THE WRONG KIND OF HEAT…
Recap: The show led off with Stephanie McMahon and Triple-H in the ring. They recapped the matches for the upcoming PPV, including Ronda Rousey’s title defense against Ruby Riott. Triple-H said that if Ronda were successful, she’d move on to face Becky Lynch at WrestleMania, but then hedged by saying “at least that was the plan.” He then played a video package showing Becky’s attack on Stephanie and altercation eith him that ended in her suspension.
Becky Lynch then came to the ring. Triple-H apologized for his words last week, and they shook hands. He recounted that Becky saw her own doctors, who confirmed to WWE’s doctors that her injury was not serious and that she would be ready for WrestleMania.
The tone changed when Stephanie informed Becky there was just one more small thing. She demanded that Becky apologize for her actions. Becky angrily told her to shut her face, saying she didn’t trust the McMahons as they had been screwing people over for decades. Stephanie and Becky got into a shouting match.
Triple-H stepped between them and told Becky not to let her pride destroy her WrestleMania dream. He said she had until the end of the night to decide whether to apologize.
In a later backstage segment, Finn Balor said he’d seen pride get the better of many a man, but that it shouldn’t get the better of The Man.
In another backstage segment, Carly Caruso asked what Becky would tell her fans if she refused to apologize, causing them to miss her at WrestleMania. Becky told Charly it was none of her damn business.
In a mid-match cutaway segment, Ronda approached Becky backstage, telling her to apologize. She gave her normal nausea-inducing line about it being an opportunity for women. She then told Becky that if she didn’t apologize, it meant Becky was a coward afraid to face her at WrestleMania.
In another backstage segment, Alexa Bliss advised Becky not to apologize. She said it would make her seem weak and would let down all the women backstage that look up to her. Becky saw through her, saying she knew Alexa just wanted her slot at WrestleMania. Lexa denied this, saying Becky would be viewed as a sellout if he apologized. Becky responded by saying if she apologized, the only thing she’d be selling out would be WrestleMania.
In the final segment, Triple-H and Stephanie told Becky to be reasonable, and do apologize as they had. Becky said she still didn’t trust them, but reluctantly apologized. Triple-H and Stephanie seemed content, shook Becky’s hand, and told her she had her match for WrestleMania.
Becky then began to hype the match, and Ronda came out to meet her. They were interrupted by Vince McMahon. He stated that he didn’t like Becky’s attitude, and that he didn’t accept her apology. He suspended her for 60 days so that she would miss WrestleMania, and announced Charlotte as her replacement.
Evaluation: WWE is doing a good job at taking advantage of the heat on this angle by making it the focus of every show, going back to it all night.
On the other hand, while Triple-H and Stephanie clearly came across as heels (at least until they accepted the apology), Becky also did look somewhat unreasonable in her pride.
While adding Charlotte to the match certainly gets heat, it’s the wrong kind of heat. It’s heat on the promotion for not giving the fans the matchup they want, not heat on a heel for being a heel.
Adding Charlotte to the match in this way seems like a ploy to deflect heat off of Ronda Rousey (who WWE seems obsessed with promoting as a babyface) by transferring it entirely to Charlotte. Again, this is a bad kind of heat and a bad decision.
Forecast: Becky needs to win at WrestleMania now more than ever.
SASHA & BAYLEY FIRST IN THE CHAMBER…
Recap: After the night’s opening segment, Sasha and Bayley faced Nia Jax and Tamina as well as Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan in a Triple Threat match, with the losing team to enter the Elimination Chamber first on Sunday.
During the match, Riott Squad teamed up against Sasha, injuring her and sending her backstage. Bayley was then left without a partner. She fought valiantly, but eventually took the pin from Nia after a Samoan Drop.
Evaluation: The concept behind this match was idiotic. Since there was no benefit to win, a huge penalty for losing, and teams could tag in members of other teams, the teams should’ve simply attempted to not tag in.
Bayley losing her partners was played up as a disadvantage, but due to the bizarre rules it wasn’t, as Bayley could simply tag herself out to a member of another team to avoid losing.
Forecast: As dumb as this was, I assume it was intended to give Sasha and Bayley some adversity to overcome in winning the titles on Sunday.
NEW TAG CHAMPIONS…
Recap: In a match barely promoted and buried in the middle of the third hour, the Revival defeated Chad Gable and Bobby Roode for the tag titles.
Evaluation: It was a bizarre decision to air a title change in literally the worst slot in the entire show.
Forecast: Based on the way this title change was treated, I don’t expect WWE to start taking the tag division seriously any time soon.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – RAW 2/4: Becky Suspended, The Smirk, Ronda Thoroughly Unlikeable, Kurt Retirement Fakeout