It hasn’t ever been clearer than this week that WWE has really had to scramble in order to make this card happen for Wrestlemania. The injuries really seem to have affected things more than we could have imagined, with some of the matches that should have had bigger stages being thrown together in these last few weeks. This episode of RAW was very weak for the second to last episode before the biggest event in the year. Regardless, progress was made in the stories and we are one week closer to the biggest show of the wrestling year.

WWE

Roman is in Trouble, and not from Triple H:

True talk: WWE has done a great job of presenting Roman Reigns as a ruthless badass in the past two weeks. A short promo against Stephanie McMahon to open the show in which he minimized the corny humor, put him in position of power. This led to later in the show, with Stephanie leaving with her husband Triple H and Roman launching a surprise attack on The Game. That moment when the garage door lifted to reveal Reigns standing there and the subsequent brawl was fantastic, and it legitimately got me excited for the match. However, much like last week, it is coming far too late for the WWE Universe. Sure, the Philadelphia crowd is notorious for being one of the worst in wrestling (they just love to hear themselves boo), but they have cause for these boos when it comes to Reigns. If WWE had built Roman for the past year like they have in the past two weeks, we would be looking at this match differently.

Undertaker has Something to Fight For:

Out of everyone involved in the Hell in a Cell match, only one player was on RAW this week and this was Mr. McMahon. Cutting a typically great promo, Vince finally put some stakes on the match for The Undertaker, saying that, if Taker loses his match against Shane then it will be his last Wrestlemania ever. Again, as I said before, this definitely showed how thrown together this match really was but, for me, it doesn’t matter. Now that both men have something to fight for, the match feels even bigger, and the outcome has become even more uncertain. An interesting wrinkle was McMahon literally calling The Undertaker “his bitch.” This makes me curious as to how motivated Taker will be to fight for Vince in Dallas.

Ambrose is the Main Event:

Another good week from Dean Ambrose, as he had another backstage segment with another hardcore legend. This backstage segment took place “in a bar in Philly,” where Ambrose was talking to Terry Funk, one of the best hardcore legends in the business. Much like last week with Foley, Funk had a gift for Ambrose, giving him his patented chainsaw (Chainsaw Charlie days). All of this has done nothing but establish Ambrose as today’s iteration of hardcore wrestling, something fans have craved for years since the PG era started. I believe in Ambrose, and I think he’s going to shine at Mania. However, this was the first week I was worried about the match, and it has everything to do with the sudden involvement of the Wyatt family. After cutting a typically nonsensical promo, the Wyatts proceeded to have a match (Braun Strowman specifically) against Ambrose in the main event. Why are the Wyatts, who have no matches set up at Mania, involved in the main event only two weeks away from Dallas? Either they really are doing a bad job of making us care about Mania, or they want the Wyatts involved in the match (since it’ll be no DQ). Both options are equally plausible to me, and I’m worried that we are going to see a messy finish for a match that could be great.

Other Notes:

  • What has happened to the build for the Divas match? A match that, at one point had me excited, now has me disinterested. They have done very little with the three women involved and, although I think the match will be the best in the history of women’s wrestling, they haven’t done enough with it. These ladies deserve more.
  • AJ Styles officially laid down the Wrestlemania challenge for Chris Jericho, who continues to fill the heel role very well in recent weeks. Watch for this match to be the best of the night, getting fans excited for what they will see from Styles moving forward.
  • After a series of convoluting exchanges, we finally have our Intercontinental Championship match set. It’ll be a seven-way ladder match for the title involving Kevin Owens (champion), Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Stardust, Sin Cara, and Zack Ryder. Aren’t you just bursting with anticipation? WWE really dropped the ball with this one, as this match should only be between Zayn and Owens. If booked properly, that match could have been the best of the night. Instead, we get this match which will assuredly be entertaining, but would have been better suited for the United States Championship (a feud that wasn’t progressed at all this week).
  • The New Day continued their feud with The League of Nations, which is a match I am getting more and more excited for. Both teams are bursting with talented performers, and I think we are going to get a great match at Wrestlemania. My only concern is the fact that The New Day seem to have gone completely baby face as a result of this. New Day are at their best as heels, and I worry that this new role could spell the beginning of the end for this trio.

Kyle Kirby covers WWE for MFST. You can follow him on Twitter @couch_qb.

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