We are less than one week away from WrestleMania. I’m really hoping for an exciting show because WWE needs as much hype as they can muster leading up to the “Showcase of the Immortals”. Fingers crossed…
– Sting starts to make his speech about taking down Triple H when Stephanie McMahon came out. She proceeded to deliver quite the money promo, in spite of the annoying Los Angeles crowd chanting “WHAT?” every couple of seconds. She talked her way around it to the point that they got bored and stopped. It was quite impressive, actually. She was just about to slap Sting when he stopped her and held her arm. That didn’t sit well with Triple H, who came out ready to defend her honor against the man who placed his hands on her.
The crowd was going nuts at this point…chanting “This is awesome” before the two even did anything. Stephanie handed Trips a sledgehammer…
…but as he made his way into the ring Sting pulled a baseball bat out of his trenchcoat. The crowd was eating out of the palm of Sting’s hand…it was a little surreal, really. I honestly didn’t think that the crowd would get behind Sting like that. So either it was just a “hot crowd” or else I’ve misread the build for this match.
– To keep the crowd going, Dean Ambrose made his way out to the ring for a tag team contest. Unfortunately, he’s teaming with R-Truth to take on the odd combination of Luke Harper and Stardust. Thankfully, Bad News Barrett is on commentary. For the few minutes that Ambrose and Harper were in the ring together, it was really quite entertaining. Whenever Truth or Stardust entered the ring, the chemistry just wasn’t there. Surprisingly, Truth picked up the pinfall after some kind of forward-falling DDT on Stardust.
– Highlights of an interview with Roman Reigns is shown next. He works really well with scripted, pre-recorded interviews and yes…he’s getting much better at live interviews, too. The problem is that everything is too scripted these days. Reigns needs to be silent but deadly, even if that’s hard to help a main event match get over with the fans. The end result of the interview was, “I can and I will”.
– The Miz and Damien Mizdow made their way out to kick off a 10-man tag team match. They’re joined by Adam Rose and The Ascension. Across the ring from them are Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, Ryback (#SteroidGuy), Erick Rowan, and (believe it or not) Zack Ryder. It was a nothing kind of match, really. I mean, I’m all about tag team matches and even 6-man tag matches, but 10 men is simply too much. Ryback got the win for his team with a “Shell Shock” on Miz. Some people got more into the match than I did.
– Randy Orton was next facing the fan’s choice (y’know…that whole WWE app thing). The WWE Universe voted for Seth Rollins and J&J Security in a handicap match. It’s weird…I’m rooting for Seth Rollins big-time for the match at WrestleMania. Why? Well…it’s primarily because Orton came back and destroyed Rollins, so he already got his revenge and the fans already got their match pay-off. But then he challenged Rollins to a match and continues to antagonize the man. What they did in this match was have J&J Security be the ones to take on Orton, frustrating him because he couldn’t get his hands on Rollins. Ummm…YOU ALREADY DID!!! As expected, Orton pinned one of J&J and got mad that Rollins simply walked away.
– For whatever reason, they promoted Rusev taking on Jack Swagger tonight like it was a big deal. I mean…how many more times must Swagger lose to Rusev before WWE realizes that they’ve completely killed any chance this guy had of getting over?
– Backstage, AJ Lee and Paige are talking. Apparently, Nikki Bella offered a title shot to one of them…but they had to decide which one of them would take on Bella for the title.
– Paige is the one to take on Nikki Bella. I won’t lie…this was a pretty good battle. My only problem is that Bella doesn’t sell as much as she should. I realize she’s a heel and is the champion, but after some of the punishment that Paige dished out, Bella should show herself to be weakened more than she was. Don’t get me wrong…she didn’t go all “AWA-era Road Warriors” on Paige, but she recovered from her beatings acting too fresh. Other than that, however, the match was solid. In fact, this was just as exciting as the matches NXT has been putting on lately and one of the best Diva matches RAW has ever put on. Kudos to WWE and kudos to both Paige and Nikki.
The end of the match came when both Paige and Nikki rolled to the outside. AJ came over to take Brie out of the equation. Paige went to hug AJ (or something), but AJ instinctively elbowed her in the face. This gave Nikki the opportunity the nail Paige with a forearm, roll her into the ring, and his her finisher for the pin. After the match, Paige and AJ threw some punches at each other as Paige was livid over losing…leading to a storyline for WrestleMania that the two babyfaces just can’t get along and won’t be able to function against the Bellas.
– Snoop Dogg then came out with some leftover Divas who weren’t doing anything else. He got inside the ring and grabbed a mic. Just as he’s giving a promo, out came Curtis Axel.
Just when you thought this segment was immediately going to go down the shitter, out came HULK HOGAN!!
Hogan gave his usual schtick promo, with Snoop Dogg acting a fool in the background. Axel then ripped off his shirt and tried to punch Hogan, who then blocked it and punched Axel silly. Snoop then threw Axel over the top rope before engaging in a “Real American” posedown with Hogan. Silly, but a fun pop.
– We are now treated to a Smackdown “interspecies” rematch between Los Matadores & El Torito versus Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, and Natalya. The Usos were on commentary to help set-up the WrestleMania preview show match of Cesaro & Kidd taking on Los Matadores, the Usos, and the New Day for the tag team titles.
The match itself was pretty bad, actually, with the champions having to sell hard for the Matadores and the stupid “bull”. I mean…I just don’t get it. Kudos to Cesaro, especially, for selling some pretty crappy-looking Lucha offense. Natalya took the pinfall when Torito rolled her up. Ugh. Backstage, Vince McMahon laughed at the brilliance of the booking.
– Unfortunately, Rusev came out for his match alone (Lana is off filming a movie). I won’t lie…the guy loses a little bit of his luster without her standing there with him. In fact, the crowd chanted “We want Lana” during the match. At least they gave Jack Swagger a few seconds of offense before Rusev finished destroying him and looking strong before his loss at Mania against John Cena. Speaking of, Cena ran down to the ring when Rusev wouldn’t let go of the Accolyte and Swagger continued to suffer. They battled for a minute or so, with Rusev standing tall in the end…which only goes to further prove that Cena is winning on Sunday.
– Los Angeles is definitely Bray Wyatt country as he walked out to a sea of “fireflies” and delivered another WrestleMania promo against the Undertaker.
– They officially announced the final member of the WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015: Kevin Nash.
Things started off slow but was still entertaining. I could see this be a main-event on any PPV and the crowd would eat it up. While the match wasn’t nearly as long as it should have been, Ziggler pinned Bryan CLEAN after a Zig Zag. I mean…I was shocked at the finish. I’m not really sure what to take away from that. Afterwards, all of the participants in the Intercontinental Ladder Match came out and pretty much destroyed each other until everybody was left laying. The announcers then shrugged it off as the camera turned to them so they could tell the world that WrestleMania weekend programming starts on Thursday.
– We close the show with Brock Lesnar walking down to the ring with his advocate, Paul Heyman, by his side.
Of course, the more Heyman talks the more interested everybody is in what he’s saying. Without a doubt, one of the greatest promo men in wrestling history.
Roman Reigns made his way down to the ring and got face-to-face with Lesnar. As expected, Lesnar got a lot of cheers and Reigns got a lot of indifference. At one point, Reigns took the title and raised it up…to a chorus of boos. The two men holding on to the title and “wrestling” with it (while standing to pose, obviously), closed the show.
Well…after a pretty darn good episode of RAW, we were treated to a VERY disappointing and flat finish. This is an example of just how badly WWE has bungled the main event of their biggest PPV of the year. They need something big and flashy to justify their main event. My “wishful booking”?
What do I think will actually happen? I think Seth Rollins will lose to Randy Orton, but still walk out of WrestleMania as the corporate WWE World Heavyweight Champion. A straight pinfall by Reigns would do NOTHING but turn the crowd against him. A straight pinfall by Lesnar would just kill months of WWE trying to build-up Reigns as a main eventer. There aren’t a lot of options here.
WrestleMania’s main event is extremely interesting…but only for the finish; not the match itself.