EARLIER TODAY, LASHLEY ARRIVES AT THE ARENA- He is greeted by clapping, and a babyface Gran Metalik shows him respect. Am I in some sort of alternate universe?
Matt Riddle shows up to bother him with his very ugly outfit. You’re not being patriotic if the way you wear our national symbols looks ridiculous on you. Riddle wants a title match against Lashley, but Lashley rightly points out that Riddle lost last night. Riddle brings up some comments that Lashley made a few weeks ago about giving people opportunities. This annoys Lashley, who slams the annoying geek’s face into his scooter’s handlebars before agreeing to give him a match just to teach him what a loser he is.
They’ve moved to a new Thunderdome, and with the new Thunderdome comes a new announce team. It’s now Byron Saxton, Corey Graves, and some guy named Adnan Virk. We’ll see how long it takes him to become insufferable.
MATT RIDDLE vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP)- 4.75/10
Lashley kicked the geek’s ass before the match, the kicked his ass for most of the match, too. Lashley won clean.
KEVIN PATRICK INTERVIEWS RHEA RIPLEY- meh
This wasn’t terrible or anything, but it also very much came off like she was reciting a speech written by someone else rather than speaking from the heart.
SHELTON BENJAMIN & CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS- 5.5/10
Whichever one of Erik/Ivar is Raymond Rowe hitting his Judo throw into the knee strike and then going down when he hadn’t taken a move in a while really annoyed me. You don’t have to do a f*cking double-down every time you want to set up the hot tag.
The Viking Raiders won clean. New Guy accidentally called them “The Viking Express.”
KEVIN PATRICK INTERVIEWS ASUKA- bad
Her tone of voice and animation don’t match the words she’s saying.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR PROMO- AWESOME!
This was great whiny heel stuff, except her delivery was actually 80% angry and only 20% whinny. My favorite little touch was her assertion that she had previous been “humble.” Great heel stuff. You should go out of your way to watch this.
WWE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Rhea Ripley(c) vs. Asuka- 7/10
This was a great match (other than that spot they tried and screwed up twice) until the finish. I don’t even mind the double-DQ because it advances a story in a necessary way. I just ask that if you’re going to have Charlotte run in for a DQ, don’t waste everyone’s time by having this match go long. Have them do six or seven minutes, and then have Charlotte run in.
MIZ & MORRISON BACKSTAGE- Maryse is here, so Miz abandons Morrison. She’s the guest on MizTV tonight, which Morrison was not informed of. I guess Miz will be turning on JoMo soon.
MANDY ROSE CONFRONTS NIA JAX FOR WATCHING REPLAYS OF HER TRIPPING AND LAUGHING AT HER- good
I know that I really shouldn’t have liked Dana Brooke coming in to attack Nia from behind, but Nia was being such an ass that I felt like she deserved it, and Mandy and Dana did not come off like heels at all. Quite the contrary.
FIREFLY OUTHOUSE (OR ALEXA’S PLAYGROUND, OR WHATEVER)- bad and boring
She has turned on The Fiend because she realized she didn’t need The Fiend. A classic mistake there by The Fiend: Giving your evil henchperson powers that you can’t take back.
Did the Alexa Bliss! character give a logical reason for why she turned on The Fiend? Yes. Does that mean that the turn wasn’t an incredibly stupid idea from a booking and story structure point of view? Absolutely not. Does it make me in any way interested in any of this Fiend sh*t? No.
Oh, she’s got an evil doll named Lilly now.
MIZTV WITH SPECIAL GUEST MARYSE- fine
Corey Graves was surprised by Maryse’s presence, so I guess he wasn’t paying attention to the earlier segment. Morrison was the third wheel. That’s the important part here. Miz tried to take credit for Bad Bunny’s success at WrestleMania. Damian Priest came out to dispute this. Miz and Morrison argued over who would wrestle him. Maryse suggested a handicap match. Priest was fine with this… and apparently he has booking power, because not only did everyone take it as if it was official, but they also somehow knew it was booked to be next, even though Miz and Morrison were not fressed to wrestle.
HANDICAP MATCH: Damian Priest vs. John Morrison & The Miz (w/Maryse)- 3/10
Priest beat up both heels with relative ease, then got rolled up and pinned (with illegal leverage) after he let Maryse distract him. I don’t think anyone gained anything from this.
It was during this match where I officially began to get annoyed by New Guy the majority of the time he opened his mouth.
KEVIN PATRICK INTERVIEWS SHAYNA BASZLER & NIA JAX- Nia did all of the talking here, and she was pretty damn great. This has to be the best promos she’s ever cut.
MANDY ROSE & DANA BROOKE vs. NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER- 4/10
Nia tripped going through the ropes and the babyfaces laughed at her. The match was going along fine for what it needed to be. They built up to a spot where Nia slipped getting into the ring and was embarrassed… and then the babyfaces decided that they would just walk away and be happy losing by count-out. WHAT THE F*CK?! Just went I was about to complement them for making chicken salad of out the chicken sh*t out Mandy’s embarrassing mishap, they remind me why I they don’t deserve the benefit if the doubt.
TALKING SEGMENT TO SET UP A CHALLENGER FOR LASHLEY- AWESOME!
MVP came out and gave his usual spiel about how great Lashley is. Drew came out and took exception to some of the things that MVP said. He cut an awesome promo. Braun Strowman came out and was also great. Randy Orton came out and was fine. Adam Pearce came out and booked a three-way to determine the #1 contender for WrestleMania: Backlash. Why the hell did they add “WrestleMania” onto the name of the PPV? It sounds SOOOO dumb.
DREW MCINTYRE & BRAUN STROWMAN BACKSTAGE- great!
I’m not going to lie: My favorite thing about this was that it started out as one of those segments where the purpose is clearly to get over the three-way rules to the audience, but it makes no sense for the wrestlers to be saying these things to each other. That normally doesn’t stop WWE from doing it… but this time, Braun actually reacted to the fact that Drew was explaining something to him that he clearly already knew, tied it into his most recent feud, and then tied it all up in a nice bow with a threat.
THE DRIFTER IS RUDELY INTERRUPTED BY NEW DAY- bad
The Drifter was completely right to call them hypocrites for saying they had disgraced the division by being taken out by one guy. Also, New Day got very annoying at the end.
JACKSON RYKER & “THE DRIFTER” ELIAS SAMPSON vs. NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)-5.5/10
New Day won clean.
RANDY ORTON PROMO- good… although he doesn’t seem to have watched Alexa’s segment earlier tonight, because he claimed that she has “disappeared.”
FIREFLY DUMPSTER FIRE- nothing happened. It was boring. Bray says he’ll be reborn again… and I’m sure that they’ll get it right this time after seven years of sh*t.
#1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH: Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman vs. Randy Orton- 7.75/10
Short, but excellently violent. That attempted neckbreaker that turned into a beardbreaker was rough, but credit to Graves for thinking on his feet.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- didn't like it
Drew won and I was all happy… and then he got attacked by f*cking RETRIBUTION. WHY ARE THEY STILL AROUND?!
Ah. MVP appears to have hired them. I don’t really like MVP hiring goons on Lashley’s behalf.
I can’t call this a good show because most of it wasn’t, but the stuff revolving around the world picture was excellent, and the show was a lot easier to sit through than most WWE shows have been lately.
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