Welcome to Raw Roundup, where I watch Raw so you don’t have to. Only 6 days until Wrestlemania! Can the WWE salvage the disastrous build to the biggest show of the year? Let’s find out.
The Undertaker is out to open the show! He says that this Wrestlemania won’t be his last, and that he might murder Vince. He puts over his dominance at Mania and Hell in a Cell. He works for his catchphrase, but Shane O’Mac interrupts him. Shane gets a big “Shane O’Mac” chant. He says that he’ll be fighting to win, and Taker will be fighting not to lose. He calls himself an instrument of change in the WWE and this gets a good pop. Shane says something about Taker’s legacy that Taker takes offense to. Shane enters the ring and stares down Taker. This gets a holy shit chant. Shane says that Lesnar killed Undertaker’s legacy at Wrestlemania 30. Taker says that Shane has been his dad’s bitch since he was born, which is a really weird insult. Shane goes after Taker and gets beaten down. Shane gets the upper hand somehow, and elbow drops Taker through the announce table! This gets a much deserved “Holy shit” chant. The replay shows that Shane missed Undertaker by a country mile, but whatever. Shane is making his way up the ramp when Taker does sit up spot, and then Taker does the throat cutting thing he is want to do. Good show lads.
Hey, Zack Ryder is on TV again! Hurray! Oh he’s wrestling Jericho. Shit. We get treated to a promo from the preshow when Jericho says he won’t grant AJ’s request for a Mania match, and that Zack Ryder sucks. AJ interrupts immediately and calls Jericho a coward and says he won’t leave ringside until he gets his Mania match.
Zack Ryder vs Chris Jericho
Jericho gets most of the offense and counters a Broski Boot into the Walls of Jericho before AJ distracts him with a “Y2Jackass” chant and the distraction allows Ryder to roll Jericho up for the 3! Oh my God, ZACK RYDER JUST PINNED CHRIS JERICHO ON RAW! Ryder immediately eats a Codebreaker after the bell and Jericho throws a tantrum. He calls AJ about 4 different variations of the word “ass” and agrees to a Mania match. He calls AJ a rookie and says that this Wrestlemania will be Style’s first and last one. So Jericho vs Styles at Mania, but the important part is that Zack Ryder got a win!
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte
Sasha Banks is on commentary for this one, as is tradition. We get recaps of the Diva’s match from Smackdown, where Sasha pinned Charlotte. Becky starts by working the arm as the crowd chants “We want Sasha”. Becky gets some great offense in and hits her T-bone suplex. The crowd starts chanting for Becky and popping big for her moves. Charlotte’s selling is quite poor in this match. Some interference from Drunk Ric Flair allows Charlotte to pick up the win with the Natural Selection.
Backstage Vince puts over the Shane vs Taker match. Shane interrupts and says that Vince stole the company from his dad, and now Shane is going to steal it from him.
After the commercial break we see that the commentators have gotten a new announce table. The Social Outcasts are in the ring and try to cut a promo before getting immediately interrupted by Big Show and then Kane.
Big Show and Kane vs Curtis Axel and Adam Rose
The Outcasts immediately run in for the DQ. All of a sudden every midcarder in the company is in the ring and they have a mini battle royal that ends with Kane and Big Show choke slamming all of the Outcasts at the same time.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are in the ring. Stephanie tells the crowd to get on their knees and grovel at Triple H’s feet. It’s pretty cringey. Trips says that everyone will watch Wrestlemania for the world title match, and gets booed. He starts talking about Roman and the crowd takes a shit on it and chants “Boring”. Trips then starts talking himself up as you can clearly see a fan on the hard camera check his watch. He mentions Roman beating him up at TLC and gets booed. The whole point of this promo is to get Reigns over and the crowd have none of it. Eventually Roman interrupts to a lot of boos. He starts throwing down with Trips as the crowd boos everything he does. Trips and Steph run and Roman is left alone in the ring to a huge “Roman Sucks!” chant.
The New Day is out to lift the mood. They play imaginary Frisbee on the entrance ramp to a big “New Day Rocks” chant. It’s announced that Kofi will be in singles action with Alberto Del Rio. They get over that Booty-O’s are the official cereal of Wrestlemania, and the crowd chants for Booty-O’s. They run down how no one would ever buy League of Nations cereal. Del Rio and the League come out so the match can get underway.
Kofi Kingston vs Alberto Del Rio
As usual New Day and the League are both at ringside, so how long until this disintegrates into a brawl? I’d wager not very long. The guys trade big power moves for a while. Eventually Kofi reverses the Cross Arm-Breaker into a small package pin for the 3. After the match, Jonathan Coachman comes out. What? He shamelessly plugs his ESPN Wrestlemania show and shills Booty-O’s. Go away Coach.
The winner of the Warrior Award was announced as being Joan Lunden, a random Good Morning America host who has cancer. Remember when the Ultimate Warrior made the Warrior award to recognize the people behind the scenes who make wrestling great? Well the WWE doesn’t obviously, and Steph has just turned into a PR device to give someone with cancer. Bleh.
Roman is backstage with Rene and gets some big boos. The Dudley Boyz interrupt immediately to start a fight with Roman and Trips shows up to join in. The crowd no sell the beating. Does this mean the Dudley’s joined the Authority? I bet you we’ll never find out. Trips ends the segment by bashing Roman’s face into the title and telling him he’ll never win the title, the crowd pops for that.
Kalisto vs Konnor
Ah shit, I forgot the Ascension are still employed. Viktor is at ringside. Very short match, Kalisto does some Kalisto type shit and gets the Solita Del Sol. Ryback comes out after the match to a lot of boos. He gets in the ring and points at the Wrestlemania sign as the crowd boos. He tries to start a “feed me more” chant but the crowd doesn’t bite and keeps booing him. Kalisto’s music plays and Ryback fucks off.
Backstage we see Paul Heyman go into Brock Lesnar’s dressing room.
Brock Lesnar make his entrance to a good pop. I find it amusing that Brock has had the same haircut for about 17 years. Heyman says his usual stuff and hypes the Mania match with Dean Ambrose. Lesnar does his usual thing where he stands around and stares at the hard camera while Heyman talks. Eventually Dean interrupts with a wagon. Like a kids red wagon. He even spray painted the Dean Ambrose logo on the side of it. Dean wheels it to ringside and starts grabbing weapons from under the ring and putting them in his wagon. He retrieves Barbie to a good pop and Chainsaw Charlie to a pop as well. He also grabs some nun chucks and the ring steps. He then wheels his stuff out of there without saying a word. Well done, that was a great little segment.
Paige vs Emma
Wow I forgot Paige and Emma still existed. Both girls are out with their teams for the Diva’s match at Mania. The teams also have the worst names ever. No I am not going to write them out. Emma starts strong, Paige says her “This is my house” thing. Looking at ringside you can see how unplanned this Mania match is, as none of the teams have matching ring gear. Emma wins after Lana gets involved. After the bell the whole thing becomes a brawl and the crowd have none of it.
Oh for fuck’s sake. Eva Marie is here.
She comes out and gets beyond Roman levels of “go away” heat. She botches her only spot and the crowd shit all over this. Justly so.
We get a Golden Truth segment backstage. When will there be any payoff to this angle? It’s been going for almost 2 months. We also learn that Snoop Dogg is getting inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Kevin Owens, Stardust, and The Miz vs Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, and Sin Cara
We get immediate chants for Sami Zayn as he starts against the Miz. The two open with some nice chain wrestling. Owens is tagged in to face Sami, and immediately tags out. The crowd have no part of anyone in this match who isn’t Sami or Owens. Ziggler does get a pop for taking his shirt off though. The match takes a very boring turn and the crowd begins to chant for Byron Saxton. They realise that’s stupid, and start chanting for CM Punk. Sami quickly tags back in so they’ll stop, and they start chanting for him again. Once Sami tags out the crowd starts chanting for RVD. Just a reminder that this is the go home show for the biggest Wrestlemania ever. Jesus Christ. When we get back from commercial the crowd is chanting “This is Booty”. They eventually also start chanting “New Day Rocks”. The crowd begins to do the wave. The crowd could not possibly give less of a shit about this match and neither can I. Such a shame considering that it has Owens and Zayn in it. The crowd finally perks up a little bit when Owens and Zayn finally start wrestling and Owens’ team leave the match. Sami hits the Helluva Kick on Owens for the win.
Time for the main event, another fucking Authority promo. Steph talks her usual nonsense. The crowd is having none of this, and sandbag the entire promo. Roman interrupts and gets booed. Again. He and Triple H start brawling for the third time tonight. Suddenly every midcarder in the company come down to the ring again and break up the brawl. Trips and Roman have a stare down to a massive amount of boos that ends the show.
Jesus Christ what a mess. What an absolute mess. Eva Marie and 3 Roman segments, this show gets a fuck off/10. The build to Wrestlemania has been an absolute disaster this year. I’m going into Mania very ready to be disappointed this year, and so should you. Stick around for the Wrestlemania review next week.