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.
-A nice promo between Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre to kick off Raw after the announcement that they’d collide for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Smart to define the McIntyre and Lashley paths as similar, but transparently call out the differences to get the audience firmly on McIntyre’s side.
-Reminder. WWE, you have Fastlane on Sunday. WrestleMania is important, but I’d like to have seen some stakes curated for McIntyre’s match against Sheamus this weekend. If the championship match is already set, talk about why it’s necessary for Drew to take the match with Sheamus and risk the WrestleMania match going away if he gets hurt. It’s hard to book two shows with the same three hours of television. It’s muddy and the Drew/Lashley/Sheamus stuff was tough to weave because of said mud.
-For two guys who aren’t great at talking, Shane McMahon and Braun Strowman are talking a lot – too much. If the world needs to be subjected to this series of matches, can we please not be subjected to these two yammering on each week?
-It feels as if some combination of Lana & Naomi vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke has happened for six straight weeks. The women’s division needs reinforcements. Raw to NXT = “Help me NXT, you’re my only hope.”
-The New Day and Hurt Business had a heck of a tag team championship match this week. The action was smooth, crisp, logical, and with some dramatic intrigue included as well. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin needed to keep those belts, though. Bobby Lashley is a top star alone, but the Hurt Business faction helped elevate him to WWE Championship level. The whole was more effective than the sum of its parts. Diminishing some of those parts with a loss like this hurts the credibility of that act. With the main event of WrestleMania on the horizon, keeping Hurt Business strong was an important priority.
-A.J. Styles and Omos are a tag team now? Sorry, but this reeks of “oh crap, what do we do with A.J. Styles at WrestleMania?”
-Bad Bunny losing the 24/7 Championship just didn’t work for him, brother. I kid, but why not just execute the same angle as you did Monday and have a slimy heel cover Bad Bunny to become 24/7 Champion? Keeps Bunny strong, gets heat on the heel, keeps more heat on Miz ahead of WrestleMania. Boom.
-Speaking of slimy. There was slime on Raw! Yep, the bright green kind from Nickelodeon. That should not be a sentence written about a pro wrestling show.
-Give me revenge obsessed Asuka any day of the week. She looked every bit the babyface champion defending her own honor opposite Shayna Baszler, but the question remains, to what end? A feud with Baszler doesn’t appear to be in the cards at this point for WrestleMania and Asuka against another opponent takes the revenge story away.
-Ali and Riddle have chemistry. Their match this week was fine given the restrictions they had with time. No matter what, they need a better story for all of that to matter. Both characters are one-dimensional right now. A little depth opens up possibilities significantly.
-I see you, Drew McIntyre. Nice promo. Dropped a bomb with that one. Wink, wink.
-Sheamus is riding a wave of good to very good matches on Raw for the last month and a half. He fights out there and his opponents come out looking like they’ve accomplished something in beating him. You won’t necessarily earn the WrestleMania main event doing a job like that, but you’ll see checks arriving every two weeks for a long, long time.
NOW CHECK OUT HEYDORN’S SMACKDOWN RECEIPT: HEYDORN’S SMACKDOWN RECEIPT 3/12: Edge’s confusion surrounding Daniel Bryan is confusing