Kevin Owens

It’s the go-home show for WrestleMania and the only thing on the preview is appearances. Becky Lynch, Edge, The Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar are all set to appear, everything else is a mystery.

I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.

Match Results

Aleister Black def. Jason Cade

Street Profits & Kevin Owens def. Seth Rollins, Austin Theory & Angel Garza

Asuka def. Kayden Carter

The Show

The video opener was a compilation of AJ Styles running his mouth about The Undertaker.

The Undertaker kicked things off. He real-named Styles the way Styles had done to him and answered every one of Styles’ criticisms and cheap-shots, saying there may be some truths in Styles’ ‘pipe-bombs’, but he’s heard a lot worse from a lot better. He picked up on Styles saying he wouldn’t have wanted to take on The Undertaker of 15 years ago, and accused him of waiting until all the greats of WWE, except him, were gone before showing his face. As expected, the place Styles crossed the line is when he mentioned Michelle McCool. Taker is going to make him pay for that and he invited him to bring Gallows and Anderson so he can make them pay too. Styles will feel the pain, he’ll get hurt and he’ll suffer. And he will Rest In Peace.

Byron Saxton and Tom Phillips were the commentary team for the night. After they’d done their housekeeping announcements and shown Becky Lynch arriving in her massive truck, we got an ad break before Becky Lynch came to the stage.

Becky Lynch

Before Lynch said anything, they showed her attacking Shayna Baszler during Baszler’s interview last week. She said in last year’s WrestleMania main event she took on two champions at the same time. Charlotte Flair was the SmackDown Women’s Champion and Ronda Rousey was the RAW Women’s Champion. The stakes couldn’t have been higher. She talked a lot of trash, made some bold predictions, and attacked them at every opportunity, and she’s been walking that razorblade lifestyle ever since. Then we got to see the match in its entirety. It’s still really good but the finish still looks weird.

After the match ended Lynch said it was the first time she’d watched it back. In the last year, she’s found that history tends to follow the one who made it, but she also gets followed by dopes who can’t make their own. Since that match, a lot of people have tried to take the title from her. Shayna Baszler thinks she’s different because she took out the whole division. She said last week that taking Lynch’s title would destroy her, and she’s right, it would. But they all got into the business because they have demons to slay and things to prove. She has no problem admitting she doesn’t know who she is without being the champ, but she knows about Baszler’s demons too. Baszler walks around all cool but she can see she’s starting to get to her. Like everyone else she’s going to come in fighting from emotion hoping that if she beats her, she’ll do the one thing Ronda Rousey couldn’t. Lynch can see the elation Baszler will feel when she beats her if she beats her. Finally, she’ll steal Rousey’s spotlight instead of the other way around and be recognised as the supreme world-class athlete she is. Or she loses and gets put back in Ronda’s shadow. So when Baszler talks about one of them losing at WrestleMania and being destroyed, which one does she mean?

At that point, Baszler popped up behind her and locked in the Kirifuda Clutch. She powered Lynch to the announce desk, slammed her face into it, then picked her up and swung her into it. With Lynch laid on the floor writhing in pain, Baszler retrieved the title belt and threw it over her.

Shayna Baszler puts Becky Lynch in the Kirifuda Clutch

 Aleister Black vs Jason Cade was another odd squash match. They’re weird and mostly nonsensical at the best of times, but somehow more so in an empty arena.

Aleister Black kicks Jason Case

Street Profits & Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins, Andrade (replaced by Austin Theory), & Angel Garza was halfway through the second hour, which was odd because commentary made it sound like the main event when they announced it at the start of the show. Before the match started, Zelina Vega announced Andrade is injured (ribs) and is not medically cleared to compete. ‘She’ has replaced him with Austin Theory, who has been in NXT for approximately five minutes and now has a place in a WrestleMania match. Theory is genuinely good, but there are thirty or so other names I would have picked before his. That said, it was a chaotic and fun match. Montez Ford wiped out on a dive over the top rope when Theory moved, and with no crowd his impact on the ramp was sickening. Owens won it for his team by pinning Garza but took a Stomp from Rollins after the bell.

Kevin Owens beats on Austin Theory

After a break, Owens was still in the ring. He said Rollins had kicked some sense into him and he had a lot to say about the things Rollins said last week. Rollins said the Performance Center was built because of him and everyone who came through it should be grateful, but Owens has heard otherwise. He’s heard that it was built because of him and that from the moment Rollins got to the warehouse in Tampa he was a nightmare to deal with, a know it all who thought he was better than everyone else. And these last few months he’s done a great job of proving everyone right when they said Seth Rollins was an arrogant dipshit. Owens is aware of his own past and reputation. He’s not delusional like Rollins. Last weeks Rollins said he was a god at WrestleMania and Owens was a disappointment. Those words actually stung and they stayed with him. When he was at home thinking about it, he realised he hasn’t got the WrestleMania moments Rollins has but he has the same accolades, the same title reigns. And he didn’t get any of those accolades by himself, he always had someone helping him, but so did Rollins. None of the WrestleMania moments Rollins is so proud of were achieved without either backup or something underhand.

Rollins was told when he arrived at WWE that nothing he’d done before matters, and that will never have been more true than it is at WrestleMania. Neither of their pasts matter. The only thing that matters is it will finally be one on one. And Owens will prove Rollins is no messiah, or profit, or god, when he takes his first WrestleMania moment from him. This Saturday, Kevin Owens will be the one to burn it down.

Seth Rollins leaves Kevin Owens laying

After a long recap of everything that’s happened between Randy Orton and Edge, Edge got his final promo. He said Orton said Adam Copeland is a junkie for Edge and he’s probably right. It’s not an ego thing, he loves the explosion when his music hits, the intensity he shares with an audience. Because he’s one of them, he came from them. They’re all junkies for this. As a thirteen-year-old kid sitting eleventh row ringside for Hulk Hogan versus Ultimate Warrior, he knew then. If you’re not a junkie for this you’re taking up space and in his way.

And clearly, they have different definitions of grit. TO Orton it seems to mean being handpicked for Evolution and costing on his family name ok with being ok except for spurts of magic. TO him, grit is a type of man who reaches into that hole and pulling out someone who probably doesn’t deserve it. Or refusing to be in Evolution because he didn’t want to be someone’s lackey. Or forging your own Hall of Fame career. Or figuring out how to get back after nine years to end things on your own terms.

He was wrong when he said Orton was jealous of him, he’s jealous of his passion. The only time Orton has passion is when Edge is around. He makes him better, pushes him and lights a fire under him. Everyone is saying this is the best Orton has ever been and the last time he came close was nine years ago. And that scares Orton. The feeling scares him, and he doesn’t know what to do with it. But he listens to the voices in his head and they told him to make a horrible mistake. Orton nearly made him believe that the Royal Rumble was enough closure, but then he attacked his wife and talked about his kids and now they have a Last Man Standing match. Orton dug himself another hole, but this time he won’t pull him out, he’ll push him so far in he’ll never get back out.

The Kabuki Warriors versus Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross, for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships, has been confirmed for WrestleMania. To build to it, we got Asuka vs Kayden Carter from NXT. They at least had the decency to let Carter look good for a few seconds before Asuka kicked her in the head and tapped her out in the Asuka Lock, but it was pretty much as pointless as the Aleister Black match.

Post-match, Asuka hijacked commentary to cut a promo on Alexa Bliss which was predominantly in Japanese.

Asuka kicks Kayden Carter in the head

Charlotte Flair attacked Rhea Ripley as Ripley was arriving at the Performance Center. She kicked her in the back and sent her flying into a shutter, then told her she’d see her at WrestleMania. After she’d gone, Ripley said ‘Yeah, you will’, so all Flair succeeded in doing was pissing Ripley off.

We got to see Rey Mysterio versus Brock Lesnar from Survivor Series ahead of Lesnar’s final message to Drew McIntyre. Of course, it was Paul Heyman who delivered the message, while Lesnar swayed and got progressively redder. He said he doesn’t like to pull back the curtain on the business, he believes in the magic of WWE. But they call this the go-home segment for the go-home RAW before WrestleMania and if you look at who fills that segment most often in the last twenty years it’s Brock Lesnar. That’s because year in and year out Brock Lesnar is the one to beat one the single biggest show of the year. This year Drew McIntyre has truly stepped up. Drew McIntyre is that special compared to the man on the street and that rest of the locker room. So was The Rock when Brock beat him, and Hulk Hogan when Lesnar beat him… there was a list but they all ended up being just Brock’s bitch, not special at all. The Claymore is special, but so were all the vanquished opponents’ finishers. None of them worked on Brock Lesnar and now he knows the Claymore is coming one of two things will happen. Either Lesnar has found a strategy to avoid the Claymore or we’ll find out if the Claymore can take him down.

Heyman has something for us, more than a prediction, more than a spoiler, it’s an absolute guarantee. Next year, on the go-home segment of the go-home RAW before WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar will be standing there as champion and Heyman will be adding McIntyre to the list of vanquished opponents.

The WrestleMania card is huge, which I guess is why they’re tagging it ‘Too Big for Just One Night’. However, expect some changes as they’re still advertising Roman Reigns versus Goldberg and it has been confirmed by Reigns himself that he did not take part in the tapings. That will probably be announced on SmackDown, the day before the first half of the show.

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