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The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 02/22/16

Posted By: John Canton on Feb 23, 2016

Live from Detroit, Michigan this is the Raw Deal for episode #1187. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to TJR reader Chris Rowlands for the "preferred read" line in the banner above.

Before we begin this week, here’s my very detailed recap of WWE Fastlane from Sunday night. I also wrote an exclusive column for Comeback Sports about Fastlane so check that out as well.

Prior to Raw, they shot an angle where Brock Lesnar attacked Dean Ambrose in the parking lot. Here’s the video of that.

Let's see what's in store for us on Raw this week.

The show began with clips of the main event from Fastlane, which was won by Roman Reigns.

They showed the Legacy of Excellence Award in the ring to start Raw. The announce team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and John Bradshaw Layfield welcomed us to the show.

They showed the video of Lesnar attacking Ambrose prior to Raw. The story is that Ambrose got taken to the hospital following the attack.

Vincent J. McMahon Legacy Of Excellence Award

Vince Kennedy McMahon (aka Vince Jr.) went down to the ring to present this award. Vince said it’s a night that we will never forget because of the presentation of the Legacy of Excellence Award. Vince said that for over 100 years, his family has been presenting sports entertainment starting with his grandfather in 1914, then his dad, who was inducted in Madison Square Garden’s Hall of Fame in 1984. Vince said his dad had a cunning business mind, but he was very kind. He said the person we honor tonight is somebody with good business acumen, but also a good hearted soul. He announced the award going to his daughter…Stephanie McMahon.

Stephanie walked down to the ring and hugged her father. The crowd was booing as Vince congratulated his daughter. When she thanked her dad, the crowd kept on booing. She had a speech prepared. And then…an interruption.

It’s Shane McMahon! Wow. Here comes the money! What a huge ovation for Vince’s only son Shane, who has been out of WWE for about six years. What a huge reaction to Shane McMahon! Crowd chanting "holy shit" and then "this is awesome" before he could say a word. When Vince went to hug Shane, Shane stopped him. Crowd cheered. Vince wanted a handshake, but Shane refused that too. This is one of the loudest sustained ovations in a very long time.

Shane thanked the fans for that ovation. He said this is the straw that broke the camel’s back and this is why he is back here. He told Stephanie that she is not a worthy recipient of that award. She was shocked. Shane said that Vince always told him he had to do things face to face, so that’s what they are going to do tonight.

Stephanie complained about how he hasn’t been around here for the past 6 or 7 while she and her husband have been running a successful billion dollar business whether the people appreciate it or not. Shane said to Vince: “She doesn’t know, does she?”

Shane told her that she and Hunter have been running this company into the ground. The crowd cheered. He mentioned the stock and ratings. So they’re cheering running the company into the ground? That's funny. Stephanie said that Shane was a quitter and she said it was her ring. Shane kept on asking Vince if he wanted to tell her.

Shane mentioned that several years ago, Vince messed up big time and Shane was there to save the day. Shane said they cut a little deal that allowed him to take time off as well as build some business. Shane claimed that he never lost his place in line. Shane said the only reason she was able to climb so far is because he let it happen. Stephanie wanted Vince to tell her that wasn’t true. Fans chanted “yes” for this. Vince wanted to have a word for Shane. Stephanie mentioned they have WrestleMania, but maybe she’ll get him a ticket. Vince asked her to leave so he can have a word with Shane and that he’ll give Stephanie the award backstage. Vince admitted there’s some truth to it and Shane said it’s all true. Shane said that at the time it was “best for business” as he held open the ropes for his sister. Stephanie told Shane she will never forgive him for this. Fans chanted “na na na na hey hey goodbye” to Stephanie.

Vince was alone with Shane. Vince said he’d write a check to him. Shane said this isn’t about money and it’s never been money. Shane said this is about legacy and he’s fourth generation with his wife Marissa creating the fifth generation with his three boys at home. He named his three boys: Declan, Kenyan and Rogan. Vince wondered what this is all about. Shane says he wants control of Monday Night Raw. The crowd cheered for that.

Vince said that Shane can’t just walk in there and take over things. Vince yelled about how Shane was there to embarrass them. Vince yelled at the fans about how they don’t know what they want. Vince offered up a little deal as long as Shane has one match in one night. If Shane wins his match then he gets his wish. If Shane loses that match then Vince wants Shane to get rid of whatever he has against his father. Shane agrees.

Vince announces the match: It’s Shane against The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Big reaction to that. In addition to that, it’s a Hell in a Cell match. Even bigger reaction to that. Vince laughed on his way out of the ring.

Analysis: Wow what an opening. The whole thing went 31 minutes, which makes it one of the longest opening segments in the history of WWE. That ovation for Shane was one of the loudest that there’s ever been. He held his own with his father and sister even though he hasn’t been on TV in so long. He looked like he was sweating a bit, but he appears to be in pretty good shape. He’s 46 years old now. The Undertaker announcement is pretty random although it makes sense that Vince would pick his most reliable guy at WrestleMania to try to beat his son. I think Shane running things would give WWE the kind off freshness the storylines need after too much of Triple H and Stephanie, but I’m not sure if Shane is going to win. I’m just saying they do need to change things up a bit. The way I see it they needed a really big name to face Undertaker due to all of the injuries they have. Shane is a really big name that hasn't been around for a long time. Will Shane win? I have no idea at this time. It's okay to not know things. Let's have fun and enjoy it.

(Commercial)

Prior to a tag match, The New Day did a pre-match inset promo talking trash about The League of Nations and told them to get Booty-O’s cereal.

The New Day vs. Neville & The Lucha Dragons

They started the match and went to break about 30 seconds into it.

Analysis: Since that first segment ran so long they are going to have a lot of commercials in this next hour to catch up.

(Commercial)

The New Day trio was in control after the break doing their unicorn stomp spot on Neville. I have to admit I’m still on a bit of a high from the Shane McMahon appearance and I’ve been tweeting with other fans about it. The New Day kept working on Neville. After about three minutes of action, they went to another break.

(Commercial)

Big E nailed a huge splash on Neville while Woods hit a leg drop at the same time. Neville with a back body drop over the top to Woods. Kingston tagged in for New Day and prevented a tag for Neville. Then Neville moved out of the way and tagged in Sin Cara. Cross body block by Sin Cara and then a springboard cross body block. A springboard back elbow by Sin Cara. With Kingston out of the ring, Sin Cara hit a suicide dive to take him out. All six guys ended up in the ring hitting big moves as they cleared the ring. Neville kicked Woods in the head while Big E missed an attack to the floor on Neville. Neville did a Shooting Star Press off the apron on Big E and then Kalisto hit a flip into a splash on Woods. When Sin Cara went for a move on Kingston, Kingston grabbed his mask and then Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise kick for the win after about 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The New Day

Analysis: **3/4 A solid match to put over the tag champs. I’m glad that they are still heels and they acted the same way as usual. I know the face turn is probably coming even though I don’t want it to happen. The ending of the match was really well done with some highspots that made everybody look good. I’m not a fan of two commercials in a match that went that length, but the first segment went so long that they had to catch up. Good win for New Day.

Roman Reigns was checking his phone backstage to get an update on Dean Ambrose when Jojo showed up to ask questions. He noted that Dean Ambrose was thrown threw a windshield and he’s trying to get an update from the hospital. Reigns said that WrestleMania is the big fight he’s been after. Fans were chanting for Ambrose as Reigns talked about how it’s finally him and Triple H in front of the whole world. He said it’s going to come down to his fist and his heart. He likes his odds.

Coming up next is Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman.

(Commercial)

The great Brock Lesnar walked out at the top of hour two along with his outstanding advocate Paul Heyman. They got a really nice ovation from the crowd.

Heyman said this is the main event because any segment with his client is the main event because his client is the biggest attraction because his client is Brock Lesnar. Heyman talked about how at Fastlane, Lesnar took Ambrose and Reigns to Suplex City. Then Lesnar locked the Kimura Lock on Reigns and was about to tap out with Heyman noting that Reigns was definitely going to tap out. Heyman noted that Ambrose went after Lesnar with a steel chair. He said that the chair pissed off Lesnar. Heyman noted that Lesnar was so mad that he went after Ambrose earlier today because Lesnar’s out of the main event of WrestleMania, so now Ambrose is out of WrestleMania altogether. Heyman called for the footage from earlier today.

Lesnar was laughing as he watched the footage again. Heyman said there is no shield (important word there) that can protect Ambrose from the wrath of Lesnar. Heyman complained about how Ambrose cost Lesnar the main event. Heyman was ranting about Parkour kids and compared them to Ambrose, so then he called Lesnar a Mack semi so he slapped the microphone down. The microphone broke, so Heyman got another one. Heyman noted that if he’s in this kind of a mood, Lesnar is more angry. Heyman said that Lesnar needs a WrestleMania opponent and warned anybody to visit Ambrose in the hospital to see what he can do. Heyman spoke about how Lesnar’s path of destruction will not have any mercy.

Heyman: “So sayeth the advocate, so sayeth the beast, so sayeth the conqueror, so sayeth the main event Brock Lesnar.”

It looked like the promo was over, but then the ambulance siren sounded again. It drove in through the garage and then into the arena. It was Ambrose driving the ambulance into the arena. He drove it to the side of the ramp. Ambrose was wearing a neck brace. He stumbled his way down to the ring to get after Lesnar. He kept on falling over on his way to the ring. As Ambrose got close to the ring, Lesnar literally stepped on him and walked to the back as Lesnar’s music played.

Ambrose got on the microphone. He told Lesnar to kiss his ass and he said he’s indestructible. Ambrose said that he wants Lesnar at WrestleMania in a No Holds Barred Street Fight. Lesnar went back down to the ring and dropped Ambrose with a F5 on the floor outside the ring. Heyman said that Lesnar accepts the challenge.

Analysis: That match is going to be amazing. It was reported on late last night by Dave Meltzer and there’s the confirmation. They dropped the Lesnar/Wyatt feud because Ambrose had done such a great job in the last month. The build up has been really good in the past few weeks, so I’m glad the story is continuing. Heyman’s promo was incredible like usual. I like how he was so fired up about Lesnar not being in the main event, but then doing all he could to say that Lesnar really is the main event on any show that he’s on. That Lesnar/Ambrose match may be the best match at WrestleMania although we don’t know the full card yet. I’m really looking forward to that match.

(Commercial)

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The Usos made their entrance. They have been out of action selling the heel turn by The Dudleys against them.

The Dudley Boyz were on the ramp to do a promo. Bubba Ray said that they had to attack The Usos because they wanted to remind people they weren’t some nostalgia act – they are the most decorated team in the history of WWE. He mentioned they were the nine time WWE tag team champions and their legacy won’t be defined by a piece of furniture. Bubba said that their legacy will be defined by their accomplishments. D-Von talked about how maybe their father (Rikishi) should have taught them respect instead of buying thongs. The Ascension attacked The Usos from behind.

The Usos vs. The Ascension

Viktor was aggressive early with a flying knee attack to Jimmy and then Konnor hit a boot to the face. Jey tagged in and got the advantage for his team with a Samoan Drop on Viktor. Running butt splash by Jey on the corner. Kick by Jey to Konnor and Jimmy with a superkick for Konnor. Double superkick on Viktor. Jey nailed a Superfly Splash off the top onto Viktor. He covered for the win after three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Usos

Analysis: * It was just a short match to put over The Usos after they were out for a couple of weeks. Nothing wrong with it.

Post match, The Dudleys walked down the ramp to get closer to the ring. They didn’t go all the way down, though. They went back on the ramp to avoid a fight because that's what heels do.

Analysis: I’m not sure if they are building to Dudleys vs. Usos at WrestleMania or if they’ll do it before. The tag title feud seems to be New Day vs. League of Nations, so they could do Dudleys vs. Usos. It’s just a matter of finding time for those matches at WM. They could always go to the pre-show because it’s going to be a really long night.

Tonight on Raw is a rematch from Fastlane with Ryback, Big Show & Kane against The Wyatt Family again. It’s 50/50 booking time.

(Commercial)

Chris Jericho made his entrance in his ring gear. They showed University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh getting excited at ringside.

Jericho spoke about how great his match was with AJ Styles was at Fastlane. He said that he wanted to talk to AJ Styles face to face right now, so he called him out to the ring. Huge ovation as Styles’ music hit and the Detroit crowd reacted to him in a big way.

Styles received a big pop like he gets in every city. Fans chanted “AJ Styles” and also “Y2J” for Jericho. Jericho put him over saying that Styles beat him and it was a phenomenal match. Jericho noted that he may not like Styles, but he respects him. Jericho congratulated Styles. He went on to congratulate Styles for proving that he belongs here in WWE. Jericho told him he believes he can be a WWE Champion one day. Jericho said that Styles proved he isn’t just good or great, he’s phenomenal. They shook hands.

The Social Outcasts music broke it up. Heath Slater said they are sorry they had to interrupt right before they were going to hug. Bo Dallas said his heart was warm to see so much love in the ring. Slater said he was being sarcastic and Bo said he was too. Curtis Axel said this was garbage. Axel said that Jericho’s only playing nice because Styles made him tap out. Slater wondered why Styles would shake his hand after all that Jericho has done to him – Slater said where he comes from Styles is a coward. Adam Rose said that nobody is buying this…Y2AJ. Dallas said if they think they are team they are wrong because THEY are a team. Slater told them to get out of their ring now.

Jericho: “Shut up, ginger jackass.” Jericho said that he and AJ weren’t planning on being a team, but maybe they will be. They are going to officially team up by teaming up against these four stooges right here in Detroit Rock City. Jericho’s music played.

Analysis: I liked the way they handled that with Jericho respecting Styles and they got along well. It was a feud about building up Styles as a legitimate talent in WWE. It worked well because the matches they had were awesome. They did this same angle on Smackdown a couple of weeks ago with the Social Outcasts coming out there leading to a match. Can Jericho just make matches? Apparently he can.

(Commercial)

Chris Jericho & AJ Styles vs. Curtis Axel & Heath Slater (w/Bo Dallas & Adam Rose)

Jericho with a dropkick on Slater. Styles nailed a running forearm on Slater, but Slater was able to fight out of a Styles Clash. Dallas and Rose caused a distraction against Styles, which allowed the heels to take control for about a minute. Styles was able to hit a Pele Kick on Slater. Jericho with a hot tag against Axel. Jericho nailed a chop off the top, then a springboard dropkick on Slater and a bulldog on Axel. Jericho missed a Lionsault since Axel moved. Jericho came back with a Walls of Jericho attempt as Styles nailed a springboard forearm on Slater. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on Axel. As he did that, Styles did a springboard cross body block to take out the three Outcasts on the floor. Jericho made Axel tap out in a match that ended in four minutes.

Winners by submission: Chris Jericho & AJ Styles

Analysis: ** A basic match to put over the faces that have become allies due to the respect they have for eachother. They just use the Social Outcasts to put over babyfaces most weeks. Sometimes they get wins like the one over R-Truth on Sunday, but for the most part they are comedic losers. I’m hoping Styles faces Kevin Owens at WrestleMania. For now it hasn’t been teased yet aside from Owens tweeting about him on Sunday night.

There was a replay of the Shane McMahon return at the start of the show. Watching that again, it’s pretty incredible that Shane got such a huge ovation. They replayed the key moments from the promo that Shane had with Vince.

There was a backstage segment where Stephanie complained to WWE Champion Triple H about Shane. Hunter told her not to worry because Shane has always been a failure. Then he moved on to his feud by asking her if she wanted to talk to Roman or if he should. She said she would go talk to Roman.

(Commercial)

Roman Reigns was backstage. Stephanie put him in a match against somebody that has been unjustly overlooked…Sheamus. Stephanie said that Sheamus is part of the League of Nations that is a true brotherhood. Stephanie noted that the League of Nations could potentially injure Reigns and cause him to miss WrestleMania. She wished him luck and left.

Analysis: It’s been a good night so far, but they are giving us a main event we have seen so many times before.

In the locker room, Goldust went up to R-Truth with a cake that said “I’m Sorry” on it. Truth complained about all the things that Goldust has done in the last few weeks. Goldust said this is a chocolate cake with yellow frosting kind of like them. R-Truth said he didn’t want an apology or the cake and he ain’t gonna…but Goldust said he knows what he might say, but Goldust can predict his every move. Truth was amazed by that. Truth said maybe Goldust thinks that he will smash the cake in his face, but Truth said he’s better than that and he left. Then Truth said “psych” and smashed the cake in the face.

Analysis: They are really taking their time in setting up this team. It’s been over a month now. They’ll probably do something soon where Goldust helps Truth win a match and that leads to Truth trusting him more.

The Wyatt Family made their entrance as Michael Cole said WWE is welcoming Snickers to the WWE family as a sponsor for WrestleMania.

As Big Show, Ryback and Kane made their entrances, Erick Rowan put his sheep mask on Saxton at the commentary table. They went to break before the match could begin.

(Commercial)

Kane, Ryback & Big Show vs. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (w/Braun Strowman)

The difference between this match and Sunday is that Bray’s in this match while Strowman was in the other match. No more mask on Saxton. When Ryback tagged in against Harper, some fans were chanting “Goldberg” at him. I think it turned into a “Gillberg” chant too. Kane nailed Rowan with a clothesline to knock him down. Ryback tagged in and nailed a cross body block on Rowan. Ryback nailed two running knees in the corner. Rowan snapped Ryback’s neck against the ropes, but then Ryback came back with a spinebuster that didn’t look that good. Outside the ring, Ryback nailed Rowan with a huge clothesline. Time for a break.

(Commercial)

Back from break and the heels were still working over Ryback. Rowan went for a superplex, Ryback fought out of it and Ryback hit a missile dropkick off the middle ropes. Hot tag to Big Show against Wyatt. Show cleaned house with clotheslines as well as a Spear. Harper nailed Show with a kick, but Kane nailed Harper with a boot. Rowan spin kick on Kane and then Show with a Chokeslam on Rowan. Show went off the ropes, but Strowman pulled down the rope to send Show over the top to the floor. Harper worked over Show with some punches and kicks. He charged in, but Show caught him. Harper countered a chokeslam into a sleeper hold. Show countered that with a back suplex. Kane got the hot tag against Harper. Kane with a sidewalk slam, a low dropkick and a DDT on Harper. There wasn’t much of a reaction for Kane. Ryback jumped off the apron and just went up the ramp. Wyatt tagged in. Kane nailed a Chokeslam on Harper. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Kane and pinned him after about 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Wyatt, Harper & Rowan

Analysis: **1/2 That was a better match than what they did at Fastlane because they got a bit more time. Wyatt being in the match is an improvement over Strowman. The big story was Ryback randomly walking up the ramp. I guess he’s turning heel for some reason. He really hasn’t gone that far since his last face turn, so might as well see if he can be successful as a heel again. It’s not like people care about him that much right now either. What was weird about it is they really didn’t build it up at all. It’s not like he was begging for a tag and didn’t get tagged in. He was in the match quite a bit. He just chose to leave, so that was bizarre.

Later on Raw it’s Reigns vs. Sheamus.

There’s a new episode of the Edge and Christian show on WWE Network after Raw. I didn’t see the first episode yet. Maybe on Tuesday. I’m not going to write a review. I review enough things lol.

(Commercial)

There was a commercial for WrestleMania 32, which is 41 days away. I was originally going to the show, but after my dad passed away a few weeks ago I just don’t feel like it anymore. Then there’s a part of me that thinks I should go because it’s important to do normal things. I’m definitely undecided right now leaning towards not going. It has nothing to do with the card or money. Just a feeling right now.

Ryback was shown walking backstage. Rich Brennan asked him why he walked out. Ryback said he’s done being in tag teams. He said it’s nothing personal against Kane or Big Show. He said that glass ceiling and that brass ring: “break it, take it.”

Analysis: It sounds like a heel turn with Ryback only looking out for himself. If you look at the entire roster they really don’t have enough heels. In order for him to ascend at all, being a heel may be the best thing. He wasn’t that good at it last time, though.

Sasha Banks vs. Naomi (w/Tamina)

Naomi was in control early on. With Banks on the apron, Tamina yanked her leg and Banks took a face first bump on the apron. Banks was on the floor as they went to break about one minute into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Banks started to get some momentum. Tamina distracted her, which allowed Naomi to trip up Banks. Becky Lynch ran down to ringside to take down Tamina. Banks gave Naomi the Backstabber leading to the Banks Statement submission for the win after five minutes.

Winner by submission: Sasha Banks

Analysis: * They had one minute of action, went to a three-minute break and then came back for one minute of action. Poorly timed match in terms of showing the action. Easy win for Banks.

Post match, the Divas Champion Charlotte walked out with her dad Ric Flair while Banks and Lynch were still in the ring. She was fake crying while mocking the hair dye of both Lynch and Banks. She said they were best buddies now like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, but then pushed the idea that they might fight at any time. She noted that The Authority has said that one of them will face Charlotte at WrestleMania. Charlotte talked about how the next few weeks are going to be fun to see who emerges as the title contender.

Analysis: A decent promo by Charlotte. As I’ve said for weeks now, it’s probably going to be Charlotte vs. Becky vs. Sasha for the Divas Title. That should be an awesome match.

Sheamus was shown with his League of Nations buddies backstage as he prepares for the main event.

(Commercial)

They showed a James Brown quote for Black History Month.

There was another replay of Shane McMahon’s return leading to his WrestleMania match with the official match announced: Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania.

Backstage, Stephanie told Vince she refused to work for her brother. She spoke about how whatever Shane has over Vince must be very powerful. Vince said that he made another main event match at WrestleMania. He told her that’s what you have to do and that’s what that award is all about. Stephanie called it a calculated risk.

It was mentioned that The Godfather is announced for the WWE Hall of Fame this year. They just showed a few clips of him in action while JBL noted that the APA is inducting him. No video package for him.

Analysis: It was announced earlier today. He was in WWE for about 12 years through the 1990s into the early 2000s. In terms of a character he did a good job as Papa Shango, Kama, The Godfather and The Goodfather as well. They’re only going to talk about The Godfather gimmick. Was he that good in the ring? Not really. I can't think of good matches that he had. I don’t really think of him as a HOF talent. However, in WWE’s HOF all you really have to do is work there long enough, don’t piss anybody off and you’re probably going to get in. It’s not like there are real credentials that you need to have. Congrats to him, but it’s not like he’s a big name.

Roman Reigns entered for the main event as the announcers plugged his WrestleMania match against Triple H for the WWE Title.

Analysis: This third hour is really dragging. It happens nearly every week. The show is too damn long. That third hour isn’t going away, though. It’s too much of a moneymaker for WWE and they can’t back out of the deal they signed with USA Network last year.

(Commercial)

Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus (w/Rusev, Alberto Del Rio & King Barrett)

It’s hard for me to be interested in this match considering how many times they have done it in the last few months. Sheamus was in control. Reigns made a comeback and then Rusev crushed him with a kick to the head outside the ring. The referee didn’t see it as the show went to break a few minutes into this match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Sheamus gave Reigns the backbreaker. Fans were doing the “Let’s go Roman/Roman Sucks” chant because I guess they miss Cena. Reigns nailed a Superman Punch on Sheamus as Sheamus rolled out to the floor. Reigns hit a huge Spear on Sheamus on the floor. Triple H’s music hit as he walked out there with the WWE Title. He was wearing his leather jacket, a t-shirt and jeans instead of a suit. Cole noted that Hunter was the “cerebral assassin” when he looks like that.

Reigns went out of the ring to brawl with Triple H at ringside. I guess that’s the end of the match?

Match Result: It Just Stopped

Analysis: *1/2 They didn’t even try to book a finish. The League of Nations foursome just left.

Hunter had the advantage on Reigns, but then Reigns nailed him with a Superman Punch that sent Hunter to the floor. Reigns sent Hunter over the barricade. Hunter came back by nailing Reigns in the throat with the ring bell. Triple H slammed Reigns head first into the announce table several times in a row. Reigns was bleeding in the face. A bunch of referees and medical personnel tended to Reigns at ringside. Triple H yelled at him as if to say you wanted this, now you got it.

Hunter removed the top half of the steel steps. Hunter gave Reigns a Pedigree on the steel steps. Then he mocked the Reigns “load the gun” sign and did a DX chop to huge cheers. Cole was yelling about how much pain Reigns must be in. Triple H posed with the WWE Title on the steps to end the show at 11:07pmET.

Analysis: That’s what you call the hard sell for WrestleMania. That beating is what they needed to do in order to show how serious Triple H was going to take this match. He came out there looking like the WWE Champion instead of the part timer that wears a suit. Then he destroyed Reigns with a vicious attack at ringside. I liked the cheap shot with the ring bell. The blood was a nice touch too. It was really well done. In the next week or two, Reigns will destroy Triple H in a similar manner to even up the odds.

While I’m sure WWE will issue some statement saying that the blood was an accident, they know what they were doing. There's a fan video on Facebook showing Byron Saxton handing something to Reigns, which was likely a blood capsule, used to enhance the story. It was like when Lesnar and Undertaker had a bloody Hell in a Cell match. They knew what they were doing too.

What was concerning about this ending is that Hunter was cheered so much and the crowd didn't show that much support for Reigns. If they want to have Reigns as the face in this match they have to try much harder to get him some support. Will fans be sympathetic to him after getting beat up like this? I don't know. Most fans are sick of the guy. That's the issue with him in this spot.

Great way to end Raw. Yes, the last match had no finish and that bothers me a bit, but all anybody is going to remember is that beatdown. It was a memorable way to end things.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Shane McMahon – Great to see him back. That was an awesome surprise.

2. Vince McMahon – He looked like he was having a blast out there with his son again.

3. Dean Ambrose – Love his fighting spirit.

 

The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 5.5

2016 Average: 5.75

Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 6.5, 5, 6, 4.5, 5.5

2016 High: 7 (Feb. 22)

2016 Low: 4.5 (Jan. 18)

 

Final Thoughts

I’m giving it a 7 out of 10.

It was a Raw that felt like a big deal all night long. The angle with Shane and Vince McMahon was outstanding as well as the story between Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose. Those angles were so great that they carried the rest of the show.

I missed Kevin Owens on this show. He's such a big star and I think they made a mistake leaving him off. I get that they were trying to do other things. I'm sure he'll have a role on Smackdown because he's always featured there, but he should be on Raw every week.

The third hour dragged at times, but they ended it on a high note. I liked that brawl with Triple H and Roman.

It's been an exhausting couple of days, so that's enough for me this week.

---

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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