With the exception of two feuds, there was no urgency on this episode of Raw. There’s one more episode left until Mania, and the WWE struggled to put together a show that carried meaning for all three hours.
Reigns didn’t deserve the negative reaction that he received, because this man nailed every single line. Not only did he perfect his script, but lines suited his character, very similar to his promo on Smackdown. I literally screamed out loud when he caught Stephanie’s slap, and told her that he’s now the authority. This is the Roman we need, all the time.
Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles
Why? There’s no need for these two men to compete for the second time within a week. Before last Thursday, it was considered a fresh match up, but the WWE is starting to take that away. They have a tendency to do that. Their previous encounter was at least a main event, as opposed to a show opener. With all that being said, these two wrestled like men possessed, which was actually fitting for this Philly crowd. The crowd remained hot, because Styles and Owens worked a style (no pun intended) they wanted to see. This turned out to be a huge win for Owens, even though it came from a distraction. I thought they’d actually go with a clean finish. Jericho’s timing was just right, as it was a great way for him to gain some heat.
I was skeptical of that possible triple threat match. What would happen to Miz and Ziggler if Zayn won? I couldn’t help but wonder where the two losers would be on the Mania card.
Big E vs Rusev/Promo
Honestly, the pre-match promo dragged way too long. The trash talk from the League of Nations could have easily been cut out. I’m sure the fans only cared to hear the New Day.
For two larger athletes, these two did a fine job at working an entertaining match. In fact Big E was the stand out. He sold well throughout the entire match, along with executing some offence .The most effective spot from this segment was the Kofi and Xavier being outnumbered by the league. It showed that the four man stable will indeed have the numbers advantage come April 3rd. I absolutely love how the New Day still cheats to win. It’s very Eddie Guerrero-esque .While the match didn’t start off strong with that long promo, the in ring action made up for it.
Big Show/Social Outcasts/Kane
Big Show’s promo was short, yet sweet. I’m always for listening to a humble promo from a long time veteran. The Social Outcasts weren’t even funny, it was Big Show with his reaction to Kane saving him. Most of this segment felt flat. There was no hook, and it was a complete waste.
Chris Jericho vs Fandango
While it wasn’t promoted as a Wrestlemania rematch, I’m glad that Jericho and the announce team eluded to it. Jericho should have lost by distraction. It would have only been fitting to how Styles’ match transpired earlier. The post match promo between Chris and AJ was very well done. Jericho especially was excellent with selling his frustrations with AJ. With the amount of TV time this feud has received, it’s evident that the WWE views it as something important.
Sin Cara vs Stardust vs Zack Ryder
I had such a good laugh at watching Owens call out these competitors. KO was hilarious with how he was praising each man before calling them out .Throughout the entire match, I was waiting for Stephanie to come out and change the wrestlers. To the respect of the men wrestling, they actually were quite entertaining. Part of me wished that Ziggler, Zayn, and Miz didn’t have to interrupt it.
Roman Reigns/Triple H Brawl
This segment was excellent. It was short, yet extremely effective. Once again, Roman made me pop out of my seat when he decided to open the limo door and attack Hunter. It wasn’t as extravagant as their previous brawls, but it got the point across. The hate between the two feels real.
Charlotte vs Natalya
These two had a difficult job, because they had to follow up that amazing segment with Reigns and Hunter. I don’t think this match up made it any easier on Charlotte and Natalya. At this point, Natty’s lost to Charlotte so many times, that I’m starting to lose interest in the idea of them wrestling. Even with Sasha and Becky on commentary, I don’t believe this feud was progressed on this show.
Bubba Ray vs R-Truth
Not to my surprise, this was an exact replica of Bubba’s match from Smackdown, just a different opponent. I don’t understand why they’re working the Truth-Goldust angle in the Usos-Dudleys feud. It completely waters down all of the work they put in for the “Golden Truth”. The Uso run in was exciting though.
Vince McMahon Promo
Just when I thought this feud couldn’t get worse, it does. There’s no need for Vince to refer to the Undertaker as his “bitch”. It doesn’t make the Undertaker look like a threat. McMahon could have easily made his announcement without the insult.
Dean Ambrose vs Braun Strowman
Was I the only one that wasn’t impressed by this main eventing the episode? It was extremely lackluster. The crowd was right to chant “this is boring”. It made no sense for Ambrose to be involved with the Wyatts this close to Mania. Heyman on commentary didn’t seem to make a difference. If this were an extreme rules match, the reaction from the crowd may have been better.
Roman Reigns clearly flourishes when he’s in Philly because he was the real star on this show. Unfortunately, Roman was a stud among duds last night. However Jericho, Styles, and KO are an exception to that statement. I just felt like nothing of significance occurred with any of the other main event angles. With one more Raw left, there should have been more urgency. The low point of the show was the Big Show-Social Outcasts segment, while both Roman segments were the high points. Overall, I give this episode a 5.9/10.