We’re six weeks from WrestleMania and the WWE Universal Champion is nowhere to be found. Firstly…shocker, there. Second, it seems that our main event storyline will be dipped in truth.
Roman Reigns walked for miles inside this pit of danger alone to the ring as the crowd predominantly booed him. That could be expected, of course, with how the Elimination Chamber ended. And so Reigns stood there, all on his lonesome in the middle of the spotlight with a microphone in hand.
And he gave a pretty great promo.
The crowd cheered him when he started insulting Lesnar, going so far as to call the Beast an “entitled piece of crap.” Reigns roasted him for being in Las Vegas last night but nowhere near a WWE ring. We’re six weeks from WrestleMania and the Universal Champion cannot even be bothered to show up. Reigns said he’s sick of it, and so are all the boys in the locker room.
He ended his Beast bashing by summing it up with this quote: “I don’t respect Brock Lesnar and I damn sure doesn’t fear that bitch.”
Reigns’ segment lasted a mere five minutes or so. And it might have been one of his best promos ever.
The only issue, however, is that this match is still a momentous uphill battle. Some folks are already tuned out. If Reigns had been cutting promos that hit home like this one a few years ago, we’d be looking at a completely different story.
We can’t change the past, obviously. And the fact that Lesnar still didn’t show up this close to WrestleMania rankles me a bit. And ultimately, that was Reigns’ best point. Love him or hate him, at least he shows up. If he becomes champion, at least the Universal Champion will be on television for the first time in a year and fought for on a more consistent basis.
Gotta find the silver lining sometimes.
DEAR JESUS SOMEONE GET ANGLE TWO DOCTORS! ONE FOR EACH PNEUMONIA!
W-wait. If he’s super-duper sick…why was he at work today?
(God the Authority is dumb.)
So! Stephanie and Triple H tried to do their best “we’re trustworthy! Honest!” routines, going so far as to clearly bribe/threaten/extort Angle into lying for them. I’m really digging the Ronda Rousey characterization so far; she’s vulnerable and seems open to being manipulated…but my god once you piss her off…
She did the thing! The walk she used to do to the octagon! Ahhhhh!
Stephanie tried to pull a Mr. Popo with that pecking order business which was hilarious. WWE “owning” Ronda Rousey? If you were really trying to smooth things over, why would you ever say that?
And so Angle lied for them and it was all patched over until Rousey brought up the slap. She’s not going to be disrespected like that and demanded an apology from Stephanie.
Stephanie puffed up, got right up in Rousey’s face…and became the complete coward she’s always been, babbling like crazy.
Rousey was extremely impressive to me in her first Raw appearance. She kept the words brief, the eyes intense, and refused to back down. WWE should feel very pleased with how this segment went.
And can you believe Angle’s face when he got punched? Ha!
Want Fun? Become an Intercontinental Championship Fan
I’m going to start this review off with the Raw storyline with the most potential as we head into WrestleMania: the Intercontinental Championship storyline.
It was the only truly impressive segment to me of the show.
The Miz was flanked by the Miztourage in the ring as he ranted and raved about his accomplishments. He even gave a customary, “We’re on the Road to WRESTLEMANIA!!!” that the crowd treated to the mildest reaction of all time.
I busted out laughing at that.
But the Miz would go on to flay into the crowd the way that only he seems capable of doing. He listed grievances, whined, and threw a fit to the point where I was concerned for the blood vessels in his forehead.
Apparently Kurt Angle told him that his match on this show would potentially influence his opponent at WrestleMania. His opponent?
I want to make this clear: if there’s one “face” on Monday Night Raw, it’s Seth freaking Rollins. He’s atoned for his sins, shown true remorse, mentored a rebellious youth in Jason Jordan as penance, and went out and killed the show in the past week.
He’s the guy. His match with the Miz was just another example; the crowd was crazy for him.
You know, I look for those sparks in wrestling. Those moments where a flicker of something happens. And when Finn Balor interrupted Rollins’ victory celebration to upstage him – going so far as to do his customary turnbuckle pose in Rollins’ face without even looking at him – I felt that flicker.
Balor had absolutely no right.
Angle booked Balor to face Miz as well, but that doesn’t change how Balor went about that. And the truth of the matter is that where Rollins has been all substance, Balor’s relied on flash and flair. What’s Balor accomplished this year?
And yet he pulled the crowd into his palm with his entrance, intentionally yanking the attention away from the man who deserved it: Rollins.
Ohhh yeah. This is gonna be good. I like how Angle made the Miz be the “ironman” on this show, especially after Balor was the ironman in the Royal Rumble and Rollins was the ironman against Roman Reigns and John Cena.
And just as I said that Balor’s been yanking attention away with his theatrics, Rollins has been taking it from him in ring work. Balor looked second rate in the Gauntlet match, and second rate again on this show compared to Rollins.
There’s depth to this, man. I’m digging it.
Best of the Rest
6-Woman Tag Match – The freaking did it again. I’m not even mad, anymore. I’m just not watching.
I had a moment where I looked at all the women in the ring and realized that I’m a fan of every single one – and yet I couldn’t give a damn about any of their stories right now. The women’s division is a colossal failure as far as I’m concerned at the moment.
The Bayley thing was neat and Alexa Bliss’ words about Nia Jax deserving a title shot will come back to bite her, but I just don’t care.
John Cena’s Headed to SmackDown – You know, I dig this John Cena. I dig a Cena who’s actually failed and feels that burden for once. He’s a millionaire, a billion-time champion, but we all fail in the face of time. While the “only way for me to get to WrestleMania” bit was always laughable, the rest of this is pretty neat.
Cena’s so obviously desperate do preserve the final grains of sand in his hourglass that he’s willing to jump to SmackDown to beg for scraps. It’s a nice little circle – after all, who can better empathize with that feeling than the Undertaker?
“Look at What You Made Me Do” – Bray Wyatt beat up Heath Slater and Rhyno before uttering that line. It made me realize that Wyatt is the wrestling version of Taylor Swift.
The Bar vs. Titus Worldwide: This time 2 out of 3 Falls! – The best parts of this match were The Bar’s exuberant celebration for winning the first fall, Sheamus randomly doing jazz hands, and Corey Graves having to translate Titus’ words for Coachman. They shut out Worldwide in the match and cut a promo afterwards making fun of all the teams they’ve beaten in the past year. Seems like we’re setting up for a match against the Revival.
Elias vs. Braun Strowman now? – So let’s get this straight: Strowman takes ALL the finishers last night and pins 5 people, but poor widdle Elias on his lonesome gets the better of him? What?
This show was FILLED with recaps of the Elimination Chamber, so much so that it was even more annoying than usual. I’m also finding myself wrestled out after all this grapplin’ in the past two days. But when I look back on the past two nights, I think this show was better than the PPV.
They’re still dropping the ball with lower card stuff and the women’s booking is egregious, in my opinion. I bet this grade’s very low for the folks who are more into female wrestling than I.
Let me hear your thoughts in the comments.