It was the final Raw before Wrestlemania and the last chance to get us excited for the big event on Sunday. Unfortunately instead of forwarding any storylines we mostly got more of the same.
Last week and throughout the night they built anticipation for the final face to face confrontation between Brock Lesnar and our Universal Champion, Goldberg. Paul Heyman did his usual thing on the mic. There were a couple of tweaks in Heyman and Lesnars interaction with each other. They remain to be compelling figures and demand your attention whenever they’re on screen regardless of the stand still they’ve been in since the night after the Royal Rumble. Which is why these segments are never going to be bad.
Then Goldberg came and speared the hell out of him and that was it. Like I said, it wasn’t bad but considering this was the last confrontation before Wrestlemania it was mediocre. It was better than Roman Reigns and Lesnar playing subtle tug-of-war with the title or whatever Roman and Triple H did last year so maybe I shouldn’t be too upset. I’m looking for Lesnar to get a quick win Sunday and Goldberg walks off into the sunset. He can’t keep doing this to himself, or us.
Grown Man Business
I love it when Roman Reigns says that he is ‘grown’ and doesn’t care about Undertaker and his magic tricks because who cares about Undertaker and his magic tricks, right? I understand that he is pretty much a god in WWE but he’s not literally a God. When he’s talking about taking souls and sending people to ‘special places’ in hell and Reigns is talking about punching him in the face, albeit very insipidly, it’s hard not buy into Roman. He is the young cocky up and comer and the Undertaker is the crazy old man who makes tombstones for Wrestlemania opponents.
None of this matters though because Roman is going to get booed no matter what happens. Whatever happens after Mania, heel or face, I just want to see something interesting happen with Reigns because a victory over The Deadman must not go to waste on another nonsensical Reigns push.
3 Women and a Bayley
The women’s champion opened the show with a promo about how much she loves Wrestlemania and the Philly crowd was not feeling her and neither was I. I can complain about the inconsistently in her booking since Raw Talk after Fastlane or even how she loses to anybody who isn’t Dana Brook. But the main problem with her is that she is boring. The writers have no idea how to make her interesting, their too focused on making her a Disney caricature.
Anyway, Charlotte came down and spoke more of the truth about Sasha Banks eventually turning on Bayley. Sasha came, denied it then Nia Jax came and called everybody little. Then a match.
Thank god the match was at least good because the segment was a waste of time. They got a lot of time and there was only one commercial break. Charlotte shined the most, working most of the match while Nia Jax was completely useless, allowing Bayley to get the win.
Jax made up for her weak crap by laying everybody out after the match and she was getting plenty of heat from the crowd. Throw the title on her, why not?
Seth Rollins finally gave the promo I’ve been waiting for since last summer. Triple H was yelled a lot but Rollins really dug into himself and poured his heart out in front of the world. Finally!
Beating Triple H actually means something to him that’s bigger than revenge. Redemption, and getting back to the old Rollins, the Rollins we all fell in love with in The Shield (not Tyler Black I’m sure)
This segment, unlike most on this show, gave us more to look forward to when they face each other Sunday. I’m actually ok with them closing the show with this, possibly involving all the bells and whistles. Push Rollins!
There wasn’t much more added to the storyline between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho but fortunately nothing else is really needed. The performances have been so great week to week between these two and the story is very simple. There’s a clear bad guy and a clear good guy and obviously the match is going to be awesome.
Sami Zayn had to fight Owens for his job because Stephanie McMahon needed somebody to scold. Even for this being the 457th time these two faced off, it was still a good match. Part of me hoped that Zayn would lose so he could go to Smackdown, but I was ok with the outcome.
I’ve personally been impressed with Sami Zayn‘s booking. Regardless of his win/loss record he’s one of the most relevant babyfaces on the roster.
The Andre the Giant Battle Royal doesn’t do anybody any favors and I feel bad for anybody involved and I’m very unhappy that Zayn is wasted on this while Samoa Joe isn’t booked for anything.
There was a battle royal match that featured the young and up and comer, Big Show, tossing the smaller, useless wrestlers out the ring. All this to promote another battle royal at Mania. Braun Stowman showed up too.
Both Cruiserweight matches were very good and Austin Aries/Noam Dar got a lot of time considering how little WWE cares about the Cruiserweights. Neville looked great against Gallagher as well.
Aries and Neville are going to be match of the night.
Climbing to the Bottom
There isn’t much to say about the tag team situation because it’s awful. Fortunately WWE knew that and added ladders to the match which might help a little. For the past few weeks now, every match booked with these three teams has ended in minutes to a pointless conclusion. This week was no different, but we all know the match will be awesome so I guess that’s WWE telling us that’s all that matters.
This show was 40% wrestling and the rest was commercials and vignettes for Wrestlemania, therefore I’ve come to the conclusion that the last Raw before Mania is sort of the opposite of the Raw after Mania. Formulaic and filled with a lot of corporate garbage. This was very forgettable episode and hopefully not an indication of what biggest thrill ride will be. Maybe they know that no matter how crappy the shows are, we all will still watch Wrestlemania. I guess they win.
My grade: C-, bumped up a grade for lack of Stephanie