WrestleMania and Raw Review

mania

This years WrestleMania had one of the worst builds leading up to it that I can remember, and sadly the event didn’t do much to change my mind. I waited a couple days to write this on purpose, thinking maybe I was being too harsh. But as I thought about it, I feel comfortable in saying Mania was a very underwhelming event and the following Raw didn’t help it too much. Let’s get to breaking down the two day marathon of wrestling.

 

 

Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz vs. Stardust vs. Kevin Owens ( C ) in a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title

 

This whole match was kind of a mess as they built for it pretty poorly. No challenger really stood out from the pack.  The match quality was very good, although it did not have many of the normal spots associated with a ladder match. Kevin Owens took an insanely dangerous spot, getting suplexed neck and head first into a ladder. Everyone else was laid out, allowing Ryder to snag the belt and the surprise victory. As much as WWE supposedly wants to raise the profile of their secondary title, they continue to book it strangely. Ryder held onto the belt for roughly 24 hours before being defeated by the Miz the next night on Raw. To me, this isn’t a compelling use of the title. You have Ryder who has barely been on TV win, only to lose it in short order. It seemed like WWE had Ryder win just to say they surprised the fans.

 

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

 

This match was good, but never found that next gear to make it super memorable. We’ve already seen these two work so many times, it just felt very repetitive. Styles took a loss in this one, which is puzzling. Not only did it not serve much of a purpose for WrestleMania itself, it made less sense on Raw. Yes, Styles won a Fatal Four way match to become number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. But wouldn’t his story have more weight if he was coming off a victory over Jericho at his first WrestleMania? I’m also not a huge fan of Styles having little chance in his first title feud; more on that later on.

 

League of Nations vs. The New Day

 

While the New Day and their giant box of Booty-O’s were highly entertaining, League of Nations picked up the victory. I’m not real sure where WWE is heading with the League. After the match the League got beat up by legends Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin. While I’m sure it was great for the live audience to see all three of these men, it added nothing to either team. It doesn’t help that WWE constantly wants to remind us that the past is better than the present. The League forced out Wade Barrett the next night and looks like they’ll be feuding with the Wyatt Family next. I’m not even gonna pretend to know where that’s going yet. The New Day also needs new opponents, which is not an easy guess as to who.

 

Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a Street Fight

 

This match had so much promise but was a complete flop in reality. Lesnar is one of the biggest draws in the WWE, and they used him like just another guy. This has been an issue for a few weeks. When you have him to use, you need to maximize him. There was nothing memorable about this match at all; it was barely Monday Night Raw main event quality. They teased weapons for weeks, and never really used any of them. The two wrestlers also never left the ring or directly beside the ring. Even with as big of a Lesnar fan as I am, it was a fail. Neither wrestler was seen on Raw, and there’s a good chance Lesnar won’t be back until the company starts building for SummerSlam.

 

Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte in a Triple Threat for the Divas Championship

 

Former Diva Lita introduced a new belt on the pre-show and thank goodness for that. The old butterfly belt was a disgrace. The match itself was very good, and it was great to see the ladies given time. However, I confess to being disappointed to see Charlotte retain in this scenario. With the new title belt and the transition to Women’s wrestling instead of using Diva, I feel there should’ve been a new champion to carry that banner.  You could argue that neither Becky or Sasha have been well developed on the main roster, and that’s valid. But WWE struggles with that as is. It’s also extremely frustrating to see such a focus put on the women and continue to have Charlotte need help from Ric Flair in big matches . Sasha and Becky also look very dumb for never dealing with this issue. Becky sustained an eye injury and didn’t wrestle on Raw. Sasha did, but it was in a squash match against Summer Rae. It also included no development for Sasha.  It appears that Charlotte is moving on to feud with Natalya, which should be quality all the way through.

 

Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon in Hell in a Cell

 

This match was pretty bad quality, but I think most assumed that heading in. Match quality aside here, Shane McMahon is one of the crazier people I’ve ever seen. He has absolutely zero need to take the risks and the bumps he did. Jumping off the top of a 20 foot cage is crazy, and was actually a little scary to watch. It was a bit odd to see Undertaker and Shane perform bigger and more dangerous moves than the Street Fight Lesnar and Ambrose did. Since the match ended clean, Undertaker was the right man to go over. Having him lose to Shane would’ve devalued Lesnar being the only man to defeat Undertaker at WrestleMania. In what was the most infuriating moment of the weekend, Vince McMahon actually let Shane control Raw on Monday night. So the whole build of this match was thrown out the window on a whim. WWE treats their fans like goldfish, and it’s extremely annoying. Why tell fans Shane doesn’t control Raw if he loses if he’s going to anyways? Aside from new debuts like Apollo Crews and Enzo & Big Cass, was Raw different? Weeks of build were cast aside in under 3 hours.

 

 

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

 

NXT veteran Baron Corbin won the Battle Royal, which was a solid way for him to make his main roster debut. It also would have been nice to see him beat people not named Diamond Dallas Page, Tatanka and Shaquille O’Neal. Yes, those are real participants in what is supposed to be a prestigious event. It’s another example of WWE having good ideas, but not being able to follow through 100% on it. As for Corbin, he is still a work in progress. However, WWE desperately need new and credible heels. Corbin can go a long way to help this. His first match was against Dolph Ziggler and Ziggler made Corbin look big and dangerous. I wish they would’ve just had Corbin go over clean instead of a double count-out, but it’s nothing WWE can’t fix.

 

The Rock Appears

 

This will most likely be unpopular, but can WWE stop bringing in the Rock unless he has something new to say or do? He’s completely boring at this point. I don’t need to see him staring at the crowd for 5 minutes at a time, nor do I need to see him light his name on fire with a blowtorch like he did Sunday. Many took issue with the Rock going over the Wyatt Family, but I disagree. The Wyatt’s have been treated so poorly that getting owned by the Rock didn’t hurt them. John Cena came down to help the Rock clear the ring, but it’s reported Cena still has a few weeks until he gets back to full strength.

 

Triple H vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

 

This match didn’t even start until well after 11:00 and suffered because of it. The live crowd and I imagine many of the people watching had to be exhausted. Triple H works a very methodical match and Mania was zero exception. The match wasn’t bad, but I just didn’t care who won by the end. Reigns won in what was pre-ordained months ago. The next night on Raw was probably the best Reigns has been presented in months. He was cocky, he ate the boos the Raw crowd gave him, and treated Styles, Jericho, Owens and Zayn like they were all beneath him when they all wanted to face him for the title. This is exactly what Reigns should be. He could be a great smug and dominant heel. The fact that Styles is the new number one contender leaves me with hope WWE has finally come to this conclusion(even if Styles will almost surely not win).

 

This WrestleMania season was long, puzzling and it felt like work by the end of it. WWE has a lot of decisions to make soon as a lot of injured talent is coming back. Does that make the storylines better? Does Raw and SmackDown turn into an even bigger muddled mess? WWE had a few very exciting debuts and storylines to cling to and hope they turn out. They just haven’t given viewers a lot of reasons to believe they can deliver. It’s going to be a very interesting summer to see how everything is handled.

 

Follow me on Twitter @Bucn4life

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