This wasn’t a bad go home show, and it touched on everything needed for Wrestlemania. The show was kept simple, which only made it more fun to watch.
It may not have been the best idea to let Bayley open the show, even if she only spoke for a minute. While I thought Charlotte and Sasha would reenergize this promo, they didn’t. This program is missing a spark, and that’s obviously because of how stale the division has become since the brand split. I can honestly say that I’m more curious as to what happens with Smackdown’s women’s championship.
Charlotte & Nia Jax vs Bayley & Sasha Banks
We’ve seen this match up multiple times within the past few weeks (if not months), and there’s nothing compelling about it.
After seeing Nia stand tall at the end of the match, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing her win the title. It may actually rejuvenate the division to an extent.
Austin Aries vs Noam Dar
Aries continues to gain fan support, and it’s allowing for his program with Neville to feel top notch. This particular match was smart for keeping AA strong. At the same time Neville was able to come across as a despicable heel with his solid trash talk on commentary.
Thankfully, Neville and Aries were kept apart on this show. In the duration of their feud, they haven’t gotten into many physical altercations, so it may be best to keep the action saved for Mania.
Seth Rollins/Triple H Promo
Once again, Hunter hit a home run with his promo. Everything he said had substance and meaning, which only made it easier to cheer for Seth. His entire promo captured everything his heel character has ever believed in. That’s amazing, considering how he’s gone through several different types of heel characters.
As for Seth, we finally got the babyface promo he should’ve cut in September of last year. His counter argument to Hunter felt real, and it made him extremely likeable. I personally loved how he came across as someone that’s gained perspective and hated what he was while aligned with the Authority.
The brawl that ensued was fun, but the promo was what mainly got me pumped for their Mania match.
Battle Royal Contestants Brawl
I’m sure nobody cared for this, but it was simply needed to showcase who’d be competing in the Battle Royal.
Neville vs Jack Gallagher
It’s strange how these two were locked in an even not too long ago. I don’t think Gallagher needed to lose this match, or even compete in it. There’s a roster full of cruiserweights, and they could’ve easily picked a lower tiered one to job to Neville.
The post match interview with the New Day and Aries was hilarious. It didn’t take away from the seriousness of the championship feud, and still gave the fans a reason to laugh. Overall, this turned out to be a fun way to cap off a lackluster match.
Roman Reigns/Undertaker Promo
Wow! This was very much a heel promo from Roman Reigns. Everything he said was properly cued for the fans to boo him. The tone of his promo was excellent, and he came across as genuine.
The Undertaker’s bit was pretty generic, but it worked for this segment. However, I do feel like he could’ve gone without using the tag line of “the ultimate thrill ride”. All and all, I thought this promo did a solid job at promoting the match at Mania.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass/Sheamus & Cesaro/Gallows & Anderson Brawl
I’m glad we didn’t have to see the scheduled tag match. This segment was a lot more effective with the brawl. It sold the hatred between the teams, and it gives the fans a reason to be excited for the triple threat tag match.
This may not be on the main card for Mania, but the WWE has done a decent job at building it and keeping the story simple.
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
Seriously? Why? I don’t care how good this match was, I had no reason to care for it. While Zayn was fighting for a spot in the Battle Royal, the staleness of the match was too much to ignore.
Whatever happened to the final encounter at Battleground? Honestly, the WWE seriously needs to put one of these two on Smackdown after Mania, or else they’ll always feel the need to spam this match up.
While the actual match wasn’t worth caring for, Jericho putting Owens on the list was awesome. KO did an excellent job at selling it, and the crowd absolutely loved it.
Goldberg/Brock Lesnar Promo
Heyman could’ve condensed his promo. What he said didn’t sound any different from what he normally says. There were certainly some great one liners, but I thought they could’ve been more impactful had he not rambled on at times.
For once, I wasn’t against Goldberg’s spear quickly taking out Lesnar. If Brock is penciled in to win at Mania, it only makes sense to make Goldberg look as strong as possible. Even though I was opposed to this being the main event, I thought this promo was the best way to promote their Mania encounter.
This episode of Raw worked as a go home show. The WWE team didn’t overcomplicate anything, and they allowed for simplicity to sell the major feuds. I fully believe this should be enough to have fans excited. Sure, there were some stale moments on the show, but they were heavily outweighed by the intense moments.
The low point of the show was everything the women did, while the high points consisted of the Triple H-Seth Rollins contract signing and Roman Reigns’ promo. Overall, I give this episode of Raw a 7.5/1o.