After a few weeks or really since Roman Reigns came back Monday Night Raw was getting better. Sure not all 3 hours can be action packed. At least not from the material the creatives at WWE have been giving us but for the most part the show should be enjoyable. WWE took a giant step backwards with last night’s Monday Night Raw that generated zero momentum for Wrestlemania and making Vince re think one of his matches for the big card because the fans hate it. I can honestly say I was sleeping on and off during Raw this week and I doubt that I will be during Smackdown Live.
The WWE had a golden opportunity to showcase new or returning talent this week with a few of the headliners off the card. Instead we were force fed matchups we have seen too many times and highly anticipated matches that just flat out sucked. I don’t even know where to start. But it doesn’t even matter. 75 percent of this show was a huge disappointment.
We were told this past weekend of 2 major announcements for this Raw this Monday.
- Who is Kurt Angle going to wrestle in his last match at Wrestlemania?
- A Tag team match was announced between Lashley and Lio Rush against Finn Balor and a mystery partner.
Let’s start with the second one. We have seen Balor fight Lashley for too many times now. My god when is it going to end. Lio Rush always gets involved and usually costs Finn the match. But we have the specter of the mystery partner in the mix. I actually thought long and hard about this. There are several superstars coming back from injury that we all want to see. There could also be some other surprises. My last blog had a bunch of names that I thought the mystery partner could be. I had 9 names down.
Apollo Crews? He has been on TV a lot lately and maybe getting a push. There were other plans for him. More on that later. Luke Harper who recently returned to a Raw house show? Does not really make sense because he is a heel. Same with Bray Wyatt and who knows if the family is getting back together. I thought maybe Kurt Angle because we were told he is working hurt and needs to have tag team matches now. I thought the Dead Man just because if he is working Wrestlemania maybe he shows up and makes a challenge. Besides he hasn’t wrestled on Raw since I can’t even remember. But Taker can pretty much show up and do what he wants whenever he wants. Maybe some NXT star getting called up. I am not up to date with NXT so I can’t even give you a name. The first name on my list of possibilities was Braun Stroman because he was doing nothing and he often times gets thrown into something stupid. Plus, he has a history with Lashley. But this would have been the most boring pick.
But the two I really wanted to see were Sami Zayn who by what you read is 100 percent healthy and ready to go. And Johnny Gargano. He was all ready to have a huge push with DIY until Tommaso Ciampa got hurt and this could be a good way to re-introduce him to the WWE Universe. Another name I would have put here was Ricochet. I knew Aleister Black was on his honeymoon but I read somewhere he was still going to be on Raw. He wasn’t and Ricochet beat Jinder Mahal in a match that made no sense for Mahal.
So as the night gets started and this match is talked about, before Finn Balor even comes out do we really need to hear Michael Cole say this pairing is going to be monstrous. Are you kidding me. How do you even spoil the surprise or nightmare like that? For me I like the anticipation of hearing the music then the Superstar comes out from the back to my happiness or dismay. This is one of the reasons I love the Royal Rumble match so much.
So out comes Braun Stroman as the mystery partner much to the dismay of the whole WWE Universe. The match makes no sense at all. It is something we have seen a million times before. Balor and Lashley need to never have another match together. Maybe move one of them to Smackdown Live. Stroman is destined to mess with the Saturday Night Live people at Wrestlemania further embarrassing a character who was once invincible. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS MATCH?
But it does appear that Balor and Lashley will have another round at Wrestlemania as we saw Stroman literally throw Lio Rush all over the yard so bad that he was spitting on himself. I give Lio credit for taking this beating as Lashley just looked from the ramp while his “Hype Man” got destroyed. So is this what we see at Wrestlemania? Lio screws Lashley out of the title breaking up this partnership? Does anyone else really want to see Lashley vs Lio Rush after Wrestlemania. So I give this “Surprise” a F rating.
Next is the second disappointment of the night. Who will be Kurt Angle’s opponent for his retirement match at Wrestlemania? There is really only one man that makes 100 percent sense. John Cena. There are tons of history between the two. Angle was Cena’s first opponent so it is very cool to have Cena as Angle’s last opponent. How many times do you actually have that possibility? Besides Cena wants to work Wrestlemania. Let them have a 10-minute match or as long as Kurt can go. If you saw Angel vs Chad Gable who should be a singles wrestler last night on Raw you know the tank is at zero for Kurt. It’s sad to see this because Angle is a legend but it is time to go now.
Also this gets Cena on the card without really needing to build up the match. The moment of the match should be bigger than the actual match. Cena was rumored to be facing Samoa Joe. Why waste that for Joe? Let Joe further a storyline with someone else instead of facing Cena in a one-time match. Anyway do we need to put Joe over by having him wrestle Cena. Joe is already over. I can certainly understand if Cena would be facing Lars Sullivan as this was the original plan. As we found out last night Joe has been booked with Rey Mysterio for Wrestlemania. John Cena is a man without a match right now. Vince make that change right now please.
WWE leaked out a possibility of Shelton Benjamin facing Angle too. That also makes sense but not more than Cena. I also thought maybe the Undertaker. It would also get him on the card. They could have a quick match and again the moment has to be bigger than the match. Afterwards Taker possibly breaks character and hugs Kurt. I also thought maybe Samoa Joe because of their history in TNA. Kurt has that kind of respect that a lot of the boys would want to be in that last match.
I even had some tag-team match ideas. I only did this because Kurt can’t carry a match anymore and needs a lot of help. So maybe with Demon Finn against Lashley and Lio. Or with Curt Hawkins against Corbin and Elias so Hawkins breaks his losing streak and also gets Corbin and Elias on the card. Or with Braun against Corbin and Elias. Same reason. I did have as one possibility Baron Corbin.
So it is Baron Corbin. Ugh so unreal. No one likes that. Let me repeat this. NO ONE LIKES THAT. These matches were not even interesting when they were wrestling each other just last year. So why now. In a true WTF moment for the WWE here comes word that Vince is looking to change the match because the fan reaction has been very negative. Uh you think Vince. Jeez WWE and Vince. You had 2 spots where you could have struck gold. Instead what did you get. If I could give this a F- or lower, I would.
As for the rest of the show what a gigantic clusterfuck it was. There was legitimately one thing I actually liked. Well two and surprise both had to do with the women’s division. So let’s start from the beginning.
The show opens with Brock Lesnar coming to the ring to say nothing as usual. Thank god he has Paul Heyman to be his mouthpiece. I am so tired of Lesnar. But we know he is going to stick around because FOX wants Brock on their show. We already knew Seth Rollins was facing Drew McIntyre in the main event in a match that we have seen how many times in the last how many months. Talk to my man BC Amplified about that. Drew who is now being wasted by bad booking comes out to tell Brock there won’t be much left of Rollins after tonight. Out comes out hero Rollins with a chair to get retribution for his brothers and lays a whopping on Drew.
Rollins walks in the ring with the chair and Brock leaves. Heyman throws in the line you’re the champ and you’re not getting paid to fight tonight. Paul is brilliant. Anyone who can teach the Bella Twins how to cut a promo has to be very good at his job.
Next up is the Balor/Stroman/Lashley/Rush segment. I am not talking about that anymore. The only mildly interesting moment from this is the continued teasing of a split between Lashley and Lio. Oh and Stroman officially enters the Andre The Giant Battle Royal. This is confirmation there will be a men’s battle royal. I mean there are a lot of guys not involved in any confirmed or rumored matches. I can’t say that about the women because there is still a lot we don’t know.
We see Ronda backstage with her husband walking into the arena. I am not sure we have ever seen her husband on camera before. That should have been a clue as we never see spouses walking into the arenas. Ronda blows off the referee and security guards. She needs to be the bad ass.
Next we have “A Moment Of Bliss” and Corey goes crazy like a teenage boy in heat. Elias will be her guest and he announces he is the musical guest for Wrestlemania. That takes him off the card and gets him on camera. This will probably lead to an angle. I liked this segment. Alexa is one pretty woman. “Hello I am Elias” and “Hello I am Alexis,” I loved the connection between the two. Alexa really played this segment up.
I liked this until No Way Jose’s music hits with Otis leading the conga line. Two things about this. One is Heavy Machinery is now the newer version of the Bushwhackers. Two is where is Jose. It didn’t take a genius to figure out Elias was going to get blindsided. Elias did and this led to a match that Elias wins the match. Angle is over. What’s the point? UGH
Next up we have the Kurt Angle announcement followed by a match against Chad Gable. Kurt just has nothing left and to have a great match he needs someone to really carry the whole match. Corbin is not capable of that. But I have no problems letting him wrestle every week til he retires. I do expect or more like hope he has a tag team match next week.
Corbin comes out after the match to gloat about being picked for the Wrestlemania match. Can we please get a camera on him once Vince replaces him? This better happen soon.
So now we get to where something good actually happens. Out comes Boss Hug to address the IIconics and not appearing on Smackdown Live yet. We get the announcement that they are heading to Smackdown Live tomorrow. There isn’t much time left to fill at Smackdown Live because of the gauntlet match and the Miz promo already announced and I am sure another Becky/Charlotte face to face.
So out comes Nattie and Beth Phoenix. Beth has a great promo about how the dragon has awoken and she wants the tag titles with Natty and how Nia and Tamina got her going again. Beth looks to be in great shape and she issues the challenge to Boss Hug. Sasha downgrades Nattie and gets a slap for it. This leads to a match between Sasha and Nattie. Nia interrupts on the ramp and Tamina looking bad ass comes out from behind to lay out Beth, Bayley and Sasha. So now we have a 3-way match for the tag team tiles.
Next we have another stupid Mojo Rawley promo. Would someone just break the fucking mirror already.
Ricochet is alone tonight and beats Jinder Mahal. Whatever. If my heart is not into writing about Raw, it’s because the show was that bad.
Next is Ronda Rousey against Dana Brooke. They way this has played out for Dana has been great. And we get the backstage moment with Brooke before heading out to the ring saying I am not better than Ronda but I need to be better for 3 seconds. Great spot.
The match lasted 19 seconds and Ronda tried to break Dana’s arm after she tapped. Great sell by Dana. Ronda leaves and goes to kiss her husband who is sitting ringside and security comes after to her for what reason I have no idea. One security guard puts his hand on her and she lays him out. Then her husband lays out another security guard. Then her husband picks her up into the crowd and the exit the arena. Meanwhile poor Dana is in the ring selling her kayfabe injury which is now part of the storyline. I like the out of control Ronda. This is what she should have been all the time. Using her husband as a control mechanism is a good twist. I am anxious to see where this goes from here. Oh and I am not sold that she is leaving after Wrestlemania either.
What I don’t understand is why bury Dana Brooke when she finally got connected to the fan base. And now she is selling an announced injury so where does this leave her?
Now we have a waste match of Baron Corbin vs Apollo Crews. Crews wins. If your trying to sell a Kurt Angle Vs Baron Corbin match, why is he losing to Crews on Monday Night Raw 3 weeks before Wrestlemania. I just don’t get it.
Next up is an interview with Batista in his home office. Batista dressed in a suit and we see ugly drapes and a red painted brick wall. Pretty good spot for Batista. I will give it to Batista. He got some parts in movies until he landed a huge part in a money making franchise as Drax and off he went.
Alexa tells Braun to calm down and let he broker a peace with SNL.
Now we have the Main Event of Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre. Drew challenges Roman for a match at Wrestlemania. Shocker. Who really cares. Drew wins the match after Brock distracts Seth. Way to build up Seth for Wrestlemania. Seth who has lost a lot of momentum since the Royal Rumble loses for some unknown reason.
We find out after Raw goes off the air that Corbin gets involved and Dean Ambrose saves Seth. Wrestlemania is 2 weeks ago and we need a better show than this beforehand.
As for Smackdown Live we knew of 3 segments. The Kofi Kingston gauntlet match that was supposed to start the show but didn’t, The Miz promo in response to Shane O’Mac’s promo and the Boss Hug Connection addressing the IIconics. And no doubt more of Charlotte and Becky too. So that is most of the night already booked. So I was already looking forward to the show.
The gauntlet match was advertised to open the show. But when it didn’t I wasn’t mad because The Miz was opening the show. Miz is so golden on the mic. He really digged deep down to cut this promo. He showed a lot of real emotion. For an angle that we knew it was coming once they started to team up both the promos of Miz this week and last week Shane O’Mac, I am really excited for this match. Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard enough.
So Smackdown Live got off to a great start. And now we move onto a non-title match between the Women’s tag team champions Boss Hug Connection vs the IIconics. IIconics win by cheating putting them into the Women’s tag team match at Wrestlemania. Yet another non-title match that the champions lose. This happens way too much now. All this did was make this a 4-way match and quite possibly a 5-way match. Oh well.
Next Rey Mysterio announces his match against Samoa Joe at Wrestlemania for the US title. And his son Dominic is there who is bigger than Rey. You think he gets involved in the match?
Come on Smackdown. Your losing some steam before Kofi brings the house down.
Move into the next segment. It’s the KO Show where he will have Charlotte and Becky sitting down face to face for yet another promo for the Wrestlemania match somehow without the third person in the match Ronda Rousey. This was a boring ridiculous segment with KO stirring the pot bigtime. He said the one thing I think we can all say we love you KO for finally saying it. He said I am tired of hearing you talk just fight. That is spot on for this angle. It is dragging now. The fight between Charlotte and Becky was awful. No one sold anything. It didn’t even look real. And they were trying to one up Ronda which neither are ever going to do.
Next we have an AJ Styles promo. Then we have a Daniel Bryan leading right into the Kofi Kingston gauntlet match which started at 8:53 and running straight through til 10.
To beat 5 superstars is hard to do. As Kofi wrestles Sheamus in the first match we see some of the high risk moves he is known for. But you know that as he moves along the gauntlet he will start to slow down as fatigue will set in. I did expect the first match to be traditional with a regular ending. When Kofi pinned Sheamus after the SOS I was not surprised. Now it would get much harder for Kofi. He has to beat a fresh Cesaro which he does. Then comes Erick Rowan who gets disqualified for using a chair. Rowan then continues to beat up Kofi until the next opponent comes out. Samoa Joe is next up for Kofi and he gets a roll up win.
Finally, the last man is Randy Orton. You see the whole locker room watching on a TV cheering for Kofi to get this done. I check the clock and there is 25 minutes left in the show. Man that’s a long time for Kofi to have to wrestle Orton. So Kofi rolls up Orton for the win. I check the clock and it’s 9:52 and there is 8 minutes left in the show. You had to know something was up.
Out comes Vince McMahon and he says Kofi has to win one more match. His opponent is Daniel Bryan. Well to make a long story short Kofi loses and Daniel Bryan calls him a B Plus player. The irony is Bryan was called that in the lead up to his Wrestlemania 30 match. Now he is on the other side.
This match is going to happen. Vince is going to keep this up for another week at least. Kofi and Bryan have good ring chemistry. Smackdown Live ends with the rest of the New Day consoling Kofi. Kudos to Big E and Xavier selling this on Wednesday saying they feel like quitting WWE.
On the whole Smackdown was a good show. We knew a large portion of the show was booked for Kofi and the Miz. So filling out the other 40 plus minutes was going to be very important. If not for the awful Charlotte/Becky segment this show would have been a great show.
And of Course if Carmella would have gotten camera time.