Becky Lynch def. Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair in a Beat the Clock Challenge
Before the bout, all three women addressed how it was announced earlier in the day that the Raw Women's Championship match will indeed be in the main event of WrestleMania 35, which is amazing news. The actual Beat the Clock Challenge gimmick did nothing for me, though. With there not being anything on the line, fans didn't have any incentive to care who won. Sure, Lynch received a bit of a momentum boost, but The Riott Squad continue to look like massive losers.
Finn Balor def. Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley and Jinder Mahal in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
As I've said several times before, I could not care less about this rivalry between Balor and Lashley. This was originally supposed to see Lashley team up with Lio Rush against Balor, but Rush blamed "injuries" he sustained at the hands of Braun Strowman last week as the reason why he couldn't compete. Instead, he was replaced by Mahal, who I'd argue was an even worse choice, because his win-loss record in recent months has been atrocious. With this victory, Balor earned the opportunity to challenge for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania. I figure that's where we'll see The Demon show up again.
Aleister Black and Ricochet def. Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival (Non-title)
Prior to this show, this match had already been done twice before (and that's not counting the Triple Threat from Fastlane), so it's a shame WWE has run it into the ground to the point where it has lost a lot of its luster for me. They work well together and the NXT alumni are being handled fairly well so far, but The Revival have virtually zero credibility as champions. Surely there's some other way WWE could have set up a WrestleMania mathcup between them without having the champs suffer another non-title loss.
Drew McIntyre Attacked Roman Reigns
This is a match I didn't know I wanted to see happen at WrestleMania until a few weeks ago. I don't think Reigns and McIntyre have ever gone one-on-one before, so it feels fresh and has the potential to be a barn burner. Reigns received a strong reaction from this crowd in Boston and McIntyre deserves credit for being such a fun foil for him at the moment. Personally, I could do without all the cancer and family talk, but I guess that's what makes it more personal. McIntyre standing tall was the right call because it makes him out to be dominant heading into their encounter.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Sasha Banks def. Natalya (Non-title)
Banks vs. Natalya took place on last week's Raw as well, but Nia Jax and Tamina interfered minutes into it and caused the contest to be thrown out. Thankfully, this was a lot longer (and therefore significantly better), but this also ended in a non-finish thanks to Jax and Tamina, which was a letdown. It was made clear afterward that, as expected, The Boss 'n' Connection will defend their WWE Women's Tag Team Championship against Jax and Tamina, The IIconics, and Natalya and Beth Phoenix in a Fatal 4-Way at WrestleMania.
Braun Strowman Challenged Colin Jost and Michel Che to Enter the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 35 on Moment of Bliss
Oh my lord, this angle WWE is running with Strowman and the goofs from Saturday Night Live is so stupid. I especially feel bad for Strowman, who is a complete afterthought at WrestleMania despite being positioned as one of the top faces on Raw in 2018. Props to Jost and Che for playing their roles well and doing their best to elicit heat from the crowd, but there was no saving this segment. If it wasn't already evident, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal will be the WrestleMania bathroom break this year.
Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews
Crews scored a random fluke victory over Corbin last week, so WWE allowed Corbin to get his win back over Crews this week. Seriously, what was the point of this match beyond that? The fans in attendance sat on their hands for it, and I don't blame them one bit. That is a sign of things to come for him and Kurt Angle at WrestleMania unless WWE gives into the fans' demands and changes his opponent to someone more exciting.
Paul Heyman Interrupted Seth Rollins
I enjoy the interactions between Rollins and Heyman as much as the next person, but I think we are well past this stage of the feud. Rollins is cutting great promos every chance he gets about how he needs to beat Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania and how he'll have the fans in his corner, but for WWE to not touch on the rest of their history dating back to 2014/2015 or any other aspect of the storyline is disappointing. This was a solid segment, but I felt like I had seen it once or twice before.
Kurt Angle def. United States Champion Samoa Joe (Non-title)
I honestly never thought we'd see the day where Angle and Joe were fighting in a WWE ring. Sure, both guys are past their prime and this was far from the level of the instant classics they produced over a decade ago, but it was a nice trip down memory lane while it lasted. I have no issue with Angle going undefeated before he retires at WrestleMania, but I do have an issue with Joe losing as often as he has been lately. Similar to The Revival, it's tough to take him seriously when all he does is come up short.
Triple H Agreed to Put His Career on the Line Against Batista at WrestleMania 35
It was weird to see Triple H all smiles while breaking the fourth wall a few different times during this promo, if only because he was intense when he and Batista had their last verbal exchange two weeks ago. He did a good job of responding to Triple H's criticisms of him while acknowledging that he'll have to put his career on the line in their WrestleMania match in order for it to happen as planned. That would be a cool stipulation had WWE not done it six years ago with HHH at WrestleMania 29. I realize they want to raise the stakes, but now it's even more predictable that Batista isn't winning.
Drew McIntyre def. Dean Ambrose in a Last Man Standing Match
The Falls Count Anywhere match McIntyre and Ambrose had two weeks back was excellent, but this never got the chance to be nearly as entertaining. In addition to being rushed for time, the commercial break took up a majority of the matchup, and what we were left with was merely decent. On the bright side, McIntyre went over as he should have and is wisely being protected before he takes on Reigns at WrestleMania. I'm curious what Ambrose's role at the event will be, assuming he's there at all.
I don't want it to sound like I have low expectations for WrestleMania or that I'm not excited to be there in person, but the build has left a lot to be desired, at least on the Raw side. Most of the matches on Raw from week to week are either pointless or forgettable, and there aren't enough compelling stories being told at the moment to justify tuning in for the full three hours. Of course, WrestleMania could wind up being an extraordinary event, but I'm not even sure a blow-away go-home show next Monday night would sell the masses on the pay-per-view. From this edition of Raw, the stuff with McIntyre, Triple H's promo and Angle vs. Joe were well done, but everything else fell flat for me.
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