Good luck everyone…
Once again I was unable to see the pre show but I’m told New Day beat Rusev and Nakamura and they set up the Kofi angle for later in the show and the US title match for later was set up too.
The main show began with Roman Reigns and The reuniting Shield featuring heavily in the opening video package, so it looks like they’re going on last, which is totally fine for many reasons.
The first match of the main show however featured Cleveland’s own The Miz and his partner Shane McMahon and their challenge to regain the Smackdown Tag titles…
Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) (C) defeated The Miz & Shane McMahon to retain
Miz got a big pop coming out, he sported a Cleveland top and colors underneath his Miz and Mac tee, it was being so overdone that Miz was in Cleveland his hometown that him getting screwed seemed inevitable. World renowned wrestler Shane McMahon started off dominating The Usos as the challengers worked well together, although this changed when Shane was flattened by an Uso double team move as the champions gained control. The crowd were super in to The Miz and after an above average DDT from Shane he got the hot tag, and then Miz came in like a house on fire and he even did a big dive off the top rope onto The Usos on the outside right in front of his Dad who was sat ringside (he made a point to show off his orange Cleveland t shirt to the crowd beforehand too). There were then lots of nearfalls including a double superkick by The Usos on to The Miz, but Shane jumped in to break up the pin. The Usos then took out Shane but then Miz was able to hit the Skull Crushing Finale and get a cover, but as the ref was tending to a fallen Shane still he had his back to Miz’s pin and by the time he turned around it was long enough for Miz only to be able to get a 2 count. Miz then went for a Figure 4 but was pushed into the ring post, another nearfall, and then with one Uso laying in the corner of the ring Shane went to the top on the other side for his Coast to Coast… but as Miz was down to the other Uso went to the top to set up a Frog Splash…. so both men were set up for their big move and turned out it was The Uso twin who blinked first and the result was Shane catching the flying Uso in mid air with his double dropkick. I was convinced they’d fuck this up but it looked good enough to me. Miz then looked over to his Dad and was instructed to go to the top rope, he obliged and hit a went for a Frog Splash of his won but The other Uso got his knees up, rolled Miz over and got the pin. I liked this finish as it played into the story well. This was a very fun opener and the most I’ve enjoyed a Shane match for sometime. I think because he wasn’t the story here it was The Miz so Shane wasn’t as intolerable in the ring as usual. After The Usos had gone up the ramp Miz and Shane consoled one another, they went over to Miz’s dad and he consoled too, and Miz walked off in front… and then Shane attacked him from behind!!! Shane beatdown on The Miz as Miz’s Dad looked on in disgust. This got a tonne of heat as the crowd were fuming. Miz’s Dad eventually came from his seat to check on his son as officials tended to him. I liked how they did this, and I’m not overly excited about their inevitable Mania match but I think it’ll be very story based rather than them mat-wrestling one another so it’ll be fine I hope…
Commentary then recapped the Miz and Shane split. They really put over how disgusting Shane’s actions were.
Drew and the other heels picked up a camera from the floor backstage and cut an old-school Shield-like promo. The crowd booed heavy st the start but shut up when Drew spoke, the booed Corbin and Lashley throughout. I liked this.
Elias did a performance in the ring… he had some funny lines but I don’t know why this was necessary…
They then plugged the Batista – Triple H confrontation for Raw. Should be unmissable TV.
The kick off show was recapped in which The New Day were backstage before their match, Kofi was then told to go to the McMahon’s office. Woods and Big E then beat Nakamura and Rusev in their match. Apparently Kofi is still waiting for The McMahons.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Asuka (C) defeated Mandy Rose with Sonya Deville to retain
Asuka got a decent pop coming out, commentary made reference to Asuka wanting to shut the critics in the WWE universe up as the focus was all on Becky/Ronda/Charlotte right now. I’m glad WWE have noticed they’re forgetting about Asuka… Asuka dominated the match at the start with Rose’s only offences coming after distractions of Asuka by Sonya Deville. Mandy got nearfalls from a knee strike and a suplex, Rose then had a decent looking Abdominal Stretch looked in which was creatively turned into an Octopus hold by Asuka. Sonya was then shown looking under the ring for some reason… Mandy began talking trash to Asuka and got hit with strikes for her troubles, Asuka then hit a series of offensive moves, but did miss a running hip attack which allowed Mandy to hit a big knee for a nearfall. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t won and then went for her finisher but Asuka got out of it and hit a big knee of her own as Deville looked on concerned, Sonya then went under the ring again and retrieved a Kendo Stick, Asuka then whipped Mandy against the ropes but Rose tripped on the ring apron that Deville had left lifted up from when she got the Kendo Stick, as Rose was collecting herself Asuka hit a big kick to her face and pinned her. Deville looked on in horror. This looked like a botch at first but ended up being kind of clever. It does make me think they’re going to split these two up soon which is a shame as I think they help one another greatly. Sonya apologized to Mandy after but Rose was having none of it. The match went about as long as it should have (7/8 minutes) and Asuka won. It was never going to be a classic but was exactly what it should have been. Looking ahead it seems to me like either Asuka will face Sonya and Rose will screw Deville out of it or it’ll be a 3 way at Mania possibly… or Asuka will face someone else… who knows who that could be…
Backstage they cut to Big E and Xavier Woods approaching Kofi who was still waiting outside the McMahon’s office. Big E knocked on the door and they went in tired of waiting to find VINCE (who actually got a big pop form the live crowd)! Vince asked them where they had been and he had been waiting, New Day said they’d been waiting for him… Big E and Woods both tried to plead Kofi’s case to Vince, Big E wanted the match tonight to be a triple threat… AND VINCE AGREED AND MADE THE MATCH AND SAID IT WAS HAPPENING NOW! Live crowd went absolutely crazy for this… This IS interesting…
It seems (including pre show) we will have FIVE Smackdown matches in a row to start us off.
Kofi came to the ring to an unsurprisingly big pop. It was announced Woods and E had been banned from ringside (I don’t know when that was made official). As the ring announcer went to talk he and the referee were informed the WWE Championship match wouldn’t be taking place now and that this would in fact be a handicap match between Kofi… and The Bar
The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) defeated Kofi Kingston in a 2 on 1 Handicap Match
The crowd are really not happy. And as expected The Bar just beat up Kofi as people in the crowd voiced their discontent. We even got a “This is Boring” chant at one stage. Woods and Big e did try to make the save but Rusev and Nakamura came out to stop them. The Bar continued to punish Kofi who did comeback at times but the numbers just proved too much each time. Sheamus & Cesaro eventually hit a double White Noise and both put their foot on Kingston for the win. People really aren’t happy. I have a fear this will kill the crowd for the rest of the show as they just fucking buried the top babyface.
Charly Caruso interviewed Bayley and Sasha backstage.
Elias was in the ring AGAIN… he did another performance recounting New Day and Miz’s misfortunes and trashing Cleveland. Then the lights dimmed again and that was it… PLEASE tell me this is going somewhere…
They recapped the Miz and Shane stuff again before they cut to Kayla Braxton backstage who was outside The McMahon’s office waiting for Shane. Shane came out, she asked him a question to explain himself, and he just looked at her and went back in the office ans shut the door…
Ricochet’s music then hit… I was wondering how they were going to pick up the crowd again who are justifiably flat and upset now. I guess RICOCHET is a decent way to do that… if anyone can cheer this crowd up it is him! Bit if a tough spot to put him in mind on his and Black’s PPV debut after what they’ve got to follow and the mood of the crowd right now…
Raw Tag Team Championship: The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson) (C) defeated Bobby Roode & Chad Gable and Aleister Black & Ricochet to retain
Both the NXT guys got big pops coming out which was promising to hear. It seemed to be all about putting the NXT guys over so this match was good. Ricochet and Black did all their big moves, and the other two teams were good also. Lots of nearfalls early as Gable and then both The Revival isolated Ricochet until he was finally able to tag in Black. He took everyone down and got a big reaction during what were some really crisp looking moves in his early part of the match, Black eventually going for the Black Mass but hit Dawson instead and this allowed for Bobby Roode to hit Black with a Spinebuster. There then a tonne of really great sequences and spots highlighted by a spot where Dawson was on the top rope with Ricochet, Ricochet slaps him and then hits him with a Hurricanrana off the top landing on everyone on the outside (both took bumps off the apron as well). Not long after Ricochet dragged Scott Dawson back in to the ring and went to the top rope, but Dawson rolled out the way as on the other side outside Bobby Roode launched Aleister Black in to the barricade. Ricochet then did this crazy leap after running form the other side of the ring he flew over the ring post and onto Bobby Roode which was crazy to see. Chad Gable tagged Ricochet as he flew past him so now he was legal, he hit a crossbody on Dawson but he rolled that over into a nearfall, the both got pin fall attempts in before he hung Gable up on the ropes, and then Wilder came in, they hit the Shatter Machine and got the pin. A fun, fun match that I wished had gone longer but Revival won which is fine by me as if I had my way they’d be Tag Team Champions for the next 10 years. After the bell Bobby Roode jumped Dawson and attacked him, then Aleister Black gave Roode the Black Mass and hit a big knee to Dash Wilder, and eventually Ricochet followed this up hitting his 630 splash. The babyface NXT team stood tall at the end which was probably wise given the booking of the match and this show so far, Crowd needed a pick me up and I think these two guys gave it them. I liked this all very much and my only gripe was I wanted more. But I guess that’s the idea so I watch again and see these guys go at it over and over.
They showed Charlotte backstage and people booed. They showed Becky hobbling out the trainers room aided by a crutch and people cheered. The crowd are going to be so into that match it should be great.
Apparently we are getting a fatal 4 way match for the US title… ANOTHER SMACKDOWN MATCH ON THIS DUAL-BRANDED PPV… Ah apparently it was set up on the kick off show…
R Truth and Carmella come out first… followed by Andrade and Zelina… (on the pre show Carmella and Vega argued and Joe came up to them and said he’d be happy to defend his title… so guess that was the set up…)… Rey Mysterio came out after and then Samoa Joe… I’m not unhappy but I am confused as to why this is on the main show of a PPV here… after we had the same match on Smackdown last week…
United States Championship: Samoa Joe (C) defeated Rey Mysterio & R Truth with Carmella & Andrade with Zelina Vega to retain
This match was crazy. There were so many moves in not that long a match. Joe did a tope to everyone on the outside which for a 280 pound-odd guy to do that was crazy to see. Byron Saxton even said on commentary that it was ‘hard to keep track of all this’ and he was absolutely right so apologies. But yes everyone did a lot of moves; highlights being Rey doing a dual-Hurricanrana on Truth and Andrade, Truth telling Andrade to do his running double-knee strike to Joe in the corner and them him doing it and then Truth taking him down with running shoulder tackles, then a Spinebuster to Joe and a backdrop before doing the ‘You Can’t See Me’ and a 5 knuckle shuffle to Joe as Andrade had moved… all in tribute to his ‘hero’ John Cena (whom as commentary pointed out Truth is actually 6 years older than) which was all very funny. Truth then hit a scissors kick to Andrade, Joe hit a senton on Andrade, Truth missed a kick on Joe and Joe threw Truth into the ringpost, Mysterio then set Joe up and hit a 619 but missed the splash after as Joe caught him with the Coquina Clutch and Rey passed out. Joe retains in another surprise match on this show. This was very action-packed and fast paced but definitely very fun to see unfold. And the right person won too. This was actually pretty good whilst it lasted.
Beth Phoenix was introduced as guest commentator for the next match.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection (Sasha Banks & Bayley) (C) defeated Nia Jax & Tamina to retain
As a match this went pretty much as expected. Bayley and Sasha looked good in all they did and worked their asses off to try and get their opponents over as legitimate monster threats. One notable moment saw Sasha strike Nia who was stood on the apron, Tamina tagging Nia in and then lifting Banks up on to Nia but Jax didn’t seem to catch Banks right and struggled to get her up but eventually hit a Samoan Drop for a nearfall. The crowd seemed a little flat at this point, I think just wanting the big 3 main event matches that are to follow… anyway Bayley who was great in this match combined well with Sasha and Banks went for a crossbody to the outside but was caught by Nia, so to save her partner Bayley hit a Tope to knock everyone down. Sasha did the double knees off the top on to Nia and then Bayley hit the big Elbow Drop, but was stopped mid pin by Tamina pulling her out. Sasha went after Tamina but got knocked down for trying, Bayley then gave Tamina a neckbreaker on the middle ropes before Nia tried to powerbomb Bayley but was rolled over and Bayley pinned Nia to retain the titles for her team. After the bell Tamina and Nia beat up the champions, Nia threw Sasha over the announce desk and this led to Beth Phoenix going face to face with Tamina. They argued and then fought as Nia attacked Phoenix from behind. They got her in the ring and Nia hit her big leg drop on the Hall of Famer. Tamina went up top for her splash but Natalya, Beth’s best friend, ca,me out to try and make the save but got beat up too. Everyone was left laying as Tamina and Jax made their exit to a chorus of boos. I liked the match for what it was. The afters felt a bit forced to me. Jax and Tamina were put over enough to make me think we’re getting a Beth/Natalya v Tamina/Nia match of the’re getting a title rematch…
WWE Championship: ‘The New’ Daniel Bryan (C) with Rowan defeated Mustafa Ali & Kevin Owens to retain
The ring announcer still said it was a triple threat match… Owens made his way out, then Bryan and Rowan, THEN MUSTAFA ALI!!! He gets the shot he would have got before his injury, I like this tying up of loose ends. Don’t think it even matters who gets pinned here… you could aways give the one of Ali/Owens who doesn’t get pinned a singles shot on TV. This should be good… Ali got a mixed reaction I think just because he isn’t Kofi which is harsh in my opinion… “WE WANT KOFI” chants before the bell too… The match itself was really good. Crowd booed heavily as it began but Owens and Ali eventually teamed up on Bryan (should say Owens and Ali looked great working against one another). The story of the match was these 3 guys put on a great match but the crowd throughout were just chanting for Kofi. They stuck at it though and this match was really good despite the crowd’s obvious grievances, everyone did all their big moves and lots of nearfalls each too, highlights for me were when Mustafa was on the top rope and he hit a 450 onto Bryan who was on the apron although he couldn’t get the win as Rowan pulled Bryan to safety. Ali and Owens then superkicked Rowan multiple times to stop him getting in the ring before Ali hit a Hurricanrana on Rowan on the outside to send him into the post, and then Owens came flying over the ripes onto Rowan which the crowd popped for. Also Ali hit chops on Bryan on the top rope, he then looks to floor, and Ali does a moonsault as he was pushed down yet somehow lands on hit feet, Bryan misses the flying knee, but Ali does hit a flying DDT to Bryan on the outside… wow! He was rewarded for that great move by KO hitting him with a Pop up Powerbomb onto the apron! He then got Ali in the ring but was hit with a Rowan spin kick before he could capitalize and Rowan put Bryan in instead and then launched Owens into the timekeepers area. Bryan though was only able to get a 2 count on Ali as he kicked out. The crowd pop for that as Rowan is shocked and Bryan looks furious. The finish came not long after when Daniel Bryan grabbed Ali and repeated slapped him and told him he ‘doesn’t deserve to be here’, Ali eventually fought back and came flying off the top… and flew around right into a big Flying Knee from Daniel Bryan and that was the end. The crowd seemed flat at the heel winning what was a good match. Rowan did his claw grip slam thing on Ali after for good measure. It was obvious to the point commentary referred to it repeatedly that the crowd cared all about Kofi and not this match but it ended up being good enough for them to get into it. I’d presume now Owens goes back heel on Ali blaming him for losing here, and Bryan v Kofi at Mania is one of the hottest matches on that show.
They showed an awesome Lesnar v Rollins Wrestlemania advert video.
Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair by DQ
The video package before the match was really great. Charlotte got some woos but more boos when she came out and Becky got a big pop. Lynch threw her crutch away to begin the match, and Charlotte proceeded to mock Becky the whole match and as Lynch showed signs of life Charlotte would go back in various ways to work on and target the injured knee. The crowd chanted for Becky and hated Charlotte as the entire match was just a beatdown with Lynch showing her defiance and occasionally getting some moves in of her own. Lynch even got a nearfall and locked in the Dis-Arm-Her at one point but Charlotte was able to counter it into the Figure Four… and then RONDA came sprinting down, got in the ring and strategically and specifically struck Becky!!! She then stood in the corner as the ref reluctantly rung the bell and told the ring announcer to let everyone know Lynch had won by DQ. Rousey looked on before walking away as if she knew exactly what she was doing. The crowd were happy enough but the finish was kind of flat. Flair looked kind of sad and Becky delighted, they then put the graphic for the 3 way at Mania on screen so FINALLY IT IS OFFICIAL! I guess with this finish it gets Becky in the match without beating Charlotte so it was a means to justify an ends… but it was kind of anti climatic and the crowd didn’t pop half as much as I thought they would… It was kind of just a beatdown and the story was all the injury to Lynch so I don’t know how to rate it to be honest…
They showed graphics and promoted Rollins v Lesnar at Mania, and for Raw tomorrow we have Finn Balor defending the Intercontinental Championship against THE ALMIGHTY (apparently he is) Bobby Lashley and of course the Triple H – Batista face-to-face.
Elias was in the ring… AGAIN… he played his guitar, sung about Becky being The Man and he not being a fan which got booed etc. etc. then he sung about the main event and people cheered The Shield reunion. He trashed Cleveland with both points too. He then spoke to the crowd and said this is how it should be with no interruptions for Elias… and so then of course someone came out…. it was LACEY FUCKING EVANS!!! And the people… went absolutely deathly silent for the ‘Sassy Southern Belle’……… she walked down and then walked back… for goodness sake…. AND THENNNNNNNNNNNNN… Just when me and everyone in that arena wanted to just give up RANDY ORTON HIT AN RKO OUT OF NOWHERE AND WE ALL WERE VERY HAPPY! I will never not be happy to see an RKO and whilst logically and storywise it makes absolutely no sense but it popped the crowd. Orton was a heel last time I checked so it was really odd, I was convinced it’d be Braun but ah well, who doesn’t love an RKO right? The crowd certainly did! AND THEN… AJ STYLES was on the apron and hit him with a Phenomenal Forearm!!! So all this was to set up their Mania match!? Erm… OK I GUESS AHAHAHA!!!
They showed the Mania advert again… and yet again I notice The Undertaker is the very first guy featured… I’m TELLING YOU people they would not have him in this advert if he wasn’t going to be there so keep your eyes peeled… and remember who told you he’d be there too!!!
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) defeated Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley & Drew McIntyre
Of course the pre match video was mainly Roman… but my god that moment with him saying his news was maybe the best in Raw history right? The package was exceptional, among the best I’ve seen for some time and they are always good but this was incredible.
Corbin come out first and got booed. Lashley next and he got booed too (no Lio Rush by the way, commentary said he was not here after being bulldozed by Strowman on Raw, which reminds me I can’t remember when we last had no Braun on a PPV). Drew came out last… AND THEN TO A HUGE POP… Sierra, Hotel, India, Echo, Lema, Delta… SHIELD!!! Out from the crowd, all in OG Shield gear as well with the SWAT-team like outfits. It was just as cool as it always has been. All six men brawled in the ring as The Shield cleared house. Eventually the bell rung and Lashley and Rollins begun. The match was very long but I loved it personally. It was about as chaotic as you’d expect but it was all good fun: the heels took turns to beat on Rollins and then Ambrose early until Roman was tagged in to a pop, the heels were on top for a while cutting off very bit of hope The Shield had, Ambrose went flying off the top rope for an elbow strike to McIntyre, Corbin then got hit by Dean but Lashley then hit a big Spear but Dean rolled outside off the impact, then Roman then Seth got thrown into the barricade and Drew hit a Claymore on Dean to send him out the ring and Ambrose only got back in at 9! The three heels they took turns beating on Dean until Dean was able to do the move where he springs off the ropes and hits a big punch (whatever that’s called) and then he tagged in Roman Reigns to a big pop, Roman took everyone out and was looking like he was loving it and the crowd applauded him for it, he hit Corbin with a Drive-By but Drew broke up the following pin attempt… later with Lashley and McIntyre outside both Rollins and Ambrose dived through the ropes to take them out, Roman tried a dive too but ran into a Deep Six by Corbin and he got a 2 count. Seth then drove Drew in to the timekeepers area, Lashley dumped Rollins over and then Ambrose came running across the announce tables and took everyone out and over. And then for the next few minutes Corbin and Roman fought in the ring and the rest fought in the aisles in between the fan’s seating area. Corbin got some nearfalls in as the rest brawled elsewhere, there brawl ending with Rollins hitting an amazing diving crossbody to take them all out (similar to the one he did in the famous 6 man tag between Evolution and The Shield some years back which was a nice throwback). Roman got a nearfall on Corbin after a Superman Punch as the crowd really got in to the match now, the heels launched Dean and Seth into the barricade and then Roman hit Drew and Lashley with Superman punches but ran into an End of Days by Corbin…1,2 then Dean and Seth made the save to the delight of the crowd. “SHIELD” chants broke out as Corbin went on the attack to Rollins then Ambrose, he then instructed Lashley and McIntyre to clear the Spanish announce table and and they imitated a Shield powerbomb but Dean and Seth made the save, after a brawl Roman hit a Superman Punch to save Rollins going through the table, and then Rollins hit the Stomp on Lashley onto the table, Roman then hit a giant Spear on Corbin on the outside which may have go the biggest pop of the night! They then battered Drew and eventually to the huge noise of the crowd they put him through the announce table with a Shield triple powerbomb! The crowd chanted one more time and soon go their wish… The Shield surrounded Corbin who was in the ring and helpless, ‘This is Awesome’ chants broke out, they entered the ring methodically, Seth hit a superkick then Roman hit the Superman Punch then Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds, the crowd were going wild as Seth Rollins screamed very loudly “Cleveland…. ONE MORE FUCKING TIME” (which if anyone else but a guy in a main event match at Wrestlemania I’d imagine they’d get in trouble for but it did come across as real emotion so I was fine with it)… anyway they set up the big triple Powerbomb and it should be noted that the “OOOOOOO, AHHHHH” from Roman Reigns beforehand was echoed SOOOOOO loud from the crowd (maybe loudest it ever has been) so that was cool, and indeed they hit it and Roman pinned Corbin. Everything in this match went as it should of. They all embraced at the end and it looked very real emotion. Crowd were obviously delighted. It was really heartwarming stuff to watch. Michael Cole was spot on when he said this match was chaos and classic Shield and it was and it should of been just that. They did the fist bump to close the show.
This show was weird in parts, underwhelming and irritating in others but we got the things we wanted from the night. It was very much a set up show for Mania but it was always going to be. I had fun watching it and it was generally in my opinion a good show. I’d recommend to my Uncle who always asks that this show isn’t a necessity to buy, but do try and watch the main event.