Kurt Angle comes out to build up WrestleMania. Even when hyping up his own damn match, he sounds painfully scripted. Kurt tells us that Brock is a no-show, but says it might be due to a medical reason or travel issues… so yeah. It’s all an angle.
Roman came out to a slightly more positive reaction than usual. He demands to know how Brock will be punished for not showing up to work. I’m not trying to be anti-Roman here, as I, too, don’t like big spots going to part-timers, but the fact of the matter is that Brock was not supposed to show up last week. Brock has so far no-showed one show, which was two weeks ago… but Roman didn’t ask about that because that’s not what Roman’s point is supposed to be. Roman’s point is supposed to be Brock = part-timer, part-timer = bad, ergo Brock = bad. Brock did not no-show last week’s show because Brock was not scheduled to be there. Roman can be unhappy that Brock has such a contract, but it is not fair to hold Brock to the standards of someone else’s contract.
Furthermore, as I’ve noted often in my Smackdown reviews, Shane McMahon- who is supposed to be there every week- regularly skips work as is never criticized for it. Daniel Bryan also does so. So does Randy Orton. Steph disappeared for most of last year. Roman’s own cousin Nia Jax disappeared for an entire month recently. Big E. and Xavier could have been a perfectly functional tag-team while Kofi recovered from his injury last spring, but neither one of them showed up to work until Kofi was ready to return. I didn’t hear Roman complaining about any of them.
Thirdly, Roman Reigns got away with ATTEMPTED VEHICULAR HOMICIDE. He is in no position to demand that anyone get punished.
And fourth, maybe I’m remembering wrong, but I have memories of guys who were very over with the fans getting major heat with the office for speaking out against part-timers. Combine that with the fact that Brock has had this type of contract for years but only now is Roman speaking out against it, and this whole thing once again exposes itself as a transparent attempt to get Roman over as a babyface. And based on tonight’s reaction, it might well have a positive impact on the reaction he gets against Lesnar at WrestleMania… but what about the next day, when he’s back to feuding with someone who isn’t a part-timer and the people who switched sides to root against part-timer Brock revert to being in the anti-Roman camp?
As if to follow up on my third point, Roman said that he knew Brock wouldn’t be punished “because he’s Vince’s boy.” Hey, Roman! Who else got to release an official statement of apology that the company put out along with the announcement of his/her suspension?
Roman goes on to say that if anyone else didn’t show up, he/she would at least be fined, if not fired… but as I’ve noted above, that’s not true.. Neither Rusev nor Lana showed up to work for MONTHS this spring, and neither were fired. Rusev even tried to hold out and demand a title shot but wasn’t fired. Nattie also walked out and was not punished at all. Hell… when Dolph did it he was rewarded with the #30 spot in the Royal Rumble!
Roman now changes the target of his ire to Vince for not having the courtesy to tell him about Brock’s no-show himself because of all of the sacrifices Roman makes for Vince’s company. Roman marches backstage… and Vince is sitting there at a table having a meeting (this looks nothing like every other time we’ve seen the Gorilla Position)… and right there next to him is f*cking Shane. KAYFABE, MOTHERF*CKERS! Why the f*ck did Shane have to be here? And while Shane is right there, do you want to know who isn’t? Hunter and Steph, both of whom would make a million times more sense than Shane! It’s stupid sh*t like this that really infuriates me. Obvious details that would make the show make more sense if they were addressed and costs you nothing but a few seconds of thought to address them, but they don’t, and simply because they’re either too dumb or too lazy. Vince says that they’ll go talk in his office.
When we come back from commercial, Renee Young has stationed herself with a camera crew outside of Vince’s office, because she knows where the big scoop is going to be. In my secret world of totally unnecessary fantasy booking (sometimes I literally can’t help myself), Charly Carsuo got there with her camera crew first but Renee pulled seniority on her, so now Charly is going to recruit some wresters to attack Renee, leading to Renee finding a team to help her and we get a match at WrestleMania with the two of them managing opposite teams.
Roman emerges from the office and ignores Renee’s request for an interview. Vince comes out as well and I swear to G-d I saw his tie as blue before and now it’s bright purple. Did this happen to anyone else?
Vince insists that “Brock Lesnar is not anyone’s boy.” Vince says that he didn’t mean to offend Roman, but he reminded Roman to, as The Rock used to say, “Know your role and shut your mouth.” Vince said that sometimes people ern privileges and while, yes, Brock kind of took advantage of that, he assures us that Brock will be here next week. He also says that Roman has been suspended. Everyone cheered.
SASHA BANKS (w/Bayley) vs. SONYA DEVILLE (w/Absolution)- 1.5/10
Bayley was unhappy during Sasha’s entrance. She clearly doesn’t want to be here. I assume that the idea here was that Bayley didn’t want to come out with Sasha but Sasha begged her to do so and appealed to her fact that she did save Bayley last week so Bayley relented, but this was one of those situations where they should have given us a backstage segment to explain this. Sasha made Sonya tap after Bayley attacked Mandy to prevent her from interfering in a very short match.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Bayley started to head up the ramp the moment the bell rang. The Paige of the Fall beat Sasha up after the match. Bayley did not come out to make the save. They should have done a better job establishing that Bayley was already backstage before the beat-down started.
MIZ TV WITH SPECIAL GUESTS FINN BALOR & SETH ROLLINS- meh
Balor’s blue jacket is horrendous. Miz tries to stir up discord between Seth and Finn. He temporarily succeeds but then they beat him up. Rollins they laid Balor out, too.
IF THE MIZ-TOURAGE WIN, THEY GET A TITLE SHOT AT WRESTLEMANIA: The Miz-tourage vs. Sheamus & Cesaro- no rating, lazy bullsh*t segment that explains why the tag division is in the state it’s in.
The Miz-tourage jumped the champs before the bell. We never got a bell, even when both teams were in the ring trading punches. The Revival ran out and got involved. I assume Gallows & Anderson will be here momentarily… Yup. Here they come.
The tag champs run off, as it is clear that everyone is ganging up on them. Their retreat is cut off by both Titus Worldwide and Slater & Rhyno, because who has time to book a tag team division when you’ve got your entire Creative team focused on coming up with ways to get fans to cheer Roman and/or care about Stephanie’s Women’s Branding R/Evolution? That’s definitely a more efficient use of their time, right?
While all of this is happening, the fans only care about a grand total of ONE of the twelve men involved: their hometown hero, Rhyno. Sheamus runs away up the ramp while Cesaro does so through the crowd… and Corey Graves correctly points out that Sheamus & Cesaro were just assaulted TEN-ON-TWO.
JOHN CENA PROMO- he laments that he now has no possible path to WrestleMania. Really? Because in just the previous segment we were told that Cesaro & Sheamus are looking for challengers for the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles. Get yourself a partner (Strowman’s not doing anything at the moment, and neither is your former championship partner David Otunga) and call them out!
But as Cena himself points out, he’s had chance after chance- on both brands- and he has failed, and has no one to blame but himself. Well, John, when you put it that way… you’re a loser and don’t deserve the spot, so why should I care that you don’t have one?
Cena says that he’ll have to go to WrestleMania as a fan. Oh well. That’s it. I hope he sits in the front row and spends the whole night mocking the crowd by starting ridiculous chants and getting beachballs confiscated as he tries to blow them up.
He had complete control of the crowd throughout all of this… but as someone watching on TV, this was very boring.
Then Cena challenges Taker to a match at WrestleMania, even though he “wasn’t supposed to” do it. He says he was “told it was impossible,” but never asked why… and, of course, that’s because there is no good reason why such a match shouldn’t happen other than Taker has indicated that he didn’t want to wrestle this year. What I want to know is how WWE executives knew this. The best I can figure is that either 1) The Undertaker- bastion of dark magical mystery- sent them an e-mail, or 2) the lights went out in Vince’s office, Taker appeared in full gear and said “I’m not wrestling this year, Vince,” and then the lights went out again and he disappeared. Whichever answer you like better.
Anyway, Cena proves through logic that Undertaker is the one who put the ix-nay on the match, and tells the Undertaker to check his “ego” at let this match happen. “EGO?” Are you kidding me? If he had called The Undertaker a coward or something like that it would make sense, but how does ego play into Taker’s decision? It’s not like The Streak is still intact and retiring is a way of protecting it. The only ego I see here is John Cena insisting that he needs to have a match at WrestleMania even though he is, according to his own earlier comments, a loser who doesn’t deserve it. Do you know who I don’t see coming on TV every week and whining about not getting a match at Mania? The Colons or Curt Hawkins or Heath Slater or Alicia Fox or any other number of guys who have been here for a long time and are lucky if they make into the Andre The Giant Memorial Tupperware of Leftovers. But f*cking John Cena, who has gotten WrestleMania main event after WrestleMania main event and world title match after world title match, and even gets a WrestleMania Moment™ when he’s merely in the middle of the card, is out here demanding to face the freakin’ Undertaker.
Cena claims that Taker “hides” after his failures because he’s afraid of what people will think about him. The problem with this claim is that he “hides” after his victories, too, so it clearly has nothing to do with the shame of failure.
Cena then claimed that Taker is “posting workout videos on your wife’s Instagram.”
1. This seems to totally fly in the face of Cena’s claim that Taker is ashamed of what people think of him after losses.
2. By The Undertaker’s wife assume Cena means Sara, right? Because she’s the only kayfabe wife he’s ever been acknowledged as having, and we were never told that they kayfabe split up.
3. The Undertaker would never have anything to do with Instagram. If he wants people to see a video, he’ll just use his magical powers to take over their TV screen.
4. The Undertaker does not need to work out. He’s The Undertaker! Stop using f*cking useless reality to destroy the mythos of the only guy left who even has a sense of mythos!
Cena appeals to the crowd to try to “feed [Taker’s] ego.” No answer from Taker, so Cena walks off. I hated this.
ANGLE, CESARO, & SHEAMUS BACKSTAGE- infuriating
Sheamus & Cesaro complain about their ten-on-two beat-down. Kurt Angle responds by saying that Sheamus & Cesaro deserved it because “you did call them out on social media.” Sheamus & Cesaro respond by saying that all they wanted was a freakin’ wrestling match because that’s their G-d damn jobs. Why is it so hard for these morons to book a babyface authority figure who is hot a hypocrite and/or an idiot?
Things then got worse, as Cesaro and Sheamus said that they had heard rumors of a Superstar Shakeup coming after WrestleMania, so they demand to be traded right now.
1. Does anyone remember what the very first thing they told us about the Superstar Shakeup was? It was the only time of year where GMs could make trades and other moves… so why do Sheamus & Cesaro think they can be traded now?
2. For anyone who actually watched the Superstar Shakeup, the idea that the GMs- or anyone else for that matter- had any conscious choice in who moved to which show is laughable. We were never shown or told about any mechanism for who moved where. We never saw names pulled out of a hopper and never found out who was traded for who. It all seemed to be decided merely by the whims of fate. It wasn’t the NHL trade deadline; it was Vince walking around at catering with the Sorting Hat… so the idea that these guys think Kurt has any sort of control over it also makes them look stupid.
Sheamus & Cesaro then talk about matches with Bludgeon Brothers (and some other teams)… and Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Bludgeon Brothers feels like a much more exciting match than anything either Raw or Smackdown could put together (the other one would be Revival vs. Gable & Benjamin) but we can’t have nice things in the tag team division, so instead we’re getting a tag team battle royale tonight to decide the #1 contenders at WrestleMania (more on this later).
THE DRIFTER SINGS- or not. He’s all braced and bandaged up. He plays a few notes, then tells the fans “this is all your fault!” and then walks out.
BRAUN STROWAN PROMO- well… it’s not on his phone, but there are still stupid words on the screen. Braun notes that he doesn’t have a match at WrestleMania yet. Hey, Kurt? You’ve got two top stars without a match at WrestleMania. Why not book them against each other? Seems obvious, doesn’t it?
SETH ROLLINS vs. FINN BALOR- 7/10
This was really good until the stupid finish where Seth hits the superplex and then it’s FINN who pins him via small package.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE DIVA’S/WOMEN’S R/EVOLUTION AT WRESTLEMANIA- Well… they’re not wrong about Moolah challenging gender-norms in a male-dominated business. She made it her mission to prove that women can sexually exploit women just as well as men can (to steal one from John Oliver, “#Feminism”). Steph claims that Moolah was on top “at a time when women’s wrestling was not accepted,” which is a giant f*cking lie unless maybe you’re limiting yourself to only looking at McMahon-run areas, so it’s really more the McMahons’ fault than society’s, and I think even some of that might have been due to an NY State Athletic Commission ban on women’s wrestling [they also banned masked wrestlers for equally stupid reasons]).
Anyway, the next
2014-:Cesaro- pushed dropped and high-profile manager taken away from him within three months. Spent years in near-irrelevance despite putting on awesome matches until he got shoved into a random tag team with Sheamus only because the brand split required them to have more tag teams.
2015: Big Show- given the honor of jobbing to Roman Reigns for a few months, lost feud for IC Title, de-pushed.
2016: Baron Corbin- undercard jamoke who hasn’t really done anything aside from one short US Title reign. All of his recent storylines have revolved around the idea that he is a total failure.
2017: Gronk’s Friend Mojo Rawley- clearly only given the win because he is friends with a celebrity. The jobber he last eliminated (with outside help) in order to win got a world title push while Mojo struggled to make it onto TV. He then turned heel on his longtime tag team partner… and is still struggling to make it onto TV.
So why the hell should I think that f*cking Sarah Logan or whichever random woman they have win this match will fare any better?
But hey… at least WWE has nice enough to schedule a second piss/food break in their pointlessly-long show, because that’s all these battle royales are really good for.
IT CONTINUES- Coach referred to Ronda Rousey as “the leader of the Women’s Evolution outside of WWE.” I threw up in my mouth. You assholes just showed me a video-package of women being trailblazers in the sports world in pictures so old they were in black and white! But now I’m supposed to believe that women hadn’t done sh*t in the world of sports until Ronda Rousey came along? F*ck off.
RONDA ANGLE RECAP- they spend five minutes on this one video package.
IT GETS WORSE- And then they cut to ASUKA walking around backstage. Yes, ASUKA, who they made a big deal earlier tonight about her JUMPING TO SMACKDOWN. And why is she here? To tell us all why she chose to jump to Smackdown. Is Kurt an idiot? What does he expect to happen here? Does he really think Asuka is going to bury both herself and Smackdown by explaining that she thought the competition on Smackdown was easier? Because your only choices are that or Asuka burying Raw by saying that Smackdown has a better Women’s Division and a more prestigious title, in which case why would Kurt want this on his show?
OH MY G-D HOW IS THIS STUPID F*CKING SHOW NOT EVEN DONE WITH THE SECOND HOUR YET?!
WOMEN’S SEGMENT- MADE NO SENSE!
Charly is out here to interview Asuka. Before Asuka can even get three words out, Alexa Bliss! and Mickie James came out. Alexa claims that Asuka has “the longest undefeated streak in the history of the WWE.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve got very vivid memories of Andre The Giant being presented with a trophy for going “undefeated for ten years.” Why does WWE insist on saying sh*t that contradicts kayfabe when simply telling the truth- that Asuka has been undefeated for two-and-half years- is already extremely impressive, and has the benefit of not hurting kayfabe?
Alexa says that Asuka is afraid of her and doesn’t want to risk losing her streak by challenging Alexa. I did like Alexa’s line that running away isn’t cowardice if you think you can’t win the fight because it also serves to justify her heel decisions in a heelish way. She also called Smackdown the B Show. Uh-oh. We all know what that means: Shane is going to have to respond to this slight on the size of the thing he has chosen to symbolically associate with his penis by doing something ridiculous to prove his manhood like challenging TWO top WWE Superstars to a match at WrestleMania at the same time!
Asuka responds by saying she chose Charlotte because “to be the woman, you’ve got to beat the woman.” Yup. They’re hyping up their big women’s title match at WrestleMania by using one of the wrestler’s male relative’s catchphrases… and they don’t even see the problem with this. I’m beginning to suspect that Stephanie’s definition of “women’s studies” is “studying different ways to stick the word ‘women’s’ in front of things.”
Anyway, Asuka continues to say that Charlotte is the best, making Kurt look like an idiot for not seeing this coming. You’d think that based on her previous reactions to things, this will result in Steph berating him about this next week, but I doubt that will happen.
Alexa keeps trying to spin everything for Raw. Asuka notes that she has already beaten Alexa and can beat her again (which would have been the best explanation for Asuka to give as to why she chose Charlotte, rather than having her come out here and bury Raw’s champion). Asuka wants a match right now, but Alexa instead announces that Asuka will be facing someone else. Is Alexa booking the show now? How does she know this? And why is Asuka even allowed to wrestle on Raw if she’s a Smackdown Superstar now? You’d think they’d at least need Shane or Bryan’s permission. The whole reason for these contract negotiations with Brock right now is that UFC can’t just book him whenever they want if he is under a WWE contract; they need WWE’s permission.
Anyway, Alexa makes a grand gesture and announces that Asuka will face “this woman...” and no one comes out. Mickie James was wonderful as Alexa’s lackey throughout all of this. They huddle… then Alexa shoves Asuka and Mickie charges in and cheapshots Asuka when her attention is on Alexa. When we come back from commercial we get…
ASUKA vs. MICKIE JAMES (w/Alexa Bliss!)- 6.75/10
No one has even mentioned that it’s odd that Asuka, a Smackdown Superstar, is now wrestling on Raw. Mickie worked over Asuka’s leg. A referee screw-up made it appear that Mickie got a visual pinfall on Asukam killing Asuka’s streak. The fans cared so much about this match between the undefeated #1 contender and a woman we have been repeatedly told tonight is a “future Hall of Famer” that they chanted RUSEV DAY!” and “CM PUNK!”
This match was pretty great. Asuka overcame her injured leg to get the win on Mickie, but I have to ask… WHY? All this did was have Asuka bury Raw on her way out. There was no gain to this? If you wanted to have Asuka’s leg hurt going into WrestleMania you could have easily done this during a match on Smackdown (maybe even one closer to the show, for added drama?). There was no reason for Asuka to be in the building at all tonight, and a damn good kayfabe reason for her not to be.
ALEXA BLISS! & NIA JAX IN NIA’S THE WOMEN’S LOCKER ROOM-
Alexa wants to know why Nia didn’t come out at the pre-arranged signal. Nia says Kurt told her not to because she has a different match tonight. So it’s not that Alexa is actually booking the show- she just does it sometimes and everyone goes along with it because the plot wants it that way. I hate this company.
Alexa appeals to their friendship, and yay they’re friends.
Then Alexa says that she wants to make sure that she has Nia’s help when he faces Asuka next week. WHAT? First of all, when the hell did this get booked? Second of all, Asuka is a Smackdown wrestler! The only way this makes sense is if Kurt Angle is going into full Gagne mode and is going to try to pay off Alexa (or someone else) to injure Asuka and ruin the Smackdown Women’s Title match at WrestleMania.
Nia says she’ll be at ringside next week, and Alexa gives her a quick pep talk for her match tonight.
WOMEN’S HISTORY PACKAGE ON INDIRA GANDHI- I would say that they should have picked a wrestler to profile, but they already gave us one on Moolah earlier, and as we all know, she was the only female wrestler there was until Stephanie came along and graced us with the Divas’/Women’s R/Evolution, so they didn’t have anyone they could really do one on.
NIA JAX vs. JOAN KING- squash
MICKIE & ALEXA IN THE WOMEN’S LOCKER ROOM- We suddenly cut to Alexa and Mickie in the locker room, badmouthing Nia. This isn’t being shot like a normal WWE backstage segment where they’re right up in the camera’s face and you can hear everything perfectly. They’re relatively far away and are actually acting like normal people and not making an effort to face the camera at all times and you can’t hear everything totally perfectly (but there is a boom mic clearly in the shot for seemingly no reason other than it was left there from the previous segment). It’s like one of those TNA secret spy-cam segments except without the spy-cam operator even making a show of hiding. This was all done to show us that this was something different, something we weren’t “supposed” to see… and yet not only is this being broadcast to us at home, but also live on the TitanTron in the arena for Nia to see it.
This was a new level, even for WWE. I’ve stated my preference for a more realistic style of shooting a wrestling show where you have to explain why the camera is there to see something, but I’ve come to accept that WWE’s way of doing things- just showing you all relevant backstage stuff because it’s part of the show- is how they do things and thus is part of accepting the show, and it gets put up on the Tron so that the fans at the arena can understand the show as well. The announcers being able to see that stuff is a convenience for the sake of the production (in the overall theater-y term, not the “how good are the cameras and audio” sense that is often used in wrestling); it’s the announcers’ job to keep us up to date on what is going on, so they need to be able to see this as well. Plus, we saw WCW try it with the announcers not being able to see such things, and that only made them look stupid (although Lucha Underground has proved that it can be done without making the announcers look stupid). This, though…
This is not a convenience of the production; this one is a convenience of the plot. I cannot recall one single time in WWE history where a “backstage segment” was broadcast “live” on the TitanTron specifically so a wrestler relevant to the storyline could witness it. This, my friends, is the true face of laziness. They couldn’t have had Nia walking around backstage and she overhears Alexa and Mickie making fun of her? They couldn’t have had a cameraman accidentally catch it because he didn’t turn off his recording equipment after an interview with Alexa and Mickie and he gives Nia (or even someone with an ulterior motive to breaking them up, like Absolution) the tape? They couldn’t have had a “fan” overhear it while Alexa and Mickie were at a restaurant and send in the cellphone footage? It took me a grand total of fifteen seconds to come up with all of these scenarios. And yet the way that WWE chose to have this slander be revealed to Nia was via ridiculous plot convenience.
Oh. I’m sorry… they did have an explanation. That explanation was that Charly was late for an interview, but the boom mic was on the whole time. Even weirder, though, is that they didn’t mention the camera, which was clearly on or else how were we seeing the video… except that would make Alexa and Mickie look like idiots for not noticing the red light being on.
The problem with their explanation is that this is still a ridiculous plot convenience. Either that or WWE’s standing orders for what to do if the camera operator and talent are at an interview but the interviewer is late is just to run the live footage anyway while we look at nothing interesting happening. If it was just one of them there and Charly was late would we have been stuck sitting through five minutes of someone futzing around on their phone? Why didn’t they cut to a video package if Charly wasn’t there? THIS IS SO DUMB!
But anyway, Nia is no longer friends Alexa. Again. This is their third break-up in nine months or something like that, right? But this time they definitely mean it. We know this because Nia went backstage to murder Alexa and Mickie but they managed to escape.
ULTIMATE DELETION PREVIEW- skipped it.
BRAY WYATT PROMO- also skipped it.
KURT ANGLE BACKSTAGE- He wonders “what the heck happened to Matt?” Yeah… from a totally kayfabe point of view, if you’re WWE right now, you should be really concerned that Matt is doing drugs again because that’s what it seems like. Kurt then assigns a referee to their match. He orders the referee to make sure that “they both make it back to Raw in one piece.” But… how will sending the referee down there now help when Matt’s wife said on Twitter that they filmed this all already. I am supposed to follow my favorite WWE Superstars on Social Media, right? Isn’t that what WWE wants?
TAG TEAM #1 CONTENDERSHIP BATTLE ROYALE- no rating… TOTAL VINCE MOVE
So Sheamus & Cesaro beat all of these teams and now they all they have to do to get a title shot on the biggest show of th3e year is win a freakin’ battle royale? COME ON! It feels like the total amount of effort they put in to the tag title match at WrestleMania was Vince doing eeny-meeny-miney-mo at Gorilla two minutes before they want out for their match. This is how I was planning on burying the concept of this match. What actually happened was much worse…
Of course none of these teams get their entrances shown, just to make them all look like even bigger dorks. Cesaro & Sheamus got their entrance shown so they could do comedy. Braun showed up and inserted himself- yes, just himself, no partner- into the match, and everyone just went along with it. Kurt Angle didn’t come out to try to clear anything up or anything like that, even the with announcers spending the entire match being unsure of whether Braun really counted as being in the match. Of course Braun won, defeating the whole tag team division all by himself. This was the most Vince McMahon thing ever.
This was a TERRRIBLE episode of Raw, and it almost all comes back to the same two problems: WWE’s inability to tell a story slowly, and WWE’s inability to take steps to eliminate logical holes from their product. The former is best seen in the tag division, where we got basically the entire Mania build in one relying on literally nothing that has happened over the past year, but was also evident in the women’s title segment stuff (where about 80% of the major stuff happened, and ridiculous plot conveniences had to be forced in to make it all fit this week- conveniently the first week after the final pre-Mania PPV), and even the IC Title, where, after establishing the match on last week’s show, we got the first of what is certain to be many weeks of wheel-spinning hammering in the same damn point as always about Triple Threat matches rather than trying to tell a progressing story.
The second was evident in Asuka’s entire presence here, but really most showed itself in the way Cena’s angle was handled and especially in Roman’s promo. As I explained above, while we can certainly sympathize with the ideas Roman is expressing, the facts do not back up his particulars very well. Brock has no-showed one show because he just didn’t feel like showing up. Even Kurt said that tonight’s no-show might well have been due to medical issues or travel issues and he doesn’t know yet. Do you know who else no-showed tonight’s show even though she was advertised as being at Raw every week through Mania? Ronda Rousey. I didn’t see Roman run his mouth on her. Or any of the other individuals I listed above who certainly deserve a good tongue-lashing for the frequency with which they skip work (and Shane, Steph, and Bryan most of all), and as a result this doesn’t make me think “Roman is right!” so much as it makes me think that this is another ploy to get Roman over because the only guy getting criticized for no-showing is Roman’s opponent.
I spend this weekend watching two New Japan shows and one ROH show that all mostly under-delivered, plus a dull WWE PPV that only managed to be good because it exceeded expectations, and this show was BY FAR the most frustrating thing I watched. In WWE’s mind I should be totally hyped for WrestleMania right now, but I’m not even close to that. It honestly doesn’t even feel bigger than a B-level PPV right now.