Last week’s edition of Raw truly fell flat. Well, the WWE made sure it didn’t happen for the second week in a row. They delivered with a well structured show that felt nowhere close to three hours.
The crowds energy was infectious last night. At least it was for this segment. Their love for Shane was great, and thankfully he played to them. He really seems to be going for hardcore fan base with the claims he’s making. Shane’s promo was brilliant, but I personally enjoyed Vince much more. The chairman was always a natural heel, and he did an amazing job at sticking to that character. Vince completely furthered the hate he has for his son, a lot more than I thought he could. I loved this entire promo, right until Shane took out four security guards. It wasn’t fitting of his character, so it felt out of place. Also, since he’s a non-wrestler, his offence looked terrible. It’s fair to say those security guards sold as best as they could for Shane.
Neville vs Kevin Owens
Owens and Neville always have great matches. We’ve seen them compete at a high rate in NXT, and they’ve brought that chemistry with them to the main roster. These two ensured that they set the bar high for the rest of the show’s in ring competition. The spot of the match was easily Neville’s shooting starpress. It looks impressive in the ring, but even more impressive when it’s done outside of the ring. Based on how the strong the match was, it deserved a better finish. It would have been perfectly fine if KO won clean.
Before this match started, I wasn’t to sure how Owens would be booked for Mania. He’s arguably the strongest performer on the roster, yet the lack of recent booking has made his presence dull. Well I’m glad I had my expectations set low, because the debut (or reutrn?) of Sami Zayn made me jump out of my seat. For weeks I’ve been wondering if the IC title would receive a proper feud, and long behold, it does. I knew it would be tough for this match to follow the opening segment, but I didn’t expect them to top it.
Brie Bella vs Summer Rae
At this point, the show was running so smoothly, that I was actually excited for Brie vs Summer. It was great to see Summer Rae pick up the win.
I’m not too sure where this Lana-Bella feud is heading. There’s no way it get’s a spot on the Mania card. Or does it? It would be progressive of the WWE to have two women’s matches on their biggest show. It may not be the best from a wrestling perspective, but it would be interesting to see how they plan on turning Lana into a wrestler.
Dean Ambrose/Triple H Promo
Ambrose has been on fire as of late, and he didn’t skip a beat in this promo. The more we see Dean, the more he becomes comfortable with his character. Whether the WWE can see it or not, they have their top babyface in him. Nothing new came from his interaction with Hunter. That’s okay though, because the two have enough promo chemistry to keep the segment entertaining. Also, starting the second hour with a promo is better than starting it with a match.
Dolph Ziggler vs The League of Nations
The backstage segment that set this match up made it intriguing. This was definitely a throwaway match, but with it’s added context, I cared to see how it turned out. Dolph was the perfect candidate for this type of contest. He’s someone that can brilliantly play the underdog, so it’s easy to cheer for him. After he eliminated Barrett, I actually thought he’d go on to win this match. In fact, he should have been booked to win. Having him defeat three other superstars would have made the crowd go ballistic and would have added to the excitement of the night.
Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks vs Naomi & Tamina
We did just see this match a few weeks ago, so I wasn’t overly excited to see how it played out. Two things that I did enjoy were the announcing and Charlotte’s post match beat down. The announcers continuously spoke highly of the contenders for the Divas title. This alone made their Wrestlemania match feel more important.
Charlotte’s post match beat down was well done, just like it was on Smackdown. She’s still the definitive heel, while looking strong. It only adds to the moment when Becky and Sasha get their revenge.
The New Day vs Y2AJ
For a while, the New Day has lacked credible opponents. I wasn’t predicting them to lose against Y2AJ, but I knew they had a challenge from a kayfabe perspective. Through and through, this turned out to be a highly entertaining match. The program has been worked in a way where it never became stale. It also helps that they’ve had a real feud, rather than just wrestling pointless matches. The spot of the match was definitely Jericho breaking that pin attempt from Big E. I was genuinely convinced that the match was over when AJ was covered. These guys weren’t afraid to utilize close calls. The anticipation for the finish was driving me wild. While I was cheering for Y2AJ, I was glad that Big E pinned Jericho clean .Neville and Owens set the bar, while these two teams raised it.
Y2J’s heel turn was foreseeable, however he executed it much better than I would have imagined. He took advantage of the crowd loving Styles, and he squeezed out the most boos that he could. I especially love how he stuffed the shirt in AJ’s mouth afterward. That was a great touch.
Tyler Breeze vs Kalisto
Why doesn’t Tyler Breeze tie his hair back anymore? I thought the “man bun” suited his look much more than the open hair concept. Hair styles aside, it was refreshing to see Kalisto back on his own. He’s much stronger without Sin Cara.
I spoke about a potential Kalisto-Ryback feud last week, and it looks like the direction they’re headed towards. As long as they build Ryback as a threat, the feud should work.
Ryback vs Curtis Axel
I really liked how Kalisto’s match lead into his confrontation with Ryback, which lead into Ryback’s match against Axel. It was a simple form of story telling. I actually didn’t care to watch these two wrestle though. It should have definitely been a squash match.
Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt
After seeing Bray Wyatt, I was only reminded of how he’ll have no significant plans for Mania. It does bring a frown to my face as he’s one of my favourite wrestlers on the WWE roster.
I had fun watching this main event. At one point the match up was quite stale, but after spending sometime apart, it’s entertaining. I personally liked how Michael Cole acknowledged their old feud. It gives us a bit of context, even though it had no build up. Why didn’t the rest of the Wyatt family accompany Bray to the ring? It didn’t make much sense that they appeared later in the match to ambush Dean. Regardless of the questionable timing, the face off between Hunter and Bray was intense. That spot showcased how much of a wild card the Wyatt Family is. Ambrose landing the Dirty Deeds on Tripe H was a perfect way to go off the air. It easily leaves the fans wanting more.
Every single segment in this show was meaningful. Not all of them were the best ever, but they contributed to an overall story that’s being built. I must applaud the creative staff on making such a structured show. The low point of the show was Shane taking out four security guards, while the high point was the New Day vs Y2AJ. Overall, I give this show a well earned 8.2/10.