WrestleMania XXX will long be remembered as one of the most impactful events in WWE history. That certainly carried over to the ensuing episode of Raw, as the stage is now set for an intriguing product moving forward.
The post-Mania Raw has consistently been one of the best WWE productions in recent years, and that was the case once again on Monday. The creative team built upon some of the big moments that occurred at WrestleMania XXX and effectively parlayed them into angles that the entire WWE Universe can embrace.
As WWE builds toward Extreme Rules and beyond, here is a closer look at a few of the biggest storylines that were born from WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans.
The Authority vs. Daniel Bryan and The Shield
WWE fans have been clamoring for Daniel Bryan to once again become the company's top champion ever since he was forced to vacate the title following Night of Champions. Many felt as though it might never happen due to the fact that the writers failed to pull the trigger on a number of occasions, but all of that changed at WrestleMania XXX.
Not only did Bryan defeat Triple H cleanly in the middle of the ring to qualify for the main event, but he then managed to overcome both Batista and Randy Orton to become the WWE World Heavyweight champion. Bryan endured an attack at the hands of Triple H following their match, and he even hopped off a stretcher during the main event after taking a Batista Bomb into an RKO through the announce table.
Bryan overcame the odds like nobody before him ever had, and WrestleMania XXX ended in ideal fashion with the entire Superdome chanting "Yes!" in unison. After finally reaching the top of the mountain, Bryan was grateful for all of the fan support:
I only have two words: THANK YOU— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) April 7, 2014
Not surprisingly, Triple H tried to stack the deck against Bryan on Raw. He gave himself a match against Bryan with the title on the line, and he enlisted the services of Batista, Orton, Kane and The Shield. Batista and Orton jumped Bryan prior to the match, and Kane eventually joined in as well. When The Game was preparing to finish off the leader of the Yes Movement, The Shield made its way to the ring.
The Shield has brought justice to WWE ever since debuting, and it did so in spectacular fashion on Monday by taking on The Authority. Roman Reigns got things started by spearing Triple H, and the battle lines were officially drawn.
Seth Rollins made The Shield's dominance known in the aftermath of Raw:
We are the new rulers of this world.— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) April 8, 2014
The stage is now set for a captivating battle between the old guard and the new guard in WWE. Since Bryan vs. Triple H never really happened on Raw, it seems likely that they will fight for the title at Extreme Rules. That then opens the door for a match between The Shield and the team of Batista, Orton and Kane.
Considering the fact that The Shield has somewhat been stuck in limbo over the past few months, this is a huge step up for it. It's great to see it back involved in the main event scene, and there is little doubt that The Shield will thrive.
There was some concern regarding how Bryan would come across after winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, since he is a natural underdog. Having the title isn't likely to change that, since Triple H will do everything possible to make his title reign a living hell.
Triple H vs. Bryan was great heading into WrestleMania, and it's exciting to know that the feud will continue with some added wrinkles as well.
Next Step for Brock Lesnar After Conquering The Streak
Brock Lesnar was already one of the greatest and most accomplished Superstars in WWE history heading into WrestleMania XXX, but that was cemented when he shocked the world by ending The Undertaker's vaunted undefeated streak. It can certainly be argued that Lesnar's win over Taker was the most surprising professional wrestling result of all time.
Most figured that the streak would live forever, but even if it didn't, few figured that Lesnar would be the guy to end it. When push came to shove, however, manager Paul Heyman's words proved to be prophetic:
The Undertaker did not appear on Raw after suffering the first WrestleMania loss of his storied career, and it is unclear when or if he will resurface. Taker could potentially return as soon as next week, or he may not be seen again until his inevitable induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Taker's status is shrouded in mystery, but the same can be said of Lesnar.
Which post-Mania storyline interests you most?
Heyman cut one of the greatest promos of his career on Monday and branded Lesnar as "the one" in 21-1. Lesnar has more momentum than anyone ever has, and WWE has to do everything possible to capitalize on it. With that said, it is well established that Lesnar is a part-time guy who works a limited schedule, so there is no telling how often he will be around.
He could potentially stick around and face someone at Extreme Rules, but WWE may opt to save him for SummerSlam instead. The likeliest scenario at this point seems to be Lesnar disappearing for a little while until Bryan's feud with The Authority plays out.
Lesnar can then be brought back into the fold to challenge Bryan for the title at SummerSlam. Even though keeping Lesnar off television after ending the streak isn't an ideal situation, WWE probably figures that beating the streak has so much clout that he'll have heat no matter how long he leaves for.
Ending the streak wasn't a popular decision, but it can't be undone, so the WWE creative team must ensure that it doesn't waste such a huge occurrence.
Cesaro Is Newest Heyman Guy
Heyman was a busy person on Monday night. Not only did he put over Lesnar in a big way, but he took on yet another client. After Hulk Hogan presented Cesaro with the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy, the Swiss Superstar announced his new partnership with Heyman:
I'm a #HeymanGuy— Cesaro (@WWECesaro) April 8, 2014
Cesaro's relationship with Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger had soured in recent weeks, so it wasn't overly surprising to see them go their separate ways. Swagger blamed Cesaro for their loss in the WrestleMania pre-show Tag Team Championship match, which resulted in Cesaro swinging him. Cesaro then went on to win the Battle Royal later in the night by incredibly body slamming Big Show over the top rope.
Cesaro has a ton of momentum, and putting him with Heyman gives him instant credibility. Heyman's recent partnerships with the likes of Curtis Axel and Ryback admittedly fell flat, but it is crystal clear that Cesaro is a star in the making—unlike his "Heyman Guy" predecessors.
A feud with Swagger is essentially guaranteed through Extreme Rules as Swagger destroyed Cesaro's trophy on Monday. They proceeded to have a match, but Swagger ran off and suffered a count-out loss. Colter wasn't shy about making his feelings regarding Cesaro known after the match:
All of this looks good on paper since Cesaro and Heyman seem tailor-made for each other, but the timing of this entire situation is odd. Cesaro was clearly trending toward a face turn, and he will be cheered as a face during his feud with Swagger. With that said, Heyman is one of the most hated men in wrestling after his client ended the streak.
Heyman bashed The Undertaker and the WWE Universe on Monday, but then he received applause just an hour later when he joined forces with Cesaro. It's a strange dynamic, and it remains to be seen how the pairing of Cesaro and Heyman will be embraced over the long haul.
The hardcore fans will love it, but there are bound to be fans who boo them due to Heyman's hand in the ending of the streak. Seeing how WWE handles this situation promises to be one of the most interesting parts of the product in the coming weeks and months.
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