Sting started off the show, which let’s all admit, is still a bit surreal to see. Even crazier, he actually got on the mic!
Sting did a good job speaking, saying he was here to take down HHH and he made sure to get all his bullet points in. My favorite part, though, was Sting saying he wasn’t here to fight on WCW’s behalf because, hey, that would be pretty stupid with how much time has passed.
it’s the little things like this that go a long way with me. Use a bit of logic and all of a sudden your character’s motivations don’t seem so dumb. Otherwise we end up with feuds over spilled coffee.
Anyhow, Steph came out and started trash talking Sting after a few moments.
Steph is probably one of the best heels on the mic. Unlike HHH, she doesn’t feel the need to be the “cool bad guy”, the guy who gets to say asshole things while also being funny. She doesn’t try and get the best of both worlds like her husband constantly tries to do. She just acts arrogant, which is all she has to do to get heat.
Occasionally she breaks the fourth wall too much for my liking when tearing down a wrestler, but for the most part, she’s great at her job.
All of this back and forth talk led to Stephanie attempting to slap Sting, BUT NO! He caught her hand, and then a weird look of shock/arousal appeared on Stephanie’s face. It was if she couldn’t believe he saw the slap coming, but she was impressed and slightly turned on by the fact he had. Power attracts power.
HHH decided now was a good time to come down to the ring, which led to one of the best gifs of the year:
Stephanie is just a natural showman. Oh god, that gif is glorious.
Luckily for Sting he rides with a bat in hand, so bat vs sledge cancelled each other out. HHH decided to wait for Mania to settle this feud, where, as always, I will hope and pray that Shane McMahon’s music will hit and he will start his year long feud against HHH.
Dean Ambrose and R-Truth vs Stardust and Luke Harper w/ Wade Barrett on commentary
The IC title picture is a bit of a mess right now. It has a Hardcore 24/7 feel to it, what with the title being stolen every show for the last few weeks.
Still, it all leads up to a ladder match, which should allow us to forgive the WWE making this happen:
We’ve gone from bad ass, Stone Cold Lite Dean Ambrose, to dancing Dean Ambrose.
Never dance, Dean. Once you start dancing, your WWE career is doomed.
Honestly, Dean was on fire a couple of months ago, and somehow now he’s here. I can’t be excited about that.
The only other highlight of the match was Luke Harper. I want to see him involved in a good singles feud, there is just something about that guy that is engaging to watch. I was always hoping Harper would take over the Wyatt family at one point.
Miz and Mizdow chat with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell
A lot of the time the comedy segments WWE does fall flat. So horribly horribly flat. If you saw something funny on the internet five years ago, odds are WWE will be using that joke in a comedy segment in the near future with their delightful sense of comedic timing.
Tonight, however, Miz knocked this one out of the park. They had an interview where Miz complained to Will Ferrel and Kevin Hart about stunt doubles being the worst sometimes, and Miz getting more and more frustrated as Ferrell and Hart disagreed with him.
Again, Miz is putting in some of the best work of his career, and the start of the payoff of Miz vs Mizdow, if it happens at Mania, will probably be one of the highlights of the show.
Miz and Mizdow and The Ascension and Adam Rose vs Prime Time Players and Ryback and Zack Ryder and Erick Rowan
It was a quick match, meant to shove as many people on TV as possible so you could remember they exist. The Ascension still stand as a strong warning to NXT talents about the grass not always being greener!
The highlight of the match for me? Titus tossing Miz over his shoulders and Ryback having a big laugh about it.
Also, just watching the match you can see how much the fans are invested in Miz and Mizdow’s feud.
You can also tell how little fans care about Erick Rowan now. For the love of god, at least give him a better theme song if you want him to be a face. With the WWE giving the Divas a chance, Rowan’s theme song is now the number one bathroom theme song.
Bill Simmons was also on commentary for the match and did a decent job. He knew the product and didn’t dress up like a fat Rey Mysterio so he’s way ahead of Larry the Cable Guy.
Tall old guy, tall old guy, or guy he faces at Wrestlemania? Who to choose, who to choose…
Randy Orton vs Rollins and J & J Security
I don’t like the commentary team at the best of times, as sometimes I have trouble deciding who frustrates me more. Usually JBL wins out, but tonight Booker T had his moments.
“This might be a first!” says Booker T on Orton’s DDT rope move that he does ALL THE TIME.
Aside from that, the match was used to show how rusty Noble is at stomping on hands, and to keep Rollins away from Orton.
This would have been way better if we hadn’t already seen payoff to this feud. We already saw Orton beat Rollins to death while screaming at him about forgetting to pick up his dry cleaning. Now all we’re left with is waiting for Orton rest holds and an RKO out of nowhere. Not exactly a great Mania build up.
AJ Lee and Paige talk it out
Nikki said she’d let AJ or Paige decide who got a title shot on Raw tonight, and they both decided Paige would get the chance.
Nikki vs Paige was actually a solid match. Ever since the “Give Divas a Chance” movement took off, they’ve actually given more than 2 minutes of ring time to the ladies. Nikki, who not only has the best finisher name in the business (Rack Attack), she’s also improved enough in the ring that she can put on good matches with people.
Paige, while also good in the ring, screams too much for my liking, and isn’t Nikki Bella, so I enjoy watching her lose, which she did tonight. AJ accidentally hit Paige, which caused Paige to lose, which caused AJ and Paige to fight after the match, which set up the “HOW WILL THESE TWO EVER GET ALONG??” theme for their tag match against the Bellas at Mania.
Have I mentioned how great Nikki is?
One day they will put up a vote that doesn’t have an obvious winner. One day…
Snoop Dogg was on the show wearing an outfit last seen on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He is also the only person I’ve seen who might be as skinny as AJ Lee.
Snoop talked about “Snoop-Mania” which got me angry, because hey, Axelmania is what’s running wild right now. ENTER CURTIS AXEL.
Curtis came strolling out, understandably upset that his Mania Momentum was being stolen by Snoop. The crowd was actually pretty behind him, and even started chanting Axelmania.
Let’s take a moment and realize how amazing this is. Curtis Axel, a guy who has never been over, a guy who the crowd just doesn’t give a crap about, has somehow found a small gimmick that people actually like. Instead of walking out of the room when he comes on, people now watch.
As Curtis says “DON’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL.” He used to have to actually ask that because people would change the channel. Now they save that for Erick Rowan.
Anyways, I was pretty excited to see what they would do with Curtis. How would they use this momentum to-
You know who needs a push? Curtis Axel? You know who doesn’t? Snoop Dogg and Hulk Hogan.
God damn it.
Hulk Hogan proceeded to rip on Axelmania, which led to the worst moment on Raw:
If ever there was a gif for Curtis Axel’s momentum, there it is. Snoop Dogg just tossing him out of the ring.
I assume on the WWE Ap Southern Georgia Line beat the shit out of him in the back after the segment on TV ended.
JBL also really wanted you to know how thin Snoop Dogg is. He repeatedly talked about his arms, then busted out this gem:
“Between Hulk and Snoop they have 30 inch arms!”
After 5 seconds of silence JBL decided to inform us what the joke was.
“Hulk Hogan has 24 of those inches.”
This was then followed by JBL screaming “Jizzle” a hundred times, which sounds like his finishing move if he was in a XXX film.
Tyson Kidd, Nattie and Cesaro vs Los Matadores and El Torito
El Torito has now one upped Cesaro by throwing him out of the ring last week, and pinning Nattie this week.
El Torito has been given more of a push than Curtis Axel. Think about that for a second.
BNB and Kane
WWE’s weird tradition of “confusing bad guys and good guys role” continues as Kane came to the back and acted like a dick to Barrett.
Why? Isn’t BNB a bad guy? Didn’t you take away the only thing he had going for him, “I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news” so people wouldn’t like him anymore? Why are you putting him in a sympathetic role now? Why is Kane still on TV? Why does he insist on wrestling in dress pants? Questions, so many questions.
Rusev vs Swagger
We want Lana chants were loud and proud during this match. The commentary said Lana and Rusev might be at odds with each other ever since Lana gave Cena the match after Cena attempted to murder him.
Lana is currently off filming a movie, so let’s pray they keep these two together when she gets back, and that the commentary team was just covering for her absence.
Regardless, Lana is red hot with the crowd right now.
Lana aside, Rusev beat up Jack Swagger for the thirtieth time, but it was meant to make Rusev look strong, which he needs right now. Maybe Swagger can go away for a bit and return with a new haircut as they repackage him once again.
Anyhow, this led to Cena running out to save Swagger (Cena is very picky about who he makes a run in for, but apparently Swagger is on his list).
Since Cena is most likely going to win at Mania, Rusev got his one chance to get the upper hand on Cena. He then proceeded to beat the hell out of Cena in a brutal, yet efficient way. He didn’t spend an awkward amount of time doing it like Orton did to Rollins. He did it the right way, with a few power moves, and lots of gloating. It left you wanting to see more.
The best part of the beat down? Cena with one of the best bumps I have seen in a while:
LOOK AT THAT BUMP! Cena went all out on that bad boy, holy hell. Give the man props on that one.
Rusev then celebrated his beat down over the man who has tormented him for weeks like the true victorious hero that he is. Cena, meanwhile, tried to recover from the brutal attack Sharpie the Pen had laid out on him.
Bray Wyatt Promo
I’m not a huge fan of Bray Wyatt. If you are, then you probably loved his promo as it was usual Wyatt fare.
Once you take away the gasping and random laughter, Bray was basically talking about how he now controls all the dark powers in the WWE, not the Undertaker.
On one hand, it makes sense. Bray is always dabbling in “powers” so why not take out the other guy on the roster who has “powers”. The WWE just hasn’t done very much focusing on whatever powers they may or may not have, so it just kind of falls flat for me. It’s like Lost all of a sudden making the polar bears a thing again. “Oh wait, we’re going back to that well again? I thought we moved on.”
Does Bray get to turn the lights on and off now? Is that the power he wants? I don’t know.
As a kid, Diesel impressed the hell out of me. He seemed like a legit bad guy because he wore a glove and he wore sun glasses indoors.
As I grew older, I came to realize how bad he was in the ring (“Has he done the knees in the corner yet? No? Match isn’t over yet.”), but he was good on the mic, and he was in the NWO, so he was still cool in my books.
His position in the Hall is well deserved. He has been involved in some of biggest feuds in wrestling history, and he once Jack Knifed Scott Hall to help him with his drinking problem. What’s not to love. Aside from his inability to book a show to save his life.
Tyson Kidd and Nattie
Yeah. This happened. An add for chicken fries. Nattie thought Tyson was saying nice things to her, but he was talking to his food and-
You know what. Let’s just move on.
Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler
They replayed their match from Smackdown in this one. Which means we got to see the worst finisher in the WWE, the Zig Zag, pin a man for the three count. Boo.
After the match everyone involved in the IC Ladder match at Mania ran to the ring and took turns hurting each other.
Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns staredown
Paul Heyman capped off his impressive run of promoting both sides of the coin for the Mania match, and even got me a bit excited to see it. That’s how good Heyman is. He essentially did the promos for both men in this lead up to Mania, and did it well. That is insane.
Anyhow, Brock is growing in a beard, which he did when he lost in the UFC, so I am not liking his chances at Mania. I pray to god the WWE finds a way to re-sign him and keep the title on him, because he is the most unique thing they have right now. You actually believe he might just say “screw it” and decide to beat up Reigns for real if he wanted to. He is the shoot champion we deserve.
Heyman was right. We do want to tune in, just to see the beating Brock might give somebody. That match against Cena will always flash through our minds when he takes somebody on. So many suplexes. So so many suplexes.
It was a decent Raw tonight, it really was. It had a lot of wrestling and didn’t force a lot of slow talking scenes down our throats.
The problem I had with it is that it was a crappy “Go Home” Mania show.
This is your last Raw before Mania, and that was it? Maybe there is only so much you can do to pump up this years Mania, but the show didn’t really get me excited to watch the biggest show of the year.
Rusev and Lesnar were the only two angles I really felt did a good job of advancing interest tonight.
Let’s face it, most wrestling fans are going to watch Wrestlemania regardless of the build up. It just doesn’t feel like a very exciting one this year. Too many rushed story lines have made this years lead up feel quite dull to me.
I know some people are going to say “You’re just being negative!” and get mad at me, but I honestly feel like this has been lackluster booking lately. There haven’t been enough reasons given to us to emotionally invest in many of the story lines this year, IMO.
Basically it’s Brockmania for me. I watch and hope he doesn’t lose as that’s all I have to hold onto. All of my eggs are in your basket, Brock. God speed, sir. God speed.