It’s all about Roman Reigns this week as, despite being “temporarily suspended”, Reigns enters through the crowd to interrupt Kurt Angle and talk more smack about Brock Lesnar. However, as he is “trespassing”, a whole bunch of “U.S. Marshals” come out to “arrest” him. Reigns decides that he wants five to ten in the pen and beats them all up as they handcuff him…and then Brock Lesnar comes out and murders Reigns. Literally. Handcuffed, Reigns is defenceless against Lesnar’s chair shots, German Suplexes, and F5s. Reigns ends up being stretchered out…so Lesnar comes out again and tips over his stretcher! This was awesome but, probably, not for the reasons the WWE wanted; the crowd absolutely loved seeing Lesnar murder Reigns and kick the crap out of him. I’m pretty certain Lesnar could F5 Reigns’ daughter and still get cheered over the golden boy.
After Alexa Bliss trolls the crowd with a fake apology to Nia Jax, she has to put up and shut up against Asuka. Asuka almost had the match one but Mickie James came out and convinced Alexa that discretion is the better part of valour and the took the count-out loss, which is good as I’d rather not see the Raw Women’s Champion be decimated before WrestleMania. However, why the hell is Asuka still on Raw? If she’s challenging Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania then she should have jumped to SmackDown! Live, surely? Isn’t that what Chris Benoit Steven Richards did back in the day?
Braun Strowman is told that, due to last week, he needs to find a partner in order to actually have the Raw tag Team Championship match he earned. Braun disagreed and Sheamus and Cesaro basically told him it wouldn’t matter as he can’t beat them. to illustrate that point, Cesaro took Strowman on in singles action which, despite the distraction of Sheamus, ended with Strowman plating Cesaro and taking the win. Honestly, I did not expect Strowman to randomly fall into the tag team scene but, if given the right partner (imagine Samoa Joe, if he was well enough!), this could be a fun little side-note for him before he eventually dethrones Roman Reigns after WrestleMania.
The Revival then completely decimated Titus Worldwide, completely pissing all over that nonsense push Titus O’Neil and Apollo got towards the Raw tag Team Championships. Then, because they didn’t win that tag team battle royale last week, they decide to enter the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale at WrestleMania because, apparently, someone got the scripts for the Revival and Strowman mixed up.
Sasha Banks tries to make amends with Bayley, seeming a bit like a two-faced cow to me (not that I’m biased…) and they end up team up, again, against Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose in yet another done-to-death match. This time, however, Bayley’s pin fall is missed by the referee, so she ends up arguing with Sasha; Deville pushes them into each other, wallops Bayley with a kick, and takes the win.
John Cena is absolutely livid that the Undertaker has not yet accepted his WrestleMania challenge; he goes off on one, basically called the Undertaker an old, broken down coward and daring him to prove him wrong. Kane shows up and Chokeslams his ass, setting up a match between the two for next week. I love how, whenever anyone challenges the Undertaker, they have to face Kane first. I’m okay with that, to a degree, though it makes Kane look a bit like a lap-dog, as long as Undertaker has some kind of presence before the big WrestleMania match.
The Miz, with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, goes on his own rant, demanding respect for carrying Raw this last year, so Finn Balor, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows take them on in the WWE’s traditional six-man tag team match. When was the last time that the Balor Club actually teamed up like this? I thought that, in all the excitement of the Seth Rollins/Balor/Miz fiasco, the WWE had forgotten that they teamed these guys all up not that long ago. As before, teaming with Balor makes the Club credible and strong, so they got the win but, when the Miz-tourage attacked Balor afterwards, it was Rollins who made the save.
Michael Cole apologises in advance for this week’s main event: Final de-LEEEET-ion, between Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt!
Bray arrives at the Hardy Compound and is greeted by Vanguard1 while Reby Hardy ominously plays away on her piano. Wyatt makes it to Matt’s ring and the brawl begins. When Bray goes for a chair, Vanguard1 blasts at him with fireworks, allowing Matt to take control with the chair and the fight to spill into the woods. The two engage in a little hide-and-seek before reaching the Dome of Deletion; after some deliberation, Matt attempts to run Bray over with a lawnmower (!) but Bray manages to fight his win into the dominant position, bringing the battle to the Lake of Reincarnation. Bray swats Vanguard1 aside and finds Senor Benjamin hiding inside Skarsgard; he tosses him a globe and starts singing “He’s got the whole world in his hands”; Brother Nero pops up, also singing the song, allowing Matt to his the Twist of Fate and win. Afterwards, Matt shoves Wyatt into the Lake and he mysteriously disappears!
Honestly, I fully expected the WWE the screw this up. When it was done in Impact Wrestling, it was so ludicrously over the top and insane that it seemed like the WWE, with all their corporate sponsorship and tendency to ruin things that are fun, would never be able to match. Indeed, the times they did try fell very flat so this was surprisingly fun and absurd. Given Jeff Hardy’s recent DWI, I did not expect him to show up here, so I hope this leads to a course-correction with the Broken Hardys helping out Raw’s flailing tag division.
Apparently, this is all a convoluted way of rebooting or resetting Bray Wyatt’s character and I disagree with that. In actual fact, I think he should have won the match! However, if it leads to Wyatt coming back focused, maybe even leading a new stable (or SAnitY) and getting a proper push towards the main event in a Lesnar-less Raw then I’m all for it; remember, this time last year Wyatt was the WWE Champion!
The rumours are true: Daniel Bryan is 100% medically cleared to wrestle! Bryan opens with the specifics of this emotional revelation and says he doesn’t know when he’ll be back in the ring but, come on, surely the WWE have known that he is capable of wrestling again and have purposely saved this announcement to build more hype for WrestleMania. As happy I am at the prospect of Bryan wrestling again, I have to be a bit cautious; after all, the last time he was medically cleared, he ended up having to forfeit the Intercontinental Championship and retiring. I really hope that Bryan doesn’t push himself too hard or get too carried away; he needs to slow down his ring style, focus on the technical work, and be used sparingly as one bad bump could mean disaster. At the same time, we cold potentially see Daniel Bryan vs. Kurt Angle at some point down the line, all going well!
It’s a Fastlane rematch next as Shinsuke Nakamura takes on Rusev. This was a much shorter and less developed encounter between these two, which was disappointing, and resulted in Nakamura rolling Rusev up for a surprise pin fall. Afterwards, Rusev and Aiden English attack Nakamura; AJ Styles came out to make the save but too so long that Nakamura just saved himself. Interesting that the WWE is once again have AJ straddle the line between face and heel like that; either way, though, people always cheer for Styles and, once they’re in the ring together, alignments won’t matter. The big issue at the moment is the rumour that Styles has an injury; hopefully, he’s kept healthy enough to steal the show as I expect him to at WrestleMania.
Tye Dillinger is back on television…with no entrance or music…in a match against Baron Corbin….which he lost. Wow. Apparently, Vince McMahon doesn’t like Dillinger’s “Perfect Ten” gimmick and shit like this really isn’t helping him to get any traction. Honestly, if you’re not happy with people chanting “Ten!” over and over, change his music and tweak his character a bit to faze it out; don’t just make him a jobber and cut off all of his momentum! This guy should be having blockbuster matches for the United States Championship rather than being buried.
Charlotte Flair took on Natalya to continue another of the WWE’s never-ending feuds in what was, to be fair, a pretty decent match. Carmella even remembered that she has the briefcase and tried to do a cash in but Charlotte cut her off; however, Natalya took advantage of the distraction to steal the win. Apparently, the plan is for Asuka to beat Charlotte and go undefeated until next year’s WrestleMania so…I guess Carmella will either lose her cash in attempt at some point or, possibly, jump to Raw?
Harper takes on Jimmy Uso, with Jey and Rowan at ringside, to help keep interest in the three-way match for the SmackDown! Live tag Team Championship match alive. This was, actually, what I like and wanted to see; Jimmy is almost never in single action and should excel in his tag team, whereas Harper is a former Intercontinental Champion (remember that? What a waste of time that was) and has had a bit of a singles run before (remember that? What a waste of time that was!) so he should go over in a one-on-one situation. Plus, the Bludgeon Brothers need to dominate to justify being placed in the title picture and that was exactly what happened here.
After Jinder Mahal, Bobby Roode, and Randy Orton had a bit of a verbal back-and-forth and a bit of a brawl, Naomi and Becky Lynch were next in line to face Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan. They won in barely three minutes, all apparently in the name of building hype for the women’s battle Royale at WrestleMania. News flash: blink-and-you’ll-miss-it matches between four people we’ve seen fight countless times it not a great way to build interest to any match, much less a clusterfuck battle royale.
Finally, Bryan returns to the ring to address Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and their attack on Shane McMahon last week. Although they find the footage amusing and hope for change now that Shane is out of the picture, Bryan fires them because of their actions. They react by attacking him! Bryan fight back but the numbers overwhelm him; Owens hits the Superkick, Zayn the Helluva Kick, and then they chuck him outside so Owens can hit the Apron Powerbomb and Bryan can get stretchered out. So I guess it really will be Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at WrestleMania which would be great…if fucking Shane McMahon wasn’t involved in the match! Either way, it was very brave of Bryan to take this beating and the apron spot considering everything I talked about earlier. Take my advice, D-Bry, and calm it down!