Monday Night Raw
Date: March 19, 2018
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
We’re down to three weeks left before Wrestlemania and there’s a lot left to do. One such thing is Ultimate Deletion, which takes place tonight instead of at Wrestlemania in a smart move. The problem is that’s going to be a lot of TV time that could be used for something bigger, though I’m curious to see how this translates to WWE TV. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Kurt Angle to open things up and he has some bad news: Roman Reigns will not be here tonight due to his suspension and Brock Lesnar isn’t here yet. Angle goes to talk about the tag team battle royal but here’s Roman Reigns through the crowd. Kurt warns him that security is waiting but Roman doesn’t care. Someone has to be here to represent the main event of Wrestlemania since Brock isn’t showing up.
They yell at each other with Reigns saying he’s not going anywhere and getting a chair. Angle waves it off and leaves so here are the US Marshals, one of which pulls out a card and gives him the Miranda rights. Reigns is handcuffed but they make the mistake of grabbing his arms and the beating is on. Reigns stands tall and CUE LESNAR!
The beatdown is on in a hurry with Brock throwing German suplexes and beating the heck out of him with the chair. An F5 leaves Reigns laying and here’s a stretcher to come get Roman. He’s strapped on but Brock comes back again and shoves the stretcher over. Reigns is left laying after a very strong segment that this match needed.
We recap last week’s issues between Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. Bliss didn’t realize a camera was on and ran her mouth, calling Nia huge and stupid. Nia was crushed and tried to take out Bliss and Mickie James but they bailed in time.
Here are Alexa and Mickie to call what was said last week girl talk. Alexa got carried away and said some things that she shouldn’t have. She apologizes….that she didn’t speak the truth sooner. Bliss didn’t lose an ounce of sleep or lose an ounce of remorse because she never liked Nia. It feels like she’s lost 300lbs of loser and now it’s time to end the streak.
Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka
Non-title. Joined in progress with Bliss bending the neck around the ropes and pounding Bliss down. Asuka tries a legsweep but gets dropkicked down for two instead. Bliss avoids a charge against the ropes and the running hip attack….looks a bit awkward with Bliss bouncing to the side instead of backwards. A sliding knee looks better and drops Bliss for two but Mickie offers a distraction.
Bliss knees her to the floor so Mickie can get in a cheap shot. Back from a break with Bliss getting two off a sunset bomb. Bliss misses her standing moonsault and gets kneed down for two. An ankle lock has Bliss in trouble until she crawls out to the floor. Bliss takes a walk and it’s a countout at 11:56.
Rating: C-. This was rather sloppy at times and the ending wasn’t the best in the world. You can only get so far with one of them walking out for a countout but that’s the best course of action with both of them in major matches at Wrestlemania. Bliss is definitely getting better in the ring, though some of her selling here was hit and miss.
Post match, with Bliss still in the aisle, here’s Nia Jax to chase Bliss down. Alexa scurries away but can’t get into the crowd. Mickie’s save earns her a whip into the apron and Bliss escapes. Nia chases her down again and they run to the back.
Post break Bliss asks Angle to have Nia arrested. That’s a big negative so the title match is on for Wrestlemania.
Here’s Braun Strowman to address winning the battle royal. He’s been told that he has to have a partner to challenge for the titles, even though he thinks he can win them on his own. Cue the Bar to mock the idea of Strowman winning, but Braun says he has a partner to challenge for the titles. As for now though, Strowman gets to face one of them. Both of them get on the apron but Sheamus does a head fake and only Cesaro gets in.
Cesaro vs. Braun Strowman
Cesaro gets thrown into the corner for some right hands (these hands I believe) and we take a break. Back with Cesaro getting in a right hand to the face but having a suplex reversed into a new powerslam. That’s broken up though and Strowman is low bridged to the floor. A dropkick through the ropes staggers Strowman and he misses a charge into the post. Cesaro’s springboard spinning uppercut has Strowman in trouble bu the second attempt is knocked out of the air. Sheamus offers a distraction and gets run over, followed by the running powerslam to end Cesaro at 8:40.
Rating: C. Better match here as Cesaro got in some offense, as he should have. Strowman getting a pin clean like that is a nice move for him, though winning the titles needs to be a must. You can only have him slip on a banana peel so many times before it stops working and Strowman is running out of chances.
We go to the Hardy Compound where Rebecca, with Wolfgang on her back, is playing the piano. Senor Benjamin is told to prepare for annihilation.
Revival vs. Titus Worldwide
Neither team gets an entrance. Clash of the Titus is broken up with a dropkick and Wilder drops Dawson into a legdrop on O’Neil for two. The hot tag brings in Apollo to clean house, including the jumping clothesline into a standing moonsault for two. A small package gets two on Dawson but Wilder pulls Titus to the floor. That means a dive from Apollo but Dawson sneaks in a blind tag, setting up the Shatter Machine for the pin at 3:10.
Rating: C-. Nice while it lasted but I’m not sure what there is to win at this point. I like seeing Revival win, though what exactly do they have to get ready for right now? The battle royal maybe? It’s nice to see the Revival win though and that’s more than they’ve been able to say in recent weeks.
Post match the Revival is asked what they’re doing next. They’re the best team to challenge for the titles but now they’re entering Strowman’s world by entering the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Mark Henry Hall of Fame video.
Here’s Bayley for a match but hang on a second as here’s Sasha to explain her actions over the last few months. She was trying to win the title, not betray Bayley. Last week, Bayley wasn’t trying to win a match when she walked away. Banks is willing to forgive her though and extends a hand but Bayley grabs a mic instead. Yeah she walked away last week because she can’t get over what Sasha did at Elimination Chamber. Sasha was smiling when she knocked Bayley down like it meant nothing. Cue Absolution to interrupt though and the match is on.
Bayley/Sasha Banks vs. Sonya Deville/Mandy Rose
Banks gets in a slap but is thrown outside with Bayley joining her as we take a break. Back with Bayley sending Rose face first into the buckle over and over before hitting the running elbow to the back. Sasha tags herself in to count two though and gets stomped down in the corner for her efforts.
Mandy gets two off a sliding knee and the stomping continues. A charge misses and Sasha crawls over to Bayley, whose arm isn’t stretched out. Instead Banks gets knocked into the corner and Bayley tags herself in to start cleaning house. A middle rope elbow gets two as everything breaks down. Bayley’s backslide gets a delayed two on Sonya as the referee is trying to get rid of Banks. Deville sends them into each other though and kicks Bayley down for the pin at 10:00.
Rating: D+. Storyline advancement instead of a match here and that’s fine. It seems that we’re heading for Bayley and Sasha in the battle royal instead of having a singles match and I think I’m ok with that. It’s either have a short Wrestlemania match or be on the pre-show otherwise so let them do the showdown later, maybe even at the next pay per view or the Raw after Wrestlemania. Still though, the story works.
Here’s John Cena to find out what Undertaker is going to do at Wrestlemania. Cena issued a challenge last week and now it’s time to find out what he has to say. He can’t believe that Undertaker doesn’t know he still has a place here because if there’s still a WWE, the name Undertaker still has meaning. There’s even a man in the crowd dressed like the Undertaker right now. Well hang on because the response to the challenge is….nothing.
There hasn’t been a yes or a no and that’s the biggest mistake Undertaker has ever made. Cena calls it disrespectful to everyone in this arena who gets up and cheers when they head about the Undertaker. It’s disrespectful to everyone who took an oversized mortician and turned him into a god. Without the people, there’s no Streak and there’s no Undertaker. After these people have given Undertaker everything they have, he can’t give them a yes or a no?
If you’re retired then say you’re retired but if you’re in then say you’re in. The man that Undertaker has become is a coward. Just do something, even if it’s “some of that stupid stuff you do.” Roll a casket out here or light something on fire but DO SOMETHING! Fans: “DO SOMETHING!” Cue Kane, with new music, to chokeslam Cena without saying a word. I know the match is almost a guarantee, but they’re cutting it ridiculously close with this build.
We recap the opening segment. Reigns has been taken to a medical facility.
Back to the Hardy Compound with Matt asking George Washington (a giraffe) for advice.
Here’s the Miztourage for a match against Balor Club but beforehand, Miz complains about his lack of respect. His face isn’t even on the Wrestlemania magazine because there’s no respect. Miz can’t even get a singles match for the title and wants to know if he’s the bad guy. If you buy the Finn Balor and Seth Rollins action figures, it doesn’t make them superstars. Last week Miz showed how much they wanted to hurt each other. At Wrestlemania, Miz will show “Tyler Black and Prince Nevitt” how things work around here so they can go back to the bingo halls and Too Sweet all the indy fans.
Miztourage vs. Anderson and Gallows/Finn Balor
Hang on though as here’s Rollins to do commentary and we take a break before the opening bell. Joined in progress with Gallows hammering on Axel before it’s off to Balor to armbar Dallas. Miz comes in and knees Balor in the ribs, followed by the left hands to the head. A basement dropkick cuts Axel down but Miz keeps Balor in trouble.
That allows Miz to do Balor’s pose and that’s just too much. Balor gets over to corner for a tag to Anderson so house can be cleaned. A high crossbody gets two on Axel and we take a break with Miz and company in trouble. Back with Balor clotheslining him to the floor, setting up a HUGE flip dive. The Coup de Grace is broken up but the Skull Crushing Finale is turned into a rollup for two. Instead Miz is kicked into Dallas for the pin at 10:07.
Rating: C-. Another match designed to advance the stories here and that’s all well and good. The triple threat should be fun and you can pencil in the other four for spots in the battle royal. I’d bet on Miz retaining but there’s a real chance for either of them to pull it off, which is all you could ask for.
Post match the beatdown is on but Rollins comes down for the save. Miz takes the curb stomp and Balor isn’t sure what to do.
Matt laid in Skarsgard (the boat) earlier today.
Long video on Ronda Rousey’s path to Wrestlemania.
Bray Wyatt has arrived at the gates of the Hardy Compound, which open without a touch. Vanguard I greets him and says it’s time for music. A piano is heard and Bray follows the sound to a ring where Matt is waiting. Matt knew Bray would come and we take a break
Colo apologizes for what we’re about to see.
Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt
They do some wrestling to start with Matt getting two off a neckbreaker and promising to DELETE Bray. An early Sister Abigail attempt is broken up so Bray hits his hard clothesline. He grabs a chair from underneath the ring (Why would Bray know that was there???) but Matt tells Vanguard I to initiate. That means it’s time for fireworks (how I’ve missed them) and Bray is freaked out, allowing Matt to chair him down.
They fight to a wooden building and Bray drops to his knees with a smile on his face. We see glimpses of Bray’s own compound but he takes a kendo stick away from Matt and rams him into the wall. Another vision of his own compound burning scares Bray so Matt escapes to a group of his symbols planted in the ground like tombstones. A branch to the back gets two on Matt and Bray throws him into a metal door.
The door pops open to reveal a large area, including a ring, a piano and a riding mower. Matt escapes a Rock Bottom through the piano and beats on Bray with a ladder. With Bray down, Matt talks to an old wheel chair (chair of wheels) and the mower of lawns before getting on the latter. With Ode to Joy playing, Bray spiders up and smiles at him. Bray sends Matt into the apron and gets punched in the head a lot.
Wyatt says this is his ultimate deletion and drags Matt outside towards the Lake of Reincarnation. Vanguard comes at Bray but he grabs the handles and throws it away. Matt is gone so Bray throws Skarsgard over, only to find Senor Benjamin with a globe. That’s thrown to Bray, who now has the whole world in his hands. Cue Jeff Hardy for a distraction though and a Twist of Fate pins Bray at 13:23.
Rating: N/A. There’s no way to rate this as a match but for what it was, it worked very well. It felt like one of the TNA matches (of course with a bigger budget) and that’s not a bad thing for once. Bray losing again was pretty clear as you don’t want to waste the compound’s debut. I could have gone for more insanity but what we got worked very well. Now where do they go from here?
Post match Bray gets up and says it’s not over. Matt shoves him into the lake and then calls Benjamin over to get him out. There’s no Bray though, which Matt declares delightful because Great War is over. Bray Wyatt has been deleted. Matt celebrates to end the show as I wonder if Bray is dead.
Overall Rating: C+. The more I think about it, the more I’m liking the build to Wrestlemania….outside of Undertaker vs. Cena that is. They’ve got some interesting matches built up and I’m not sure who wins some of them, which is a nice feeling to have going into the pay per view. Tonight’s show set up some more stuff with a very good opening and a good closing, though I’m not sure where some of the pieces are going to fall into place. They need to finalize things soon and I’m not sure they have time to get everywhere they need to go in time. Still though, tonight was a good step.
Asuka b. Alexa Bliss via countout
Braun Strowman b. Cesaro – Running powerslam
Revival b. Titus Worldwide – Shatter Machine to Apollo
Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville b. Bayley/Sasha Banks – Kick to the head to Bayley
Finn Balor/Anderson and Gallows b. Miztourage – Rollup to Miz
Matt Hardy b. Bray Wyatt – Twist of Fate
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