RAW Thoughts

We’re two weeks away from WrestleMania and the card is NOT living up to expectations. With a main event that has the potential to be a complete disaster in terms of crowd reaction, how will WWE try (again) to build-up Roman Reigns as the “babyface of the company”?? Roman Reigns 16

Roman Reigns vs Stephanie McMahonI liked how Roman Reigns handled himself on the mic in last night’s opening segment. The problem, though, is that it was way too little too late. He should’ve been playing the “bad ass of few words” for months now. Short’n’sweet promos so his fists do the talking for him. Sigh…I just can’t help but feel bad for the guy. The segment wasn’t bad at all and was enhanced by just how incredibly hot Stephanie was looking last night. Damn!!

Kevin Owens vs AJ StylesThe Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles match was absolutely a PPV-quality battle. I mean…damn. This was exactly the type of match that fans of both men were hoping for because it showcased both men in a very positive way (although in all fairness, Owens has been spectacular ever since arriving at NXT). This was a 3-segment war and a 20+ minute battle that ended in the perfect way: Chris Jericho causing a distraction which allowed Owens to roll Styles up for the cheap pinfall. Storylines advanced and this was perfect booking for all three men.

Kevin OwensI never dislike situations when multiple wrestlers all want a title at the same time. Regardless of who it is or what title it is, it elevates the championship because it’s something that people want. Everybody could tell that they were slowly building-up Kevin Owens to defend his title in a Fatal Fourway against Sami Zayn, The Miz, and Neville. That match now has a slightly different twist to it with Dolph Ziggler being plugged into the Neville spot (I thought Ziggler was off of the Mania card after losing to Triple H last week?). The match should still be great, though the only people that deserve to win are either Owens or Zayn.

Dean Ambrose & Terry FunkIt was awesome to see Terry Funk in a skit last night with Dean Ambrose. He looked good and sounded good. I understand where they are going with these hardcore legends “passing the torch” to Ambrose…I just don’t know if it’ll simply be for WrestleMania or if it’ll continue to be his gimmick down the road.

New DayThe segment between the League of Nations and the New Day went on way too long. I mean, New Day was doing their best to be the most pandering PG-rated babyfaces in the entire company. In other words, they began to sound like John Cena and, thus, stopped being cool in just about any way. What was worse was that the League of Nations were outside the ring laughing it all off instead of getting mad…so the “verbal assault” (per Michael Cole) really had no damn effect at all. Just silliness. I have zero desire to watch their match at WrestleMania.

I couldn’t be happier to hear that WWE is inducting a true legend, Stan “The Lariat” Hansen to the Hall of Fame. I just really hope that they do him justice with video packages that showcase just how incredibly awesome he was. Their initial video fell a little flat to me.

Stan Hansen - HOF

I liked the long Shane McMahon vs Undertaker video package from last night. There were a number of big-time stars (Steve Austin, HBK, Edge, Pat Patterson, Booker T, Ric Flair) giving their thoughts on the match and, quite frankly, did more to push the match than the in-ring segment did last week.

Zack Ryder 1Kevin Owens was extremely entertaining during his #KOMania match introduction last night. WWE is giving him more and more opportunity and he’s continuing to rise to the occasion. While I think the end result of a 7-person ladder match for the IC title is a great idea, it’s absolutely laughable that Sin Cara and ZACK RYDER are involved. You know that you’re scraping the bottom of a very shallow bucket when Ryder is in an important match at WrestleMania. Wow…

Triple H vs Roman ReignsThe segment with Triple H and Roman Reigns backstage should have resulted in a monster pop from the crowd (it was very reminiscent of segments from the 90’s including the Rock and Steve Austin), but it didn’t. I thought it was a great spot, but they faded to black with the live crowd booing Reigns. I mean, it doesn’t matter WHAT Vince & Company do to book Reigns at this point…the people simply don’t seem to like him. And to make things even worse is that the live television crowds are beginning to influence the casual fans, so it’s only building and building. Ugh.

Usos vs DudleyzWhat was interesting about the tag team storyline between the Dudley Boyz, the Usos, and the “Golden Truth” was that the crowd was booing the Usos. I realize that it’s a Philadelphia crowd so they like to boo the babyfaces, but I think this was more a case of the crowd telling the world that they think the Usos are stale (they are) and that they didn’t really care about the storyline. Again, I feel bad for them because they deserve a Mania match…but I also can’t ignore the fact that they need to turn heel soon in order to regain some momentum in the tag team division.

Vince McMahonVince McMahon did more to hurt the Shane/Undertaker match than help it. He actually had the balls to say that Shane McMahon was probably going to be Undertaker‘s toughest opponent at WrestleMania…which was meant with laughter, boos, and massive indifference. He then went on to say that if Undertaker lost, not only would Stephanie, Triple H, and Vince “probably” all leave the company but Undertaker would be fired (it was insinuated, anyway). So does this practically guarantee that Undertaker wins? It seems that way.

Braun Strowman vs Dean Ambrose 1The main event match was a joke. Any thoughts that Braun Strowman can be a superstar are on the back-burner right now. Because even with (arguably) the biggest babyface on the roster, Dean Ambrose, in the ring in the main event of RAW, the crowd STILL chanted “This is boring” and were quiet the entire segment. Even Ambrose taking a chair to Strowman seemed out of left field with no real build to it. The show ended and I was left thinking…that’s it?? I can’t wait to see what the ratings are for that final hour.

If this was WWE’s way of proving how dangerous Ambrose could be with a weapon, I guess it succeeded a bit. I still don’t think he’s got a chance of beating Brock Lesnar and this segment did nothing to change my mind on that. Just bad booking all around. Braun Strowman vs Dean Ambrose 2

Overall, the show was really good…but their final hour left a lot to be desired.

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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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