Best: Brock Strowman
In the next chapter of WWE trying to get the WWE universe to cheer Roman as much as they can and to boo Lesnar as much as they can, they started out by having Roman Reigns come out and demand Brock Lesnar come to the ring and that he won’t be leaving the ring until he does. They did the whole routine with the sitting alone in the ring and the arrest bit with Roman telling the officers not to touch them as well as the corner mudhole stomps. And they were in Texas. The only difference is that one was organically loveable and the other is created to be loveable. Roman got slapped with a suspension, but he might as well have signed an extension with how easily he managed to show up on RAW un-impeded. You’d think they would do something about the security. As the handcuffs were slapped, a part of me expected Roman to just magically break out of them, you know, like Superman would.
However, it was not meant to be as Lesnar came out and dismantled Roman. I can’t help but feel there was a bit of imagery played here, however, as the assault widely resembled Strowman’s post-WrestleMania 33 ambush of Roman. Of course, his was much better, but they shared the similarity in that Roman was left for dead on a stretcher and Lesnar came, and, well, shoved him. I was actually waiting for Lesnar to flip over the entire ring on Roman to top him. I thought the attempt here to make Lesnar look like a cowardly douchebag and make Roman look like a conquering hero was admirable, but I can’t shake the feeling that the plan is going to backfire badly. Think about it. After all the truth Roman laid about Lesnar’s lack of attendance on RAW, Lesnar came out, gave him a beating, and the crowd chanted “you deserve it” in Roman’s direction. So what’s going to happen at WrestleMania? If the crowd boos Roman and cheers for Lesnar, we are back to where we started three years ago when the Roman Reigns experiment began. Let’s see how it goes.
Best: The Bliss and The Beautiful
While I hated that our first match came 35 minutes into RAW and ended in a count-out finish, I thought that everything here was well done. The match between Bliss and Asuka was competitive and had a sense of urgency. We all knew Asuka wasn’t going to lose, and while I wasn’t a fan of the cop-out, count-out finish, I completely understand. You keep Asuka strong without compromising the streak and you make Bliss look strong in her performance while protecting her before the impending match against Nia. And how about Nia running down the ramp to chase Bliss down? She was running like me at an all-you-can-eat buffet table.
Nia seems to have been warming up to the crowd greatly, and I’m actually glad that she is going to get the WrestleMania moment she’s deserved and is two years in the making. She’s come a long way since she was squashing nobodies when she was first brought up to RAW.
Best: Strowman Argument
I dug the little bit with Strowman, and I especially like his promo style. He just has it for me. He also did a good job in relaying to both Sheamus and Cesaro that he doesn’t need a tag team partner and could win the RAW Tag Titles on his own but for the sake of principle, has to find a partner, which I’m thinking will be either Elias or Samoa Joe (probably the former). Cesaro and Strowman then had a nice little match which accomplished its purpose, so no gripes from me here, other than the fact that we didn’t get to see Cesaro hit the Neutralizer on Strowman. I guess that would be better saved for WrestleMania, yes?
Best: From The Hall of Pain To The Hall Of Fame
The latest inductee into this year’s Hall of Fame class of 2018 is the World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry, and it is well deserved. As a battle-tested veteran of over two decades, Henry solidified himself as a WWE mainstay and a reliable veteran who was used dynamically throughout his career. While I couldn’t help but feel as though Henry didn’t realize his true potential as a true dominant monster, I believe he played whatever role he was put into superbly and did it to the fullest.
Whether it was his stint in the Nation of Domination, Sexual Chocolate, a loveable big guy looking like Kool-Aid, or a monster heel, he was always dedicated to the persona. We surely all remember what may be the highlight of his career, which was fooling all of us with his fake retirement speech in 2013 where he displayed elite acting skills. That was where I actually think WWE should have pulled the trigger on Henry and put the WWE Title on him, even if it would be for only a month or so because he more than deserves it. While he doesn’t have a long list of accolades or titles in WWE, he certainly made an impact in whatever he did and has a rightful spot amongst the legends in the Hall of Fame. Congrats, big guy.
Worst: I Know You Did What You Had To Do, But I Hate You Anyways
I don’t know what it is, but I can’t help but feel as though WWE is making Bayley one of the stupidest characters in WWE history. Remember that whole disaster with Alexa Bliss last year at Extreme Rules when she pretended to be hardcore but when it was time to be just that she hesitated with a mere kendo stick? Well now, we have Bayley’s explanation as to why she did what she did. She basically told Sasha she can’t be an adult and get over Sasha pushing her down from the top of the pod at Elimination Chamber as if that’s not the most dumbass reason to turn to the dark side. You’d think all the other times Sasha was sketchy in her support with Bayley, especially with eliminating her at the Royal Rumble, would be reason enough. But no, she pushed her off a pod and the look in her eye hurt her feelings. Seriously, you’re telling me that Bayley couldn’t get over one incident that happened that didn’t cost her the match and has been holding it against her ever since then?
I’m all for turning Bayley heel, as it would be a welcome change from her current gimmick, but she wouldn’t be nearly as believable as a bad person for being so for not getting over something. The most frustrating part in all of this is the fact that she acknowledged that Sasha only did that because she did what she had to in order to win the match. So even though Bayley understands and SHOULD understand why Sasha did that, especially knowing her probably better than anybody, you’re using this one specific incident to facilitate a heel turn? Not the time where Sasha won the RAW Women’s Title from Alexa at Summerslam last year when you were originally supposed to have that match? Not the Royal Rumble elimination? She pushed you off a pod and had a look on her face? That’s whack. Hopefully, my IQ won’t drop when she’s a heel.
Best/Worst: Embrace The Hate – Part Deux
John Cena came out and basically regurgitated some of the same things he said to the Undertaker last week, only using different terminology. It was pretty identical in every fashion, down to insulting Undertaker as a man. The only thing that was different this week was Kane coming out to a mild, if you want to call it that, crowd reaction, saying nothing, chokeslamming him, and leaving, thereby setting up a singles match between the two next week. This isn’t the first time Kane has involved himself with Undertaker’s opponent at WrestleMania, as he did the same thing with CM Punk before WrestleMania 29. There was nothing aesthetically wrong with anything, and it served its purpose. It will also do WWE wonders for the endless video packages that are to come of this match. However, I didn’t really like the redundant nature of everything here, and Kane didn’t add anything. I was expecting for him to come out and tell Cena to embrace the hate or something like he did six years ago. It had all the makings of it.