As the Road To WrestleMania really kicks off it looks like we better get very used to seeing Ronda Rousey around because WWE announced today that she was booked for every Raw up to the big show in New Orleans.
We’ve got a neat gimmick match between Braun Strowman and Elias called the Symphony Of Destruction as Nia Jax and Asuka will lock up once more as they bide their time till Fastlane is over when Asuka can presumably make a move toward the SmackDown Women’s Title.
Only time will tell what WWE does with the Raw Tag Team Titles at this point. After all, The Bar seemed to dispatch of Titus Worldwide in pretty definitive fashion. Jeff Hardy could always come back sooner or later but it might be too soon for that. Besides Matt Hardy is currently playing games with Bray Wyatt. Those two love to smile at each other.
You’ve also got Roman Reigns who seems to be destined to be crowned as the man, so that’s always fun. With so many other stories going on I could spend forever just painting the picture of the Raw roster right now. But let’s get right into it instead.
Kurt Angle came down and said Triple H’s sucker punch in the face was way too far. Angle said he’s not going to sit back like everything’s okay and then he called Trips out. “I’m calling you out to face me like a man!” Angle said as he took his button-up shirt off.
But then Stepanie McMahon came out instead because that’s what we wanted to see. She reminded Angle that he had 5 kids including a one-year-old baby girl. She said he’s remarried and is paying alimony on his ex-wife. This brought a large boo from the men in the crowd.
Then she said he won the Olympics with a broken neck and then asked if those accolades are paying the bills. But being Raw GM does. Then she told Angle to think about calling Trips out because “it’s not like Triple H wasn’t provoked.”
As Stephanie told Angle not to let his ego get in the way, Ronda Rousey came out WWE probably cut a check to Joan Jett for her song. Rousey went all around the ring and gave all the fans a high five like an uber babyface and got in the ring to hug Kurt Angle. “I think you missed someone out there,” Steph said while pointing to someone at ringside.
Ronda said what they did to Angle last week wasn’t cool but it’s cool because she’s dealt with bully bosses before which Steph took exception to. McMahon insulted the fans and informed Ronda that she’s a part of WWE because she signed a contract and Steph oversees that.
Steph said she gave Ronda her dream and her debut match at WrestleMania and that got Rousey smiling. “Speaking of that contract, it does say I get to choose my opponent at WrestleMania,” Rousey said.
Steph said as long as it wasn’t a champion and it was a current star she could pick whoever she wanted. Ronda was about to say who she wanted to face and Steph cut her off to encourage a drumroll for this announcement. Then Rousey said, “you.”
So Rousey picked Stephanie.
Suddenly Triple H came out to call Kurt Angle out for not doing his job and saying no. Angle said Steph has two contracts, one as an executive and another as a Superstar (that’s how she gets an action figure) then Angle said Stephanie would be facing Ronda. Then Angle said Triple H has two contracts too then he booked Ronda Rousey and himself vs Stephanie McMahon and Triple H at WrestleMania 34 and the place went bananas.
Stephanie got in Angle’s face and Ronda stepped in the way. Triple H pulled her off and said it doesn’t have to go down like this and as he turned to leave, The Game went for Angle but Kurt was ready.
Angle and Triple H traded some shots and Angle got the upper hand. Then Stephanie jumped behind Ronda and hammered down on her but Ronda popped back up and McMahon ran off.
Triple H and Ronda had a moment where they stared each other down and then Angle went to hit a Pedigree on Angle but Kurt flipped him into an Angle Lock. Trips crawled under the ropes and got out.
Stephanie McMahon was back at ringside to tend to her husband and then Ronda Rousey grabbed her by the hair. Rousey pulled Steph in the ring and hit her with a drop from a fireman’s carry (the set up looked like an AA, and she just fell straight back) but they didn’t call it anything. It was impressive and the place popped huge.
Ronda and Kurt celebrated and Rousey was suddenly all smiles once again. As Steph rolled outside the ring the WWE Universe everywhere wondered what they’d do next.
Let’s just assume that about a half million people turned off their television sets right after that segment because if it wasn’t my job I might have. That was awesome and I can’t imagine anything on the show being better than that, but we’ll just have to see.
Asuka vs Nia Jax
Nia Jax and Asuka had a nice back and forth in the beginning but Nia Jax ended up putting Asuka through some intense punishment and overpowered her. Then Jax picked Asuka up for a Razor’s Edge looking move and added an airplane spin aspect to it before tossing The Empress Of Tomorrow to the mat. It was quite unnecessary and brutal.
Nia latched on a chokehold and wrenched it in. Asuka popped out of it and nailed a shining wizard for a two count. Nia retaliated and kept slamming Auska around, each time she only scored a two count. There was one spot where Asuka had to get a toe on the bottom rope like a pro.
Suddenly, Asuka sprung into action and applied an armbar on Jax and even after slamming her to the mat, Asuka didn’t break up the hold. Nia actually held Asuka’s shoulder to the mat but she kept her shoulders up so the referee couldn’t pin. Nia tried her best to get Asuka off of her, but she wouldn’t let go. Then Nia Jax finally tapped out after a pretty good match and Alexa Bliss and Mickie James didn’t look happy while they watched on a monitor backstage.
But yeah, nice usage of Nia Jax by making her look like a beast and then losing to Asuka over and over again. I understand not breaking the streak on Raw, but Nia looked a bit weak afterward.
Jax laid in the ring after the match and cried while she held her arm. They let Nia get up in the middle of the ring with no music as the crowd gave her a much-deserved ovation for her efforts.
The Revival vs The Bar
If The Revival win this match they get a Raw Tag Team Title shot at WrestleMania. I really hate these matches where someone has to beat the champion to become the #1 contender. I don’t know, it just feels too much like a video game storyline.
The two teams fought around the ring until The Revival gained an advantage and drove The Bar out of the ring so they could reset. Once they got back to work, Sheamus took some punishment from Scott Dawson as he focused on his left shoulder. Cesaro got the tag and tried to go for the swing on both Dawson and Wilder but they blocked it. Then Dawson hit a DDT and got a near fall.
Sheamus got the tag and took it to Dawson then he tagged Cesaro. Wilder ran a distraction and took an advantage. Then Wilder got a tag as Dawson hit a superplex and Wilder came down for a splash for a two count and that was close. Dawson tagged back in and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Wilder and broke up the Shatter Machine. Then Cesaro nailed a Gotch Neutralizer on Dawson for the pinfall to shatter The Revival’s hopes.
Winners: The Bar
John Cena Talks SmackDown On Raw
Cena’s music hit and he came out because that makes sense seeing how he’s involved in a SmackDown main event storyline right now after squeezing his way into Fastlane’s six pack challenge main event.
John said he was there on Raw to talk to everyone about SmackDown which got a boo from the crowd like they don’t watch it too. John said he found his Road To WrestleMania and that is why Angle granted him the time to talk about SmackDown and his Road To WrestleMania because he realized how important it is.
Cena said he had something to say and he knew none of his competitors would let him say it. Then he addressed the fact that his next World Title reign will break Ric Flair’s 16x record. “It will happen,” Cena said and as he said he will win the WWE Championship for the 17th time, the place really gave him a mixed reaction but it was certainly a loud one. Then Cena said it was his only Road To WrestleMania once more.
Cena said he wasn’t given success, he was given a chance and he earned his opportunity at Fastlane continued to address the subject that he will never hold anyone back. Then Cena said once he wins that AJ Styles is encouraged to cash in his rematch clause (hey he gets one of those this time?!) and then they could make a triple threat match at mania between Styles, Cena, and Nakamura.
Suddenly Goldust came out because… why not? Goldust started quoting the “I could have been a contender” line from On The Waterfront and got in the ring. Goldust said he’s always had a dream of sharing a silver screen with John at WrestleMania and that dream starts with him stopping Cena from going to WrestleMania.
Goldust said all of his dreams have been taken from him. His pretty little rainbows have turned grey and very evil but that ends today. Then Goldust said he’s taking control as Cena’s new director and “tonight your dreams will certainly be (insert long breath here) shattered” and then Goldust smacked Cena and Big Match John took a bump and sold it.
John Cena vs Goldust
This was unexpected but then again, this was announced as the first time these two have ever had a match so maybe this was just a way to make that happen.
Goldust took control and Cena mounted a small comeback but Goldy hit a beautiful bodyslam for a two count. Cena popped up again and grabbed Goldust who landed a low blow but kicking his leg back like a true heel. 1-2- kick out.
Cena hit his shoulder tackles and then nailed the 5 Knuckle Shuffle into an AA and that was all she wrote in a very unnecessary match “as John Cena’s rolling toward Sunday!” Michael Cole said.
Winner: John Cena
Elias tried to get Angle to cancel the Symphony Of Destruction match but Kurt wouldn’t do it. “Alright whatever happens to Braun tonight, it’s on you,” Elias said. Then Angle made the Symphony Of Destruction match a falls count anywhere match.
Bayley vs Mandy Rose
Before the match, Bayley was asked about what she did to Sasha Banks last week. She started to explain herself, but Absolution cut her off. Paige congratulated Bayley for finally growing a backbone and said she doesn’t need Banks to change her diaper anymore and she’s a big girl now. Nice.
Paige then said if she doesn’t have backup, then she has nothing. But as soon as the match started, Bayley took control and things stayed that way until Rose had to powder out of the ring and run to Absolution for a bit of protection for a moment.
When Many returned to the ring, she took control of the match. There was a neat spot where Rose locked Bayley in an inverted suplex for a couple long seconds just to put her back down and knee her in the face which was nice. They wrestled a bit more and then Rose nailed another knee to the face for a two count.
Mandy Rose was looking good in this match as Bayley sold for her and kept the pace down. Bayley fought back and caused a separation to mount a comeback. Bayley bounced Mandy’s head off the top turnbuckle multiple times and landed a side suplex.
Bayley climbed to the top rope and Sonya Deville distracted her. Bayley got down and Mandy rolled Bayley up but The Hugger reversed it and she got the pinfall.
After the match, Sonya Deville jumped Bayley and Sasha Banks ran down and cleared them out of the ring. Then Sasha Banks helped Bayley up and raised her hand. But as Sasha’s music played, Banks turned to leave the ring and then looked back at Bayley and offered a hug. But for once Bayley didn’t want to hug someone. She shrugged Banks off and left up the ramp instead.
They showed Nia Jax backstage icing down her arm when Bliss and James came in. Mickie left and Bliss stayed to tell Nia how she knows how disappointed in herself she is and how she’s never seen her give up like that. “It must be so embarrassing. I don’t want you to feel like a failure. I don’t want you to feel like you left yourself or your family down,” Bliss said.
Alexa Bliss told Nia not to be ashamed of what happened and how she should be proud and how she was bullied her whole life because she was bigger than the other kids. She said that she sees how people look at Nia at the airport and then Jax started to break down and legit cry. It was quite an emotional performance from Jax as she cried some real tears which were rolling down her face and dripping off her nose by the end of the segment.
Braun Strowman vs Elias (Symphony Of Destruction Match)
The staging area was done up like the backstage of a battle of the bands competition. Elias was sitting at a piano and a little bit and it was nice and jazzy… mighty impressive to be honest for someone who probably doesn’t get a whole lot of practice on the keys.
A lot of people wanted to Walk With Elias. The Drifter said he loved Symphonies because they’re classy, unlike the dirtbag town of Milwaukee he was in. Then he moved over to the drums and played a little bit too while saying he’s mastered all instruments. Finally, Elias picked up a guitar as he said Strowman was living in Elias’ world.
The crowd seemed to be very into the song Elias sang to them about how much their city and their sports teams suck. Then he demanded that they hit the lights and he got another introduction. But as the lights came back on, he ran out of the arena.
The camera followed him backstage as he continued to flee. Elias went out to the parking garage and got in his car. But as he tried to pull away, his car wouldn’t move. Then he looked in his rearview mirror and Braun was holding his car screaming, “I told you I’m not finished with you!”
Elias ran back inside the arena and Braun followed him. Neat.
Elias spilled back onto the ramp and they rang the bell as soon as Braun emerged too. Elias tumbled into the ring and Braun laid waste to him like a runaway train. There was no need for gimmicks with hands like that.
Braun picked up Elias but The Drifter got loose and hit Braun with his guitar across The Monster Among Men’s back as it exploded everywhere. Elias hit a nice top rope elblow drop and pinned Braun for a two count. Elias was still wearing his entrance coat, just wanted to add that in there.
Braun knocked Elias out of the ring and they ended up fighting up the ramp. They moved their way up to the announce table and Braun cleaned it off. Elias got free of another running powerslammed and took a bump into the guitars. Then Braun picked up the cello and destroyed it over Elias’ back once again.
Braun tossed Elias under the baby grand piano and sat down to hammer down on the keys. Elias was way better at playing the piano than Strowman. Then Braun knocked the leg out from under the piano and smashed Elias. The crowd was hushed for a moment because everyone immediately thought they had just witnessed a murder. But Bruan made everything okay when he raised his arms like a monster and roared.
Braun tossed the piano to the side and pinned him for the three count.
Winner: Braun Strowman
After the match, medical personnel surrounded Elias, put him in a neck brace, and carted him off. Did WWE just kill Elias?
Bray Wyatt vs Rhyno
Okay, Wyatt made very short work of Rhyno which should have come at no surprise. After a short match Wyatt hit a Sister Abigail and picked up the win. After the match, Heath Slater acted like he was going to help his partner out but he saw Wyatt and backed off
Winner: Bray Wyatt via pinfall
After the match, Wyatt said he wanted Hardy and Woken Matt appeared on the screen and said they will do battle once again, but it cannot happen in WWE, it needs to happen at the Hardy Compound.
They showed a nice video featuring Vanguard One and Hardy told Wyatt to prepare for the Ultimate Deletion!
The Miz and his Miztourage were in to ring for the third annual Mizzies. It was a grand occasion complete with a red carpet on the ring and a podium with a handful of generic trophies on it.
The Miz said it was a shame that The Shape Of Water won over The Marine 5, Get Out is what Kurt Angle needs to do to Raw and so on.
The Miz gave an award for “Superstar who is the best at patting themselves on the back.” Nominees: Seth Rollins for bragging about the gauntlet match and losing, Kurt Angle for finally being a good father to Jason Jordan after 29 years, and Finn Balor for being the first-ever Universal Champion and then losing the title 24 hours later.
It was a tie between Seth and Finn but they were unable to accept their awards because they weren’t invited.
Then he gave an award for “worst decision by a Raw General Manager.” The nominees were Angle for bringing his “bastard son” to Raw, for letting Rollins and Balor in the Elimination Chamber match, and for failing to name a Mania opponent for The Miz.
Kurt Angle won but they didn’t specify for which one. The Miz said Angle couldn’t be there because he was too busy sucking up to Ronda Rousey. Then he said the Mizzie award will be a nice thing to add to his resume when he’s looking for a new job after WrestleMania.
Then Seth Rollins came out as The Miz was about to give himself an award. Rollins said things were dragging and then Balor came out too. Seth didn’t look too amused to see Finn.
Rollins said Finn is following him around. Balor said he’s not out there to follow him “I’ll do one better.” Then The Miz said neither of them deserves to face him at Mania. He said nobody makes losing look better than Rollins except for Balor.
“This isn’t Japan, this is WWE,” The Miz said to Balor. “To be over you need more than just a hand sign that’s not even yours.”
Then The Miz challenged both of them against himself, Curtis, and Bo. Then Seth accepted if that’s what it takes to shut him up.
The Miz and Miztourage vs Seth Rollins and Finn Balor
Seth and Finn worked well with each other against their common enemies. Rollins tossed Axel out of the ring and took some offense to Bo but The Miz distracted him which resulted in Seth getting double teamed and The Miz got the tag to hit a sliding knee to Seth’s face.
Axel got the tag and nailed a nice dropkick to Rollins and then tagged in Dallas to to continue keeping The Architect isolated. Finn finally got the tag and started running all over the The Miztourage.
Balor chopped Bo Dallas from post to post and Bo sat on the top rope only to take a kick to the head and go crashing to the canvas. The Miz distracted Finn and he ran around the ring to take a clothesline fro Bo Dallas who was waiting for him on the other side of the ring.
Balor tried to fight back once they got back in the ring but it didn’t work for a while as Curtis Axel maintained control. But Finn landed an overhead kick and tagged Rollins who took it to The Miz as he came into the match too.
Rollins hit the suplex into falcon arrow move for a two count and prepared for more. Rollins landed a kick to The Miz and kicked Bo off the apron. Seth landed another kick on The Miz but Axel broke up the pinfall. Seth hit a dive on the Miztourage and then Rollins was about to hit all three members of the Miztourage with a dive but Balor got a blind tag. Seth hit a baseball slide on Dallas and Axel and Balor landed a sick dive over the top rope.
Finn landed a shotgun dropkick to The Miz and climbed up for a Coup De Gras but Rollins tagged himself in as Cole said “turn-about’s fair play.” Rollins his the Blackout and got the pin.
Winners: Seth Rollins and Finn Balor via pinfall
Then Kurt Angle came out and booked a triple threat match between The Miz, Finn Balor, and Seth Rollins for the IC Title at WrestleMania. It’s true, it’s damn true.
Paul Heyman Responds
Heyman came out to deliver a message on behalf of his client who wasn’t there in Milwaukee although Heyman did have the Universal Title with him. He laid the title in the ring because Brock allows him to put his hands on the title.
Paul said Lesnar will defend his championship at Mania and if he chooses to defend the Universal Title at SummerSlam he’ll come out here with the Title and lay it down alongside the UFC Title as well.
Heyman said Lesnar is Brock Lesnar 365 days a year and if Roman Reigns doesn’t like what he’s hearing he can come out to the ring because Heyman is bringing Brock Lesnar.
Heyman started to leave and stood in the ring for a moment longer. Then he looked at the Universal Title and said that last week Roman Reigns came out here last week and called Brock Lesnar a b-tch. Then he held up the Universal Title and said “this is Brock Lesnar’s b-tch,” and then he said Roman can’t have her.
Heyman brought up Reigns’ bloodline and said the Universal Title is his bloodline. He said Roman isn’t going to pry it from Lesnar’s cold dead hands but he’ll have to take it from his warm competitive fingers.
Heyman laid the title down and said it’s not a belt, a strap, or a prop it means everything in the universe. Heyman said it’s not how bad Roman wants the title, it’s how bad the title wants him. Then Heyman said if Roman gets a call the Saturday before WrestleMania and he gets a call that something has happened to his father he can’t take a red-eye jet to go see his family because his title needs him more than his family.
Lesnar cut a fierce promo about the title loving him, lusts after him, and needs him. Then he said Roman should have learned that he doesn’t want to shoot on the mic with Paul Heyman and he doesn’t want to shoot in the ring with Brock Lesnar.
Insert Roman Reigns here.
“I thought he wasn’t here tonight,” Corey Graves said.
Reigns came out and asked if Brock Lesnar really was a b-tch and said that the fans just ask for their champion to show up to work and want to be there. “I’m gonna keep it real simple, Paul” Roman said. Reigns said Brock can say whatever he wants and to let The Beast Incarnate know to not be dressed for a promo session but be dressed for a fight.
Then Paul Heyman left the ring while clutching the Universal Championship closely while Roman Reigns stood in the ring as the camera caught the WrestleMania logo hanging above his head.