We’re on the final road to WrestleMania hot off the heels of last night’s FastLane PPV. I’ve read that we’re to expect the unexpected tonight in Detroit, so I can’t wait to see how WWE begins to set-up their biggest card of the year!
We kicked off the festivities with a recap of last night’s main even Triple Threat match, and then a video from “earlier today” when Brock Lesnar attacked Dean Ambrose in the parking lot, thus setting up one of the “meh matchups” for WrestleMania.
Vince McMahon then came out to give the award out for the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy Award. I thought it was going to go to Triple H, but it instead went to Stephanie McMahon.
Just as she was about to read an acceptance speech, OUT CAME SHANE MCMAHON!!!
What in the living hell??? Talk about a shocker!! Holy shit!! After an extended “Shane-O-Mac” chant, a “Holy Shit” chant, and a “This Is Awesome” chant, we finally got to hear just why Shane was there. He proceeded to tell his dad and family that under Stephanie and Triple H’s reign the ratings have tanked, the stock has fallen, and there has been a plethora of injuries to major superstars.
Shane sent Stephanie packing and then told his dad that he wanted control of Monday Night RAW.
Okay. I’m intrigued.
What in the actual fuck???
Let me think about this for a second…Shane McMahon is back to get control of Monday Night RAW, thus being in control of the entire company. In order to do that, Shane-O-Mac must come back for one more match…against the Undertaker at WrestleMania in a Hell In A Cell match.
Yeah…I think I can handle this. I’m speechless about the whole thing, but I’m down with it (even if it’s just a set-up for John Cena vs Undertaker, which is still a possibility). Wow…talk about unexpected.
The next match was a throw-away six-man tag match with the Lucha Dragons and Neville taking on the WWE World Tag Team Champions, the New Day. The match was entertaining and had a couple of innovative spots. In the end, New Day won…thus shooting down possibilities that the Lucha Dragons are next in line for a WWE tag title shot. In fact, there was a short segment with New Day making fun of the League of Nations, so that inexplicably seems to be the next feud for them…even though they didn’t, in fact, turn babyface last night. I’m actually confused about the whole thing.
Kicking off Hour #2 is Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. I suppose they felt the need to do whatever they could to make Lesnar a heel going into their match with Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania, but I don’t see anything wrong with a face vs face match. People will cheer Lesnar, anyway. Heyman delivered another insanely awesome promo, telling the world how Lesnar got ripped off and made a few jabs at both Ambrose and Reigns along the way. It was awesome.
Then, driving the ambulance as if he were drunk, Ambrose came “back from the hospital” to challenge Lesnar to a match at WrestleMania. Ambrose crawled towards the ring but couldn’t muster the ability to stand up. Lesnar began to walk away by stepping on his head…but Ambrose grabbed the house mic and challenged him to a match at Mania in a no holds barred street fight. Lesnar laughed and made his way back down to Ambrose and gave him an F5 on the floor.
The crowd chanted “one more time” as Heyman grabbed the mic and accepted the challenge. As much as the segment was awesome, the idea of a gimmick match between Lesnar and Ambrose at WrestleMania is just “meh” for me. I mean, I’m sure Ambrose will do well and “won’t give up”, but other than a few lucky spots it’ll be Lesnar killing him for 10-15 minutes. As entertaining as that may be, at the end of the day it’s just “meh”.
There was a completely forgettable segment with the Usos destroying the Ascension after being dressed-down by the Dudley Boyz. Yawn. Next?
It was nice seeing Chris Jericho, again, giving the rub to AJ Styles. This time, though, Jericho was back to being full-fledged babyface. Their love-fest was interrupted by the #SocialOutcasts, which led to a forgettable tag team match between “Jeri-Styles” and Curtis Axel & Heath Slater. It showcased the comedy possibilities by the Outcasts and the athletic abilities of Styles, so it wasn’t a total loss.
After a couple of backstage skits, we had a rematch (of sorts) from FastLane with Kane, Big Show, and Ryback taking on the Wyatt Family (only this time with Bray Wyatt replacing Braun Strowman). For me, two things stood out during the match: (1) the slow-building tension seeming to develop between Harper and Wyatt and (2) the “Gillberg” chants for Ryback by the awesome Detroit crowd. The big story from this match was that Ryback simply walked out on his partners near the end of the match (though Kane telling him it was time was actually caught on camera). This distracted Kane long enough for Bray to hit Sister Abigail and get the pinfall.
“The Legit Bo$$” Sasha Banks showed up to take on Naomi. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…being a great wrestler doesn’t mean you can simply do “moves”, which is something Naomi does. I mean, she’s extremely athletic and can do all of the moves it takes to be a good wrestler, but it’s glaringly apparent that she can only do moves. There is a reason why she hasn’t been a top contender or a Divas champion at this point in her career. It’s not because she doesn’t have the ability…it’s because she doesn’t know how to string it all together. Can she ever do that? I dunno…but if she was better at what she does, she’s probably be a champion by now considering the talent she has.
After the match was over, Charlotte came out to tell everyone that Sasha Banks will clash with Becky Lynch to determine the # 1 contender to the Divas title that will battle her at WrestleMania. She was dressed in “mom jeans” and a top that looked like it belonged to Nikki Bella. Huh. Oh well.
My guess is that at the end of the day, we’ll have a Triple Threat match for the title. I guess we’ll find out in just over a month.
We’re told that the second inductee into the Class of ’16 Hall of Fame will be Charles Wright…better known as The Godfather. While not ranked nearly as high, I had Godfather listed in my Top 30 Wrestlers NOT in the Hall of Fame.
The main event was Roman Reigns taking on Sheamus (and the League of Nations). I gotta be honest…I didn’t have high hopes for this match when it started. I mean, we’ve been there and done that before. It’s boring as hell at this point. Once Sheamus was about to win via countout, Triple H‘s music hit and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion made his way to the ring for an impromptu battle.
The problem, though, was that the crowd was booing Roman Reigns and cheering Triple H. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point. So even though Triple H did what he could to be a destructive heel onto a sympathetic character, the crowd was chanting a name and it didn’t belong to Reigns.
Triple H then smashed Roman’s head against the announce table repeatedly in rapid succession (much to the crowd’s delight as they chanted “YES” every single time) and ended up smashing Roman’s nose and making his face a bloody mess. He then gave Reigns a Pedigree on the steel steps before mocking him and posing with the WWE title, much to the crowd’s delight.
If WWE was trying to make Reigns a sympathetic character tonight, that mission failed miserably.I know they’ll continue trying, though…but I’m feeling bad for Reigns at this point. He’s doing everything he can given the confines of the gimmick they’re allowing him to have. I can only hope that last night changes Reigns into a killer as we head into Mania…that may be the only Reigns that people will cheer.
The only problem, however, is that the internet is too smart for their own good. Already uploaded onto YouTube is a video of Byron Saxton appearing to give Reigns a blood capsule to smear all over his face. See it for yourself…
Sigh…poor Roman can’t catch a goddamn break.
Not that it matters because (I had to break it to you, kids), but this is sports entertainment and at the end of the day you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO REALLY INJURE YOUR OPPONENT.
From extreme highs at the beginning of the show to extreme lows at the end, this was an up-and-down episode of RAW. Some matches were set-up for WrestleMania, others were hinted at, and others weren’t touched at all. The next few weeks should be very interesting.
But these are just my opinions. What are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or hit me up on social media and let me know!