The Raw Rundown
Reverse Hipster's What mattered
The Woman Enter The Wrestlemania Chat
This Raw was the go-home show. The most important things on the show are the things that got me most excited for WrestleMania. The Woman's tag team turmoil was the most exciting announcement because it meant many cool women were getting on the Wrestlemania card, and it meant there would be two more important Woman's matches on the card. The one criticism I have for this segment is that it felt rushed again, and it was very quick. I feel like they could have done something in the ring that was more creative, but I was still happy with the result.
2.New Day outsmart Omos and Styles
Some people think wins and losses do not matter. I am not one of those people. I will never forget that ya Boy Xavier wood defeated AJ styles just like I have not forgotten Natalya defeated Shayna or that Eva Marie defeated AJ Lee, but I digress. The New Day outsmarted the rookie tag team, and that is fine, but I do not see why we could not let Xavier and AJ go before that finish. They are both super talented; it could have been a great match that would have made me more excited for mania.
3.Miz & Morrison Vs Bad Bunny & Priest
I like Miz and Morrison defacing Bad bunny's car. I wish they would have destroyed it but defacing it is fine too. I like Bad bunny getting beat, but there was a lot about this segment that did not make sense. Why did Bad Bunny come to look at his car right then? Why did he come alone? Why didn't Damien Priest chase Miz and Morrison Off? I like the Bad Bunny promo. It showed his passion for wrestling and got me more excited for WrestleMania. I Just would have liked them to tease Damien Priest getting his hands on Miz and Morrison because, realistically, he has the most to gain from this program.
4.Braun and Shane grow up
I still do not care for this program. However, I will give credit where credit is due. Braun cut a good passionate promo, and Shane didn't ruin it. He actually cut a logical promo, and nobody did anything stupid, and if this had been their first promo segment by this time, I'd probably be more excited for this match-up.
Rob’s What mattered
1. Asuka and Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax
This match was serviceable for all feuds involved. I don’t love how WWE has booked the Women’s Tag Teams, but I think the fatal four way match on night one leading into the championship match on night two is the best solution they could have come up with considering the state of the division and lack of direction storywise. This match doesn’t make much sense kayfabe-wise. Even if Asuka and Rhea Ripley are both fan favorites, I don’t think it would make sense for them to tag considering they are fighting on Sunday. Ignoring all of that, the action was good and the women were given time. The match built up animosity between Asuka and Ripley. Ripley looked smart for wearing down Asuka heading toward their match. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax looked strong headed toward their match on Sunday, knowing they will be fresh as champions facing challengers who are going to be tired from the match the night before.
2. Riddle and Sheamus
Riddle continued his trend of having great matches on every show this week with Mustafa Ali. They did a good job continuing the feud between Riddle and Sheamus. Riddle is clearly under Sheamus’s skin with his silly antics, running him down with the scooter backstage and taking his hat at the commentary table. But the other important part of this feud is that Riddle is not just a goofy side character. When it comes down to the action in the ring, Riddle is absolutely serious and determined to a serious clash with the bruiser Sheamus at WrestleMania. Based on both guys work the last month, this should be considered a serious dark horse contender to steal the show.
Reverse Hipster's What didn't matter
Asuka vs Rhea
This tag-team never really made any sense in the first place. However, it got worse this week. Why would Rhea attack Asuka? If anyone was going to turn on their partner, it should have been Asuka who never formally agreed to this match and had a receipt to give Rhea. I think the Wrestlemania match can still be great in terms of match quality. However, psychology wise WWE has messed this program up royally. They did not make Rhea earn her opportunity that was strike one but now they have booked themselves in a corner. Rhea has dominated Asuka, which is WWE overcompensating because Rhea did not earn this opportunity. The effect is that Asuka looks super weak compared to Rhea, and that is sad because both women are absolute titans in the ring, but now Asuka looks like a weakling. So what is WWE going to do? Are they going to let Asuka get her revenge and have Rhea lose on the biggest stage twice in a row and ruin her, or are they going to have Asuka lose and have her look super weak and bury her? It is sad because this really could have been a better, more exciting build.
2. World heavyweight Singles matches
Both Bobby and Drew had suitable matches. However, this is the go-home before Wrestlemania. The show of shows to set up the climax of the year and neither of these matches was enough to sell this mania match. They were good Raw matches for maybe like the second Raw out of four in between a PPV, not the go-home show. I wanted to see more drama. I wanted Bobby Lashley to brutalize the Hurt Business and send them to the hospital, so we know that Bobby Lashley is at his most dangerous just getting the better of them and doing a little extra is not enough to sell it. As for Drew, I do not want to see Corbin and Drew in a wrestling match. Nobody in their right mind believes Corbin will win. He has not been built up enough for that to seem possible. I would love to see Corbin take a shot at him in the back and then have Drew and him brawl. We can believe Corbin more when he has weapons and the unfair advantage of a sneak attack outside the match's confines. It is way easier to believe Corbin will Hurt Drew than to believe he will beat him. Then when Drew wins in this backstage brawl, he looks vicious, and fans will have to wonder, will Corbins attacks weaken Drew for Lashley? It makes it easier to root for Drew and gives them a story going into their mania match. If Bobby wins, it is heelish, and if Drew wins, it is heroic.
3.Ali vs Riddle
I did not need to see Riddle beat Ali again. There was no point in this.
4. Randy Orton vs The Fiend
I love the WWE hype packages more than most. Ever since I was a kid, I have always appreciated how well they were put together and how well they conveyed the story, but there is a time and a place. There is no way that a hype package should be responsible for selling this WRESTLEMANIA MATCH to the fans. Look at last year's match. The segments with John and Bray before Wrestlemania were terrific. They had me wired for mania just a year later with a full-time Orton; we don't even get a go-home segment, and now I am worried the match will not be as good as last year cause the build certainly has not been.
1. Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley
Raw this week was characterized by using throwaway uncreative booking ideas to continue feuds into WrestleMania. This didn’t feel like the Raw before WrestleMania to me. The main event was okay in-ring, but it didn’t do anything to get me excited for WrestleMania. No matter how hard you try, King Corbin is not a threat to Drew McIntyre. Maybe he could win, but he’s definitely not going to take him out. This angle didn’t make any sense for Bobby Lashley too. Lashley is a monster heavyweight: why would he need someone else to do his dirty work for him? He shouldn’t be afraid to face McIntyre at his best either. Likewise, Lashley’s segment with Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin did nothing to build him. Alexander got in way more offense than I anticipated considering the way he has been booked. Even though Lashley won, it wasn’t as impressive as McIntyre’s handicap match win. I’m excited for the match between Lashley and McIntyre, but it’s definitely not because of the segments this week.
2. AJ Styles vs. Xavier Woods
Continuing this trend, it feels like they ran out of ideas for the tag team feud this week. I wasn’t sold on the tag match at WrestleMania, but the last few weeks convinced me it was worth seeing what the New Day and Styles could do with the added intrigue of Omos’s in-ring debut. The match this week didn’t hurt the feud, but it didn’t add anything like the segments the last few weeks did. Any time Raw has a straight up rematch from the week before, you know creative is running on empty.
3. Braun Strowman vs. Elias and Jaxson Ryker
Braun Strowman is doing his best to make the Shane McMahon feud compelling, but it’s not enough. Strowman won in a handicap match this week, which makes sense considering how he rolled over both Elias and Jaxson Ryker individually. I don’t think there are many good situations for a singles star to win a handicap match. I don’t care much about Elias and Ryker, but it instantly kills their credibility in any future feuds. Strowman looks super strong in these matches, but we already knew that. In fact, disgruntled monster is his whole gimmick right now. I’m not convinced even seeing Strowman throw McMahon off the cage will make this whole feud worth it, but I’m glad it’ll be over soon.