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WWE Raw preview (Mar. 5, 2018): Backfire

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Brock Lesnar isn’t booked for Raw in Milwaukee on Mar. 5, so he can’t no show.

The Headliner(s)

Phew... not even sure where to begin with the ‘Reality’ Era storyline WWE is working with Universal champion Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns for WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans on April 8.

Let’s start with the official question for this show from WWE.com’s official preview - why hasn’t Lesnar or his advocate, Paul Heyman, responded to Roman Reigns’ promo from when The Beast Incarnate failed to confront The Big Dog a week ago? It is unusual for Heyman to not at least subtweet a response, especially considering how much the company has been playing up Roman’s verbal takedown of the “entitled... b****” Brock.

Or are 30 second house show matches the response? The reaction to Lesnar’s Saturday night in Chicago - from the United Center crowd and fans online - has been... interesting. If the goal is to get the champ booed, or just to ensure that people are talking about the title match at ‘Mania regardless of who (if anyone) they’re rooting for, then it seems to be working.

If it’s to convince the portion of the audience that boos Reigns not to... ehhh. The response from most of those folks has been to blame WWE for promoting a predictable main event for The Showcase of The Immortals, continuing to push a Superstar they believe has been roundly rejected by “most” fans, and screwing people who bought tickets to see Brock in Anaheim and Chicago. And when people are mad at WWE these days, they tend to take it out on the man they see as an avatar of all the company’s bad decisions - Roman Reigns.

The question WWE should be asking isn’t “why haven’t Lesnar and Heyman responded to Roman?” but “how will Wisconsin respond to him?”

The title scene

The Road to WrestleMania is off to a rocky start for Intercontinental titleholder The Miz. Not only did he fail in his bid to claim a top spot on next month’s card in The Big Easy when he fell in the Chamber match, but he followed that up with back-to-back losses to Finn Bálor and Seth Rollins. It doesn’t take a superfan to spot a Triple Threat coming, and there are whispers frequent Miz nemesis Braun Strowman and sometimes A-List ally Elias could join the fray. Add the numbers up, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any easier for Maryse’s man any time soon.

On Monday nights, WWE keeps acting like Royal Rumble winner Asuka will challenge Raw Women’s champ Alexa Bliss. But there are lots of signs - in the dirt sheets, online and coming from a certain high-profile Superstar - that the undefeated Empress will head to SmackDown instead. So where does that leave The Goddess? We should have a better idea after her friendly rival Nia Jax tries to beat Asuka again tonight.

Cesaro, Sheamus and their tag titles didn’t even merit a mention in dot com’s preview, which is fitting since The Bar seems to have cleared the deck of challengers after their sweep of Titus Worldwide last Sunday and Monday. Former champs Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have a few recent wins on their record, as do The Revival. Can either of those match-ups get on the card for New Orleans, though?

Doesn’t seem like the Cruiserweight championship is really a red brand thing these days, which is probably just as well when time is at a premium before The Show of Shows. All the more reason to tune in to DRAKE MAVERICK’s 205 Live on Tuesday for more second round title tournament action!

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Slamming Triple H through a table and getting an apology from Stephanie McMahon don’t seem to be enough to get Ronda Rousey to forgive The Authority figures for talking trash and punching poor, flu/pneumonia sufferer Kurt Angle. Rowdy will be looking for more payback tonight, and she might even officially pick up an Olympic tag partner in the Raw General Manager.

- John Cena’s road to WrestleMania reportedly runs through the blue brand now, starting with a Fastlane title match. But he’s advertised for tonight... could another potential opponent come with him?

- Kane is also advertised! Maybe he’ll bring that potential Cena opponent and fellow Glenn Jacobs supporter?

- Another person looking for payback, or at least an explanation, is Sasha Banks. The answer to why Bayley left her hanging in their six woman tag last week should be obvious. The Boss double-crossed her in the Chamber, so the Hugster showed her two can play at that game. Calling it even be enough probably won’t be enough to stop their career-long rivalry from heating back up, though.

- Whatever ‘Mania match they end up in, expect Braun to give those hands to Elias again soon.

- Whoever Alexa’s ‘Mania opponent ends up being, will Mickie James remain in her corner, or set out to become a champion again herself?

- Oh yeah, almost forgot. The Great War between Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt continues. Delightful?

Five weeks until WrestleMania 34!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?