This Week in WWE: The Queen ascends back to her throne, and Kofimania is a GO!
Robert O’Neill: We’re less than two weeks from Wrestlemania, and excitement is getting higher and higher, especially with the confirmation that Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey WILL be your main event this year. But, we still have business to take care of before we get there, starting with Raw from Boston!
Chris Novak: I’m glad we got that out of the way. The discourse everywhere was getting tiresome. The women absolutely deserve this honor, and it’s about time. Hey, guess who’s gonna be there to see that historic main event… LIVE… your boys right here, that’s who!
Robert O’Neill: Ronda Rousey is opening the show. She’s taking credit for the women main eventing Wrestlemania (she’s not wrong) and she’s not pleased about having a Beat The Clock Challenge tonight. Becky/Charlotte/Ronda are each facing a member of the Riott Squad but, uh, it’s not… for anything.
Chris Novak: It’s to show superiority over the others int he match. I’m not really mad at it. It’s not like Becky and Charlotte have gotten a lot of TV work tonight. The point is probably to showcase Ronda as a dominant champion, since she’ll probably make mince meat of Sarah Logan.
Anyways, there’s BECKY LYNCH!
Becky says that she helped save Ronda’s title reign and no one cared about Rousey until The Man came around. Apart from how similar that sounds to everything she says, this was a very solid spurt and the Boston crowd is just over the MOON with Becky. Now… here comes CHARLOTTE FLAIR!
Charlotte says that she was handpicked to be the main event of WrestleMania and all the attention, essentially, deserves to be squarely on her. So, just about what you’d expect.
Robert O’Neill: We get right into the beat the clock matches and… there’s no real point to them! Ronda beats Sarah Logan in 1:25, Charlotte fails to beat Ruby Riott, and Becky defeats Liv Morgan quicker than 1:25 to get the victory. That was effective.
Chris Novak: Becky and Charlotte hadn’t worked any TV matches since January, they probably wanted to put Ronda over and then have Becky look better. I don’t mind any of this, though I’m sure there will be complainers.
Robert O’Neill: Finn Balor was set to face Bob Lashley and Lio Rush in a handicap match, but Lio said he couldn’t complete because Braun Strowman kicked his butt last week, and Bob’s partner would instead be Jinder Mahal. Whew.
Chris Novak: The stipulation in play here was that if Finn won, he’d get an Intercontinental Championship opportunity against Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania. After what was a short, fun little match, Finn prevailed by hitting the Coup de Grace on Jinder. They are driving home the narrative that Finn can beat everybody but Lashley. I wonder what he’ll have to do to do that…
Aleister Black and Ricochet are set to face The Revival in a non-title match. I’m never mad at this combination getting in-ring time. So, this should be fun!
Robert O’Neill: It WAS fun. Aleister and Ricochet won after a double Black Mass to 630 spot. I would imagine this is going to be the Wrestlemania Raw tag match.
Drew McIntyre is here and being corny and hokey and talking about Roman’s leukemia again. Why? Who is that for?
But Roman came down and beat the hell out of him and accepted his challenge for WrestleMania and told him not to talk about his family. But eventually McIntyre hit a low blow and a Claymore to leave Roman down in the middle of the ring
Chris Novak: Not so keen on the whole leukemia thing again, but the brawl certainly was great and I’m looking forward to seeing this at WrestleMania.
Sasha Banks is in BOSS-ton (you have no idea how much it irked me to write that out) and will face Natalya. Surely, this won’t go wrong like last week’s match did.
The match was good and fine. They had a run-in like last week. At least it happened in the later stages. Beth fended off both Nia and Tamina and slammed Tamina down with the Glam Slam. She then stepped on the Tag Title belt when Sasha tried to pull it away. Messages being sent!
Robert O’Neill: They’re doing what they can to get people to care about this match, and I appreciate them for it. Obviously they don’t have the most talented in-ring workers outside of Bayley and Sasha, so they’re working with what they’ve got.
Chris Novak: A Moment of Bliss, with Braun Strowman and, probably but not likely Michael Che and Colin Jost, is next. Bliss says she’s at a crossroads, as her reputation is depending on her keeping peace between Braun Strowman and Colin Jost and Michael Che. Braun came out, and Alexa ran down all the things that he’s done in the past. Then, live… from New York, via satellite, came Colin Jost and Michael Che.
I have to admit, this segment was pretty hilarious. Jost acted great as a shit heel (and him putting a Yankees hat on popped me) and Che trying to pick the pieces up for him while simultaneously getting him into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was hilarious. Colin, however, tried to get Che in the battle royal, too. Braun grew tired of the shtick, and eventually he asked Alexa if she could get them both in. Bliss teased that she couldn’t, but then decided to put them in anyway! So, we now have them all in the Andre. This segment, like I said, was pretty hilarious and great fun.
Baron Corbin is fighting Apollo Crews. Baron Corbin promptly beat Apollo Crews. Moving on…
Becky, Charlotte and Ronda will all be on SportsCenter tomorrow. That’s pretty neat.
Seth Rollins out here to talk about Mania. He says that everybody who was at an autograph session he did yesterday told him to beat Brock Lesnar. And Seth said that with his army of people behind him, they will burn… it… ah, here’s Paul Heyman to interrupt!
Heyman talks down on Seth and the fans for, what he thinks, is asking for thoughts and prayers. He continues to go on and on, and then Rollins goes up and Heyman cowers in fear. Rollins says he’s here to answer thoughts and prayers, not ask for them, and that he’s going to beat Lesnar.
Enjoyed this segment.
Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe is next. Here’s Joe, who does his shtick and says it’ll be a “cold day in the other side of the afterlife” before he lets him ride into the sunset. OH MY GOD, Joe headbutted Angle to start the match, which as everyone may, or may not know, is a STRONG callback to when Angle did the same thing to him in TNA in their first in-ring competition.
Angle gets a ‘shock’ win over Joe, after getting his shoulders on the mat while Joe had him in the Coquina Clutch. The match was… well, what it was. Poor Angle is so gassed, but that match was as good as you could get out of those two right now.
H-Man then comes out for a promo. He puts over the women first, naturally, and then has a letter from Batista that he’s got in his pocket (“I’m doing the job for the envelope,” he says, struggling to take it out of his jacket pocket). Triple H then makes a Spice Girls joke, references Deacon Batista and how he couldn’t beat John Cena, and gets to Batista wanting it to be Career vs. Career.
They’ve done quite a few Elias segments from New York tonight. I have only one word to say about them: BRUCE!
Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre in a Last Man Standing Match (which we’ll have to compartmentalize in the span of 10 minutes) is next! And this turned out to be an extremely fun brawl over the span of 10 minutes. Predictably, Drew McIntyre won. This more than served its purpose and they are really heating Mac up for Mania. As they no doubt should be.
Chris Novak: I enjoyed Raw. It was an enjoyable watch. The matches were fun. Nothing bored me. The segments hit with me, and some of them were really funny. I’ll give it a B- for that reason. Solid show. They’ll turn up into overdrive next week, I’m sure, as we’re now just one Raw away from WrestleMania.
Robert O’Neill: The New Day are out to open the show, and they’re not pleased with how things have gone the past few months -- particularly last week -- there have been rumors that they might quit. They start to thank the fans, and fan the flames on those rumors, but they can’t make their decision until they get some answers from Vince McMahon. Vince’s music hits and he comes to the ring, but Daniel Bryan and Rowan are here to say that Vince is right and the New Day is wrong. Vince wants everyone to stop fighting though, and even though Kofi is still a B-plus player, he can be in the Wrestlemania match if New Day can win a tag team gauntlet tonight.
Chris Novak: Standout stuff here from all the usual suspects. They seem to be overdoing it a bit with the gauntlets but putting it in the hands of Big E and Xavier’s a nice touch.
Robert O’Neill; Charlotte Flair is out here, and before she can say anything, Asuka comes out.
Chris Novak: And, apparently, we’re about to get Charlotte-Asuka III for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Because this buildup to this match wasn’t wonky enough. We need another thing to add to the mess.
Robert O’Neill: So after an excellent 20 minute match, Charlotte locked in the figure eight and made Asuka submit and won the title. Whew, that’s out of nowhere. So the Wrestlemania main event is now for all the marbles. Honestly… I don’t hate it. I can see how other people do, but I think it’s fine.
Chris Novak: I… need to wait and see on this one… I’m not sure that I get all of this, but… we’ll see… but it was still an awesome match, yes. That much is certain.
Robert O’Neill: We’re gonna keep moving right along with Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles. Angle gets the ankle lock in right away, but Styles gets out of it. As both men are recovering, Randy Orton strikes for an RKO OUT OF NOWHERE on Styles and the match is thrown out. Angle hits Orton with a weak Angle Slam.
Chris Novak: That match was a mess but all of these have been. So, not like I was expecting anything different. Still really fun though!
Robert O’Neill: Miz is here! Let’s see what he has to say.
He’s mad at Shane still and wants their match at Wrestlemania to be Falls Count Anywhere. Shane makes his way out to the ring with an entourage and accepts Miz’s challenge. That match should be fun.
Chris Novak: FCA is the perfect type of plunder match for these two. Going to REALLY enjoy this one, I think. Another effective babyface segment for Miz here, by the way. He is killing it.
Robert O’Neill: Main event time! Can the New Day run the gauntlet?
Gallows and Anderson are the first team out, and Big E and Xavier make short work of them! Now Rusev and Nakamura are out. It takes a bit longer, but New Day overcome the pairing. Now here comes The Bar.
The Bar put The New Day through absolute hell, and after New Day gets the win, Cesaro and Sheamus put Big E through a table, and New Day looks to be in dire straits as The Usos come out.
But, The Usos get microphones. They respect the New Day and Kofi too much to fight, and forfeit! But there’s still one more team for the New Day to go through: Bryan and Rowan.
New Day have nothing left. Bryan and Rowan are toying with them.
But they get a burst of energy! And Big E traps Rowan under the announce table while Woods takes care of Bryan. New Day wins by countout! Kofi’s going to WrestleMania!
Chris Novak: Damn, that was legit awesome. I really, REALLY liked the fact that The Usos forfeited out of respect. Incredible wrinkle and made SO much sense given everything that’s transpired between those two teams over the past few years. Loved Bryan and Rowan’s tantrum, and loved how this ended with the countout victory. Job well done to everyone who produced this stuff.
Robert O’Neill: Kayla Braxton catches up with Vince and asks if Kofi is going to WrestleMania now, and Vince says that he is. Then the locker room empties out to celebrate with Kofi. Awesome.
Chris Novak: I am taking a full on wait and see approach with the Charlotte stuff, because there is a lot to figure out. I can’t really immediately react to it, because it’s such a humongous decision being made that could literally change the entire complexion of everything in the women’s division. Whatever comes of it will be how I feel. As for the show itself, it was very good as always. Charlotte-Asuka was great and so was the gauntlet match. A- for me here, and could turn out to be a memorable, MEMORABLE show for a lot of reasons. Perhaps good, perhaps bad. Perhaps both.