WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman Addressed Drew McIntyre
Lesnar has been way more talkative on the mic this year than he normally is, so I was disappointed we didn't hear from him here. Of course, they had plenty of time to kill, so it would have been nice to hear him address McIntyre. Despite that, Heyman's promo work was excellent as always. I was really excited for Lesnar vs. McIntyre before all the changes were made, so here's hoping they can still deliver a quality contest.
AJ Styles Challenged The Undertaker to a Boneyard Match
Unfortunately, Styles hasn't had the benefit of drawing heat with these promos because of the current circumstances, but he's been knocking it out of the park, anyway. I'm really digging the approach they're taking to this program with Styles breaking the fourth wall and going straight after Mark Calaway. I don't mind the match getting a stipulation, but it wasn't made clear what a "Boneyard match" is. I assume it will be House of Horrors-esque considering the event was said to be filmed at multiple locations, if it isn't a straight-up Buried Alive matchup with a different name.
United States Champion Andrade and Angel Garza def. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander
It's such a shame there aren't any crowds at the moment because this would have been a banger with an audience. Hell, it was a banger even without anyone there. Alexander and Ricochet were a hell of a team I'd love to see more of (especially if Creative has nothing for them in the singles ranks) and Andrade and Garza also worked wonderfully together. I loved how they kept the pace consistent throughout and held nothing back. The finish was obviously botched as Alexander failed to kick out when he should have, but I don't think it took away from how awesome this outing was.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Street Profits def. Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink (Non-Title)
Thorne should be a familiar face to NXT viewers, but I've never seen Vink before now. I'm not sure if these two have been teaming up on the NXT house show circuit lately, but they're no TM61. At any rate, this was all about Street Profits and getting them ready for Andrade and Garza at WrestleMania. That match was announced earlier in the afternoon and it's every bit as random as it looks on paper. I'm sure it will be a blast, but Andrade and Garza did nothing to earn a shot at the straps and I was looking forward to Andrade defending his title in a Fatal 4-Way against Garza, Rey Mysterio and Humberto Carrillo instead.
Becky Lynch Crashed Charly Caruso's Interview with Shayna Baszler
Baszler always shines in this type of environment and I thought she came across very well here. She didn't speak for long before being blasted from behind with a chair by Becky Lynch, but this segment served its purpose in furthering their feud and getting viewers hyped for their Raw Women's Championship clash at WrestleMania. As I've said before, I'm glad Lynch has stayed serious for the past three weeks, but her getting the better of Baszler in this segment would seem to indicate that Baszer is winning the title.
Aleister Black def. Leon Ruff
I'm not lying when I say that this was the exact same match Black had on Main Event last week with the exact same opponent. It was the same length, too. They might as well have replayed that match and played it off as being live and I don't think anyone would have noticed. The only difference is that we now know that Black will face Bobby Lashley for some random reason at WrestleMania. Sure, it gets both guys on the card, but they have no established bad blood whatsoever.
Seth Rollins Interrupted Kevin Owens
I feel like fans have forgotten that this feud has been going on since November. It dragged for a little bit in the middle with all of those multi-man tag team matches, but they've really kicked up a notch in recent weeks and this was proof of that. Owens' mic work was good, but Rollins knocked it out of the park with his promo. He brought up how he was the reason why the Performance Center was built in the first place and that WrestleMania has always been where he's shined the brightest. He even acknowledged that Owens wasn't even a part of the event last year, the same show where he beat Brock Lesnar and won the Universal Championship. If you weren't sold on Rollins vs. Owens before, you should be now.
Randy Orton Accepted Edge's WrestleMania Challenge
Needless to say, Orton's mic/character work has been on another level since his storyline with Edge started and this was no exception. He went into every aspect of their rivalry: how Edge is an "adrenaline junkie," how Edge claims Mick Foley passed the torch to them, how Edge believes Orton had everything handed to him, etc. The footage that was shown through all of this illustrated his points even more. This has been the best piece of storytelling in the entire company for the past two months and I'll be damned if they don't stole the show at WrestleMania, regardless of how/where it's filmed and despite how no one will be there to enjoy it in person.
WWE made a slight change from last week by having the hard camera face the stage. It didn't make a major difference, but at least the empty seats weren't as apparent (which was a nice touch). Meanwhile, not one but two old pay-per-view matches were replayed: Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins from Royal Rumble 2015 and Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka for WrestleMania 34. It was never explained why they were being shown again, but at least both bouts were great. The show on the whole was a bit better than last week's show as there was more in-ring action and the promos largely delivered. All things considered, this was an entertaining edition of Raw. Of course, the situation sucks, but they're doing a better job of making the most of it. We'll see how the next few shows go, including WrestleMania. I'm not thrilled they're taping it this Wednesday, but maybe it exceeds expectations. Either way, I think I can speak for everyone when I say I hope this crap blows over soon.
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