Monday Night Raw
Date: March 26, 2018
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
We’ve got two shows to go before New Orleans and WWE is still dragging its feet to get to John Cena vs. the Undertaker. Tonight we have Cena vs. Kane though, which is likely the next step on the way to the big showdown. Other than that, we might get a few more names added to the battle royals. Let’s get to it.
Here are Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman to open things up. Heyman recaps the attack on Roman Reigns last week and of course we see some clips. As it turns out, Reigns’ suspension is lifted but he’s not here tonight. Heyman goes over the Samoan wrestling family raising Roman to be a star and a champion. What they didn’t raise him to be is a man.
Reigns was the one saying he was here every single week no matter what but he’s not here tonight. Maybe Reigns should have found three MMA students, dressed them up like US Marshals and beaten the heck out of them before starting a fight with Lesnar. Reigns isn’t man enough to do that though, nor is he man enough to show up here and take another beating from Brock.
Heyman loads up the end but Reigns is in the crowd. He comes out swinging with a chair and gets in a few shots but Brock runs him over. A HARD shot to the face with the steps puts Reigns down and Brock lays him out with the chair. Brock goes to leave but comes back with an F5 onto the steps. Reigns is left laying, again. The story they’re telling here is good, but Reigns not even missing a single show isn’t helping. That and the fans don’t want to cheer for Reigns and there isn’t much of a way around that problem.
Nia Jax vs. Mickie James
Nia knocks her to the floor in short order and we take a break. Back with Jax stomping away in the corner and Mickie bailing to the floor. Alexa Bliss offers a distraction and a chop block takes Nia down. Back in and a hard slam looks to set up the legdrop but Nia only hits mat. A running kick to the face drops Nia again and a missed charge makes things even worse. Mickie kicks the knee out and goes up top, earning herself a gorilla press into a Samoan drop for the pin at 7:05.
Rating: D+. The knee stuff was fine but this was what it should have been: Nia winning in a match that was just a step above a squash. She needs to destroy Bliss even faster at Wrestlemania but I have a feeling that they’ll have the match go longer in an attempt for something “epic”. That’s not what the story calls for, but we got what it calls for here.
Post match Alexa gets in a cheap shot but the glare in response sends her running.
We get a package on Ronda Rousey’s WWE career with HHH and Stephanie McMahon adding in sitdown comments. HHH says this could have been a perfect employee but Rousey and Angle had to run their mouths. We see them training and hear from the Performance Center coach who talks about how hard they train all the time. Stephanie is ready for anything and HHH never stops training.
See, Rousey is coming into a ring that Stephanie owns because she’s wrestled before. At Wrestlemania, Rousey will be humbled like everyone else that has come at the Authority. Good stuff here, but if they even think about having Stephanie be competitive against Rousey on an even remotely even playing field, they’re dumber than I thought.
Cedric Alexander/Mustafa Ali vs. TJP/Drew Gulak
Joined in progress with Ali in trouble and 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick on commentary. Gulak gets two off a neckbreaker but Ali fights out of the chinlock and makes the hot tag to Alexander. Everything breaks down in short order and Ali hits a huge flip dive onto Gulak. Back in and Cedric hits the Neuralizer with Ali making a blind tag. The Lumbar Check sets up the 054 for the pin on TJP at 4:02. Cedric isn’t happy with the blind tag.
Rating: C. Tension between these two is a good idea and it’s a smart move to put them on the show before their title match at Wrestlemania. The build between these two has been great stuff so far and that’s all you can ask for in something like this. The title match should be a lot of fun so having some more build like this would be a good thing.
It’s time for MizTV and the fans give Miz a WELCOME HOME chant. Miz: “I live in LA.” Miz wants to talk about some personal issues and that means the Miztourage. They seem to
think things have been going well for them but Miz isn’t so pleased. For two weeks in a row they’ve let him down and that’s not acceptable. If Miz wanted failure, he never would have left Cleveland. Dallas says they’re doing everything they can but Miz tells him to Bo-Lieve himself back to catering.
Cue Seth Rollins to say that for the first time on MizTV, this is great stuff. Seth offers to mediate and asks when was the last time Miz thanked Dallas and Axel. Miz goes on a rant about himself and Bo calls him a phony A-lister who can’t fight. For some reason Miz couldn’t hear that so here’s Finn Balor to interrupt. He heard what Bo said: Miz was the biggest jerk that he’s ever met. Dallas repeats what he actually said and then realizes that he might have screwed up a little.
Miz wants to hear him say that again and the fight is almost on. That calms Miz down as he says this should be all about him retaining the title for 34 more days. If Miz reaches that milestone, he’ll be the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. He’ll be better than Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect. That’s a step too far for Axel (big Shawn fan), who stands next to Dallas. Again, reality sets in so Miz cancels the show to the fans’ delight.
The Miztourage won’t let him leave though as Rollins and Balor are very pleased. The four of them surround Miz and of course it’s a ruse with the Miztourage jumping Balor and Rollins. Cue Anderson and Gallows for the save, leaving Miz alone with Balor. A belt shot misses and Balor hits a Sling Blade but Rollins can’t hit the curb stomp. Balor and Rollins get in a fight over the title as Miz tries a sneak attack. That goes badly for him as well, allowing Balor to take Rollins down. Good segment here, and thank goodness they didn’t make it a five way.
Kane is ready to destroy Cena tonight because Cena isn’t going to Wrestlemania.
Asuka vs. Jamie Frost
Jamie says Asuka doesn’t know her so she’s not ready. Kick to the face ends Frost at 32 seconds.
We hear about Cole apologizing in advance for the Ultimate Deletion. Matt Hardy has since referred to him as an obsolete mule.
Stills of the Ultimate Deletion.
Matt talks about Bray Wyatt’s tyrannical reign being replaced by Senor Benjamin’s spring daisies. Now Matt needs to set his sights on Wrestlemania by honoring the legacy of “amazing world wonder number eight” by entering the battle royal. Everyone else will be DELETED.
Cole: “That was OBNOXIOUS!”
Sasha Banks and Bayley are in the back with Bayley saying she’s in the battle royal. Banks wants to talk about last week so Bayley rants about how Banks thinks she’s the best thing in the world. That’s true, and Banks isn’t making any apologies for it. Maybe Bayley should do the same so everyone doesn’t think she’s a loser. Bayley thinks Sasha is doing it because everyone knows she can’t beat her.
Sasha is a four time Women’s Champion but Bayley asks how long she kept it. Those are fighting words and it’s on with Sasha getting the better of it until referees break things up. More horrible acting, as you can tell they were just reading a script. How hard can it be to say “you’re mad at each other because Sasha can’t beat Bayley, go bicker with each other for a minute”? If they don’t have any more faith in them than that, don’t give them live microphones.
Braun Strowman comes out for a match but here’s the Bar to demand to know Strowman’s partner. Strowman will tell them if Sheamus can beat him. Maybe they’ll get an answer, but they’re going to GET THESE HANDS.
Braun Strowman vs. Sheamus
Strowman gets low bridged to start and might have tweaked his knee. The ten forearms to the chest are broken up and a single forearm puts Sheamus on the floor as well. Sheamus gets sent outside again and we take a break. Back with Sheamus kicking at the knee for a bit until Braun fights up and tosses him to the floor. Sheamus makes the mistake of standing there, allowing Braun to run him over with the big shoulder. Back in and Braun goes shoulder first into the post. It doesn’t seem to matter as the powerslam ends Sheamus at 7:53.
Rating: D+. Man I could go for a Sheamus vs. Braun hoss fight with the roles reversed. If there’s one thing Sheamus can do, it’s hit people really hard in a good brawl. I’m down with not knowing the partner before Wrestlemania, as the anticipation could make it a lot of fun. Not much here, and hopefully the knee injury isn’t anything.
Here’s Kurt Angle to bring out Ronda Rousey. Angle talks about Stephanie and HHH being ready for anything so Wrestlemania is going to be a lot of fun. Rousey was watching that video earlier and Stephanie is tough, but she’s trust fun tough. She’s limousine riding tough. At Wrestlemania, she’s get what’s coming to her when Ronda takes her arm out of its socket.
Cue Absolution with Paige saying this is their world. It’s nice that Rousey is going into her first match but she needs backup. Rousey could be the fourth member of Absolution! That’s a no from Ronda so Paige sends the other two after her. Deville goes down with one shot and Rousey suplexes Mandy into Sonya’s legs. Rousey grabs Mandy’s arm and cranks a bit but Angle calms her down. That’s very Ken Shamrock of her. This was another rough segment from Rousey, but once she goes beast mode, she’s exactly what WWE wants her to be. The talking though….needs some work.
We recap the opening sequence.
Anderson and Gallows vs. Miztourage
Joined in progress with Anderson hitting the Rocket Kick (HI-YAH) in the corner on Axel but a Dallas distraction lets Curtis shove him to the floor. A chinlock keeps things down until Anderson fights up with a spinebuster. The hot tag brings in Gallows for a kick to Axel’s head and a big splash keeps him in trouble. The Boot of Doom only gets two with Dallas making the save. Not that it matters as the Magic Killer finishes Axel at 4:36.
Rating: C-. Slightly better than I was expecting here as they had some nice near falls. Anderson and Gallows are the much better team going forward as the Miztourage is really only there as lackeys. I could see Anderson and Gallows going after whoever Strowman wins the titles with in an early losing effort down the line.
Here’s Elias to talk about performing on the grandest stage of them all in thirteen days. He’s not happy with going from Madison Square Garden over the weekend to Cleveland tonight but just like LeBron James, he’s leaving soon. After a song about hating Cleveland, it’s time for a match.
Elias vs. Rhyno
Rhyno runs him over with a shoulder to start but gets taken down with a clothesline. A chinlock doesn’t last long but Rhyno’s comeback is even shorter as Drift Away gives Elias the pin at 1:25.
Long recap of Cena challenging Undertaker to no avail.
John Cena vs. Kane
No DQ. Kane wastes no time in stomping Cena down and a big boot puts him on the floor. We’re already in the chinlock and Cena can’t power up with the AA as Kane falls down onto him for two. They head outside with Cena being sent into the steps as we take a break. Back with Kane knocking him through the crowd and hitting a suplex onto a well placed piece of barricade. They head back to the ring with Kane putting him down and going to take off a turnbuckle.
Cena sits up and sends him into the buckle, followed by the throat slit. A chokeslam gets two on Kane and it’s table time. Kane sits up this time though and shoves the table over before the AA can connect. Instead he sends Cena through the table in the corner for two. Rather than going after Cena even more, it’s another table being set up instead. The chokeslam is countered into an AA through the table to give Cena the pin at 14:02.
Rating: C. I’m still not interested in seeing Cena vs. Kane but at least they’re doing something else to set up the match than the usual stuff. That being said, Cena acting like Undertaker is some horrible person for wanting to retire because Cena wants a match at Wrestlemania is flimsy at best. This was perfectly fine for a house show main event.
Post match Cena wants to know where the lightning is. He calls Undertaker a coward again because there’s no response. Cena is willing to go to Wrestlemania as a fan because all he wants is SOMETHING from Undertaker. There’s just one week left to go because Undertaker has one week left to do something and define his career. Oh good grief. Anyway Cena wants him here next week because it’s Undertaker’s last chance.
Overall Rating: C+. This week was mainly about advancing the stories that were already set up and I’m getting more and more excited for Wrestlemania every week. There’s a very solid card to be found in there, though stuff like Cena acting as if Undertaker’s career means nothing because he’s old and broken down doesn’t do much for me. The good stuff was good here and they’re getting my interest up, which is all that matters right now.
Nia Jax b. Mickie James – Samoan drop
Cedric Alexander/Mustafa Ali b. TJP/Drew Gulak – 054 to TJP
Asuka b. Jamie Frost – Kick to the head
Braun Strowman b. Sheamus – Powerslam
Anderson and Gallows b. Miztourage – Magic Killer to Axel
Elias b. Rhyno – Drift Away
John Cena b. Kane – Attitude Adjustment through a table
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