This episode of Monday Night Raw delivered a far better show than Roadblock did this past Saturday. While there were no changes to the card set for WrestleMania, it did an incredible job of selling the event. The New Day embraced their face turn, The League of Nations looked as dominant as they should, and Dead Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar was sold expertly. But with all of the great moments from the show, the bad stood out horribly as moments geared toward selling Reigns vs Triple H and The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon failed to gain the response WWE had hoped for. So instead of growing excitement for WrestleMania, this episode of Raw exposed how much trouble some of the bigger matches will have in delivering WWE’s desired result.
The first thing that should be addressed is the match between Shane McMahon and The Undertaker. With little explanation of how Taker actually feels about the match, we’re left to believe that he’s going through with it because it’s his job to do so. His reaction to Vince scolding him for laying his hands on him suggest that he is not willingly doing Mr. McMahon’s bidding, and Vince is also one bad day away from receiving a vicious chokeslam. But Shane’s verbal exchange with Taker made it seem like it was more personal than it had been displayed earlier. Referring to Taker as “Vince’s bitch” during their exchange, we can’t help but wonder why The Undertaker hasn’t cleared up the reasoning behind being a part of the storyline. We were expecting at least a comment or two explaining that he’s not interested in the McMahon feud for control, but will destroy anyone placed in his way. That would have settled the speculation on his reasoning. But instead, we’re left wondering what the hell is going on. And with Shane fumbling through his dialog and throwing the most unconvincing punches in professional wrestling, the match itself doesn’t look like it will be a winner at WresleMania.
But with all of that aside, let’s address the elephant in the room. Despite WWE’s actions to make Triple H the biggest heel in the company in order to put Reigns over with cheers in the WrestleMania main event, it will almost certainly end with him being booed out of the building. It has never been as evident as it was last night. After cutting an outstanding heel promo that insulted the audience’s very existance, Triple H was still unable to convince them to cheer for Reigns. Even the mention of his name gained more boos than Triple H informing the fans of how much of a failure in life they are. And when Reigns finally made his return after a three week absence, it was mostly to boos as he viciously attacked the heel in the feud. At what point does WWE accept the truth about how Reigns will be received at WrestleMania once he wins? Are we going to sit through a few weeks of Reigns being pushed as a top face before reaching the inevitable end result at the biggest show of the year? Because so far, WWE is not willing to accept the fans’ reaction as a hint that maybe it’s time to move Reigns on as a top heel instead.
This episode of Raw delivered better matches than Roadblock, but suffered from long winded promos that did nothing to help build on storylines successfully. The only segment that succeeded in gaining any sort of interest in the payoff is the exchange between Ambrose and Lesnar. The appearance, and passing of the torch, by Mick Foley added nothing but excitement to an already interesting feud. But aside from those little moments, this episode was nothing more than great matches with uninspired storytelling.