Triple H and Steph start us off. Sigh. A face to face with Angle and Rousey. Trading barbs and bigging up the match at Mania. This is gonna be a looooong night. Although Ronda grabbing H by the throat and Steph putting her through a table makes up for the first 15 minutes of pointlessness.
Bayley v Sonya Deville. With the, erm, Woman-shaped trophy at ringside (seriously any other design would have been better) everything about this match means literally nothing. Bayley wins with a roll up. Mandy attacks. Banks comes to save. Bayley attacks Sasha. Rose and Deville attack both. It all means nothing. Hopefully post Mania the woman’s division will be injected with a bit more excitement with a few good additions from NXT.
Finn Balor v Seth Rollins. With Miz at commentary (it’s always amazing how surprised Michael Cole is by a surprise commentator when they put an extra chair and headset out) this should be a great match. Halfway through they actually cut away to promote AJ Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura. Which was weird but not as weird as Miz being a bit Face on commentary. The match itself was a classic. Maybe the best match on Raw since Reigns v Cesaro for the IC title a few months ago. Rollins wins via a Curb Stomp but wow, this could have headlined any PVP easily.
We finally found out who Braun Strowmans tag partner will be. And it’s……Brains Strowman! Corey’s reaction made this funnier than it should be, but come sunday he needs an actual second person. I’m still hoping for Elias but we never get what we want in Vince’s WWE.
Matt Hardy v Goldust. Hardy wins. Meh whatever.
Cena calls out Taker again. Taker no-shows again. Most likely because he’s started his entrance already so he can be in the ring on time on Sunday.
Elias v Heath Slater. Elias wins in about a minute.
Curt Hawkins asks Braun to pick him. Braun throws him through a wall. Awesome. Actual Awesome not sarcastic awesome.
Mickie James and Alexa Bliss v Dana Brooke and Asuka. Yeah I thought that was an odd pairing too. Honestly, I forgot Dana was still a wrestler. She got her ass kicked until Asuka got tagged then of course won. After a sneak attack, as per thier M.O., Nia Jax rushed the ring and took out Mickie. Yup.
Heyman and Lesnar in the ring. Heyman talked for what seemed like 2 and half hours until Roman appeared. Chairs were picked up, superman punches were given. F5 to end it. Roman laid out. Damn tonight sucked (apart from Rollins v Balor)
Hopefully tonight should be better. Shane is back, so the match at Mania is still on. But Daniels choice of words is important here – Kevin and Sami will never be seen in a Smackdown arena again. So if Daniel and Shane win (seeing as it’s Daniel’s first match in 3 years is a dead cert) Kevin and Sami could still be picked up by Raw.
Charlotte v Natalya. Another fairly good match between these two. I’m no fan of Natalya, but whenever she’s against Charlotte she seems to up her game. Charlottes always on form, but if Natalya performed like this 10 years ago she could of been right up there with Trish and Lita as one of the all time best. But she didn’t. So she’s not. Towards the end, Carmella tried cashing in but Charlotte punted it out of her hands. Charlotte wins via Figure 8. I’m still wondering how Carmella will cash in, because there’s no way in hell she’s going to cash in on Asuka, unless she’s allowed to cash in on the Raw champ (likely Nia Jax)
Rusev v Jinder Mahal. Rusev wins which isn’t the issue. The best part of the match was after when, following an RKO to Jinder and another to Aiden English, the crowd turned a small RKO chant into a loud RUSEV DAY chant. If Rusev doesn’t win at Mania there’s going to be a riot.
Breezango/Dillinger/Ryder v Mojo/Corbin/Ziggler/Primo. Ugh. Pish. Rough Ryder is the worst finisher ever. End of Days is one of the best. All I can think of
Kevin and Sami rush ringside despite being “fired” and do the PG version of the infamous CM Punk pipebomb. But it didn’t quite work as we all knew it was scripted.
Benjamin and Gable v Styles and Nakamura. Not a bad match as far as tag matches go, but Bengable are better by simply being in the same ring and Styles and Nakamura. They won of course, but after the match Styles punked out Shin and patted him on the head in a reverse of last week’s. Another sucky show tonight. NXT better bring it.
Authors of Pain v Pete Dunne/Roderick Strong (DRTTC Final). This was an incredible match. AoP for the first half of the match but Strong and Dunne coming back strong, it was great to watch and what we come to expect from these guys. Undisputed Era fucking ruined it though. Ok it was expected because of an injury to Bobby Fish, so at Takeover its a triple threat tag match, AoP v Dunne/Strong v Undisputed Era. Apparently UE use Freebirds Rule and now Adam Cole looks like he’s in 2 matches Saturday, with him in the 6 man ladder match for the first ever North American Champion.
Kairi Sane v Vanessa Bourne. Bourne looks like she’s gonna be in the title hunt post-Mania, and Sane, despite winning the Mae Young Classic, hasn’t done anything of note just yet. Sane wins with the in-Sane elbow. Quite a terrible match too. Seemed to clunky and rigid for the most part, but sometimes you have to remember NXT is for development.
Lars Sullivan v Killian Dain. A slow match with two big men knocking lumps out of each other. The other 4 competitors in the ladder match appeared, all getting a big pop. I’m saying Velveteen Dream to win the title, as Lars is too big to win a ladder match, Dain is main roster bound as is Adam Cole, and EC3 and Ricochet have just arrived. Not much else to report this week, but on the last show before a Takeover there never is.