3/26/18 – Monday Night Raw Review

The Road to WrestleMania is closer than I can imagine. With only one show left before Mania after this one, WWE needed to answer some questions. How would Roman’s suspension hold? Would Nia get ahold of Alexa Bliss? Are we going to find out if Braun has a partner? What’s next after the Ultimate Deletion? Will Undertaker finally respond to John Cena? When you have this many questions, the leadup has been stellar.

Full result details can be found on wwe.com

Roman tries, Roman fails
Paul Heyman was killer in this segment, typical Paul Heyman stuff. I’m glad WWE decided that the US Marshal’s were fake and set up by Lesnar, there were too many plot holes with that angle. Roman, of course, had the heart and audacity to come out despite being dismantled last week to try to settle the score after his suspension was lifted. How bold! How inspiring! Well Brock kicked his ass. They let Roman get a few moves in but Brock getting the upper hand was the right move. While it would be very WWE-esque to have a half-healthy Roman Reigns beat down a fully-healthy Brock Lesnar, it doesn’t fit the angle they’re trying to fill. Judging by the crowd’s reactions to Heyman mentioning last week’s beat down, WWE has still utterly failed at getting Roman over and giving Brock heat. Like I’ve said before, it will not happen.

Nia Jax def Mickie James
This match was short and sweet but I didn’t really like how WWE handled Mickie James losing here. Just a few weeks ago, Mickie gave Asuka one hell of a fight and got a few near falls on her. Now she gets basically trounced by Nia Jax? Really? It doesn’t make sense, but WWE thinks we all have short term memory so that doesn’t matter to them.

Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali def Drew Gulak & TJP
This was actually a fun match with these cruiserweights showcasing what they can do. Mustafa tagging himself in without Cedric knowing to get the win was a fine twist. These two have the potential to have a really good and underrated match at Mania. It will be on the pre-show and hardly anyone will see it, but I will at least.

Miztourage dissention?
This segment was great because I totally fell for it. I actually thought we were nearing the end of the Miztourage. While the end of the tandem may still be close, it at least won’t be right now. Miz owned the mic and Seth and Finn played off of it really well. At the end of it all, Finn finished with the upper hand which I’m fine with. Finn got the clean win over Seth two weeks ago, Seth was the man on top last week, and Finn this week. You can only assume that Miz and the Miztourage will have the final momentum coming next week.

Asuka def Jamie Frost
Isn’t Asuka challenging Charlotte at Mania? Why is she still on Raw? The match didn’t even last a minute. That’s it.

Sasha and Bayley have had enough
YES!! FINALLY!! I have been waiting for this moment for weeks. To make it all better, it seemed to me like Sasha is going to be playing the heel role. The emotion was evident in the segment and the fight was believable. But guess what WWE is going to do with this? Waste it in the absolutely meaningless women’s battle royal. What a joke. They’ll butt heads, probably eliminate each other, and then I at least hope will go head-to-head in a future PPV. But hey, we get Nia-Alexa so not having Sasha-Bayley is fine, right? Give me a break.

Braun Strowan def Sheamus
I like that they added the stipulation that we’d find out Braun’s partner if Sheamus beat him. Of course we all knew it wasn’t going to happen, but they gave Sheamus enough momentum to make it look realistic at times. I liked that this wasn’t a squash match. You have to have Braun look at least a little bit vulnerable by himself. If not, giving him a tag team partner would make the Mania match a no contest. We still don’t know who his partner will be, which is good. It gives us something to look forward to in the go-home show.

Ronda embarrasses Absolution, but mostly herself
Good God Ronda Rousey on the mic is cringe worthy. Please, please give her a manager. She should throw people and break people’s arms and not speak. That’s the intimidating Ronda Rousey I want to see. And then they have her try to trade words with Paige, who is one of the best female mic workers in the company? If she handled Absolution like she did and didn’t say a word, that would’ve made this segment way better. Putting a mic in her hands makes her 100 times less scary. I mean really, it’s just bad. I’m still looking forward to the Mixed Tag match at Mania, but my goodness. Did I mention that I don’t think she should have a mic in her hand?

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson def The Miztourage
Kind of pointless. At least the Miztourage didn’t get stomped. They need to look a little more powerful especially if WWE’s plan is to break apart with The Miz soon. If they’re consistently getting beat, why should I believe they can beat down The Miz? Gallows & Anderson need to have a direction soon. They’re too good to be in filler matches.

Elias def Rhyno
The match was the least memorable of everything. Elias absolutely tore Cleveland apart. You want to talk about a heel on the mic, Elias was a mega-heel on the mic. I mean this stuff was so good it got love from Sport’s Illustrated’s twitter. He still hasn’t claimed a spot in the Andre the Giant battle royal (Thank God) so my pipe dream of an Elias-Braun pairing is still possible.

John Cena def Kane
This was a good old fashioned No DQ match and I enjoyed it. They incorporated many outside weapons (which is how it’s supposed to work) and made the match as gruesome as they could. Cena mocking some of the Undertaker’s trademark moves (the throat cut was my favorite) is a solid move by WWE. This should be an interesting story to follow next week. I really hope WWE puts Taker on Raw next week. While a grand Mania reveal would be fine, you can’t pass up an opportunity to have these two face-to-face with mics in hand. It would be a segment to behold and I’m praying for it.

Overall
I think the delivery of last week’s show was a little better but this one wasn’t bad. There wasn’t a ton of Mania buildup but there was plenty of buildup for next week’s show so it did its job. The Cena-Taker angle will be the main thing to watch next week. Braun’s partner (maybe?) should be exciting to find out. I’m not very excited, but at least interested, to see what WWE does next with Brock and Roman.  While it could’ve been better, it certainly could’ve been a whole lot worse.

 

 

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