1. Raw is Royce
Peyton sent shockwaves through the WWE Universe when she challenged Asuka on Raw talk. This week she showed she was not all talk either she took Asuka to her absolute limit and fought to the bitter end. I was so impressed with Peyton Royce. She showed she has the in-ring skills to hang with anyone in the woman's division. She has already shown us that she has charisma during her time in the IIconic tag team. Anybody who has eyes can see she has the look. Peyton Royce is a star in the making.
Asuka also showed why she is a great woman's champion. She does not just help herself. She elevates the woman she works with. She helped elevate Lana before her injury, and now she has just helped put Royce on the map, and I expect her to do the same thing with Rhea at mania. I just want to know why we were not doing this more during Asuka's reign. She could have had so many more great matches with women on the main roster.
2. Sheamus vs Bobby Lashley
This match was bizarre psychologically. We have Sheamus, who is supposed to be a Heel fighting valiantly after his war against the Hurt Business's odds at less than 100 percent. Then there is Heel Bobby Lashley, whom most people love but whom we are supposed to dislike, I think? He gets help with Sheamus, but he does not want it, but he also puts a hit out on Drew? Not sure if he wants help for real or not. Also, I do not know why they keep putting the face of the company in the first hour instead of the main event.
Despite all the strangeness surrounding this match, it was actually really good. Sheamus continues his streak of having great matches on Raw; this is now three weeks in a row. This match was standard stipulation-wise, but the two competitors were absolute bruisers. Sheamus has always been one of the stiffest wrestlers; in my opinion, all his moves look painful. However, Bobby was intense; he was knocking Sheamus's head off throughout the match. This looked like a legit fight, and I loved it.
3.Kofi vs AJ
I did not love how they started this Wrestlemania program, but I like the way I handled it this week. The New Day is actually exploiting the fact that Aj and Omos are not a team. I think the promo segment was hilarious and allowed AJ and even Omos to show some character something they have desperately needed for weeks.
The match itself was a show-stealer. People forget AJ and Kofi have great chemistry from their previous feuds, and they showed off how talented they were during this match. Also, I thought the finish of AJ being distracted by Franchesca 2 was hilarious, and they even tied it into the theme of Omos and Aj not being a good team.
4. Sheamus vs Riddle @ Wrestlemania
Sheamus attacked Riddle backstage, and I am pretty sure they are setting up for Riddle and Sheamus at Wrestlemania. I am very excited about that match. I think this is the best possible match-up for the United States championship. Both Riddle and Sheamus have been having great matches, and they will have a good Heel Face dynamic. The match should be excellent.
5. Miz vs Bad Bunny
I was not a massive fan of this feud at all, but what can I say? Miz can get anything literally over. After his promo, I wanted to see it. Miz even picked up an impressive clean win over Jeff hardy. Also, the sneak peek of his music video was hilarious. I love the Miz and Morrison music videos. I cannot wait to see it in full.
While Bad Bunny is not threatening, he is very successful, and I respect him for doing this at the height of his career. He seems to be down for anything, so I cannot wait to see what kind of craziness they come up with for this match. They have already started smashing guitars over each other backs.
6.Rhea Ripley Challenges Asuka
I am of two minds on this one. I am happy for Rhea. I think they will have a great match. I like this match way better than Charlotte vs. Asuka. However, as Rhea just got to Raw, she should have to do more than just issue a challenge. Maybe she gets away with this because she was a main roster star once, and Nxt is the main roster now, I don't know. I want to know what you guys think. Do you care that Rhea did not earn the match?
Orton Called out Bray, and Bray and Alexa foiled his attempt to burn the Fiend again, and Orton got choked out and hit with Sister Abigail. This segment did not move the story all that much it was basically a redo of the Fastlane scene for the tv crowd, in my opinion. However, that does not bother me too much because I believe we will get another Firefly funhouse match at mania, and Randy is a great candidate. He burned Bray's house and the Fiend, and he took his title at mania and had a long history with WWE. I am very excited about this match.
8. Drew overcomes the odds
Drew faced the Hurt Business in a two-on-one match, and the stipulation was that if Drew won, Cedric and Benjamin would not be allowed at ringside during Wrestlemania. I am usually not a fan of handicap matches, but this match was great. It was fluid, fast, hard-hitting, and Shelton and especially Cedric was just making Drew look like a million bucks. He won, and now he will get Bobby one on one.
9. The tag champs keep on rolling
I liked that they followed up on the win that Dana and Mandy got last week. Even though they were not able to win the match, their effort paid off. They were able to have a match with the champs, and they performed pretty well. Ultimately the champs were just too much, and Reginald also distracted the challengers.
I like Reginald with Shayna and Nia. It helps them showcase their characters more, but I did not like them letting him just do flips in the middle of the match. The in the ring action was enough to hold our attention without that randomness. After another win by the champs, it seems more and more likely that it will be a triple threat between Natalya and Tamina, Lana and Naomi, and the champs for the title, and I am down for that.
Rob’s What mattered
1. Rhea Ripley challenges Asuka to a match at WrestleMania
Finally, Rhea Ripley is on Raw, and she will face Asuka at WrestleMania for the Raw Women’s Championship. Even though this is in the what mattered section, I have so many gripes with how they got here. Asuka has largely been ignored this year despite being a dominant champion. WWE has done nothing to build interesting feuds for her during her reigns. Ripley is an amazing addition to Raw, but I think they spoiled this moment by announcing she would be debuting on Raw. It would have been way better if Asuka cut a promo after beating Peyton Royce saying there was no one left on the Raw roster for her to beat and then Ripley’s music hit. The hype packages added nothing to her debut. If the point was to build Ripley’s credibility, they should have marketed her better in the vignettes and maybe showcased her in matches leading up to this challenge.
The good news is that we are getting the result I want, which is Ripley challenging for the title at WrestleMania. In my opinion, this is the best-case scenario for the Raw Women’s Championship. I’ve hypothesized it was the plan since Ripley finished second in the Royal Rumble. I’ve had a theory for a long time that second place rumble finishers are the plan for the other brand. This is especially true if there is a risky spot in the finish like when Bianca Belair and Ripley were hanging on by a thread at the end of the rumble. This will be a great match, and I’m looking forward to how they build tension between champion and challenger in the weeks to come.
2. Asuka vs. Peyton Royce
I’m surprised they gave this away on a Raw. Peyton Royce is one of the few challengers left for Asuka on Raw. Peyton Royce’s promo on Raw Talk was good enough that it demanded this match. They had a great match, easily Royce’s best on the main roster, but it was also maybe one of Asuka’s best matches in a long time. Hopefully, this match shows WWE that the Women’s division is capable of so much more when they are given the time to shine. Even some of the talent that isn’t regularly featured like Peyton Royce could turn in a main event program any time.
3. AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston
This was another solid match on the Raw card that did a good job of building toward their match at WrestleMania. Already, New Day is showing cracks in the partnership between AJ Styles and Omos. Styles knows nothing about Omos. How could they possibly work together, especially against the best team of the past decade? There’s intrigue already around Omos debuting in ring. We know everyone else involved can have a great match, but what will Omos look like in ring? Xavier Woods showed that New Day is as good at teamwork as ever, distracting Styles with his trombone to get Kofi Kingston the win. I’m not sure what they will do over the next few weeks, but this segment did a good job to sell me on the Raw Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania.
4. Sheamus vs. Bobby Lashley
Even though this was an exact rematch from last week’s main event, these two had another great match on Raw. Bobby Lashley looks like a star with his new entrance and WWE championship, and his stock just keeps rising. Sheamus has been the MVP of Raw over the last month, reviving his career by having great matches and relevant character work in the main event scene. I love that Drew McIntyre ran out to help Sheamus. I’m a sucker for a storyline where two fierce competitors earn respect for each other in a rivalry. We know where Lashley is headed for WrestleMania, but I wonder what the WWE will do with Sheamus to reward him.
Reverse Hipster What didn't matter
1."Lets end it all "-Braun
Another week another segment and match and this feud has not gotten any better. It seems ironic that Shane would call Braun stupid while singing the most basic playground insults. Also, what was the point of the Elias rematch? It was already the most unimportant match from Fastlane, and it literally just happened yesterday. Also, the result did not change. It was pointless.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. Elias, Braun Strowman, and Shane McMahon
Everything about this segment was terrible. There is no reason for Elias to still align himself with Shane McMahon after McMahon fed him to Braun Strowman on Sunday. McMahon continued to be mean to Elias during the segment. Why would Elias put up with this? And I don’t really understand what Shane McMahon’s character is since he returned. Is he still the best in the world heel character, the babyface general manager, or some hybrid of the two? The feud between McMahon and Strowman is embarrassingly one dimensional. McMahon kept calling Strowman stupid, and Strowman is just angry about that. Instead, the focus of this feud should be that Strowman has been ignored by management. If the feud is about McMahon thinking Strowman is stupid, it should be about how McMahon thinks Strowman doesn’t have the cerebral attributes to be a main event star and Strowman has to prove him wrong by mental warfare in this feud. Strowman destroyed Elias in a rematch from Sunday that did nothing for everyone involved. As it stands, nobody wants to see this feud. I’m imploring WWE to get creative and find a different path to WrestleMania for Strowman. This is not the time to have narrow vision and defy your fans’ wishes.
2. Drew McIntyre vs. The Hurt Business
I’ll give WWE this much credit. I’m glad they are paying attention to the Hurt Business as a unit. The Hurt Business should be a challenge as a team for Drew McIntyre to overcome on his way to facing Bobby Lashley. Everyone involved in this segment made the match as entertaining as possible, but as a principle, I don’t believe that singles stars, no matter how good, should beat established tag teams, especially in a straight up handicap match. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin were the tag team champions a week ago, and they are amazing in ring. This segment just proved to me that the WWE has no respect for them as a team. I like that there were stakes in this match, with a chance for McIntyre to ban the Hurt Business from ringside at WrestleMania, but I think it would have been better if they drew this out over the next couple weeks. Maybe they could have done a gauntlet match or best 2 out of 3.
3. The Miz vs. Bad Bunny at WrestleMania
I respect Bad Bunny, and I thought his run as 24/7 champion was the perfect placement for him to help bring new fans and publicity to WWE. I assumed they were building toward a tag match with Damien Priest and Bad Bunny vs. Miz and Morrison at WrestleMania. I don’t feel as strongly about the singles match. The tag match would have allowed Priest to cover for Bad Bunny wrestling-wise and still get the rub of the celebrity in the match. I also feel like this is a mediocre reward for the Miz after putting over Bobby Lashley for the WWE title. I know everyone involved in this feud is capable of making entertaining segments. Already I’m invested in Miz and Morrison’s newest single, but right now, I’m a little upset this is the direction WWE chose for a WrestleMania feud.
4. Randy Orton vs. the Fiend at WrestleMania
I loved the cinematic match on Sunday, but I’m not sold on seeing these two guys face off at WrestleMania again. They will get a chance to outdo their last WrestleMania match, but I don’t know how you follow up the stakes of the Firefly Inferno match. Alexa Bliss, Bray Wyatt, and Randy Orton are all doing their part to carry this storyline, but I think Wyatt and Orton have bland chemistry in-ring. Worst of all, I’m not sure why this segment went last on a Raw that had quite a few good matches. It doesn’t feel like this feud was the main event to me. Imagine instead ending with Rhea Ripley challenging Asuka or Drew McIntyre beating the Hurt Business to have a clean one on one at WrestleMania.
5. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose
If the WWE was trying to accomplish something in this segment, I’m not sure what it was. Reginald was back fully and a distraction from the women in the ring. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose didn’t look like much of a threat to the champions, undoing some of the work they’ve done to build them. Likewise, there hasn’t been much progression on the dynamic between Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. I think WWE is trying to hint that Reginald is a threat to break them up, but they’re not doing a great job conveying that in segments. This is the road to WrestleMania, and there still seems to be no clear match for the Women’s Tag Team championships.
Point of contention
Did you think the handicap match was a meaningful and entertaining match or do you think it was disrespectful to the former tag champions?
2. How do you feel about how Rhea got to the title picture does it matter to you ?
3.What was the match of the night?
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