WWE Raw – Review, Highlights & Analysis From 23/03/2014

Sting/Stephanie/HHH

Sting opened RAW for the first time in WWE history. He explained that he’s not fighting for WCW but to take HHH down. As cool as that sounds, I couldn’t help but think that the only reasoning behind that is that Sting is a Vigilante, who doesn’t approve of HHH’s way of getting things done.

Stephanie teased Sting a bit and then tried to slap him but he grabbed her hand. This set off HHH in protective husband mode but when it came up to measuring bat vs hammer, Triple H decided not to get in the ring.

I get that the WWE wants to save the culmination of the feud for Mania but having Triple H retreat every single time isn’t a good choice. Simply logically Sting was probably promised a win at WM31 to agree to sign with the WWE but if Triple H was the Game and not Corporate Hunter there might actually have been some suspense in regards to who’s going to be the winner this Sunday.

Dean Ambrose & R-Truth def. Luke Harper & Stardust

This was a bit of a handicap match for Ambrose. He worked almost entirely on his own.

There was a spot where Luke Harper was tossing Ambrose back in the ring but the Lunatic Fringe swiftly turned around and drove him into the barricade with a clothesline from the apron. It started an AMBORSE chant and it got me thinking – it’s unexpected moves like this that make wrestling cool to watch. Sometimes even the most impressive move loses its entertainment value when it’s anticipated. Evading predictability is a skill that makes man superstars.

Truth tagged in in the end. However, Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose had more action going in and out of the ring than the legal men. This distracted Stardust and Truth pinned him.

BNB, who had been boasting a lot on commentary cowardly ran once the match was over. Well, at least he’s got the title back, which makes him less of a joke.

After the match the corwd was treated to a little bit of Ambrose’s dance moves on Truth’s music. I can imagine the infamous Ambrose fandom was going insane.

Ryback, Rowan, Ryder & The Prime Time Players def.  Rose, Miz, Mizdow & The Ascension

This could be called an “all jobbers match” but I prefer to view it as an opportunity. Come on, when was the last time you saw Darren Young vs. Adam Rose or Konnor vs. Zakc Ryder? It was nice to see some forgotten faces for a change.

Apart from Ryback, who had the crowd’s support AND won the match, only the Ascension clearly came off looking strong. They manhandled anyone, who was with them in the ring. In the end of the match, when they got involved, they didn’t go for a direct save, they took Ryback’s entire team off the apron with one synchronized blow. It’s odd how the WWE protects Konnor and Viktor but doesn’t give them a chance and throws them under the bus with a dead-end gimmick at the same time. They should be in the Tag Team Championship match at Mania, not Los Matadores!

Randy Orton def. Seth Rollins & J&JSecurity

This match was useless. Nothing really happened. It might have been Orton vs. J&J as well because that’s all we got. The Viper dismantled Mercury and Noble while Rollins ran and hid throughout. He never even tagged in. Obviously Orton won.

In a way, it might have been good that the match was short. At least we didn’t have to watch Rollins embarrass himself longer. What happened to the Untouchable, to the Future of the WWE? This booking is just sad.

Nikki Bella def. Paige

Nikki devised a plan to divide Paige and Aj. She gave Paige a title match.

The match was actually good. Paige was always in the lead but Nikki never really stood down. It’s nice to see divas climbing the ropes and diving out of the ring. Nikki is doing the title justice.

In the end, AJ tried to help Paige by taking Brie out. Paige decided to check on her partner but AJ didn’t see who was coming and hit her, thinking it’s Nikki. As a result, Paige lost and after the match the two of them brawled in the ring.

It would get interesting if the seeds of dissension were planted between the Bellas as well. I think everyone would agree that a 4-Way would be a good idea. We’ll see if these four can deliver as good as the NXT divas in a 4 Way situation.

Snoop Dog

SnoopMania vs. AxelMania ended with HulkaMania as a winner. That’s all you need to know about this segment.

Oh, and also, Alicia Fox is so much better than strutting around some rapper to boost his ego. She has so much talent and she’s being wasted.

Los Matadores def. Tyson Kidd, Cesaro & Natalya

This feud is getting worse. The match was below average and El Torito pinned Natalya.

Meanwhile, the Usos were sitting on commentary, while Naomi was standing behind them the whole time. Didn’t they have a third chair?

As a said earlier, the Ascension should have been in Diego & Fernando’s place. Also, the New Day are supposed to be in this match at Mania too but we haven’t seen or heard anything from them. The buildup for this title match is tragically bad.

Rusev def. Swagger

This wasn’t a squash match. Swagger put up some fight, which made Rusev’s win that much more impactful.

The Bulgarian Brute held the Accolade until Cena came out to save Swagger and then Rusev destroyed Cena. It was a display of sheer domination.

Rusev needed this. After the way Cena embarrassed him, he needed to build his momentum back up. Especially with Lana gone, Rusev had to prove he was capable to stand on his own two feet. He did I great job, if I might say.

Bray Wyatt

Bray Wyatt is the best mic worker in the WWE at the moment, hands down. This is simply talent and it can’t be thought. It was one of these historic speeches that leaves quotes that are used for years after that.

Dolph Ziggler der. Daniel Bryan w./Dean Ambrose Referee

I was so ecstatic about the comeback of Ref Moxley that I almost missed the match. And the match was actually great.

Ambrose was surprisingly diligent as a referee. He was counting visibly faster than the normal referees. I don’t think it was on purpose but it created a faster pace. Knowing that Ziggler and Bryan usually work on a higher gear, it made the match amazing.

Ziggler and Bryan will have an amazing feud after Wrestle Mania. The show they put on last night was PPV worthy. If the WWE’s smart they’ll cash in on that. Not to mention, that the fans were split in half on who to support. Both men are riding a huge wave of popularity.

The Show-Off won and ref Ambrose wanted to help him up. However, Ziggler pushed him away and it angered the Lunatic Fringe, who then hit the Dirty Deeds and ran for a ladder. Then all 7 superstars, involved in the ladder match at Mania came out and chaos ensued. It was a smart move from the WWE to get all men taken out. It kept the suspense.

I want to mention that when the ladder fell it hit Luke Harper’s leg awkwardly and he rolled out of the ring immediately. A ref was checking on him. It might have been staged but it didn’t look that way and it doesn’t make sense booking-wise. I hope Harper didn’t get injured 6 days before WrestleMania.

Lesnar/Reigns

Paul Heyman did an amazing job at hyping the faceoff between Reigns and Lesnar. But when Roman and Brock finally met they…started dramatically pulling the WWE WHC.

If this preview of the WM main event is anything to go by, I’d prefer to listen to Pual Heyman describe the action, rather than actually watch it. If you’re about to keep the fight for the show only, you have to carefully plan how you’ll compensate for it. Bray Wyatt’s promos are a good example. But having two men, who supposedly want to rip each other apart, in the same ring, face to face, and they just play thug-a-war with the belt, you can’t expect the fans to be happy.

If this preview of the WM31 main event is anything to go by, I’d prefer to lsiten to Paul Heyman describe it, rather than watch it. It will be more exciting.

What did you think of the last RAW before the biggest show of the year? Share your thoughts n the comment section, on FB or Twitter!

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