KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT 4/2: Final WrestleMania 34 hype including Triple H & Stephanie in ring with Angle & Ronda Rousey, last chance for Undertaker to response, Reigns-Lesnar hype

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
APRIL 2, 2018
ATLANTA, GA. AT PHILLIPS ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman


CHECK OUT THE “WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING POST-SHOW” FOLLOWING THIS EPISODE OF RAW RIGHT HERE


[HOUR ONE]

-They opened with a shot of the WrestleMania sign as Cole said they’re just one week away from WrestleMania.

-Coach stood mid-ring and welcomed everyone to Raw. He introduced Triple H and Stephanie McMahon first. Boos when he said Stephanie’s name. As they walked to the ring, Cole talked about the mixed tag team match at WrestleMania. Graves said it’s not only Rousey’s first-ever in-ring match, but it’s also the first time Stephanie has ever competed in a match at WrestleMania. He said neither Triple H nor Kurt Angle are strangers to “the Grandest Stage of them All.”

They entered the ring to Triple H’s music. When it faded, Coach shifted to introducing Angle. Then Rousey. They walked to the ring together to Rousey’s music. They slapped hands on their way to the ring. Four chairs and two tables were set up with a podium for Coach in the middle. A crawler on the screen said WrestleMania is free for new subscribers. Fans chanted “Ronda Rousey.” As Coach said “the WWE Universe” has submitted questions via social media, Triple H interrupted. He said he wanted to ask Angle a question. He said it’s a shame that so many fans are chanting Rousey’s name. Rousey smiled wide. The chant re-started. Stephanie said, “It takes them a minute to get it together. They’re not fast. I don’t know what it is. It’s true.” Triple H said fans really want to like Rousey. He said the cheers will become a deafening silence after Sunday.

He told Angle has touted his three I’s – intensity, integrity, and intelligence. He said he’s never disagreed with the first two, “but since the day I met you, the intelligence thing, I’ve never got.” He said signing Rousey is “the biggest signing probably in WWE history.” (Probably? Well, when WWE signed Hunter Hearst Helmsley back in the 1990s, that was pretty big, too!) He said Angle has set Rousey up for embarrassment and a loss on “the biggest stage of them all, WrestleMania.” He said this is a whopper, so why?

As Angle began to talk, Rousey interrupted and said, “I’d like to know why – why you would be so two-faced as to sign me with ulterior motives.” Stephanie apologized to Coach for Rousey not knowing the rules. She said they’d clean her up after they beat her at WrestleMania on Sunday. Rousey said she understands the format. “I asked a question? Where’s my answer?” she said. Stephanie said they signed her because she’s a huge star. She said the crowd chanting for her is a testament to that. She said in spite of her appalling attitude, they brought her to WWE “because it’s what’s best for business.” She said Angle has already derailed her career. Hunter interjected that Angle has already cost Rousey and WWE millions of dollars. “Thanks, Kurt,” Hunter said. Stephanie said they both work for her, so she asks the questions.

Angle said she is an Olympic medalist and a UFC Champion and this Sunday she’s going to make her tap out. Coach tried to interject with a question, but Hunter cut him off again. Hunter told Angle he knows who she is. He said UFC created entire divisions just for her, and in WWE that means absolutely nothing. He said she’s been dreaming of coming to WWE her whole life, but to Steph and himself, it is their whole life from beginning to end. He said he’s so confident because in this ring, they know the rules and Rousey has no idea what’s going to happen. He said there is a massive learning curve and they make those rules, “that’s why we know them so well.” He said it’s a foregone conclusion that she’s going to lose.

Coach then jumped in with a question finally. A fan on Twitter asked why it’s important to win and what the impact will be on WWE of the outcome. Stephanie said they will shut Rousey down and everyone in the locker room will learn to respect authority.

Coach asked how Angle feels about teaming up Sunday at WrestleMania with Rousey. Angle said “Ronda Rowdy” is the baddest woman on the planet and this Sunday she’s going to prove it by making Stephanie tap out. Steph leaned in and shook her head no. Coach asked if any of them have any final thoughts before going to WrestleMania.

Stephanie said whatever happens on Sunday is all on them. She said Rousey’s very first match in WWE will be a loss to her. “We all know – the world knows – how you handle losses.” Boos from the fans. Angle rubbed her shoulder. Steph took a dig at Rousey’s jacket: “Nice jacket, by the way.” Rousey asked if Steph is right or left handled. “I’m a righty, of course. Why?” Rousey said she just wants Stephanie to be able to sign her checks after she tears her apart.

Coach said it’s time to wrap it up. He said it’s time for the pre-match photo op, but they won’t do it like boxing or UFC and they’ll do it “the classy, professional way.” He invited the photographers into the ring. They all stood in front of the tables for a staredown. Steph extended her hand for a handshake. When Rousey didn’t accept, Steph trash-talked her. Rousey stepped up into her face. Angle separated them. Hunter hit Angle in the head with the mic. Rousey grabbed Hunter by his throat. Steph went up behind Rousey and slammed her onto a table, which broke in half. (That table broke more easily than any pro wrestling table in history.) Steph leaned over her and yelled down at her. Cole said: “Don’t cross the bosses. Don’t mess with a McMahon.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Stephanie was the star and the alpha – by design and through execution. Extra incentive to want to see Steph and Hunter get beat up. Hunter’s dig at Angle’s intelligence and Steph’s claim that after she beats Rousey, they’ll show her the way of WWE and clean her up and get her back on their Corporate Track sets up the dynamic perfectly. Rousey is still clunky on everything, from her cadence to syntax where you can’t entirely relax while watching her because you’re kind of worried she’s going to mess up. I worry that carries over to Sunday’s match. I was a little surprised that they drew attention to what a sore loser Rousey has been. My main critique- and I understand the counter argument – is the complete dismissal of any sense that Angle’s return to the ring and getting his hands on Hunter means anything to this match. Two years ago if you’d have said Angle in the ring at WrestleMania against Hunter would be virtually ignored in the hype, no one would have believed you.) 

-As Triple H’s music played, Cole threw to a video hyping Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. They made it seem like the match was going to happen and Shane would be ready. No reference to Shane’s health issues. Then they went back live as Hunter’s music was still paying and Hunter and Steph posed on the stage, looking at Angle and Rousey in the ring. Rousey was back on her feet, but had her pouty-face on.

-Cole hyped that Angle will have his hands full if he wants to keep Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns apart later. Graves asked if Undertaker would answer John Cena’s challenge.

-They showed Bayley backstage looking worried or stressed out as she headed toward the ring. [c]

(1) BAYLEY vs. SONYA DEVILLE (w/Paige, Mandy Rose)

Coach said Deville seemed more confident. Coach said he hopes Bayley and Sasha Banks can put their feelings about each other aside and focus on the bigger picture. Bayley settled into a side headlock a couple minutes in. Coach said usually it’s between the first and second WrestleMania where you see the biggest growth from any wrestler. (He’s just making stuff up, but it gives a sports-like vibe to things, so I kind of like it.) She shifted to an armbar a minute later. Bayley splashed Deville in the corner and tried to yank her to the middle of the ring by her foot, but the ref scolded her. That opened up Deville to surprise Bayley with a punch to the chin. As Deville yelled at Bayley, Bayley rolled out of the ring. They cut to a break. [c]

Deville was still in control after the break. Cole touted how much Deville has improved in a short time. Graves, who gives people a hard time about their use of language, said a battle royal win by Deville at WrestleMania “would literally propel her to the next stratosphere of WWE.” Bayley absorbed some kicks to the abdomen and then ducked down and came back with some punches. Then rapid-fire elbows and two clotheslines. She threw a barrage of kicks at Deville in the corner. The ref again pushed her away as she was too aggressive for too long. Bayley climbed to the top rope and landed a crossbody. When she didn’t go for the cover, Coach critiqued that decision. Bayley hit a running knee for a two count seconds later. Deville rolled to the floor where Paige and Mandy checked on her. Graves called it a brilliant strategy. Bayley jumped to ringside to accelerate Deville’s return. She threw her into the ring, then snapped her chest over the middle rope for a two count. She knocked Mandy off the ring apron with a knee. Deville then took over with and rolled up Bayley for a two count. Bayley ducked a Deville wheel kick and schoolgirled her for a three count.

WINNER: Bayley in 10:00.

-After the match, Mandy attacked Bayley as Paige strutted at ringside. Deville joined in. Sasha ran out for the save. Coach said he is surprised she came out. Bayley helped clear the ring. Sasha approached Bayley and asked her to raise her hand. “I just saved you; raise my hand!” she said. Bayley laughed and said she didn’t need her. When Sasha grabbed Bayley’s chin patronizingly as she talked to her, Bayley gave her a forearm to the head and then mounted her and punched away. They rolled around until Deville and Mandy attacked them. Mandy gave Sasha a butterfly faceplant. Coach said Bayley and Sasha needed to be more aware of what was around them going into the battle royal.

-Cole hyped Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor. Graves hyped an in-depth look at Asuka next.

-A video package aired on the Roman Reigns-Brock Lesnar build-up. [c]

-They went to the announcers on camera. Cole pushed that WrestleMania is free for new subscribers. Then they threw to a video package on Asuka with details of her winning streak.

-Back to the announcers, they hyped Charlotte vs. Asuka, and then shifted to showing celebrity media coverage of The Miz and Maryse welcoming their first baby, Monroe Sky, into the world last week. Coach said the baby was due this Friday, “but the Lord works in mysterious ways.” They showed Miz saying the baby arrived early on social media. Coach said now Miz doesn’t have to worry about not making it to WrestleMania. They hyped Miz’s IC Title defense against Seth and Finn.

-Balor made his ring entrance. [c]


For another point of view on tonight’s show, check out PWTorch contributor Zack Heydorn’s alt-perspective live coverage of Raw right here at PWTorch with details on the show and his analysis of each segment: CLICK HERE

HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 4/2: Alt Perspective coverage of live show from Atlanta including go-home WrestleMania 34 hype, Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor, and more


(2) FINN BALOR vs. SETH ROLLINS 

Miz’s music was playing after the break. Miz sat with the announcers for guest commentary. Cole said this is a surprise. Coach said this shows such dedication to the business by Miz for being at Raw just days after the birth of his son. Seth’s ring entrance then took place. Miz talked about beating John Cena at WrestleMania years ago. Miz said his match is the biggest match at WrestleMania. Cole congratulated Miz on the birth of his baby girl. Miz said performing at WrestleMania was a great moment in his life, as was marrying his wife, but watching his daughter be born and cry for the first time and then look into his eyes was incredible and nothing tops it. He said he wants to show Monroe Sky that he is a role model. He said people told him that having a baby changes you, and he never believed it before. Coach said that’s especially true when you have a girl. Miz said the early brith was great because he got to be with his wife and daughter and learn to swaddle. Meanwhile, Seth and Finn had some back and forth smooth exchanges. As they faced off and smiled at how even everything was going, they cut to a break. [c]

Back from the break, Balor had Seth in an armbar. They showed Miz at the announce desk. Cole asked if Miz is going to change his in-ring style and abide by the rules. Miz said he hasn’t made fun of Seth or Balor “that sets Twitter on fire” because he is a new man. He said having a child changes who you are. He said at WrestleMania you will see three of the best in-ring performers in WWE go at it “and you will have to pry this (IC Title belt) from my hands.”

[HOUR TWO]

Miz said he’s been pooped on by the WWE Universe for years so it’s about time he cares about someone who is pooping and peeing on him for once. Balor knocked Seth to the floor and then played to the crowd from the apron. Coach said Miz likes this match going as long as possible. They cut to a split screen and played a short video hyping Shinsuke Nakamura challenging A.J. Styles. Then back to full screen, Seth had Balor in a chinlock. Cole touted 13,371 in attendance for a sellout for Raw. Miz said he is studying the match. Cole asked him when the last time was he was in the ring. Miz said he hosted Miz TV last week and it was the highest rated segment on Raw. Cole said there might be a three gap between his last match and his WrestleMania match. Miz said he’ll be well-rested because of it. Seth dove through the ropes and speared Balor hard into the ringside barricade. Both were down, so they cut to a break. [c]

Back live, Seth superkicked Balor as Balor charged at him. Miz said it’s one of the best matches he’s seen all year. Seth draped his arm over Balor’s chest. Balor lifted his shoulder. Cole pointed out that Miz can lose the title if Seth pinned Balor. They replayed the kick to Balor’s jaw which was spot on and tight. The fans chanted “This is awesome!” Balor rallied, but Seth knocked him off balance on the top rope. Seth set up a superplex. Balor blocked it and knocked Seth down. Seth leaped back up right away and landed the superplex. Balor then stood and rolled up Seth with a small package for a near fall. Seth checked with the ref. Seth then kneed Balor and scored a near fall. Big pop from the crowd. Miz encouraged them to keep going. Cole said on Sunday they add Miz to the mix. Miz said as great as this is, it’ll only be better at WrestleMania. Seth flew at Balor with a frog splash, but Balor lifted his knees and then scored a two count on Seth. Balor went after Seth when he rolled to the floor with a running kick, but Seth caught his leg. Seth went for a buckle bomb into the barricade, but Balor slipped free and dropped Seth with a sling blade. Then he gave Seth a running dropkick into the barricade. Balor threw Seth back into the ring. Seth avoided his Coup de Grace, then went for the Stomp, but Balor avoided that. They reversed each others’ roll-through attempts. Seth landed the Stomp and got the pin. “What a match!” declared Cole. “It is WrestleMania time or what?!” Coach said this is a match that could steal the show.

WINNER: Seth in 22:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. It built like a face vs. face match tends to build with smooth, sportsmanlike back-and-forth. The intensity picked up and it looked very evenly matched even with Seth winning. Miz on commentary was a good added element, and you know his talk about being a changed man is all a setup to be a complete hypocrite and cheat in trying to win.)

-The announcers recapped a clip of Stephanie slamming Rousey through a table. Then they went to the announcers on camera who hyped WrestleMania and also Cena-Taker and Reigns-Lesnar hype yet to come. [c]

-They went to the announcers again. Coach said he hopes Reigns is in condition to give Lesnar a go this Sunday. Cole threw to a video package on Lesnar’s year-long odyssey as Universal Champion beginning with pinning Goldberg. Cole said it’s likely to be one of the most brutal battles in WrestleMania history.

-Backstage, Paul Heyman spoke into his phone and said he sees his name in lights, “The Brocktagon! Yes!” Angle walked up to Heyman and said the most important thing tonight is to make sure the WrestleMania main event stays in tact. Heyman said they’ll do it his way tonight without any drama. He said they’ll say complimentary things about Reigns and save it for WrestleMania. Angle told him not to say anything that would incite Reigns to injure Lesnar. Heyman could barely control his laughter as he asked if Angle was actually worried about Lesnar’s well-being. Angle said all he’s asking is for him not to add fuel to the fire. Heyman said he and his client would take it under consideration. Heyman kept laughing.

(Keller’s Analysis: Heyman was tremendous in this. Angle was good in his earnest and naive approach to trying to keep things under control.)

-Sheamus and Cesaro made their ring entrance. [c]

-A commercial aired for Smackdown. It advertised that Shane would return to Smackdown. That’s good news regarding his recovery from medical issues.

-Sheamus and Cesaro stood in the ring and said they don’t care who Braun Strowman partner is at WrestleMania. They said this is a tag team match and eventually he has to tag his partner into the ring. They said they don’t just set the bar, the are The Bar. Strowman’s music then played. Strowman said he has a partner. Sheamus and Cesaro asked who it was. Strowman said he’d show them as long as one of them agreed to wrestle his partner. They agreed. Strowman walked to the back, then came back out dressed up as his twin brother “Brain Strowman.” He entered the ring. Sheamus and Cesaro attacked him. Strowman made a comeback and the two heels fled. Graves played along the whole time, but Cole said Strowman will obviously need an actual partner at WrestleMania.

(Keller’s Analysis: Eh. Not even close to “clever” enough to make up for the letdown that he didn’t reveal his actual partner. The crowd seemed deflated at the whole thing. That said, it gives everyone six more days to speculate about Braun’s partner and anticipate the reveal at WrestleMania.)

-A promo aired with Goldust with the “Shattered Dreams” format as he talked about being in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Then a Matt Hardy promo aired where he said he’d “delete” Goldust. [c]

(3) GOLDUST vs. “WOKEN” MATT HARDY

The match was joined progress after the break. Hardy won with a Twist of Fate.

WINNER: Hardy in around 3:00.

-The announcers promoted a sit-down interview with Nia Jax coming up later. Then a selfie promo aired with Mickie James and Alexa Bliss. They joked about Jax having “a face for radio” and then said when Bliss beats Jax, Jax will “blubber in her blubber.” Words popped up on the screen including “Blubber.”

(Keller’s Analysis: This is the proper use of selfie promos and the “Words on Screen” promo gimmick.)

-An ad aired for NXT Takeover. [c]


NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Raw, send it to wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com for the Mailbag Segment of the #WKPWP taped tonight and available a couple hours after Raw ends. Search “Wade Keller” to subscribe to our podcast just about anywhere. Choose the red logo for the “Post-Shows” early this week and the blue logo for the “Flagship” and “Interview Friday” later this week.


[HOUR THREE]

-John Cena made his ring entrance. He said he hates to say it, but he is wrong. There is no more time left. “Silence means no,” be said. “No Undertaker.” He said some people might be upset by that news, but not him. He said he did everything he could to get Taker to respond. He said he will not march to WrestleMania with is head hung. “I’m going to WrestleMania fired up!” he said. He said he’s going to WrestleMania as a fan. People keep asking him if he’s going to have a match. He said Cole came up to him earlier and said it’s stupid to just go as a fan because he could enter the battle royal or be Braun’s partner or be added to another match. Cena said he lost to Reigns, he lost at Survivor Series, he lost the Royal Rumble, and he lost at Fastlane. He said if he were to enter a match now, he’d be displacing a wrestler who worked all year to earn it. He said he called out Taker as a “last chance” match, but a match where nobody holds anyone back. He said they wouldn’t have been blamed for taking someone’s spot. “It’d be two larger-than-life Superstars duking it out at WrestleMania.” He sent a love message to Nichole. He said there’s a lot going on in his life outside of WWE that changes his life every day. He said for years he’s fed off of their energy, and maybe he believes this WrestleMania is the perfect time for a change. He paused. An “Un-der-taker!” chant broke out.

He smiled and said he hopes Undertaker hears him, but he doesn’t think he does. He said he’s going as a fan and he’s damn proud of it. He said he is proud to be able to sit and watch gifted performers like Seth and Finn whip up the greatest WrestleMania card of all time “and I am humble enough to say they don’t need me to do it.” He said he is proud that after three years of never giving up, Daniel Bryan is back where he belongs “in the middle of a WWE ring at WrestleMania.” He said he’d damn proud to watch the greatest in-ring performer he knows “finally get the WWE Championship WrestleMania moment he deserves.” He said he’s even proud to know WM falls on the exact same day as Rusev Day. “Rusev Day!” chants immediately started. He said he’d be proud to see Elias. He doesn’t know what he’ll do, but he knows what WWE stands for. “Walk With Elias!” yelled the crowd. He said he is proud of all of the women’s matches at WrestleMania. He said they are showing that success is not based on gender. He said it like it was perhaps the most profound of thoughts.

He said he wanted to take a second to apologize for Undertaker. He said he tried to stir up as much as he could to summon the Undertaker. He said audiences in Dallas, Detroit, Cleveland, and here in Atlanta have tried. He then stopped and said, “Did we even try here in Atlanta?” he asked. He paused and said, “It’ll never work because I don’t think you guys can be loud enough.” Cheers. “If you want to see the lightning, you’ve got to be the thunder,” he said, “Let them hear you all the way to Death Valley.” On TV it didn’t seem like they were actually going bonkers despite Cena’s best efforts. (Maybe they just felt like it was time to get on with the “inevitable.”) The cheers stopped and then a loud “Un-der-taker!” chant began. That felt pretty loud. They eventually stopped and booed. Cena said that’s four straight weeks of an entire audience and fans around the world pouring their hearts out for him and he isn’t decent enough to do the right thing. He said Taker can ignore him all he wants, but the second he ignores “these people” – pointing to the crowd – “you are a dead man walking.” We’re just over ten minutes in at this point.

Cena said, “Hey Undertaker, it’s obvious that you left your hat in the ring, but it’s clear to everyone here you left your balls at home.” Ohhh from the crowd. Cena looked around and still nothing. He spun around. A “Cena” chant began. His music played. Cole said, “So that’s it.” Coach said there is nothing else Cena can do. Cole said he’d love to sit ringside and call Cena-Taker, an absolute dream match at WrestleMania. Cole shifted to commenting on the Rousey-Stephanie angle. They replayed it again. Then they hyped WrestleMania “is free” once again. [c]

-Backstage Angle walked up to Reigns in the locker room. Angle told Reigns he already has a WrestleMania match that won’t happen with Cena-Taker. He said he already spoke to Heyman who promised not to say anything to incite them. Reigns asked if he really believes him. He asked Angle if Brock is even there. Angle told Reigns please. Reigns said because he respects Angle, he’ll hear them out. He said if Heyman says one stupid thing, he’s heading out there and he doesn’t care about his peace treaty. “Take that peace treaty and run right back down to that pawn shop where you sold your Olympic Gold Medals.” He walked out.

(Keller’s Analysis: Geesh. That was harsh. Was that a heel turn? I mean, who would cheer a guy who’d fire back with that line after a very reasonable request from his boss to save it until WrestleMania?)

-Elias strummed in the ring and went into his bit where fans yelled “Walk With Elias.” He said it’s yet another sold out crowd shouting his name. He then called Atlanta a hell hole. He said at WrestleMania, he has the greatest performance of a lifetime in store for everyone. He asked fans to silence their cell phones, hold their applause, and shut their mouths. Boos.

(4) ELIAS vs. HEATH SLATER

WINNER: Elias in 1:00. [c]

-Backstage the camera was following Braun walking for absolutely no feasible reason. Then suddenly Curt Hawkins showed up with a “Pick Me, Braun” t-shirt. Braun asked what his win-loss record is. Hawkins said it’s not great, but if he picked him, it could be his big break. Braun shoved him through a wall and said, “There’s your big break.”

-The announcers hyped the week of WWE TV leading up to WrestleMania including a USA Network special on Thursday night looking at WrestleMana’s Greatest Moments.

-A sitdown interview aired with Renee Young and Nia Jax. Renee asked how she felt about what Bliss and Mickie said about her a few weeks ago. Nia said emotionally it took her back to growing up different and feeling insecure about herself. She said she has learned that you need to respect yourself and honor who you are and not let what others think about you define you. “You have to be true to who you are inside,” she said. You have to take advantage of your god-given talents. She said she’s not a Goddess and never claimed to be, she is just who she is. Jax said she’s been really disappointed in herself and that she trusted somebody so much that she felt she was her best friend. “She made me doubt myself,” she said. “I never thought Alexa thought I was as dumb as I was big.” She said she is a desperate, needy, gullible loser who can’t face the truth. She said those comments took a toll on her and shattered a little bit of her confidence, but she’s had a look at herself in the mirror and she’s Nia Jax and she doesn’t take (bleep). She said she is different and big, but she loves who she is. “This is what God made me, this is what my mama gave me. This is something I shouldn’t feel sorry for. I am proud of this.” She said Alexa represents everyone who said she wouldn’t make it in WWE and shouldn’t try. She looked at the camera and addressed Alexa, telling her she is nothing but an insecure little girl, a pathetic fly. She said at WrestleMania she will squash her like a bug.

-Bliss and Mickie walked out for their match. [c]

(5) ALEXA BLISS & MICKIE JAMES vs. DANA BROOKE & ASUKA 

As Alexa finished her ring entrance, Graves said he’s making the bold prediction that she’ll lose this match. He said she’ll then have her confidence shattered, lose the Mixed Match Challenge, and end up losing her third straight match on Sunday at WrestleMania. Coach asked if Asuka loses if that really means her streak is over. Cole said yes and then they abruptly cut to a break. [c]

Asuka eventually tagged in against Mickie and got a big pop. She took it to James, then knocked Bliss off the ring apron. She gave Mickie a running slidekick off the ring apron, then rolled Mickie back into the ring. Mickie surprised Asuka with a kick, but Asuka came right back with an Asuka lock for the tapout win.

WINNERS: Asuka & Brooke.

-Afterward, Mickie and Alexa attacked Asuka, then Dana. Coach said they didn’t care about winning, they cared about sending a message. Nia ran out to clear the ring of the two heels. She caught Bliss, but Mickie attacked her from behind. Mickie went for a sleeper, but Jax flipped her hard to the mat and then gave her a Samoan drop.

-Backstage Angle told Heyman and Brock Lesnar not to forget about what he said. Heyman said he’s going to talk positively about Reigns. “Trust me,” he said. Angle didn’t seem at ease as Heyman and Lesnar made their way to the ring.

-Soundbites aired with Charlotte & Bobby Roode and then Asuka & Miz regarding Mixed Match Challenge. [c]

[OVERRUN]

-Heyman and Lesnar entered the ring. Wrestlers were stationed by Angle on the ramp to prevent Reigns from charging to the ring. Heyman said Angle might think he is control, but he’s not. He said he swears and affirms to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Lesnar stood center-ring and smiled. He said at a previous WrestleMania, they stood in this very ring and said Lesnar would conquer the Undertaker’s undefeated streak. He said it wasn’t a prediction, it was a spoiler, “which mean it was the truth.” He said no one laughed when they ended The Streak. He said they laughed at each and every one of them. He said WrestleMania will take place in New Orleans and the only two people with WrestleMania victories over Undertaker will collide for the Universal Title. He said everyone acts like it’s Reigns’s destiny to dethrone Lesnar and become Universal Champion as if it’s not a prediction, but rather a spoiler.

Heyman said you have to respect Reigns’s bloodline and string of victories “and his bad-assery.” He said at WrestleMania, though, Lesnar will F5 Reigns and pin him in the center of the ring 1-2-3. He said: “That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler. It’s the truth.” Hmmm. He said there are acts of God and accidents that happen. He said Lesnar could suffer an injury on his way to the ring or during the match, and if Lesnar loses, this will be the last time you see Lesnar and Heyman on WWE Raw. Interesting. Did Heyman just turn it into a Loser Leaves Town match for them? He said he’ll save his goodbyes for his own personal social media, since Lesnar will wave hello to them from UFC. He said since 2002 he has built a mystique around Lesnar that they are all worthy of his contempt and disgust and that Lesnar chooses whom he fights and on what terms. He said the whole image is 100 percent true. He said it’s actually understated. He said there isn’t one member of the locker room who can hold his jock, much less take his title. He said there is no one watching on TV who has enough money for what they think it’s worth to see this once-ever athlete do his thing in his prime better than anybody now or forever. He said therefore Reigns must accept defeat. It’s easy to make decisions when you have no choices, and his two choices are named Brock Lesnar (And Brain Lesnar).

Heyman said Reigns will have to admit to his family and friends after WrestleMania that he got conquered by Lesnar. He said this ain’t his yard and he’s only going to be another notch on Lesnar’s title belt. He said Reigns is just Brock Lesnar’s bitch. He threw up the mic and began to leave. Reigns’s music played. Cheers, then some boos as Reigns walked into the stage. The wrestlers on the ramp stood their ground. They wouldn’t let him pass. Cole called it a human wall. Lesnar smiled and held up his Universal Title belt, feeling safe. Reigns asked if those wrestlers are really going to protect “that part time bastard.” He told them to think about it. The wrestlers actually parted and cleared the path for Reigns.

Reigns marched toward the ring. Lesnar looked a little worried, but then acted tough. “Think about it,” he said. “Think about it real hard, boy.” Reigns stood at ringside. “Let’s Go Roman!” chanted the crowd. Reigns walked up the steps with a serious look. Lesnar took a few steps back. Lesnar told him again to think about it real hard. Lesnar dropped the belt. They circled and stared. Lesnar then slipped under the bottom rope, ran over to his belt, and stood next to Heyman with a broad smile. Graves said Lesnar was just preserving Reigns. Lesnar then grabbed a chair and walked back into the ring. Cole said Reigns has not retreated. Reigns landed a Superman Punch. And another. And a third. Bypassing the chair and knocking Lesnar down each time. Coach said Reigns looked almost possessed. Lesnar picked up the chair, but Reigns hit another Superman Punch. He looked down at the belt. Cole asked if it is Reigns’s turn to victimize The Beast. Reigns waited. Lesnar stood again. Reigns gave him another Superman Punch. Reigns then picked up the Universal Title belt and stood over the fallen Lesnar and did some trash-talking.

Lesnar recovered enough to surprise Reigns with an F5 on the belt. Cole said Reigns let his guard down for just one second and The Beast struck. Reigns coughed. Lesnar and Heyman began their walk to the back. Cole gave a final push for WrestleMania.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good closing angle. The crowd reacted how Vince could have hoped. Nothing from Undertaker at the end, even.)


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14 Comments on KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT 4/2: Final WrestleMania 34 hype including Triple H & Stephanie in ring with Angle & Ronda Rousey, last chance for Undertaker to response, Reigns-Lesnar hype

  1. Signing HHH back in the 90’s was a huge signing? Who are you kidding? I really despise revisionist history. The fact is, HHH had a failed run in WCW playing at least two characters that I can remember. Terror Rizin’, which was a flop and some French character, also a flop. I was there, I watched it, I don’t claim to have any inside info, but he was not a top star when signed. In fact, he was not even an established mid carder.

    • I think you might have missed the intended heavy sarcasm in that comment, which was absurd for the reasons you stated.

      • My apologies for not picking up on that. That’s what I get for trying to be all philosophical at 3am. 🙂

        Btw, I don’t always agree with what you write, but have been a follower of the Torch since the days it came in the mail. I still enjoy the Torch after all these years, even if I seem like the old guy now who likes the “good old days of wrasslin'” better than this current sports entertainment stuff.

  2. This was the absolute worst build up to any WrestleMania I have ever seen. I have watched them all. Most of them were pretty good. This is just flat. I understand technically it is not a PPV, and therefore really not a big deal anymore, but it should be. This is supposed to be THE wrestling card. It looks like a glorified Raw.

    • That really was a very poor go-home show. It’s to be expected these days.

      Braun Strowman is not good. I don’t get the hype.

  3. The crowd reacted how Vince would have hoped? Vince wants them to cheer Lesnar? I don’t think so. 🙂 I understand you have to hype this, this is your business, and I am a long time fan of the Torch. At one time, I subscribed to the printed newsletter, but come on, be real. They were reacting the same way they have for months. They don’t like Reigns. They boo him. Mixed reaction at best. Vince wants him face or he wouldn’t push him at us every week. Vince doesn’t get it. Sadly. Don’t trust to BS us tho, people aren’t on board with his nonsense. Nor does anyone think Stephanie is a bad ass. Do some people want to see Steph finally let someone get over and get heat on her? Sure. Will she? Maybe, but at best its not even close to the top matches of WM past. Overall, this card looks like a snoozer.

    • “They were reacting the same way they have for months. They don’t like Reigns. They boo him. Mixed reaction at best.”

      You either need to watch the last segment again or get your hearing checked. Atlanta was mostly cheering for Roman, and they were even yelling pro-Roman chants with no anti-Roman chants to rebut it. I despise the Roman babyface push as much as anybody, but I have ears that work.

      That said…..this is Atlanta. This is not the Wrestlemania crowd. If Vince thinks that this crowd reaction is indicative of what the crowd will be like on Sunday, then he’s likely in for a very rude awakening.

      • I did rewatch it. I rarely watch it live. Who could sit through that? A very mixed reaction at best. Plenty of cheers for Brock still, many boos for Roman still. The crowd will be even harsher at WM. All this nonsense he pulled with Brock either no showing or giving 2 minute matches at house shows did not work. The stuff with Rousey did not work. Rousey’s lousy interviews wit Golic and others at Espn did not work. This is a glorified Raw. For those of that have never seen WM in it’s heyday, feel bad for you. This is the “drizzling shits” as Jim Cornette would say.

      • T-Bone22,

        I heard the same crowd reaction you did. It was XPAC heat. They were not into Reigns any more than any other crowd. Several boos for him. Lots of Brock cheers. I don’t know if it was as bad as you think, but it was pretty damn bad. The no payoff for the Undertaker after weeks also very lame, even if they deliver a match later.

  4. Gotta go with BigJoe… the take it home RAW, the big push to WM, the uhh…. zzzzzzzzzzzz sorry I napped off there. Loved Rhyno’s shirt though. Who in their right mind thought to ‘borrow’ a crappy TNA gimmick for Braun? I’m afraid Vince is going to blow it with the partner and it will be Kane for the big letdown. Bayley-Sasha? Vince how can you make me give X-pac heat to two of my favorite performers in the WWE…. c’mon, just let them wrestle. And yes, here it comes….. Mickie, more than 10 WRESTLING moves, Dana, at least 5 wrestling moves, Alexa, more than 10… NIA for heaven’s sake on the run-in does two, flip off back and Samoan Drop. And she who is frumpy… umm…. no wrestling moves. kick-kick-kick-punch-bum bump [ok, I guess that counts as ONE but Naomi does it so much better] and a submission. Insult away my friends, the women does not wrestle at least in WWE.

    • Dbob,

      I agree on Rhyno’s shirt. Hilarious. You sound like an old school wrestling fan like me. This current product is really bad. I watch now more out of habit than expecting something good. Although, I hope it improves.

  5. could they not have least sounded the gong to end the show as some sort of Undertaker signal.

    I mean we all assume the match is happening as Wrestling fans just because, but in any real world, how does it make any sense

    • I don’t believe there is a match at WM unless all the reports about his injuries are fake. Maybe it is all a work and he will be there. If not, this was several weeks of nothing. If there is a match, this was a huge gamble crapping on the fans for weeks and then having to pay off huge. I am rooting for you to be right, Simon, but I have no confidence in WWE.

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