|THE FOOT FACE WAY
Raw is done with PPV events between now and Wrestlemania, and they ended up with a pretty decent show. Only one real clunker on the main card, a couple of outstanding matches, but the utter predictability of the main event and some questionable booking choices knocked it down a few notches.
KICKOFF: The Clerb vs. The Miztourage: The Clerb wins
Yep. Pretty standard low stakes kickoff match. Afterward, The Revival goes to give a backstage interview and the backstage guy calls one of them “Gallows”, so the Raw tag team division is killing it right now (1/1)
Women’s Elimination CHamber Match For The Title (Alexa Bliss, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Mickie James, Mandy Rose, Sonya DeVille): All signs point to a Sasha Banks win here.
Close. My second most likely option happened, with Bliss retaining after entering last. We also got the Sasha turn on Bayley, though they could conceivably play it off as a “hey it was every woman for herself” sitch, I suspect they’re setting up Sasha vs. Bayley for the Wrestlemania kickoff show. The match was really good, with a well-booked entrance order (DeVille and Bayley started, then Rose, Banks, James, and Bliss; Rose out first, followed by Deville, James, Bayley, and Banks), lots of neat spots, and a solid finish. The Vegas crowd didn’t like how quickly Micke James got eliminated, but that didn’t bother me much.
Bonus kudos to Alexa Bliss for a really convincing (and probably genuine) “I’m so proud and this is so important to little girls” promo before turning on a goddamned dime and brutalizing the Vegas crowd, doing that Bliss heel thing she does so well. Will this mean Asuka-Bliss at Mania, or Jax-Bliss? Time will tell. (1/2)
The Bar vs. Titus Worldwide (Raw Tag Team Championship): I’m just gonna predict Bar retaining.
This was a fairly dull match - the biggest problem with the challengers is that Titus is as boring as Apollo is exciting, but Apollo spent most of the match as the face in peril, getting beaten down by The Bar. Things picked up in the last two minutes, with Apollo getting to do some things, but one of those things was being pinned by Cesaro (2/3)
Asuka vs. Nia Jax: Asuka won’t lose.
This was mostly everything I wanted it to be. I would have liked for it to go another 2-3 minutes, and the surprise rollup finish was a little awkward and abrupt, but Jax looked strong as hell, Asuka looked strong against her in a realistic manner, and the post-match beatdown was necessary and sufficient. They’re still playing around with whether or not Asuka will be facing Bliss or not - there’s a lot of wiggle room in the way announcers and Bliss worded things. (3/4)
Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt: I’ll say Matt wins.
Look. Matt Hardy wrestling Bray Wyatt is never going to be interesting. Matt Hardy wrestling ANYBODY is never going to be interesting. What interest there is here is in the schtick, the over-the-top insane Brokenwoken stuff. So the start of the match, with Hardy disappearing and leaving his coat behind and taking over the PA system while Wyatt searched for him was OK. And that was all that was OK, because after that there was a match and Matt won and none of this is developing or going anywhere. It’s just laughing and bad wrestling. (4/5)
Ronda Rousey Contract Signing: I bet some form of violence will break out and we’ll find out who Rousey’s Wrestlemania feud will start to involve.
And indeed it did. I should have called this a prediction and used it to further pad my numbers. Anyway, Rousey put HHH through the signing table after Angle revealed Steph and HHH’s dark designs on her. So probably Angle-Rousey vs. HHH-Steph at Mania, lining up with rumors. None of that will be a showcase for Rousey’s wrestling talent, of course.
Men’s Elimination Chamber Match (Reigns, Elias, Strowman, Miz, Rollins, Balor, Cena): So Reigns. Bonus prediction - Strowman needs at least four guys on top of him to get pinned.
Reigns did, in fact, win. Of course. Braun Strowman did, in fact, get five guys on top of him, but he kicked out of that. He didn’t kick out of two spears from Reigns, which is sad and dumb. They gave Strowman all the eliminations they could and a post-match beatdown, but he still got pinned by Reigns, solo, with two finishers. Boo. Match was fine. Too long and not enough interesting stuff using the Chamber structure, but what are you gonna do. (5/6)