RAW Thoughts

The Road to WrestleMania ran through Pittsburgh last night with the great anticipation as all of the “big superstars” were expected to show up. Did the show meet expectations?Undertaker pwned

The New Day 4I love how New Day have turned into babyfaces without changing anything about themselves. It is the sign of a tremendously over act when they can switch from babyface to heel (or vice versa) without having to actually do anything different. I also loved how they cheated to win the match and still did so as babyfaces. I don’t remember the last time I saw that happen (Eddie Guerrero, perhaps?). I’m not sure where they’re going with the post-match beatdown by the League of Nations, though…a 4-on-3 handicap match for the tag team titles at WrestleMania?

The other thing that shocked me was that an actual match with a 5-10 minute post-match beatdown was shown instead of the normal promo/interview segment that takes place. Wow…you wouldn’t think that wrestling on a wrestling program would take priority, would you?

Brock Lesnar & Paul HeymanThe next segment featured Dean Ambrose talking smack about Triple H, but then interrupted by Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. I’m still not 100% sold on their match because I don’t believe Ambrose can win…nor do I believe he SHOULD win at this point. I mean, he’s all bad-ass when he’s got a crowbar in his hand but he has yet to do anything against Lesnar 1-on-1. To me, he looks like a punk-ass who can only be tough with a weapon in his hand. I really don’t think it does Ambrose any favours.

Ryback vs Sin CaraWhile I respect Ryback for working hard to expand his in-ring repetoire and developing a new character, at the end of the day the WWE Universe feels the same way about him that I do…and that’s indifference. Ultimately, Ryback is boring…and until that somehow changes, all of the pushes in the world won’t change that. I’m certainly NOT interested in watching Ryback decimate Kalisto for 10 minutes at WrestleMania, regardless of whether or not he wins.

Stephanie McMahonThe entire segment with Stephanie and Triple H was entertaining, as they continue to deliver solid promos. Triple H, in particular, went above and beyond to drone on and on in an effort to be booed so he could put Roman Reigns over…until, of course, Dolph Ziggler came out instead. I just have to wonder, though…is this actually going to end up with a long-term substantial push for Ziggler or is this just another “bait & switch” faux-push that sees him used as fodder for the bigger picture? My guess is that Reigns will be a part of the main event to help Ziggler get a “big win”…then Ziggler will soon be forgotten about. Again.

Sami ZaynI really enjoyed Sami Zayn‘s match last night against The Miz. To me, it was a perfect match for a new babyface on the roster. He sold like crazy for awhile but not too long. Then he came back with fire and got all his shit in…hitting the big moves and looking like a million bucks. You can’t really complain about how he was booked. I’m also intrigued by the tension between Kevin Owens and Miz. Throw in Neville and you’ve got the recipe for an incredibly entertaining Fatal Fourway for the Intercontinental championship at WrestleMania.

Lana & Team B.A.D.The storyline between Brie Bella and Lana is intriguing. I mean, why is Lana constantly after Bella? And why are we being set-up for a WrestleMania wrestling debut by Lana?? It just seems a bit odd to me, but I’m not against it by any stretch. My only hope is that Lana is more capable in the ring than, say, Eva Marie. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I’m really not looking forward to Lana’s impending relationship with Team B.A.D. because they’ll suck the life out of anybody they’re in contact with.

Triple H vs Dolph Ziggler 1I was quite surprised to see Triple H vs Dolph Ziggler kicking off the third hour instead of being the main event of the show. I guess the confrontation between Vince, Shane, and Undertaker are considered the “main event” tonight. Either that or Ziggler is such a loser that even he brings the WWE champion down from the main event.

Triple H vs Dolph Ziggler 2As I look back on the match I just gotta wonder what the heck the point of all this was. My hope is that Ziggler joins The Authority and revives his career and gimmick somehow. But in the meantime, he’s now without a match at WrestleMania…and unless there is some kind of storyline that focuses on Ziggler (or he is the rumored WWE performer who has decided to not renew his contract when it expires), I really don’t understand the point of all this.

Roman ReignsYou’ve gotta love how fans continue to boo Roman Reigns, even when WWE books him correctly as they did last night. This is the Reigns that we should have seen all along, but at this point I truly believe it’s “too little, too late” in the eyes of the WWE Universe. Yes, he’s still one of the most popular performers on the entire roster…but much like John Cena, he’s become too much of a polarizing figure to truly ever be the “face of the company”. I thought his beatdown of Triple H was booked well and made him look strong, but the loud booing by the live crowd really took away from Roman’s moment of redemption.

My fear is that after Roman’s “fake bloody nose”, the real staples in Triple H’s head will only endear him to WrestleMania fans even more.

Chris Jericho vs Neville 1I feel bad for both Chris Jericho and Neville for their match last night. What should have been a really great back-n-forth contest was cut short due to Neville suffering what appeared to be a pretty serious injury (during the commercial break, no less) and then Jericho had to awkwardly improvise the match ending and post-match promo. Even the AJ Styles “Phenomenal Forearm” seemed awkward because it kept Jericho down so long. Is that the new finisher as opposed to the “Calf Crusher”? The whole segment was a failure, but it really wasn’t anybody’s fault.

Shane vs Vince vs UndertakerI really didn’t like the placement of the Shane McMahon vs Vince McMahon vs Undertaker segment. The real interest of WrestleMania should be Triple H vs Roman Reigns. The problem, though, is that the crowd seems to be split on the interest in that match. So instead of making it the focus of RAW, we’re now focused on the McMahon family battle as the primary selling point of the PPV. I don’t hate the match or anything, but I guess I’m constantly baffled at how WWE scrambles at the last minute and admits defeat without actually admitting defeat (which would be doing the RIGHT thing and turning Reigns heel).

Shane McMahonPoor Shane sounded completely lost during his promo. He’s more interested in the “Shane Shuffle” than focusing on remembering his lines. The in-ring segment didn’t do much to increase my interest in the match, unfortunately. Yes, Shane danced around and caused Taker to go after him, but I don’t believe that Shane can dance around enough to cause Taker to get gassed inside of the cell. I dunno…the whole thing just didn’t hit the right buttons for me.

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This is just what I’m thinking, but what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or hit me up on social media and let me know!

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