It’s just six days out from the biggest show of the wrestling year: Wrestlemania. It was WWE’s final chance to hype up the big matches and fill in the under-card. So I’ll jump right into the action:
We open up with a solid Undertaker promo; just the basic stuff about how Lesnar is going to rest in piece. Heyman and Lesnar interrupt, and it ends with Lesnar attacking and F5’ing Taker. Decent opening segment, did a nice job of making Lesnar look credible as a beast. Nobody in the world thinks Lesnar has a chance in hell of beating the streak, but they are trying at least. Big E vs. Del Rio is the opening bout, and it was actually the best match of the show. Del Rio’s character can be about as exciting as going to the dentist sometimes, but his technical prowess is vastly underrated. Del Rio gets the clean pin, so you know that means they are setting him up for a title shot at the next PPV after Mania. Horrid booking as always with their champions, but a good little match.
Summer vs. Nattie is next, and it’s an ok little match. Not the kind of time you’d want these two to have, but Summer is getting to show more of her heel charisma, which makes me happy. Summer gets the quick upset win. I hope she and Emma get to break away from their shallow characters and get to show what they have. They are excellent in NXT. HHH cuts another promo to follow, trolling the internet and showing a package of all the guys he “buried” that were fan favorites. While I don’t like how that was done in the past, this is an excellent heel tactic and was executed tremendously. He wants people to think Bryan will fall by the wayside just like Y2J, RVD, Goldberg, etc. He even brings up “Fandangoing”. Fantastic. It will be that must sweeter of a crowd reaction when Bryan beats him and wins the title.
Next up is a really fun 8 man tag: Los Matadores/Usos vs. Ryback/Axel/Real Americans. Classic carnage 8 man, with bodies flying everywhere and everyone getting some good offense in. Man, is Cesaro over with the crowd or what?! His giant swing got countered, and the crowd instantly started booing the Usos. I think Los Matadores pinned “Rybaxel”. Bray Wyatt beats R-Truth (yep, I forgot Truth worked for the company too) in a squash. They start another cryptic promo on Cena, but Cena appears behind them in a sheep mask and attacks. I can’t stress enough how much I’m looking forward to this match. I say it in my columns every week, but WWE has built this feud (even the awesome Eminem song package) better than any other for Mania this year.
Naomi vs. AJ in a Lumberjill match is next, and I’m wondering why I’m subjected to two divas matches in one Raw. Anyway, short affair where AJ gets pinned by a booty bump to the face. And they wonder why nobody takes the divas division seriously. If AJ loses the longest divas title reign of all time in a 12 diva cluster that helps nobody, I’m going to be furious. Reigns vs. Kane is next, and I believe it ended on a DQ with both sides running in. My power was going out at the time, much like Kane and the Outlaws should be going out after this Wrestlemania and retiring. I wish the Shield had a better match for Mania, but I shouldn’t complain about them facing three legends of the attitude era.
Pipers Pit is up, and they basically wasted Piper in one of those segments where every participant in the battle royal for Mania comes down and says why they’ll win, then they all brawl. Piper didn’t get to do much of anything…what a let down for one of the greatest talkers of all time. Mysterio came back, and Big Show eventually got the upper hand over everyone. I’m thinking Russev surprisingly makes his debut and wins the battle royal, although I’m pulling for Ziggler. Batista vs. Orton is next, with HHH at ringside. It goes about 5 minutes (with a dead crowd), until Bryan comes out of the crowd and beats the holy hell out of HHH. Raw ends spectacularly with the entire audience exploding in “Yes” chants as Bryan drags HHH from pillar to post.
Overall, the only true standout of the show is the final Bryan segment. The opening match and the 8 man tag were very solid, but nothing “match of the year” quality. The Wyatt-Cena and HHH-Bryan build took nice turns, but overall it was a big letdown and dragging effort on what’s supposed to be one of the biggest Raw’s of the year. Until next time, valued readers…