We’re less than two weeks away from WrestleMania and things are really starting to take shape for the Raw Brand. With Roman Reigns’ bullseye set on Brock Lesnar, it seems to only be a matter of time before the Big Dog gets his paws on the Beast Incarnate.

Ronda Rousey was in the house for Cleveland as well and it’s anybody’s guess what will happen to her on the Road To WrestleMania.

John Cena is also after The Undertaker and squared off against his brother in an attempt to stir up The Phenom after Kane rushed him last week during Cena’s questionable promo.

Braun Strowman is also without a tag team partner for the Show Of Shows even though he’s in the Raw Tag Team Title match against The Bar. There are also plenty of questions about what is next for Bray Wyatt after being thrown into the Lake Of Reincarnation last week as well.

Only time will tell, but let’s get right into it because WWE stacked a big show on the way to the Grandest Stage Of Them All in NOLA.

Opening Segment

Brock Lesnar’s music hit up the arena and the places roared when he came out alongside his advocate.

Heyman said not even his articulation matches a visualization of Brock Lesnar destroying Brock Lesnar while the Big Dog was handcuffed by “US Marshals.” Upon seeing it again, I can totally recognize Ricky Starks and I don’t know why I didn’t notice it last week.

Heyman then broke some exclusive news when he said Reigns’ suspension has been lifted. This brought a little grin to Lesnar’s face as he stepped in place. Then Heyman said Roman wasn’t there so he won’t be interrupting him.

Heyman said Reigns’ family didn’t raise him to be a man. He said that no matter whether he’s advertised that he still shows up. Well, Roman’s advertised but he didn’t show up.

Heyman said Reigns isn’t man enough to take the Universal Title away from the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Champion Brock Lesnar… and suddenly the crowd started to get very happy because Roman Reigns was walking to the ring through the crowd.

Roman picked up a chair and walked up to the ring, but Lesnar got out and wrecked him with a clothesline. But Reigns ducked out of the way when Brock grabbed him and sent the Beast Incarnate into the ring post.

Reigns rocked Lesnar with the chair a couple of times and went for a Superman Punch off of the ring steps but Brock caught him and executed a belly to belly suplex. Then Lesnar whacked Reigns with the steps and tossed them into the ring. Reigns soon followed into the ring and Lesnar paced around the ring, picking up a chair in the process.

Reigns got to his feet just in time for Lesnar to demolish him again with the steel ring steps. Brock bent the chair over Reigns’ back a few more times and he didn’t look finished yet.

“One more time,” the crowd chanted before Brock whacked Reigns with the chair one more time before exiting the ring.

Although Lesnar’s music was playing and Heyman had already handed him the universal title, Brock decided to go back into the ring. He nearly killed Roman Reigns with an F5 onto the steel ring steps and posed on top of them before exiting while looking very pleased with himself.

Nia Jax vs Mickie James

They played the footage of Bliss and James getting caught backstage spilling the tea about Nia Jax before this match started to really get Nia going. She wanted a piece of them both but had to settle for Mickie James tonight.

Jax pushed James down right off the bat as Bliss stood motionless at ringside. Then Nia shoved her out of the ring while the referee told her to ease up.

The action spilled out onto the floor where Bliss distracted Bliss giving James the chance to knock her down. James got back in the ring and rushed Jax as she was getting in.

Then James started focusing her assault on Nia Jax’s knee for a bit until Jax slammed her. Nia missed a leg drop but kicked out of the pinfall attempt after James hit a sliding clothesline.

James got on the top rope and Nia Jax plucked her off and hit a Samoan Drop for the win.

Winner: Nia Jax via pinfall

After the match, Bliss snuck in the ring and hit Jax but she no sold it. Jax just looked at her and Bliss ran.

Nia Jax stood in the ring and yelled at Alexa saying, “I’ll see you at WrestleMania you little b-tch!” which they were totally late with the bleep button on catching before it went live.

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon Promo Package

They played a highlight video of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon training since we’ve received a ton of videos hyping Rousey and Angle’s training all week.

Stephanie said Rousey is entering a world she knows nothing about. Rowdy hasn’t had a match but Steph grew up in the ring so it’s the opposite because Ronda should be intimidated by McMahon.

“She doesn’t have a clue what she’s in for,” Triple H said.

Then Triple H talked about how he’s beat Kurt Angle his entire career but Ronda getting beat by an executive will be so embarrassing. The odds are stacked against Rousey. This isn’t the Olympics, the judo championships, the UFC, or MMA… it’s their world because Stephanie is a McMahon “which means that Ronda Rousey will simply work for me.”

They said at the end of the day they will repackage Rousey, dust her off, and represent her to the world. They said that they will humble Ronda Rousey like they have with every other Superstar in WWE. Cool.

Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali vs Drew Gulak and TJP

These two babyfaces will face off at WrestleMania for the WWE Cruiserweight Title to decide who will be the champion after Enzo allegedly did something you should never teach.

Drake Maverick was on commentary which was nice to hear. He really is great.

Ali took some abuse until Alexander got the hot tag. He hit a springboard clothesline but Gulak broke up the pin.

Then Gulak was sent out of the ring and Mustafa Ali caught him with a dive but Cedric was distracted and TJP rolled him up for a two count.

Cedric avoided a Diaster Kick and he hit a Lumbar Check after Ali tagged himself in. Then Mustafa climbed on top and hit the 0-5-4 for the win.

Winners: Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali via pinfall

After the match was over, the two future WrestleMania opponents smiled at each other and seemed like they were having a great time as a team with a lot of respect between them.

Miz TV

It’s time for Miz TV and his guests were Finn Balor and Seth Rollins once again.

The crowd gave The Miz plenty of “welcome home” chants to which The Miz replied, “I live in LA.”

Before he brought out his guests, he had some personal issues to address. Then he turned to Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel and asked him how they enjoyed being a part of the Miztourage.

The Miz said they’re happy because they’re on television in front of millions of people. They’re happy, but he’s not. He said that they failed him time and time again and they’re on the Road To WrestleMania and he can’t even count on them.

Curtis said they can count on them and The Miz said he keeps getting beat down.

The Miz told Dallas to Bolieve himself back to catering and it looked like he pissed Bo off with that one.

Suddenly, Seth Rollins entered to get a closer look at what was going on. Rollins said normally he’s not a fan of Miz TV, but he loved what he saw.

The Miz said he and the Miztourage just had a little issue and Seth offered to mediate before saying The Miztourage felt unappreciated.

He asked when is the last time The Miz thanked Bo and Curtis. Rollins said he would be taking out billboards to thank them if he were The Miz because they’re the only reason why he’s still the IC Champion.

Then Seth got the crowd going in a Miztourage chant before The Miz cut them off and said even without them he’d still be a big star and champion and then Bo said, “a phony A-Lister who can’t fight.”

Seth asked Dallas what he just said before Finn Balor came out to join them. Finn said he heard it crystal clear that Bo said The Miz was the “biggest jerk he ever met.”

Bo Dallas denied saying that and then repeated what he said before and The Miz certainly heard him that time. “Say that again,” The Miz said.

Bo started to repeat himself and The Miz slapped him. Curtis Axel had to hold Dallas back from kicking The Miz’s teeth down his throat.

The Miz said he was trying to motivate Bo and they’re dividing them. The Miz held up his championship while saying it’s all about the IC Title. He said he was better than Savage, Michaels, and Mr. Perfect which seemed to push Curti Axel’s button.

“That one slipped!” The Miz said as Curtis Axel started to look really upset as he turned around and digested the fact that his boss had just besmirched his late father’s name.

Then The Miz canceled Miz TV and proposed that everyone leave but Bo stopped him and Curtis wouldn’t let him leave either. The Miz was soon surrounded by his Miztourage as they backed him up into Balor and Rollins who stood there enjoying the show.

“Nobody wants to see this,” The Miz said as the crowd broke into a Yes chant. Suddenly, Bo and Curtis jumped Finn and Seth. They stomped down the babyfaces as The Miz joined them. They were about to set Balor up for a Skull Crushing Finale until Anderson and Gallows ran down to save their Balor Club brother.

The Miz turned around and tried to hit Balor with his IC Title but Finn turned it into a slingblade but The Miz rolled out of the ring to avoid a curb stomp from Rollins.

The Miz left his title in the ring which caused Seth and Finn to have a moment about who would hold it. The Miz jumped back in and Balor took him out. Then Finn Balor took down Seth Rollins before posing with the WWE Intercontinental Championship for a bit.

Asuka vs Jamie Frost

Before the match started, Frost was interviewed at ringside where Charlie said this was her first match ever. Jamie said Asuka isn’t ready for her. Okay, this will be interesting.

Frost hit Asuka with two strong right hands… then Asuka kicked her head off and gave her a cocky pin for the three count.

No, seriously that was the entire match.

Winner: Asuka via pinfall

What’s Next For Matt Hardy?

Matt Hardy cut a promo in his usual Woken Way where he announced that after the great Ultimate Deletion that he will be entering the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Then he said DELETE in his usual way.

“Wow, that was obnoxious!” Michael Cole said. I’m sure that line was fed to him straight from Vince McMahon in his headset which is just nauseating. This whole thing is starting to really suck. They worked so hard to finally get ahold of Matt Hardy’s Broken Universe and now he’s treating it just like another toy on the shelf. But what else should we have really expected?

Backstage Segment

Bayley was backstage on her phone because she was backstage. Sasha walked up and wanted to talk about what went down last week.

Instead, Bayley said she’s going to win the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal and she started to walk away. Bayley said Banks loves her being passive and putting her over as the Legit Boss.

Banks said she is the Legit Boss and maybe Bayley should do the same because everyone thinks she is a loser. Then Bayley said Banks keeps screwing her over because she knows Banks can’t beat her.

Sasha said she’s a four-time Women’s Champion. “Oh yeah,” Bayley replied, “how long did you keep it?”

The Hugger turned to walk away but Banks grabbed her by the hair and smashed her against a locker. She threw Bayley against the other wall and heaved her onto a table. Suddenly there were more referees around than you could shake a wacky waving arm flailing inflatable Bayley Buddy at. The referees soon broke up the melee.

But it looks like the Bayley/Banks friendship is over for now.

Braun Strowman vs Sheamus

Sheamus was set to get those hands in Cleveland.

The Bar came out to mock Braun Strowman which is an interesting tactic. Sheamus said he wanted to know who Braun’s partner was right away because they’re professionals and they need to prepare.

Strowman grabbed a mic and said, “you two little whiney babies wanna know who my partner is? Alright, I’ll tell you who my partner is. All you have to do is get in this ring and beat me, Sheamus.”

The Celtic Warrior said that isn’t fair while the crowd started to chant, “get these hands.”

“Maybe you’ll get an answer, but I guarantee you will get these hands,” Braun said before Sheamus took off his entrance attire and got in the ring.

Sheamus started off strong with a nice couple of strikes and he sent Strowman over the top rope. But Braun soon turned it around on him and destroyed Sheamus by knocking him outside, then he hurled Sheamus back in the ring just to do it again on the other side of the ring. As Sheamus’ body bounced off the barricade he probably didn’t care who Strowman’s partner at WrestleMania will be.

Sheamus tried to come back with some offense to Braun’s knee, but Strowman kept up the assault. He drove Sheamus into the barricade time and time again as Michael Cole played up the injury on commentary and said it’s unlike a Braun we’ve known before.

Sheamus moved and Braun took a ring post to the shoulder. Braun kicked out of a pinfall attempt and Cesaro tried to distract him but the referee told Cesaro to go away. Then Sheamus missed a Brogue Kick and Strowman hit the running powerslam for the win.

Winner: Braun Strowman via pinfall

Ronda Rousey On Raw

Kurt Angle came out and said we’re just two weeks away from Mania and promptly introduced Ronda who came out and was all smiles as always. She ran down the ramp and slapped everyone’s hand although she didn’t go all the way around the ring this week.

Ronda waved to the crowd and Kurt Angle said she was ready for WrestleMania. Angle said Triple H and Stephanie will prepare for anything. WrestleMania will be a lot of fun but it won’t be easy.

Rousey said, “good” because she’s not looking for easy. She called Rousey trust fund tough, limousine tough, and personal trainer tough which is interesting because Rousey has two out of three of those things. Then Rousey said she will rip Stephanie’s arm out of its socket.

Absolution came out next which was interesting. Paige introduced herself and formally welcomed her to Raw. Paige said Raw is their show and the ring is her house. Then Paige got in the ring with Rousey while Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville stood on the apron.

Paige said they’re available for backup. Rousey said she’s good because “I’ve got an Olympic gold medalist watching my 6 o’clock.”

Paige said Angle isn’t everything although he’s great and the best Raw GM ever. Then Paige urged her not to make a mistake and invited her to become the fourth girl of Absolution while calling her “baby girl” multiple times.

“Thank you for the offer, but no,” Rousey said.

Paige said she made her choice but it’s not a good one. She called her baby girl one more time and left the ring while Deville and Rose got in. Rousey took Deville out with a stiff clothesline and Mandy Rose started to rethink things a bit.

Rousey picked up Rose and launched her into Deville which looked nasty. Then Rose tried to jump Rousey from behind but Ronda flipped Rose over her shoulder and got her right into an armbar.

Kurt Angle convinced Rousey to ease off and let Mandy live so Absolution left. Then as Rousey’s music played Kurt Angle gave Ronda a hug like he never gave Jason Jordan.

The Miztourage vs The Club

These guys are fighting for their respective leaders in this one and had a pretty good contest.

There was an interesting moment where Michael Cole said: “All in” before pausing a long time before saying “in support fo the Intercontinental Champion” which was very amusing. I wonder if WWE is going to try and trademark “All In” now?

Dallas kept Anderson down with a headlock for a bit before Curtis got the tag and took it to Karl. The heel team did a great job making their bigger and more decorated opponents look like they were on the same level.

Gallows soon got the tag and landed a stiff kick to Curtis Axel. He hit a pump handle slam and a splash before tagging Anderson in and hitting the Boot Of Doom but Dallas broke up the pinfall.

Gallows took Bo out with a kick and Anderson went to the top rope and hit a nice top broke neckbreaker. Then they hit the Magic Killer on Axel for the win.

Winners: The Club via pinfall

The lights flashed really quickly as soon as the match was over but the lights went right back on and some people didn’t even notice. I guess this might have been a false alarm?

Elias vs Rhyno

Everyone was ready to Walk With Elias until he talked about how he sold out MSG and now he’s in Cleveland and he doesn’t want to be there. He said he knows how Lebron James felt when he went back to Cleveland and just like Elias, Lebron will leave again. This got the crowd very hot for him and they wanted to tear him apart by the time he started playing a song about WrestleMania coming up being he’s stuck in Cleveland.

Elias sang some lyrics about the Cleveland Browns and that seemed to upset them more for some reason. As he said he’s WWE, Rhyno hit the entrance ramp.

The Manbeast beat The Drifter around the ring while Michael Cole said Elias is terrific.

Then Elias turned things around and took control as Heath Slater cheered his partner on from ringside. Elias missed an elbow drop and took a stiff chop from Rhyno which was followed by a could nice shoulder tackles.

Suddenly Elias turned it around hit the Drift Away for the win.

Winner: Elias via pinfall

As Heath Slater tended to his buddy Elias blindsided him and hit another Drift Away on JBL’s nephew.

John Cena vs Kane (No DQ Mach)

Cena came out and after he said hi to Jonathan Coachman, he held up his Ellen Degeneres rally towel which was nice.

Kane took advantage early on and the fight went out of the ring for a bit and by the time they returned there were tons of “Undertaker” chants.

Kane locked on a side headlock but Cena muscled out and got Kane on his shoulders but John collapsed to the canvas. Cena went outside and Kane followed him just like in that movie See No Evil and to a lesser extent See No Evil 2.

Kane drove Cena into the steel ring steps and hovered over him looking incredibly imposing while John sold the bump.

The two fought into the crowd and Kane was the aggressor throughout. Once they returned to the ring, Kane started taking off the turnbuckle padding while Cena sat up like The Undertaker.

Suddenly, Cena started rallying on Kane. He hit a couple tackles and then laid down a 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Cena ran Kane’s head into the exposed turnbuckle and did the throat slashing taunt just like The Undertaker. Then Cena hit Kane with a chokeslam for a two count.

Cena went under the ring and grabbed a table. He sat up the table and tried to AA Kane through it, but The Big Red Machine knocked the table over and got out of the move. Kane then sat the table in the corner before sending Cena through it causing a tremendous splintering of wood.

1-2-kick out!

Kane rolled outside and grabbed another table which he slid in the ring as well. John Cena slowly got to his feet as Kane sat up the table. Kane tried to chokeslam through the table but John Cena reversed it into an AA through the table.

1-2-3 and John Cena won.

Winner: John Cena via pinfall

Cena sat in the ring while Corey Graves reminded us all on commentary that he still didn’t have a Road To WrestleMania.

Cena stood in the ring and grabbed a microphone. “No lightning? No bells of terror? No Undertaker?!” he yelled. “This is a match with no rules. Anything can happen and anyone can be here! Where are you?!”

“Undertaker!!!” Cena screamed to no a response as he lifted up his microphone and simply allowed the Cleveland fans to fill the building with Undertaker chants.

Cena said he knows Taker isn’t deaf, he’s just a coward. He said the people chant Taker’s name “you don’t get to be mysterious here. Silence isn’t an answer. It’s either yes or it’s no” Cena said.

The crowd broke out in Yes chants as Cena said he’s fine with “no” because he will go to Mania as a fan. Cena started to get a little frustrated and begged Taker to hear the fans when they chant his name and “do something.”

“Do something,” Cena continued, “because you only have one week left to do something that sums up your entire career. You can do something or you can do nothing. And if you do nothing you let me down, you sure let Kane down, and you let down anyone who ever believed in The Undertaker.”

Then Cena then said he hopes to see The Undertaker next week before WrestleMania before he put down his mic and left.

Well, they’re teasing this awfully hardcore now.

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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