Rousey gets her Wrestlemania match, Sami Zayn pins his "best friend" this week in WWE

Chris Novak: Your Olympic Hero is kicking off RAW. It’s true, it’s true.

And Angle took like three seconds to fumble over his lines. Lord.

Robert O’Neill: Remember when people were tired of Triple H and Stephanie and WWE’s solution was Mick Foley and Kurt Angle? Woof.

Chris Novak: Hey, that was a REALLY REALLY GOOD SEGMENT! Sold everything really well. Ronda looked like a terror. She seems to be getting more comfortable already in talking. They could’ve saved Steph getting hit with something for Mania, but honestly? It’s fine. Kurt did fine in the action department.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah this was fine. The match will be fine too. A lot of people are mad about it. A lot of people are stupid.

Chris Novak: Nia just did some weird helicopter move. I don’t know what that was. This match should be good, though.

Robert O’Neill: Personally, I liked the Elimination Chamber match between Nia and Asuka more.

Chris Novak: Alright that… was… not really that great.  Ending sequence was fine. But I’m eh on that. Could’ve been a lot better. Herein lies the problem with Nia and the fact that she’s lost to… virtually everyone of relevance on the main roster.

Hey, Rob, look who it is?

Robert O’Neill: TOP GUYS WATCH! The Revival are facing The Bar. This is gonna be some good rasslin’

Chris Novak: Well, that was fine. I continue to be mystified by RAW’s tag division.

Robert O’Neill: I guess they’re planning a multi-team match at Wrestlemania.

Chris Novak: Or… something.

Robert O’Neill: John Cena is here and cutting a promo about Fastlane -- a Smackdown show. OK… AND NOW GOLDUST IS HERE

Chris Novak: That was interesting, I suppose. I guess we are getting a match after commercial? We are! Eh, that was alright.

Robert O’Neill: It was cool best Goldust is great and deserves to be rewarded more often as his hall-of-fame career winds down.

Chris Novak: Okay, here comes Bayley. Now you have my attention.

Robert O’Neill: Hillbilly Jim is cool. I thought he was in a long time ago. My first exposure to him was in Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain. He was fun to use sometimes. He was pretty funny in Legends House on the (award winning) WWE Network too

Chris Novak: People (predictably) complained about Hillbilly Jim. Hey, guess what? He was a HUGE babyface in the 1980s. And was a great ambassador and, by all accounts, a great person too.

Robert O’Neill: Bayley is wearing Bella colors and it’s throwing me off.

Chris Novak: The Bellas wear more than red, Rob.

Robert O’Neill: So Bayley won and Sasha saved her from a beatdown. Interesting…

Chris Novak: Bayley still doesn’t trust Sasha. As she shouldn’t.

Robert O’Neill: Braun is facing Elias in a Symphony of Destruction match, which is pro wrestling af.

Chris Novak: This is amazing already and we just started. BRAUN LITERALLY HELD UP A MOVING CAR! That was a really fun match, as we are to expect from Braun and Elias to this point. Strowman dumping the damn piano on him was hilarious.

Ah, here’s Bray Wyatt… yeah...and now here’s Matt Hardy.

OH SHIT FINAL DELETION! VANGUARD 1! DILAPIDATED BOAT!! Okay I honestly didn’t watch Final Deletion but I heard about it so I’m just trying to fit in. If everyone else is hyped about it, then count me in, too.

Robert O’Neill: Maybe Jeremy Borash being in WWE and having run the point on the original Final Deletion can salvage this feud. Maybe.

Chris Novak:

Robert O’Neill: Alright, The Mizzies were, once again, an absolutely fantastic segment which led to a pretty good match between Balor/Rollins and the Miztourage which led to the announcement that Miz would face Rollins and Balor in a triple threat at Wrestlemania. Cool!

Chris Novak: I absolutely lost it at the voiceover talking about Kurt Angle’s “bastard son.” Effective segment for all involved. The triple threat should own.

Robert O’Neill: We conclude Raw with Paul Heyman coming out and spitting heat at Roman about the upcoming match. We’re going to get six weeks of this, and I’m fine with it. Frankly, I hope Brock continues to no-show Raws and we don’t see him until Wrestlemania. Why the hell not? If you’re gonna do it like this, go all-in. Anyways, Reigns came out and cut another good promo of his own as Raw went off the air. For the first time in a while, Raw didn’t feel like it was an elite show, which is fine. It happens.

Chris Novak: In before Brock doesn’t show up next week. Honestly, a little tired of Paul being Brock’s “messenger.” He doesn’t fit that role at all. He’s a hype man. It only works while Brock is there. Him cowering in fear is always so stupid. Anyhow, like I said, in before Brock isn’t in Detroit.

 

QUICK RESULTS

  • Asuka d. Nia Jax
  • The Bar d. The Revival
  • John Cena d. Goldust
  • Bayley d. Mandy Rose
  • Braun Strowman d. Elias
  • Bray Wyatt d. Rhyno
  • Rollins/Balor d. Miztourage

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Like I said above, Raw was good. It just didn’t quite have the zip that the past few weeks have had. The Bayley/Sasha stuff continuing and the opening segment with Stephanie/Triple H/Ronda/Kurt Angle was quite good, but a lot of other stuff felt like filler. It’s fine, filler needs to happen on the Road to Wrestlemania. As much as I liked the Cena/Goldust match, Cena’s promo before seemed out of place for Raw, since it was mostly focused on Fastlane. I don’t know the plans for the tag division, and I’m still not sure what Asuka is going to do. It’s fine! They didn’t want to give away too much too soon, but it makes for an average show: B-

Chris Novak: The rare edition of RAW where the in-ring action doesn’t prove as good as some of the storytelling. That’s how this one felt. We got a lot of good angle progression towards WM34 and I dug that. I just wish the matches stuck out a bit more. Oh well. This show’s earned a reputation of late. They just whiffed a little bit. B-

Robert O’Neill: Time for Smackdown! Charlotte is out to open the show, which isn’t what I would have expected. Let’s see what they do here.

Chris Novak: And here comes Ruby Riott and the Riott Squad. Hmm. Interesting.

Robert O’Neill: I don’t really get why Charlotte dresses like a peacock. Aside from that though, this is good. Ruby’s hitting all the right notes. It looked like they were gonna beat Charlotte down but BOB ROODE came out for… the save? Technically? Anyways, he’s on commentary for this next match.

Chris Novak: And now we get Orton-Jinder. Hey, we saw this as a WWE Title Match at MITB last year. My Lord. Hey, that was a good match. Hit all the right notes. Set up dissension with Roode and Orton. Got Mahal over. Maybe Mahal will be added to the US Title Match at Fastlane.

Robert O’Neill: Good match. Now we go backstage for the Sam and Kev Show! Kev’s saying nice things to Sami in hopes that they’ll continue to be aligned in the 6-man challenge match. They appear to be on the same page! This New Day/Usos video package is fantastic. These are two of the best tag teams in WWE history.

Chris Novak: God damn, that was so good. LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Nakamura Day. I’m here for it. Hey, here comes Becky, and she’s facing someone who isn’t on the Riott Squad? And CARMELLA isn’t DOA? Well, I never.

Robert O’Neill: Carmella is really good at all the non-wrestling parts of wrestling. If she can become even average in-ring, she could be something special.

Chris Novak: That was a really good match. May have been Carmella’s best match ever. I guess we’re getting a tag match at the PPV. Fun.

Robert O’Neill: AJ Styles cut a promo about Sunday’s match. Dolph Ziggler came out and whined. Time for their match!

Chris Novak: I’m hopeful this match will be good. So far, it is.

Robert O’Neill: This match was far longer than I expected it would be. I also thought it would be the main event. I guess something with John Cena will be in that spot? And now Owens and Zayn are here to ruin the match and turn it into a no-contest, but Shane McMahon isn’t on board with that. So he calls Baron Corbin to the ring and turns it into a fatal five-way. Where’s John Cena?

Chris Novak: Well, y’know. You can’t see him, Rob.

Robert O’Neill: Well, Sami Zayn showed that he doesn’t care about the alliance. It’s every man for himself! Zayn pinned Owens to win the fatal-five way and plant seeds of doubt. I like it.

Chris Novak: Quite the promo by Zayn to end the show, too. Not a terrible episode of SDL at all. Quite good, in fact.

QUICK RESULTS

  • Jinder Mahal d. Randy Orton
  • Becky Lynch d. Carmella
  • Sami Zayn d. AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Baron Corbin

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: For the second straight week, Smackdown Live was a strong show! I really enjoyed how they started things off with Ruby and Charlotte despite not understanding it at first, and while everyone expected Becky and Naomi to run-in for the save, it was pretty smart to have it be Bob Roode. The matches were pretty standard go-home show matches, but the backstage stuff was where the real action was for me. Rusev and Nakamura’s interaction in particular. Fastlane is suddenly shaping up to be a pretty good show, and a strong last two weeks of SDL helped out a ton. B

Chris Novak: Really enjoyed this SDL. The main event was really, really good. Mahal-Orton was actually pretty good too. I dug the opening bit with Charlotte and Ruby, and the Tag Team Titles video package was sooooooo good. My guess is that Fastlane will be better than expected this weekend. SDL gets a better grade than RAW this week for me. B+

MIXED MATCH CHALLENGE

Chris Novak: I don’t recognize this tournament of course, as it doesn’t exist anymore. But, Braun and Alexa are awesome together.

Robert O’Neill: Little Big Forever.

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