RAW/Smackdown recap: Daniel Bryan returns while Matt Hardy classifies Bray Wyatt as obsolete in Ultimate Deletion

Robert O’Neill: Time for Raw! Will Brock Lesnar show up tonight?

Chris Novak: I would say… yes! He will! Because Roman isn’t there. Brock fears Roman.

Robert O’Neill: Well, holy shit. Kurt Angle came out to address the Braun Strowman stuff and Roman arrived through the crowd and got arrested by US Marshalls and then he beat them all up while wearing handcuffs then Brock came out and kicked his ass. That was awesome.

Chris Novak: I was right! He did. Brock is a coward, who only beat up Roman when he was defenseless. That was an outstanding segment, and also extremely effective, too.

Robert O’Neill: Alexa Bliss has a Raw match!

Chris Novak: This is truly a shocker. Not sure if she’s going to get beat up by Asuka and lose or if Nia is going to beat her up. Maybe both? Alright, so Alexa is a little you know what. She does this whole thing so well, but man she is trash. I guess that’s what they’re looking for, right?

Robert O’Neill: Alexa lost by countout because she’s a heel. Nia went to attack her after and Alexa wanted Nia arrested. Kurt Angle was none too pleased with this notion AND isn’t pleased with Alexa’s casual racism and body shaming these days so now Nia and Alexa are facing off at Wrestlemania.

Chris Novak: Alexa is… um, she’s fine in the ring, but man, she’s gotta do better at absorbing hard strikes. Nia coming out and chasing after her was a great bit. Their match at Mania is going to be… interesting, to say the least.

And now, here’s Braun Strowman and The Bar!

Robert O’Neill: Braun against Cesaro was good, but wake me up when we get Braun vs. Sheamus.

Chris Novak: I suppose they’re keeping us in suspense as far as who Braun’s tag partner is.

Robert O’Neill: TOP GUYS WATCH!!!!! They’re facing Titus Worldwide. This should be fun.

Chris Novak: Lord help this tag team division. Hopefully it gets a nice little reboot after WrestleMania. Nonetheless, a short match, and Revival get the dub.

Robert O’Neill: So the Andre Battle Royal is coming back and The Revival are entering it. Neat.

Robert O’Neill: In a Hall of Fame class with questionable characters like Bubba Dudley and Kid Rock, I’m thrilled for Mark Henry. What’s your favorite Mark Henry memory, Chris?

Chris Novak: “I STILL GOT A LOT LEFT IN THE TANK!!!!” -- Mark Henry, Raw, 6/17/13

Robert O’Neill: Well, Sasha and Bayley are about to tag team.

Chris Novak: Bayley sounded a whole lot more confident on the mic there. Good stuff from both of them, adding to the dissension. I guess both are in the Battle Royal? I’m not quite certain, but it’s good that it seems to be centered around them at least. Could stretch that out further if we don’t get one of them going through the Shakeup. The match against Absolution worked out fine, and the finish worked well for me.

Robert O’Neill: John Cena is here to say some crrrraaaaazzzzzy stuff about The Undertaker, I bet.

Chris Novak: Dallas is VERY behind him now. Hot damn. Okay! So, he called The Undertaker a coward, derided him essentially… and out comes Kane! Cena acts as if it’s a sign, and he’s in his own delusions right now. It’s kind of funny. Kane chokeslams him and leaves the ring. SO, we are without an answer. For now.

Robert O’Neill: Miztourage vs. Balor Club is up next. Miz cut a promo before the match about how he gets no respect. He’s right, you know.

Chris Novak: Love that Meltzer got worked. Anyways, that was a fun match. I liked the beatdown afterwards, and Seth saying Finn owes him one is another wrinkle in this, I guess. We’ll see if Finn actually does the deed or not.

Robert O’Neill: ALRIGHT. Time for the Laughing Man vs. Bray Wyatt. I pray to God this isn’t stupid.

Chris Novak: This is delightfully stupid and absurd so far. My God, Matt rebuilt the freaking worshipping shack to get inside his head.

Okay, that was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.

Robert O’Neill: Ultimate Deletion was everything I could have hoped for.

Quick Results


  • Asuka d. Alexa Bliss
  • Braun Strowman d. Cesaro
  • The Revival d. Titus Worldwide
  • Absolution d. Sasha Banks and Bayley
  • The Miztourage d. Balor Club
  • Matt Hardy d. Bray Wyatt

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: That was a jam-packed episode of Raw, huh? Every single Wrestlemania match currently scheduled got advancement, we got an absolutely fantastic opening with Brock and Roman. I think the only part I didn’t like is John Cena being a cornball and begging The Undertaker for a match. Other than that, this show worked incredibly well for me. A-

Chris Novak: This episode was a lot and a half. I really dug the Rousey video and the stuff with Roman and Brock was brutal and terrific, too. Bayley and Sasha’s continue to have their friendship fractured, and it took a nice step in the right direction tonight, as well. The Ultimate Deletion was just hilariously absurd. I’ll give this show a solid A- as well.


Chris Novak: He’s still so good at this. There is nobody like him. There is nobody who will ever be like him. He’s one of a kind, and my God, it’s so great that he’s back. It’s so funny that Bryan’s turned into a great promo in his time away from the ring. Now he’s the total freaking package, assuming he can still go. Oh please. Of course he can still go.

Robert O’Neill: Following that up with Rusev and Shinsuke was pretty interesting. It’s worth noting that AJ Styles was on commentary but didn’t get involved in the match (or is it?)

Chris Novak: Rusev and Shinsuke have some pretty great chemistry together, by the way. Hopefully they get a few more matches against each other in 2018. They could definitely make more magic happen. Looks like we’re getting Charlotte vs. Nattie later. Which… sure, I guess.

Robert O’Neill: Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger had a match. That was cool, I guess. They need to try something new (again) with Corbin.

Chris Novak: They need to try something new with Nattie. I can’t stand her as a villain. I mean, I can’t stand her in general, because she’s bad at this whole thing. But geez. Also, this match is so painfully average. These two do not click as well as it appears to the naked eye.

I’m glad we had to do another false cash-in attempt just so Charlotte could get ROLLED UP by Natalya. Woof.

Robert O’Neill: God. Natalya sucks.

Chris Novak: You know who doesn’t suck though? Luke Harper. Luke Harper is about to be in a singles match against Jimmy Uso. This is going to rule.

CONFIRMED: It ruled.

Robert O’Neill: Ah, good. Naomi and Becky against Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. Fresh and exciting! Becky and Naomi won. Neat.

Chris Novak: Right result, lotta fodder here, though. Hopefully this division gets a boost after Mania.

Robert O’Neill: Oh my lord. Bryan came out for the main event and “fired” Owens and Zayn and they SNAPPED. They beat him down in the ring, then Owens powerbombed him off the ring apron and they did a stretcher job. Bryan tried to fight back while in the ring and hit the Yes Kicks, which was amazing. I guess he’ll be Shane’s partner at Wrestlemania. Congratulations, Vince. You took a match and feud I no longer cared about and saved it.

Chris Novak: I am parroting this from something I saw on Twitter: I have never been more delighted to see somebody get their ass kicked. That was awesome, and I love how they went full bore with this the FIRST NIGHT! You could tell Bryan was itching to get back to this. Man, it’s REALLY hard to get Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to have LEGITIMATE heel heat. And by God, they have legit heel heat now. This angle, which was dead in the water, is now hotter than a steam kettle. This is just insane.

Quick Results

  • Shinsuke Nakamura d. Rusev
  • Baron Corbin d. Tye Dillinger
  • Natalya d. Charlotte Flair
  • Jimmy Uso d. Luke “Harper” Harper
  • Becky Lynch/Naomi d. Liv Morgan/Sarah Logan

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: Daniel Bryan is back. All Hail. A+

Chris Novak: I mean, it’s incredibly hard to argue with that. But I’ll give it an A, because Nattie beating Charlotte three weeks out of Mania is just stupid. Otherwise, this was a fantastic episode of SmackDown Live.

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