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WWE Raw live results: LEAP DAY and the return of Shane McMahon continues

After doing a quick internet search, I believe this is the first time in RAW's history that it has aired on LEAP DAY, which would be today, February 29th. 

With the major matches for WrestleMania set, tonight's RAW in Nashville is headlined by the return of the Undertaker, in his first appearance since the Survivor Series. His appearance itself isn't the curiosity. Rather, it's how far the company will go to make him a heel for his match with Shane McMahon.

Will he be a full-fledged heel? If so, how? Will he be a reluctant heel grudgingly going against Shane at the behest of The Authority? Will he be a subtle heel like the one Bret Hart portrayed to perfection during the 1997 Canada-USA feud? Perhaps of more importance will be the return of Shane McMahon, and whether the remarkable reaction to his return in Detroit will be just a one-week pop, or something sustainable. Some of the undercard matches for WrestleMania could also be set into motion on tonight'sshow, including Charlotte's challenger for the Divas championship. 

Our live coverage starts at 8 ET. 

The Big Takeaway: HHH will wrestle Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at some point before WrestleMania. Show was prominent for who wasn't there. Shane McMahon, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were all absent. The Undertaker returned for a very brief apperance, telling Vince McMahon that when he wrestles Shane at WrestleMania, Shane's blood would be on Vince's hands, not his. Undertaker was a babyface acting like he going into this match vs. Shane against his will.  

Show Recap: 

HHH started the show and talked about how everyone has an authority figure in their lives.  They may hate they authority figure, but they're afraid to speak out against it. The figure is there for people to understand their place in life. Roman Reigns should know that place, but he chose to challenge and disrespect authority.  Crowd chanted for Reigns, but HHH played up that Reigns suffered a broken nose and he was home breathing through his mouth hoping that his place at WrestleMania is still safe. 

Dean Ambrose came out and told HHH he just got off the phone with Reigns, who told HHH he was coming for HHH. Then HHH introduced Ambrose as an Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actor in a Bromance.  Ambrose laughed it off and turned his attention to being jumped by Brock Lesnar last week, along with Shane McMahon returning and HHH jumping Reigns. Crowd chanted for Shane. Ambrose asked HHH who did he want to win the  Triple Threat match at Fast Lane. More to the point, who did HHH NOT want to win at Fast Lane. HHH refused to answer, but said it was clear Ambrose wasn't a factor in that match. Ambrose got in HHH's face and said he was the last guy HHH wanted to face at WrestleMania. HHH laughed and thought Ambrose was crazy. Ambrose said HHH was smart enough to know he would never want to get in the ring with Ambrose. 
Ambrose said he could see that HHH doesn't think he could beat Ambrose. Crowd started chanting "You can't be him." 

This was a long-winded way of Ambrose challenging HHH for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. HHH said he would take it under advisement and give him an answer by the end of the night. Ambrose wanted to know how, by text or phone call. HHH said Ambrose was going to get the night off tonight, but since Ambrose decided to confront him, Ambrose would face Alberto Del Rio while the rest of the League of Nations would be at ringside. 

This was your classic boring HHH 20-minute opening segment.

HHH started the show and talked about how everyone has an authority figure in their lives. 
They may hate they authority figure, but they're afraid to speak out against it. The figure is there for people to understand their place in life. Roman Reigns should know that place, but he chose to challenge and disrespect authority. Crowd chanted for Reigns, but HHH played up that Reigns suffered a broken nose and he was home breathing through his mouth hoping that his place at WrestleMania is still safe. 

Dean Ambrose came out and told HHH he just got off the phone with Reigns, who told HHH he was coming for HHH. Then HHH introduced Ambrose as an Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actor in a Bromance. 

Ambrose laughed it off and turned his attention to being jumped by Brock Lesnar last week, along with Shane McMahon returning and HHH jumping Reigns. Crowd chanted for Shane. Ambrose asked HHH who did he want to win the  Triple Threat match at Fast Lane. More to the point, who did HHH NOT want to win at Fast Lane. HHH refused to answer, but said it was clear Ambrose wasn't a factor in that match. Ambrose got in HHH's face and said he was the last guy HHH wanted to face at WrestleMania. HHH laughed and thought Ambrose was crazy. Ambrose said HHH was smart enough to know he would never want to get in the ring with Ambrose. Ambrose said he could see that HHH doesn't think he could beat Ambrose. Crowd started chanting "You can't be him." This was a long-winded way of Ambrose challenging HHH for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. 

HHH said he would take it under advisement and give him an answer by the end of the night. Ambrose wanted to know how, by text or phone call. HHH said Ambrose was going to 
get the night off tonight, but since Ambrose decided to confront him, Ambrose would face Alberto Del Rio while the rest of the League of Nations would be at ringside. 

This was your classic boring HHH 20-minute opening segment.

Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks went to a double pin draw (9:40)

This was the best women's match on Raw in awhile. Finish was Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch were battling on the top rope. Banks went for the Sunset Flip Power Bomb and hit it. For some reason, Banks layed back on the mat while Lynch's feet over her, leading to a double pin. Charlotte and Ric Flair watched from ringside. Fans chanted "Triple Threat," but we're supposed to wonder who Charlotte will now face at WrestleMania. Charlotte and Flair smugly walked to the back as Banks and Lynch looked confused. 

Bray Wyatt did a promo from the back. He said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Wyatt said he thought maybe he was insanity. On the other hand, Wyatt said maybe his mind was the key to saving the entire world. It starts with an idea, which becomes a plan, which becomes a beautiful symphony. He can give the world enternal paradise. If you don't join him, you will find yourself exactly as the rest as everyone else. Conquered. 

There was a segment from SmackDown where the Miz and Dolph Ziggler argued about past WrestleMania accomplishments. Ziggler said he wondered if Miz deserved to even be a WWE Superstar. 

The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler (1:04)

Miz won after whipping Ziggler face first into the corner and a schoolboy cradle. Ziggler has done clean jobs to Kevin Owens, Heath Slater and Miz so far in 2016. What did he do? 

Stephanie McMahon came out to finish her speech from the Vincent J. McMahon Spirit of Excellence Award last week that was interrupted by Shane. Crowd booed her and chanted for Shane. She dropped her preapred remarks and opted for the remarks the writers prepared for her. She tipped over the podium and tore into the fans about cheering Shane after he vansihed for seven years. Stephanie said if Shane really cared about his family, he would have shown up to a WrestleMania or a Raw, which he hasn't done. He accused him of abadoning his family. 

Stephanie said it kills Shane that HHH and she are in power. Stephanie said Shane's sons would have to fight for control over the company with her daughters. She said the Undertaker would defeat Shane at Hell in a Cell, and dismember him. And Shane could take a permanent vacation. Stephanie said the fans were lazy and entitled. Sooner or later, reality would come around and slap them right in the face. She said sooner or later, the fans would have to bow down to the Authority, and bow down to the Queen, her. Stephanie had excellent delievery on her promo, but I'm not sure if the family dynamics are something that will draw money. I bet a reality show about the behind the scenes interaction among the McMahons would be straight money, though. 

Rusev and Sheamus defeated Lucha Dragons (5:04)

Rusev pinned Kalisto with a spin kick after Del Rio distracted Kalisto. Sheamus laid out Sin Cara on the floor with a Brogue Kick. Afterwards, Del Rio hit his Diving Double Foot Stomp on Kalisto. Michael Cole is still playing up the Kalisto-Del Rio program. League of Nations have started waving their arms in unison like they're all calling for the DDT. 

Natalya did a product placement promo with Renee Young talking about how Subway sandwiches help her keep fit. Well, Subway does need a new spokesperson. 

Ryback did one of those awful inset promos saying how Spotlight may have won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. But if the Spotlight doesn't shine on him, then he's going to take it. 

Ryback defeated Adam Rose (2:02) 

Ryback won with vicious ground and pound and pinned Adam Rose with Shellshock. Announcers tried to get over that Ryback was being more aggressive. With his G&P, it feels like Ryback came along 20 years too late. He would fit in doing a UFC gimmick in 1996, which was basically what Goldberg was doing. Earlier, Rose attempted some of the worst crossfaces in recorded wrestling history. 

The New Day did a promo comparing themselves to the great three-man units in history. I thought that was going to lead to Michael Hayes coming out to announce the Freebirds Hall of Fame induction. Instead, it led to Y2AJ. 

Y2AJ defeated The New Day (C) in a nontitle match (8:56)

Good match where Chris Jericho made Kofi Kingston tapout to the Walls of Jericho. A.J. Styles got the heat taking the Unicorn Stampede and a big splash from Big E. They aired highlights of a six-man match between YUAJ and Mark Henry vs. New Day from SmackDown, where Kingston hit Jericho with the Trouble in Paradise. Jericho had a legit black eye from the spot. After the win, Y2AJ challenged New Day to a match for the championships next week in Chicago. Feels like the right time for New Day to drop the straps. Or it could be a heel turn for Styles in order to make way for Karl Anderson and Drew Gallows and form a group. Styles has become the new Cesaro, as fans held up signs reading "You Don't Want None," which is the title of Styles' music. 

Vince McMahon came out. He came out to a flat reaction and didn't look happy. Vince then said "Do you know who I am?" Whew, he's stealing Bully Ray's catchphrase. Or the Mountie's. Vince brought up the possibility of Shane running Monday Night Raw if he defeated the Undertaker, which meant Stephanie and HHH would effectively quit the business. I'm sure. 

Vince said Shane would lead Sports Entertainment into a different era than ever before if he won. But only fools believe in miracles. Vince said he loves Shane, but he loves him enough to teach him a lesson he'll never forget. He loved Shane enough to put him in the ring against the Undertaker, who he introduced.

Time will go on and the industry will continue, but there will never be an entrance like the Undertaker's again. 

Vince started to put Undertaker over, but Undertaker grabbed him by the throat. Undertaker said Vince knew what would happen when he closes that door behind him at WrestleMania. Undertaker said the blood of Shane would be on Vince's hands, not his. And he left. The ring entrance was ten times longer than the actual apperance. 

Vince said the reality is he would stand in the ring after WrestleMania, saying Shane has failed to defeat the Undertaker, failed him as a son and he would lose his inheritance. He vowed to write Shane out of his will and give it all to Stephanie. Vince said he would renounce Shane as his son and Shane will no longer be his son, he will be just a son of a bitch. One can question Vince's creative decisions, but the fact is he's so gifted as a non-wrestling performer, if he wasn't in the WON Hall of Fame as a promoter, it would be necessary to include him as an on-screen character. 

Bubba Ray Dudley defeated Jey Uso (2:11)

Bubba Ray Dudley pinned Jey Uso after a Full Nelson Slam. After saying for weeks that the fans would never see them use tables again, Devon Dudley pulled out a table. Jimmy Uso, like a total geek, ran after Devon, who simply tossed the table into Jimmy. 

Goldust approached R-Truth again backstage. Before he could say another word, Truth told Goldust they would never be a tag team and he didn't need a partner. Goldust appeared to have tears in his eyes and walked off without saying anything. Truth looked remorseful. 

The Big Show defeated Kevin Owens (C) via countout in a nonitle match (2:37)

They teased a countout finish with Owens giving the Big Show a tornado DDT on the floor. Show beat the count, then gave Owens a choke slam onto the ropes, where Owens was crotched. The story is Owens did the same thing to Big Show on SmackDown Thursday, which means the only thing worse than parity pinfall booking is parity countout booking. 

Brie Bella did an interview with Young. Lana showed up and started talking about how Daniel Bryan left her out in the old while her man is still competing and gives her everything she wants. Brie shot back that Rusev was a great double for a grizzly bear in the Revenant, and Lana could talk once she has the guts to get in the ring. 

Naomi defeated Brie Bella via submission (4:07)

Naomi won with a Crucifix as a submission hold after Tamina interfered. Naomi's finisher is she does a crucifix while grabbing her opponet's arm, but the way she applied it, she could have done it to my grandmother and she wouldn't have sold it. Lana came out afterwards and laughed at Brie. 

The Fabulous Freebirds were named as the new inductees as the WWE Hall of Fame. Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts, Terry Gordy...and Jimmy Jam Garvin. Sort of like Van Halen getting inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame and they include Gary Cherone. 

Lynch and Banks argued about who would have won their match earlier tonight if a draw hadn't been declared when Charlotte and Flair walked up. Charlotte told them they would meet again on SmackDown on Thursday night. The winner would face her at WrestleMania. The loser of the match would fade into oblivion. The other would be the answer to a trivia question: "Who was the person Charlotte defeated at her first WrestleMania?" She and Flair laughed and left as the babyfaces stewed. 

Dean Ambrose defeated Alberto Del Rio by DQ (9:07) 

Ambrose spent the entire match selling. He had his right armed taped selling Brock Lesnar's F-5 on the floor last week. At one point, Del Rio gave him the cross armbreaker against the ropes. Ambrose barely sold it before giving Del Rio a neckbreaker. But please, tell me more about how Ring of Honor guys don't understand psychology. 

It led to HHH coming out and ordering the League of Nations to attack Ambrose. Since HHH peaked in 1999, can we just call the LON the NWO Black and White and be done with it? The League beat down Ambrose. HHH started to talk down to him about how he would never understand Ambrose couldn't stand up to authority. Ambrose rose up and punched HHH, which quickly made a comeback ending with a pedigree.  HHH told Ambrose that he would get his title match. 

Ambrose got the microphone while still selling and said "Hey Hunter! Thanks." HHH looked pissed, rolled up his sleeves as the League disappeared and proceeded to beat the hell out of Ambrose with numerous punches delievered on the announcer's table. The camerawork here resembled the end of ECW where they zoomed in quickly during every punch, and zoomed out afterwards. It was enough to give you motion sickness. But not as bad as seeing the heels stand tall over the babyfaces for the 88th time out of the past 93 shows. That's a totally made up figure, by the way. But if you looked it up and found that it really was the case, would you be surprised? 

SUMMARY: 

A flat show. I'm unclear what the Undertaker's motivation is for wanting to wrestle Shane at WM. It was never explained tonight. I know that HHH has to get heat in order for WrestleMania to have something special, but it's clear the fans like Ambrose more than Reigns. I'm not sure either can be the flagbearer for the company. But seeing HHH out there as the top heel at 46-years-old reminds me of seeing Hulk Hogan in WCW 2000 still main evening PPVs against Ric Flair long after his star had faded and well past his drawing peak. And what's the end result? To put over Reigns, who isn't the answer either.