While we may be on the Road to WrestleMania, it appears this week’s RAW is more in preparation for the Roadblock ahead —WWE Roadblock is this Saturday.– It’s an interesting choice, but as I’ll discuss more throughout the week, Roadblock appears to be the ‘Mania for hardcore fans, leaving ‘Mania itself to act as the be all end all event for casual fans –which it usually is.– That being said, what do I think happens on RAW tonight?
We saw on Smackdown that Charlotte learned who her opponents would be at ‘Mania, and it wasn’t Sasha Banks or Becky Lynch like Charlotte had been trying to weed out, it was both Sasha and Becky, making the match a Triple Threat. What cracks me up is knowing how many sites have claimed that the plans have long been for Charlotte to face Sasha or at least one of them in a singles match, and that anything beyond a singles match is patently against the original booking of WrestleMania…even though the Triple Threat has appeared to be in the works since the beginning stages of the year, and even going back so far as Night of Champions. We’ve seen the build, experienced the rise of Becky Lynch, the distancing of Sasha until WrestleMania season was upon us, and how neither one of them have left the spotlight since Sasha reemerged, so why then would anyone have thought a Triple Threat wasn’t in the cards? Anyway, I love that the match was announced, I’m stoked for it, and with Charlotte having that bomb dropped on her backstage at Smackdown, I think Charlotte will come to RAW with a plan in mind to shake up her opponents. I would imagine we’ll see another tag match between Sasha and Becky against Naomi and Tamina, only this time I think Charlotte will rush the ring, distracting Sasha and Becky, Naomi and Tamina will attack them, pick up the win, and then Charlotte will slide in the ring to do some finishing touches on her opponent’s faces.
Kalisto still has yet to find an opponent for ‘Mania, something I’m beginning to wonder if it’ll happen at all. We’ve seen a ‘Mania –or seven– that haven’t had the IC Championship and/or the US Championship defended, so it’s certainly not unheard of for that to flat out not happen. I think it comes down to feeling like WWE wants to make Kalisto a big star, and not having him defend a Title he has, at Kalisto’s first WrestleMania, would be detrimental, and a sign that the company doesn’t view him as highly as we thought, so we shouldn’t view him highly either. I’d like to see a feud between Kalisto and Neville begin to take shape tonight, so that we can experience the insanity that would be a ‘Mania match between those two, with a Title on the line.
Lana took a few verbal jabs at Brie Bella last week, which makes one wonder if Lana is getting in the ring sometime soon. What I think that development leads to is a Battle Royal of sorts between the Diva’s at ‘Mania, and it’ll be Lana’s introduction to in-ring competition. Lana hasn’t wrestled under the WWE banner yet –if she’s ever wrestled at all,– so a Battle Royal would protect her from being fully exposed like a singles match would. It’s a smart direction, if that’s what’s happening, but seeing Lana target Brie in particular is an odd choice, given that they have no on-screen history. I see Lana doing a similar thing this week, calling Brie out in the back, only this time Lana clocks Brie with a vicious slap, and Brie stands there unsure of what just happened.
Bray Wyatt is getting his Brock Lesnar match, but unfortunately, it’s at Roadblock instead of ‘Mania. That said, Bray and The Wyatt Family have to look extra strong heading into Saturday, which means a match against either the League of Nations –unlikely, since LON is set for New Day at ‘Mania, and WWE wouldn’t want them looking like weak opponents,– or any number of larger opponents. It’s strange because Big Show makes sense, but is sort of busy –unless that’s scrapped, but more on that in a minute,– Mark Henry looked hurt, Ryback is busy being rebooted, Titus O’Neil is suspended, which leaves Kane. I can picture another Kane vs Bray match, but I don’t think it builds Bray up, seeing as how we’ve witnessed Kane lose a multitude of times lately, including at the hands of the Wyatt’s. It’ll be interesting to see, but Bray needs to look like a straight up monster tonight, if any single soul is to believe that Bray stands a chance in hell against the Beast Incarnate.
Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose faced off on Smackdown last week, with Owens losing to Ambrose in a non-Title match, but seeing as how Big Show is still waiting on another opportunity, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Triple Threat on RAW between Owens, Ambrose, and Show with the Intercontinental Championship on the line. Owens will be Champ going into ‘Mania, of that I am certain, but this puts Ambrose in a match against two bruisers who can get the Lunatic Fringe roughed up going into Roadblock against Triple H. It also can get us that much closer to settling things between Owens and Show, because even if Show is involved, Owens won’t be competing in a singles match at ‘Mania, and that requires Owens and Show to bury things between them one on one, either this week or next week. It seems like Owens is bound for a Ladder match at ‘Mania, just like what was booked last year, but with very different names involved.
New Day is in a match against Y2Aj —Chris Jericho and AJ Styles— which is surprisingly for the Tag Team Championships. It’s an easy assumption, but we’ll either see something big go down tonight or this match will get delayed until Roadblock, where it’ll happen there, but either way, Y2AJ is breaking up, and it’ll be because of Jericho. I can either see Jericho costing them the match, declaring that there’s no way in hell that Jericho would ever want to be Tag Champs with the likes of AJ or that AJ ends up getting screwed over by New Day in some kind of fashion, losing the match, and then Jericho goes ballistic on AJ for causing them to lose, attacking The Phenomenal One. The latter scenario could also see Jericho getting pinned, AJ telling Jericho to suck it up, there’ll be another chance for them, and then Jericho letting his temper get the better of him, going off on AJ because Jericho failed, and instead of taking the high road, Jericho would take his frustration out on AJ. No matter what happens, Y2AJ won’t be a thing come RAW next week, because a singles match between AJ and Jericho at WrestleMania will be set in stone by then.
Triple H has bloodied up both Ambrose and Roman Reigns in consecutive weeks, but when will the King of Kings see his reign knocked down a peg or two? I think the end of RAW sees Triple H and Ambrose in the ring, with Triple H threatening to do what he’s already done to Ambrose, only this time Triple H will make Ambrose suffer so badly Ambrose won’t make it to Saturday. Ambrose would point out that he’s indestructible, that not even Lesnar can keep Ambrose down, Triple H would go to attack Ambrose, get a few shots in, and then Reigns’ music hits. While it’s his way of entering the arena, I would almost prefer to see Reigns come rushing down the ramp to save Dean and to lay out Triple H, because it shows a sense of urgency. Making Triple H wait as Reigns comes down the stairs though would build suspense for what’s about to happen, so that could work as well, I just think the ramp would be different, and more effective. Reigns needs that mean streak, he needs to go back to being the guy who brings oblivion to his opponents, rather than the smiley, joke-filled, laughable fun guy WWE keeps trying to portray him as. Reigns is a Samoan badass, don’t book him as anything less and fans would be more accepting of him than they currently are. So have Reigns bloody up Triple H, have him appear to break a limb or two of Triple H’s, and then have Reigns be in such a fury that he turns to Ambrose, very nearly attacking Ambrose as well, until realizing who’s in front of him. That teases something in the future, tempts fans into thinking that heel turn is coming, and pumps up the story WWE is trying to tell involving all three.
Lastly, the biggest aspect of RAW is going to be the second appearance by Shane McMahon. Shane O-Mac was noticeably missing from last week’s episode, but Stephanie McMahon‘s promo was enough to carry the weight of the show…mostly. This week, Shane and Steph are bound to go for each other’s throats, with Vince McMahon possibly trying to cut in between and be the mediator, even if all his role is meant to do is prevent Steph from preventing Shane from making a fool of himself at ‘Mania. It’d be interesting to see whether Shane tries to get a contract signing, and if he does, if he’ll add any stipulations to it, and whether Vince will allow him to in the first place. If Shane approaches it as “you picked the time, the place, the opponent, and the match, the least you could do is let me have this,” I think Vince would cave. What would Shane’s stipulation be if there was one? Steph can’t get involved, Vince can’t get involved, neither can have any lackeys try to sway the match, or else they forfeit, Shane gets RAW, and there’s nothing more Vince and Steph can do to stop it. I doubt this will happen, but I could see Shane trying to even the odds for himself, even if the deck is stacked so significantly against him. While it would be of tremendous help, I don’t believe The Undertaker is booked for RAW tonight, which leaves Shane to carry the torch on his lonesome, but if we can get at least a couple interactions between the two men, it would really help to define this match. Fans’ issues aren’t in the match being booked –alright, somewhat of a lie, there are a ton of fans who don’t like the pairing, but still,– it’s in that there’s no reason for Taker to accept the match. Why would Taker lay down and do Vince’s dirty work? What’s the purpose? Last week we were all expecting Taker to have something to say about it, but all he ended up saying was that Shane’s blood is on Vince’s hands, not Taker’s. That didn’t tell us anything, didn’t give a rhyme or reason for Taker accepting that this will be one of his final WrestleMania matches –Taker is scheduled for a tour immediately following ‘Mania, along with at least a Smackdown taping, so Taker isn’t retiring after this year’s event,– and didn’t give a hint as to why Vince can order it to happen, and it just does, given that Taker is this supernatural being, who shouldn’t do the bidding of mere mortals. Oh well, it’s possible –and likely– that we don’t get an explanation, which sucks, but it’s whatever, the match is going to be great, of that I have no doubt. In terms of RAW, I want a stare down between Shane and Taker, with Shane getting in a cheap shot that lets Taker know that Shane will do anything in his power to win, even if it means taking the low road.
That’s The Lowedown on what I think happens on RAW tonight, let me know what you think will happen in the comments, and through social media. Thanks for reading, and remember to watch more wrestling!
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