This week on the Road to Wrestlemania we saw the longest match in Raw history, a classic battle among WWE Title contenders and a heartbreaking defeat that has left everyone with questions. This Sunday is the Elimination Chamber and after that we will get a very clear picture of what will look like heading into Wrestlemania. Before I begin with what happened this week here are the results of WWE Programming for the week:
Braun Strowman won the 7-Man Gauntlet Match
Titus Worldwide defeated The Bar
Sasha Banks/Mickie James/Bayley defeated Alexa Bliss/Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville
WWE Smackdown Live
Kevin Owens defeated Dolph Ziggler(Tied for Match of the Week)
The Riott Squad defeated Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch/Naomi
The New Day defeated Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable
The Bludgeon Brother defeated Two Jobbers
AJ Styles defeated Baron Corbin
Buddy Murphy defeated Arya Daivari to advance in the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament
Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado defeated Two Jobbers
Mustafa Ali defeated Jack Gallagher to advance in the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament
Velveteen Dream defeated No Way Jose
Nikki Cross defeated Vanessa Borne
Andrade “Cien” Almas defeated Johnny Gargano to retain the NXT Championship, and Gargano (Tied for Match of the Week)
If I had to describe Monday Night Raw in one sentence this week it would be that it was hard to focus on the show. Now I understand that WWE wanted showcase all 7-men in the Chamber but when the one hour shows have just as many matches as the three hour show then that’s a HUGE problem. If I were booking it I would have had Roman/Seth/Finn vs. Elias/The Miz/and a reluctant John Cena in a six man tag. Then at the end of it have Braun come out and destroy everyone in sight. If it had been done this way the entire mid and undercard wouldn’t have been sacrificed for the night. I am honestly surprised that Vince McMahon signed off on this considering he hates long segments but then again Vince is getting old and senile. The only other thing I got out of Raw this week is that Matt Hardy will take on Bray Wyatt at Elimination Chamber in what will hopefully be more epic their Raw 25 match.
Tuesday night kicked off with a bang when Kevin Owens took Dolph Ziggler. I thought this was an outstanding match that could have gone either way. I think Dolph has the green light to do whatever he wants now because WWE has finally knows how great of a star they have in him. Even if Dolph doesn’t win the WWE Championship at Fastlane I hope they give the main event push that he deserves. When it comes to Main Event talent there is no one better than Randy Orton. He has been engaged in a rivalry with Jinder Mahal and Bobby Roode as of late. Mahal has stirred the pot between Orton and Roode which has now leading to a United States Championship Match between the two at Fastlane. I have a gut feeling that Mahal will find himself in the match someway. It makes no sense for two faces to go one on one unless Orton finally turns heel again. This is now the third week in a row that Shinsuke Nakamura has not been on Smackdown Television. I am not sure exactly what their plan is with him, but it makes no sense for the winner of the Royal Rumble to sit on the sidelines for the first half on the road to New Orleans.
Tuesday Night ended with 205 Live and the continuation of the Cruiserweight Title Tournament. The biggest eye opener for me was how good Buddy Murphy is. It’s really great to see him finally getting his break. I could see him be a major player on 205 Live. The other thing I am enjoying is the trio of Kalisto, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik. They are calling themselves the Lucha House Party which could be very marketable if WWE invested time in it. I’d love to see this group be integrated with main roster and become part of the tag team division. I have felt for some time now that the 205 Live roster should be integrated with the main roster to create unique and entertaining matches. The following night on NXT played into one of my theories as to what will happen to the future of 205 Live. Johnny Gargano lost to Andrade Almas once again, and this time he was force to leave NXT as a result of the losing. My prediction is one of two things. Someone will be “taken out” of the tournament in a backstage attack or the night after Wrestlemania the new Cruiserweight Champion will call someone out. In of those two scenarios, Gargano will arrive and become the new face of 205 Live. Gargano is a hell of a performer who can hang with anyone on the roster. If he is not apart of Wrestlemania weekend in any way, shape of form it will be a travesty.
Wrestlemania will be shaping up heavily these next two weeks. Elimination Chamber is this Sunday and Fastlane is two weeks away. Ronda Rousey will be signing her contract this Sunday and her role will much clearer as we head to Wrestlemania 34. Until next week, enjoy the Elimination Chamber and get excited for Fastlane. Remember Controversy Doesn’t Come Without Criticism!