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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (Mar. 26, 2018): Still here

When Kane vs. John Cena was penciled in for this show’s main event, I was certain we’d see the Undertaker at last.

We had to, right? Because who would have Kane in the main event of a show in 2018?

(That was the driest sarcasm I can muster, folks.)

Cena trotted out with an Ellen DeGeneres hand towel – someone fill me in on why that happened, please – and stood in front of Undertaker’s brother. They locked up, Kane did his monster thing, and the crowd chanted for Undertaker.

They fought out into the crowd and Taker’s baby brother suplexed Cena onto a propped barricade. Kane dragged him back to the ring and worked to expose one of the turnbuckle rings.

…But Cena sat up like You-Know-Who. He hit a Five-Knuckle Shuffle, followed up with a goofy rendition of Undertaker’s slit throat taunt, and hit a Chokeslam.

Kane kicked out and eventually sent Cena through a table.

And despite a slow-moving match, the anticipation built. No one was ever going to remember this match, after all. But what would happen after?

Cena hit an Attitude Adjustment on Kane, sending him through another table to earn the victory. And as he celebrated, we waited.

“No lightning? No bells of terror? No Undertaker?!” Cena shouted. “Where are you?!”

There was no lighting. No flickering lights. No engines revved or bells tolled.

Nothing. Silence.

And no matter how nonsensical it is to ask a 53 year-old man with a bad hip to wrestle on the biggest wrestling show of the year, no matter how logic dictates that the match won’t be that good, I want to see it.

That’s the power of the Undertaker. That spark of life will never fade when the Deadman’s name is uttered.

One week remains. And he was not here.

“I Live in LA.”

The Cleveland crowd lovingly chanted for their hometown boy before the Miz dropped that one-liner.


This show was yet another home run for the Intercontinental Championship feud and it displayed a specific problem for the Miz moving forward: his customary numbers advantage is gone.

The segment started with Miz snapping at his Miztourage. They have let him down in recent weeks and if he was okay with mediocrity, he claimed, then he would have never left Cleveland.

My initial reaction to this segment was that this was all a ruse. The Miz has been made a living off these sorts of segments, tricking his adversaries to isolate them and pick them apart.

But then Miz told Bo Dallas to “Bo-lieve himself back to catering” and I wasn’t so sure. That’s a brutal line, even for him.

“This is great stuff!” Seth Rollins cheered, coming out to intervene. He stepped into the ring however and sincerely tried to help. Perhaps the Miztourage feels underappreciated, he proposed. He led the crowd in a rousing Miztourage chant and suddenly I need a psychologist Rollins segment somewhere in the future.

And this is the brilliance of the Intercontinental Championship feud. It gave Dallas to drop the most vicious line of his career and that line provided a grinning Finn Balor the perfect opportunity to do the two things he loves: grin like a madman and one-up Rollins. Balor came out to poke fun, badger Dallas into saying the line again, and snicker behind Miz’s back.

One nasty quip about Mr. Perfect had Curtis Axel turning on the Miz as well. The crowd booed him, his friends blocked his exit, and the Demon and Devil were looking over either of Miz’s shoulders, loving what they saw.

But it was a trick. The Miztourage assaulted Rollins and Balor, setting the latter up for a Skull-Crushing Finale as the crowd showered them with boos. But here’s the problem for the Miz and all his grandiose plans – Balor has backup.

And not only does he have backup, his dislike of Rollins is palpable now. Rollins claimed last week that Balor owes him one? And what did Balor do on this episode? He punched Rollins in the mouth and leisurely stepped over him to hoist the Intercontinental Championship into the air.

You have to feel for Rollins, man. He’s the odd one out, here. He’s going to have to rely on that intellect of his if he’s to have any hope of winning at WrestleMania.

A Champion Shows up to Work

So that U.S. Marshalls from the previous episode weren’t real. Can you believe it?!

Of course you can. And to steal a phrase it makes Roman Reigns the Dumbest Ass for ever falling for that ruse, but I digress.

The show opened with Paul Heyman cutting a promo with Brock Lesnar at his side. Essentially, Heyman insulted Reigns’ manhood and mocked his “always here” schtick. Despite the fact that Reigns’ suspension had been lifted, he wasn’t in the arena. He’s an embarrassment to his family, yadda yadda.

I find it funny how Heyman has spent a year complimenting every single potential adversary of Lesnar’s…except Reigns. I imagine it’s because they’re threatened by him.

Anyway, I really liked this version of Reigns. He limped through the crowd to cut Heyman off and tried his best to get one up on Lesnar. He was never going to in that state, of course, and he seemed resigned to his fate before he ever got to the ring.

And yet he showed up anyway. Lesnar picked his bones for it, of course, but Reigns stuck to his values. I like that. He was here, knowing full well the crowd wouldn’t fully be in his corner.

There’s still this oddness underlying the whole thing where Lesnar’s supposed to be a bad guy for being in business for himself. That’s silly. Reigns didn’t demand things and throw a fit this week, which is a huge improvement.

More than anything, I’m excited for what comes after this match. We – seemingly, at least - know the winner. I cannot help but look forward to a world where Woken Matt Hardy gets to unleash his eccentric brilliance upon Reigns or where the Balor Club works in tandem to bring the Big Dog down.

Those things excite me. We’re one week closer to the real fun with this Universal Championship. I hope we see more of this show’s Reigns when the championship title is perched on his shoulder.

Best of the Rest

Nia Jax def. Mickie James – I reeeeally enjoyed WWE production missing the censor when Jax called Bliss a bitch.

And good for her! If anyone deserved to drop a curse on their opponent, it’s Jax!

I’m also very happy with how the crowd has rallied behind her. I generally enjoy it when heels push boundaries and do things to make the crowd uncomfortable…so long as the babyface wins in the end. Here’s hoping that Jax delivers the beating that Bliss deserves in two weeks.

The Authority are Victims – It’s all Angle’s fault! A-and Ronda Rousey has a gigantic ego! Speaking of egos, the Authority promo package made sure to point out Stephanie’s accolades and featured an interview from Triple H’s personal trainer.

…Can you hear me rolling my eyes? Seriously. I rolled them so hard that they made a popping sound. Kick their asses, Rousey.

The Cruiserweights Get a Short Match – It’s a shame these guys don’t get more time, but it makes sense in WrestleMania season. The match served as a way to reintroduce Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander to the crowd. I enjoyed how Drake Maverick deferred to the two who well compete at WrestleMania.

Asuka Wins a Match – Not much else to say, here.

The Ultimate Deletion, Revisited – You know, they might actually be setting up the next man to be Deleted: Michael Cole. He’s been hating on Matt Hardy so hard and I think that’s a smart move. The last thing I’d ever want to support is something that Cole thinks is cool, after all.


WHO’S HIS PARTNER? – The Bar wants to know who Braun Strowman’s partner will be at WrestleMania for scouting purposes. He made Sheamus a deal: defeat him on this show, and he’d tell them.

They got no names. Only these hands.

Rousey Turns Down Absolution – Rousey is a mix of really good and really bad right now, and I’m not sure how much could even be attributed to her.

Angle’s not the best guy to help with promos, for starters. Her lines are meticulously over-managed – the type of one-liners we’ve roasted wrestlers for in the past. She’s a bit too pose-y for me as well, if that makes sense. She poses and saunters around a little too heavily.

…And yet those throws and takedowns are so vicious and beautiful. She showed off a Pentagon Jr-esque streak as well, twisting away at Mandy Rose’s arm as she screamed. Rousey’s too green to be fully on her own, but she needs more freedom than she’s getting.

Balor Club def. The Miztourage – I will NEVER not grin like an idiot when Karl Anderson does his shotgun kick in the corner. His top rope neckbreaker is nuts as well. There wasn’t much to this match and Balor Club won in short order.

Elias Gets ALL the Boos – Sports heat still works, folks. Wow. He then defeated Rhyno because why not?

I felt like this show had a ton of moving parts; so many stories had to be told. Nothing truly memorable happened, but this was an effective show that advanced a load of storylines. I’m really excited for the women’s battle royal after this show.

Grade: B

Your turn, Cageside.

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