Monday night’s episode of World Wrestling Entertainment’s Raw kicked off with the Undertaker ominously making his way to the ring. Once inside, he takes a few jabs at Shawn Michaels’ failure to defeat him at last year’s WrestleMania. He insinuates that Michaels’ loss has caused a dark cloud to hover over him and that his drive to challenge the Undertaker will result in his demise. Before Taker can deliver the line “Shawn Michaels’s career will rest in peace,” Michaels’ music sounds and he makes his way into the squared circle.
Michaels says that he had an epiphany when the Undertaker interrupted his match last week; he realized that he did so out of fear. Despite being warned to choose his next words carefully, Michaels reiterates that fear is what caused the Undertaker’s actions. He also says that Taker realized how close he came to shattering his 17-0 winning streak and that at this WrestleMania he will be victorious.
Taker appears unmoved by Michaels’ words and says that he not sure if Michaels is exuding confidence or pitiful desperation. He also dramatically adds that at WrestleMania, “he will open up the gates of hell and unleash a fury no mortal man has ever seen,” resulting in Michaels career coming to an end.
Michaels replies by saying that after WrestleMania, a dark cloud will hang over Taker’s head, containing an image of him finally bringing an end to the Undertaker’s unchallenged winning streak.
The first match of the night was a three on three divas tag match between the team of Eve, Gail Kim, and Kelly Kelly versus Maryse, Katie Lea, and Alicia Fox. The match was nothing spectacular and after blows are exchanged by both sides, Eve gets the victory for her team over Maryse via submission as the other participants fight outside.
The camera then cut to the night’s host Criss Angel, who chats with Hornswoggle and the Bella twins. Angel then does his schtick, involving swallowing a strand of string and pulling it out through his eye. Jillian Hall soon appears and offers to sing Angel’s entrance to the ring. She begins singing a horrid pop song, but Angel uses his “magic” to silence her, causing the ears’ of the viewers watching to stop bleeding.
The next match of the night never quite got off the ground. The referee called for the bell after the team of John Morrison and R-Truth began double teaming The Miz, sending him outside where they DDTed his partner Big Show, and slammed his ribs into the guard rail.
John Cena was then interviewed backstage and says that he expects Batista to interfere in his match with Vince McMahon later in the night.
The third match of the night was a handicap match between Randy Orton and former allies Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Though Orton held his own throughout the match, DiBiase, with assistance from Rhodes was able to connect with is finisher dream street and secure the win.
Once again, the camera cuts backstage where Batista is asked to share his opinion on Cena’s comments made earlier in the night. Batista says that he has no plans on interfering and basically wishes Cena good luck because he could use the confidence.
Triple H makes his way to the ring as a clip is shown of The Game being attacked by Sheamus last week. Once in the ring, Triple H is soon joined by Sheamus and the two share their thoughts on who would prevail at WrestleMania, but this verbal exchange becomes physical when Sheamus tries to attack The Game. The altercation ends with Sheamus fleeing after Triple H connects with the spinebuster.
Host Angel, completes another bit backstage with help from Santino Marella, involving crushing several cups while avoiding a knife hidden underneath one of them.
In another match, Evan Bourne defeated William Regal after hitting his finisher, the air bourne.
After that, Angel finally addresses the audience and introduces the opponents, Vince McMahon and John Cena, for the final match of the night. Once both men are in the ring, McMahon announces that the match will now be a gauntlet match. Though McMahon gets help from Vladimir Kozlov, Drew McIntyre, and Mark Henry, he is unable to secure the victory, causing him to change the match to a no disqualification handicap gauntlet match. Batista soon appeared and eliminated Henry and Kofi Kingston, who had attempted to help Cena, from the ring. Batista then hits Cena with the Batista Bomb, allowing McMahon to get the pin and the win. Batista then stands over Cena, poses, and lets out some sort of battle cry as the show goes off the air.
Though the night’s episode of Raw was pretty typical, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, the WWE plans to do in the upcoming weeks to promote WrestleMania and to compete with their new Monday night rivals.