Seth Rollins Attacked Drew McIntyre and Confronted Universal Champion Brock Lesnar
It's about time Lesnar showed up on Raw. I realize the storyline is that he's a "lazy part-timer" who doesn't care about the company (which may be partially true), but it hasn't helped his storyline with Rollins any. There is far less excitement for that match than there was two months ago, but at least everyone played their rolls well in this segment. There was hype for both Rollins vs. Lesnar as well as Rollins vs. McIntyre, and seeing McIntyre interact with Lesnar (albeit briefly) was cool.
Finn Balor and Braun Strowman def. Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush
I'm sorry but I am not digging this Balor vs. Lashley feud whatsoever. They just don't have any chemistry together and I can't say I'm looking forward to a WrestleMania match between them over the Intercontinental Championship. This was a fairly basic tag team affair with nothing all that special about it. Strowman stepping in as Balor's mystery partner was pretty disappointing, just because I was hoping for someone new (or at least someone not as overexposed as Strowman). By the way, it doesn't get any more sad than Strowman entering the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
Alexa Bliss Hosted Moment of Bliss with Elias; Elias def. No Way jose
Bliss being out of the ring for as long as she has been is simply baffling to me. I would understand if she was hurt like she was late last year, but as far as I know, she's not, and these talk show segments have been extremely forgettable. It merely served as the set-up for Elias vs. Jose, which was filler at its finest. WWE better have something major in mind for Elias at WrestleMania, because if not, all these interruptions will be for naught.
Kurt Angle def. Chad Gable
Angle announced before the bout that his WrestleMania 35 opponent will be none other than... Baron Corbin. Yes, seriously. Many fans (myself included) believed it would be John Cena, and I suppose there's still a chance WWE swerves us at the last second by making that match, but it doesn't look likely. Sure, Angle and Corbin have had beef for nearly a year, but Corbin is a terrible final opponent for Angle. In fact, Gable would have been a much better choice. This was slightly slow early on, but once they picked up the pace down the stretch, it turned into a fun matchup.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Sasha Banks vs. Natalya Ended in a No Contest
Natalya and Beth Phoenix challenged The Boss 'n' Hug Connection for their WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania, but based off Nia Jax and Tamina getting involved in this outing, it's bound to be a multi-team match. I'd prefer the standard two-on-two approach, but oh well. Banks vs. Natalya could have been really good but was cut short before they could reach that next gear.
Ricochet def. Jinder Mahal
What the hell happened to Ricochet's tag team with Aleister Black? I assume they're still a unit and that this was a rare week where they didn't team up, but they advanced to the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic just last week and appear to be in the running for shots at the Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Championships. It was a perfectly fine showcase for Ricochet and he was over in front of this crowd, but this felt pointless.
Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey def. Dana Brooke
I don't think anyone actually viewed Brooke as a legitimate threat to Rousey, so keeping this short and sweet was the way to go. Rousey's quick decimation of Brooke was glorious, as were her post-match antics attacking more officials. This is the Ronda Rousey we should have gotten a long time ago. It'll be a big moment if she gets beat by Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. If Rousey does leave after the event, it's a shame this heel run would have been short-lived.
Apollo Crews def. Baron Corbin
Well, this was bizarre. As a match, this was decent while it lasted. I'm a fan of Crews', but it's incredibly odd that he would beat Corbin on the same show that it was announced that Corbin would face Angle in his retirement matchup at WrestleMania. As previously noted, it could end up being a massive swerve with Cena replacing Corbin at the last minute. Perhaps that's just wishful thinking, though. If that won't be the case, then this was a bad booking decision.
Michael Cole Interviewed Batista
I liked last week's segment with Batista and Triple H, but this was a much better promo from Batista. There was a lot less yelling and a lot more substance. He provided logic for why he's hated Triple H for so many years as well as why he left back in 2010. This is why I was hoping they'd acknowledge when Batista initially lobbied for the match years ago. Now let's see how Triple H responds.
Drew McIntyre def. seth Rollins
Rollins and McIntyre always work well together and this was another quality contest from them, but we've seen it enough times over the last eight months that it didn't feel as important as it should have. The distraction finish was lame, even though I understood what they were going for. If that's all the hype Rollins and Lesnar get between now and WrestleMania, then that's pathetic. On the bright side, it's a major victory for McIntyre, who can now challenge for the title coming out of WrestleMania (as long as WWE doesn't forget about this).
Man, what a weak edition of Raw so close to WrestleMania. It was so strange to see Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Aleister Black left off the show in favor of No Way Jose, Jinder Mahal and Apollo Crews. No disrespect to them, but I almost questioned whether I was watching a Main Event taping. Outside of the final half hour or so (and possible Angle vs. Gable), there weren't many redeeming qualities about this show. The three hours painfully dragged and didn't do much to get me any more pumped for WrestleMania than I was before.
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