Does the Roman love continue in Philadelphia? Andrew gives us his take for WWE Raw and SmackDown Live!
How do we build off the return of the Big Dog? Does the inevitable Shield reunion happen again? Does Baron Corbin stop sucking?
I could also ask questions about SmackDown, but we all know they’ll cover their bases. Yay SmackDown!
Well let’s get to the WWE stuff.
- Finn Balor, Braun Strowman & Kurt Angle vs Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley: Lashley wins via Spear – ** 1/4
- Natalya vs Ruby Riott: Nattie wins via Roll Up – ¾
- Gauntlet Match: Heavy Machinery vs B Team, The Ascension & Hawkins & Ryder: Heavy Machinery beats all of them – * 3/4
- Elias vs Dean Ambrose: Elias wins via Drift Away – **
- Tamina vs Sasha Banks: Tamina wins via Superkick – * 1/2
- Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival (c) vs Aleister Black & Ricochet: Revival retain via DQ – **
SAMOAN SEX MACHINE! He struts out to a chorus of cheers in Philly, so you know the game has flipped. Talks about the Universal Title picture and calls out Seth, regarding some kind of hurdle. Seth thinks it’s to take his shot at Mania, Roman shrugs that off like “now dumbass I’m happy for you”, but he wants to get the band back together since Ambrose might be leaving. This is a very relatable and real angle since we’ve all had buddies that we wish we could chill with one last time, or want one last party before going separate ways. Ambrose comes out and gets blinded sided by an Elias guitar.
We get the 6 man, that really feels like filler. Still not sure why they’re using Angle so often when he’s not really involved directly in an angle, but it keeps them all relevant for Fastlane and the Road to Mania…so whatever. As much as I hate Lio, he did have decent timing on a trip and got murdered through the barricade, so those were kind of highlights to an uninteresting match.
Backstage with Heavy Machinery and the losers of the tag division teasing Dozer, causing Dozer to break goofy character and say something like “I’m sensitive”. This is dumb and bad comedy attempts with the bottom of the barrel for the tag division. So why do I care? Oh yeah, I don’t.
Nattie rolls up Ruby. So the woman they tried to make look like a contender for Ronda, got smashed at Chamber, had a slightly better showing the following Monday but lost and now loses to Natty who hasn’t really been setting the world on fire lately. So I don’t even know what to make of this. Judging from Twitter maybe Nattie will be Lacey Evans first challenge, but blah, Lacey walking out was the best thing about this.
Two imbeciles from SNL, which is a shell of itself, will be the guest hosts or something for Mania, and they had to be at Raw tonight. Jost is an overacting loser who’s about as funny as a fire in an old folks home. Everything involving them was painful, I won’t mention them again.
Triple H cuts a promo on Batista. Now I’ll lead by saying, it wasn’t bad…but it also was formulaic. A few 4th wall breaks, ‘inside jokes’ and a raise in intensity to prove he means business is basically every Triple H promo the last few years. Again, not bad, but nothing that struck me as poignant.
Oh now we get the Gauntlet of Losers. This is basically WWE’s version of the Home For Infinite Losers (Dragonball Z fans will appreciate that). Again, I don’t care, of course Heavy Machinery goes over…but it doesn’t matter and wasn’t even good.
Torrie Wilson officially inducted into the Hall of Fame. Anyone questioning why doesn’t really understand that WWE doesn’t have a criteria, so anyone that moved the needle is eligible and Torrie was a big draw regardless of why. So don’t diminish her effect on late Attitude Era/Ruthless Aggression era.
Charlotte…ugh…while I’ll admit she has presence, she has horrid delivery. I can’t stand her promos most of the time, this is one of those times.
Elias actually gets through his anti-Philly song! It was great. The match was alright as well. One of the best ones of the night, though that’s not saying much. Elias has great timing on the Jumping Knee he’s been using. It seems to hit well every time.
Shield time, it takes a while and a few dumb jump cuts to get there, but we get the 646845516846th Shield Reunion in 18 months. While I do understand why and I’m happy in a way for the people, I really don’t care. The match will be alright, and a smart way to ease Roman back into the ring, but I’m not expecting much beyond maybe the first drop in the bucket for the rumored Ambrose vs Reigns match at WrestleMania.
Whoever didn’t see Roode and Gable interfering after how insulted they’ve been the last few weeks – need their eyesight checked. The match was cut short before it got moving well. Black and Ricochet do their poses after some jawing to Roode and Gable, ok. Poses are cool I get it, the Power Rangers have dazzled 10 year olds for 25 years with that.
Okay so Hold Harmless signing. I like the usage of the same form since we’ve heard it in NXT and two years ago with Rollins and Triple H. So I have no problem with them sticking with something in the vernacular that people have grown to expect. Also the funny thing is usually the one signing the Hold Harmless wins the match.
Ronda showing up was fine, she’s right she never vacated the belt, she just walked off and left it. I had no issue with her getting mad, cutting the Heel affirmation promo where she’s done trying for fans since they don’t want her anyway. Yes she blitzed through the promo, but when she’s angry and frustrated, talking faster applies. Plus I think the “Damn the Man, Screw the Woo, No more Mrs. Nice Bitch” is her best line ever. The beat down went long and got a little odd at times, but regardless, I enjoyed that.
Overall Score: 4.5/10
Slightly below average because hell, even if I’m happy for Roman and his buddies…it’s still a hollow story that feels overdone. Plus the in-ring product was pretty lame, the SNL guys were like swallowing nails and made the show worse. Hell if I didn’t like the ending portion as much as I did, it would’ve probably tracked lower. Not a great episode, but not overly awful, just a chore to get through.
- The Miz vs Jey Uso: Miz wins via Skull Crushing Finale – * 1/2
- United States Championship Fatal 4 Way: R-Truth (c) vs Andrade vs Rey Mysterio vs Samoa Joe: Joe wins via Coquina Clutch – *** ½ – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Aleister Black & Ricochet vs The Bar: Riochet wins via 630 Senton – ** 1/2
- Naomi vs Mandy Rose: Rose wins via Bed of Roses– N/A
- Rowan vs Kevin Owens: Owens wins via DQ – N/A
Daniel Bryan opens things doing the smarmy heel thing well. Granted the fact all he’s got are fat jokes for Owens is lame, and I liked that when Owens came out even he made mention of that too. Daniel wasn’t overly clever but the opening segment was fine and caused a showdown with Rowan and Owens that set up a match for later.
The Usos are fantastic. They have a rap like flow to their promos, go back and forth in a playful way and even put Shane over a little with the shoe game comment. When Miz and Shane come out, they try to basically do the white version of the Usos’ back and forth and it comes off clunky and comical, which is the point. The match was fine, just a lot of extra stuff going on to help with the story and to make us think Shane and Miz have a shot. It set things up logically.
R-Truth returns with the Open Challenge since his hero John Cena keeps inspiring him. Joe, Andrade and Rey come out and before Truth can say anything, the announcers says it’s a Fatal 4-Way. It’s a damn good match, a lot of stuff going on, a few near falls with everyone looking good. Samoa Joe finally takes advantage of his situation and grabs his first main roster championship. Bout damn time!
Joe has an interview afterwards and the fact that he says he will be the anti-Cena basically, foreshadows towards Cena vs Joe for WrestleMania. It’s just a guess, but with all the mentions, it’s probably going to happen.
The thrown together NXT tag team and former champions. The match was fine, but I am a little annoyed at the constant wins. I get that they are a team for the Dusty Classic, so this helps to legitimize them on multiple levels, but with no real set up, no emotional connection to these characters…this streak comes off super flat. Hopefully Ricochet and Black lose at Fastlane, but it ends up being Revival pinning Roode or Gable. Cause these wins for the sake of winning does nothing for me.
Mandy and Naomi, well…sure. Corey has a good line regarding Naomi looking like she should be directing traffic (all yellow outfit). That was the most entertaining part of the match too since one distraction later, Bed of Roses and the match is over. Asuka shows up as the Sonya and Mandy are walking off victories and beats on them. So that’s always nice.
AJ Styles being the consummate good guy, Orton makes a snide remark that isn’t really wrong. I like the slower build to this eventual match.
Well yeah, Daniel Bryan gets involved after repeating coward like 13 times. So Daniel was just unoriginal as hell tonight, DQ happens. Mustafa Ali shows up to make the save, which is nice since we haven’t seen him since before Elimination Chamber. I think we all wanted Sami Zayn, but Ali isn’t bad for now.
Charlotte calls out Becky and well, honestly I usually bash Charlotte’s promos but she wasn’t bad here. The condescending bitchy tone and cadence worked well. Becky is still over huge, took the beating in stride, shook it off in her promo and when the brawl happened she even got the best of Charlotte and put her in the Fujiwara. So this is really the only match that is a question mark at Fastlane.
Overall Score: 7/10
Above average show, a few slower/redundant moments hurt the show from being really good. But in typical SmackDown fashion, they advance stories just enough and logically to make people happy. Plus we got a title change and a solid match out the show. This is just such a more streamlined product. Fox should be happy with what they’re getting.
Carol: Why Brock Lesnar Will Win At WWE Wrestlemania
What if Brock wins?
Will Seth Rollins slay the beast at WWE WrestleMania, or will Brock Lesnar walk out the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Universal Champion? Carol thinks the latter.
WrestleMania is less than three weeks away and while everyone’s attention is on Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair, there’s one title match that has slipped everyone’s mind. The Universal Championship match between Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar is a high-profile fight that hasn’t received that much attention. The reason is due to Lesnar’s part-time schedule. Since the Royal Rumble, Lesnar has only appeared on RAW twice and that was to attack Rollins.
Rollins has done everything he can to get fans invested in the feud. He’s delivered heartfelt promos while also doing verbal spats with Paul Heyman about why Lesnar doesn’t deserve the championship. Heading into WrestleMania, Rollins is heavily favored to win and end Lesnar’s reign as champion. Fans have become frustrated with Lesnar being a part-time champion and will be cheering when he loses. However, WWE fans shouldn’t start celebrating just yet.
History Repeats Itself?
WWE is well-known to do stupid stuff and come WrestleMania, I have a feeling they’ll have Brock retain. There are a couple of reasons behind my theory. The first one has to do with the uncertainty of Brock’s future with WWE. Every year around this time, there’s reports questioning Brock’s career plans. Just as fans get excited about the prospect of Brock leaving for UFC, he inks a new deal to stay with WWE. This year, I don’t see things changing when it comes to Lesnar’s status with the company. Brock is one of Vince’s top guys and with new competition popping up; Mr. McMahon is going to do everything to keep his wrestlers from leaving. Brock’s incentives could include more money and a longer reign as Universal Champion.
Health Issues For Rollins
The other reason for Lesnar going over at WrestleMania is Seth’s health. Rollins has been having issues with his back, which has kept him off of house shows. Recently, he wrestled on RAW and showed that he was still in top form heading into WrestleMania. However, Seth’s back issues could be a concern for WWE officials, and that may very well play into their plan of whether Rollins wins the Universal Championship.
The Big Dog Is Back
The last reason to be concerned about the match has to do with the return of Seth’s Shield brother Roman Reigns. Prior to announcing his battle with leukemia, Reigns was the Universal Champion and was feuding with Brock. With Reigns now healthy and has returned to wrestling, Vince may decide to resume the Roman vs Brock feud, with Reigns conquering the beast and reclaiming the championship. If any of these scenarios were to happen, it would be unfair to Seth.
Rollins has had a phenomenal year and there’d be no better way to cap it off by having him win the Universal Championship at WrestleMania. But given how notorious WWE is for swerving fans, it wouldn’t be surprising if we had another outcome like last year’s WrestleMania. My advice to WWE fans is to prepare for the worst when it comes to WrestleMania, because odds are that Brock Lesnar’s reign as Universal Champion will continue.
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (3/18/19)
Who delivered the biggest performances of the night on Raw?
Greg DeMarco brings the Three Stars of The Night back with the March 18 episode of WWE Raw from Chicago!
Raw was live from Chicago, on the Road To WrestleMania, and it seemed like the perfect night to revive the Three Stars! I mean, it’s a mega city for the company and a very important Raw. I figured the entire roster would step up in a huge way. I was wrong…
But we did get a packed WWE Raw, including Kurt Angle’s opponent being revealed as Baron Corbin, Beth Phoenix officially returning to the ring, and the heat being turned to 11 on Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins. Now, it’s Three Stars time…shall we?
The Third Star: Leo Rush
I know people find Lio Rush annoying, and it means he’s doing his job. In reality, he delivers in a big way on a weekly basis, making Bobby Lashley more relevant and usually putting in a great in-ring performance. This week was no different, especially when he was selling for Braun Strowman. Bobby Lashley also let it happen to Lio Rush, which is another way Lio delivered–letting Lashley’s character develop even further. Hate on Lio Rush if you must, but he continues to enhance Bobby Lashley’s entire act on a weekly basis.
The Second Star: Elias
Few people have a better grasp on their character than Elias (Alexa Bliss being one of them), and he’s gotten it to a point where it’s effortless. To me, that means we may see a big push coming for him after WrestleMania. In this segment he delivered a strong promo, interacted brilliantly with Alexa, got the desired reactions out of the crowd, and perfectly foreshadowed a WrestleMania interruption that very well might be John Cena. Count me in as walking with Elias.
Honorable Mention: Paul Heyman, Alexa Bliss, Ronda Rousey, and Sasha Banks
And now… a distinction usually reserved
for the top performer of the night …the first star!
The First Star: Seth Rollins
If there was any question who has taken up the mantle of leading WWE Raw, it should be answered now. Seth Rollins delivered in a big way on Raw. Last year he carried things as Intercontinental Champion, and I think he’s more than ready to be the Universal Champion. I look forward to seeing his run, with opponents like Drew McIntyre waiting in the wings after WrestleMania.
But can I put in for a Rollins vs. Batista program post-WrestleMania? Please? Nothing would make me happier than seeing Big Dave put Seth over before heading back to Hollywood.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
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