Before I begin with where the Road to Wrestlemania took us this week, I have to say that WWE Halftime Heat was absolutely amazing. All six competitors brought their A game to the ring and stole the night from the NFL, CBS and Maroon 5. Unlike the NFL, the WWE’s Super Bowl known as Wrestlemania is a spectacle every year. They have the Hall of Fame, NXT Takeover and Wrestlemania itself. Unlike the NFL, the WWE keeps evolving their biggest show all the time. Now on to Monday Night where things seemed very off without Seth Rollins or Brock Lesnar there. I get Rollins is recovering from the beating he took from last the week before, but to not have either member of one of your main events is not good for business.
A lot of the story this week featured Becky Lynch turning into a rebel against The Authority. In a matter of two nights, she beat up Stephanie McMahon and slapped Triple H. The Authority has gave her an ultimatum and that is go to a doctor or don’t compete. It’s very similar to the Stone Cold storyline in 1997. Also on Monday Night, we were treated to seeing Lio Rush compete on Monday Night Raw for the first time and it’s definitely something that should happen more often. I’ve stated from the time 205 Live started that the cruiserweights should wrestle other competitors on the roster. Rush had an excellent showing against Balor and it played into the current feud that Balor has going with Bobby Lashley. Raw ended with Braun Strowman and Kurt Angle squaring off against Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre. It seemed that earlier in the night that Kurt Angle was going to announce his retirement, which leads me to believe that he will be going out like Ric Flair did back in 2008. If he is going out at Wrestlemania, I really hope he goes out against someone special.
Smackdown was the Samoa Joe show because at one point he attacked 4 out of the 5 opponents he has inside the Elimination Chamber. Speaking of the Chamber, there were two very solid matches involving the competitors. Randy Orton and Mustafa Ali had a really great match that honestly might have been pay-per-view quality. It was nice to see Ali give Orton a run for this money, but in the end Orton hit another unique RKO for the victory. Daniel Bryan and Jeff Hardy went one on one, which is always fun to watch because they are very different in their styles. It was another great match until Rowan interfered and all six competitors mixed it up in the ring. One thing that’s been bothering me about the build to Wrestlemania is that they are only focusing on the Raw Women’s Championship. Asuka has many years in the ring and at one point was perceived to be this unstoppable force. She had a great match against Becky Lynch at Royal Rumble, but nothing has happened with her since that time. With a women’s tag team division forming the company is going to need more singles competitors in the women’s division. My hope is that Lacey Evans or Nikki Cross faces Asuka at Wrestlemania. If Evans and Cross end up on Raw than they are going to really lost in the shuffle.
One show that I feel is lost in the shuffle at times is 205 Live. The show gets overlooked and doesn’t get the true attention that it deserves considering how great every performer on the show is. They don’t have a lot of solid storylines in place, but this week I saw some of that change. Mike Kanellis has been rarely used as of late, but the new story has him losing despite having impressive match after match. I don’t think he will be on the losing end like Curt Hawkins has, but it will start to build he and Maria’s character more than what they were. In the Main Event, Akira Tozawa defeated Cedric Alexander, Humberto Carillo and Lio Rush to earn himself a Cruiserweight Championship against Buddy Murphy at Elimination Chamber. It almost seems they are doing the same thing with Buddy that they did with Cedric. They need to bring in new competitors from NXT and NXT UK to start competing with these guys. It’s the only way it will be the show and a title reign fresh. The week closed out with NXT having a couple of really competitive matches. The first was Matt Riddle and Drew Gulak in what I would say was a technical masterpiece. It was interesting to see Gulak break away from his traditional character and shake Riddle’s hand after the match. The show ended with a 6-Woman Tag featuring three of the MMA Horsewomen taking on the team of Io Sharai, Kairi Sane, and Bianca Belair. To my surprise Sharai pinned Baszler and put herself in line for a hopeful title shot.
Two matches were setup for the next couple of weeks that should start building towards Wrestlemania weekend. Adam Cole will face Ricochet next week and in two weeks The Velveteen Dream will take on Johnny Gargano for the North American Championship. The Road to Wrestlemania for all the brands will start taking shape pretty quickly. Elimination Chamber is next week and Fastlane is March 10th. Next week I will be attending Raw so I will be curious to see if Seth Rollins returns and what else is in the works for the go home show before Elimination Chamber. We now have eight more weeks until Wrestlemania. Be sure to keep tuning in to the Road to Wrestlemania.
Monday Night Raw
Ronda Rousey defeated Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan in back to back matches
The Revival defeated Heavy Machinery, The B-Team and Lucha House Party
Sasha Banks and Bayley defeated Nikki Cross and Alicia Fox
Elias defeated Jeff Jarrett
Finn Balor defeated Lio Rush
EC3 defeated Dean Ambrose
Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin defeated Kurt Angle and Braun Strowman
Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Randy Orton defeated Mustafa Ali
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville defeated The IIconics, and Carmella and Naomi
Jeff Hardy defeated Daniel Bryan
The Brian Kendrick defeated Mike Kanellis
Akira Tozawa defeated Cedric Alexander, Lio Rush and Humberto Carrillo
Jaxson Ryker defeated Mansoor
Drew Gulak defeated Eric Bugenhagen
Matt Riddle defeated Drew Gulak
Io Sharai, Kairi Sane, and Bianca Belair defeated Shanya Baszler Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir
Current Wrestlemania Card
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar(c) vs. Seth Rollins
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey(c) vs. Becky Lynch