A shorter recap today, brought to you by your English recapper’s inability to remember that daylight saving’s time has happened in the US but not in the UK yet, and thus scheduling her pre-Raw nap incorrectly! Whoops! Have some rough notes before I actually make it out of bed and into the action! Art, as always, by in-house sketch artist, Sora.
Steph is busy letting us all know that it’s impossible to be happy when you’re as rich and powerful as she is, because her life is very hard and no one understands.
Roman comes out via the normal ramp, instead of via the crowd, to interrupt her and literally shushes her. He tells her that he’s the authority around here now, and that he’s going to beat her husband, and he’s be taking HIS title back. He says there’s nothing she or her daddy’s money can do about it, and when he goes for the slap, he catches her wrist before it can strike him. Then he just walks away calmly, leaving Steph livid that anyone dare attempt to be dominant when in the same room as her. He’s also not wearing the weird tac vest yet, so it’s almost like he’s becoming his own person right now! Incredible.
Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles
I join us at the Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles match, just as KO takes the win. Jericho appears shortly beforehand and distracts AJ, which lets KO win easily, and then AJ chases Jericho backstage, to fuck or something. KO gives us a rousing speech about KO mania before being interrupted by a suit-wearing Dolph Ziggler, who is then interrupted by The Miz. And then interrupted by Sami Zayn. Good grief.
So this is the Intercontinental Title match set up for WrestleMania, I see. KO says none of them deserve a shot at the IC title, but because he’s a fighting champion, he’s going to get a triple threat match set up, and whoever wins that will fight him at WrestleMania.
Dolph Ziggler takes his suit jacket off at some point, and I get distracted, despite watching the most pixelated stream in the world. But he’s still pretty.
Dean is doing a promo in another bar, and an old man shows up to tell him he’s got feathers sticking out of his ass for some reason. “If I had a son, I’d want him to be just like you. If I had a daughter…..” So there’s another torch passing moment, but from this time from Terry Funk, and Dean gets to slice into a table with a chainsaw. He doesn’t even have any safety goggles on – what about your VISION, Dean? You need your eyes!
Also apparently he’s fighting Braun Strowman for some reason, I guess to make him look vicious and strong, or like he makes even worse decisions than Seth Rollins does.
Steph is backstage and KO approaches her nicely and politely, to ask for some time. He says he’s become very successful, and she asks him to cut to the chase. He gets his triple threat match, and KO wants her to tell Hunter he says hi. Okay. So come WrestleMania season, Steph doesn’t bother to book the show, she just lets everyone else arrange matches willy-nilly? Alright.
Shane promo, as we’re reminded once more than he came back and demanded control. We cover Shane’s leaving in 2009. While talking about Shane and Undertaker, Chris Jericho remarks that it’s like Game of Thrones – I guess he sees this ending with Steph and Shane having a beautiful love affair and sharing the company between them? I’m not sure he understands.
Then we play up how The Undertaker and the cell will come across, but also how Vince and Taker aren’t exactly getting along these days, and it’s all going off. HYPE US UP!
Big E vs. Rusev
The New Day force white men in corridors to twerk for them, apparently, which I’m pretty sure is a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen. They’ve got the new shirts on now, and I’m reminded I still haven’t got the old one yet. Better get on that. This match is also playing out at WrestleMania for the Tag Team Titles, apparently, so we’re just watching the taster for that. Alberto Del Rio is wearing a shirt, which probably means Satan can smell the tang of snow, and they’re interrupted from their New Day Sucks chant by the boys themselves.
The New Day call the League ‘trash’, forgoing their usual ‘booty’ chant. They complain about Rusev’s feet, tell Del Rio how he’s let himself go since joining the League, and how King Barrett doesn’t have a crown or a throne. The New Day their best impression of the Queen of England to shame him, and then say Sheamus’ parents knew he was going to be a disappointment, to put shame in his name so early.
- We’re actually seeing a one on one, and Rusev rolls out straight away
- Big E gets him back in the ring so Xavier can play Francesca 2 and Kofi can jiggle
- Beautiful appropriate music from Xavier Woods on the trombone as Big E hits a splash on the apron
- Xavier and Kofi get thrown over the barricades into the timekeeper’s area and left in a crumpled heap so they can’t help their buddy
- Barrett is the best apron soccer mom, he’s so excited to see his Bulgarian bae do well
- Rusev gives such a wide margin on hits that it’s ridiculous
- Big E kicking out at two, Rusev unable to get the cover
- Xavier Woods recovers to take down Del Rio and Barrett on the outside
- Accolade attempt from Rusev ends up with him on Big E’s shoulders and thrown into the mat
- Big E takes down Sheamus on the apron
- Kofi appears suddenly to kick Rusev and roll him, dizzy, into the ring
When Big E gets back into the ring, he just has to cover the still reeling Rusev for the win, and he takes it down easily.
Bray Wyatt promo. Hi boo, sorry to hear about your back – his existential angst is pretty heavy tonight as he knows he’s missing his WrestleMania payday most likely. He and his boys are here to talk about Dean and Braun’s match, and Luke Harper is surprisingly eloquent. Braun Strowman is also pretty good at the whole promo game, as Bray calls Dean ‘old friend’ and says he’s going to an eternal throne, and we should run.
Nattie, Alicia and Naomi have some weird Snickers ad that makes me squint. I don’t understand America sometimes. It’s all a little bit confusing – but don’t worry, America, I still love you! I just don’t know why you do what you do.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Ah, Big Show is enjoying his previous ability in having won this title last year, and once more we get reminded how difficult it is to throw Big Show over the rope during a battle royal, though it’s pretty easy for the rest of the year. Just he wears concrete shoes during battle royals. He talks movingly about how difficult it is to be a giant, and how Andre paved the way for him, so it’s important for him to give Andre the respect he deserves.
Out come the Social Outcasts, and they say they’re going to beat the Big Show, and take him down nice and easy in the battle royal. Big Show laughs all the way through, and then calls them ‘hashtagging trolls’, which is beautiful. They come in to beat him down, however, and throw him around a little.
Kane comes down and takes out the Social Outcasts for Big Show, and Big Show is properly grateful, saying ‘thanks big brother’ and hugging him emotionally, before Big Show climbs to the top tope to wave to the audience. Obviously Kane takes him down with a chokeslam, his pyro goes off, and he ambles out of the ring, with the scene set for WrestleMania.
Stan Hansen is joining the Hall of Fame, and I have to admit to not knowing anything about him, but he looks alright. I’m still most excited by Jaqueline in this year’s Hall, so far.
Fandango vs. Chris Jericho
It’s the battle of the irrelevant showmen, with Fandango having been away for so long he’s literally forgotten what he’s meant to do when he enters the ring. Jericho hasn’t forgotten, because his job is literally to stand about in a flasher’s pose and a flashing jacket. So they’re going over a match from two years ago at WrestleMania, and the crowd’s reaction is so mild as to be basically mute.
- “You are a stupid man, understand?” from Jericho. PG is really biting you in the arse, huh?
- AJ Styles interrupts to shout ‘Y2 Jackass’ at Jericho
- Fandango attempts the win with a roll up by Jericho kicks out
Jericho takes the win anyway, though, because he’s old enough to manage that. AJ chases him down into the ring, but Jericho runs away, hauling someone from the tech team in front of him. AJ says there’s only one stage where they can meet, which is WrestleMania. Jericho screams at the crowd like he’s lost it, and AJ sets the match – he says he’ll show Jericho just why everyone chants his name.
We get shown a montage of Shane working out, before we go back into looking at what he’s done in the past, how he’s willing to put his body on the line for a good match, and we’re once more shown that spot where he had to get put through a window a second time, because his dad ordered toughened glass instead of sugar glass once. We get to hear from all of Shane’s martial arts coaches, and see just how much energy, movement and strength he still has in him. It’s pretty damn impressive.
Everyone says, Undertaker wins at WrestleMania, and this is just not a match that anyone is comfortable calling one way or the other. It’s a hell of a promo, I have to say, and I’m pretty excited that my first WrestleMania doing this recapping will cover a match where breath holding is going to be a thing.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Sami Zayn – Intercontinental Title No 1 Contender Triple Threat Match
Well, the first person that Kevin Owens introduces is Stardust, so everyone’s confused. Even JBL is lost for words, as KO introduces Sin Cara and ZACK RYDER.
- Kevin Owens joins them on commentary as this triple threat that isn’t the one we expected gets started
- What I’m getting from this is that KO respects the jobbers
- The crowd are so bored
- It’s a bit of a nothing match compared to the one we thought we were going to have
- Springboard moonsault from Sin Cara
- Zack Ryder just looks happy anyone remembered his name
- Sami Zayn wanders out to walk around the ring and confront Kevin
- Dolph Ziggler and The Miz join him, the three of them taking it out on KO as something happens in the ring that we’re not actually bothering to show on camera
- KO uses Ryder to throw into The Miz, and so the three of them head to beat up Owens
- Everyone is attempting to smack KO for not telling them he was taking someone else to prom instead
Bell rings, and there are six men left standing in the ring, unsure as to what’s happening at WrestleMania, and who will be facing KO for the IC title.
Steph is on the phone to, presumably, her husband or her dad, and she says she has a really bad feeling about tonight and Roman, so she’s going to make a run for it early. KO comes in and interrupts her, and apparently he’s going to have to defend his IC title in… oh, a ladder match. I guess it’s a tradition now, but it just makes it seem like the belt is worth nothing, and isn’t worth a real championship match. But we all called it. A bit depressing, but I suppose we knew it was coming.
Steph doesn’t like KO telling her what her husband would appreciate, and heads to the parking lot with her coat over the arm, telling him to hit the lights on the way out, as she makes her escape from the arena.
After the ads, we see Steph buttoning her coat and heading to the car, where her husband steps out to give her a kiss, before climbing back in with her and getting ready to leave. As the parking area gate rises, Roman’s stood in the way, and he stalks down to the car, ripping the door open and throwing Triple H around as Steph screams from inside the car for him to stop. Triple H manages to get back inside the car, leaving Roman staring after the retreating vehicle, wind moving his semi-dry curls and making him look like the cover of a romance novel. I guess if this tells us one thing, it tells us why you should always engage the locks when you get into your car.
Charlotte vs. Natalya
Becky and Sasha are at commentary, and we get a recap of the catfight at SmackDown, prepping for WrestleMania and the triple threat match. Nattie and Charlotte are going to have a nothing match while we focus on the Mania match, I guess.
- Green isn’t that good a colour on Charlotte and I still hate her semi-see through looking tops she wears that look like lace lingerie
- Daddy ‘Lich King’ Flair is here again
- Sasha calling Becky ‘boo boo’ as Becky talks about having pinned her
- Surfboard from Natalya to Charlotte, god I love seeing that move, I don’t even care if it’s ridiculous, it’s so cool
- Charlotte comes to face Sasha and Becky, distracting herself for Nattie to take her down
- Becky has ‘jokes and Irish lass kickings for days’
- Sasha’s talking about herself, but Becky owns her by rhyming hers, and being ‘full of charm, and full of harm’, which is super cute
- Flair chops
- Sharpshooter from Nattie but she makes it to the ropes to break the hold
- Nattie reverses the Figure Four into a roll up for two
- Charlotte hits Natural Selection for the win
Becky and Sasha look only slightly less bored than the crowd as Becky and Sasha take their headsets off and Charlotte waves her title in the air. The announce team cut off her celebrating to talk about Dean and Terry Funk, because women, right? Who cares about them, huh?
Whole segment was nine minutes, match was four minutes.
Bubba Ray Dudley vs. R-Truth
Ah, a nothing match to prepare us for the nothing match at Mania between the Dudleys and The Usos. Good oh.
- Trash talk about Goldust from Bubba
- Clothesline to Truth, as he lies in the middle of the ring
- Lacklustre ‘we want tables’ chant but the crowd don’t really seem to care
Bubba Ray wins easily, and then they decide they’re going to mess up R-Truth, so of course Goldust runs down to save his erstwhile partner, although Goldust eats a couple of moves… and then out come The Usos, who literally seem to just have a job saving people from situations – Roman from killing his boss, Truth and Goldie from this….
Jey throws his shirt to the audience, and that’s a nice little moment as they set a table up to put D-Von through it. Bubba Ray saves him, however, so literally nothing happens aside from Jey Uso proving he can take his top off. This show is pretty weak tonight.
Vince McMahon Announcement
Vince shows up in a blue jacket and black pants, like a man who can’t afford a matching suit, for fuck’s sake. He’s still annoyed about how little crowd reaction he’s been getting tonight – don’t worry Vince, it’s everything, it’s not just you.
At the moment Vince arrived, my evil albino rabbit, Bun Cena, thumped his foot very loudly in displeasure. It’s okay, Bun Cena, the scary man will go away soon. The scary man with his weird red and blue combination tie, and who can’t do his own jacket up or something.
Vince literally says that The Undertaker is his bitch, and if he doesn’t win at WrestleMania, then he’s going to have to retire. You couldn’t make this up, and that’s apparently all he’s got to say to us.
Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman
Dean’s music hits before Vince has a chance to get backstage, and Dean just looks at him idly, like he’s barely interesting because he isn’t wrapped in barbed wire or a relic of a bygone era handing him a weapon.
- Paul Heyman on commentary! Aw yeah!
- Bray comes out with Braun to look after his child of cult family weirdness
- Paul had to come to commentary because he couldn’t get a ticket on a resale site
- Strowman can actually keep up with some of Dean’s speed, and that surprises me and makes me happy
- Strowman takes Dean’s shirt down early in the match, because he knows what we all want to see, and the black shirts are made of paper, apparently
- Dean’s flopping about like a dead fish, and it’s nice to see him sell strong moves
- Sleeper hold from Ambrose to Strowman, Bray shouting to make Strowman break the hold
- Strowman working Dean’s right shoulder over with his knuckles a lot
- Crowd chant ‘this is boring’ because Dean’s not fighting back, really, just letting Strowman throw him around
- Dean tries for Dirty Deeds but Strowman counters and lifts him
- Ambrose throws Strowman into the post, and comes back with a steel chair
Bell rings for a DQ, and Dean goes at Strowman with the chair, and takes it to the rest of the Wyatts as they try to fight back. Dean manages to get Strowman into a Lunatic Lariat, and then hits Dirty Deeds on the chair to take him down. He then heads to the announce table to stare down Paul Heyman, and we end out Raw with Dean leaning against the barricades, king of all he surveys.