RAW opens with a weird imagery of a graveyard. Hype for The Undertaker I imagine?
The show kicks off with Bayley being all happy and cutesy until Charlotte shows up to spoil the party. As Charlotte speaks, I can’t help but notice the first of many CM Punk chants break out. Charlotte continues to sow seeds of doubt in Bayley’s friendship with Sasha Banks prompting the Boss to emerge from the back and take her turn to verbally defend herself… Until Nia Jax shows up and promises a beating for everyone. A fight breaks out as we go to commercial. Returning from commercial, we watch as Bayley and Banks defeat Charlotte and Jax as Bayley hits the Bayley-to-Belly Suplex on Charlotte for the win.
Big props to WWE for opening with the Women’s Division and giving them a lot of time. Post-match, Nia Jax mauls everyone. As she should.
Backstage: Sami Zayn enters himself into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. He’s doing it for his mentor, Mick Foley. His hopes are suddenly squashed by Stephanie McMahon, as she informs him the only way he is in the match, is if he defeats Kevin Owens. Oh, and if he loses, he is fired.
Well, seems like Zayn always has to qualify if he wants to be in a match. He had to qualify for the Rumble…
Austin Aries defeats Noam Dar
It’s all about showing Neville, at commentary, Aries means business. He looks damn good and Dar sold it all like a pro.
Triple H and Seth Rollins Contract Signing
Triple H is not a good heel. He is a great heel. He takes the logical corporate approach, telling Rollins, and the live Philadelphia crowd. Great line, “I’d rather eat well, than sleep well.” All about the money and how Rollins abandoned the easy life. Rollins wants redemption and to find himself before he sold his soul to the Authority. They sign, and Triple H strikes, until Rollins strikes back, managing to ward off The Game, but we are given the impression Rollins is in no way in good shape and may go out in an ambulance, regardless if he is the victor.
Big Show Over The Top Invitational
Jinder Mahal is gone first, followed by Bo “I’m Looking Like Bray” Dallas, and then in comedic fashion, The Shining Stars come out together, get some offense, and are simultaneously dumped. Suddenly, Curtis Axel, Goldust, and R-Truth, all still employed and suddenly assisted by all the wrestlers who were just eliminated, throw Show over the top. Show, angry, gets revenge with Chokeslams and KO-Punches. Show enjoys the carnage, until Braun Strowman arrives to inform us he will be in the Battle Royal. Yep, there is my pick.
Goes without saying, Strowman got the biggest pop of the night so far.
More ominous Undertaker promos.
Backstage: Roman Reigns starts talking, but I stopped caring. Apparently he is a big boy and doesn’t worry about weird video.
New Day antics outside Phili. Love it.
Backstage, an interview with Cesaro and Sheamus goes awry as Gallows and Anderson attack, and strike with… ladders. Interesting.
Neville defeats Jack Gallagher
Great match, Gallagher is very entertaining, but this was all for Neville to go over. Post match news report with Austin Aries. This is hysterical. He brings in The New Day. He gyrates using the New Day’s champ catchphrase, gaining many babyface points.
Roman Reigns, in my opinion, turns on full heel mode and goes off about taking over “his yard” and going to be the one to retire the Deadman. Sure. The titantron goes on, the Undertaker cuts his creepy promo in a cemetery, showing a freshly dug grave, with a tombstone custom made for Reigns. “The Roman Empire Will Fall” is spoken, and then the lights go off, back on to show the Deadman behind Reigns, telling him to “Rest in Peace.” Taker dims the lights, ending the segment.
Not long, but to the point, giving us the classic Deadman we know and love. Reigns did good as a heel, hopefully this sticks past WrestleMania.
Enzo and Cass come out to cut a promo, and well, this one winds up breaking down into a brawl with Anderson and Gallows and Cesaro and Sheamus, which involves… Ladders.
Oh please oh please oh please let this turn into a three-way ladder match.
Sami Zayn defeats Kevin Owens in a No DQ Match
Great match. Not long, but had some close calls. Owens takes an exploder Suplex into the corner awkwardly landing on his head. Then takes the through the ropes DDT onto the floor. Eventually Samoa Joe comes out to interfere, but Chris Jericho arrives to save the day. After a brawl, Jericho finally puts Owens on the list.
Nice hype for a WWE 24 program on the Network, highlighting the Raw After WrestleMania. Yep. It’s nuts.
Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg… Look into each other’s eyes, gazing into the soul of one another…
Alright, this here is no romance novel. Nice E-C-Dub chant from the live Philadelphia crowd. Heyman crafts an amazing promo, an articulate culmination of all the hype he has done to make us care about this match. I give Heyman all the credit. He even breaks out his inner Jew to mark an exclamation point, reciting the Kaddish prayer, the prayer of mourning.
Goldberg comes out, and orders the fight to begin… and it ends just as fast as Goldberg spears Lesnar on the floor. Yep. That’s how RAW ends.
See, things like this gives me the belief Brock Lesnar is winning at Mania. But who knows anymore.
This was a solid RAW. Was it the best go-home WrestleMania show for RAW? No, but it wasn’t the worst either. I feel the entire undercard for RAW got better hype than Brock/Goldberg. Tomorrow night on SmackDown, we see how their go-home show impacts Mania.