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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (4/2/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Bayley VS Sonya Deville w/ Absolution; Bayley wins.
  • Finn Balor VS Seth Rollins; Rollins wins.
  • Goldust VS WOKEN Matt Hardy; Hardy wins.
  • Heath Slater w/ Rhyno VS Elias; Elias wins.
  • Alexa Bliss & Mickie James VS Dana Brooke & Asuka; Dana & Asuka win.

PLAY BY PLAY

Johnathan Coachman welcomes Atlanta to Raw!

Wrestlemania is this Sunday, and we’re near the end of the road. Coach sets up the face-off conference of the star mixed tag match, and introduces the Raw Commissioner, Stephanie McMahon, as well as the COO, Triple H!

Then, he introduces the Raw GM, Kurt Angle–who gets the classic “You Suck!” chant–and of course, the Baddest Woman on the Planet, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey!

Everyone is in the ring now, and sit on their respective sides of the table. The fans chant, “Ronda Rousey! *clap clap clapclapclap*” Coach thanks the four for joining this face-off, and moves things to the Social Media Q&A. HHH speaks up, because he has a Q for Angle. “It’s a shame, really”, everyone chanting for Ronda, because the fans want to like her, but it’ll all be gone after Sunday. And it’ll all be Angle’s fault. “Intensity, Integrity, Intelligence”, an Olympic Gold Medalist with a broken freaking neck, yet it seems that third I of Intelligence doesn’t hold true. This right here is a prime example: they have Ronda Rousey, one of if not THE biggest signing to WWE, yet Angle ruins it by setting her up for “an embarrassment” at Wrestlemania. HHH has to know, “Why?”

Angle replies, but Ronda speaks up now. She asks the Authority why they were so two-faced. Stephanie excuses Ronda, she doesn’t understand how things work. But they’ll polish her up after they rebuild her from the beating on Sunday. Stephanie moves things to the questions, but Ronda says this was the format: she asked a Q, where’s the A? Stephanie plays along, saying they signed Ronda because she’s a star. Fans want to see Ronda in the WWE, and she is “best for business.” However, things work like this: HHH asked a question, Angle works for Stephanie, Angle messed Ronda up already, so what is there to misunderstand? Angle and Ronda work for the Authority, “so who they Hell do you think you are?” Angle takes it from here: “She’s Ronda Friggin’ Rousey.” An Olympic Medalist, UFC Champion, and come Wrestlemania, the one who makes Stephanie tap out.

Coach fails to cool things off as HHH asks Angle why he’s so confident. Yeah, she’s “Ronda Friggin’ Rousey”, with entire divisions built around her. In the WWE, that means nothing. Ronda’s dream of coming here compares nothing to how the WWE is Stephanie’s life, HHH’s life, “from beginning to end.” In this ring, The authority knows the rules, but Ronda has no idea what’s coming. The “massive learning curve” and the rules made by the Authority makes this “a forgone conclusion.”

Coach again tries to steer things to questions. “How important it is for you to win at Wrestlemania? And if you do, how will it impact eh future of the WWE?” Stephanie says it won’t be if, but when. And when the Authority wins, it’ll show that any uprising will end up with the bosses taking action to shut it down, and everyone will learn to #RespectAuthority. “How does Angle feel about teaming with Ronda Rousey?” Whether in the ring, cage, octagon, Ronda is the baddest woman, and she’ll prove it when Stephanie taps out.

And finally, an open question: “Any final thoughts before you head to Wrestlemania?” Stephanie says that this is all on Ronda for choosing this. Ronda will lose, her first ever match at Wrestlemania, to Stephanie. And we all know how Ronda handles losses. “Nice jacket, by the way.” Ronda replies with, “Steph, are you right or left handed?” Stephanie is right-handed. Ronda wanted to make sure Stephanie can still sign checks, even after she rips an arm off. Fans like the sound of that. Coach wraps things up with the photo op. Nothing like boxing or UFC, this will be classy and professional. The photographers come in and everyone moves to the front of the tables. Coach wishes everyone luck as he moves aside.

HHH and Angle come face to face, and Stephanie glares at Ronda. The gentlemen shake hands, but the ladies… Stehpanie offers, but when Ronda refuses, Stephanie trash talks. They get face-to-face, but Angle keeps the peace, only for HHH to attack from behind! Ronda gets HHH, but Stephanie body slams Ronda through a table! Stephanie says that’s for before, and the rest will be at Wrestlemania. “You’re not so tough.” The Authority stands tall after being underhanded, but will they regret their actions when the gloves are off?

 

Bayley VS Sonya Deville w/ Absolution!

Whether or not the Huggable One has a friend in the Legit Boss anymore, she isn’t going to let the Gladiator Gal go through her without a fight. With the inaugural Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal just up ahead, who will gain some final momentum before arriving in New Orleans?

The bell rings and the two circle. Bayley is wary of Absolution nearby, but that leaves her open to a kick to the leg. Sonya taunts Bayley, then circles again for another kick. Sonya goes for Bayley’s leg again but Bayley hops over and boots her back. The two battle over a backslide, Sonya whips but Bayley goes up and over to get a headlock takeover. Sonya stands up and powers out, but things speed up and Bayley ducks the elbow to whip. Sonya reverses but Bayley crossbodies! Bayley keeps on Sonya with another headlock, and turns Sonya’s counter into a takedown. Sonya keeps her shoulders up and stands up again, using the ponytail to take Bayley to a corner. She drives in shoulders while Absolution cheers, but the fans jeer.

Bayley counters Sonya’s run with a flapjack to buckles! Bayley hops up but Sonya yanks her off, so Bayley elbows her away. She hops up again and flies, but the arm-drag is blocked into a body check.

Cover, TWO, but Bayley keeps on Sonya with an arm wrench. Paige says “This is OUR House!” but Bayley has Sonya in a standing armbar. Sonya endures the wrench, then hits back with haymakers. Sonya whips but Bayley reverses, big corner clothesline! Bayley tugs, Sonya holds ropes so Bayley has to let go, sucker punch from Sonya and a roundhouse take Bayley down! Sonya trash talks Bayley while we go to break.

Raw returns to Sonya grinding Bayley in a bodyscissors. Bayley fights out as the fans rally, and she starts ramming Sonya’s head into the mat! She breaks free, runs, but into a spinebuster! Cover, TWO, but Sonya keeps on Bayley with knees to the chest. She runs, sliding knee into Bayley! Cover, TWO, and frustration grows for Absolutoin as a whole. Sonya stalks Bayley, toying with her. Bayley pushes back while fans rally again, but Sonya kicks away on Bayley’s stomach. Bayley dodges, but Sonya is upon her again, only for Bayley to counter! She punches and forearms away on Sonya, then rallies with lariats. Bayley puts Sonya in a corner for a mudhole stomping and a rain of hands. She goes to the outside, climbs up, and jumps for the crossbody!

Bayley keeps moving, running knee to Sonya’s head! Cover, TWO! Absolution bails Sonya out, but Bayley just exits the ring anyway. The referee keeps Paige and Mandy back, but Sonya knees Bayley back. Bayley counters the throw, and then hangs Sonya up with the hotshot! Cover, TWO, but Mandy is lurking. Bayley kicks her away but Sonya kicks her down, gutwrench cradle, TWO! Sonya kicks, Bayley ducks and rolls her up, Bayley wins!

Winner: Bayley, by pinfall

But Absolution pounces! Mandy hammers away, joined by Sonya. Here comes Sasha! The Boss tackles Mandy then fights off Sonya. Sasha throws Mandy out but Sonya is on her again. Bayley helps now, throwing Sonya out. The Raw Horsewomen stand tall, and the fans are loving it, but Sasha wants Bayley to raise her hand? Bayley won the match, not Sasha! Sasha gets in Bayley’s face so Bayley fights back! She rains rights but Sasha comes back, and so does Absolution! Mandy and Sonya club away, then a roundhouse for Bayley, Golden Driver for Sasha! The “friends” are down, will they be able to get up in time for the battle royal?

 

Raw takes a look at Asuka’s Streak.

October 7th, 2015: it began. For over two years, 908 days, the Empress of Tomorrow has racked up 265 wins, not one loss. She’s conquered 35 women, eight of them former champions, and all submitting to her Asuka Lock. Asuka knows nothing but winning in both NXT and WWE. The only reason she isn’t still NXT Women’s Champion is because she had to vacate the title when she came to Raw. She is a Sole Survivor and a Royal Rumble Winner in the same year, and she won the inaugural Women’s Rumble. Unlike any wrestler before her, she heads for Wrestlemania against SmackDown Women’s Champion, The Queen of Flair, Charlotte! Will the Streak live on through the Grandest Stage of Them All?

 

 

Finn Balor VS Seth Rollins!

The Extraordinary Man and the Architect are both going after The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship in a Triple Threat, but they first want to settle things between each other. Can the inaugural Universal Champion notch another win over the former world champion? Or will “Seth Freakin’ Rollins” get even this close to becoming a Grand Slam Champion?

However, The Miz is also here to keep an eye on his contenders from commentary! New baby Monroe will have to watch daddy watch Finn VS Rollins.

The bell rings, Rollins circles with Finn, and then they tie up. Rollins gets the waistlock but Finn the standing switch and they go around with hammerlocks. Rollins gets a headlock, then an arm-wrench but Finn tries to counter. Finn ends up on the mat, but kip-up and wrenches to an arm-drag takedown. Rollins headscissors, Finn pops out, Rollins headlocks, Finn headscissors, Rollins pops out, and the two stand up in a stand-off. Fans applaud while Finn grins, and the two circle again. They tie up but Finn goes low for the leg. He gets Rollins to a hammerlock, snapping back to wrench it. Rollins works his way out, Finn wrenches the wrist. Rollins rolls and handsprings but Finn powers out, only for Rollins to run him over. Finn gets to ropes but Rollins headlock takeover, grinding Finn to the mat.

Finn makes it a cover, TWO, but Rollins holds on. They stand up, Finn powers out and arm-drags Rollins back down to the armlock. They stand up again, Rollins whips but Finn reverses. Rollins rolls over and shoulders Finn down. Things speed up, Finn arm-drags, and they stand-off again. Rollins and Finn are still evenly matched while we go to break.

Raw returns to Rollins whipping but Finns reversing. Rollins sunset flips but Finn rolls through to dropkick. Finn wrenches Rollins fights out. Finn hits back and Rollins gets mad. Rollins shoves, Finn shoves back. They both glance at the Wrestlemania sign, and a brawl breaks out! They go back and forth with wild rights, then Rollins knees. Rollins throws Finn out tot he floor, then follows him out to chop him against the barriers. He puts Finn into the apron while the ring count starts, continuing with throwing Finn into barriers. Fans are fired up as Rollins puts Finn back in the ring. Finn fights back, throwing Rollins out. Finn dropkicks Rollins down, then from the apron, he Penalty Kicks Rollins down!

A Finn Flex and then Finn brings Rollins back into the ring. Cover, ONE, and Miz enjoys this long showcase. Finn kicks Rollins in the back, covers, ONE. Rollins gets to a corner but Finn gives him a chop, then another chop. Finn stalks Rollins, whips him corner to corner, running- No, buckle shot! Rollins hops up, blockbuster! Cover, TWO, but Rollins keeps his cool. He drives elbows right into Finn’s forehead, then puts him in a chinlock. Rollins squeezes and grinds Finn down, we go picture in picture to plug Shinsuke VS Styles. Finn gets up but Rollins wrangles him right back down. He endures the squeeze, then works his way up to his feet. Finn pries his way out but Rollins turns it into a neckbreaker! Finn gets to the apron but Rollins goes outside and takes aim. Rollins boots Finn back into the ring!

Cover, TWO! Rollins keeps frustration at bay, but Finn hits back. They go back and forth with chops, then Rollins suplexes but Finn slips out, only for Rollins to elbow him away. Finn in a corner, he boots Rollins back. Finn rallies with forearms, then whips but Rollins reverses, only for Finn to hit another. The fans fire up, Finn chops Rollins in the corner again. Corner to corner, Rollins boots Finn away. Rollins hops up but Finn yanks him off! Finn tries the 1916 but Rollins rolls him up, TWO! Finn goes again, elbow DDT! Cover, TWO! And Finn can’t believe it!

Finn gets up and to a corner, fans firing up for him. He takes aim at Rollins, runs out, but Rollins denies the slingblade to hit HIS slingblade! Finn gets out of the ring, Rollins builds speed, and DIVES! Direct hit! Both men are down on the outside, we go to break.

Raw returns as Finn fires up, and hits his slingblade! He runs again, but into a SUPERKICK!

Miz says this is the best match he’s seen all year while Rollins reaches for a cover, TWO! The fans declare, “This is Awesome!” Finn flounders to a corner while Rollins staggers to his feet. Rollins runs in for the forearm smash, then another but Finn dodges to swing kick him down! Finn climbs up, but Rollins sits him down! Rollins climbs up to join Finn, slowly preparing the superplex, but Finn resists. Finn fights back with clubbing forearms. Rollins goes down again, Finn adjusts, but Rollins returns, for the SUPERPLEX roll through but Small Package! TWO!! Rollins can’t believe how close that was, and drags Finn back up. Finn revives again but Revolution Knee! Cover, TWO!? Miz loves this!

Rollins gets to a corner, climbs up, takes aim, then jumps, but the frog splash hits knees! TWO!! Even The Miz is shocked. Finn gets to his feet while Rollins rolls and slumps out of the ring. Finn goes to that apron, Penalty- No, Rollins brings him up, deja vu, but Finn fights out to SLINGBLADE! Blasting dropkick! Finn avenges his Summerslam injury and puts Rollins back in the ring. He climbs up again, takes aim again, and jumps, but rollins rolls away. Mule kick, Curb- No, a shove and a roll, TWO, roll back, CURB STOMP!! Rollins wins!!

Winner: Rollins, by pinfall

The Architect finally gets one on the Extraordinary Man. Miz stands up on the commentary table so that everyone gets a good look at his Intercontinental Championship. Will Miz keep a hold of that title to become the longest reigning IC Champion ever? Will Rollins take it away to become a Grand Slam Champion? Or will Finn turn his momentum around and make that title #TooSweet?

 

Raw reviews the saga of Lesnar VS Reigns.

The Beast won the WWE Universal Championship a year ago at Wrestlemania off THE Goldberg. Ever since then, the “reigning, defending, undisputed” champion would remain such even after taking on Kane, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns. Roman meanwhile had to take the long road back to Wrestlemania, winning the Elimination Chamber #1 Contender’s match. He vows he’s telling the truth about being able to beat Lesnar. He also told the truth on how Lesnar doesn’t care or respect anyone in the WWE, from employees to management to fans. At the same time, Roman said he doesn’t want Vince McMahon to disrespect him. Vince would suspend Roman for his comments, but Roman didn’t care, he kept coming to work.

However, this would also backfire. Roman fought off U.S. Marshals, only for Lesnar to take advantage of the handcuffs! Lesnar savagely beat the collared Roman, both with German Suplexes and with a chair. Battered and bruised, Roman would still man up to get in Lesnar’s face and even take another beating. Roman got his licks in, but Lesnar still got the better of him. With Wrestlemania on the horizon, can Roman return to get his revenge?

 

Paul Heyman talks “Brocktagon” with someone on his phone.

However, Kurt Angle walks over to talk with The Advocate. He tells Heyman as the GM, that the most important part of ‘Mania is keeping the main event intact. Heyman agrees, but asks how this is any different than any other night? He’ll say nice things about Roman and tell Lesnar to save it for Sunday. Angle wants to make sure Heyman doesn’t instigate anything between the two men where they might get hurt. Heyman just laughs. Angle is worried about Lesnar getting hurt? Yes, because they both want to hurt each other period! Just don’t do anything of the sort, Heyman. Heyman promises not to, but he’s still chuckling to himself. Will there be any last attacks before the ‘Mania match?

 

The Bar head to the ring.

The Swiss Cyborg & the Celtic Gladiator are set to face The Monster Among Men for the Raw Tag Team Championships, but it doesn’t matter to them who Braun Strowman gets as a partner. “Because as big as you are or as strong as you are, it’s still a tag team match.” Strowman will have to tag his partner in at some point, and they need to be on the same page, including plans B, C, D, etc, but it won’t matter because they’ll never be a real team or real tag team champions. But then Strowman appears!

The fans chant “Get These Hands!” for Strowman as he walks onto the stage. “If you’re trying to say that I don’t play well with others, than you’re right.” Strowman says that management made it clear he has to have a partner, and he got one! They were just talking, and his partner doesn’t appreciate what these “clowns” were saying. In that case, that partner should come out and tell The Bar to their faces! “Don’t worry, he will, under one stipulation: he wants a match with one of you!” A match against the mystery partner? The fans like the sound of that! And The Bar can’t pass this opportunity up. The mystery partner will get his match! “Good. I’ll go get him.” Strowman warns them, though, “he’s a lot like me, just a little different.”

Strowman disappears into the back while The Bar discusses what to do, and then Strowman returns. Wearing glasses and a shirt!

“My brother’s Braun, I’m Brains! And I’m about to come out there and knock yours out of your heads!” “Brain” Strowman heads to the ring, and Sheamus volunteers Cesaro. But reveal! It’s just Braun! And he fights them both! He throws Cesaro off and punches Sheamus, but Sheamus saves Cesaro to BROGUE Strowman! The Bar has numbers on their side as they hammer away, but Strowman just shoves them both away! He runs Sheamus over and throws Cesaro again! The Bar retreats to regroup but Strowman wants more! Does Braun really have a partner to team with? And if he does, will that team break The Bar on Sunday?

 

Goldust speaks.

The Bizarre One says it’s “skill against skill alone – Princess Bride”. Those were Andre the Giant’s words, and Goldust vows to win his Memorial Battle Royal to put his name on the gold statue. Then HBO will make a documentary about him, so that the world will never forget the name “Goldust”.

But WOKEN Hardy responds!

The Golden One seeks the same prize, to join the pantheon of giants! Hardy vows to be the one honoring the Humongous Wonder #8, and all others will be OBSOLETE! As for tonight, it shall be the Bizarre One who is scheduled for DELETION!

 

Goldust VS WOKEN Matt Hardy!

Raw returns to this match already in progress as Hardy puts Goldust back in the ring. He rocks Goldy with a haymaker, then whips, but Goldust drops down for the uppercut. Goldust breathes in and hisses at Hardy, but Hardy says that was, “WONDERFUL~!” He applauds, and the fans applaud with him. Hardy ducks a punch to give a punch then whips. Goldust boots back, then puts Hardy into a post. Goldust goes to the outside and mocks Hardy before rocking him with another uppercut. He stomps on Hardy in the ring, then drags him up but Hardy hits back with body shots. Hardy runs, but into a spinebuster! Cover, TWO, but Goldust keeps on Hardy.

Goldust hammers away on Hardy, then takes another deep breath, only for Hardy to throw haymakers. Hardy forearms then “DELETE!” buckle bumps Goldust over and over from top to bottom. Hardy backs off, then says “DELETE!” before running in for the corner clothesline. Goldust denies the bulldog, but runs into a Side Effect! Cover, TWO! Hardy continues the “DELETE!” but Goldust pushes off and powerslams! Cover, TWO! Goldust gets to a corner and climbs up, to take a deep breath and jump, but misses the elbow! Hardy gets up and kicks, Twist– Roll up! TWO! Goldust kicks, drops down but Hardy hits him first. Then, Twist of Fate! Cover, TWO!

Winner: WOKEN Hardy, by pinfall

The WOKEN Wisdom rolls on towards the Memorial Battle Royal, and Hardy tells the statue of the Wonder #8 that he will “PROCURE! PROCURE!” a spot on the plaque. Will Hardy make Andre the Giant proud during the Wrestlemania kickoff?

 

Alexa Bliss & Mickie James speak.

They look cute in their selfie cam. The Goddess tried this once with Nia, but the phone broke. Not surprising, she has a face for radio. And Nia gets an exclusive interview? Maybe she’ll start blubbering. Emphasis on blubber. But when Alexa beats Nia, Nia will blubbering in her blubber. #EW! Will The Goddess suffer the wrath of the Irresistible Force in their Raw Women’s Championship match?

 

JOHN CENA is here!

Atlanta sings “John Cena Sucks~!” for him as he heads for the ring. The Face that Runs the Place didn’t get a response from The Undertaker on a Wrestlemania Match last week, even during a No Disqualification match with the Deadman’s Brother of Destruction, Kane. Cena hears the fans chant, “Undertaker!”, and admits he was wrong. In that they’re out of time and there’s still no answer. Cena was wrong to think there was no response, because silence means “no”. Fans might be upset, but not Cena. Cena did what Cena could to get Taker to do something, but ready or not and Wrestlemania is around the corner. He’ll go fired up like all the fans. Fans have asked about a match, but Cena is going as a fan, too.

Michael Cole even told Cena “that’s stupid, just enter the Battle Royal. Or be Braun’s partner,” or any number of things. Cole hasn’t done his research, Cena won’t do that because he lost the Rumble, the Chamber, and at Fastlane, so just entering another match takes a spot from a full-time spot from someone who earned it. Going against Taker was a last chance moment for them both! It’d be a match where no one’s spot is taken, just two “larger than life” superstars fighting it out. One year ago today, Cena’s life changed, shout-out to Nikki Bella. Everyone reads the news about Cena’s career. He’s fed off the energy of the fans, and maybe this year is the right time for a change.

Fans still chant, “Undertaker!” Hopefully Taker hears that. But Cena will say this now: he’s going as a fan, and he’s “damn proud of it.” Cena is proud to sit and watch the “most amazing Wrestlemania card of all time”, even without him. Daniel Bryan is back where he belongs, and Cena is proud of him for it. Cena is proud to watch the greatest in-ring performer get the moment he deserves, AJ Styles defends the WWE Championship. He’s even proud that Wrestlemania will be on Rusev Day! Elias will do stuff, but Cena does know what WWE stands for. Cena is proud of all the Women’s Division matches, because they continue to prove success is not based on gender. “So ladies and gentlemen,” Cena is damn proud to be a fan!

But he’ll take one second to apologize. Cena did everything from in-ring to social media, and he knows the fans did, too. From Dallas to Detroit to Cleveland and Atlanta– Wait, have they really even tried yet? They haven’t? Can Atlanta get loud enough? The fans sure try. “Sounds like Atlanta is about as serious as a Dallas warm-up.” They gotta give way more than that. Make some noise to summon the Undertaker! Atlanta gives it their all, but still not enough. “Hotlanta, you gotta listen to me!” If they want lightning, be the thunder! Shout so they hear you all the way to Death Valley! The fans try a third time, giving 110%, but still nothing. They chant “Undertaker!” once more to see if it’ll work. It echoes out over and over, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Fans turn to boos.

“Hear that, Undertaker?” Four weeks straight, the WWE Universe pours its heart out, yet you don’t do a thing. Cena isn’t upset with Wrestlemania, but he’s upset with Taker. Ignore Cena, fine. But ignore the fans? “You are a dead man walking.” Taker, it’s obvious he left his hat in the ring, but he left his balls at home. Harsh words again, but still no response. And fans turn to chanting for Cena. Cena leaves it at that, because he’s out of ideas. Why is it that Taker won’t respond? Will Taker ever show himself again?

 

Roman Reigns is in the locker room!

Kurt Angle meets with him and says that with no Cena VS Taker, he hopes Roman won’t ruing another ‘Mania match. Heyman agreed to keeping the peace, but Roman doesn’t believe it. Is Lesnar even here? Yes! Then Roman is not going anywhere. Roman has respect for Angle, so he’ll hear Heyman out. But everything for the last year and the last six years Lesnar has disrespected everyone else, Roman will be ready the moment Lesnar says anything stupid. Angle can take the peace treaty back to the pawn shop where he pawned those gold medals. Roman is riled up, will he be able to contain himself when he meets The Beast?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.”

The Drifter is back, and as he plays his guitar, he asks Atlanta as he always asks the crowd, “Who Wants to Walk with Elias?!” Atlanta seems very positive about that. Elias has the keys to life, and if you want to save your soul, know that in your heart and with every fiber of your being, WWE means “Walk With Elias”! He’s in Atlanta, but how is this “hellhole of a dump” the last stop before ‘Mania? If Elias was in charge, they’d be in a city that matters. But that’s fine, he’ll be leaving after tonight to put on the greatest performance of a lifetime. For now, silence cell phones, hold applause and shut mouths while he sings.

“I’m Just One Man!” Wait, that’s Slater.

Heath Slater w/ Rhyno VS Elias!

The One Man Band wants payback for when Elias not only defeated Rhyno but also ambushed him afterward. They tie up, but Eilas powers Slater to a corner. Elias gives body shots and shoulders, then chops Slater sharp. Elias whips and runs SLater over, but the faens rally with “Heath’s Got Kids!” Slater dodges in a corner, then jabs and haymakers on Elias. Slater whips but Elias reverses, only for Slater to knee him down. Heel kick, too! Slater brings Elias up, but Elias rocks him with a jumping knee! Elias keeps gonig, Drift Away! Cover, Elias wins!

Winner: Elias, by pinfall

Swift but stiff, the Drifter gets his hand raised for another win. What is this performance he speaks of for Wrestlemania? And will it really be as amazing as he makes it out to be?

 

Braun Strowman encounters Curt Hawkins backstage.

What a coincidence! Hawkins saw what happened out there, and was wondering if Strwowman would pick him. What’s his win-loss record? Umm… Not great, but that’s fine! Strowman can be his big break! Strowman throws Hawkins through a wall!

“There’s your big break.” In other words, he’s not picking Hawkins. But who will Strowman pick for a partner?

 

Exclusive interview with Nia Jax.

After finding out how two-faced The Goddess was, the Irresistible Force will get revenge in a Raw Women’s Championship match. She sits down with Renee Young, who sympathizes with how “hurt and devastated” she must be. Nia says that emotionally, she felt like she was back to growing up as a kid. But she’s learned that you just need to respect and honor yourself, and ignore what others say about you. You should respect your God-given abilities and seize opportunities. The other women respect and admire Nia and her accomplishments, but Nia has been so down on herself. She can’t believe she thought someone like Alexa was her friend. Alexa said many hurtful things, like how Nia is a “desperate, needy, gullible loser”.

Those comments hurt, but Nia reminded herself, “I don’t take that sh*t.” She’s different, but she loves herself. This is what God and her mama gave her, so she should never feel sorry about that. Alexa is like all the other haters who said she shouldn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t make it in the WWE. Nia says this directly to Alexa now: “You’re nothing but an insecure little girl.” The little fly is gonna get squashed like a bug! Can Nia win not just for herself but for every person who has ever been mistreated based on their appearance?

 

Alexa Bliss & Mickie James VS Dana Brooke & Asuka!

The Goddess and #KickieJames look to give the Raw Women’s Champion momentum going into her match, but what good will it do when the Statistician has the undefeated Empress on her side?

Dana starts against Alexa, assuring Asuka her Streak won’t be tanked in this tag match. Alexa doesn’t even take Dana seriously, but they tie up and Dana gets the wristlock. Dana keeps Alexa away from Mickie, as well as the ropes, so Alexa stomps her foot. Alexa gets the wristlock but Dana reverses it back. The fans chant “Biscuit Butt” at Alexa but she forearms her way out of the hold. Alexa whips but Dana reverses, handspring back elbow in the corner! Dana fireman carry, but Alexa slips out to reel her into a kidney punch. Tag to Mickie, and the mean girls mug Dana with a kick. Mickie wristlocks and hammerlocks Dana, but Dana slips around to roll up, TWO. Fans want Asuka, so Mickie taunts the fans as she hits Dana. Dana hits back, then pushes Mickie to a corner.

Dana rams in shoulders, then lets up long enough to whip her corner to corner. Another handspring but Mickie dodges and boots Dana down! Asuka coaches Dana up but has to stay back. Mickie stomps and kicks Dana more, toying with her even. She brings Dana up, fans keep cheering for Asuka, and Dana scoop slams Mickie down! Dana runs, but handsprings onto knees! Mickie poses and embraces the heat while we go to break.

Raw returns once more to Mickie holding Dana down in a chinlock. Asuka rallies the fans and Dana feeds off their energy to bump her way out of the hold. She runs but Mickie yanks her down by her hair! Mickie puts Dana back in the hold, Dana endures. Dana sits up, the fans rally but Mickie thrashes. Dana still stands up and fights out, then runs, but into the kitchen sink knee! Mickie drags Dana over, tags Alexa, and Mickie whips Alexa in for the slap! Alexa toys with Dana, kicking her while she’s down, then stomping skateboard style. Cover, TWO, but Alexa keeps on Dana with another chinlock. Dana continues to endure, Asuka still rallying for her. Dana fights up and out again, but Alexa knees back. Alexa wants a tag, but Dana suplexes her!

Both women are down, crawling for their corners. Hot tags to Mickie and Asuka! The Empress rallies with a flurry of strikes. Mickie runs, but into the pop-up knee! Asuka unleashes kick after kick, then runs to hip attack Alexa down! Mickie bails out but Asuka goes after her with an apron sliding kick!

Asuka curses her out in Japanese, then puts Mickie back in the ring. Mickie hits the Mick Kick! Cover, TWO! Another, ONE, and Mickie throws frustrated hands. Mickie calms down to climb up top, but Asuka gets under her to put on the Asuka Lock! Mickie is trapped, reaching for ropes, but she taps! Asuka & Dana win!

Winners: Dana & Asuka, Asuka by submission

But Alexa pounces! She and Mickie won’t let her get out of this unharmed. Dana returns but she’s only caught in a 2-on-1 DDT!

But then NIA appears! The Brutal Beauty runs to the ring, Alexa runs away but gets caught! Mickie saves Alexa again, but Nia just throws her off with one arm, to squash her in a corner. Then fireman’s carry, Samoan Drop! Nia put down Alexa’s newest bestie, will she crush Alexa once and for all at Wrestlemania?

 

Kurt Angle finds Heyman & Lesnar backstage.

Where are they going? To the ring, obviously. Heyman will be positive about Roman Reigns. The Beast and his Advocate continue on their way out, will this last Raw before ‘Mania finish with fury?

 

Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar head to the ring!

Atlanta becomes Suplex City as they walk out, but other WWE superstars are used to form a barrier between the ring and the ramp. Heyman begins with introductions, but that extra security is a bit distracting.

Just because Angle got emasculated when he failed to help Ronda Rousey, this is clearly overcompensation. He thinks he has control over Roman Reigns? The only one with control is the “reigning, defending, undisputed” Universal Champion, BROCK LESNAR! “It’s true, it’s damn true.” And Heyman hereby promises to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” And the truth is, the last time Wrestlemania was in New Orleans, Heyman gave us a promise that Lesnar would break Undertaker’s Streak. Fans booed then, they boo now, but it wasn’t a promise, it was a spoiler alert. It happened, and Lesnar & Heyman laughed at the doubters.

And Wrestlemania, back in New Orleans, “the only two beings that hold a Wrestlemania victory over the Undertaker” collide for the title. Everyone acts like Roman is fated to dethrone Lesnar this year as if that’s the spoiler. To tell the truth, you should respect Roman’s talent, his family bloodline, his victories and his “badassery”, but the truth is, Wrestlemania Sunday, 4/8/18, in New Orleans, Lesnar will F5 Roman and pin him in the ring “1-2-3”. That’s not a promise or a prediction, that’s a spoiler. Heyman says an unfortunate truth that accidents happen. If Lesnar were to injure himself hurting someone else, then this will be the last time you see Lesnar on Raw. Heyman will save the good-byes for later, but he’ll dispel something “out of character” for Lesnar. Lesnar’s persona built since 2002, his dominance and lack of respect, is all true!

If anything, his persona is held back, because Lesnar feels no one anywhere is worth even holding his jockstrap. No one has the money or the power to hold Lesnar anywhere. Roman’s only choice is to accept defeat, because he has no other option! “So here’s how it goes.” Roman wants a victory party? No, he’ll go home to his wife and kids and fathers, uncles and cousins and admit he got beat, victimized and conquered by BROCK LESNAR. The truth is, Roman isn’t a Big Dog and this isn’t his Yard, he’s just another notch on the belt. That is to say, “you’re just Brock Lesnar’s b*tch.” But Roman Reigns appears!

Roman walks up to the wall of Raw superstars, but they won’t let him go. They’re full-timers, standing up for the part-time “bastard”? Just think about it guys. They do think about it, and even discuss it. From The Bar to Titus Worldwide to the Revival, they stand aside.

Roman walks right down the ramp, and Lesnar dares him to do something. Lesnar wants Roman to think about this real hard, but fans are actually on Roman’s side. Roman walks up the steel steps, and gets in the ring. Lesnar puts the belt down, and the two circle. The tension mounts, but Lesnar slips out of the ring, retrieving his belt in the process. Lesnar and Heyman saunter around the ring, Roman keeping his eyes on them. That gets Lesnar to get a chair, just like last week. Lesnar brings that chair in with him, but Roman doesn’t flinch.

The two circle again, Heyman saying Lesnar should “Victimize him!” but SUPERMAN PUNCH! And another! And another! Roman reloads while Lesnar flounders, a FOURTH Superman Punch! Lesnar slowly stirs, going for the chair again, SUPERMAN PUNCH Number Five!

Roman picks up the belt, and holds it up over The Beast. Fans duel while Roman stares up at the sign, but then Lesnar revives to F5 Roman!!

The Beast gets his belt back as he exits the ring. Lesnar survives five Superman Punches tonight while Roman manages to move after one F5. What will it take for one of these men to decisively defeat the other and be Universal Champion?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Tonight’s Raw is not how a Wrestlemania Go-Home Raw should go. The first hour was the peak and then it dropped off a cliff somewhere. The opening face-off for the Mixed Tag match was really good, Ronda came off much more comfortable talking trash with Steph. The Authority standing tall just seemed like 50-50 booking to try and keep everyone even until the match. We know Ronda wins, obviously. Bayley VS Sonya was good, and there was good character stuff with Bayley, Sasha and Absolution to center Bayley VS Sasha as the story of the Women’s Battle Royal. Finn VS Rollins 3 was Match of the Night, by a long shot. Miz watching and being an almost Face made it even more fun for the TV audience, this is definitely going to be a showstealer regardless of who wins.

The Tag Team Championship segment was ridiculous, both in a good and in a bad way. Braun’s brother “Brain”, great little pun but it’s just foolish for Strowman to play jokes when he doesn’t have to. Him throwing Hawkins through a wall was great, though. But then to follow this up with only part of Hardy VS Goldust, Alexa doubling down on being WWE’s Goddess of Mean Girls, and then Cena NOT getting Taker just killed the energy of the night. Cena did great as always, and then set up for American Badass Taker by saying “dead man walking,” as that was one of Taker’s other themes during that phase, but it was just a string of disappointments. Elias also winning a quick filler match didn’t do much for anyone, other than make it seem even more like he’s Strowman’s partner (to my personal dismay).

It felt like things picked up in the third, but that was too late. Nia’s interview and her victim angle can go either way. Yes, she seems emotionally weak by letting things get to her like they did, but at the same time, she’s becoming the Face that represents any and everyone who has ever been bullied just on looks. The Women’s Tag was a good segue, and of course Asuka wins to keep her Streak. Nia gets another triumphant moment running Alexa off, so I’d hope Nia goes over, a “You Deserve It!” chant would really fit her crowning moment. The closing was rather good, too, all things considered. Heyman has another great promo, Roman gets the locker room and some fans on his side, but Lesnar keeps up being the dominant Heel. This ending was far better than the infamous tug-o-war over the belt, so give it that.

My Score: 7.5/10


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