SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s episode of Monday Night Raw has wrapped. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the madness.
-The opening promo from Drew McIntyre was telling. First, it was very much your run of the mill, set the table, set the mission statement, babyface style promo. If you had doubts about a WrestleMania title match involving McIntyre, this promo halted those in their tracks. Drew is going there and he made sure everybody knew it. The promo also highlighted how far McIntyre has come in the last year. He was comfortable, likable, confident, authentic, and entertaining all at the same time. Drew called his shot with this piece of work and it feels as if the audience is fully behind him hitting the next home run.
-McIntyre and Sheamus are sore today. I sit fully confident in writing those words. That was a pro wrestling match, folks. Yes, it was hard-hitting and fun to watch, but the hard hits meant something. They told a story and the result was a main event level PPV match on free television. Something tells me this isn’t the end between these two either.
-Nia Jax squashing the only viable Raw challengers to her and Shayna Baszler’s tag team championships is puzzling. Maybe Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez walk out of NXT victorious and this was a means to get them hot? Yep, I know, I’m reaching.
-Attention WWE. There is nothing wrong with treating your main event match like a main event match. The countdown clock and transparently desperate attempts to hook viewers hour by hour to keep them throughout the show diluted the momentum of the main event championship match. The tricks screamed to the audience that “the match itself isn’t important enough to wait on, so we’ll string you along to make sure you stick around.” Lashley vs. Miz for the WWE Championship had intrigue. Building that intrigue up, hyping it, and then delivering on it treats the show and the match as something important. WWE missed that tone with this presentation.
-We’re getting Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon at WrestleMania. Generally, I’m not for this plan. However, a Shane McMahon pirate ship bump at Raymond James Stadium is still in the cards. I reserve all judgment until that does, or doesn’t take place.
-Top stars don’t go that long with low card acts like Elias. That said, Damian Priest went long with Elias as Bad Bunny was ringside watching him. That’s the real story. Bad Bunny = ratings and WWE wants him on television for as long as possible it seems.
-Charlotte vs. Shayna Baszler happened. No build. No hype. Just on television. Baszler lost. In three minutes. Imagine saying that three years ago.
-Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali is a match I’d like to see at WrestleMania. The in-ring action should be stellar between those two. Thinking about what the build to that match looks like sends me into a sweaty panic attack.
-The fact that the match was jerked in four different directions in three hours aside, Bobby Lashley vs. The Miz was exactly what it needed to be. Lashley got the statement win, is now the WWE Champion, and on a collision course with McIntyre. The end game worked and Lashley is now a top guy in the company. Did the end justify the means? Not even close. A straight up match in the main event with promos throughout the show detailing its significance would have put an even bigger exclamation point on the new direction for Raw.
NOW CHECK OUT HEYDORN’S SMACKDOWN RECEIPT: HEYDORN’S SMACKDOWN RECEIPT 2/26: Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair effective in straightforward WrestleMania hype