This week on the Road to Wrestlemania lines were crossed in so many ways. I felt a certain amount of intensity was brought to television that hasn’t been there in a long time. Some might say Vince is trying to hard and things might have felt forced with how things were done. Whether it was forced or not this week really caught my attention. Before we get into what went down on this week’s Road to Wrestlemania here are the results of WWE programming:
Sasha Banks defeated Sonya Deville
Finn Balor defeated Seth Rollins
Asuka defeated Mickie James
Nia Jax defeated Joan King
Braun Strowman won a Tag Team Battle Royal to determine The Bar’s opponents at Wrestlemania
AJ Styles defeated Rusev
The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Jimmy Uso and Big E
Jinder Mahal defeated Bobby Roode
Carmella defeated Naomi
Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa defeated Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik
Jack Gallagher defeated Murphy Myers
Cedric Alexander defeated Roderick Strong to advance to the Cruiserweight Championship Finals
Sanity defeated Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss
Dakota Kai defeated Lacey Evans
Street Profits defeated Heavy Machinery
Pete Dunne defeated Adam Cole
Monday Night Raw had two interesting moments that were an attempt to get the crowd to change their attitudes towards certain situation. At the beginning of the show Roman Reigns called out Brock Lesnar for not being there again and called out Vince McMahon for being disrespectful. The thing I found really funny is that Reigns referred to Lesnar as “Vince’s Boy.” Considering how much Reigns has been shoved down the fans throats it’s very hypocritical. I will give Roman Reigns his props though. He shows up everyday ready to work and puts in 110% effort to put on a great show. Then you have John Cena who just has a way of words at times. He challenged The Undertaker to a match at Wrestlemania by calling him out on a personal and professional level. He said that Taker is a “self-centered conceited ego maniac.” Well that’s the pot calling the kettle black if you ask me. Cena is a lot like The Undertaker in the fact that he has had control over certain things that have happened in WWE. A huge example is their significant others and how they were used. Both Michelle McCool and Nikki Bella were pushed into the spotlight when there were more deserving women then those two. One person who deserves the spotlight in every way is Braun Strowman. Raw ended with him winning a Battle Royal with the possibility of him challenging The Bar for the Tag Team Championships by himself. I personally love Cesaro and Sheamus and don’t find it believable that one man can beat them. However, if anyone can pull that feat off it would be Strowman and I am all for it.
When I watch WWE programming I usually favor Smackdown over Raw, but in recent months I have not been impressed with Smackdown’s direction. The entire story of the tension between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan should have only been done if Bryan was cleared to wrestle again. The only good thing that has come out of this story is a long term story with Kevin Owen and Sami Zayn. Whether they are fighting each other or standing side by side a K0-Sami story is always a good story. I personally thought they should have ended the Shane McMahon storyline months ago and had these two go after the Tag Team Championships. The Tag Team Division is about the only Smackdown has gotten right the last couple of weeks. It’s been five years since Rowan and Harper entered the WWE and they have never held the Tag Team Championships. Everyone is complaining that they should be back with Bray Wyatt, but I think The Bludgeon Brothers gimmick is going to pay off. The one pay off that the fans are excited for is the WWE Championship Match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Namakura. They are no strangers to one another because at Wrestle Kingdom 10 they had a classic encounter for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Lesnar versus Reigns is Vince’s dream but Styles versus Nakamura is the fans dream. This is the one story, one match and one direction that WWE has not screwed up.
Tuesday Night ended with a Match of the Year Candidate between Roderick Strong and Cedric Alexander on 205 Live. The direction of 205 Live has been so much better since Enzo Amore was fired and Triple H took over the booking of the show. I am excited for Cedric Alexander to have his Wrestlemania moment against the winner of Drew Gulak or Mustafa Ali. I will say that I do agree with my friend Big Drew from ESPN 96.1 when he said, “If they want 205 Live to matter, they have to main card that match.” I could not agree more with that statement. No one is going to be invested in 205 Live if they don’t put it at the forefront with the rest of the roster. The week ended with NXT, which honestly didn’t do anything for me except for one segment. I love the nuclear heat Tommaso Ciampa is getting from the NXT crowd. I am really curious to see what they do with him in the future now that Gargano is gone from NXT. Takeover: New Orleans will be shaping up in the next few weeks and I am very curious to see what matches are made.
I want to end by saying that I love that WWE stands by their female performers even when faced with criticism and backlash. For the first time in history WWE will hold the Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal which is the equivalent to the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. The women are going to have a very strong presence on this years Wrestlemania. We are going to see Stephanie McMahon and Ronda Rousey in a marquee match up that will be a story. There will be two incredible Women’s Championship matches with Asuka challenging Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax challenging Alexa Bliss. There is even a possibility that Sasha Banks and Bayley will go one on one on the Grandest Stage of Them All. This has been an incredible week on the Road to Wrestlemania. With three more weeks to build the card and make matches things are going to continue to intensify and get extreme. Until next week, remember Controversy Doesn’t Come Without Criticism.
Current NXT Takeover: New Orleans Card
NXT Championship: Andrade “Cien” Almas(c) vs. Aliester Black
NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon(c) vs. Shayna Baszler
Current Wrestlemania 34 Card
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar(c) vs. Roman Reigns
WWE Championship: AJ Styles(c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz(c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair(c) vs. Asuka
Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey vs. Triple and Stephanie McMahon
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
First ever Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal