The biggest non-Daniel Bryan story coming out of last week was the suspension of Titus O’Neil. He grabbed Vince McMahon’s arm just as cameras stopped rolling on Bryan’s retirement celebration, for what purpose no one is exactly sure. But Titus was hit with a 90-day suspension, which was later reduced to a 60-day suspension due to internet backlash. Reportedly, McMahon had to be talked down from firing Titus outright.
If you ever wonder where all this talk of people walking on eggshells in the WWE locker room comes from, look no further than this. You don’t even need to be in WWE to understand it. Make one wrong move and you’re fired. Or if not fired, you’ll be punished.
I’m not saying Titus was right to grab McMahon. But for a company that so desperately craves “legitimacy,” it’s amazing how downright childish its 70-year-old chairman of the board can be. There’s your genius, everybody…
The Big Show and and Braun Strowman main event the show. Why? Someone tell me why. Why would you have The Big Show main event Raw as a babyface in 2016? Was it to lead into the Steve Austin interview with Show? I guarantee you, that interview lost viewers because of this main event. This is part of why fans don’t like The Big Show. He’s been a main event fixture for years, and fans are tired of him. And yet he sticks around. This man is a damn giant, and yet he’s been booked like any other wrestler for over 15 years now. If only Austin could ask him about that.
Still, I watched this match to see how Braun Strowman looked against Show. He was’t bad. But he only wrestled for about 3 minutes. He hardly seems ready for The Undertaker, does he? What’s more, the match itself didn’t start until 11:05 Eastern Time. Fail
It looks like we’re getting The Wyatt Family against The Big Show, Ryback, and Kane at Fastlane. Fair enough, I suppose. Eh, whatever…
Kevin Owens def. Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Stardust & Tyler Breeze to win back the Intercontinental Title. Awesome. Ambrose never really needed to win the title, and Owens never really needed to lose it. This almost gives me hope Ambrose has a chance of winning on Sunday. And damn, what a great post-match promo. C’mon, guys. Shake things up a little. Just give it to Dean…
So now Owens has Ziggler this Sunday. But who does he have at Wrestlemania? I’d love to see it be Sami Zayn. But it seems unlikely, as he’s got Shinsuke Nakamura at the NXT Takeover show that weekend. So who do you put Owens with?
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman to appear on Smackdown. Something that really stuck out this week is how much Smackdown is being emphasized. WWE is even trotting out its biggest attraction, Brock Lesnar, for a show that’s long been void of any sort of significance. But last week’s broadcast saw Chris Jericho beat AJ Styles, and the Dudleys cut a hell of a heel promo. Plus, Mauro Ranallo has quickly become the best announcer on WWE TV. As far as I’m concerned, he and Lawler can start calling pay per views any time now. Smackdown‘s importance is gradually starting to rise. Now let’s just hope they stay consistent with that approach.
Paul Heyman calls out Roman Reigns. This one didn’t do much for me. At least by Paul Heyman promo standards. Heyman and Reigns were pretty nice to each other here. But niceness isn’t Heyman’s strong point, at least from a character standpoint.
Charlotte and Ric Flair interrupts Brie Bella’s in-ring interview. I want to like Brie Bella, really I do. But when that awful music hits and she gives us that monotone delivery I just cringe. And it’s just so damn obvious that she’s reciting lines. There’ve been rumors that, like her husband Daniel Bryan, she’s headed toward retirement. I suspect she’ll wait until after Wrestlemania.
As the weeks go by, Charlotte gets better and better at her heel role. She was great at antagonizing Brie tonight, and I suspect she’ll be even better at antagonizing Sasha Banks and/or Becky Lynch heading into Wrestlemania. And Ric, to his credit, isn’t overshadowing her. He actually adds a certain credibility to the Divas Title by standing by his daughter as she defends it. It was a risk putting Ric with his daughter, but thus far it’s a risk that has paid off.
AJ Styles def. The Miz. As solid a match as Styles and Miz had, the best part of this segment was hearing Chris Jericho on commentary. He put Miz over better than our announce team has in years. And obviously, he dove into the psychology of his program with AJ. Obviously we’ve got a rubber match between Jericho and Styles coming at Fastlane, and the smart bet is they’ll give us their best encounter yet. On a card that’s rather lackluster, they could easily steal the show.
Big E. def. Mark Henry. That didn’t look like the ending we were supposed to get. Henry collapsed like an accordion during what looked like it was meant to be a counter to the Big Ending. That’s why men that size aren’t usually picked up for moves like that. Here’s hoping he’s okay.
Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio, now a 2 out of 3 Falls Match, moved from the main show to the pre-show at Fastlane. Ouch. Del Rio is the one League of Nations member that has managed to stay relevant, and his match gets bumped to the pre-show. And ironically enough, now that it’s a 2 out of 3 Falls Match, I’m actually interested in seeing them wrestle again.
Image 1 from 411mania.com. Remaining images from WWE.com.
Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition/