Monday Night Raw
Date: March 5, 2018
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
With five episodes to go before Wrestlemania, this show needs to start getting ready for Wrestlemania. At the moment, there is one match confirmed for the biggest show of the year and we’re 34 days out. I know there’s Fastlane to get through first but Raw doesn’t have another pay per view between now and New Orleans. Get something set up this week. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Kurt Angle to get things going. Kurt is serious this week because he got sucker punched last week. HHH hit him right in the jaw and while Kurt has swallowed his pride before, he’s calling HHH out right now. The jacket comes off and here’s a swaggering Stephanie (the obvious response) instead. Stephanie asks about Angle’s five kids and ex-wife, meaning he likely has an alimony payment. She advises Kurt to stick with what he does for a living and here’s Ronda Rousey to interrupt.
Rousey talks about the people who brought her here not being what they said they were but she’s dealt with that before. Stephanie laughs this off and says people don’t often understand their bosses’ decisions. What Rousey needs to remember is that she signed a contract with WWE and that puts her under Stephanie. Ronda remembers something about that contract: she’s allowed to pick her opponent. That opponent would be Stephanie, so here’s HHH to keep his wife from a bad case of death.
Angle brings up that Stephanie also has a wrestler’s contract (Why?) so the match is on. She’s not the only one with a wrestler’s contract because HHH has one too. That’s why the mixed tag match is on for Wrestlemania. HHH leaves so Stephanie loads up the slap on Angle, only to have Rousey grab the arm. HHH comes back in for the save and the fight is on with Stephanie knocking Rousey down from behind. The stare sends her bailing as HHH is put in the ankle lock. Stephanie comes back for the save but gets pulled back into the ring for a not great Samoan drop from Rousey.
Asuka vs. Nia Jax
Asuka is thrown outside to start and we go split screen to hear Alexa Bliss say Nia is winning tonight. Back to full screen with Asuka being planted off a backbreaker. An Octopus hold slows Nia down but she throws Asuka into the corner without much effort. A reverse Eye of the Storm drops Asuka and we take a break.
Back with Asuka reeling but scoring with a Shining Wizard for two. The Samoan drop plants Asuka but she avoids the legdrop. Instead it’s off to the cross armbreaker which transitions into a triangle choke. Nia can’t powerbomb her way out, even when she drives Asuka into the corner. Asuka switches back into the armbreaker and Nia taps at 11:05.
Rating: C. WE GET IT ALREADY! My goodness this is the exact same thing that Nia has done in EVERY BIG MATCH and it’s not interesting anymore. I never bought that Asuka was in any real danger because there’s no way anything else was happening here. Nia is rapidly becoming the one who gets to look dominant but never wins anything, which is going to catch up to her very soon.
Nia gets the big hero’s reaction post match as she stands up and walks out, holding the damaged arm.
Revival vs. The Bar
Non-title but the Revival gets a title shot if they win. Dawson gets taken into the wrong corner to start and the Bar takes turns pounding him down. A double gordbuster (oh the Anderson vibes are strong with this one) puts Sheamus on the floor and we take a break. Back with Revival kicking Sheamus’ legs out as everything breaks down. A PowerPlex of all things gets two on Cesaro but Sheamus makes the save. Wilder is sent outside and the Neutralizer gives Cesaro the pin at 9:30.
Rating: D+. We’re either getting War Machine (not happening) or the multi team ladder match. I’m not sure why we would want to see this, but that’s what we seem to be getting. There’s no one to challenge the Bar at the moment so unless they’re mixing the brands up, I have no idea which single team we could be getting.
Here’s John Cena to talk about getting a title match at Fastlane. He’s a free agent so he can be on both shows. So why is he here if he has a title match at a Smackdown pay per view? He’s here because he knows none of the other people in the match will let him have a chance to speak. This Sunday, the record is being broken when Cena wins his seventeenth World Title.
People always talk about how Cena holds people back and is handed everything, but he earned this chance when he beat AJ Styles 1-2-3. When he wins on Sunday, the critics will be there to say he’s robbed AJ of a Wrestlemania moment. Cena is encouraging AJ to make a better Wrestlemania moment and cash in his rematch to make it a triple threat with Cena, Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura.
This brings out, I kid you not, Goldust of all people, quoting the I’m a bum speech from On the Waterfront. Goldust has a dream of going to Wrestlemania too and that starts with preventing Cena from getting there. His dreams are always taken away and tonight, he’s taking over this silver screen as Cena’s new director. One right hand puts Cena down and we go to a break.
Goldust vs. John Cena
Joined in progress for a first time ever match actually. Goldust kicks him in the face and snaps off the powerslam to keep Cena in trouble. A knee drop allows Goldust to pose but he takes too long, allowing Cena to grab a standing chinlock. Goldust hits him low for two but Cena pops up, initiates the finishing sequence, and finishes with the AA at 3:47.
Rating: D. Uh, sure? I have no idea what the point of this was supposed to be but they went with it anyway. This was the most random match I’ve seen in a long time and I’m really not sure what they were going for. The match wasn’t terrible or anything but it really feels like they’re just making this up as they go instead of having any form of a plan.
Elias tries to get out of the Symphony of Destruction match with Braun Strowman tonight but Angle says no.
Hillbilly Jim Hall of Fame video. I couldn’t be happier.
Here’s Bayley for a chat before her match. She got serious last week and Sasha Banks wasn’t happy with it….so here’s Absolution to interrupt. Paige makes fun of Bayley for finally growing up and we’re ready to go.
Mandy Rose vs. Bayley
Rose takes her down to start and trash talking in the corner ensues. Bayley gets driven hard into the corner and a slam gets two. Back up and Mandy bails for a bit as we take a break. We come back with Bayley fighting up and kicking Mandy away from the ropes. The Stunner over the middle rope drops Mandy again but Sonya Deville gets on the apron. The distraction completely fails though as Bayley grabs a rollup for the pin at 8:36.
Rating: D+. This was there to set up something post match and that’s all well and good. I mean, it’s no Goldust vs. John Cena but I’ll take what I can get. Bayley overcoming the odds to win over a lower level opponent makes sense and continues the build to her match with Sasha at Wrestlemania. Good story advancement, not a great match.
Post match Absolution beats Bayley down until Sasha makes the save. Bayley doesn’t buy it.
Women’s History Month video on Eunice Kennedy Shriver, creator of the Special Olympics.
Alexa and Mickie James come in to see Nia, who is icing down the arm. Bliss talks about how Nia might not make it to Wrestlemania this year but she’ll be there one day. She goes on about how Nia was bullied for her size when she was a kid and it continues to this day. Nia breaks down in tears as Bliss tells her to keep fighting before everyone loses all respect for her. This was really good and Nia destroying Bliss for talking down to her should be great.
Ronda Rousey was inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame over the weekend.
We look at the opening segment again.
Braun Strowman is ready to GIVE THESE HANDS to Elias.
Here’s Elias at a piano before the Symphony of Destruction match. Elias loves symphonies because they’re cultured, unlike this hick town. He goes over to the drums for a little number before picking up the guitar for the weekly song. After saying Milwaukee sucks, Elias, says he can’t stand a single one of the fans. Now it’s time for the regular entrance….and there’s no Elias. Instead he’s bailing through the crowd and into the back to a waiting car. The car doesn’t go anywhere though because Strowman is LIFTING IT OFF THE GROUND. Ok so it’s a good editing trick but still a cool visual.
Elias vs. Braun Strowman
Anything goes and falls count anywhere with musical instruments on the stage. Elias gets out of the powerslam and breaks a guitar over Strowman’s back to limited effect. A top rope elbow gets one and Strowman throws him to the floor. They head to the announcers’ table and Elias escapes another powerslam, only to get shoved into the video wall. The big string bass crushes Elias again and Strowman throws him underneath a piano. After banging on the keys a bit, Braun drops the piano on him and gets the pin at 5:04.
Rating: C-. This could have been a lot more fun but what we got was good enough. I’m not sure where it leads though as this was as one sided as you could have gotten. I can’t imagine we get a Wrestlemania match as a result as there’s no point in having another match after this kind of destruction. That never stopped WWE though so you can probably pencil it in.
Elias does a stretcher job.
Announcement of the Saudi Arabia Royal Rumble next month. Put it on the Network perhaps?
Bray Wyatt vs. Rhyno
Bray runs him over with a clothesline and Sister Abigail is good for the pin at 47 seconds.
Post match Bray calls out Matt Hardy, who appears on screen with music playing behind him. He talks about a battlefield that is worthy of their combat, meaning the Hardy Compound. The video goes to said compound, complete with Vanguard One and Skarsgard, the dilapidated boat. Laughter ensues.
It’s time for the third annual Mizzies, with Miz talking about how awesome his awards are. The Darkest Hour was when the Shape of Water won Best Picture over Marine 5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri should be three billboards outside New Orleans, featuring his face. Out first award is for the Superstar Best at Patting Themselves on the back. The nominees:
Seth Rollins for bragging about lasting 65 minutes in a match he lost
Kurt Angle for FINALLY being a good father to Jason Jordan
Finn Balor for winning the Universal Title and holding it less than 24 hours
The winners: Rollins and Balor, neither of whom were invited tonight!
Next up: Worst Decision By a Raw General Manager! The nominees:
Kurt Angle for bringing his son to Raw
Kurt Angle for letting Balor and Rollins into the Elimination Chamber
Kurt Angle for failing to name Miz’s Wrestlemania opponent
Angle wins (no specific incident mentioned) but can’t accept because he’s too busy sucking up to Ronda Rousey. Miz is about to announce the lifetime achievement Mizzie but here’s Rollins to interrupt. Balor cuts him off pretty quickly but Miz says he isn’t sure which of them is a bigger disappointment. This isn’t Japan where Balor can get over on a smile and a hand gesture that isn’t his. Last week was a glorified handicap match so let’s have a real handicap match right now with Miz/Miztourage vs. the two of them. The match is on.
Finn Balor/Seth Rollins vs. Miz/Miztourage
Balor works on Curtis Axel’s arm to start and it’s off to Rollins for an ax handle to said arm. A shot from the apron allows Axel to take over, followed by Bo Dallas dropping a knee. We hit the chinlock for a bit until Rollins dives over for the tag to Balor. A Miz distraction breaks up 1916 and Dallas runs Balor over as we take a break.
Back with Rollins hitting the Falcon Arrow for two on Miz and the low superkick gets the same. Rollins nails a suicide dive on the Miztourage but Balor tags himself in, much to Seth’s annoyance. Finn hits a flip dive of his own but Rollins tags himself in as Finn loads up the Coup de Grace. Instead it’s the Curb Stomp to pin Miz at 11:02.
Rating: C-. I’m fine with this, though they would have been better off to have one of the Miztourage members taking the pin here instead of Miz himself. I know it’s there to set up the triple threat match and that’s all well and good, but do something other than having Miz lose AGAIN, when you have goons there to do it for him.
Post match Angle comes out and announces Miz defending against Rollins and Balor at Wrestlemania.
Here’s Paul Heyman to respond to Roman Reigns’ comments last week. Heyman lays the title down, saying he’s allowed to do it because Brock Lesnar allows him to. Roman came out here last week and criticized Lesnar’s schedule. The biggest win of Reigns’ career is defeating the Undertaker last year at Wrestlemania. Brock Lesnar did that too and Lesnar is Brock Lesnar 365 days a year.
After Wrestlemania, Brock may let Heyman come out here and lay the title down again. Then maybe he’ll lay the UFC Heavyweight Championship next to it. At Wrestlemania, Reigns is coming for the title but that’s just not happening. Heyman: “And Afa Wrestlemania, you can Sika new title to challenge for, because this one is going home with Brock Lesnar.” Heyman goes to leave but stops to hold up the title. Last week Reigns said Lesnar was a b****. The reality is the title is Lesnar’s b****.
Brock does what he wants with it and looks at it whenever he wants but Reigns has been looking at it. The title, which isn’t a belt or a strap but proof that Lesnar is the best in the universe, is going to have to be pried out of Lesnar’s hot, active fingers. Reigns wants to be champion because it’s his bloodline, but the title is what matters most to Lesnar. If Reigns wants to be the Universal Champion, he can’t go home if he finds out something happened to his father, because someone has to be there to defend and present this title the night after Wrestlemania.
Reigns isn’t the man to take the title from Lesnar and there’s no way around it. Now Reigns knows that he shouldn’t shoot from the hip with Heyman and he shouldn’t shoot in the ring with Lesnar. Heyman goes to leave again but now it’s Reigns coming out to interrupt. Reigns says this is proof that what he said is right: all he did is sent Heyman for his rebuttal. All the fans want is for their champion to show up and want to be here. Brock is going to be in Detroit next week so he better be dressed for a fight. Heyman gets out as fast as he can to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. The wrestling wasn’t the strongest here but it did what it needed to do: setting up things for Wrestlemania. We came in with one match confirmed and left with three of them, which is a pretty good amount when you consider two of them are top matches. They can continue doing this for a few more weeks and that’s what matters most. Get some more matches set and the show will come together.
As for the stuff on this show….eh. I don’t get having Nia out there to lose to Asuka again and I really don’t get a few of the other matches. What in the world was the point of having Goldust losing to Cena out there? The wrestling was a mess but the storytelling worked, which brings the show up to a higher level. At least this felt like a Wrestlemania buildup show though, which is the first time that’s been the case.
Asuka b. Nia Jax – Cross armbreaker
The Bar b. Revival – Neutralizer to Dawson
John Cena b. Goldust – Attitude Adjustment
Bayley b. Mandy Rose – Rollup
Braun Strowman b. Elias – Strowman dropped a piano on Elias
Bray Wyatt b. Rhyno – Sister Abigail
Finn Balor/Seth Rollins b. Miz/Miztourage – Curb Stomp to Miz
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