Universal Champion Brock Lesnar Attacked Roman Reigns
No matter what WWE does (including booking him in Stone Cold Steve Austin fashion), the fans in attendance at WrestleMania are going to boo Roman Reigns' inevitable title win. That said, this angle was really done. Reigns came across like a badass for resisting arrest while Lesnar was a total opportunist in attacking Reigns when he was obviously incapable of defending himself. This added a ton of much-needed heat to their WrestleMania match and kicked off the show on a hot note.
Asuka def. Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss by Count-out (Non-title)
Bliss' pre-match promo was excellent as she ran down Nia Jax and successfully set up their WrestleMania match. Meanwhile, I found the original encounter between Bliss and Asuka to be a bit boring two months ago, so I was happy when Asuka ultimately chose Charlotte Flair as her WrestleMania opponent instead. Thankfully, this was better, but despite receiving a good chunk of time, only the final few minutes were actually anything of note considering the outcome was never in doubt. The count-out finish was flat, but at least Jax targeting Bliss afterward made up for it.
Braun Strowman def. Raw Tag Team Champion Cesaro
It's virtually impossible for Cesaro to have a bad match, and given his opponent was Strowman, it was no surprise that this was a fun outing. Strowman built momentum with his win and as well as intrigue over who he will reveal his partner to be to go after the Raw Tag Team Championship. At this point, I would assume Strowman will wait until WrestleMania itself to choose a partner, and it's possible not even officials know who it will be yet and are still deciding. Personally, I'd go with Samoa Joe, but you can't go wrong with Elias, either.
The Revival def. Titus Worldwide
Both of these tandems were unceremoniously dumped out of that Battle Royal last week on Raw like sacks of trash, so it's difficult to blame anyone for not caring about this contest. It was fine while it lasted yet nothing special. The important thing was that The Revival bounced back with a victory and afterward announced themselves for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, making that match official for the WrestleMania card as well.
Absolution def. Bayley and Sasha Banks
It was high time Bayley and Banks explained their actions from the last few weeks and I thought their mic work was strong. As for the tag team matchup, it was well-wrestled enough and furthered the story they've been telling with Banks and Bayley. Absolution have been background players during this entire angle, but I figure they'll all be added to the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal and that's why these matches have been happening.
Kane Attacked John Cena
I continue to laugh at how Cena is calling Undertaker a coward for not answering his invitation to face each other at WrestleMania. Dude, just let the man retire in peace! If nothing else, the delivery of Cena's promo was once again above-average and I'm anxious to see how 'Taker will respond. Keeping him off TV until WrestleMania would be the wrong move, though. Kane coming out instead and laying out Cena was interesting, and they'll clash one-on-one next week.
Balor Club def. The Miztourage
Miz has been firing on all cylinders with his promos recently and his pre-match mic work shooting on "Tyler Black" and "Prince Devitt" (who Miz mistakenly called Prince Nevitt) was hilarious. The Miztourage are hardly a threat to anyone, but from an in-ring standpoint, this was an entertaining match that served to give Balor a boost as he pinned Miz for the victory. The commentators laid it on pretty thick that Miz has the odds stacked against him in the Triple Threat at WrestleMania, so my early prediction is that Miz will retain his title.
"Woken" MAtt Hardy def. Bray Wyatt in an Ultimate Deletion Match
First and foremost, this wasn't nearly as chaotic or as insane as the original Final Deletion in TNA, but by WWE standards, this was, dare I say, wonderful. There were a handful of cameos from Queen Rebecca (piano and all), Senor Benjamin and even Brother Nero (a.k.a. Jeff Hardy) despite his recent arrest. Everyone played their roles well, and the wackiness of this was a blast. WWE could have done so much worse, so I'm glad they gave Matt the creative freedom to do what he wished and make this something special. With Wyatt being thrown into the Lake of Reincarnation, can we expect him to return soon as Husky Harris? That would be the most amazing payoff of all-time.
For what it's worth, Ronda Rousey was advertised as appearing on Raw, but she appeared before the live crowd instead. That's slightly disappointing, but the video package that aired looking back at her background in UFC was well produced. As for the rest of the show, it wasn't as strong as past weeks, but I did find it to be solid on the whole. The opening and closing segments were the highlights of the night, and everything else did its job in hyping up WrestleMania. Thus, to call this a bad show by any means would be misguided I believe. The Show of Shows is shaping up to be one hell of an event.
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