The Raw before Wrestlemania! It’s do or die WWE. Head into the biggest show of the year with guns blazing, taking no prisoners, and pillaging the hearts and minds of everyone in your path.
Coach starts off Raw in the ring with two tables and a whole bunch of microphones. Coach introduces Stephanie McMahon to the ring. She struts to ramp and waits for ol Triple H. They both walk down to the ring and point to the Wrestlemania sign. The sign is not afraid. Coach then introduces Uncle Kurt Angle and Rowdy Ronda Rousey! Everyone sits at the tables in the ring. Coach starts to ask a question but Hunter interrupts. He says it’s a shame people are chanting Ronda Rousey (*insert crowd pop*) because itll be a deafening silence after Sunday. Hunter goes on to say how great Kurt is but doesn’t understand the intelligence part of Kurt Angles Triple I mantra. Hunter says he ruined Ronda’s debut by getting involved. Kurt goes to speak but Ronda interrupts and asks why Steph and Hunter are two faced. Steph says they’ll fix Ronda up after they beat her at Mania. Ronda still asks for an answer. Steph retorts, basically saying she is in charge and asks who Ronda thinks she is. Kurt says she’s Ronda Freakin Rousey and she’ll make her tap out. Coach tries to say something but gets interrupted again by Triple H. He says Ronda’s career means nothing in the WWE. He goes on to say WWE is his whole life and the learning curve is huge for Ronda. He says she’s going to lose. Coach tries to finally get a question out. How important is it for you to win this Sunday, and if you do, how will it impact the future of WWE?
Steph says, in a few words, they will respect authority….
Coach asks Kurt how he feels about teaming up with Ronda. He flubs his initial lines then repeats the making Steph tap out line.
Steph says she chose this path. Its on her. Steph calls her out on how Ronda handles loses….DAAAAAAAMMMMMNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!
Ronda asks Steph if shes right or left handed. Steph says right. Ronda says she still needs to be able to sign her checks after she rips her arm off.
Coach stops the madness and says we have to do the post interview Photo Op. uhhhhhhhhhhhh……
They all meet in the middle and give it that “big fight feel”
Steph goes to shake Ronda’s hand but Ronda doesn’t bite. She gets closer and Kurt breaks them up. Triple H hits Kurt, Ronda grabs Hunter, Steph puts Ronda through a table and that ends the segment. The McMahons stand tall over their conquest.
Bayley vs Sonya Deville
Sonya gets a kick in and starts to dance. Another kick and some trash talking. Interesting strategy. Bayley gains control and they have a small back and forth before Bayley hits a cross body. This is making Bayley look like the crafty veteran over a fresh Sonya Deville. Bayley works over the arm of Sonya. This match is kinda slow so there isn’t a whole lot to get excited about. Back from commercial and Deville is in control. They have a brief shot of the Women’s Battle Royal Trophy. It looks like something you’d see in Mario Kart for beating the Rainbow Road, but what do I know? Sonya stalks Bayley around the ring but Bayley starts to make a comeback. Sonya gets pulled outside the ring by Paige and Mandy. Bayley goes outside to get Sonya and throws her back in the ring. Bayley get distracted and almost gets pinned. She turns that into a rollup and wins.
Bayley gets a beat down after the match but Sasha comes out for the save. Absolution gets sent to the back and it’s just the two wayward friends. Sasha demands Bayley raises her hand. Bayley isn’t down and Bayley punches Sasha. Absolution randomly shows back up and they clean house. Absolution leaves the ring, victorious before Mania.
Next we get a video package on Asuka’s undefeated streak. 908 days. Wow.
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins
The Miz makes a surprise appearance to hang out at the announce table. (Congrats Miz!)
Quick lockup to start the match off. They trade wrist locks. Excellent chain wrestling sequences here. Miz talks about his baby and I get slightly distracted. Michael Cole doesn’t seem to care and continues to call the match. Back in the ring, Seth is in control. This match is pretty even as we go to commercial again…
Back from commercial and Finn is in control. Seth and Balor square off again and Seth takes control. Outside the ring, Seth beats down on Finn Balor. The two trade good back and forths through most of the match. It’s a good show of the physicality of both men, building excitement for Sunday’s triple threat match. The methodical pace of this match actually keeps things interesting, allowing for good story telling while Miz is on commentary. After the third commercial of the match, we come back to a super kick from Seth and a near fall. The pace has picked up and the crowd loves it. Seth goes for the top rope superplex to falcon arrow combo but Finn kicks. Seth hits the high knee and Finn kicks. Seth goes for a crazy frog splash and Finn gets his knees up, Finn rolls up Seth but he kicks. Seth is outside the ring with Finn and attempts a barricade bomb but Finn reverses into a slingblade. The tension is incredible. Seth is back in the ring and Finn goes for the Coup de Gras. Seth moves and goes for the stomp but misses, he ends up hitting another Stomp to get the pin on Finn Balor.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Miz stands on the announce table staring at Seth as he celebrates in the ring.
They recap the Rousey/Angle/HHH/Stephanie McMahon angle from earlier in the night.
Next video package for the night is Lesnar vs Reigns
Paul Heyman is backstage talking on the phone. Uncle Kurt comes up and tells Heyman the Main Event of Mania needs to stay intact. Heyman says he’ll behave himself tonight. Kurt just wants Heyman to make sure they do nothing to provoke Reigns to hurt Lesnar tonight. To keep it civil. Heyman just lauuuughs and laughs.
Out comes the Bar! They call out Braun Strowman. They say they don’t care who his tag team partner is, it doesn’t matter to them. He says its still a tag team match and they don’t think Braun and partner will be on the same page. They say Braun and friend will never be a real team and will never get the Tag Titles. Braun comes out. He doesn’t care what they think. He was just talking to his partner in the back and his partner doesn appreciate what he’s saying. The Bar call him out. They mystery partner wants a match with a member of the Bar. They agree. Braun says he’ll go get him. He says his partner is a lot like him, just a little different….whatever that means. Braun’s music hits and he comes back out in glasses and a shirt. Womp Womp. He says his name is brains and his brother is Braun.
Braun takes on both men but the numbers are too much…just for a second. Braun..I mean Brains throws people around and the Bar make their exit.
24 Karat pictures presents…..A Goldust promo, one of the good ones from a few months ago. He enters himself in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Woken Matt shows up on screen and has set his sights on Goldust. He says tonight, Goldust is scheduled for DELETION!
Goldust vs Matt Hardy
Goldust has early control but Matt keeps coming back, showing resilience while trying to DELETE Goldust. Matt eventually gets control hits a Side Effect on Goldust. Goldie kicks but Matt is up quick. Goldust gains control again, attempting a top rope elbow but Matt moves and goes for a Twist of Fate. Goldust reverses but Matt comes back with a successful Twist of Fate for the win
Winner: Matt Hardy
After the match Matt yells PROCURE! At the Andre the Giant trophy.
Alexa and Mickie cut a words on screen promo on Nia Jax. They make fun of her weight for cheap heat. Not a fan.
John Cena is up next!
Big Match John comes out and shakes Coach’s hand, then walks down to the ring. The crowd is extra pumped. John says he was wrong because there is no more time and the Undertaker never answered. He says he’s not upset though. He did what he could. John will walk into Wrestlemania fired up, with his head held high. He’s going as a fan. He’s not going to enter the Battle Royal or enter any other match. He’s lost a bunch of matches and he had his chance to get into a match. He doesn’t want to take a full time guy’s spot. He called out the Undertaker specifically not to take a younger guys spot. He says this Mania is the perfect time for a change. He says he’s going to Mania as a fan, and he’s damn proud of it. Cena builds up the Wrestlemania card. He mentions Seth and Finn, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, annnnnd Rusev Day! John builds up all the women’s matches and all the performers going out there busting their ass. He wants to apologize for Undertaker and his no show to all the fans who wanted him there. John gets the crowd pumped to try for one last shot at the Undertaker coming to Mania. The build for this possible moment is incredible. The entire Atlanta crowd lost it, chanting as one “Undertaker” for one last match with the Dead Man. Moments like this make me proud to be a wrestling fan. John looks sad as nothing happens. The crowd starts to boo. John says its clear he left his hat in the ring but its clear he left his balls at home. The crowd chants Cena. That’s it….John leaves the ring.
Kurt is backstage with Roman Reigns. He tries to talk sense into Roman about tonight and not causing problems. Roman says he’ll hear Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar out because he has respect for Kurt Angle. He then says he doesn’t care about his peace treaty and he can take it back to the pawn shop where he sold his Olympic gold medals.
In the ring is Elias for song time. He trashes Atlanta (good, Atlanta is garbage) He says he has the greatest performance of a lifetime waiting for him at Wrestlemania. Heath Slater and Rhyno interrupt him and come to the ring.
Heath Slater vs Rhyno
Slater comes out the gate swinging but Elias makes a quick comeback and hits the Drift Away for the win.
Elias points to the Wrestlemania sign. The sign shutters at the thought of Elias taking it down.
Braun is backstage and runs into Curt Hawkins. He tries to become Brauns partner. Braun throws him through a wall.
The most excellent Renee Young interviews Nia Jax in a pre-tapped segment. They talk about Alexa and her match at Wrestlemania.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James vs. Asuka and Dana Brooke
Dana and Alexa start it out. Dana takes control early on but the two end up going back and forth. Alexa gets a few good shots on Dana then tags in Mickie. Mickie hits some naaaasty slaps on Dana Brooke before Dana rallies and drives Mickie into the corners. Mickie avoids one of the charges and hits Dana with a big kick. Commercial time. Back from commercial and Mickie is still working over Dana. Asuka is jumping around, just wanting to get in. We feel you Asuka. Alexa is tagged back in. She continues to work Dana over, standing on Dana’s back at one point. Dana hits a random suplex, opening a moment to tag Asuka! Asuka runs wild Brother! She beats the bricks off of Mickie James and yells a lot. Asuka has so much momentum. Mickie gets a quick super kick but cant pin Asuka. Mickie goes to the top rope but Asuka moves and puts Mickie in the Asuka lock
Winner: Asuka and Dana Brooke
Alexa and Mickie beat down Asuka and Dana after the match. Nia comes out to beat everyone down. She catches Alexa but Mickie hits her from behind and Alexa escapes. Mickie proceeds to get the hell beat out of her by Nia. Nia stands in the ring as Alexa walks slowly up the ramp.
Backstage is Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, Uncle Kurt tries to stop them from making a scene. Paul says he’ll only speak positive.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman come to the ring. A few guys from the locker room come out and stand on the ramp to block Roman from entering. Paul Heyman rips into Uncle Kurt for the show of force to block Roman from Brock. Heyman cuts a very Heyman promo. He reminds everyone what happened last time he was in New Orleans with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. He talks about Lesnar’s match at Wrestlemania. He says if Roman wins, itll be the last time you see either of them at Raw. He builds up Brock Lesnar and his imminent move back to UFC. He talks trash about everyone in the locker room and praises Brock and his accomplishments. He says Roman’s options are like his ass, they’re both owned by Brock Lesnar and he’s Brock Lesnar’s bitch. Roman comes out. The group of wrestlers on the ramp block him. He reasons with them. They move out of the way with little persuasion. Roman stands ringside while Brock is in the ring. The crowd chants for Roman Reigns. Roman makes his way to the ring, face to face with the Beast. Brock drops the title and squares up to Roman. Brock then slides out of the ring and retreats. Brock grabs a chair and heads back into the ring. Roman hits a couple of super man punches and Brock is rocked. Roman eyes the Universal Title. Brock slowly rises to his feet. Roman clobbers him again then grabs the Universal Title. He stands over the fallen beast and raises the title. Roman eyes the Mania sign but ends up catching an F-5 for his troubles. Brocks rolls away with his title and Roman is down. Brock and Paul Heyman leave the ring and march on to Wrestlemania 34.
That’s it for this weeks Raw folks. The build for Wrestlemania is here, we have some unanswered questions that will be answered on Sunday. I’ll be there to see it live. Follow me on Twitter @buuurch1 for more details, check out our site for more wrestling content, and as always, Take Care!