Monday Night Raw – March 12, 2018

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 12, 2018
Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman

We’re FINALLY away from all other pay per views and that means it’s time to get on with the real Wrestlemania build. Tonight is scheduled to featured Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar going face to face but that was the case two weeks ago as well. I can’t shake the feeling that WWE is going to manage to screw this one up. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Kurt Angle to open things up. He’s looking forward to competing at Wrestlemania where he and his partner are going to give HHH and Stephanie McMahon the beatings of their life. That takes us to the Universal Title match…and Brock Lesnar isn’t here tonight because of something ranging from transportation issues to not feeling well to just not showing up.

Cue Roman Reigns to say what just happened was Brock didn’t show up for work today. For anyone else, there would be a fine, a suspension, or being fired, but that’s not happening to Vince’s boy. Reigns says if Angle didn’t show up, he’d be fired and not be able to feed his kids. Reigns passed Vince McMahon in the back and Vince didn’t have the courtesy to apologize. Roman isn’t going to have Vince disrespect him so he leaves the ring and goes to the gorilla position, where Vince and Shane are producing the show. Vince gets up and says they’ll talk in his office.

Reigns leaves Vince’s office and has nothing to say. Vince comes out a second later and says he had to tell Reigns to know his role and shut his mouth. Brock has certain privileges and may not like anyone but he respects competition. Vince says Lesnar will be at Wrestlemania and will defend his title but he also promises that Brock will be here next week. As for Reigns, he’s been temporarily suspended.

Sasha Banks vs. Sonya Deville

Bayley and the rest of Absolution are at ringside. Sasha gets two off an early sunset flip and sends Sonya outside as we take an early break. Back with Sasha getting kicked in the ribs and caught in a bodyscissors. Sasha fights up again and knees Sonya out of the corner. The middle rope knees get two and Bayley cutting off Absolution sets up the Bank Statement to make Sonya tap at 7:39.

Rating: D+. This felt like angle advancement instead of a match and that’s fine. You can see Banks vs. Bayley in a singles match at Wrestlemania (unless they go stupid and have some multi-woman match for the title instead) and Absolution can help get them there. Nothing to see here of course but that wasn’t the point of the match.

Bayley leaves and Absolution beats Sasha down with no one to stop them.

Kid Rock Hall of Fame announcement.

It’s time for MizTV. Miz talks about being forced to defend his title against two opponents at Wrestlemania and those challengers are his guests tonight: Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. Miz immediately tries to play them against each other, saying that Balor is getting in the way of what could have been a great singles match. Rollins knows what’s going on so Miz says Balor is the man in bingo halls. He was the first ever Universal Champion and beat Rollins to do it.

Miz tries the same thing he tried with Rollins but Balor sees through it as well. Rollins says they don’t need to get fired up because it’s Wrestlemania and the Intercontinental Title. They get back to the Universal Title match though and Balor says he beat Seth with one arm. They’re ready to fight now and Miz is all for this, only to be clotheslined to the floor. Rollins gets in a right hand to Balor though and Miz is very pleased. More angle advancement and that’s fine.

The Bar vs. Miztourage

Non-title. The Miztourage jumps the champs before the bell and there’s no match as the Revival comes in to jump the Bar as well. Anderson and Gallows run out as well and PLEASE tell me this isn’t setting up a freaking ladder match. Titus Worldwide and Heath Slater/Rhyno join in too. The Bar slips out and bails as there was no match of course.

Here’s John Cena to address his loss last night. Cena has found his path to Wrestlemania and some people might not like that. He’s tried as hard as he can but he’s lost every chance. The fans chant for Undertaker and Cena says he hopes the people backstage are listening. He won’t be contributing to Wrestlemania this year (I’m guessing he misspoke when he said he had found his path.).

That doesn’t mean that he’s quitting or walking away because he’ll be there on the same road to Wrestlemania as the fans. He’s going as a fan this year and he’ll be having a blast. Cena may be sitting next to us and goes into the crowd to steal a sip of beer. He starts a THIS IS AWESOME chant before switching to a LET’S GO ROMAN which doesn’t work so well.

Back in the ring, Cena says we need to get one chant out of our system: LET’S GO CENA! You know what comes from there and Cena says the only way that’s going to happen is if he does something he’s not supposed to do. Actually, what does he have to lose if he does it? Cena: “Well screw it. I challenge the Undertaker to a match at Wrestlemania.” He’s been told that’s impossible but he doesn’t quite get why.

Cena says the challenge a few more times and since his mic is still working, it’s clearly not WWE that doesn’t want it to happen. That leaves just Undertaker, who needs to, and I quote, get over his own ego. Undertaker is hiding behind his loss and needs to take his head out of the sand. He’s not too old and he’s not broken down. If he was, he wouldn’t be posting workout videos on his wife’s Instagram. Undertaker is hiding and needs to come try and Tombstone Cena in front of 75,000 people. If Cena was Undertaker, he’d want one more match.

So, to recap, this match is going to have, at most, three weeks of official build (assuming Undertaker doesn’t Tweet a response) because we needed Cena in a six way match at Fastlane. I don’t want to see this match and while it could have a good feeling to it, I would really just prefer that Undertaker goes away after last year’s great moment. The Cena vs. Undertaker match could have been awesome, but unless that hip surgery completely changed Undertaker, last year was a really bad sign.

The Bar is in Angle’s office saying they wanted competition, not to be jumped from behind. They don’t feel safe around here and since they’ve heard rumors of a Superstar Shakeup, they want to go to Smackdown right now. Maybe they could fight the Bludgeon Brothers, New Day or the Usos. Champions vs. champions sounds good to Sheamus. Angle won’t trade them but tonight we’ll find out who the challengers are in a tag team battle royal later tonight. That’s all well and good, as long as a ladder isn’t involved.

We recap last week’s Symphony of Destruction match with Elias having a piano dropped on top of him.

Here’s Elias in a neck brace but still ready to perform because he’s a professional. Elias says this is all our fault and walks away.

Braun Strowman says he dropped a piano on Elias last week. Elias should be grateful that he never made music on an anvil. Braun doesn’t have a Wrestlemania match so tonight he’s making his own path of destruction. I mean, Cena is available at the moment.

Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

They fight over the arm to start (there’s a bingo space) until Rollins takes over with an elbow and chop. A pair of dropkicks puts Rollins on the floor and there’s a running apron kick to take us to a break. Back with Rollins grabbing a chinlock until Balor fights up and hits a Sling Blade.

1916 and the ripcord knee are both blocked so they trade kicks to the head. They trade kicks to the head with Rollins’ getting two. Rollins charges into another kick to the head but it’s too early for the Coup de Grace. Instead Rollins tries the superplex into the Falcon Arrow, only to have Balor cradle him in a small package for the pin at 14:14.

Rating: C+. Nice match here and I’m a bit surprised that Balor would get a clean pin over the other challenger. I’ll take that over a double countout or DQ though and it’s not like losing to a big name like Balor is the worst thing in the world. Also, at least the champion managed to not lose again.

Video on the Fabulous Moolah, including an announcement of the Fabulous Moolah Battle Royal at Wrestlemania.

Here’s Asuka to address challenging Charlotte last night. After we see the clip, Alexa Bliss and Mickie James cut her off in short order. Alexa can outsmart anyone and she congratulates Asuka on choosing the champion of the B show. Asuka says she chose Charlotte because to be the woman, you have to beat the woman. Bliss thinks that must be a language issue so Asuka wants to beat Alexa right now. Alexa says no because Asuka is getting someone who has unfinished business with her. She tries to bring someone out (presumably Nia) but Mickie jumps Asuka instead.

Mickie James vs. Asuka

Joined in progress with Mickie in control until Asuka kicks her down without much effort. Mickie tries to bail and gets posted for her efforts but Asuka kicks the post by mistake. Asuka barely beats the count back in but the MickieDT is countered and Asuka kicks her in the head with the bad leg. The backfists to the head rock Mickie and there’s the hip attack in the corner. Mickie is smart enough to go back to the leg and there’s a flapjack for good measure. For some reason Mickie goes up top and scores with a heck of a sunset bomb for two. The Mick Kick misses though and the Asuka Lock is good for the submission at 6:31.

Rating: C+. I was getting into this match with Asuka being tested, even in a match that she had no real danger of losing. There’s something cool to see about having people actually work in a match that is little more than a warmup for Asuka. Good stuff here as Mickie really hasn’t lost a step.

Graves explains the Great War to Cole and Coachman and the confused looks are perfect.

Alexa comes in to see Nia and asks where she was. Kurt told her not to come out because she has a match next but that’s not enough for Alexa. Nia doesn’t seem happy with Alexa over what she said last week but Alexa gets all serious and says she loves Nia as her best friend. The love is returned but it’s time for some tough love: Nia needs to be in her corner next week. That’s cool with Nia so everything is fine.

Women’s History Month in Indira Gandhi.

Nia Jax vs. Joan King

Samoan drop in 46 seconds.

Alexa and Mickie are in the back and annoyed over the loss to Asuka. Mickie brings up what Alexa said to Nia last week and Alexa says it was the truth and could have been a lot worse. James thought it was hilarious when Alexa said everyone looks at Nia in the airport. Alexa: “It’s like Shrek going through the TSA.” They keep mocking Nia’s size and intelligence as Nia is near tears. Apparently Charly Caruso is late for an interview but she comes in and says the microphone has been on the entire time. Panic ensues and Nia is storming to the back. Alexa and Mickie leave in a rush and Nia is here a few seconds later to break a lot of stuff.

We get a preview of the Ultimate Deletion, which will take place at the Hardy Compound. The Great War has gone on throughout history and will come to its completion. We actually see Rebecca, Maxel, Wolfgang (Matt’s other son), Senor Benjamin and Vanguard 1. They will vanquish Sister Abigail from Bray Wyatt into the Lake of Reincarnation. The lake could be amazing in WWE’s hands.

Bray says Matt is a liar and a fool but above all else, Matt is just a man. When the devil is standing on your doorstep, never let him in. Bray accepts the invitation and threatens Matt’s family.

Kurt knew Bray was nuts but wants to know what happened to Matt. A referee comes in and Kurt assigns him to Ultimate Deletion next week. Referee: “Did I do something wrong?”

We recap the opening sequence and Reigns’ suspension.

Next week: Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss and Ultimate Deletion.

Tag Team Battle Royal

Heath Slater/Rhyno, Titus Worldwide, Revival, Anderson and Gallows, Miztourage

The winners get the Wrestlemania title shot against the Bar, who is on commentary here. Hang on a second though as here’s Strowman with no partner. He demands that the bell ring and the referee isn’t about to say no. Apollo (with Cole saying Crews) is eliminated and, after a quick chase, Slater is tossed as well. Everyone stares Strowman down and the big beatdown is on but Revival gets smart by eliminating Rhyno.

Titus punches both of them but Strowman throws everyone away and is left alone after everyone went underneath the ropes. It’s Titus going back in to face off with Strowman on his own…and then changing his mind. Back with everyone going after Strowman and a kick to the face putting him through the ropes. A shot with the steps drops Strowman but he’s just in the timekeeper’s area. O’Neil kicks Anderson out of the air and Dawson takes the Clash of the Titus.

The Revival is eliminated and it’s hard to tell how many people are left. Strowman comes back in and gets rid of Titus and Gallows. A powerslam each takes out the Miztourage and we’re down to Strowman and Anderson. A dropkick to Strowman’s knee slows him down and some low superkicks keep him in trouble. The third kick is shoved away though and, with a shout of I’M GOING TO WRESTLEMANIA, Strowman tosses him out to win at 11:02.

Rating: D. It’s a cool idea but this was way too confusing with people being sent outside over and over to the point where I was having trouble remembering who was in the match at times. Strowman needed something to do though and this is about as good of an idea as they had. Him winning a handicap match could be fun, though it’s quite the downgrade after what he’s been doing in recent months.

The announcers aren’t sure if this is legal to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. The show did what it needed to do as far as setting up more stuff for Wrestlemania, but there are some questionable choices here. The Undertaker vs. Cena match is going to divide fans no matter how it goes. I don’t want to see it, but I easily get why people do want it to happen. Strowman in the Tag Team Title match…..it’s something for him to do, but not exactly worthy of his year. The Nia/Bliss stuff was very good and the rest of the stories were advanced well. It feels like we’re rushing through everything though and that’s going to cause a problem with so little TV time left.

Results

Sasha Banks b. Sonya Deville – Bank Statement

Finn Balor b. Seth Rollins – Small package

Asuka b. Mickie James – Asuka Lock

Nia Jax b. Joan King – Samoan drop

Braun Strowman won a tag team battle royal last eliminating Karl Anderson

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com, follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the 2018 Updated Version of the History of the WWE Championship in e-book or paperback. Check out the information here:

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