that he can go toe-to-toe with someone as diabolical as The Game and still be anywhere near ready to compete later in the night.
If he even makes it that far.
It was a great old-school heel beatdown that would have fit right in the Attitude Era as well as it does the PG Era.
The end of Raw, in which Triple H and Stephanie posed and kissed over Bryan's motionless body, was phenomenal and only put more heel heat on them.
This is the type of segment that makes fans want to buy WrestleMania on pay-per-view or subscribe to the WWE Network to see Bryan finally get his hands on Triple H and beat his main tormentor.
The Aberdeen native was sympathetic as he was beaten from the ring to the arena floor and back again, and Triple H rediscovered that aggression and intensity that makes him one of the more believable bad guys of the last 20 years.
It was an expertly executed segment by all involved, including the outstanding Stephanie McMahon.
The video package previewing the John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt match at WrestleMania set to Eminem's "Legacy" was yet another example of the WWE production team doing what it does best. It summed up the entire rivalry via soundbites from Bray Wyatt, used powerful and striking images to capture the attention of the audience and perfectly synced to the music for effect.
This great video catapulted the match ahead of the Bryan saga as the most interesting aspect of this year's WrestleMania.
At least in this writer's humble opinion.
Bray Wyatt Promo
The second appearance of Bray Wyatt in "The Awesome" section this week should indicate just how truly special Wyatt's promos leading into his match with John Cena have been.
This week, he was decked out in John Cena merchandise and again spoke on the fallacy that is a hero. He mentioned Cena fans buying his merchandise and made a point to mention the former WWE champion's "plastic girlfriend" and his "giant castle."
Again, the delivery and the conviction with which he spoke brought legitimacy and realness to the words that others on the show just have not been able to convey.
Just an outstanding promo that, again, sold the match more than any physical encounter of any kind ever could.
The Usos vs. The Real Americans
The WWE Tag Team champions watched the momentum they garnered from capturing the titles and winning a few matches shortly thereafter disappear as Cesaro and Jack Swagger worked together long enough to score a huge victory and throw their names into contention for a tag title shot at WrestleMania.
The finish was great as Cesaro caught a diving Uso with an uppercut and the Neutralizer for the win in a great, energetic tag match to kick off the evening's in-ring festivities.
Up until a week ago, it appeared as though The Usos were on a crash course for a title defense against the New Age Outlaws. Then, an injury to Road Dogg's back seemingly put those plans on hold. Now, Cesaro and Swagger are poised to challenge for the gold.
Will they be able to coexist long enough to capture the championships or will a loss on the big stage spell the end for the Zeb Colter-led team?
The confrontation between Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton to kick off Monday's show was not only a reunion of former Evolution teammates, but it also was an excellent way to bring Orton and Batista into the fold as they had gone somewhat forgotten with all of the developments in the Bryan-Triple H segment from last week.
Batista and Orton were understandably upset about the potential for Bryan's inclusion in their WWE title match on April 6. The verbal exchanges between the Superstars and the COO resulted in some very good lines from both Batista and Triple H.
"When this is all said and done, this your fault," Triple H said to the crowd. He again reiterated that he was attempting to protect Bryan and that everything he had done was in the best interest of the business.
After interrupting his boss and mentor, a fairly angry Batista warned The Game, "Now you may have problems with Daniel Bryan, but you've got bigger problems with me."
Addressing both Batista and Orton, Triple H asked, "Has Bryan really gotten that far into your heads?"
Batista, who always had a better read on the Evolution leader than any other Superstar, responded with, "Apparently not as much as he's gotten into yours."
Triple H and Batista were great on the microphone while Orton's RKO of Batista ended the segment on a high note. That action by Orton would come into play later in the evening.