It’s time for Monday Night RAW, so what does the show have in store for us as WrestleMania draws ever closer. There is only one pre-announced match, Nia Jax has another opportunity to break Asuka’s streak. We should get more information about the Intercontinental Championship picture for WrestleMania. We will hear something from Paul Heyman regarding Roman Reigns’ comments about Brock Lesnar. Ronda Rousey has promised that the issues with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H aren’t over, so we’ll get the next instalment of that saga. Oh, and there’s a good chance Elias will get beaten up by Braun Strowman.
I’m Amanda, and I’ll be guiding you through the highs and lows of this week’s RAW.
The Opening Segment
Kurt Angle opened the show while a recap of last week’s closing segment with Ronda Rousey played.
He said he’d had to swallow his pride on a number of occasions since he returned as General Manager, in the name of doing what’s best for business. But last week went too far when Triple H sucker punched him. Then he called out Triple H.
He got Stephanie McMahon instead. She told him to calm down and said Triple H wasn’t there yet. She talked about Angle’s kids, and his alimony payments, and pointed out being the RAW general manager is paying his bills. Triple H was just settling the score for Angle ruining the contract signing so they’re all straight now.
Ronda Rousey came out smiling, hugged Angle, and shook McMahon’s hand. She said what they did to Angle last week was enlightening, and she realises the people who brought her to WWE aren’t who she thought they were, but she’s dealt with difficult people and bully bosses her whole career.
McMahon said she understands employees don’t understand why bosses make decisions, but Rousey signed a WWE contract and reports to her now. They’re giving her everything she’s always wanted, she’s getting her debut match at WrestleMania (five weeks of this before she actually has a match).
She confirmed with McMahon that she gets to choose her opponent. McMahon laid down the conditions, mustn’t be a champion, must be on the active roster. Ronda Rousey chose Stephanie McMahon.
Triple H stormed out and told Angle he needs to do his job because this isn’t happening.
Angle pointed out Stephanie had said he wasn’t there then said he does make the matches and while McMahon is an executive she also has a second contract as a WWE Superstar, as does Triple H.
The match isn’t going to be Ronda Rousey vs Stephanie McMahon, it’s going to be Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle versus Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.
It got physical then, Stephanie McMahon tried to slap Kurt Angle, Ronda Rousey grabbed her arm. Triple H ushered his wife out of the ring then went for Kurt Angle but Angle was ready. Triple H got out of the ankle lock. Rousey was about to deal with him when McMahon hit her from behind then ran for it.
After a bit more brawling between Angle and Triple H, she came back to pull her husband from the ring. Rousey managed to grab McMahon by her hair, dragged her into the ring, and Samoan dropped her. Angle and Rousey left smiling, while Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were helped from the ring.
The Other Stuff
– Asuka vs Nia Jax – Alexa Bliss was interviewed during the match and expressed her confidence that tonight was Nia Jax’ night. The match was good. Nia Jax dominated with the odd flurry of offence from Asuka, until the inevitable submission. Asuka got the triangle on and held fast despite being slammed against the turnbuckle. When Jax tried bouncing her off the ropes instead, Asuka transitioned into an armbar. Nia Jax eventually tapped out.
– The Bar vs The Revival – With the stipulation that if The Revival win they become The Bar’s WrestleMania opponents. Really good match. It’s great to see The Revival getting back to their best, but The Bar needed this win after all the stuff with Titus Worldwide. They got it when Cesaro pinned Scott Dawson. No WrestleMania for Dash and Dawson, not yet anyway.
– John Cena was back. He said he’s found his road to WrestleMania and Kurt Angle granted him time to talk about Fastlane because he’d get interrupted by someone else in the six-pack challenge if he did it on SmackDown. On Sunday he’s going to break Ric Flair’s record. And if anyone thinks he’s taking away Styles vs Nakamura, he suggests Styles cashes in his rematch clause to make it a triple threat at WrestleMania.
– Goldust interrupted (anyone see that coming? Nope, me neither.). He said he’s always dreamed of soaking in the spotlight at WrestleMania and that dream starts with stopping Cena going to ‘Mania. He talked a lot more, mainly in riddles, then he hit Cena. That turned into a match during the ad break. It was fine, Cena won.
– Elias asked Kurt Angle to cancel his match against Braun Strowman. Angle refused, and made it falls count anywhere.
– Hillbilly Jim is the latest inductee announced for the Hall of Fame class of 2018.
– Bayley’s pre-match interview was interrupted by Absolution just as Bayley was about to explain what’s going on with her and Sasha Banks. Paige congratulated her on growing a backbone, then told her she was stupid because she pushed away the only person who cared for her and there’s strength in numbers.
– Bayley vs Mandy Rose – This was decent enough, but it wasn’t really about the match. Bayley won, Absolution started the beatdown, Sasha Banks saved her and raised her hand then asking for a hug. Bayley pushed her away and walked off. She looked back at the top of the ramp but didn’t go back.
– Women’s history month segment focused on Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics.
– Trainer’s room segment with Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax while Jax was icing her arm. It was pep talk by character assassination, talking about Jax being embarrassed, ashamed, and disappointed in herself. Bliss finished by telling Jax she can’t let this be her downfall or everyone will lose all respect for her. It was brutal. They closed with a close-up shot of Jax crying.
– Elias vs Braun Strowman – Symphony of Destruction match – Elias’ song was about how he isn’t scared of Strowman, but he legged it when they cut the lights to introduce him properly. Strowman caught him by holding onto the back of the car Elias was trying to escape in and chased him all the way back into the arena. Elias broke a guitar over Strowman, Strowman broke a double Bass over Elias and dropped a piano on him, then pinned him. Elias was taken out on a backboard.
– The Greatest Royal Rumble Ever, with 50 men taking part, will take place in Saudi Arabia on April 27.
– Bray Wyatt vs Rhyno – lasted about as long as it takes to read this paragraph. Wyatt won. After the match Bray Wyatt called out Matt Hardy who appeared on screen. They both agree it’s not over, but Hardy said if Wyatt wants to clash again it has to be in the Hardy compound. He’s calling it The Ultimate Deletion. – Remind you of anything?
The Mizzies and a match
Miz went on a bit, as he does, then did the awards.
Award – Superstar who is the best at patting themselves on the back.
Nominations – Seth Rollins, Kurt Angle, Finn Balor.
Winner – A tie between Rollins and Balor. Miz said they couldn’t accept the award because they weren’t invited.
Award – Worst decision by a RAW general manager.
Nominations – All Kurt Angle. For bringing Jason Jordan to RAW, allowing Rollins and Balor into the Elimination Chamber match, and failing to name a WrestleMania opponent for the Intercontinental Champion.
Winner – Kurt Angle, but he can’t accept because he’s too busy sucking up to Ronda Rousey.
He was about to award himself the lifetime achievement Mizzie when Seth Rollins interrupted him, closely followed by Finn Balor. Rollins looked less than impressed and asked Balor if he was following him because that’s two weeks running he’s cut over him.
Miz said Angle didn’t name his opponent after last week because neither of them deserves it. Rollins gives great performances then loses, and Balor has done nothing since his injury. Then he challenged them to team up against him and the Miztourage.
Seth Rollins and Fin Balor vs The Miz and The Miztourage
Another very good match. Rollins got caught in the oppositions corner for a while but other than that it was mainly Balor and Rollins beating up The Miztourage.
Balor tagged himself in as Rollins was about to go for a second suicide dive, having already landed one. Rollins looked massively unimpressed, but got his own back and tagged back in when Balor was getting ready for the Coup de Grace. He hit the Stomp on Miz for the win.
Kurt Angle appeared on the stage and set the WrestleMania match we’ve been expecting – The Miz vs Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor -Triple Threat match for the Intercontinental Championship.
The Closing Segment
Paul Heyman took the final segment, with the Universal Championship, but no Lesnar.
He laid the belt in the ring and said he could do that because Brock Lesnar allows it. And after Lesnar defends at WrestleMania, and if he chooses to defend it at SummerSlam, he’ll do it again, with the UFC belt next to it.
Addressing Roman Reigns’ statements last week, he said Reigns has criticised Lesnar for not working often enough, but Reigns biggest victory to date was against the Undertaker who only wrestled once last year. No-one criticised Taker for that, as they shouldn’t, and no-one can criticise Lesnar either.
Last week Reigns called Lesnar a bitch, but the title is Lesnar’s bitch and Reigns is eyeballing her, but he can’t have her. Reigns bloodline means nothing. The Universal Championship is the declarative statement that you are number one. You have to put it above everything and everyone else.
Next week, Heyman will be back, and he’s bringing Lesnar.
Just when we thought it was over, Roman Reigns made his entrance. Reigns laughed at the fact Lesnar had sent Heyman instead of coming himself. All people want is for Lesnar to show up and want to be there. Lesnar will be there next week, and so will he. Lesnar shouldn’t come dressed for a promo segment, he should come dressed for a fight.
The show closed out with Reigns standing in the ring shaking his head, and Paul Heyman clutching the belt on the stage.
Far from the best RAW of recent weeks. Way too much talking, but most of the matches were decent. I’m sure there will be people who are into Triple H and Stephanie McMahon versus Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey. If you’re one of them, I hope you enjoy it. I can think of half a dozen reasons why this is the match they chose, and they’re all cynical. The Intercontinental Championship match, however, will be superb.