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WWE Raw Results, Recap, Reactions (April 23, 2018): Road Warriors

The red brand’s in the midst of a grueling travel schedule and stuck in limbo between WrestleMania and the Greatest Royal Rumble. Could they make magic in St. Louis?

A Beast, Some Plants, and a Dog

You know what? Screw it, I’m in. Not enthusiastically, but I’m in nonetheless.

Why not, right? Even if you aren’t a Roman Reigns fan and even if you disliked their match at WrestleMania, fine. Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. Let’s do it one more time.

So long as this is the last time, that is.

WWE did well on this show (and at WrestleMania) to properly align Lesnar. He spent the entire match two weeks ago tossing out three moves on loop like a button mashing kid playing video games. A compelling match that does not make.

And then Paul Heyman was at his best on this show. He played up all the unsavory bits of Lesnar – that he dislikes people and only cares about himself and his money – while gloating and gallivanting about being a soothsayer or whatever it is he calls himself these days.

The St. Louis crowd booed the pair. Deservedly so.

Now, I’m going to compliment Reigns in a bit so bear with the cynicism here. That cutaway to five fans losing their minds in a “Roman!” chant? That was hysterical. Gee, I wonder how the WWE camera crew was so on the ball there?!

Of course, that moment wasn’t for me. I get that. But it was so artificial and weird.

They also filled a big plot hole. Why is Reigns getting another shot after losing at WrestleMania? Because Lesnar demanded it, of course. Lesnar is a conqueror and he wants to conquer Reigns. He wants to break the man.

I appreciated that effort.

Eventually, Reigns came out and kept it short. He doesn’t know how he’ll do it, but he’s leaving Saudi Arabia as the Universal Champion. They stared at each other and then it was over. I’m honestly fine with that.

I’ve griped about a lot of things with this feud. It’s soured me on both performers, but screw it. Can we start the Reigns era already?

Ten Woman Tag? Ten Woman Tag.

Alexa Bliss parodying those sad confessional commercials to get in more mean-spirited attacks on Nia Jax is deliciously evil. WWE needs to be careful, though; I could see crowds cheering that if they keep up those “Moment of Bliss” segments.

And in a nerdy moment, might I compliment Natalya on her tier shoulders? Don’t forget to socket them, Nattie!

Anyway, WWE made a point to say that the men got this match last week so it’s the women’s turn. And to be frank, this one had more storyline to it than the men last week.

Bayley and Sasha Banks continued to tease tensions before the match, but never did much to show it during. And after Bliss’ promo earlier in the show, Jax lifted Ruby Riott in a military press and winked towards Bliss.

However, the biggest story was Nattie’s knee. A chop block during the match injured it and Mickie James kept taking cheap shots. Eventually, Ronda Rousey stalked down the ramp to destroy James with a Judo throw and submission. Rousey’s interference caused a DQ, and she’s still so freaking impressive to me. She moves so much faster than everyone else. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes moving forward.

The match itself was simple fun. Nothing really crazy happened, but it was a suiting main event for this sort of show.

The Sami & Kevin Show Indeed

When you need to fill some time, on your three hour show…Who ya gonna call?


Most of these show within a show segments follow the same format and have the same set. A screen, tall chairs that are eventually tossed aside, a plant named Mitch – that sort of thing.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn’s set featured a table. Instead of standing, they sat and bantered as if it were a press conference or radio show.

Kurt Angle was their guest and they took no time in burning bridges with their new general manager. They made fun of Angle forgetting Jason Jordan in that promo before WrestleMania and they used talking points that Stephanie McMahon’s used in the past. In the end, they earned a match against Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley for their troubles.

The match itself was extremely fun. Strowman is a phenomenon at this point. The best hot tag ever. Strowman could spend an entire show chasing Owens and Zayn down and knocking them into stuff and I’d be perfectly content.

I still cannot believe how loud the ovations have gotten for Strowman.

Best of the Rest

A Tribute to Bruno Sammartino – I’m a big baseball fan. My grandfather played professionally so it runs in the family. Watching the video package to Sammartino, I was struck by the feeling that Sammartino is a truly mythical figure in wrestling. He’s like Babe Ruth. Like a Ted Williams, a Stan Musial. He was something special and I was struck with a feeling of loss that I never got to watch him perform.

Elias def. Bobby Roode – Roode immediately interrupted an attempted song by Elias. In return, Elias gave him his first loss on Raw.

Deleter of Worlds def. The Ascension – This team’s fun. That clapping spot is going to be such a hit in a few months.

Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre def. Titus Worldwide - This Ziggler/McIntyre pairing is very exciting. How cool was that Superkick/Alabama Slam combo? McIntyre got a pop for berating the locker room for being lazy so that’s an intriguing thing to note.

These guys are gonna kill it. Fully on the bandwagon.

Chad Gable def. Jinder Mahal – Speaking of bandwagons, what a perfect way to introduce Gable to Raw. Mahal won me over last week and he did so again with his backstage segment.

Gable’s such a wonderful babyface singles wrestler. I hope WWE continues to devote storyline time to him moving forward.

Baron Corbin is a jerk – Corbin killed the conga.

Balor and Rollins def. The Miztourage – Clubless and without a Shield to protect themselves, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor had no trouble beating Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. And I’m honestly ticked at how buddy-buddy these two are at the moment. All the tension from the WrestleMania lead up is gone.

This show didn’t have much to sink your teeth into. There were some mediocre moments. Still, my expectations were pretty low for this show and they kept me entertained. We’re still in a feeling-out process with this new roster, though, so next week will give us our first look at the direction of Raw moving forward.

Grade: B-

If I were WWE after the week this roster’s had, I’d be happy with their show. What about you, Cagesiders?

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