Live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1293 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. That is one of my favorite banners we've ever done. It's such a great photo from last week's Raw.
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The show began with a shot of the live crowd and Kurt Angle’s music hit as the Raw General Manager made his entrance to a big ovation like usual. They showed images of the Ronda Rousey story with Angle, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. No video, just images. Show some damn video, WWE.
Let’s Hear From Kurt Angle
Angle said that as a manager, you have to do what’s best for business, but last week went way too far when Triple H sucker punched me right in the face. Angle said he’s not going to pretend like everything is okay. Angle called out Triple H. Angle said he didn’t care if Triple H was the COO of the company, he wants Triple H to face him like a man. Angle took off his suit jacket looking ready for a fight.
Stephanie McMahon made her entrance. She’s the Raw Commissioner. No wedding ring on her finger like usual and she's wearing pants, so she could be bumping here. Stephanie entered the ring to say that Triple H isn’t even there yet. The fans booed her. Stephanie asked him how many kids he had, Kurt said he had 5 kids and the youngest was a girl that is 1. Stephanie talked about how Kurt is re-married, so his alimony payment must be steep. Fans booed. Stephanie put over Angle for being an Olympic Gold Medalist and he won it with a broken neck while he’s a WWE Hall of Famer and a 4-time WWE Champion. Stephanie asked Kurt if those accolades are paying the bills right now and she pointed out that they don’t pay the bills. Stephanie said that being Raw General Manager does pay the bills. Stephanie spoke about how Ronda Rousey put Triple H through a table (fans cheered) and that was Kurt’s faults, so Triple H paid him back. Stephanie told Angle to be a good manager and use his head.
Ronda Rousey’s music hit and she got a big pop for it. Rousey greeted some fans at ringside before getting into the ring.
Rousey hugged Angle when she went into the ring and she shook Stephanie’s hand. Fans chanted “Ronda Rousey” before she could start her promo. Rousey said she’s dealt with difficult people her own way and she’ll do things her own way.
Stephanie said she gave Rousey her dream because she is giving her a debut match on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania. Rousey said that in her contract, she gets to choose her opponent at WrestleMania. Stephanie said that she can choose as long as it’s not a champion and it’s somebody on the active roster. Stephanie was fired up about it, acting all excited about what Ronda might do. Rousey got in her face and said “you.” Rousey did not say it loud enough, but the crowd got the message and chanted “yes” for it. Triple H’s music interrupted.
Triple H walked down to the ring saying that Kurt had to worry about doing his job. Triple H said that Stephanie is an executive in this company and the Commissioner of Raw. Angle said he didn’t think Triple H was there and Triple H said it turns out he’s there. (Heels lie!) Angle mentioned that Stephanie is an executive and she has another contract as an active competitor. Angle said he makes the matches. Angle told Stephanie that she has a contract as a competitor as well. Angle said that’s not it. Angle said it’s going to be Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs. Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle. The crowd loved that. Huge pop.
Stephanie went up to Angle and tried to slap him, but Rousey blocked Stephanie’s slap attempt. Triple H helped Stephanie out of the ring. Triple H tried to punch Angle, but Angle was ready for him and hit him with punches. Angle tripped up Triple H and went for the Ankle Lock, but Triple H kicked him into the turnbuckle. Stephanie hit Rousey from behind with a forearm. Rousey turned to her and Stephanie ran away. Triple H tried a Pedigree on Angle, but Angle slipped out of it and Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock. Angle dropped down to grapevine the knee. Stephanie helped Triple H and the heels were helped by referees. Rousey grabbed Stephanie by the hair. Rousey brought Stephanie into the ring. Rousey dropped Stephanie with a Samoan Drop. Angle’s music hit and he left with Rousey.
Analysis: That was well done with a hot crowd popping huge for it. We all knew the announcement coming. I thought they set it up well with Angle revealing that Stephanie and Hunter have contracts that would put them in a match, so it was an easy way to set up the match. The physical stuff between Angle and Triple H was okay. They were a bit off because it’s tough to move around in suits, but they got the job done and when Angle put on the Ankle Lock on the crowd went wild for it. Rousey hitting Steph with the Samoan Drop got an even louder reaction. The story has worked well. I've been critical of Stephanie for years, but part of the reason people popped so big here is because Stephanie has rarely got her ass kicked by somebody, so having Rousey beat her up a bit is something the people loved seeing. My minor complaint is I thought Rousey could have been a bit stronger with her promo. She doesn’t hold the microphone to her mouth close enough, so maybe that’s part of it. Overall, it was a very good segment. I enjoyed it a lot.
Coming up on Raw we’ll hear from John Cena and Asuka vs. Nia Jax is up next.
Triple H and Stephanie were helped to their feet by referees as the show went to break.
The show returned with the graphic telling us it’s official for WrestleMania: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs. Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey. Bet on Rousey’s team.
Asuka made her entrance for the first match of the night. Nia Jax was up next looking serious because she’s not like most girls.
Asuka vs. Nia Jax
This is a rematch from eight days earlier when Asuka won.
Jax was dominant early on as she tossed Asuka across the ring. There was a shot of Alexa Bliss and Mickie James being interviewed by Charly Caruso backstage. Bliss said that Asuka got lucky last week and said Nia may end Asuka’s career. Back in the ring, Jax hit a side slam on Asuka or maybe she was going for a backbreaker and it became a side slam. Asuka pulled on the arms of Jax in a submission, but Jax stopped that by pulling her hair. Jax hit Asuka with a punch. Asuka was on the middle rope, Jax picked her up, spun her around and slammed her down. The show went to break as Asuka rolled out to the floor.
Back from break, Jax was still in control, but Asuka hit a running hip attack. Jax did a power kickout by sending Asuka across the ring. Jax hit a Samoan Drop for a two count as Asuka got her foot on the bottom rope. Cole was shocked by it. Nobody in the audience was. Jax with a Gorilla Press Slam that sent Asuka on her stomach. Jax missed a running leg drop because Asuka moved. Asuka slapped on the armbar on the right arm of Jax. Counter by Jax saw her get back to her feet with a slam, but Asuka held onto the hold. Jax drove Asuka into the turnbuckle twice and slammed Asuka down, but Asuka still had the arm bar/triangle choke on. When Jax got to her feet, Asuka bounced off the ropes and slapped on the armbar on the right arm again. Jax tapped out to give Asuka the win after 11 minutes.
Winner by submission: Asuka
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match with Jax on offense for about 80% of the match until Asuka put on the armbar/triangle choke submission for about two minutes or however long it was. It really put over Asuka as being a tenacious fighter that could take a beating and find a way to beat somebody any time. I think this was done because they are going to move Asuka to Smackdown next week to challenge Charlotte and this was the last time they could have her beat Jax. That’s two wins by Asuka over the biggest woman on Raw. It puts over Asuka huge.
There was a shot of Alexa and Mickie looking at a TV backstage looking all mad about what happened. Cole noted that could be Alexa’s fate at WrestleMania. Remember, Asuka could choose to go to Smackdown to face Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania.
Analysis: I think it will be Charlotte vs. Asuka. I think WWE is just saving that announcement until after Fastlane, so it will be next week.
There was a shot of Jax after the match selling the arm injury. She got a mild ovation from the crowd. Jax looked frustrated about the loss.
Analysis: They could be turning her face soon because there are rumors of her feuding with her feuding with Alexa Bliss going into WrestleMania.
John Cena is still to come.
It was announced that Chole and Halle are singing America the Beautiful at WrestleMania. I’ve never heard of them.
The Revival were in the ring for a match with Michael Cole noting that if The Revival wins the match against The Bar they will face The Bar at WrestleMania.
The Bar duo of Sheamus and Cesaro entered. They are the Raw Tag Team Champions.
The Bar – Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The Revival – Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder
This is not for The Bar’s Raw Tag Team Titles.
Good tag team work by The Revival as they worked over Cesaro with a suplex by Dawson. Cesaro bailed to the floor as the show went to break two minutes into it.
Back from break, Sheamus and Cesaro were in control as Sheamus hit Dawson with a knee to the face. Dawson with a jawbreaker on Sheamus, Wilder tagged in with a kick to Sheamus’ knee and that gave The Revival control of the match. Dawson stomped on the left arm of Sheamus. Back body drop by Sheamus and Cesaro tagged in to no reaction because these are heel teams. Dawson with a DDT on Cesaro for a two count. Cesaro forearm to Dawson and Sheamus with a knee on Dawson. Cesaro got back to the top rope, Dawson sent Sheamus out of the ring and Dawson hit Cesaro with a superplex. Wilder went up top and hit a splash off the top for a two count. That got a decent reaction as a nearfall. Sheamus with a Brogue Kick that sent Wilder out of the ring. Dawson suplex on Sheamus. Cesaro hit a Neutralizer on Dawson and pinned him to win the match. It went about 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sheamus & Cesaro
Analysis: **1/4 The match was okay. The crowd was dead for most of it because it was heel vs. heel and there’s no storyline. Good to see champs win a non-title match at least. I think Gallows & Anderson could emerge as top contenders. It could also be the Hardy Boyz if Jeff Hardy is ready to go again.
John Cena is up next at the top of hour two.
Let’s Hear from John Cena
John Cena made his entrance to a huge ovation. Images were shown of his win over AJ Styles on Smackdown to earn the 6th spot in the 6-Pack Challenge WWE Title match at Fastlane on Sunday.
Cena said he is there on Raw to talk to us about Smackdown. The fans booed. Why? It’s not like there’s a rivalry. Cena suggests that the fans listen. Cena said he has found his road to WrestleMania and that’s why he’s here tonight. Cena said Kurt Angle granted him this time to talk about Smackdown because even he recognizes how important this is. Cena said that he was there on Raw to hype up Fastlane.
Cena said that this Sunday Fastlane, a record that has stood for nearly 20 years will be broken. Cena said that sometimes the truth is brutal. Cena said it will happen. The camera zoomed in on Cena’s face as he said: “This Sunday at Fastlane I’ll win the WWE Championship for the 17th time.” Technically it’s not that title 17 times, but you know. Variations of World Titles.
Cena claimed that people believe that he doesn’t earn opportunities and that he’s only there to hold people back. Cena said he earned opportunity when he beat AJ Styles in the middle of the ring 1…2…3. Cena said that he will never be a man that stands in the ring and hold anyone back. Cena said when he wins on Sunday the critics will say he has robbed AJ Styles of a WrestleMania opponent. Cena encouraged Styles to use his rematch clause right away and on the grandest stage of them all it will be a triple threat match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. John Cena vs. AJ Styles at WrestleMania. Cena pointed at the WrestleMania sign. The promo was interrupted by…Goldust.
Goldust walked down to the ring with a microphone saying he could have been a contender. Goldust went into the ring saying there he is, the leading man John Cena. Goldust talked about how he’s always had the dream of sharing the silver screen with somebody just like John. Goldust said the dreams of soaking in the spotlight a WrestleMania (sign point). Goldust said that dream begins with him stopping John Cena from going to WrestleMania.
Goldust said that his dreams have never had that perfect ending story because it seems like they have all been taken from him just like that. Goldust said the dreams of pretty little rainbows have turned grey and very, very evil. Goldust said that ends today. Goldust said that Cena wants to compete for the WWE Title at WrestleMania, but Goldust said he’s taking control right now of this here silver screen as Cena’s new director for this epic motion picture. Goldust said that Cena’s dreams will certainly be…shattered…and Goldust punched Cena in the face to knock him down. They went to break there.
Analysis: That was random with Goldust of all people interrupting Cena, but at least it’s a different opponent for Cena to face. Cena’s promo was the typical five minute Cena promo hyping up a PPV. There’s no question that Cena’s presence will help interest in Fastlane. I doubt he wins, though. Styles should retain the WWE Title there.
The match was made official during the break.
John Cena vs. Goldust
Goldust was in control with a knee to the face with Cole noting this is the first match between Cena and Goldust. Atomic drop by Goldust followed by a double clothesline spot. Cena missed a corner charge and hit the turnbuckle hard. Cena got back to his feet, but Goldust stopped him with a powerslam for two. Goldust was putting his hands on Cena’s chest and you could see Cena talking to him about the next spot. Cena is terrible at not hiding it. Cena tried to grab a hold and Goldust hit a back kick to the groin for two. The blind ref didn’t see it. Cena with two running shoulder tackles, the spinning side slam and the crowd woke up as Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Cena as expected. At least he got to face somebody different instead of a familiar opponent. The crowd was dead for Goldust’s offense because he’s barely on TV. Cena winning with his usual offense was no surprise.
Kurt Angle was in his office. Elias showed up with his guitar. Elias wanted Angle to cancel his “Symphony of Destruction” match against Braun Strowman, but Angle said no. Angle mentioned Elias trying to run away last week, so it’s Falls Count Anywhere now.
Still to come: The 3rd Annual “Mizzie Awards” are coming up later on Raw. Paul Heyman responds to Roman Reigns.
Bayley was shown walking backstage because she’s up next.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Jonathon Coachman and Byron Saxton were shown on camera setting up the Hall of Fame announcement this week.
The video package aired for Hillbilly Jim as the next person announced for the Hall of Fame. He is hardly a big name in WWE history, but he was a long time babyface from the mid-1980s that was around as a manager in the 1990s as well.
The Hall of Fame class so far: Bill Goldberg, The Dudley Boyz, Ivory, Jeff Jarrett, Jarrius Robertson with the Warrior Award and Hillbilly Jim.
Analysis: It’s a weak class. One of the weakest ever. At least some of them have had long careers and the Dudleys can claim they are one of the best tag teams ever. The other names expected to be added are the late Bam Bam Bigelow and Kid Rock as the celebrity inductee.
Bayley made her entrance. Images were shown of Bayley refusing to tag Sasha Banks last week in their tag match.
Analysis: You know what would be better than images? Video! It’s a television show.
Bayley was interviewed in the ring by Charly Caruso. Bayley mentioned what happened with Sasha at Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, but she was acting nervous. Bayley didn’t even get going in her speech because Absolution’s music played to interrupt her.
Paige walked onto the stage with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. Paige congratulated Bayley for finally growing a backbone. Paige mocked Bayley for not needing Sasha anymore. Paige told her that she pushed away the only person that cared about her. Paige said that Bayley’s life would be easier if she had backup and if you have no one, you have nothing.
Mandy Rose (w/Paige & Sonya Deville) vs. Bayley
Rose drove Bayley back first into the turnbuckle followed by a body slam. Bayley came back with a shoulder tackle and the elbow attack against the turnbuckle. Rose bailed to the floor as the show went to break two minutes into it.
Back from break, Rose with a headlock. Bayley broke free and Rose hit her with a forearm. Bayley with a backslide pin, Rose rolled through and Bayley got a cradle for two. Bayley ran the ropes and Rose nailed a jumping knee to the face for two. That looked great. Bayley kicked Rose away and hit a neckbreaker using the ropes for an assist. Bayley with a double axehandle followed by a running press and punches. Bayley sent Rose into the turnbuckle about ten times or close to that. Bayley wit ha back suplex. The crowd was quiet. Deville distracted Bayley, but Bayley hit an elbow off the middle ropes. Bayley hit Deville with a forearm. Rose rollup, but Bayley rolled through and held Rose down for the pin. It was like a sloppy ROLLUP OF DEATH~! but not the same move. The match went 9 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: *1/2 Boring match. They just didn’t have a lot of chemistry there. Bayley’s selling is usually good enough. It just didn’t work here. Best spot was that running knee/kick by Rose. The finish was sloppy with the rollup not looking smooth.
Post match, Rose and Deville attacked Bayley. The shaky camera is so annoying. Sasha Banks ran out for the save to clear the heels from the ring. The Absolution trio left together. Banks’ music played. Banks tried to give Bayley a hug, but Bayley pushed her away and Bayley walked away on her own. Banks looked confused about it. The crowd reacted to that like WWE wanted.
Analysis: The tease of a turn continues. I think it should be Banks that turns heel, but it may be Bayley to try something different with her.
Still to come: Strowman vs. Elias in a “Symphony of Destruction” Match.
A video aired for Women’s History Month about Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
There was a replay of Asuka’s win over Nia Jax. That means they replay stuff from earlier in the show, but they show images for stuff from last week.
Nia Jax was shown in the locker room with ice on her right arm. Alexa Bliss and Mickie James walked in. Alexa told Mickie she’s got this, so Mickie left. Alexa sat beside Jax talking about her recent losses at Elimination Chamber and Raw. Bliss said that it must be so embarrassing. Bliss let her know she has friends and even though she’s not on the WrestleMania card, she knows next year she will be. Bliss put over Jax for everything she accomplished in a short amount of time. Bliss told Jax she has been an outcast, bullied and scorned all because she’s bigger than other kids. Bliss said at airports, she sees how people look at Jax and Jax was crying. Bliss said she can’t let this be her downfall because if she does, everyone will lose all respect for her. The scene ended with Jax crying.
Analysis: Poor Nia Jax. Bliss did a good job as somebody that's acting like a friend. Was Bliss genuine or is she happy that Jax is a loser? I think this is going to lead to Jax turning face. The problem with people saying another wrestler is not on the WrestleMania card is it's March 5 and it's not like we know the full card. Asuka can challenge Charlotte at WM, Raw needs a contender, so Jax steps up on Raw against Bliss by winning a battle royal or something like that. That was the rumor for months and the seeds are certainly being planted for it to happen that way.
Replays aired of the opening segment of the night that set up Rousey and Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie at WrestleMania.
There were images shown from Raw last week with Elias running away from Braun Strowman.
Strowman did a cell phone promo while words appeared on the screen. Strowman said that he’s not finished with Elias. Strowman said it’s the countdown to Elias’ extinction.
Elias was shown walking backstage because he’s up next.
There were musical instruments all around the arena for the Sympathy of Destruction Match.
Elias was introduced for the match. Elias played a piano that was on the stage. He did a pretty good job of it. Elias did his “who wants to walk with Elias?” bit and called Milwaukee a scumbag town to get some heat. Elias played on some drums and cymbals that were on the stage to show he could do it all. Elias said that Strowman is the monster among men, but he is living in Elias’ world. He did his “WWE stands for” bit leading to the fans to chant “Walk With Elias.” Elias played one of his songs on the guitar. Elias got a reaction for rhyming Bucks (Milwaukee’s NBA team) with “sucks” so that got him some cheap heat. Elias was on the steps and he said he wanted a proper introduction. Jojo introduced him. Elias ran to the backstage area.
Elias went backstage and left the arena. Elias was shown getting into a car that had the keys in it. The camera was right there of course. Elias couldn’t move the car because he looked in the mirror and saw Braun Strowman, who told Elias he’s not finished with him. Elias got out of the car, which Strowman was lifting. Elias went back into the arena.
Analysis: It was a creative way to put over Strowman’s superhuman strength.
They made their way back into the arena and the bell rang to start the match.
Sympathy of Destruction Match: Braun Strowman vs. Elias
Strowman kicked Elias in the ribs and sent him into the ring. Strowman with a running splash against the turnbuckle. Punch to the chest by Strowman. Elias escaped a Powerslam attempt, he clipped the back of the knee of Strowman and Elias hit Strowman in the back with a guitar to stagger Strowman. Running knee to the face by Elias. Elias went up top and he hit a flying elbow drop off the top rope for a one count as Strowman did a power kickout. Strowman came back with a punch that sent Elias out of the ring. Strowman walked Elias over to the announce table by the stage. Strowman’s back was bloody a bit from the guitar shot. Elias avoided a Powerslam, so Strowman threw him into the video screen on the stage. Strowman threw Elias into some guitars. Strowman walked over to the giant bass that Strowman used in the past. Strowman hit Elias in the back with the oversized bass that was like a cello. The crowd loved that. Strowman sent Elias under the piano. Strowman just pounded on the piano keys. Strowman kicked the legs out from under the piano and then slammed some of the piano onto Elias. Strowman cleared the piano and covered Elias to win the match after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman
Analysis: *1/2 It was mostly a comedy match with the weapons involved. This “feud” did nothing for Elias except make him look like a loser. It helped Strowman a bit in terms of making him more popular with the fans because he keeps coming up with creative ways to beat people up.
Post match, Elias was put on a stretcher by EMTs with Graves laughing about it and saying Elias got what he deserved. Cole and Coachman weren’t sure if anybody deserved.
Still to come: Paul Heyman is there and the Mizzie Awards hosted by The Miz.
This week on Mixed Match Challenge: Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss vs. the husband/wife team of Jimmy Uso and Naomi. That should be an easy win for Strowman and Bliss.
The announcers were on screen. They talked about the big show in Australia in October later this year with more details on that soon. They also plugged the 50 man Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia on April 27.
Analysis: I covered it here in case you missed it. Hopefully it’s an event that they show on WWE Network because that would be cool to see a 50-man Royal Rumble in front of 60,000 fans. Good for the fans in Saudi Arabia.
Bray Wyatt vs. Rhyno (w/Heath Slater)
Wyatt with a kick to the face of Rhyno followed by a clothesline. Wyatt hit the Sister Abigail and pinned Rhyno to win the match in about one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Bray Wyatt
Analysis: Match of the year. Or not.
Wyatt did a promo after the match talking about Matt Hardy. Wyatt told Matt to come out and show his face. Wyatt said that the Final Deletion is far from over and the Great War is far from over. Matt Hardy appeared on the screen. Wyatt said that the Great War is far from over. Hardy said that if they wish to clash, it can’t be contained in WWE. Hardy said there is only one battlefield…the Hardy Compound. There was a clip of Matt Hardy’s house. Hardy said that the battlefield has been prepared for annihilation and told Wyatt to be prepared for the ultimate deletion. Wyatt was laughing about it.
Analysis: Having a match at the Hardy Compound is what Hardy did when he was in TNA/Impact, so it’s good that WWE is going to have faith in him to do something similar. It worked well in Impact. When WWE tried it with Wyatt vs. New Day it didn't work that well. Wyatt vs. Orton in House of Horrors was terrible. I hope it does well here as long as Matt gets to use his creativity.
The Miz was shown walking backstage with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas because they are up next.
The 3rd Annual Mizzie Awards
The Miz was in the ring with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. They were all in their ring gear, so get ready for a six-man tag match.
Miz claimed that they honor true greatness, not “acclaimed movies” that nobody watches. Miz whined about how The Marine 5 should have won Best Picture over The Shape of Water. Miz claimed that “Get Out” is what Kurt Angle should do on Raw. Miz mentioned that billboard movie and said his face should be on billboards for WrestleMania.
First category is “Superstar that is the best at Patting Themselves on the Back” nominees are Seth Rollins for bragging about lasting 65 minutes in a match that he lost, Kurt Angle for after 29 years being a good father to Jason Jordan when he told him to go home and Finn Balor for being Universal Champion for less than 24 hours. Miz read the winner…it’s a tie Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. Miz said that unfortunately Seth and Finn won’t get their award because they weren’t invited.
The second award is “Worst Decision by a Raw General Manager.” The nominees are Kurt Angle for bringing his bastard son Jason Jordan to Raw, Kurt Angle for letting Seth Rollins and Finn Balor in the Elimination Chamber match and Kurt Angle for failing to name a WrestleMania opponent for the Intercontinental Champion. Miz read the winner…Kurt Angle. Miz said that he’s not there because he’s busy sucking up to Ronda Rousey. Miz said that Angle would be fired after WrestleMania.
Miz talked about a Lifetime Achievement Award for the man that is 55 days from breaking Pedro Morales record as the most days as Intercontinental Champion…but here’s Seth Rollins with the interruption.
Rollins said that the people of Milwaukee were begging to hear some music to play Miz off. The crowd cheered that. Finn Balor’s music hit to cut off Rollins, so Rollins was upset about that because that has happened many times. Rollins said that’s two weeks in a row where Balor followed him.
Miz talked about how neither one of them deserve to face The Miz at WrestleMania. Miz said that nobody makes losing look better than Rollins except for maybe Balor. Miz talked about Balor held the Universal Title for one day, but he’s done nothing since then. Miz said that Balor will tell people how “over” he is and said this isn’t Japan, it’s WWE. Miz told Balor to be over you need more than a hand sign that’s not even years. Miz challenged Rollins and Balor to a 2 on 3 handicap match.
Rollins accepted the challenge as he went into the ring with Balor and the show went to break.
Analysis: It was obvious the tag was coming since they were all in their gear. The awards dragged a bit and weren’t that funny, but I enjoyed some of the promo.
The match began after the break.
Seth Rollins & Finn Balor vs. The Miz, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas
The heels took control by working over Balor with Miz hitting a running kick on Rollins. Axel tagged in with a perfect (wink, wink) running neck snap for two. Axel put Rollins in an armbar and when Rollins got back to his feet, Axel with a dropkick. Rollins and Dallas exchanged chops, Rollins with a boot and Balor got the hot tag. Balor with a double foot stomp on Dallas. Balor with a running chop on Dallas followed by a running chop in the corner. Dallas got his boot up and Balor came back with a step up enziguri. Distraction from Miz, so Balor went after him and Dallas nailed Balor with a clothesline as the heels took control again.
Back from break, Rollins got a hot tag, he hit a forearm followed by the suplex into the Falcon Arrow slam for two. Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Rollins rolled through and hit a kick to the face for two as Axel broke up the pin. Rollins hit a suicide dive onto Axel and Dallas. Rollins clothesline sent Miz out of the ring. Rollins ran the ropes, but Balor tagged himself in and Rollins wasn’t happy about it. Rollins kicked the Miztourage down. Balor hit a somersault dive to take out Dallas and Axel. Balor with a Slingblade on Miz followed by the running dropkick in the corner. Balor went up top, Rollins tagged himself in and Rollins hit The Stomp for the pinfall after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Seth Rollins & Finn Balor
Analysis: ** It was an average tag team match. The problem with a match like this is Axel and Dallas don’t have a lot of credibility as a team that can win a match like this, so the fans have a tough time buying into them when they are offense. Rollins and Balor doing the thing where they are trying to outdo the other guy is typical in a storyline like this.
Kurt Angle showed up on the stage to announce what he had planned for The Miz and the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania: The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor. Miz was angry about it while Rollins and Balor stared happily at the WrestleMania sign.
Analysis: That was expected after Miz lost non-title to both guys last week. There might be a title change at WrestleMania, but I’m cool with Miz retaining too. Right now I’m leaning towards a Balor win.
The announce team shilled the Fastlane PPV on Sunday.
Up next is Paul Heyman in the main event segment.
Let’s Hear From Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman entered for a promo with the crowd chanting along for his usual intro. Heyman had the red Universal Championship in his hands, but there was no Brock Lesnar with him.
Heyman said he was there to deliver a message for his client, to set the record straight and he’s here because Brock Lesnar allows him to put his hands on that title. Heyman said that maybe he can lay down the UFC Heavyweight Title with it as well in the future.
Heyman pointed out that Roman Reigns complained about Brock Lesnar’s schedule last week. Heyman said that Reigns’ greatest victory was last year when he beat The Undertaker. Heyman said the word “bullshit” (it got muted) when ranting about Reigns beating Undertaker last year at WrestleMania as the biggest win of Roman’s career. Heyman added that Brock Lesnar is Brock Lesnar 365 days a year. Heyman said that next week on Raw, he’ll bring Brock Lesnar. Heyman said that after WrestleMania, Reigns can seek out a new title because this one (the Universal Championship) belongs to Brock Lesnar.
Heyman was about to leave, but he stopped to say that Reigns called Lesnar a “bitch” last week. Heyman told Reigns that the Universal Title is Lesnar’s “bitch” and Reigns can’t have her. Heyman spoke about how Reigns talks about his bloodline while adding that the Universal Championship is his bloodline. Heyman said that Reigns will have to take it out of Brock’s competitive fingers. Heyman said that ever since Lesnar was a big boy, he always wanted to be the best.
Heyman said that’s not a belt, that’s not a strap, that’s not a prop – it’s a declarative statement that you are better than anybody else in the world and the universe. It means you can tell your children that you are the top of the card, the main event, the #1 on the face of this planet and everywhere else in the universe because that’s what this title means. Heyman said the title makes you.
Heyman talked about if you want to be the Universal Champion like Brock Lesnar, that title needs you more, lusts for you more and is everything that you are and you are everything that is that title. Heyman said that next week on Raw in Detroit, Lesnar will be there and Reigns can say anything he wants to his face. Heyman said that Reigns has learned that you don’t want to shoot on the microphone with Paul Heyman and you don’t want to shoot in the ring with the reigning Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. Roman Reigns music hit as Heyman was about to grab the title.
Analysis: It was a great promo from Heyman like usual. He did a fantastic job of putting over the value of the title and how important it is in the company. As much as I like Heyman in a sitting like this, I would have had Reigns come out earlier and they could have exchanged words a bit because this promo went on for like ten minutes. That’s a bit much. Calling the title a “bitch” was not the way I would have gone with the promo, but Heyman always finds a way to make things work. Heyman even managed to say "Afa" and "Sika" in the promo as well.
Reigns entered the ring with Heyman and told him to pick up the title. Reigns said this is what he’s talking about. Reigns said what he said last week was harsh and true. Reigns laughed about Lesnar sending Heyman for his rebuttal and said: “Brock really is a bitch, isn’t he?” Reigns said that all they are asking is that the champion shows up to work. Reigns said they didn’t want Brock to just show up, he should want to be here. Reigns said that next week on Raw in Detroit, he’ll be on Raw and Lesnar can say whatever he wants to his face. Reigns said that Lesnar needs to come dressed for a fight, not a promo segment. Brock wears the same thing all the time anyway, so it's not like there's a difference. Heyman left the ring.
Analysis: This was just Reigns building up to next week’s segment. There wasn’t much to it. I find it weird that Reigns was only on the show after 3 hours and 10 minutes into it. At least they didn’t go the usual route of having a wrestler beat up Heyman because that has been done too often.
A graphic aired for next week on Raw in Detroit: Reigns and Lesnar in a face off.
Reigns stood tall in the ring while Heyman left holding the title and that was it. Raw went off the air at 11:14pmET.
Three Stars of the Show
- Triple H/Stephanie McMahon – As much as I complain about Stephanie, she did well here.
- Kurt Angle
- Ronda Rousey
5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2018 Average: 6.1
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 8, 7.5, 6.5, 6
2018 High: 8 (February 19)
2018 Low: 5 (January 8, March 5)
I give it a 5 out of 10.
The opening segment was clearly the best part of the show. The rest of it was uneventful with several boring matches with a dead crowd because there just weren’t enough interesting segments to make us care about the matches.
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) March 6, 2018
The next PPV featuring Raw talent is WrestleMania 34 on April 8. Here’s what we know so far.
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs. Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
That's all for this week. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.
Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.
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