Who knows what’s going to happen on the Road To WrestleMania at this point? It’s pretty clear that the final destination in NOLA is going to be Roman Reigns walking away with the WWE Universal Title. The real question is how will he get there?

Braun Strowman is set to figure out who he is partnered up with since Kurt Angle made his decision that he couldn’t compete alone. A possible Superstar return from injury might be the answer to Strowman’s problem.

Matt Hardy is also set to DELETE Bray Wyatt in an Ultimate Deletion match which promises to be absolutely wonderful.

Also, with Asuka headed to SmackDown Live to lock up with Charlotte Flair, something needs to be done with Alexa Bliss and her Raw Women’s Title. All of our questions will soon be answered and so much more as we get right to Raw.

Opening Segment

Kurt Angle opened the show and everybody chanted “you suck” because they love him which would be very confusing to a brand new fan of pro wrestling. So many things would confuse me if I just started watching.

Angle started off with some bad news and said Roman’s suspension is still on and he won’t be there but Lesnar will be there even though he wasn’t there yet.

Then Angle addressed Braun Strowman and suddenly Roman Reigns jumped the barricade from the crowd. If anyone did that who wasn’t a part of the show they would be immediately tackled by security. Then Reigns got in the ring and nobody tried to stop him. Then Angle said he’s trespassing and then he said there are people in the back to take care of that.

Reigns said Lesnar is never there and someone has to represent the main event at Mania which drew a mediocre pop. Kurt said if he wanted to talk then he had to do it outside the building because he was suspended. “Suspended for what?!” Roman asked, “for telling the truth?”

Angle said not to get so jump and he should just wait until Mania and he needs to be patient. He said Roman will have Lesnar in the palm of his hands at WrestleMania 34 and he needs to wait. He said Dallas is special to him and he’s made a lot of memories in the city.

Roman said he understands but he doesn’t care. Then Reigns mentioned that they were in Dallas and the fans loved that. Reigns told Kurt to go back there and talk to whoever he had to and “I’m not leaving my ring until I face Brock Lesnar tonight.”

Then Kurt Angle left while Roman stuck around in the ring with a steel chair in hand.

Security guards came out with US Marshal vests on and they looked legit for local indie talent wearing Halloween costumes. They surrounded Roman in the ring and one of them started reading Roman his Miranda rights. They cuffed Reigns but he wouldn’t let them lead him off.

Reigns started to resist arrest and then he threw elbows at the US Marshals and they all took bumps. They tried to get him again and they all took elbows and bumped again. While still handcuffed, Reigns stomped at one of the Marshals in the corner.

Then Lesnar came out and Reigns was still cuffed. Reigns took a German Suplex while cuffed and then Lesnar smashed him with a chair repeatedly. Then Lesnar hit another German and picked up the chair to bring it down across the Big Dog’s back once again.

He picked Roman up once again and gave him a German Suplex and the crowd was silent. There were scattered boos. But seriously, how much more sympathy could you try to get than to handcuff the guy and have the other dude destroy him?

Brock hit him a few more times with a chair and stood over Roman Reigns before pacing around and walking off to a sea of boos. But when Brock took off his shirt and ran in to hammer at Reigns with a chair some more, people popped.

The Beast Incarnate laid in some more chair shots and another German Suplex to further demolish a defenseless Roman Reigns. Brock went back and the people were happy once more. Finally, Brock Lesnar hit an F5 on Roman and when he roared afterward the people were into it.

“Disgusting,” Michael Cole said. I agree, but for totally different reasons.

The medical staff came down and surrounded Reigns as “you deserve it” chants broke out. They strapped Roman to a backboard and carried him out of the ring.

The medics brought Roman out of the ring and strapped him to a stretcher. Then Lesnar’s music hit once again and he ran down to tip over Reigns and the entire stretcher.

“The US Marshals were quick to get out here when Reigns was trespassing,” Michael Cole said referring to the fact that nobody was stopping Lesnar’s assault.

Then Brock left looking very pleased with himself.

They carted Roman on a stretcher backstage and loaded him into an ambulance while Cole said he’s never seen such a premeditated assault before on Raw which is a bold statement to make.

Alexa Bliss vs Asuka

This match was a non-title match which was a very good thing for Bliss.

Alexa got on the microphone before the match and took a minute to talk because there was immediate heat on them for talking so awfully about Nia Jax last week. Bliss said she didn’t know they had a worldwide audience listening and it was just girl talk and they were joking around.

She said the moment got away from her and she’s sorry. “I sincerely apologize… that I didn’t speak the truth sooner.” Then Bliss turned it around and went the other way with things saying she didn’t have any ounce of remorse. Nia was humiliated in front of the entire world and she loved every second of it.

Bliss said she never liked Nia Jax and only used her. She asked if she really thought someone like Bliss would be friends with someone like her. Bliss said she feels better like she just dropped 300 pounds of sad pathetic loser. That was nice.

Alexa took control early on and kept the pressure on The Empress Of Tomorrow. Mickie James helped by being a diversion at ringside as well. James also helped lay the boots to Asuka after Bliss tossed her to the floor.

Asuka took retaliated and hit a nice sliding knee for a two count. Asuka went to the top rope by Mickie distracted her and Bliss blindsided her. Alexa threw Asuka to the floor again so James could punch her in the face.

Once Asuka returned to the ring, Bliss got her in a headlock but Asuka fought back. Then Alexa went unhinged a little and laid in some punches for a two count but this only seemed to piss Asuka off. So Bliss hurled Asuka down to the floor once more.

Asuka ended up fighting back and locked on a submission onto Bliss’ right ankle. Alexa rolled out of the ring and then James started walking her off. The referee called for the bell and declared Asuka the winner via count out.

Winner: Asuka via count out

Suddenly Nia Jax came out and ran down to steamroll over Mickie James and suddenly Bliss’ ankle seemed much better as Jax chased her around the ring.

Nia Jax tried to catch Bliss but James distracted her as Bliss leaped over the barricade and escaped through the crowd. Then Jax jumped the barricade too and chased after her as they disappeared into the back.

Backstage Segment

Kurt Angle was on his cell phone as always and Bliss walked up demanding that Nia Jax be suspended and/or arrested. Kurt said he’s tired of this and he heard what she said last week including the rest of the world including his daughters.

Then he booked Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax at Mania for Bliss’ title. It didn’t seem to register with Alexa right off but seemed to sink in that she’s in trouble.

Braun Strowman’s WrestleMania Decision

Strowman came down and stood in the ring for a second while people chanted “get these hands.”

Braun said he won the tag team battle royal by himself by carving a path of destruction and now he’s going to Mania. But management informed him that he had to have a partner. Strowman said he didn’t think he needed a partner, “matter of fact I know I can win those tag title by myself. Because I am the Monster Among–” suddenly, The Bar came down to cut him off.

Sheamus told him to hang on because he’s out of his mind if he thinks he can beat both of them by himself. After all, throwing opponents over the top rope is different than defeating the best tag team in WWE.

Cesaro said becoming a good tag team doesn’t happen over night they have to be on the road together, they have to eat togehter, they have to workout together, they have to sleep together and the Dallas crowd took that the wrong way which was certainly written that way which was odd in a day and age of LGBTQA acceptance in WWE. But they still got taunted for saying that. Then Cesaro said that means they get hotel rooms together.

Braun told them to shut the hell up and Sheamus said, “how dare you?!” He said they’ve beaten every tag team on Raw and Strowman and his partner will be no different.

Then Braun said Braun gets a match with one of them right now because Kurt Angle said so. “Which one of you two wants to get these hands?!” Braun yelled as Sheamus and Cesaro both got in the ring.

But Sheamus didn’t get in and Cesaro was caught in this match.

Braun Strowman vs Cesaro

Braun tossed Ceasro around the ring and hit a running clothesline in the corner. Then Braun tossed him into the other corner which sent him flipping over the ropes and outside the ring.

Once Cesaro returned to the ring, Braun beat up Cesaro some more and tossed him over the top rope once more but Cesaro jumped up that time and pulled Braun’s neck over the top rope and jumped in the ring to hit a springboard forearm.

Braun reversed a Neutralizer and then landed a huge right hand off of a springboard from Cesaro. The Swiss Cyborg rolled under the ring to escape as Strowman rolled outside too and ran around the ring to tackle Sheamus who came to check on his buddy.

Once they returned to the ring, Cesaro hit an uppercut but Braun caught him off of a middle rope cross body block which he turned into a running powerslam. 1-2-3 and that was all she wrote.

Winner: Braun Strowman via those hands

Matt Hardy was shown in his compound while the House Of Hardy surrounded a grand piano while Queen Rebecca played a song. King Maxel and Lord Wolfgang were there as well. Hardy started Vanguard 1 saying to scan the compound and he told Senor Benjamin to prepare the battlefield. I’ll bet they all got paid to do this segment which must have been nice for a change.

The Revival vs Titus Worldwide

Titus was doing pretty good until he was going for Clash Of The Titus and was chopblocked.

Dawson kept on the pressure with some punches and cut the ring in half on O’Neal.

They soon hit the Shatter Machine on Apollo and got the win. It might not be too much, but at least Dash and Dawson are on Raw and winning.

Winners: The Revival

After the match was over, they cut a promo about their path to WrestleMania. Wilder said there’s no tag team more qualified than they are to challenge for the Raw Tag Team Titles. They said Strowman is stepping into their world so they’re stepping into his by becoming the first tag team to ever win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Bayley and Sasha Banks vs Absolution

Banks came out with a microphone and said she was always told that when she had a problem you confront them and deal with it face to face. Royal Rumble was different because it was every woman for themselves. Then she said she’ll win the Women’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania meaning she’s in that match.

She said Bayley was her best friend and she never wanted to betray them. Then she said Bayley wasn’t trying to help her when she left her high and dry. “But since I’m the bigger person and I consider you as my sister, I forgive you.”

Bayley got a mic of her own and said, “the night after Elimination Chamber in our tag match I was angry I acted impulsively and the following week I actually helped you win.” She said that she took off because she can’t get over what she did to her at the Elimination Chamber. It’s not about what she did but about how she did it.

Bayley said she gets it, but she was still hurt and it was about the look on Banks’ face after she kicked Bayley off the pod in the chamber keeps getting to Bayley. The Hugger got in Banks’ face a little while asking her how it looked like it meant nothing and then Absolution came out.

Paige said she’s sorry to interrupt but it’s time for their match. Now she’s going to show her how real women settle the score.

Absolution took control early on and sent Sasha Banks crashing to the floor while they celebrated a bit in the ring.

Bayley maintained control over Rose for a bit and smashed her against the turnbuckle several times before throwing her to the mat and driving an elbow into her spine for a two count.

Banks took the tag and so did Deville where Sonya slapped on some body scissors on The Boss and kept her down. Deville slammed Banks down for a two count before tagging Mandy back in.

Rose landed a jumping knee to Sasha’s face for a two count and locked her in an abdominal stretch. Absolution tagged in and out quickly as Banks took all the damage. But Sasha fought back and crawled toward the corner.

Bayley didn’t even reach her arm out and Deville dragged Banks back. Bayley finally got the tag and then she rallied for a big on Sonya Deville.

Bayley hit an elbow off the middle turnbuckle and pinned but Rose broke it up. Sasha distracted the referee while Bayley rolled Mandy up for a pin but the referee didn’t see it. Bayley got in Banks’ face and then Deville shoved Bayley into Banks and landed a kick to the head for the win.

Winner: Absolution via pinfall

John Cena’s Path To WrestleMania

“Today’s the day I make peace with Michael Cole,” Cena came out before walking over to high five The Coach at commentary instead.

Cena name dropped Dallas and said everything’s bigger in Texas. He brought up his Mania challenge for Taker and that he gave him a choice, yes or no.

Cena said tonight we all find out The Undertaker’s response. Cena said he finds it amazing that Taker’s been in hiding for so long because he is embarrassed. He said Taker thinks that fans think that he doesn’t belong in the ring which Cena says is ridiculous.

John said as long as there is a WWE, The Undertaker will be a name.

But before he got to Taker’s response he asked the crowd what they thought and everyone obviously wants this to happen. Cena pointed out a guy in the crowd who was dressed as The Undertaker in 1996.

Then Cena said his response for Mania is nothing but silence from The Dead Man. “Not a yes, not a no…. nothing and that is the biggest mistake The Undertaker has ever made.”

Cena said he doesn’t mind going to Mania as a fan and he would love to face Taker but to receive no reply is disrespectful.

Cena said after all of the fans have given him everything they have he can’t find it to give them a yes or a no, then he paused to let the crowd build into an “Undertaker” chant while Cena held up his microphone. “Dude, if you’re retired then say no and everyone understands but if you’re not, dammit man say yes and give the world what they wanna see.”

Cena said Taker lets his insecurities run him and that makes him a coward. Then he repeated it once again and begged to be proved wrong.

He said he didn’t even need a yes or no, “do some of that stupid stuff you do — roll a casket out here.” Cena said, “do something!” While the crowd started chanting “do something” as well.

He said Taker isn’t a god and he shouldn’t be able to call himself a man. Suddenly, Kane showed up much to everyone’s surprise.

Cena said Taker had to send Kane to give everyone the response they deserve. “Is it yes or is it no?” Cena asked.

Kane just stood there looking like a demon and then he chokeslammed John Cena before backing up and walking away. Neat!

The Miz and Miztourage vs Balor Club

The Miz cut a promo about how he gets no respect. Then The Miz held up the WrestleMania magazine and complained about how he’s on the cover and in singles’ matches. Life’s not fair and The Miz can’t get any respect.

The Miz said he exposed Finn Balor and Seth Rollins last week as liars and all it took was a little nudge but at Mania that little nudge will turn into a big shove for “Tyler Black and Prince Devitt” and he would send them back to the bingo halls. Then The Balor Club came out to hut him up.

Seth Rollins came out as well and The Miz didn’t see that coming as The Architect joined the commentary team.

These two teams found pretty hard and tagged in and out very well until The Miztourage gained control.

They found back and forth until Finn Balor rolled The Miz up for the pin.

Winner: The Miz and Miztourage via pinfall

After the match was over, the assault continued. Rollins ran in for the save and ran off Dallas and Axel before hitting a Blackout to The Miz.

Rollins and Balor stared each other down standing on either side of an unconscious A-Lister

Earlier Today At The Hardy Compound

Matt was on the Lake O Reincarnation on his boat Skarsgård. It was simply delightful!

The Ultimate Deletion

Hardy and Wyatt stood in the ring as the match started. Bray and Matt circled each other and laughed. Matt said time for laughter is over and they locked up.

Vanguard 1 flew overhead as they fought on in the ring. Hardy hit a side Russian legsweep for a two count and then he started his DELETE chant.

Hardy escaped a Sister Abigail but was put down with a right hand as Bray yelled, “I’m a god! Where are my manners? I forgot to give you a housewarming gift.” Then Bray ot a steel chair.

“Vanguard 1 initiate!” Hardy yelled as Vanguard 1 started raining fireworks down on the ring.

Matt took the chair to Bray Wyatt a couple of times before The Eater Of Worlds rolled out of the ring and left. They entered the Dilapidated City as Bray kicked Hardy down.

“Bray Wyatt, does this remind you of anything?” Hardy asked as he was reminded of his old shack that Randy Orton burned down this time last year.

While Wyatt was dreaming about his old home where Sister Abigail was buried, Hardy whacked him across the back with a kendo stick. Suddenly, Bray started picturing the fire of his old shack burning to the ground and he started to scream.

They entered the Land Of Obsolete Men while Hardy kept hiding behind different statues but he never hit Hardy. It was quite awesome how they played with the camera speed during this little bit of business.

Then Bray attacked Hardy in the forest and shoved him against a tree. Bray kicked Matt down and hit him with a tree branch for a two count.

Bray launched Matt into a storage shed and it opened to reveal the Dome Of Deletion complete with white grand piano and a ring. Matt crawled in as Bray followed. He tried to hit a sideslam on the piano, but Hardy blocked it.

Then Matt grabbed a ladder and shoved it into Bray Wyatt. This only made Bray mad as Matt did it again. “Welcome to the Dome Of Deletion!” Hardy exclaimed as he drove the ladder into Bray’s body once more.

Hardy laughed while he talked to a wheelchair and a lawnmower. Finally, he decided to get on the lawn mower and attempt to mow over Wyatt but Bray sprung up in his spider walk and then got up to kick Matt off the lawnmower. Bray rubbed Matt’s face against the front of the lawn mower before rolling him into the ring.

Matt took a kick from the apron and then Bray hit a DDT for a two count. Wyatt cradled Hardy in his arms while he rocked on the ground and talked about his Ultimate Deletion. “Let’s go home Matt,” Bray said while he dragged Hardy away, “let’s finish it, Matt.”

As Vanguard 1 scanned for subject, it aquired Bray Wyatt as a target as he kicked Matt at the bank of the Lake Of Reincarnation. Matt tried to crawl toward his trusty boat but he was stopped.

Bray was about to hit a Sister Abigail but Vanguard 1 flew down. Bray grabbed him and said, “I’ll deal with you later” before letting him go.

Suddenly, Matt was gone so Bray flipped over the boat to reveal Senor Benjamin laying there who tossed a ball to Bray shaped like the Earth, “he’s got the whole world in his hands” he said as Brother Nero popped up and sang a little bit of the song too.

Then Matt hit a Twist Of Fate and won. Bray started to crawl off as hardy grabbed a paddle and then he pushed Wyatt into the Lake Of Reincarnation.

Hardy told Senor Benjamin to retrieve Bray’s body from the Lake Of Reincarnation but his body wasn’t there. “Delightful! The Great War is over! Bray Wyatt has been deleted!” Hardy yelled as he repeated “DELETE” over and over again.

That was most excellent.





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Aaron Varble hasn’t just been writing for more than a decade in various formats including sketch comedy, stand up, television, radio, and other various projects; nor is he just another professional wrestling fan with a master's degree in journalism and Tourette’s syndrome. He's always looking to explore the why not with the why and the how come along with the how. Follow on Twitter @TheVarble