WrestleMania came early this year for the RAW brand.
The pre-show had a lackluster match seeing Elias defeating Apollo Crews. I was happy to see that.
The first match of the night kicked off No Mercy in a big way with The Miz defeating Jason Jordan. It was a good match. Jordan and Miz put on an exciting opener. Despite Jordan lobbing Miz all over the ring, the crowd continually dumped the boos all over him. Thanks to an assist by Bo Dallas and Curt Axel, Miz retained to a huge live crowd pop.
Finn Balor defeated Bray Wyatt after another great match. They pulled the “heel beats up face before the bell” which added to the drama, but thankfully it didn’t rob us of a great match. This time, Balor and Bray just went back and forth, hitting harder and harder as the match went on. A massive Coup de Grace finished Bray off in one of the matches which got a standing ovation.
Did I just say one of the matches? This next match will be a contender for Tag Team Match of the Year, as Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose retained the RAW Tag Team Championships against Cesaro and Sheamus. This match was a perfect combination of an all-out brawl and actual wrestling. Early one, Cesaro took a big leap in the corner, hit the ring post and KNOCKED OUT HIS FRONT TEETH. Yep, blood everywhere. Freakin’ nasty. This match went almost 20 minutes of some insane bumps and more close calls than I could count. Every time it seems Cesaro and Sheamus appeared to win, somehow there was a kick out. It was unbelievable.
Alexa Bliss retained the Women’s Championship in the Fatal Five Way. Great match, I thought Nia Jax was done for following being powerbombed to the arena floor, but she came back and steamrolled everyone. Man, she certainly was the crowd favorite and mine too, but alas, it was not to be. This was a good match which saw all participants get their ample time, but I felt this match was a bit jumbled and could have been a good way to get the belt off Bliss without directly losing.
Well, it happened. Roman Reigns defeated John Cena… By Cena-ing Cena. What I mean to say… Well, remember how Cena used to have all those matched where the other guy would throw everything at Cena, and then he would hit his two or three signature finishers and win? Well, this time it was reversed. Cena hit Reigns with everything, including rolling AA’s, top-rope AAs, some crazy stuff, and Reigns kept kicking out. Then, Reigns hits the Superman Punch followed by a spear, and it was all over.
Look, it was a good match, but it didn’t feel like a good match. Does that make sense?
Post-match: Cena did a bit in the ring, and we got a “Thank you Cena” chant. Makes you wonder if this was that dark passing of the torch I mentioned.
The strangest title change I can think of: Enzo Amore defeats Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship via Kick To The Nuts. Decent match, Enzo took a beating, but Neville did a lot of stalling and over the top theatrics, even taunting and refusing to go for the Red Arrow, only to crash and burn with a Phoenix Splash. Enzo winds up on the floor, grabs the title but the ref takes it away, giving Enzo the opening for the nut-shot of doom.
Geez. Way to devalue the Cruiserweight Championship.
Main Event: Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar
Out of the gate, Braun manhandled Brock. But, this was no Goldberg squash, and the match goes for more than two minutes. Braun has the advantage until gradually, Lesnar gets some offense in, and ultimately starts taking us all on a trip through Suplex City. Both men play out the long-winded and beat-down game as they both start dropping with big moves, and go the sluggish pin, until finally, Brock hits the F5 and retains the Universal Championship.
It was an “OK” match, but as the pace slowed down, so did the spark of the match. Overall, not a bad PPV. The undercard shined while the main marquee matches didn’t quite deliver as expected. Strowman mauls Lesnar for weeks leading up to this, and then Lesnar squeaks out the win. Eh.