So we’re less than a fortnight away from WrestleMania! We have almost all the card sorted, but on the Raw side of things we still don’t know who will team with Braun Strowman. We also still haven’t had an answer from Undertaker to John Cena’s challenge, and Sasha Banks and Bayley are after having a bit of a falling out. Also, what is next for Woken Matt Hardy now that he has DELETED Bray Wyatt? Let’s jump into the action and find out….
The show opened with Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman. Heyman spouted his usual rhetoric, and said Roman’s suspension is over. But Roman isn’t here, so it looks like he’s not a man of his word, since he said he always shows up. Right on cue, Roman appears in the crowd. He makes his way to the ring, grabs a chair, but Brock obliterates him. Roman fights back, but Lesnar hits him with the steps. He follows up with a few chair shots, and we move one segment closer to the Big Dawg as Universal Champion.
I might be alone in thinking this, but anytime I see an angle like this open a show, I want there to be a followup backstage afterwards. Something like Roman nursing his ribs or back, but still trying to hunt down Brock. They done something similar with Braun a few months back where he caused havoc backstage and it was amazing, but with this we got the opening segment and then just a few replays throughout the night. This is most likely going to close WrestleMania in less than 2 weeks, so I just expected a bit more from it.
We had another MizTV segment featuring Finn Balor & Seth Rollins. Not going to get into it too much because it’s the 3rd such segment in less than 2 months, but essentially they teased some tension between Miz and the Miztourage, but in the end they all jumped Balor & Rollins. Eventually Gallows & Anderson come out for the save and they chase off Miztourage. Rollins & Balor team up on Miz in the ring but he escapes. Balor lays out Rollins and poses with the IC title to end the segment.
Later in the night we had Gallows & Anderson vs Miztourage. It was another solid match, and the Good Brothers get the win. They’ve slowly been showing more of what they can do the past few weeks, so am hoping after WrestleMania we’ll be seeing them in a more prominent role within the tag division.
Nia fought Mickie James, in a warmup for the match with Alexa Bliss at Wrestlemania. Nia crush, Nia kill, Nia won with a gorilla press into a Samoan Drop. I want to call that the “Samoan Drop Drop” or the “Double Drop”. After the match Bliss tries to attack her, but it’s not very effective! She’s totally winning the title at Mania, which I think might make Fitz cry.
We finally got what we’ve been asking for for months: Sasha snapped and attacked Bayley! They were having a discussion backstage about all their problems over the past few months, Sasha made a comment about how she’s a 4 time Women’s champion, and Bayley fired back with the acidic burn of “Yeah, but how long have you kept it?”. Sweet Jesus, that was marvellous! Sasha slams her into a locker and they brawl before being separated.
Why did they drag this out for so long that it can’t have a blowoff match at Wrestlemania, like it deserves? Were they scared that this would be the best Women’s match of the weekend (and possibly overall match of the weekend)? Because there’s a good chance it would have been. After this one segment I’m more excited to see these 2 inevitably square off in the Battle Royal than I am about either Women’s title match.
Also, the trophy for the Women’s Battle Royal looks a lot like a uterus… they can seemingly do nothing right with that Battle Royal.
They aired a video package for Rousey, and a pretty class package for those rising stars, the Helmsleys. I did get a chuckle from their trainer saying they’re exceeding the performance of Olympic athletes and NFL Super Bowl caliber players.
Later in the night Kurt Angle & Ronda come out to the ring and hype the match a bit. Rousey seems to flub her lines a little, but says she’s going to rip Stephanie’s arm out of its socket. I absolutely love Ronda, but Angry Ronda scares me and gives me an innie! Absolution interrupt them, Paige offers her a spot in Absolution, but Ronda declines and says she’s happy having an Olympic Gold medallist watching her back. Mandy Rose & Sonya get into the ring, Sonya goes to cheap shot Ronda but Ronda clotheslines her, and she throws Mandy onto her (Sonya barely caught her).
Kurt & Ronda pose, and Mandy tries for another cheap shot, but Ronda hip throws her and goes for the armbar, but Kurt has to calm her down. It was a lot like Black Widow trying to calm down The Hulk in Avengers, as a good friend of 2BitSports pointed out on Twitter.
I’m starting to worry about this feud a bit. There doesn’t seem to be any massive hype around it at all, and there doesn’t appear to be any shift in ratings like most people assumed would happen. I still have no doubt Ronda will be an absolute star within the Women’s Division, but this feud isn’t going to do much to build her to be that star.
We had the next stop on John Cena’s road to WrestleMania, where he faced Kane in a no-DQ match. This was a good way to tease an Undertaker appearance during the match, or was it just to hide how limited Kane is these days? Either way, the match was actually really good, and the brawl around the ring and through the crowd was fun, but there was no sign of the Deadman or American badass.
Cena gets the win after an AA, but throughout the match Cena mimicked Taker, hitting a Chokeslam and doing the Undertaker’s throat slit taunt. There was also a moment where Cena sat up like Taker, which caused Michael Cole to exclaim “That’s what the Undertaker does!”.
After the match John cuts a promo again about how Undertaker is letting everyone down by being quiet. He keeps goading him and trying to get him to give him a sign, but nothing happens. Leave the man enjoy his retirement and stop bullying him! Cena goes into next week’s go-home episode of Raw with no clear path to WrestleMania…. Or perhaps it’s TOO clear, so even HE can’t see it?
Nia Jax ended Mickie James
Cedric & Mustafa Ali def Drew Gulak & TJP
Asuka def Randomised Created Superstar
Braun Strowman & These Hands def Sheamus
Gallows & Anderson def Miztourage
Elias def Rhyno
John Cena def Kane
While you’re here, make sure to check out ‘The Alleged Wrestling Podcast’ where we have the craic looking back over the wrestling events of the past week! (It’s also on iTunes and Stitcher and all those nice things)
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