No matter your opinion about the quality of RAW since the brand split, last night’s episode hyped me for WrestleMania as it was supposed to.
And it wasn’t just me. My brother casually had his eye on the TV while I watched RAW, and when Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton did the run-down of the Mania card, my brother’s ears perked up. He got excited about the matches the WWE put together for this year’s Showcase of the Immortals.
My brother is most excited to watch Chris Jericho versus Kevin Owens for the United States Championship. He and I went to RAW in Las Vegas last month and got to witness the Festival of Friendship betrayal in person. He watches WWE casually, but since he got to see that plot point in person, Jericho vs. Owens is a big deal to him. And Owens finally made “The List” this week! I have a feeling this might end up being the most brutal match of WrestleMania.
The three RAW matches I’m most excited to see are probably the ones that the IWC hate the most, or at least how the storylines have been booked.
The RAW Women’s Championship Fatal 4-Way has left me guessing as to who will walk out with the belt on Sunday. Sure, I haven’t been a fan of how Bayley was booked during her title run (taking the fall twice and winning by DQ once), but she pinned Charlotte in the tag team match on Monday to gain momentum. And then Nia Jax destroyed Bayley, Charlotte, and Sasha Banks after the bell. So going into WrestleMania, I personally look at all four competitors as likely to win the title. It wasn’t the perfect route to get there, but at least the match is unpredictable.
Roman Reigns and The Undertaker put on a great promo together last night, with the Undertaker digging Roman’s grave and a tombstone placed with the words “Roman Reigns, April 2, 2017” across it. This match has been building since the Royal Rumble when Roman eliminated The Undertaker. What’s ruined this match is that everyone has gotten caught up in this potentially being Undertaker’s final match. Rather than living in the moment and just enjoying the show, people have instead turned this into another reason for them to hate Roman Reigns. These people forget that we’re fans of the product and not experts. But, if you can do your best to just set all the behind-the-scenes rumors aside, this match could be very good.
And even though Brock Lesnar and Goldberg are “old” guys now, the 10-year-old kid inside me that loved WCW is thrilled that I get to see Goldberg walking into WrestleMania with a belt around his waist. The outcome for this match is the most predictable of any on the card, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to watch it. Goldberg will probably expend his attacks early, and then Lesnar will carry the match to its conclusion, very much in the tradition of Goldberg’s WCW days. I was a huge DDP fan as a kid so I’m used to seeing Goldberg carried in a championship match. And you can’t tell me that the fans aren’t excited to see this match. The “Goldberg” chant has been loud and clear in every arena in the weeks leading up to this.
The rest of the RAW card at Mania is amazing, too. The non-sanctioned match between Seth Rollins and Triple H will likely be the match everyone talks about once the show is over. Austin Aries and Neville are competing for the Cruiserweight Championship on the Kickoff Show. And the Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Ladder Match is going to be an absolute mess but also awesome. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson have picked up some great heel momentum in recent weeks in their rivalries with Enzo and Cass and Sheamus and Cesaro.
For being the weekly show that everyone has started calling the “B” show, RAW put together an impressive card for their half of WrestleMania. And I can’t wait to watch every match.
image credit – WWE
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