Hello my friends, you’ve chosen to come with me on another journey through Monday Night Raw and I thank you for it. Last week, I left speechless as the building of ‘Mania had gone sour. Reigns/HHH had a brutal brawl that left Triple H bloodied and left the crowd in a slumber. Shane, Taker and Vince had a weak hype segment to close the show that still managed to get the crowd to pop harder than they did all night. The road to ‘Mania has become a winding road with pitfalls and landmines, WWE needs to steer through and drive into the WrestleMania sunset in one piece. Let us watch through our binoculars, to see if they can do it. Second to last Raw before ‘Mania. Prepare your cautious excitement.
Steph kicks off the show~! She relays the bad news that Triple H will not be here, not because of Reigns’ attack, but because of corporate responsibilites. Something the crowd can’t understand cause they’re dumb, etc. You know how it goes. Insult the crowd to get heat and hope for some cheers for Reigns. No chance in Philly. Reigns’ music hits to a shower of boos muddled with a few pops. Reigns has ditched the crowd entrance for a robotic walk down the ramp. Guess he’s not used to it, much easier to look cool walking down stairs I guess? Steph gets shushed by Reigns and he takes the mic from her. Reigns runs down his list of plans to the oh so gratuitous ‘what?’ chants and boos. Reigns says he’s taking the title and there’s nothing she or her daddy’s money can do about it. Reigns blocks a slap and says he’s the authority now, throws the mic and walks away. That’s it. I can give it credit for being short and to the point but it was just a very strange promo, I guess they were counting on Philly having a hatred of women to try and get Reigns over? I have no idea. They’re just pulling ideas out of a hat. There was no purpose served here, in a hype segment with just under 2 weeks to ‘Mania remaining. Speaking of nothingness, Vince has a special announcement about the HIAC match at WrestleMania tonight.
Owens works Styles over with a headlock and roasts him for his hair. Styles mounts a comeback with a sweet dropkick and sends Owens out of the ring, going for a moonsault but Owens moves and Styles lands on his feet. Styles runs at Owens and Owens goddamn flapjacks him into the barricade. Good god, what a bump. A good back and forth match with some real good sequences, Owens blocking a pele into a goddamn lariat. JBL drops a LARIATOOOOOOOOO on commentary. Styles moves out of the way of a canonball and hits a Ushigoroshi. Owens nailed an insane frog splash, getting some huge air and getting a great nearfall that was super close. More rapid sequences, Owens hitting a superkick and Styles withstanding it and hitting a pele, both men down as they cut to commercial. Gotta have those momentum killing breaks unfortunately, but man this is some great stuff. Owens chops the hell out of Styles on the top turnbuckle when we return, Styles slides through and bounces Owens’ head off the turnbuckle and hits him with a damn torture rack bomb with another nearfall. These guys have gotten 20 minutes for this match! What a time! Styles gets Owens with a big sunset flip but Jericho appears chanting AJ Styles into the mic. Styles refuses to be distracted but Jericho jumps on the apron and Styles goes after him, Owens rolling him up for the win. Helluva match, not mad about the finish cause it was expected.
Owens cuts a promo about how WrestleMania is coming up and everyone wants to know who he’s defending against. Ziggler interrupts and runs down a list of -Manias and namedrops Botchamania because, y’know, Ziggler. Miz interrupts Ziggler’s rant and says Ziggler got his face beat in by Triple H last week so why is even here? Ziggler tries to banter back but is interrupted by Sami Zayn~! Zayn says he’s been waiting to get his hands on Owens and Wrestlemania for the title is the perfect time. Miz says that’ll be a long time away, ‘Skinny Seth Rogen’. Owens puts a stop to all this and says because he’s a fighting champion he’s gonna go to the Authority and see if he can set up a triple threat match to see who gets the privilege of facing him at KOManiaaaa!
Ambrose is shown at a Philadelphia bantering about his match with Lesnar about what he’s gonna do, and is interrupted by TERRY FUNK! Funk calls him a piledriving, neck-breaking son of a gun. Funk says he understands Ambrose and if he had a son he’d want him to be just like Ambrose and if he had a daughter… Funk presents him with a chainsaw, saying it now belongs to Dean Ambrose. Ambrose revs it up and cuts a table in half. Big fan of hardcore legends showing up to lend Ambrose things. God only knows who it’s gonna be next week. Owens is backstage talking to Steph, presents his idea and Steph approves it. They show a video package of superstars talking about Shane’s return, and the HIAC match, a really good hype package.
The League cuts a promo on New Day, Rusev says they will crush the New Day, and Sheamus says they’re not even on the same level. Sheamus rolls the clip of New Day getting destroyed last week. Del Rio chants New.. Day Sucks and out they come to a huge pop. Big E says the New Day has never sucked, and Xavier says they’re not surprised they’re talking hot garbage and Kofi hands him big ol’ notecards that say You… Are… Trash! Kofi roasts each member of the League. LON cannot hold their composure, they’re all trying not to laugh. What a segment this was. But now we get supreme hoss battle!
A brawl between New Day and The League leads to Big E getting the advantage in the ring. Big E throws some big ol’ belly-to-belly suplexes, Cole calls one a belly-to-booty. Think before you speak, Cole, please. Rusev jumps out of a Big Ending and pushes Big E into the corner, running at him but getting caught with a huge one-arm slam from E. Big E goes for the suicide spear but runs into Rusev’s knee, and Rusev nails him with the superkick, not getting the three. Xavier takes out The League at ringside but gets double axed by Sheamus, who argues with the ref. Big E hits the suicide spear on Sheamus and lands on his damn head, but gets in the ring and hits Rusev with a Big Ending to win the match. What a goddamn worker Big E is, put the world strap on this man immediately. He’s so goddamn good. Helluva hoss battle here, a really good showing of how skilled Big E truly is.
A Snickers ad with Naomi, Alicia Fox and Todd Chrisley is shown and you know what, I’m not gonna say anything about it. Not doin’ it.
WELLLL, they’ve got the Andre the Giant trophy setup and Big Show is out here to talk about it. Big Show thanks the crowd for keeping it real. Big Show talks about how he talks himself up to be the best giant of all time and goes on an odd self-help rant about how he has to believe in himself and be confident. Big Show talks about Andre being the best giant and says he’s gonna feel honored when he wins against and be the first ever two time winner. Social Outcasts interrupt and say they’re gonna have no problem throwing him over the rope cause they’re like Voltron. Social Outcasts actually get the upperhand but out comes KANE to EVEN THE ODDS. Big Show gives Kane a hug for his help and yells KANE’S THE MAN! Show celebrates on the top but Kane chokeslams him off to end this. So uh yeah, Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale hype guys!
Put over as the long-awaited Wrestlemania rematch, we have this. Jericho calls him a stupid man and Fandango gets some offense in! Fandango even goes for the leg drop but Jericho moves out of the way and goes for the Walls, but Styles appears and starts a Y2Jackass chant, Fandango grabs him in a small package and nearly gets the three but Jericho hits a Codebreaker outta nowhere to win. Styles runs in and tries to get his hands on him but Jericho slides out and grabs some production guy as a shield who looks like the happiest person in the world. Styles grabs a mic and says he’s competed all over the world, but not WrestleMania. Styles lays down the challenge to Jericho and says he’ll show him why everyone chants AJ Styles.
Owens does ring intros for this and he introduces a man who is a star… Stardust! And a man who has wrestled all over the world and spent time under a mask.. SSSin Cara! Owens introduces the last man, a man who has been in the WWE for years and feels like he deserves a bigger spot but still dresses like a teenager.. Zack Ryder!
KO swerved everyone and this is what we get. Owens said he did this because these three guys aren’t Zayn, Miz or Ziggler and all deserve chances. Sin Cara has escaped the void and is wearing a red attire tonight instead of the soulless black attire he’s been sporting. Things are looking up. Some quick spots in this match but out come Zayn, Miz and Ziggler to argue with Owens. A massive brawl breaks out and the match is thrown out. Well folks, looks like we’re in for a big ol’ clusterfuck multiman match at ‘Mania! Can’t be upset about that, what a cast of characters in it though.
KO interrupts Steph’s phone call and Steph confirms the multiman clusterfuck match, and it’s a ladder match. What a time.
Steph is taking her leave and a black car pulls up and Triple H is here to rescue her. The garage door opens for them to leave and Reigns is behind it. Reigns starts an attack on the defenseless family in their car, pulling Triple H out and throwing him around, Steph screaming in horror that her husband is being assaulted. H dives in the car for safety and gets away. I’m writing this as it looked like as a viewer, because holy shit, why would this get Reigns any kind of babyface reaction? Only silence and boos. If he was a heel? This would be brilliant, but a heel he unfortunately isn’t.
Becky and Sasha are on commentary bantering each other as this match goes on. A match here with absolutely no heat, a trading of holds and Nattie nearly getting the win a few times until Charlotte hits an out of nowhere Natural Selection for the flattest finish of all flat finishes. Yikes. Nattie deserves a bit better than that, no?
This is certainly happening. Bubba hits a weak lariat and throws up the Hansen horns. JBL yells LARIATOOO again. Bubba continues his streak of winning matches with random moves, this week, it’s a big boot. It’s Philly and Bubba can’t even get a reaction. Goldust tries to make the save but gets taken out. The Usos come out and superkick the Dudleyz. They grab the tables and set-up D’Von on the table, but Bubba saves him and they retreat. Slap a big ol’ “whooooo caaaares” on this entire feud because good god, there’s no heat. Zero.
Vince struts to the ring and runs down the scenario for ‘Mania like he’s done for the past 3 weeks. Vince plays the clip of Shane getting chokeslammed last week and loves it. Vince says that won’t stop Shane and he’ll fight every drop of blood and breath in his body. Vince says Shane is the most formidable opponent Taker has ever had. Vince says Undertaker is, as Shane put it, his bitch. So if Undertaker loses, it’s his last Wrestlemania. That announcement dropped with no emotion from Vince, like I’d say that leans things more toward Shane winning, it being in Dallas and all and I mean, the Taker retirement seems to be a long time coming at this point. If we wanna throw logic in here, (which is always a dangerous game to play when you’re talking WWE), Shane could just reinstate him when he wins, couldn’t he? Vince can’t enforce his will if he’s not in charge, right? My brain hurts, don’t do logic kids.
So here’s this main event for reasons unknown. Heyman is on commentary to observe Ambrose. Ambrose uses his crazy madman offense to take the fight to Strowman but Strowman outpowers him and knocks Ambrose around the ring. ‘This Is Boring’ chants break out and finally Ambrose breaks out a chair to hit Strowman and cause the DQ. Ambrose pummels Strowman with the chair and hits Dirty Deeds on it, and taunts Heyman at ringside to end the show, in what might make the list of all-time flattest Raw endings in show history. Good god.
This Raw had very strong points, but had a lot of fat that could have been cut out. Owens/Styles and Big E/Rusev were great matches, Ambrose and Funk was awesome, the stuff building the IC title multiman was fun, but you could have cut out sooo much filler in this. A lot of stuff that came off really weak, and a lot of the matches served no purpose. That show ending too, good lord. Not the best stop on the road to ‘Mania but the good parts were very good. Definitely an improvement from last week, but there’s a lot of work to do in a short, short time. Reigns has no babyface heat behind him, and they’re putting him in clearcut heel scenarios, while Ambrose is being booked as the top babyface. After tonight, I’d say Shane/Taker is without a doubt the main event over Reigns/HHH. In any case, that’ll do it for me folks. Thank you, as always, for reading.