Holy Crap What a Week – This Week in WWE – Raw, Smackdown, 205 Live, MMC & NXT Recap and Reaction – 3/19/2018-3/21/2018

Apparently infrastructure woes hinder the road to Wrestlemania just like they do my daily commute, but the week started off in Dallas, where unfortunately the WWE Network felt the need to remind Zack Ryder of his most recent venture to American Airlines Arena…..

So let’s go to the arena in Dallas/Ft. Worth/Arlington that Jerry Jones doesn’t own for Monday Night Raw….

Cheer This Man…….Please?!?!?! – Monday Night Raw 3/19/2018

Another episode of Raw kicks off with Kurt Angle making his way to the ring.  This time he informs the audience that Roman is still suspended as a result of his actions from last week, and while Brock Lesnar is running late, he will be there.  Roman emerges from the crowd, calls him on his BS, has US Marshals sent to the ring who put him in handcuffs before he lays all three of them out, then comes the Beast to demolish the defenseless (because he didn’t just beat down three meathead law enforcement officers?) Roman Reigns multiple times.  Brock looked like a jackass even having actually showed up, so they’ve accomplished their goal.  Roman took some nasty bumps in this one-sided affair as well.

  • Alexa Bliss isn’t sorry for what she said about Nia Jax, but she fakes an ankle injury and takes a count-out as Asuka def. Alexa Bliss in what was a decent match until the bullsh*% ending.  As Mickie was “helping” Alexa flee up the ramp with her wounded ankle, here comes The Monster Among Women.  Nia gave chase through the crowd and into the backstage area.  Alexa later complained to Kurt Angle, who told her he didn’t support the Women’s Champion being a bully, and gave Nia a Women’s Championship match for Wrestlemania.  Yay!
  • Braun Strowman will have to find a partner before Wrestlemania, but he gets to choose.  Tonight, however, he will get single’s competition against whichever member of The Bar is brave enough.  It ends up being Cesaro, but Braun Strowman def. Cesaro with the Running Powerslam.  
  • Dash & Dawson def. Titus Worldwide with the Shatter Machine.  Nice to see The Revival actually get a win at some point.  Following the match, The Revival said they intend to become the first tag team to win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal.
  • Sexual Chocolate/The World’s Strongest Man Mark Henry is the final inductee to the Hall of Fame.
  • Sasha and Bayley had an uncomfortable exchange.  I don’t know that they are going to be able to salvage this if they don’t either a) get to the point or b) realize there is no time on the Mania card for this and pump the brakes until they can flesh it out going into Brooklyn for Summerslam.  I’m a hell of a supportive of both of these women, and even I’m failing to give a sh*& it’s taken so long to get there.  They didn’t even fully get through this point, as Absolution came out and cut them off before they could get to the point of even the beginnings of this conversation.
  • Absolution def. Bayley & Sasha Banks when Bayley and Sasha Banks were too busy bickering and in-fighting to actually have a match.  Bayley ate the pin because, well, that’s what they do to Bayley.
  • John Cena cuts another “poke the bear” promo on The Undertaker demanding an answer.  Kane emerged, hitting a chokeslam on Cena and walking away.  We’re no closer to any answers.  Whatever.  I hope he stays retired, but I sure as hell don’t want a Cena-Kane match at Wrestlemania.
  • Lengthy Miz promo where he channels his inner Rodney Dangerfield, in which he called him Finn Baller at one point.  It was accidental, but still.  Then he referred to Balor and Rollins as Prince Devitt and Tyler Black, because holy shit Miz just gets in a groove and shoots from the hip.
  • The Balortourage def. Miz Club…wait, that’s not right.  Balor got the roll-up on Miz to win for BC Worldwide.  After the match, Miztourage attempted the beat down of Balor, but Rollins stormed down and nailed a curb stomp on Miz.  So Miz got put down by both of his Mania competitors three weeks out.  Miz will retain at Mania.
  • Some sort of Ronda Rowsey package.  Jesus let the woman have a match before we start running ridiculously long promo packages.  This was nothing more than putting Ronda on a screen in the arena so the crowd couldn’t be as pissed this week as the crowd from last week was that they didn’t get any Rowsey stuff.

The Ultimate Deletion (Please Let This Be Good)

Our first WWE incarnation of the incredibly successful Deletion series from TNA begins as Woken Matt Hardy attempts to end the villainous Sister Abigail and cleanse Bray Wyatt in the lake of reincarnation.

I will admit, in case the header here wasn’t a giveaway, that I was nervous about this, but they were fairly true to the feel of the magic that revitalized Matt Hardy’s career.  WWE must have felt good about what they had done here as well because this was a lengthy segment that ran as the main event of Raw.

And we got an appearance from Brother Nero, and plenty of screen time for Skarsgard the dilapidated boat and Vanguard 1.  Matt Hardy successfully deleted Bray Wyatt, who as of the close of the footage was lost in the waters of the Lake of Reincarnation.

Smackdown Live – A Change in the House that AJ Styles Built – 3/20/2018

If you live in an area without cable, internet, newspaper, smoke signal, etc. (how the hell are you reading this?) you might have missed the major announcement on Tuesday that Daniel Bryan, after two years of painstakingly fighting the diagnosis that he would never be able to wrestle again, has officially been cleared to return to in ring action.  And he’s damned excited about it, kicking off the broadcast to thank the fans for their support and Brie for pushing him to keep fighting for his dreams.  It was a masterpiece of a promo.  Take note, locker room, that’s how you deliver a promo.

  • Shinsuke Nakamura def. Rusev via pinfall with AJ Styles at commentary.  Post match, Rusev Day attacked Nakamura, and as AJ took his time getting up to help, Nakamura handled things himself.  This is the most amazing way to build a match that needs no actual build.  I’m salivating at the opportunity to see these two in New Orleans.
  • Natalya def. Charlotte Flair via roll up on a distraction caused when Carmella appeared to be cashing in her MITB briefcase.  The cash in didn’t happen, but I don’t think we have to wait much longer as this is the second such elaborate tease.
  • Luke Harper destroyed Jimmy Uso.  Jey Uso pulled him out of the ring for the save following the match to avoid further Bludgeon Brother destruction.
  • Randy Orton, Jinder Mahal and Bobby Roode talked a lot.  It’s all about the US Title Match at Mania.  You know exactly what was said here.  And strangely enough, I think Jinder is the strongest promo guy in this trio.
  • Lots of the prerecorded videos to hype up the women’s battle royal match.  Riott Squad was amongst the better of them.
  • To close the show, Daniel Bryan fired Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, who proceeded to beat the living hell out of the newly cleared GM.  He showed that he had some fight left, but ate a Helluva Kick and an Apron Bomb for his efforts.  Welcome back, D-Bry.

Grade: A-.  Yes, it gets one hell of a bump for the Daniel Bryan emotions.  But the Shinsuke segment was great, as was the second tease that Carmella is leaving New Orleans with that Women’s Championship (hopefully Alexa’s, because I’ll shit myself if she breaks the streak with her cash-in and I don’t want to stand around booing Brock Lesnar with my pants filled with shit).

205 Live – YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – 3/20/2018

I’ll be completely honest with you, I don’t necessarily remember anything that happened outside of the main event on this episode of 205 Live, because none of the rest of it really matters right now because MUSTAFA ALI IS GOING TO WRESTLEMANIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In one of those amazing matches that you only really seem to see at Wrestlemania or on 205 Live, Mustafa Ali tangled with our resident No Flier Drew Gulak in a fantastic showing from both competitors.  Mustafa Ali couldn’t believe it, and his legitimate emotion after the victory was incredible.  He even climbed out into the crowd to hug his Mom.  It was a truly fantastic moment, the kind that remind you why you keep watching professional wrestling even when creative seems to be stuck in a time loop.

  • Hideo Itami vs Lince Dorado ended in a no-contest/DQ of some sorts when all five men around the ring got involved.  Itami is a hot head, and he and Gran Metalik wanted to throw down, but Kalisto and Akira Tozawa were the cooler heads that prevailed.  As a reward for maintaining order, Spud…..sorry, Drake Maverick awarded Kalisto and Tozawa two of the four spots in a fatal four way match for next week, where they will also see Buddy Murphy and TJP (for whatever damn reason).  The match has future title opportunity implications.
  • TJP def. Jobber.  I’m not going to go too much into this, as the fact he had a squash match should be indicative enough that he’s probably going to get another push here soon.

Grade: What’s better than an A?  #AliMania

Your Information Was Stolen While You Watched Mixed Match Challenge – 3/20/2018

Let’s get one thing very clear here.  Braun Strowman was not defeated by The Miz.  Alexa Bliss, yet again, wasn’t ready for Asuka.  I want Alexa to be Braun’s tag partner against The Bar.  Their moments throughout this tournament have been the most enjoyable part of the entire thing.  I’d like to change my second chance vote.  Sorry Bayley and Elias.

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NXT – The Uncrowned Champion – 3/21/2018

  • In a match that was initiated via Twitter feud, Adam Cole def. Kassius Ohno.  This was your main event.  It was a good match, and Ohno is a valued member of the roster for really putting on gem matches to showcase the talent on the roster.  NXT needed a new Tye Dillinger, and Ohno has slotted right in.  Adam Cole is the f*^&ing man though.
  • Raul Mendoza was supposed to have a match, but he got jumped on his way to the ring by Almas, who used the now open time slot to call out Aleister Black.  At least I think that’s what he did, he did all the talking and most of it was in Spanish.  #SorryMsBlakeney
  • Ember Moon eclipsed the hell out of Aaliyah.  Shayna Bazler was on commentary because if there’s one thing you enjoy from Bazler it’s her promo….I can’t.  She sucks.  Find someone worth a sh*& for Ember to wrestle in New Orleans and maybe I won’t go to SuperCard.
  • Ciampa kicked off the show, mostly in silence, then yelling into a microphone that “He’s Gone!”  Then he got out of the ring and proceeded to destroy the Gargano signs throughout the front row.  As he reached the end of the barricade, he pulled the sign from a man in a luchador mask, which was revealed as Gargano.  Johnny hopped the barricade and laid an ass kicking on Ciampa until he was dragged out by security because, well, fans cannot jump the barricade and attack the talent.
  • Roderick Strong got his wish and was added to the spot in the Dusty Rhodes Classic vacated by Mustache Mountain as a result of the Tyler Bate knee injury.  He revealed his tag partner in the form of the WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne.
  • Roddy & Pete Dunne def. Lorcan & Burch to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Classic.  While I understand that getting Roddy to a match against Undisputed Era makes sense for ongoing storyline, would it not have made more logical sense to tag Dunne with Trent Seven?  BSS would have been just as great in this tournament as Mustache Mountain.  I don’t know, anyway, we get to see more Dunne, which will probably mean no UK defense at TakeOver if he’s on the road to the tag title match.
  • GET READY!!!  RICOCHET IS COMING!!!  Promo package was absolutely sick.  He’ll be Universal Champion by 2020.

Grade:  A-.  This was a good episode from NXT.  They’ve been pretty on it lately.  Adam Cole going over Ohno will help with cred, especially as a smaller competitor in a field dominated by larger guys right now.  Let’s see how he fares against Lars Sullivan (who is hyped for being 6’3″, 300 lbs.  Uh, stand him in front of Braun Strowman and keep telling me how much of a genetic freak he is).

It was a damn fine week out of Stamford.  In fact, you could probably say it was

Going to try my hand at Impact and RoH this week, so stay tuned.  I don’t know who the hell half the guys on the Impact roster are, so this should be an insane mess of a read.