Asuka won the Rumble like we all knew she would. Although she hasn’t declared which title she will opt for, we can all assume it will be the Raw Woman’s Title. Speaking in Japanese and accompanied by “what” chants, she mentioned ‘Title’ and pointed to the Wrestlemania sign (which is already getting really annoying) but she was interrupted by The Boss, Sasha Banks. And I’m hoping to all that is good and holy we’re getting a heel Sasha. We don’t have many heels in the Women’s division asides from Alexa and Nia Jax. And I’m not counting Absolution in that until Liv and Sonya strike out on their own. We have a match for later, Asuka v Sasha, and although you could put your house on Asuka winning, she needs stiffer competition if she’s going to cement her legacy. I can see her going at least another year undefeated, only losing to whichever woman wins MITB this year.
BRAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUNNNNNN is up next, and with a spot in the Elimination Chamber up for grabs, he essentially destroyed the set to keep Kane down. Sure, everyone was saying he crossed the line, but it was a Last Man Standing match after all. I get that his superhuman strength is a bit OTT and rigged, but it’s also the best sort of ridiculous and why we all love wrestling. And Braun himself is a good a reason as any to keep watching.
Elias v Matt Hardy. Not something I was looking forward to if I’m honest. Asides from his entrance music which is cool, Woken Matt has been a major letdown. I do like Elias, he can be a solid heel like The Miz. I’d like to see him get an IC title run too, I reckon that’ll be his big launching pad. As it stands, he’s qualified for the Chamber match after an interruption by *sigh* Bray Wyatt. Please, WWE, don’t draw this out like Wyatt/Orton or Wyatt/Cena or Wyatt/Ambrose. Bring back Jeff as Brother Nero, let Rowan and Harper come back into the fold and have some matches with SAnitY, and be done with it. I BEG OF YOU.
Miz v Roman Reigns for the IC title up next. not much of note, Miz wins because of shenanigans, the world is thankful. The Revival v Slater and Rhyno after, Revival win as their awesome. Please Vince, book full power Revival v The Bar for Mania and give Dash and Dawson their big moment.
Asuka v Sasha. Jesus on toast, what a match. one of the best I’ve seen on Raw for a looooong time. Nothing compared to Nxt of course, but awesome for the main roster in the current climate. It was hard fought, back and forth, even Asuka looked in danger at times. A hard to watch portion outside involved Banks botching a suicide dive and Asuka kicking her square in the head, and it was all but over, with an Asuka lock finishing proceedings. keep Sasha as a heel, do something, anything with Bayley, get Nikki Cross in the mix and the Raw women’s division looks great. Can’t wait to see Asuka v Rousey one day.
The Bar defends next v Titus Worldwide. Actually a decent showing by Titus and Apollo, losing but not without a fight. Unfortunately, it looks like Sheamus might be heading to the end of his career. He has a neck injury, similar to what ended the career of Stone Cold and Edge. It’s a shame because he’s been doing some of his best work with Cesaro. Cesaro himself has probably another 5-10 good years left, and I want to see a Universal or WWE title run. He’s more than earned it.
Closing the show we have John Cena (suuuuuuucks) v Finn Balor. And FOR FUCKS SAKE Cena won. But he shouldn’t have. I have no earthly idea why the higher ups don’t wanna push Finn more despite the fact he’s CLEARLY over with the crowd and one of the best performers they have, but for some reason they can’t see it. Maybe pairing Cena with Elias would have been better, give their rivalry a chance to grow a bit more, let Finn win against Woken Matt, all is good. Obviously Vince is right up Cena’s arse, or vice-versa, but we can all assume a record breaking title run soon. Yay.
Following from the Rumble, Nakamura took to the ring, pointed at the Wrestlemania sign (please stop now), only to be interrupted by Owens and Zayn. They reckon they have a legit grip, in that Styles pinned Owens who was not legal. I saw a tag personally, but there was always going to be a problem, it’s never clear cut in WWE land. Enter Styles, who got the biggest ovation, and rightly so. Tag match for later, Styles and Nakamura v Kami. Backstage, Daniel Bryan makes a match for next week – Owens v Zayn, the winner facing AJ at Fastlane for the WWE title. I don’t really care who wins, as we all wanna see Nakamura face AJ at Wrestlemania. It NEEDS to happen. it’s taken too long as it is.
Fatal 4-way time. Rusev v Kofi v Mahal v Ryder for a US title shot. A few things to note, mainly how Over all this Rusev Day thing is. I can’t see it myself, maybe it’s an American thing, but I much preferred Rusev as a destructive force capable of beating any man on any day. Also, Mahal looks a lot better than we’ve seen him. Maybe the WWE title run was pushed on him a bit quickly. I can see him as a mid-level champion at the most. Zack Ryder still sucks and I don’t know how he’s survived every talent cull. Kofi is still an amazing talent, and he really needs to distance himself from The New Day. Rusev wins, as he should being the biggest threat in the entire match.
Little backstage segment with Breezango and The Acsension (who are still about apparently) being goaded by Gable and Benjamin telling them they’re bringing the tag division down. Which is funny because Bengable (as their name shall now be) seem to be doing a pretty good job of that themselves. They got literally NO REACTION at the Rumble. Not a single cheer or boo. The sooner they separate these two the better.
Now the UUUUSSSOOOs. The best tag team in the WWE right now.They were going through every tag team they’ve had “on lock” with dodgy steel bar graphics, but they came almost face to face with The Bludgeon Brothers, who I can’t see losing if they face them. Not with the way they’ve been decimating people. Granted it’s been mostly local jobbers, but that’s the way it seemingly works. Bludgeons get the titles at either Fastlane or Mania, Usos get shifted to Raw. Next out was Charlotte Flair who got quickly interrupted and beat up by the Riott Squad. Then, finally, Carmella appears to cash in her MITB briefcase. Only she didn’t because of referee getting knocked out before the bell had rung. I do hope they hurry this up and get Carmella the title soon, with the rematch at Mania.
Two more matches noone cared about now, Baron Corbin v Tye Dillinger and Bengable v Breezango. Corbin wins and Bengable wins. Woopedy doo. Smackdown are also starting a top 10 system, voted for by the other superstars who can’t vote for themselves. I give it a couple of months and we’ll never see it again.
Main event time. Kami v Styles/Nakamura. I really don’t like Owens and Zayn as a team. I’m glad they’re not having a stab at the tag team titles, they need to be reserved for actual proper tag teams. Shin and AJ were good as normal, just dialed back a bit. But the main point is, we get to see Owens v Zayn part 5679, and I’m really hoping Zayn gets his shot soon, although not until we’ve seen AJ v Nakamura.
First of all, Takeover was another awesome show. I don’t think there was a single bad match. But thats just me. Anyway….
First up, Nikki Cross v Lacey Evans. I’m disappointed Cross was missing from the whole weekend. Nothing at Takeover, no appearance in the Women’s Rumble, I’d much preferred to see Cross rather than Vikki Guerrero. Don’t really care about Evans thus far but she’s undoubtedly got the talent. Good solid win for Nikki Cross, hopefully she gets a title run in the future.
TM61 are back in action after over a year away, against the ealey brothers. Judging by the promos and talk of them the last few weeks, it’s gonna be TM61s year. Which is fine but I think they need to establish themselves a bit more to compete with AoP, Sanity or Undisputed Era. They looked good here, with Thorne hitting an amazing fosbry flop to the outside a la AJ styles. The Ealeys were fine I guess, nothing to write home about. If they carry on, TM61 can be the new #DIY.
The third and final match (alot of Takeover reminders for some reason) is Tyler Bate v Roderick Strong in a UK title no1 contenders match. First of all, Strong isn’t even from the uk so not sure how that works. Secondly, as much as id love to see Bate v Dunne again, surely theres a few more guys in the back? Jack gallagher? Trent seven? Maybe even Zack Sabre Jr if he signs up for a now-and-again contract like the other U.K guys. Thirdly, WHAT. A. MATCH. Strong is the best I’ve ever seen him, and ultimately winning in a hard fought battle. But an American holding the U.K. title doesn’t make sense.