WWE Monday Night RAW
March 19 2018
We’re in Dallas, Texas. Here we are on the Road to Wrestlemania once again. We kick the show off with….
Promo Time: Kurt Angle
Kurt is talking about Braun Strowman and his tag title shot when Roman Reigns just shows up. “Where’s Brock at?”
He’s so photogenic. The Big Dog is arrested by the local fuzz. One of which struggles to read the Miranda rights. One of which struggles to put handcuffs on. The Big Dog gets upset with this turn of events and beats down the US Marshalls. Look, he’s a rebel! Cheer him! It worked for Steve Austin. I’m personally horrified by Roman’s lack of respect for the local authorities. As a cuffed Roman stands tall Brock Lesnar turns up and destroys him. What did we learn Roman? Reigns does a stretcher job and Brock comes back out to kill him some more. This is what happens when you talk shit about someone Roman mate! Chat shit, get banged.
Somehow Michael Cole decides this is the fault of the US Marshalls.
Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka
I’m not sure why Asuka is still on RAW, seeing as she’s challenging for the Smackdown strap at ‘Mania. Unfortunately the booking paints them into a corner as Asuka can’t lose because of the streak and Alexa probably shouldn’t lose because it’ll make RAW look secondary to Smackdown and that never happens. Mickie James is out to help Alexa and she helps Alexa get counted out. Post match Nia Jax turns up to get into Alexa’s business and that’s your RAW women’s title ‘Mania program. How is Nia babyface and Mickie heel in this? Anyway Kurt makes the ‘Mania match after this finishes.
Final Rating: *1/2
Braun Strowman vs. Cesaro
They do some very clear stuff here where Cesaro, who’s been long established as freaky strong, can’t shift Braun. The big question mark hanging over Braun is who his tag partner will be. He doesn’t want one but logic dictates he will have one or a singles guy will win the tag straps and that’s such a WCW thing to do. Especially over the tag team that’s dominated the division for months. Powerslam finishes and this was a tidy little match but was here to demonstrate what we already know; Braun can win by himself. So who’s the partner?
Final Rating: **1/2
Titus Worldwide vs. The Revival
The Revival are a classic NWA old school tag team. No wonder Triple H likes them. No wonder Vince McMahon doesn’t give a rat’s ass and thinks of them as enhancement. They are very good at both roles. Whether it’s classic teaming or making other teams look good. Anyway Shatter Machine puts Apollo away. Post match the Revival say they’ll be in the Andre. Enhancement, guys.
Final Rating: *1/4
Promo Time: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
They’ve been having issues of late and Sasha decides to clear the air by saying they’re best friends and she wants to fix it. You could stop stabbing her in the back during matches? Sasha spins it so Bayley is the villain. Good bad guys believe in themselves. The Dallas crowd get square on my nerves by shouting “What” all the time. Bayley gets down to why she’s still mad; Sasha fucking turned on her in the Elimination Chamber match! This was one of Bayley’s best moments since joining the main roster as a lot of what she was saying was from the heart. It’s a shame the crowd didn’t care. We don’t get a resolution here as Absolution interrupt.
Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley
The super best friends work as a team but Sasha is a dick about it. Tagging in blind. Pushing Bayley off a cover. It’s subtle but not so subtle as to be lost on a crowd of wrestling fans. Absolution are improving even if Mandy is miscast. Sonya pushes the two faces together and high kicks Bayley for the pin. Ok match but it was more about the Sasha-Bayley storyline. I’m excited to see where they go with it. It’s clearly been nurtured for several months.
Final Rating: **
Promo Time: John Cena
Cena is miffed that the Undertaker hasn’t replied to his ‘Mania challenge. Cena heels it up by calling Taker “disrespectful”. Why can’t you leave the retired old man alone John? Don’t be a dick. “The Undertaker is a coward” says John. The idea here is that John is baiting Taker out of retirement by calling him names, which is about as childish as it gets because this is all playground horseplay. He doesn’t get Taker he gets Kane and a chokeslam for his troubles. Well, that’s what you get. You gonna bark all day little doggy?
The Miz & The Miztourage vs. BCOG’s
This is because Balor is coming after Miz at ‘Mania and the IC strap.
Seth Rollins is out here on commentary trying to hype that match. If they deliver the three-way is a potential showstealer. Miz collides with Axel and gets rolled up. Balor pins Miz ahead of ‘Mania.
Final Rating: **
Video Control gives us tape of Ronda Rousey training with Kurt Angle ahead of her ‘Mania debut.
Hype videos are how you want to go with Ronda. Show how cool she is. Not everyone watches MMA so you have to get that character over and WWE do these video better than anyone. “I’m the best. Why can’t I say it?” Good video package. You should check this out.
Olympic gold medallist. MMA superstar. Now Ronda’s new goal is to be “the best at this”.
The Ultimate Deletion
There’s a lot to process here. If you saw TNA’s low budget antics at the Hardy Compound you’ll know what a kitsch success it was. This version of the match is a little slicker, like watching a lower end budget horror movie. Especially the dilapidated city, which reminds Bray of his own compound before Randy Orton burned it to the ground. Hey, continuity. Nice. I’m not convinced by the movie camera angles but at least it covers for how bad the matches have been between these two. Every time they hit up the Hardy Compound there’s a load of fireworks. I get the feeling these boys grew up throwing fireworks at each other. The Land of Obsolete Men, with Bray running around with a kendo stick is easily the worst part of the match. It’s so dumb. The changes of speed on the tape for example. It’s way too slapstick. The Dome of Deletion is a improvement because it feels like something Matt actually has set up in his house. “Chair of wheels. Mower of lawn. Chair of wheels. Mower of lawn. Wonderful!”
If Matt had run over Bray with a mower we’d have reached some serious High Concept stuff. Murder, specifically.
“I’ll deal with you later”. Senor Benjamin and Jeff Hardy randomly appear as Bray hallucinates and Matt wins with the Twist of Fate on his lawn. Bray ends up in the Lake of Reincarnation and disappears. I wonder if they can actually manage to reboot Bray Wyatt. “Bray Wyatt has been deleted”.
Final Rating: I have no idea
The Ultimate Deletion was certainly something. If you’d not seen the TNA antics you might have thought it was some unique shit but it isn’t. It’s a re-tread. However if the sole purpose of the whole endeavour was to completely alter Bray Wyatt’s character it won’t all of been bad. The rest of the show was fine. I hope they do Sasha-Bayley at ‘Mania but the card is so stuffed they’ll probably end up with one of them turning in the battle royal. The Roman stuff interests me here as they’re blatantly trying to make him into an anti-hero like Steve Austin. The calling out of Vince, the assaults on officials but he’s still Roman Reigns. At least they’re trying and he’s not saying “suffering succotash”.