Alas, there are no more stops on the road to WrestleMania (unless you count Smackdown, which I do not).
The biggest wrestling show of the year is less than a week away and this past Monday represented WWE’s final chance to sell fans on the mega-event.
Did the company do a good job of it? Well, not quite.
It’s not that WWE did a bad job. In a vacuum, it probably did a good job, but a lot of the missteps WWE has taken on its road to WrestleMania made Monday feel like just another show instead of the climactic end to this twisting and winding road.
Obviously, WrestleMania is the ultimate climax, but the final episode of Raw should be when WWE is absolutely rolling on all cylinders heading into the event and it didn’t really feel that way Monday night.
It felt like WWE was still trying to figure out how to put some of the proper pieces in place.
Whether you love the card or whether you hate it, it will be an interesting evening in Arlington, Texas next Sunday.
Before that, however, I’ve got to give you my thoughts on Monday’s show. Here are the full match results from the program:
- Zack Ryder def. Chris Jericho
- Charlotte def. Becky Lynch
- Big Show & Kane vs. The Social Outcasts ends in a no-contest
- Kofi Kingston def. Alberto Del Rio
- Kalisto def. Konnor
- Emma def. Paige
- Sin Cara, Sami Zayn & Dolph Ziggler def. Kevin Owens, Stardust & The Miz
Roman Reigns-Triple H beat each other up all night
I would love to see how this story would feel if the fans actually wanted to see Roman Reigns succeed because in a vacuum, the story that’s being told is not really all that bad.
It might actually be good if it were not for the fact that the fans do not care to see Reigns defeat Triple H to win the WWE World Heavyweight championship at WrestleMania.
The fans’ vitriol toward Reigns has hampered this feud from the very beginning. This was clear Monday.
Instead of getting a chance to state what this match means to him, Reigns said nothing at all Monday night in Brooklyn. He didn’t have to say much, but something would have sufficed.
Instead, it felt like WWE was sort of afraid to put him in front of a hostile crowd for fear of him being booed during his promo. If that was the case, WWE had good reason to feel that way because despite beating up Triple H on multiple occasions and closing the show by doing a cool dive over the top rope, the fans still jeered him.
— WWE (@WWE) March 29, 2016
In fact, after his dive over the top rope, the fans said, “You still suck!” At this point, Reigns can do no right. He could give away bags of money and the fans would only give him a smattering of applause. Then, they would complain that he didn’t give away enough money.
Reigns was not helped by the fact that he placed in essentially the same segment three times. The Authority went to the ring during the middle portion of the show to cut a promo. Reigns interrupted them and began beating up Triple H. Triple H barely escaped.
Triple H then set up Reigns backstage with the help of the Dudley Boyz, beat him up and left him lying in a heap.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon came out to cut yet another promo with basically the same material at the end of the night. Once again, Reigns interrupted them and began beating up Triple H.
The only difference was that the entire locker room ran out to separate the two men.
That ending may have seemed uninspiring, but it was still way better than the tug of war Reigns had with Brock Lesnar last year.
I’m not sure how WWE is going to handle this at WrestleMania. The company has to know that Reigns is going to probably have 100,000 in AT&T Stadium people jeering him from the moment he steps out from behind the curtain.
Does the company completely ignore that and have him win as the babyface in shining armor? Or does the company have a few tricks up its sleeve in order to either get Reigns cheered or to have him turn heel?
Shane McMahon gives a glimpse of his insanity
Part of the reason why fans love Shane McMahon so much is that he uses reckless abandon during his matches.
That may sound like an eloquent way of calling him a crazy man, but that is what he does. He takes serious risks with his body to give fans a memorable match. And these are risks even for a professionally trained wrestler, let alone a middle-aged father that is not an athlete.
He gave fans a glimpse of that recklessness Monday when he went toe-to-toe with The Undertaker and eventually hit him with an elbow drop through the announce table in the program’s opening segment.
— WWE (@WWE) March 29, 2016
Was it cool to see McMahon pull off another crazy spot like he used to? Yes. Yes it was, but it was not something I wasn’t already expecting. Maybe I wasn’t expecting him to do something like that on the final Raw before WrestleMania, but part of McMahon’s appeal as an in-ring performer is that he is so daring. He is not afraid to jump off of very high places in order to inflict damage onto his opponent.
You thought Monday was crazy? That’s nothing for McMahon, even at 46 years old. He’s probably got something even crazier in mind for WrestleMania.
But that’s the thing about this match. The match itself should be a lot of fun, but will it actually mean anything? Will it accomplish its goal of bringing lapsed wrestling back hoping to see something nostalgic?
Will it bring in more casual viewers hoping to see these two big names pull off something amazing? Some people might point to the surging ticket sales as evidence of it actually working. I think those tickets are getting sold regardless simply because it is WrestleMania.
Will this all be worth it? Will this actually WWE moving forward or is this something for WWE to promote one time and move on as if it never even happened?
That is my biggest concern about all of this. Yes, it is cool to see this spectacle in front of our very eyes. Maybe we should all just get caught up in the moment and enjoy this for what it is.
Personally, I’ve never been that type of person. I’ve always tried to look at things in more of a macro sense than micro and because of that, it prevents me from getting overly excited about this encounter. That’s because I’m constantly thinking about what is coming next as oppose to what is happening right here, right now. I’ve never been the type to simply be a prisoner of the moment. It’s simply not in my nature.
There are times when getting caught up in the moment is good. However, there are times when it is not.
Hopefully, the match is great and it leads to something even greater moving forward. I sincerely hope that happens. If not, it will make me feel like all of this was for naught.
Dean Ambrose goes shopping for weapons under the ring
If there is one match I am definitely looking forward to at WrestleMania, it is the street fight between Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose.
It is not just because the match is probably going to be insane, but WWE has a real opportunity here to make a new top star in Ambrose.
This is by far the biggest match of Ambrose’s career and a win could cement him as a permanent fixture in the main event scene. The fans are already behind him and the only piece of the puzzle that is missing is a signature win over an established talent like Lesnar.
But let’s get back to the insanity part. Did I mention that this match is going to be insane? I’ll say it again. This match is going to be insane.
— WWE (@WWE) March 29, 2016
On Monday, Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar went to the ring for another promo, but Ambrose interrupted the proceedings by showing up with a red wagon. No, it wasn’t Rosebud from Citizen Kane, but it was pretty important for Ambrose as he used it to collect some weapons from underneath the ring.
— WWE (@WWE) March 29, 2016
Let me digress for a moment and applaud Heyman for actually using the word weapons during his promo and not a silly PG term that WWE instructs its employees to use such as toys. My daughter plays with toys. She does not use said toys to maim or destroy beasts.
Again, thank you, Heyman for saying what needed to be said. Yes, there are tears rolling down my face as I type this.
As far as the weapons Ambrose collected for his match with Lesnar, he grabbed a pair of nunchucks, a crowbar, a few lead pipes, a barbed wire baseball bat and a chainsaw. He picked up a regular baseball bat, but threw it down in favor of the one wrapped in barbed wire.
He even picked up the steel steps and tossed them into his wagon before he strolled out without even saying a word. I don’t even think his theme music stopped playing. It was almost like a 21st century version of New Jack, but with way less vulgarity.
Now, I must point out that it made little sense for Ambrose to collect weapons that were supposedly already given to him. Remember, Mick Foley gave him the bat wrapped in barbed wire and Terry Funk handed him the chainsaw.
That logic gap aside, this was still pretty cool and actually made me want to see this match even more.
Eva Marie will be at WrestleMania (That is not a joke)
I am being totally serious right now. Eva Marie will have a match at WrestleMania.
Why you ask? Because she is on the television show Total Divas and the cast members (Brie Bella, Natalya, Paige and Alicia Fox) are teaming up against Lana, Summer Rae (a former member of the show), Naomi (another former member of the show), Tamina and Emma.
Wait a second. Emma is going to be at WrestleMania, too? That is actually pretty awesome. If you have not been watching NXT for the past year, first off, where have you been? It is only the best thing going in WWE right now.
Second of all, Emma has undergone a transformation since her epic failure on the main roster in 2014. She’s not the bubbly, goofy personality she used to be. She’s a heel, she works a more physical style, she’s got cooler theme music and she’s got aviator sunglasses. Those are cool.
So I am happy that she completes the heel side, but Eva Marie will complete the babyface side?
Again, if you haven’t been watching NXT lately (what is wrong with you?), Eva Marie is arguably the top heel in the promotion. It really has nothing to do with anything she does on the screen, although she is playing her role quite well.
It has everything to do with the fact that fans feel as though she is unworthy of her spot in the wrestling business, even if she is just on the company’s developmental program.
Yes, Eva Marie has made some slight improvements in the ring, but she is still light years behind the high standard that has been set in the divas division over the last two years.
Because of that, the fans absolutely hate her guts on NXT. They despise her so much that she can’t even get words in during her promos. It’s like Vickie Guerrero all over again, which makes her joining the babyface side of this match all the more puzzling.
I understand that she fits in with the Total Divas theme to the team, but no one likes her. Not even her own teammates like her in storyline.
When she came out Monday night, the fans booed her like she was at Full Sail University going against Bayley. The only problem was that she was helping the babyfaces.
— WWE (@WWE) March 29, 2016
Now, I can’t believe WWE is so tone deaf that they believe Eva Marie is the right fit for this team and that people will cheer her by association. The fans barely care about her teammates let alone her.
Something tells me that she is going to turn on her teammates and generate even more heat from the fans, which is something she is actually good at.
Jonathan Coachman dances with The New Day
There really wasn’t much happening during all of this. Unfortunately, The New Day is going against a group no one cares about in the League of Nations.
But the one notable thing was that ESPN anchor and former WWE announcer Jonathan Coachman made a surprise appearance and shook his behind with The New Day.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) March 29, 2016