Chaos Ensued Between Ronda Rousey, Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
Not everything about the build to this bout has been a home run, but this was a strong segment where everyone involved played their roles remarkably well. Granted, Angle forgot his lines on a few occasions (what else is new?), but I appreciated the intensity from Rousey and the banter between HHH and Stephanie is always awesome. The table spot with Rousey and Stephanie looked as safe as ever, but still, it was wise to get heat on the heels since they hadn't done that up to this point.
Bayley def. Sonya Deville
I'm all for the women getting more television time, but this started out fairly rough. Thankfully, they recovered just fine coming out of the commercial break and delivered a decent match. Bayley barely managed to score the victory before being attacked afterward by Absolution and saved by Sasha Banks. They brawled for a bit, so expect their recent rivalry to come to a head in the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal.
Seth rollins def. Finn Balor
Every other in-ring encounter these two have had in WWE has been outstanding, so it should have come as no surprise that this was equally excellent. Although there was nothing at stake, it didn't matter because the crowd was invested in the exhilarating action all the same. If this match was any indication as to how good that Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship is going to be, I sense it could be a show-stealer, especially if it kicks off the evening.
Braun Strowman Attacked Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro
It's been obvious for weeks that Strowman would be waiting until WrestleMania to reveal his partner, so the fact that he brought out his "brother" here instead (it was literally Braun dressed up in a shirt and glasses) was hardly shocking. It was a simple segment with Strowman once again standing tall, but I can't help but think that The Bar have looked pretty weak in their feud with him. Are they being set up to retain their titles via some shenanigans?
"Woken" Matt Hardy def. Goldust
The hype for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal has basically been nonexistent, so I don't blame anyone if they didn't care about this contest. Hell, I didn't either, but Hardy's antics are entertaining as hell and the audience was into that stuff. What was even better was him going up to the Andre trophy post-match and pretending to talk to his "vessel." That was hilarious. I doubt he'll win, but he definitely deserves it.
John Cena Called Out The Undertaker
It's bothered me lately how Cena hasn't called attention to his pay-per-view losses dating back to No Mercy in September 2017 in his promos, so I was glad he made mention of that here. He actually noted that this Undertaker WrestleMania match he wants so bad would ensure that "no one gets held back" and "no spots are taken." To his credit, Cena did a wonderful job of working the crowd and getting them loud enough in an attempt to "summon" Undertaker. Don't be fooled, the match is happening, but it will be interesting to see how they get there.
Elias def. Heath Slater
This was a carbon copy of last week's segment, and at the same point in the show, too. In other words, it was a waste of time. I enjoy Elias, but having him beat a loser like Slater does nothing for his momentum. On the bright side, he wasn't announced for the Andre Battle Royal, giving me hope he'll be performing a "concert" of sorts instead. That's a much better role for him anyway since he'd stand out more.
Renee Young Interviewed Nia JAx
Jax has come along nicely as a babyface during this feud with Alexa Bliss and I loved how she had the chance to develop her character with a sit-down interview here. Her answers felt genuine and it will be easy for audiences to cheer for her if she simply portrays herself because there are plenty of people who can relate to what she's been saying. There will be a big pop when she ultimately gets her hands on Bliss at WrestleMania.
Asuka and Dana Brooke def. Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss and Mickie James
Brooke was certainly an odd partner for Asuka to say the least, but I guess there wasn't anyone else from Raw's women's division who could have filled that spot unless it was a Handicap match. Asuka and Jax would have been an interesting tandem, but they just feuded a month or so ago, so I don't know how much sense that would have made. At any rate, this was an average tag match that the crowd largely sat on their hands for because it happened so late in the show. Obviously, Asuka's undefeated streak wasn't ending six days before WrestleMania, but it gave her another win before she vies for Charlotte Flair's SmackDown Women's Championship, so it served that purpose, I suppose.
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar Attacked Roman Reigns
I thought it was odd the video package that promoted Lesnar vs. Reigns for WrestleMania earlier in the evening glossed over how both Reigns and Lesnar are the only ones to ever defeat Undertaker on the grandest stage of them all, but Paul Heyman did allude to that during this segment. Leave it to Heyman to give a match real meaning using important details. He spent his entire promo running down Reigns and playing up how much Lesnar truly despises the WWE Universe. Reigns then emerged, as expected, and proceeded to lay a beating on The Beast before being laid out himself. It was a cool preview of what their WrestleMania championship clash will be, and I have no doubt that it be a blast.
In all honestly, this edition of Raw didn't do much to get me more excited for WrestleMania than I was before, but that isn't saying much because I was already highly anticipating the event. It just might be the most loaded card on paper for any installment in the past decade, so the potential is there for it to be something special. Meanwhile, this was a solid show on the whole. I wouldn't go out of my way to rewatch anything outside of Rollins vs. Balor, but the buildup for WrestleMania was well done. WrestleMania weekend is virtually upon us, so however you spend it, have fun!
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