We finally passed the last Road to Wrestlemania hurdle on Sunday. It’s the start of the go-home stretch to the Grandest Stage of Them All. Raw was first up, and I think they delivered pretty well.
*Find full result details from wwe.com here.
Roman confronts Vince
I scoffed just as much as everyone else did in this segment. The irony of Roman Reigns calling Brock Lesnar “Vince McMahon’s boy” was the most comical line of the night. But to take some of the heat off him for once, blame WWE creative for this one. Roman’s simply going out there and using the lines he’s given and he actually has a pretty solid delivery. His mic work has consistently gotten better as he’s gotten more promo time after he, himself, became a Vince McMahon boy. But holy hell WWE cannot take any hints. The fans aren’t buying in to any of the trash WWE is trying to spew on Lesnar. Vince’s “temporary suspension” of Roman got a loud ovation from the crowd. This is not going to work. The only way this feud can be credible in any way is finding a way to make Roman heel. That will not happen. Brock is being put over to be a lazy worker who shows up whenever he wants and gets away with it. Vince seemingly is OK with it. It will be a steady dose of Roman trying to get cheers and the production truck having to mute the crowd mics due to all the boos.
Sasha Banks def Sonya Deville
The main takeaway here is we’re starting to get closer to a Sasha-Bayley matchup, I hope at least. The match itself was fine but the animosity between Banks/Bayley and Absolution is getting old and boring. Bayley not helping out her friend is a heelish move that I hope isn’t an indication of the route WWE would take. The feud would be much better with heel Sasha. We need heel Sasha.
Raw Tag Team Chaos
Nothing helped me realize how weak the Raw tag team division is like this segment. I like Gallows & Anderson and the Revival but seeing them against The Bar at Mania doesn’t sound intriguing at all. Every other team involved was just there. The brawl was a mess. The most intriguing part of it was announcing the battle royal to find out who faces The Bar at Mania. You knew something had to happen to prevent a boring match with any of these teams, or at least strongly hoped.
John Cena challenges the Undertaker
Great, great, great. I know it doesn’t show very well, but I thought the segment was great. Cena starting out the segment playing the “I’m going to be a fan” card was good because it adds suspense of where this is going to go. No one believed that was going to be it. But even while looking ahead, he did a masterful job selling that he was going to be a fan. How many guys on the roster could get away with going into the crowd and sipping a fan’s beer? The John Cena effect. His grilling of the Undertaker was absolutely fantastic. He went absolutely no holds barred. This was one hell of a match sell. When these guys go face to face with mics in their hands for the first time, it’s going to be must see TV.
Miz TV and Finn Balor def Seth Rollins
There wasn’t really anything special with the Miz TV segment other than the Miz being terrific, but that’s come to be expected anymore. The match was solid but, again, when it comes to Finn and Seth going one-on-one, that’s to be expected. I’m sure this isn’t the last time these two will face off before Mania and the loss does Seth no harm.
Asuka def Mickie James
I was upset that it was evident the crowd did not care for this match because it was very well delivered. Of course no one expected Mickie to end the streak but they still added some near falls to make it look believable. The match was good and Asuka prevailed. The segment before hand was nothing great other than Alexa playing the perfect heel role. The snobby brat who always wants to get her way, that’s Alexa, and she’s damn good at it.
Nia Jax def Joan King
A good ole squash match is always fun here and there. The biggest storyline here is we finally got the seeds planted for Nia-Alexa at Mania. This is a really old Attitude Era reference, but the backstage segment with the unknown running camera and mic between Alexa and Mickie gave me GTV vibes. Seeing Nia ravage through the locker room was fun. It’s like watching Braun Strowman, seeing people destroy things is just entertaining. I could’ve done without seeing Nia cry. I understand Alexa said some very bad things about her that would warrant tears but to then go back in a rage and destroy things just seemed odd.
The Woken Family is here
Yeeeeeessssss we’ve got the Woken Family and the Lake of Reincarnation on WWE television. It’s just great. Bray Wyatt’s response video was eerie and delivered a good message. This is such an overlooked feud that both guys are playing really well. I’m curious as to why we’re just getting the Ultimate Deletion match on Raw next week, but we’ll see where it goes.
Braun Strowman is a tag team
This is just great. Braun Strowman (yes, just him) winning the tag team battle royal still has me laughing. This is the most entertaining option WWE could’ve chosen, honestly. (See my earlier comment on the Raw tag team division) So what happens from here? Would WWE let one guy who should probably count as two fight for the tag titles alone? Is potential speculation of joining forces with Elias going to come to fruition? Will something completely different happen and this isn’t even Braun’s route to Mania? When WWE leaves you with multiple questions following a show, they’ve done a good job. They did a good job here, and this will be an intriguing story to follow.
This is how you kick off the true Road to Wrestlemania. We gained at least three new match ideas for Mania in one show, John Cena’s promo was phenomenal, and we had a lot of other storyline progression as well. Time for Smackdown to step up.