The Road to Wrestlemania continued in San Jose, California last night on Monday Night RAW. Outside of laying the seeds for the big show (not that one), we also got a lot of feuds and clarifications set for the upcoming Elimination Chamber PPV.
This week instead of our traditional review we look at 12 AWWWWWWESOME Moments from Monday Night RAW in San Jose, CA.
12. Absolution Wins
I love Absolution. The unlikely BFF duo of the MMA influenced Sonya Deville, and the blonde bombshell Mandy Rose, have really come into their own since they first debuted on RAW. Their won-loss record hasn’t been awesome, but they’ve had some decisive wins including their victory of Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. What I liked about this match was the duo looked stronger…but also smart. Deville wiping out Alexa allowing Mandy to win with the Implant Buster showed they don’t need a Paige distraction or underhanded tactics to win. They can win on their own. And on a show where screwy finishes are usually the way a heel wins, this was refreshing. In a year’s time expect bigger things from both these women — particularly Deville.
11. Good Brothers vs. The Top Guys
It might not have been a 5 Star Classic, but it’s always a treat to watch Gallows and Anderson get into it with Dash and Dawson. Both teams are really good, and it’s a shame they aren’t sniffing the tag title scene just yet, but hopefully one or both of them will. Hell, give me a Good Brothers/Top Guys Bunkhouse Brawl at Mania, hoot! Not happening, I know. This was a fun match, and Karl Anderson really got to showcase just how good he is in the ring. One does have to wonder if Gallows has an injury because he wasn’t in the ring last week, and he spent most of the match outside the ring during this match.
10. Apollo Crews Looking Legit
I love that Apollo Crews is finally getting a push of some substance. He’s really being showcased more, and more on RAW and has looked very strong against The Bar, The Miz, and in the Fatal Five-Way. Do I think this will be a sustained push? Probably not, but he’s looked impressive in the ring, and has been decent on the mic. He’s a man with a world of talent, let’s hope, especially given all the injuries in WWE, that he can make a run of this.
9. Legit Heel Banks
Let’s be honest – heel Sasha is the best Sasha. “The Legit Boss” moniker is much more effective when Banks is working as a heel. Right now, she’s still in the “tweener” role, especially since she and Bayley almost hugged it out last night (before Nia Jax ruined things). Banks needs this heel run to freshen things up, especially since she’s not in contention for Alexa’s title, and she’s run through the entire Women’s heel Division already.
8. A Good Brothers Nerd-O-Meter
It was a small moment, but it was a fun moment. More of this.
7. Kurt Angle Getting Real With The Crowd
Kurt Angle was not stellar on the mic last night. However, he got real. Damn real. And it was a necessary moment. When he announced Jason Jordan (legit) needed neck surgery and would miss Wrestlemania — the crowd cheered. Kurt, possibly breaking character, took the audience to task. And you know what? He needed to. How dare anyone boo an athlete who’s injured? It’s absolutely deplorable. The only positive to take away from this is that Jason Jordan now has his “Die Rocky, Die” moment. Heel turn imminent. But seriously wrestling fans, grow the hell up.
6. Bayley Finally Winning in Her Hometown
I don’t hate much about wrestling, except one major thing — people losing, getting embarrassed, or embarrassingly losing in their hometown. Last time RAW was in San Jose, Bayley’s hometown, she lost the Women’s Title. Now I know this has to happen sometimes. Sometimes the hometown hero has to lose. It makes sense for the story, and it creates an air of unpredictability. However, WWE makes it almost like they’re punishing the hometown star. Luckily tonight Bayley won, and won in a big way with a top rope Bayley-to-Belly suplex. Good win for Bayley who does need the W.
5. The Asuka Promo Video
Whoever created this video needs a massive raise, and needs to edit all promo videos from WWE going forward. This hyped Asuka so much, that it got me amped for her match with Nia Jax at Elimination Chamber. Now, I think it’d be really, really dumb for Asuka to lose to Nia at EC, and end her streak at a non Big 4 PPV event. Asuka losing should be monumental, and she should not lose it to Jax — who still isn’t quite there just yet. If you wanna see people take a Roman Reigns-esque dump on Nia, have her beat Asuka.
4. The Finish to The Fatal Five Way
This was a simple formula. Everyone gets their finishers in. Everyone looks strong. We have a controversial finish. It’s not crazy, it’s just simple wrestling 101.
3. The Miz and John Cena Put on a PPV Quality Match
Put all your hate of John Cena aside. (Seriously, why do you hate this guy?) He knows how to put on a good match. And you know who else does? THE MIZ. These two had a knock down drag out that could’ve easily main evented a PPV. Go out of your way to watch this match.
2. Ivory is in the Hall of Fame
When you talk about the evolution of women’s wrestling in WWE, one name that tends to get looked over is Ivory. In a time (the Attitude Era) where women were used mainly as managers, and used more for their looks than in-ring ability, Ivory stood out. She was a fierce character that was a ring general, who had she been wrestling now, would be an unmitigated star. She paved the way for women in WWE to be both a strong character, and strong wrestler. Her fingerprints are all over this current generation of performers, both in WWE and abroad, and it’s an absolute must that she is in the Hall of Fame.
1. Braun Sings!
Hot take: Braun Strowman is the most entertaining all-around male superstar in WWE right now. Some guys are great performers. Some guys are great characters. Braun is both. Sure, he’s not Daniel Bryan reborn in the ring, but he’s evolved to more than just a lumbering big man — he’s someone who can wrestle anyone. As a character he’s gone from yelling to a more well-rounded character that has charm and charisma but can also strike legit terror in you. Last night he showed this off perfectly. He sang beautifully, entertained the crowd, and then destroyed the living hell out of Elias. Dear WWE, you have your star. Go all in.