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    the Neville v Jack Gallagher stuff is fab tbh, best thing they've done with the Cruserweight division imho!

    also Bayley :heart:
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    So, The Rock was on RAW. But we didn't get to see him: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2...-after-wwe-raw

    It was a solid episode, largely thanks to a lively crowd. The opening segment set the tone, Kevin Owens cutting a fantastic in-ring promo which showcased his darker, meaner side. It was clever to have Owens focus on Goldberg, and clever to delay a physical confrontation between either Owens and Jericho or Owens and Goldberg. Owens was booked strong in the main event, too, closing the broadcast in dominant fashion after Samoa Joe was booked like a monster and beat down Sami Zayn pre-match. Joe looks like a star, but even more promising was the way Owens picked up the scraps and looked like a fierce champion.

    In terms of the other bouts, there was something concerning during the opening tag team bout. Enzo and Cass picked up an upset win over Cesaro and Sheamus, only for the former to Brogue Kick Enzo and receive chants of "thank you" from the LA fans. Enzo's shtick has gotten over - and then old - pretty fast. WWE would be wise to turn him heel, like the New Day in 2014, because fans are clearly bored of his antics. I have to say, I don't enjoy his promo work any more. It's incredibly grating. Elsewhere, The New Day defeated Rusev and Jinder Mahal. I'm not massively keen on that programme, but it gives all the superstars something to do in the short-term and, after being bit-part players recently, the New Day and Rusev need a PPV showing.

    The tag division is in slightly better shape than SmackDown, but Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were booked weak to get Roman Reigns over AGAIN. It's farcical booking, and makes the champs look so weak. Fair enough, they didn't lose this week's Handicap match instalment - but they relied on a DQ finish and saw Reigns tear through them to stand tall post-match. It's this Superman, John Cena-style booking which has made fans dismayed when it comes to Reigns. The final match of the night - which I'm not calling a main event this week - saw Reigns body-slammed by Braun Strowman, which is better from WWE Creative. Strowman looks like somebody - and has been booked like somebody - who has Reigns' number. Strowman beat The Big Show, before physically dominating Reigns once again.

    In the cruiserweight division, the match between Akira Tozawa and Brian Kendrick never happened after the former was beat down by the latter. We're clearly en route for a feud, but it'd be more interesting if Tozawa embraced Kendrick as his mentor before turning babyface. We also saw a contract signing between Neville and Jack Gallagher. It's obvious the latter won't beat the former for the strap, but he cleared the ring of the heel and looked strong again. Austin Aries oversaw the proceedings, and rumours have him facing Neville for the title at WM33.
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    Rock turned up before Raw, called CM Punk's voicemail in the middle of the ring during a promo/announcement, then Vince came out and 'fired' ("FAAAAHED" ) Rock.

    Then after Raw they filmed AJ Lee vs Paige with actors for the Paige film he's doing. AJ was played by Thea Trinidad a.k.a. TNA's Rosita and formerly a Rosebud. Even her tron was recreated with her playing as AJ.

    This all actually happened:

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    Surprised the Rock had Punk's number tbh.

    Punk took to Twitter after the event to thank the LA crowd for the love they showed.
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    I set Lesnar's selfie-stare to Tyler Breeze's theme. It's amazing.



    Piercing eyes and a chiseled jaw..
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    A real shame Naomi has been forced to relinquish the title after suffering a knee injury during her SmackDown Women's Championship victory over Alexa Bliss at Elimination Chamber. After that excellent promo, which really made me sympathise with her, we saw her belt won by Alexa Bliss, who went over Becky Lynch. That's the right decision, considering I thought it questionable Bliss lost the strap at the last PPV anyway.

    Later on, we saw Natalya beat Nikki Bella in a Falls Count Anywhere match, before Maryse appeared and blasted Bella with a metal pipe. That means we're on course for a feud between the pair, likely involving their respective husbands, at WM33. And in the other matches, American Alpha defeated Breezango in an extended squash before a dodgy finish ended the Battle Royal. Luke Harper - my pick for winning it - will face AJ Styles in singles competition next week, after both men crashed to the arena floor at the same time.

    The Battle Royal itself was fun, showcasing Corbin, who got multiple eliminations, strengthening the Cena vs Miz angle with their respective eliminations, furthering Ziggler's descent into dastardly heel status, and rekindling the Styles vs Cena feud - albeit briefly.

    On 205 Live, Akira Tozawa and Brian Kendrick met for the first match of the night, and just like their encounter on Monday, Tozawa refused to shake his opponent's hand. I could do without this feud, because it seems so rushed and basic in storyline, but Kendrick going over in a heel fashion was good. Hopefully, he gets a few wins and Tozawa embraces him as his mentor, before the pair feud down the line.

    In the other matches, Noam Dar defeated Mustapha Ali after delivering a decent promo backstage about dedicating the match to his ill other half, Alicia Fox. Dar is fantastic on the mic, in that grating, annoying way, and he's one of the best on the 205 roster when it comes to delivering a message. In the main event, Jack Gallagher picked up the win over Tony Nese - who looks like Damien Sandow, to me - to continue building momentum heading into Fastlane.
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    That's one of the poorest episodes of RAW I've seen in a while - and that says something. At this point, nobody thinks Kevin Owens is walking out of Fastlane this Sunday with the Universal Championship. But he's still being booked poorly - and he was cowardly last night, denying Goldberg the chance at a physical confrontation after the opening promo. Owens is stellar on the mic, and proved it last week, but he's just a filler champion.

    Elsewhere, some of the matches were puzzling - and left a lot to be desired in terms of entertainment. I wasn't invested in barely any of the stories last night. We saw the New Day pick up a win vs Jinder Mahal and Rusev, who teased dissension after the match, after a dreadful Oscars joke, before the tag-team champions were treated yet more ridiculously (following two Handicap losses to Roman Reigns) when Big Cass ran over Luke Gallows in singles competition. Notably, Enzo kept his promo short.

    The cruiserweight division was treated similarly poorly. We saw Akira Towaza pick up a win over Noam Dar, who is clearly the division's jobber, before The Brian Kendrick beat him down. And the rest of the 205 Live competitors were barely given the chance to shine, with just two minutes afforded for Neville and Tony Nese and Jack Gallagher and TJ Perkins, with the latter duo emerging victorious.

    Thankfully, there were some other high spots - notably Cesaro, who seemed legitimately injured early in the match, squaring off against Samoa Joe, who got a dominant win and was looking fearsome yet again. WWE has treated him exceptionally well, and it'll be a shame if he ends up in the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy Battle Royal come WM33. Likewise, The Big Show deserves to be doing something better than being in a multi-man match this year. It'll likely be his last Mania, and he's in the best shape of his life. He beat The Shining Stars in a throwaway 2-on-1 Handicap match on Monday, but Shaq has hinted their WM33 meeting is off. In the other squash match of the night, Sheamus beat Titus O'Neil in all of 19 seconds.

    There were some other bright moments. Seth Rollins' segment, where he expressed guilt after aligning with the Authority in 2014, was excellent. He showed character development and displayed his quality on the mic, with the real personal feud intensifying with Triple H's appearance. It seems they'll be locking horns at 'Mania, and WWE is clever to keep that ambiguous going forward. Rollins hinted he may not be physically cleared to compete, so we'll wait and see, but I'm hopeful. The closing segment saw Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman face off in the ring for a contract signing, with the latter booked strongly again. I have real hopes for this weekend's singles bout - it could be a show stealer, especially if Reigns displays the same growth he has been showing, and Strowman lives up to his showings on RAW from the past few weeks.
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    Have to admit, I'm not a fan of John Cena and The Miz being shoe-horned into a mixed gender tag-team match with Nikki Bella and Maryse at WM33. But last night, the opening segment was fantastic on SmackDown. They mixed real-life dirt - the idea of Cena selling out for Hollywood, ruining guys careers back-stage, the Miz nicking gimmicks all over the shop - and it was excellent. To be honest, the duo deserve a headline feud of their own. It could be stellar, given the Miz's resurgence in popularity and quality, and Cena's ability to get the best out of everybody he stumbles across.

    Apart from that, the show was pretty standard. In a match nobody asked for, Dolph Ziggler beat Apollo Crews in a Chairs Match. I hate that type of match-up, and this was no different. Moreover, the crowd were perplexed who to invest in. Ziggler has more character development, but he's a heel, and Crews is underdeveloped but was booked strongly here. It reminded me of the crowd reaction to many of the cruiserweight bouts recently. Ziggler got the dirty win, rolling up Crews, after WWE had made the Championship scene even more confusing.

    Luke Harper and AJ Styles squared off, the latter pinning the former TWICE. That sort of booking does no favours for Harper, whose foot was on the rope for the first pin so the match was restarted by Shane McMahon. Styles' fury at this suggests we're heading for a Shane O'Mac vs Styles match at Mania, despite the staleness of such a match-up. After the best year in WWE in 2016, Styles deserves more. I'm not sure how the match will cement itself, and Styles will relinquish his No. 1 contendership, but there's some work for WWE to do. Likewise, it's hard to tell where this leaves Harper. Presumably, in the secondary championship scene - or the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy Battle Royal. That would be a real shame.

    And then, in the main event segment, we saw a rushed scene where Randy Orton revealed himself as a viper and disassociated himself with Bray Wyatt. Obviously, the fans have known this would happen - but they deserve a longer, more developed programme to enjoy before the eventual pay-off. It just seemed lazy from WWE, despite the uniqueness of the segment. That followed Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin continuing their feud, with the former calling out the latter after delivering a Dirty Deeds to Curt Hawkins in the ring. They had some to-and-fro on the mic, which was decent, and I'm excited for WM33. They'll put on a great match, I'm sure.

    On 205 Live, meanwhile, we saw Noam Dar battle Lince Dorado. Dar is probably one of the superstars who has enjoyed the most exposure since the cruiserweights returned, owing to his relationship with Alicia Fox, which seems largely redundant at this stage. Dar picked up the win, before Akira Towaza delivered a clunky in-ring interview with Austin Aries before being interrupted by The Brian Kendrick. Later in the night, Neville and Jack Gallagher previewed their Fastlane bout with an in-ring interview, the latter booked strongly and looking like a legitimate challenger for the belt by sending the heel scurrying. The only other match of the night saw Tony Nese team up with Ariya Daivari and Drew Gulak to take on Cedric Alexander, TJ Perkins and Mustafa Ali. WWE has nothing to do with any of the men, but it was refreshing to see Nese pick up the W, because he's largely been a jobber thus far.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Have to admit, I'm not a fan of John Cena and The Miz being shoe-horned into a mixed gender tag-team match with Nikki Bella and Maryse at WM33. But last night, the opening segment was fantastic on SmackDown. They mixed real-life dirt - the idea of Cena selling out for Hollywood, ruining guys careers back-stage, the Miz nicking gimmicks all over the shop - and it was excellent. To be honest, the duo deserve a headline feud of their own. It could be stellar, given the Miz's resurgence in popularity and quality, and Cena's ability to get the best out of everybody he stumbles across.

    Apart from that, the show was pretty standard. In a match nobody asked for, Dolph Ziggler beat Apollo Crews in a Chairs Match. I hate that type of match-up, and this was no different. Moreover, the crowd were perplexed who to invest in. Ziggler has more character development, but he's a heel, and Crews is underdeveloped but was booked strongly here. It reminded me of the crowd reaction to many of the cruiserweight bouts recently. Ziggler got the dirty win, rolling up Crews, after WWE had made the Championship scene even more confusing.

    Luke Harper and AJ Styles squared off, the latter pinning the former TWICE. That sort of booking does no favours for Harper, whose foot was on the rope for the first pin so the match was restarted by Shane McMahon. Styles' fury at this suggests we're heading for a Shane O'Mac vs Styles match at Mania, despite the staleness of such a match-up. After the best year in WWE in 2016, Styles deserves more. I'm not sure how the match will cement itself, and Styles will relinquish his No. 1 contendership, but there's some work for WWE to do. Likewise, it's hard to tell where this leaves Harper. Presumably, in the secondary championship scene - or the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy Battle Royal. That would be a real shame.

    And then, in the main event segment, we saw a rushed scene where Randy Orton revealed himself as a viper and disassociated himself with Bray Wyatt. Obviously, the fans have known this would happen - but they deserve a longer, more developed programme to enjoy before the eventual pay-off. It just seemed lazy from WWE, despite the uniqueness of the segment. That followed Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin continuing their feud, with the former calling out the latter after delivering a Dirty Deeds to Curt Hawkins in the ring. They had some to-and-fro on the mic, which was decent, and I'm excited for WM33. They'll put on a great match, I'm sure.

    On 205 Live, meanwhile, we saw Noam Dar battle Lince Dorado. Dar is probably one of the superstars who has enjoyed the most exposure since the cruiserweights returned, owing to his relationship with Alicia Fox, which seems largely redundant at this stage. Dar picked up the win, before Akira Towaza delivered a clunky in-ring interview with Austin Aries before being interrupted by The Brian Kendrick. Later in the night, Neville and Jack Gallagher previewed their Fastlane bout with an in-ring interview, the latter booked strongly and looking like a legitimate challenger for the belt by sending the heel scurrying. The only other match of the night saw Tony Nese team up with Ariya Daivari and Drew Gulak to take on Cedric Alexander, TJ Perkins and Mustafa Ali. WWE has nothing to do with any of the men, but it was refreshing to see Nese pick up the W, because he's largely been a jobber thus far.
    Actually skimmed this one just to see if you ignored the women again. You did.

    If ya gonna copy/paste long-ass essay summaries no-one's reading, at least leave yer sexism out of it.
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    Fastlane predictions:
    • Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa def. The Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar
    • Nia Jax def. Sasha Banks
    • Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson def. Enzo and Big Cass for the WWE RAW Tag-Team Championships.
    • Neville def. Jack Gallagher for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
    • Samoa Joe def. Sami Zayn
    • Charlotte def. Bayley for the WWE RAW Women's Championship.
    • Roman Reigns def. Braun Strowman
    • Goldberg def. Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship.
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    I'm surprised it took Goldberg only 22 seconds to beat Owens (not really).

    Goldberg v Lesnar is set up for Mania for the title.

    Reigns becomes the first guy to beat Strowman clean so I guess Undertaker is next for him.

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    There we go, then. As everybody feared, and nobody wanted, Goldberg squashes Kevin Owens. Fair enough, Chris Jericho played a part, but still, it's just ridiculous. WWE is clearly afraid of setting up a 15/20 minute match for Goldberg - who is probably incapable of going that long. But it's sacrificing its young talent, which just isn't good enough I'm afraid.

    The show itself was very poor, I felt. The Bayley and Charlotte bout disappointed me in terms of in-ring action, and when Sasha emerged, I just automatically assumed she was turning heel and costing Bayley. Banks had earlier scored a surprise victory over Nia Jax, so we're clearly en route for a Fatal 4-Way between the quartet at WM33. I'm unsure how Bayley picking up the W in dirty circumstances makes her a babyface? Still, I'm pleased for Charlotte's PPV streak to end.

    The match of the night, undoubtedly, was Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns. There were some farcical matches - namely Rusev, who is a shadow of his former self, losing to the new and improved (fitness-wise, at least) Big Show, moments after Cesaro had beaten Jinder Mahal. These are RAW filler matches and belong nowhere on a PPV. Not only did Cesaro labour to victory, but he needed a distraction - yes, a DISTRACTION - to defeat a jobber. Strowman vs. Reigns, however, was excellent. Some will question the result, and suggest WWE have undone their good work with Strowman by putting the latter over, but he looked like a monster still and was really really good technically. He has a big future. However, what does WWE do with him? Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy Battle Royal? Pah. The other highlight was Samoe Joe vs Sami Zayn, as many expected. The bout was excellent and really told a good story - Zayn the plucky underdog, Joe the unstoppable force. It was good storytelling only undermined by the match length. I'd have liked the narrative to have been stretched for another five minutes, really.

    The tag team bouts were fun, with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows retaining their straps when they isolated Big Cass and ploughed Enzo for the W, after a fun kick-off bout between the cruiserweights which showcased each of the four competitors - Brian Kendrick, Noam Dar, Akira Tozawa and Rich Swann. All four are seriously entertaining wrestlers, and the crowd was actually quite hot, which added to the action. Swann deserves to be in and around the title picture still, despite his poorness on the mic, so I was pleased he got the pin. I'd expect RAW to shoehorn Cesaro and Sheamus into the latter match at WM33, making it a Triple Threat for the championships, and Enzo/Cass may very well go over, especially after the dirty finish last night. Later in the night, Neville retained against Jack Gallagher - which was the right choice, really. Neville has breathed life into the 205 division and is clearly en route for a meeting with Austin Aries at WM33. Gallagher comes out of the match looking much less of a joke, too, and the match was a really good advertisement for 205 Live.
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    Banks will probably turn heel tonight. Goldberg pretty much buried him self after that last match if anything.
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    (Original post by AR_95)
    Banks will probably turn heel tonight. Goldberg pretty much buried him self after that last match if anything.
    She needs to. She's lost a lot of her star power after being booked poorly vs Jax. Thing is, if she does turn heel, and Bayley faces ALL of Jax, Charlotte and Sasha at Mania... that's three heels vs one babyface. WWE typically likes to have it 2-on-2 for Fatal 4-Way bouts. Sasha has always been better heel.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    She needs to. She's lost a lot of her star power after being booked poorly vs Jax. Thing is, if she does turn heel, and Bayley faces ALL of Jax, Charlotte and Sasha at Mania... that's three heels vs one babyface. WWE typically likes to have it 2-on-2 for Fatal 4-Way bouts. Sasha has always been better heel.
    If it's a fatal 4 way I'd rather have her stay face, and turn heel at Wrestlemania. She can have another run with the strap but as heel post WM.
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    Goldberg wins rematch tonight by Indian Death Lock after 25-minute catch-as-catch-can wrestling clinic.
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    Goldberg v Lesnar for the Universal Title at WM as the last match of the night.

    This, considering Goldberg has not been able to muster a match length of any note so far and is expected, probably, to do at least a 10min match for Mania. It's poor planning - it suggests WWE haven't even considered upping his minutes to let him get used to activity in a wrestling ring or, and it wouldn't surprise me with his training, that his body's breaking up on him and hence why they've given him as much less time as possible in the ring.
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    After Fastlane (which seemed to be like the longest, elongated and poorest episode of RAW for a long time), last night's RAW was much better. It set up storylines for WM33 well, and the Road to Mania has well and truly begun. It was smart to begin with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, and address that situation. Owens was good on the mic and has now totally rid the comedy from his shtick, which is smart. The pair will have a great US Championship match at WM33, I think. In terms of in-ring action, Owens picked up a win over Sami Zayn - who seems to be the new Dolph Ziggler, in terms of his place on the card. Zayn is merely there for WWE to build up heels at this point in time. Later in the night, Jericho and Samoa Joe squared off - the heel picking up the W, obviously - in a rushed bout. Both matches were OK for the time allocated, but both needed longer. The win for Owens was really well needed, and he looked dominant, which is the main thing.

    Then, we saw Neville retain his Cruiserweight Championship by beating Rich Swann. It was good to see Neville win again and continue his dominance, and he looks set for Austin Aries at Mania, after the duo clashed in the ring during the post-match interview. Later, the cruiserweight's second storyline - Akira Tozawa and The Brian Kendrick - picked up steam with the babyface calling out the heel, after he beat Daivari.

    WWE did well building up other Mania matches, too. We saw Sasha Banks shoehorned into the WWE RAW Women's Championship angle by beating Bayley one-on-one in a non-title match, making it Bayley vs. Banks vs.Charlotte at WM33 as it stands. Still, it remains to be seen what is done with Nia Jax -and all rumours suggest we're set for a Fatal 4-Way, so expect her to make her presence felt before the PPV. We also saw The Undertaker return and chokeslam Roman Reigns, setting up the feud everybody wants, in the closing segment. Where that leaves Braun Strowman, who began the segment by calling out Reigns, is unknown. I presume he'll be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy Battle Royal.

    Other superstars are struggling to find their place on the card. The New Day are being absolutely farcically booked, and have no idea what they're doing. They beat the Shining Stars on Monday night, but the title picture is crowded and has no room for them. At this stage, I think a split would be the best thing for them - despite their merchandise sales. Enzo and Cass vs Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows ended in disqualification, before the babyface duo clashed squabbled with Sheamus and Cesaro, meaning we're probably geared up for a Mania Triple Threat between three duos. Foley announced that Cesaro and Sheamus would take on Cass and Amore next week in a No. 1 Contender's match, but it's easy to envisage a way both teams face The Club.

    In the other segments, Triple H delivered a backstage interview regarding Seth Rollins, who remains conspicuously absent. If he's fit for Mania, and faces HHH, that leaves Joe with nothing to do. But the good news is that Finn Balor, according to rumours at least, has recovered and is set for an in-ring return imminently. That will be a heck of a bout, and make up somewhat for the Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar main event, how we're all unsure will play out. Last night, at least, Goldberg was booked weakly - and took an F5 from Lesnar, which is a welcome change in narrative. Still, WWE needs to keep the physical interactions between the pair few and far between to keep them special.
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    This is the hottest Jericho's been in a long while, and I'm more than glad they give him the last laugh vs Samoa Joe, the first star to have done so?

    I do hope he stays on the card post WWE and doesn't leave for a while, he deserves to be treated as a star even after jobbing to almost everyone.
 
 
 
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