Welcome to another edition of the Raw review. WrestleMania is now on the horizon with no more roadblocks to be gone through. Triple H remains the champion, and we’re going full force into his feud with Reigns now. Wrestlemania is piecing itself together bit by bit, now WWE just has to lay out all the pieces and somehow make it into a pretty picture. Let’s see how they do it.
In a surefire sign of the apocalypse, yes, the show is opening with a match, and a title match to boot. New Day are insanely over and they cut a promo before a match. Xavier says like a Beautiful Katamari, they are rolling on and shill their Booty-O’s shirts and Big E shills his upcoming fitness DVD, Big E Butts to get your booty right. Xavier is taking the place of Kofi in the match, I’d say probably because Kofi took a nasty bump at Roadblock and is still a little shook up. Xavier fills in very well though, it’s nice to see him get some in-ring action. A very solid match here with some cool spots, Big E got Rusev in a stretch and played the New Day Rocks beat on his ass which was sensational. The match ends in a breakdown as Rusev isolates Xavier for the Accolade but Kofi jumps on the apron long enough to distract him and then flies off the apron to take out the other members of LON at ringside, Rusev goes to lend an assist but Xavier catches him in a roll-up grabbing the tights to steal the win and retain. The League don’t take kindly to this and destroy New Day after the match, finally looking like credible heels for the first time in a very long time, and getting a ton of heat. A great way to turn New Day true babyface and get them somehow more over than they already were.
Ambrose is out next to talk about his loss to Triple H. They replay the footage of him getting the three but his foot being under the rope (which is very debatable but that’s the angle they’re goin’ with). Ambrose says he beat Triple H all around the ring and may not have won, but Triple H will never underestimate him again. Brock and Heyman interrupt pretty quickly, Heyman says he’s the only voice of reason keeping Ambrose safe from Lesnar right now, and implores Ambrose to stop provoking Lesnar. Ambrose says it looks like Brock Lesnar wants to fight right now and gets Lesnar all amped up, Heyman says he apologizes and is going to put a stop to this right now. Heyman shills WrestleMania on the WWE Network and sells the match between Ambrose/Lesnar like a true promoter, bids the fans adieu and leaves, but Brock does not. Lesnar stalks to the ring but Ambrose pulls out a crowbar from his jacket. Lesnar doesn’t give a shit about that and stalks the ring anyways and starts to get in until Ambrose takes a swing at him. Lesnar withdraws as Ambrose taunts him with the crowbar.
Sin Cara’s gear has now become completely black, he’s nearly gone folks, the void is swallowing him. It’s only a matter of time. I hope the void is warm because this match has no heat. Sin Cara attempts to mount some kind of comeback but Ryback catches him in a samoan drop which commentary calls a Shell Shocked for some reason, and hits a ‘second one’ while making sure Kalisto sees his destruction at ringside, and wins the match with ease. Ryback says that’s what happens to little guys, and trust him, size matters. Ryback lays down the challenge to Kalisto for his US title at ‘Mania to end this segment. The heat was sucked from the building during this endeavor, and up next we have an Authority promo so.. we’re doing good.
Steph comes out to introduce Triple H. H says the world watched Roadblock with hope in their eyes for Dean Ambrose to be the one that could stop the tyranny and become the champion.. and then he failed. Triple H says hope is not a strategy, it’s a dangerous commodity. Triple H says everyone relies on hope when they get out of high school, and they get married and have kids and then it starts. They hope for a raise, hope for a promotion, hope for success but it doesn’t happen and they blame everyone but themselves. Absolute fire from Paul tonight. He’s tearing down everyone in the crowd and brings up Roman Reigns.. to a shower of boos. You expect Reigns to interrupt here but uh.. nope. Ziggler interrupts donned in a suit. Steph drops a ‘speaking of failures..’ line. Ziggler airs his grievances and says he’s got nothing left to lose. Ziggler provokes Steph to fire him and she almost does but H stops him and says the WWE Universe loves Ziggler, and offers him a deal with the Authority. Ziggler says he’d never make a deal with H or his idiot wife, getting him a big ol’ slap from Steph. Steph says she won’t fire him and he’ll even give him a match at WM against anyone he wants provided he wins one match tonight. Ziggler eats it up and asks what the odds will be… and it’ll be a one-on-one match with Triple H himself. Yeah, I don’t know either. I’m not sure who they got running this show tonight but WHAT? I mean, obviously there’s no clean finish there, you KNOW Roman is getting involved. Is this another flimsy method to get Reigns over vicariously through Ziggler? I mean, Triple H basically said “you’re all shit go die” to the entire crowd and only got booed when Roman’s name came up. It’s a rough situation. We’ll see what they pull out.
Speaking of getting people over, I’m glad they’re using Miz to get the new guys over cause he is very good at putting people over. A fun sprint here showcasing Zayn’s variety of offense, doing moonsaults to the outside, countering Miz with quick roll-ups and flying all over the place. Owens attacked Miz but then Miz attacked Owens, giving Zayn the advantage. Owens distracted Miz and inadvertantly gave Zayn the distraction he needed to hit the Helluva Kick and win the match.
A match with a small bit of back and forth but just served a purpose to further this odd Brie/Lana feud. Lana distracted Brie so Team BAD could hit a pretty cool double team move for the win. The saga continues and it’s just very strange. Are they really gonna pull the trigger and give Lana an actual match? We will see.
Charlotte being interviewed by Renee, talking about her history with Sasha and Becky. Saying she’s had to be there for both of them at the beginning, and will have time on SmackDown to talk to both of them, ending with Charlotte saying they can’t run from the past.
They came back from commercial with a shot of Bo Dallas whom I swear to god thought was Chad Gable for a second. Nearly popped out of my seat. The Dudleyz are on commentary tearing down the Usos, saying they rely on their Samoan heritage and their ‘fat ass father’. Usos win this one with quickness. Dudleyz vs. Usos is gonna be a match at ‘Mania and come on.. to put it in no other words, who fucking cares.
Dean Ambrose is backstage and looks up and asks ‘what the hell are you doing here’ and the camera pans to good ol’ Mick Foley. Foley is here to try and talk Ambrose out of his whole blood feud with Ambrose, asking him WHY, DEAN, WHY? Ambrose compares himself to Foley taking on Undertaker in a cell. Foley understands his plight and even passes the torch with a barbed wire bat all wrapped nicely in a present.
Surprisingly not the main event here. Triple H continues to make me miss him as a full-time wrestler cause I’ll be damned the dude can still work like no other. H surgically picks him apart throughout the match, focusing limbs and especially the ribs. The near falls in the closing minutes are absolutely insane, Ziggler hitting a Zig Zag that nearly got him three but H kicked out. Ziggler unleashes a flurry of offense that continues to result in him getting just milliseconds within a three count. An unfortunately awkward finish with Triple H hitting an out of nowhere Pedigree to win the match. Very good match, Ziggler looked like a million bucks and Triple H is one helluva worker, even in 2016.
Reigns made his return to a reaction that I can only describe as a depressing sigh of air. Reigns beat the holy hell out of Triple H similar to a few weeks ago when Triple H nearly murdered him. The fight spills to the back and Reigns bloodies H in a brawl that should be getting nuclear levels of reaction but is getting uncomfortable silence. Cole on commentary is putting this over with ferocity that feels terribly awkward without a crowd behind it. Reigns is busting out random objects to smash H over the head with and is finally subdued by the Usos who calm him down. This is just a sad time. This should be a legendary segment, but it’s not. Nobody wants to see Reigns in this spot, and they just watched Triple H work a really good twenty minute match, why would they boo this man right now? It’s so awkward and confusing and MADDENING.
This match was unfortunately cut short as Neville messed his leg up bad on a slide, looks like he nearly snapped his leg. The match was thrown out with the excuse that Jericho laid his hands on the ref. Jericho cut a quick promo after to cover up the situation after, playing the crowd up to get an AJ Styles chant going. Styles came out and laid out Jericho with the ‘Phenomenal Forearm’ off the ropes.
Vince is out here to introduce The Undertaker, saying that Shane is promising new stars and a new cooperate initiative to raise WWE back to the top. Vince downplays all of that and says he’ll be sticking out his 52 INCH CHEST gloating when Shane loses. In-fucking-credible. Undertaker marches his way out and Vince tells him never to lay his hand on him again, Undertaker starts disrobing threateningly in response and Vince drops the subject. Vince says Taker won’t mind slamming Shane’s body into the cell over and over until he’s broken. Shane comes out rocking the denim overshirt and of course, his mint condition sneakers. Shane says he’s been thinking about how he’s gonna beat him, using his brain and his heart and soul. Undertaker simply says it still won’t be enough cause he’s got these hands. I’m not shortening his retort, that’s literally it. He just held up his hands. Shane wonders why Taker has been dancing for Vince like a puppet. Taker says nobody controls him but Shane says he’s just Vince’s BITCH. Undertaker goes after Shane but Shane fights back until Vince pushes him into Taker who catches him with a chokeslam. Taker goes after Vince for some reason who slides out.. and that’s the end of the show.
I could sum up the closing segment with “elderly gentlemen have a heated disagreement”.. cause that’s all it was. There was really no hype here, but of course, the crowd ate it right up. Still, we are left with NO explanation to this feud. No explanation as to why Undertaker is taking on this match, no reasons for anything. It’s just “here, here’s the special attraction match, with all the elements of the Attitude Era that people clamor for, what’s the reason we’ll give ’em? screw it, we don’t need one.” I have no reaction. Just depressing and insane laughter is all I got for you. Shane/Taker in 2016 has so much heat with no explanation bothered to be given.. and nobody can find it in their bodies to give a shit about Reigns/HHH. It’s ridiculous. I’m in hysterics, it’s a madhouse. Thanks for reading. All Hail.