WWE Raw results from March 25 as the penultimate episode before WrestleMania 35 aired from TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Ronda Rousey came out to a thunderous cacophony of “we want Becky”. She announced that women will finally be headlining this year’s WrestleMania. She then proceeded to take all the credit for having made it happen.
Rousey then did a weird thing where she left the ring twice only to return both times, first to say that she will make Lynch and Charlotte tap out and the second time to inform that she did not know what a beat the clock challenge was.
Lynch then came out to a thunderous ovation. She told Rousey that she was a nobody until her feud with Lynch. Flair then came out and claimed the credit for all of it was her hard work in the previous seven years.
Our take from it: Rousey often comes across as someone trying too hard and this opening segment was a perfect example of that. Nervous energy can be made to work in your favor like the Ultimate Warrior did but Rousey still does not know how. The way she talks and her expressions almost border on the cringe worthy. Thankfully, Lynch is still involved in this feud and will possibly see it through.
With just days to go, it has to be accepted that Charlotte is going to be a part of this and it might actually be a good thing as now she is clearly behaving as a heel. Two heels facing off against one of the biggest faces in the company right now was what was always needed for WrestleMania. Just that WWE took some unnecessary detours along the way. This was a fun exchange once Lynch came to the ring.
Beat the clock challenge galore
(Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Logan)
Sarah Logan began the match by running away from Rousey. The Riott Squad caused a distraction that allowed Logan to dropkick Rousey. Logan then put Rousey in a cloverleaf. Rousey managed to reverse it into a rope hang armbar. Rousey connected with a leaping elbow strike followed by a regular armbar to win in 1 minute and 25 seconds.
(Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott)
Ruby Riott threw Flair out of the ring. Flair then landed a backbreaker. She went for the Natural Selection but missed it. Riott responded with her own move. Flair then managed to put Riott in the Figure Eight but Riott was able to hold on until the clock expired which meant that Lynch had to beat Rousey’s original time to win.
(Liv Morgan vs. Becky Lynch)
Flair took a cheap shot and booted Lynch before the match. Liv Morgan managed to apply a rear chin lock. Lynch escaped and almost managed to lock in the DisArmHer. Morgan sent Lynch into the turnbuckle but Lynch followed it up by rolling Morgan into a Jackknife pin for the win with 7 seconds to spare.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Our take from it: Normally, gimmick matches do not work but this was quite fun. This allowed for all three women to compete against each other without having to wrestle one another.
Charlotte coming out as the weakest here was quite interesting as it means that she is indeed the third wheel here which is what fans wanted all along.
Also, somehow, the energy in the crowd meant that this WrestleMania will finally have a main event that will actually feel like a big deal. Overall, a great way to build up this feud that had been floundering for a few weeks.
Finn Balor wins his title shot
(Finn Bálor vs. Jinder Mahal and Bobby Lashley)
Lio Rush who supposed to be the original partner for Bobby Lashley backed out as he wasn’t medically cleared for wrestling and was replaced by Jinder Mahal. The match began with Lashley tossing Balor around the ring. Bálor managed to kick Lashley in the face. This prompted the Singh Brothers and Rush to get involved. Lashley then sent Balor outside.
After the break, Balor managed to rally back and threw both Lashley and Mahal out of the ring. Balor then dived on everyone and connected with a coup de grace on Mahal for the win to become the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship.
Winner and new #1 contender for the IC title: Finn Balor
Our take from it: The match was good and points to Balor winning the title at WrestleMania. The feud though has been single-handedly carried by Balor and by Rush on occasion. It’s not good when the title-holder becomes the third wheel.
Does Lashley deserve this spot? Definitely not but there is very little that can be done now. As long as Balor wins the title and puts an end to all of this, WWE can put all of this to rest in the least damaging way possible.
The tag champions suffer defeat yet again
(Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. The Revival)
This match started with a huge brawl. Aleister Black launched Ricochet in the air who in turn dropkicked Dawson. Black took out Wilder. Dawson caused a distraction that allowed Wilder to get back at Black. Dawson then tagged himself in and attacked Black’s arms.
Black connected with a surprise kick and Ricochet managed to tag himself in. He hit the Triangle Moonsault. A bit of back and forth action then took place. In the end, Black hit a Black mass on both members of the Revival at the same time and Ricochet followed it with a 630 for the win.
Winners: Aleister Black and Ricochet
Our take from it: Letting the tag champions lose consistently against Black and Ricochet is not good for anyone. As long as Black and Ricochet are good together, anything they do will only be meaningful if they can face quality opponents. If they keep beating the title-holders week in and week out then they are robbed of such an opportunity.
Now the Revival has to lose at WrestleNania which won’t be a big deal as they have already lost so many times. Else, they could win and all this would end up being meaningless. Pathetic storytelling which is a shame considering how good this match was.
McIntyre makes his statement
Drew McIntyre said he saw fear in Roman Reigns’ eyes two weeks ago. He then did some trash talking involving Reigns’ family. Reigns walked out and told McIntyre that he did not want McIntyre to talk about his family ever again. He told that he “accepts” McIntyre’s challenge.
Reigns then attacked McIntyre and threw him out of the ring. Once McIntyre got back in the ring, he low blowed Reigns and took him down with a Claymore kick. Later, McIntyre ran into Dean Ambrose who challenged McIntyre to a Last Man Standing match which McIntyre accepted.
Our take from it: This should be good. There is an intensity that these two bring to this feud that cannot be recreated. It is also the best that can happen given the short time-frame these two had to work with. The only uncertainty here is what is going to happen with Dean Ambrose. If WWE do have something big planned for him then they are leaving it incredibly late.
The women’s tag championship experiences even more chaos
(Sasha Banks w/Bayley vs. Natalya w/Beth Phoenix)
Natalya sent Sasha Banks face first into the mat. Natalya surfboard stretched Banks but Banks rolled through and connected with double knee strikes. Natalya tried to lock in the Sharpshooter but Banks avoided it and kicked Natalya out of the ring. Some more back and forth followed. N
atalya got Banks in a Canadian Backbreaker but Banks managed to break free and get the offence back in. Banks finally managed to put Natalya in the Banks Statement which Natalya reversed into a Sharpshooter but Jax and Tamina came out and attacked everyone.
Winner: No Contest
Our take from it: This tag championship was supposed to be something new and exciting but somehow in its short lifetime, it has become as generic as a title feud can be. Beth Phoenix and Natalya aren’t exactly the future of the women’s tag division and Jax and Tamina are as bland as they come. This is all leading to one of those matches that no one will remember a week after WrestleMania.
It is official: Braun Strowman is the new Big Show
Alexa Bliss started this segment with a little boasting about her WrestleMania hosting plans so far. She obviously took credit for the women main eventing WrestleMania. She said she wants WrestleMania to go perfectly and the only thing that can ruin it would be Braun Strowman.
Strowman came out as the guest on ‘A Moment of Bliss’. Jost and Che joined them via satellite. There were some mumbo jumbo exchanged between them. In the end, Bliss booked Jost and Che into the Battle Royal.
Our take from it: There is no getting around the fact that Strowman was on fire throughout most of last year and yet come WrestleMania and he is doing some silly celeb gimmick match, a role perennially filled by the Big Show. What is worse is that Strowman is not even getting the good celebs. Gross misuse of such a good talent in his prime.
Elias and Baron Corbin have their moments
Elias tuned in live from the streets of New York and started ranting about being the best while drinking coffee. Someone managed to piss him off even more by donating him some change in his cup.
(Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin)
Crews landed a dropkick. Crews clotheslined Corbin over the top rope. Crews then moonsaulted off the Apron onto Corbin. Corbin then reversed a rush from Crews by sending Crews into the ring post. Corbin then landed the End of Days for the win.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Our take from it: The Elias angle was quite funny and he is in the right place doing the right thing for WrestleMania. The same cannot be said about Baron Corbin. If this is WWE’s way of developing Corbin as a worthy opponent for Angle then this was a miserable way to do so. This was just another proof that Angle needs a different opponent. Also, this was a sad misuse of Apollo Crews.
Seth Rollins has to be content with Paul Heyman, again!
Seth Rollins started with some positive words about wanting the pressure that comes with being a champion and wanting to inspire others. He pointed out that Brock Lesnar never inspired anyone and alluded to the fact that he was not alone and that he had the support of his fans.
Paul Heyman then twisted his words and called the match a handicap match as Lesnar would be alone against Rollins and all his fans. Heyman trundled Rollins by telling him that post WrestleMania he will be needing thoughts and wishes. Rollins then chased Heyman and he fell and begged for mercy. Angle came out and laughed at Heyman.
Our take from it: This is literally the last straw. Just 13 days away from WrestleMania and Lesnar still did not see it fit to come out in person. This is just unacceptable.
Thankfully, Rollins has so much momentum that he is able to carry this feud all by himself. Heyman too has been doing his part quite well. All WWE has to do is put the belt on Rollins and put this nightmare away for good.
Kurt Angle shines
(Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle)
Samoa Joe started off with a bit of trash talk involving putting Angle to sleep one last time. Joe began with a head-butt and then tossed him into a corner. Joe then sent Angle outside followed by a suicide dive.
Joe missed a clothelined and Angle took advantage by hitting three German suplexes. Joe kicked out. Angle then managed to hit everything in his arsenal while Joe kept coming back at him.
Towards the end, Angle managed to connect with a missile dropkick. Joe then put Angle in the Coquina Clutch but Angle managed to roll him up for the win.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Our take from it: This was a great match and another pointer that Corbin is the worst opponent for Angle at WrestleMania. The start of the match was a nice throwback to Angle’s debut in TNA. The match was what it needed to be.
Angle wasn’t presented as some young wrestler who still has it all. His flaws were on display and he won with a roll-up. This is the type of farewell match he deserves and not whatever crap WWE has planned with Corbin.
Triple H puts his career on the line
Triple H congratulated the women who will be main eventing WrestleMania. He then informed that he had gotten a letter from Batista’s lawyers. The gist of it was, Batista wanted Triple H to put his career on the line at WrestleMania.
Triple H called it another lame attempt by Batista to weasel out of the match, but also said that he did not care and that he accepts.
Our take from it: This match really didn’t need this stipulation but WWE probably needed a tagline to market this match. Triple H will probably end up winning but it is one of those matches that really does not need a build-up. Nothing to complain about this segment.
Ambrose comes up short again
(Last Man Standing Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Dean Ambrose)
Drew McIntyre pummeled Dean Ambrose to start the match. Ambrose sent McIntyre over the top. McIntyre whipped Ambrose into the barricades. McIntyre continued beating Ambrose down with a Kendo Stick after the break. Ambrose rallied back with a clothesline followed by a Suicide Dive.
McIntyre hit a Glasgow kick and then slingshot Ambrose into the ring frame. Ambrose was almost counted out. McIntyre then set up a chair but charged head first into it after Ambrose moved out of the way. The two dished out a lot of abuse after that but Ambrose finally was counted out with a brutal Claymore Kick.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Our take from it: If for some silly reason Dean Ambrose ends up being a side character at WrestleMania, then it would be a travesty. This was awesome brutal match. Ambrose’s role still remains a mystery which leaves some intrigue for the one Raw that remains before WrestleMania.
A great way to end the show and another reason why WWE should do everything they can to get Ambrose to stay.
Overall Raw Review: This was a pretty good show that managed to put back some zing into feuds that had gone bad. WWE really managed to do some damage control. Angle’s opponent and the women’s tag championship match still seems a bit undercooked but the rest of the WrestleMania matches are shaping up wonderfully. This WrestleMania might finally have enough substance to make up for the last few years.
Moment of the Night: Angle making fun of Heyman as he came out for his match
Overall Rating: 3.4/5