Hey, it’s WWE Raw! I bet you’ll be dripping for Wrestlemania after this!

The show opened with Sting. Yes, Sting. The crow cawed and his music played and he came down to the ring to a big reaction, although the cavernous building softened the crowd sound a little.

Sting said, “So, this is what it feels like to kick off Monday Night Raw,” and then added, “Whoooo!” I see.

He said that, since WCW folded, he’d watched HHH climb the ladder in WWE using all kinds of underhand tactics. HHH thinks he’s unstoppable, he said, that there are no consequences to his actions.

He said he’s not here to fight for WCW, because that would be ridiculous. Instead, he’s here to take HHH down.

That brought out Stephanie McMahon, who attempted to perform the latest in her series of balls-ectomies. She said Sting used to be big time but now he’s a minnow in a big pond. She said it was good that he was loyal, but that dogs are also loyal, and dogs are kind of stupid. You can’t argue with that.

She said that WCW lost, and so he lost. She said that he’d also lose any ounce of respect when HHH pinned him at Wrestlemania, and called him a facepainted freak.

Sting’s response? He whoooooo’d. Then, when Stephanie tried to slap him, he caught her arm. Because he has balls. All the babyfaces in the back must have wondered what he was doing.

Anyway, HHH came out and did a striptease, taking off his shirt and tie, and pointing at Sting as he walked around the outside of the ring. He got up on the apron to confront Sting, who stood calmly in the ring.

Stephanie reached under the ring and grabbed a sledgehammer, which she gave to HHH. Sting, however, pulled a baseball bat out of nowhere – big pockets, I’m guessing – and the stand-off continued.

HHH eventually decided retreat was the better part of valour, and he & Stephanie made their way back up the ramp as the announcers speculated what might happen at Wrestlemania. This was good.

Backstage, AJ Lee & Paige argued over who would get the title shot tonight against Nikki Bella. Spoiler: no-one cares.

After a break, four of the contenders in the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match were in the ring. No entrances. Bad News Barrett was on commentary.

Oh, it’s a tag match. It’s Dean Ambrose & R-Truth versus Luke Harper & Stardust. The crowd chanted “Cody! Cody!” at Stardust, and Luke Harper covered his partner’s ears. Bless.

So they had a match. When Ambrose and Harper were in, it was good. When Stardust was in, he was off, just not with it tonight. When R-Truth was in… well, he wasn’t in a lot and the match was all the better for that.

Ambrose and R-Truth won, pinning Stardust with the What’s Up. As soon as the bell rang, Barrett ran for the hills, not wanting his belt stolen again. He’d been grumpy funny on commentary. After the match, Ambrose danced with R-Truth. FFS.

They plugged the 2015 Special Olympics. Not my thing but good on them.

Hey, it’s The Miz! He came out with Mizdow. What? I thought he fired him? Why do I care?

They showed a video of The Miz & Mizdow interviewing Will Ferrell & Kevin Hart, who are in the new movie Get Hard. The Miz started moaning to them about stunt doubles, but Hart & Ferrell had nothing but good things to say.

Hart & Ferrell agreed that Mizdow had a good look, and The Miz got angry and told him to go and get him some water. Will Ferrell offered to get some instead, and he & Mizdow went off and Hart & The Miz sat awkwardly…

Back in the ring, The Miz & Mizdow were about to be involved in a ten-man tag team match, featuring entrants in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

It was The Miz & Mizdow & Konnor & Viktor & Adam Rose versus The Ryback & Titus O’Neill & Darren Young & Erick Rowan & Zack Ryder. You could power California for a year off of these guys’ treading water.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons joined the announcers on commentary and actually asked some insightful questions, which probably made Vince McMahon furious.

So, yeah, everyone got a bit of in-ring time – except, curiously, Viktor – and the good guys won when The Ryback shell-shocked The Miz for the win. I didn’t care because I don’t care about any of these people. If they gave them storylines and characters I might care. There’s a lesson there.

Hey, it’s Randy Orton! I care about him! He came down to the ring for a match, the opponents chosen by the WWE Universe on the WWE App. I now have to cut myself a little bit for typing that.

Anyway, Booker T – because why not – got in the ring and announced that the winners, ahead of Kane & The Big Show, were Seth Rollins and J&J Security. The WWE Universe are my new BFFs.

Rollins, to his credit, walked down to the ring full of confidence. Well, it is three-on-one…

This went three minutes. Rollins avoided getting in the ring at every turn, and he and Orton barely touched. Instead, Orton beat up Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury, and won with an RKO on Noble.

After the match, Rollins ran away and Orton looked intense. This was good.

Backstage, AJ Lee & Paige had another discussion about who was getting the title match. Paige kinda won the argument by pointing out that, while AJ was gone, she’d had to deal with these “slags” on her own.

After a break, they plugged LL Cool J appearing live at Wrestlemania. In 2015.

Hey, it’s Paige! She came down to the ring, with AJ Lee, for her title match with Nikki Bella, who came out with Brie.

This was okay. Better than last week’s lengthy encounter – they used their ten minutes well, and Nikki’s offense looked good.

It broke down on the outside when Brie looked to interfere and AJ cut her off, before accidentally smacking Paige. Nikki then hit Paige with her stiff forearm and hit the Rack Attack for the win back in the ring.

After the match, AJ Lee went to check on Paige and they ended up brawling. *Sigh*

They announced that Dolph Ziggler would face Daniel Bryan later, and that the WWE Universe could use the WWE App to vote for the special referee. *Cut*

Hey, it’s Snoop Doggy Dogg! Of course! He came out, accompanied by Rosa Mendes, Cameron, Alicia Fox, and Summer Rae, because life ain’t nothing but divas and wrestling.

He looked like a kid in a candy store but his big moment was cut off by Curtis Axel, who said it wasn’t time for SnoopMania, it was time for AxelMania. He’s been GOLD in this role.

Snoop brought out Hulk Hogan, and Axel stared him down. Hogan cut a talky on Axel, who ripped off his shirt, Hogan-style. Hogan smacked him and then Snoop – yes, Snoop – threw Axel out of the ring, before ripping off his own t-shirt to reveal a Hulkamania shirt underneath. Hogan and Snoop posed to end the segment. Ehh, this was okay.

After a break, the Usos & Naomi were on commentary with the announcers. Well, the Usos were – Naomi had to stand behind them, like it was the 6th century.

In the ring were Tyson Kidd & Cesaro & Natalya, and Los Matadores & Torito. Yes, it’s a re-do of the Interspecies Six-Being Tag Team Match from Smackdown! Because once wasn’t enough!

Torito pinned Natalya to win the match. Embarrassment ensued.

Backstage, Kane approached Bad News Barrett and demanded the Intercontinental Title belt from him, to hang it up above the ring when Bryan and Ziggler fought. Because hype. Barrett did NOT want to give it up so Kane threatened to strip him of the title.

Barrett reluctantly gave the belt over and Kane said he had nothing to worry about – all he had to do was beat six other wrestlers and he liked those odds. Barrett looked sad at the loss of his balls, I mean, belt.

Hey, it’s Rusev! No Lana again, and no explanation as to where she is. He’s fighting Jack Swagger because THIS FEUD MUST NEVER END.

Rusev killed him and locked on The Accolade. He would not release it after the match, which brought out John Cena – who, by the way, cut a talky so memorable earlier in the show that I only just remembered it now.

Cena laid into Rusev early doors but Rusev came back and DESTROYED him, ending with a few slams and an Accolade on the announce table. Cena passed out and Rusev went back into the ring with his United States title belt, and stood triumphantly under the Russian flag. Now do it again at Wrestlemania!

After a break, Bray Wyatt came out and cut a lengthy talky on The Undertaker. He wondered why people hide from the truth, and whether they were embarrassed to show the world who they truly were. He said they were all guilty, guilty because they hate the person they see in the mirror. They’re all liars, he said.

But he wasn’t a liar! His tongue is the sword of truth and cuts through the deception of this world! And he has the truth about The Undertaker – that he wants to die, basically, and Bray has been sent to take him to the other side.

He said he’d put The Undertaker out of his misery so he could finally Rest In Peace. This was really good, if a little long. Where is The Undertaker?

They announced Kevin Nash was going into the Hall of Fame. Hall went in as Razor Ramon, because he was a shitty gimmick before that, and a drunken fool after. Nash did his best work as Nash. So, yeah.

Backstage, Tyson Kidd & Natalya engaged in a “skit” that I will not demean you or I by talking about any further.

Hey, it’s Daniel Bryan! He came down to the ring for his match – the actual wrestling main event – with Dolph Ziggler. The Intercontinental Title belt hung above the ring.

They revealed the results of the poll for who would be special referee and it was Dean Ambrose. Ambrose then gave the most competent special referee performance EVER by just being, you know, a referee.

Bryan and Ziggler had a good match, but I can’t help but feel they’re capable of better. Still, Roman Reigns, eh? Actually, there’s truth in my joke: it’s said in boxing that the heavyweights sell the tickets while the undercard provides the actual entertainment…

Ziggler won clean, for the second time in a week, with the Zig Zag, because Daniel Bryan cannot ever go over again.

After the match, and with his duties completed, Ambrose dropped Ziggler with Dirty Deeds. He pulled a ladder out from under the ring and started to climb it to grab the belt but Bad News Barrett appeared and stopped him. They started brawling and the other competitors all ran out to join in.

They brawled up onto the ladder and did a big spot where they all fell off. The announcers plugged Wrestlemania again, and made fun of anyone paying $65 to watch it on pay-per-view, because valued customers are idiots, apparently.

So, yeah, that’s your show. Wait, what’s that? The promised interaction between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns? That’s what the overrun is for!

Hey, it’s Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman! They came down to the ring and Heyman cut another incredible promo which at one point threatened to go so far off-tangent that even Lesnar turned and stared as if to say, “I wanna see how you bring this back.” He did, of course.

Roman Reigns came out and had a staredown with Lesnar. He grabbed Lesnar’s belt from him, and Lesnar tried to grab it back. They engaged in the world’s shittest tug of war and the screen went black. WTF!

This was an Okay Show. There was some great stuff, some good stuff, some okay stuff, some bad stuff, and some terrible stuff. The build for four of the five main events at Wrestlemania was good – I’ll let you guess which one is still misfiring…

By Alan Boon

Alan Boon is stranded in provincial suburbia. He escapes by watching men in small pants pretend to fight, and motorbikes racing four laps around a small oval track. He has child- and cat-related insomnia.

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