Undertaker Gets Real in Epic Promo, Austin Theory Steps Up, More WWE Raw Fallout
The go-home edition of WWE Raw, broadcast from the Performance Center in Orlando just five days before WrestleMania 36 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, featured an array of promos that added heat and provided the perfect hype ahead of some of The Showcase of the Immortals' most prominent matches.
Undertaker sent a very real, very poignant threat to AJ Styles, Edge addressed his Last Man Standing match against Randy Orton and Paul Heyman did as Paul Heyman does by putting over the main event of wrestling's most prestigious event.
Throw in a significant debut for a young star of the future and you have a stellar penultimate stop on the red brand's Road to WrestleMania.
Undertaker Gets Real, Adds Heat to Boneyard Match with AJ Styles
For the first time since waving goodbye to his American Badass persona, The Undertaker shed his Deadman gimmick Monday night and addressed AJ Styles in a real, raw and threatening manner.
Getting real just as Styles had with him a few weeks back, Undertaker referred to his WrestleMania opponent by his real name, claimed he waited until the very best in WWE were gone to sign with the company, and was only mad at Michelle McCool because she used the Fathbreaker and got it over more than the Styles Clash.
Raw and uncut, he finished his promo by inviting Styles to bring Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson with him at WrestleMania because he will be bringing an “unholy trinity.”
By dropping the Deadman character and answering Styles’ shoot comments with those of his own, Undertaker created a buzz at the top of the show and in the process, suggested that the American Badass may ride again in WWE.
Most interesting was the mention of the unholy trinity. Who might Undertaker bring as backup for his match with Styles, if that is what he was insinuating? Perhaps Kane? Maybe Big Show?
Two weeks ago during the contract signing for the match between the legendary icon and Styles, we saw a pissed of Undertaker sporting a look that was less Phenom and more BikerTaker. He continued that trend here, a very real human being push to break character and approach his fights like a man defending both his legacy and family.
It helped put over the rivalry exponentially and had fans sucked into Monday’s show before the commentators ever welcomed them to the show. Hopefully, we see more of this Taker going forward because he is infinitely more interesting than the one-trick pony that had become The Deadman in recent years.
Austin Theory Steps Up, Earns WrestleMania Championship Opportunity
Austin Theory made his main roster debut Monday night as the latest client of Zelina Vega, who informed the WWE Universe of Andrade’s rib injury and the fact that he will miss WrestleMania. Theory then proceeded to showcase some of his in-ring skills as he tagged with Angel Garza and Seth Rollins in a loss to Kevin Owens and The Street Profits.
Theory’s sudden rise to a WrestleMania tag team title match is extraordinary when you consider the 23-year-old has only been with WWE since August of 2019. The former Progress world champion has clearly impressed those in power enough to earn the monumental opportunity on the grand stage.
His performance Monday provided audiences with hints of why.
A super athlete with natural charisma, he is an egotistical heel the likes of which fans will tune in to see get his ass handed to him. But he’s also good. Really, really good. He can talk the talk because he can walk the walk and in that regard, he draws comparisons to the likes of Shawn Michaels.
Ironic, because HBK certainly has hands in developing him down in NXT.
Theory’s meteoric rise to a championship match at WrestleMania is the type of positive story fans and wrestlers alike need out of this period of uncertainty and discomfort. Now, it will be interesting to see what he can accomplish on the most important night of his young career.
As long as he can actually catch Montez Ford this time, expect great things from the newcomer.
Edge Continues String of Compelling Promos Ahead of Showdown with Randy Orton
Edge found success in Hollywood following his retirement in 2011, starring on SiFi’s Haven and History’s Vikings. Whatever he learned from the acting world, he has clearly been able to incorporate into his promos because they have been otherworldly good since his return.
We know The Rated R Superstar was always a great promo but he did have a habit of going overboard at times. Since coming back, though, he has managed to balance the fine line between realistic and over-the-top and the result has been the most engaging, engrossing promos of his Hall of Fame career.
The Rated R Superstar sat in front of a camera backstage and poured his soul out, expressing his anger and rage toward Orton as he put the final touches on the hype for their Last Man Standing match this weekend at WrestleMania.
He did so masterfully, really hammering home the intensely personal nature of the program and how much disdain and hatred he has for the man who has repeatedly claimed to love him.
Who knows if Edge will win his return match or if Orton will spoil the homecoming but promos like Edge’s Monday night, and The Viper’s a week ago, have helped provide fans with some of the best storytelling for a single match in years.
Paul Heyman Delivers in Main Event-Hyping Go-Home Promo
On a night in which Undertaker, Edge and Kevin Owens all delivered superb promos, the godfather of mic mastery and advocate to the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE champion Brock Lesnar once again set the bar for hyping up a pay-per-view match.
Paul Heyman gloriously stood in the center of the ring and pointed to the fact that Lesnar is involved in every go-home promo of every go-home episode of Raw before WrestleMania because he is special. Drew McIntyre, in relation to the guy at the gym or a nerd in the street, is special but in comparison to The Beast, he is just another Superstar destined to be Brock’s bitch.
Heyman ran down a list of Superstars who were special, like The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg and Roman Reigns, and how they all still fell at the feet of his client. The 2020 Royal Rumble winner will face a similar fate at WrestleMania, he said.
To cap off the promo, he provided fans a guarantee: Lesnar will be right back in the same position next year, the WWE champion in the go-home promo for WrestleMania.
Speaking with his trademark seriousness, Heyman hit the promo out of the park and once again created genuine excitement for a championship match despite the fact that McIntyre has not been on television in three or four weeks.
His one-sided promo elevated the significance of the match while containing some very valid points.
Lesnar is always in that position, not only because he smashes his way through the competition en route to the WrestleMania main event but because he is a box office draw and one of the few crossover stars the company has at its disposal.
The more Heyman puts him over, the more important Lesnar becomes, even as fans despise him for his part-time schedule. With a mouthpiece like the Raw Executive Director, it is no surprise that Lesnar remains the most over ass-kicker in the industry.