THE RAW RECAP – 19/03/2018

Hello and welcome to another Monday Night RAW recap. Tonight should be… interesting. It’s the Ultimate Deletion, with Matt Hardy taking on Bray Wyatt in the Hardy compound. Vince McMahon has given his word that Brock Lesnar will appear. And Alexa Bliss takes on Asuka if Nia Jax doesn’t catch up with Bliss first. Finally, Kurt Angle confirmed Braun Strowman will have the tag title match he earned last week if he can find someone prepared to be his partner, so there will be more on that.

I’m Amanda, and I’ll be guiding you through what could be a very strange episode of RAW.

The Opening Segment

Kurt Angle opened RAW, again. He started by letting the audience know that Roman Reigns is still suspended and will not be at RAW, but Brock Lesnar is apparently on his way to the show.

He started talking about the Braun Strowman situation but was interrupted – by Roman Reigns. Angle told him he was trespassing, Reigns said he doesn’t care because someone needs to be there to represent the main event of WrestleMania. He laughed at Angle saying Lesnar was just running late and told him again he had to leave because he’s suspended.

Angle tried to tell him to be patient, wait three weeks and he’ll get his hands on Lesnar. Reigns said he knows but doesn’t care. He’s not leaving the ring until he’s seen Lesnar, then he sent Angle backstage to sort it out and sat on a chair in the ring.

Kurt Angle went backstage, but it was three ‘US marshals’ who came out rather than Brock Lesnar. Roman Reigns was ‘arrested’ in the middle of the ring. He was being cooperative, let them handcuff him and was walking out of the ring until they touched him. He took out all three then Brock Lesnar’s music hit. Reigns was still handcuffed but he tried to grab the chair. That didn’t work, and he took multiple suplexes and chair shots from Lesnar.

photo credit: wwe.com

Twice Lesnar left the ring and returned to inflict more punishment, delivering an F5 on his final trip. Eventually, he left and officials came down with medics to strap the semi-conscious Reigns to a backboard. There was some obvious bruising to Reigns’ wrists and hands from taking a beating while wearing handcuffs. They got him out of the ring and onto the trolley then Lesnar’s music hit again and he came jogging down to tip it over and have another go. It took two attempts to push the trolley over and it looked like Reigns’ ankle bent awkwardly against the barricade when it tipped.

After the break Reigns was shown being loaded into an ambulance. It was revealed later in the show that Reigns had been taken to a local medical facility and is being kept in for observation.

The Other Stuff

– Huge recap of last week’s horrific bitchiness from Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, before Bliss came to the ring with James ahead of her match with Asuka. She said she and Mickie James were joking around and dismissed it as girl-talk. Then said she was sorry – for not speaking the truth sooner. She didn’t lose any sleep. Jax was humiliated in front of the entire world and Bliss loved it. She never liked Nia Jax, she used her. And she feels better for saying it.

– Alexa Bliss vs Asuka – non-title match – Really good match, except there, is no way Asuka’s streak is being broken before WrestleMania, and everyone was waiting for Nia Jax to turn up. Mickie James tried to use a distraction to turn things in Bliss’ favour, even landing a punch on Asuka on the outside. Bliss managed to resist an ankle lock for an impressive amount of time before forcing a rope break and opting to take a count out loss. Nia Jax turned up as Bliss and James were leaving. She ran through James and chased Bliss around the ring. She caught her at the barricade, but James got up and got thrown into the ringpost by Jax, allowing Bliss to get away. Nia Jax gave chase and ran Bliss out of the arena.

photo credit: wwe.com

– Backstage, Bliss spoke to Kurt Angle and told him to have Jax arrested or suspended. Kurt Angle said he saw what Jax did, but more importantly he saw what Bliss said last week. The RAW women’s champion should be a role model, not a bully. Then he set the WrestleMania match – Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax, for the RAW women’s championship.

– Braun Strowman said last week he won the tag team battle royal by himself and now he’s going to WrestleMania. But he’s been informed he has to have a partner, even though he doesn’t need one. He could win the titles by himself. The Bar took exception to that at came out to tell him there was no way he could beat them. There was more banter, then Strowman revealed he has a partner (but didn’t say who) and he’d been promised a match with one of The Bar, immediately

– Braun Strowman vs Cesaro – Fun match. Strowman not only won, he also beat Sheamus up a bit in the process. It’s not often you see Cesaro thrown around like that. He got some good offence in but barely got Strowman off his feet, even with the help of a ringpost. Cesaro had one pin attempt in the whole match.

photo credit: wwe.com

– Matt Hardy’s promo ahead of Ultimate Deletion was suitably weird. He sent Vanguard one to scan the property, and Senor Benjamin to prepare the battlefield for annihilation, over the soundtrack of Reby Hardy playing the piano. There were two more promos during the show from the Hardy compound, one with George Washington the giraffe and one with Skarsgard the dilapidated boat. Nothing from Bray Wyatt.

– The Revival vs Titus Worldwide – The Revival pinned Apollo off the Shatter Machine after a short and unremarkable match. Afterwards, they were asked about their path to WrestleMania. They’re apparently planning to be the first team to win the Andre The Giant Battle Royal.

– Mark Henry is the latest addition to the Hall of Fame class of 2018.

– Bayley and Sasha Banks vs Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose – The interesting stuff was between Banks and Bayley before the match. Banks said Bayley is her best friend, she knows she hurt her feelings at Elimination Chamber, but Bayley has left her high and dry twice since then. She thinks of her as a sister, so she’ll forgive her. Bayley said she can’t get the picture of Banks smiling after she kicked her off the pod at Elimination Chamber out of her head, and she can’t get over it. She wants to know why it was so easy for her. Absolution turned up before Banks could reply and, after a bit of trash-talking from Paige, the match started.  Bayley hesitated to tag Banks but tagged in when Banks hit the ropes at her feet. Sasha Banks re-entered the ring to take care of Mandy Rose when she broke a pin-up. Unfortunately, the ref was distracted trying to get them out of the ring and missed Bayley pinning Deville. Bayley and Banks started arguing, Deville pushed Bayley into Banks, kicked Bayley in the head, and pinned her.

photo credit: wwe.com

– John Cena came to get his answer from The Undertaker. He talked about Undertaker hiding because he’s embarrassed and feels like he doesn’t belong anymore, but that’s ridiculous because as long as there’s a WWE that name will mean something. Then he asked the crowd if they wanted the match. It took him two attempts and a guy dressed as ‘Taker to work them up, but they got there. He said he feels Undertaker’s lack of response is disrespectful to him and the fans. If he’s retired then say so and stay retired, but if not then saying nothing makes him a coward. He pleaded for Undertaker to do something, and the crowd chanted for a sign. When nothing happened, Cena said that was the moment Undertaker had let down everyone who ever believed in him. Then Kane came out. Cena got excited that he was delivering a message from Undertaker, instead he delivered a choke-slam and left without saying a word.

– The Miz and The Miztourage vs The Balor Club – During The Miz’ inevitable pre-match rant about respect he name-dropped Rollins and Balor’s indie names, Tyler Black and Prince Devitt, but said Nevitt instead of Devitt in a blatant show of disrespect. The match mainly went unmentioned while Rollins talked on commentary, but it was good. The Miztourage tried to cheat repeatedly, and Balor club won when Balor pinned Miz. After the match The Miztourage took out Gallows and Anderson and started the three on one beatdown on Balor. Rollins ran down to help, stomped Miz into the mat, then faced Balor over him and said, ‘I did that, you owe me one’.

photo credit: wwe.com

– Interesting extended promo package for Ronda Rousey. The match is going to be awful, but Rousey has to survive as a character after that so WWE really need people to invest in her.

The Final Segment – Ultimate Deletion

There were only ever two options for this, awesome or terrible.

Vanguard one and Matt Hardy’s hologram welcomed Wyatt to the compound and invited him to follow the piano music to the ring, which he did. Then we got an ad break.

Michael Cole was clearly not comfortable with any of this, even going as far as to apologise for what we were about to see. Corey Graves was into it though.

photo credit: wwe.com

In all honesty, I could write another entire article on just this segment and still miss things out. It started as normally as a match between Wyatt and Hardy in an outdoor ring in Matt Hardy’s garden in the dark could, but that didn’t last. There were creepy visuals, fireworks, some slapstick comedy, eerie music, weapons, and occasionally some wrestling broke out.

Dilapidated City gave Bray Wyatt flashbacks of the shack Randy Orton burned down. They played hide and seek in the Land of Obsolete Men. Matt Hardy tried to run Wyatt over with a lawnmower in the Dome of Deletion.

Hardy disappeared under the dilapidated boat, but it was Senor Benjamin who emerged. He threw a plastic globe at Bray Wyatt then he and Brother Nero sang ‘he’s got the whole world in his hands’ at him. Matt Hardy reappeared and pinned Wyatt to win the match.

He pushed Bray Wyatt into the Lake of Reincarnation. Senor Benjamin was instructed to retrieve his carcass, but he wasn’t there. Hardy declared the deletion complete and RAW went off the air.

photo credit: wwe.com

Well, that made for a bizarre ending to an episode, but a nice change of pace from the incessant WrestleMania build and recapping. Not a bad RAW, but the road to WrestleMania is paved with repetition and it gets tedious at times.

The live crowd did get to see Ronda Rousey in person. She had an in-ring confrontation with Dana Brooke which resulted in Rousey throwing her out of the ring. I’ve included the picture in lieu of Rousey actually appearing on tv.

photo credit: wwe.com