WWE Monday Night Raw (3/23/15) Review: Wrestlemania 31 “Go Home Show”
Well here we are only 6 days until Wrestlemania “Play Button” (31) in San Francisco, CA. The build up to this Wrestlemania seems a little lackluster, based on my feelings towards going into it. I have been away from watching wrestling full time for about 10 years. But now we, at Nerd Management, are neck deep in it. Based on what the IWC’s reactions are, and from what I have seen from the past couple of Wrestlemanias on the WWE Network the build up just isn’t there this year.
We have had an absentee Champion, a former star who unfortunately has fallen out of favor with the IWC, the biggest star right now was hurt for 8 months and came back to lead the Mid-Cards, a nobody with an amazing gimmick that got buried for going “Over” with the fans, and an Icon coming back to only 6 appearances on a contract. Also we haven’t seen the Undertaker in a year, and his opponent; who is arguably the greatest promo man the Wrestling World has every had, is carrying a feud by himself and doing a masterful job of it.
So the Raw Go Home Show kicks off with Sting coming to the ring and talking about kicking off a Raw. He faulters a couple of times on the mic but hey he wasn’t the worst of the night. Stephanie McMahon comes out and as always lights up the mic with amazing accuracy. The idiot crowd started in on her with the “What” Chants and instead of phasing her, she spoke faster and didn’t give them a chance to “What” her and the crowd’s momentum died. That is how you kill a “What” chant. She tries to slap Sting and HHH comes out to confront him. After this is kind of faltered, there wasn’t any real feel that they were going to face off.
A tag team match between R-Truth and Dean Ambrose v. Luke Harper and Stardust was next with Bad News Barrett on commentary. Good wrestling, some good spots, but over all the match was overshadowed by Bad News Barrett arguing with Booker T and JBL on commentary. If that was the point then amazing job, but it was a total distraction from what was going on in the ring. The 4 guys in the ring were unable to tell a story, and my only theory has to be because the IC Title Ladder match at WM is not about them or BNB. It is about Dolf Ziggler and Daniel Bryan who have a match later in the show. With Barrett’s distracting commentary and no one paying attention to the wrestlers in the ring, Bryan v. Ziggler at Wrestlemania in the Ladder match will Steal the Show at Wrestlemania 31.
A 10 man Tag Team match between entrants from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was next and we had Bill Simmons from ABC/ESPN as a guest commentator. The match was Erik Rowan, The Ryback, Zack Ryder, and Pryme Tyme Playahs v. The Ascension, Adam Rose, Miz, and Mizdow. But the star of the match was Bill Simmons for being great. He called out the WWE for making it hard to make an Andre the Giant 30 for 30, he asked were the Bunny was, he said JBL put Cena “over” at Wrestlemania 21, he build Brock Lesnar up as a monster attraction. By far he was the best guest commentator they’ve had in a long time.
Next was RKO v. J&J Security w/ Seth Rollins, this was a lackluster build and kind of boring. It seemed like a time filler, with 2 of the biggest stars in the business as the pieces.
One of the Matches of the Night came next, and it was a Freaking Divas match! Nikki Bella v. Paige for the Divas Championship lasted over 10 minuets of in-ring time. It had great wrestling, good back and forth taunts by both Women, a #SUPERCENA moment for Nikki, a swerve, and a betrayal. With time like this in a match, if all of the Divas on the roster could put up this kind of intensity the division would really grow and finally get the respect that it seems to this it deserves. This was the first time I have cared about watching the Divas match instead of Fast Forwarding since I came back to watching wrestling.
Up next was the sad funeral for #AxelMania featuring Snoop Dog as the MC and special guest Hulk Hogan as the Paul Bearer. Basically it was a trash segment to finally bury #AxelMania in the eyes of the WWE even though is still “Over” with the fans, the WWE clearly want it gone, because Curtis didn’t even walk out to the http://www.axelmania.com clock on the Titantron. Hogan completely destroys #AxelMania and we are left with only a memory of the greatest gimmick in the past 10 years in the WWE. RIP Axel Mania
Natty with Cesaro and Kidd v. Los Matadores with El Torrito with the Usos were next and again, it seems like it was just a time sponge. Nothing exiting happened in this match to make me excited for the “Dark Match” at Wrestlemania 31.
Rusev v. Swagger in a squash match was next but then the unexpected happened… wait the completely expected happened. Cena came out and gets decimated by Rusev, I mean utterly and completely destroyed by Rusev. Like Orton v. Rollins bad… Why did they do this you ask? #LOLCENAWINS strikes again. The same thing happens to Cena all of the time, and the same thing happened last year by Bray Wyatt before Wrestlemania 30. Cena overcomes the odds as Mania to become the US Champion. It is by far the worst kept secret on this show. But as long as its entertaining and Cena can bring the US Title back to goof standing I am actually ok this time. I don’t think it will bury Rusev, Bray seems just fine.
Bray Wyatt comes out and cuts one of the most intense promos I have ever seen. It was masterful and great. He is single-handedly carrying this 1 sided feud and it will be amazing for the payoff. Win or Lose I can see Bray being huge at Wrestlemania and after.
Ziggler v. Bryan with Dean Ambrose as Special Guest Referee was my co-match of the night with the Divas match. And once again great wrestling displayed by the 2 best technicians on the roster. This IC Title Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 31 will indeed steal the show. But unlike the Cena v. Rusev match. I don’t think there is a clear cut winner right now. I mean Ziggler has beaten Bryan clean twice. The Man who a year ago won the World Championship at Wrestlemania 30 has been beaten by Dolf Ziggler on Raw and Smackdown. The Dean Ambrose lays out Ziggler and Bad News Barrett cleans house as well. I know from the bottom of my fandom, this is absolutely the best match of this years Wrestlemania card.
An amazing promo by the man called Paul Heyman; introducing the Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar. The reigning, defending, undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the WWE; the 1 in 21-1, and slayer of men comes in behind Heyman into the ring and stands there mighty. Then Roman comes down through the audience like Rod Roddy just called his name on the Price is Right and got into the ring and stared down Brock Lesnar. They had an exchange of words and then THIS HAPPENED.
“Gimme,” “No, YOU Gimme.”
Are you kidding me WWE? Seriously you end a great “Go Home Show” like this? What are you thinking? SMH I guess we will have to find out this Sunday 3/29/15 on the WWE Network at 7pm when Wrestlemania 31 starts.