This was a very hard Afterglow for me to write. I think the WWE really dropped the ball with most of the superstars involved with this PPV and I feel bad for them all as well as the fans who watched some great work that basically amounted to nothing. I tried to grade the matches according to the work and what will be changed going forward. If I was only grading on the ring work, all the grades would be higher.
Monday night before Raw, I did my first Royal Inquisition. It went so well that we all agreed that I should be the one continuing with the RI, but I’m also thinking that the Afterglow might be better in video form. I would be able to get it out to you much faster that way and I think my reactions will be more honest as writing always loses a bit in translation. Thoughts? Please let me know.
In a Chamber: History Continues
I really enjoyed this. Could it have been better? Yes. Still, it told very good stories and the women worked the ring quite well. I really like the fact that we’re finally getting dissension between Bayley and Sasha. I, for one, have been longing for a Bayley/Sasha feud and it looks like I’ll finally get it. I also love the order in which people went out. Absolution is still brand new and they aren’t quite working yet so it made sense to off both of them first. I also like Alexa winning. The promo we got on last night’s “Raw” is proof of how amazingly well that worked out. It gave her so much to say and such justified attitude to say it with. We got some crazy spots and some excellent work too. I’m thrilled for those ladies and very happy with how it came across on TV. The audience was into it and so was I. – Botch
Tag Champs Dominate
This was a really great match, but I was expecting a very different outcome. The grade is a mix of the work and creative. Sadly, the grade would be higher if the Raw Tag Division wasn’t such a mess. Creative has backed themselves into a corner with this one. Having Titus Worldwide go under The Bar when they really should have won the straps (and then the travesty of The Bar winning the first two falls on Raw, this winning again) at the EC PPV. At this point, there’s no one to go after The Bar (unless they bring up AoP on the next episode of Raw, but I think they are still in the Dusty Rhode Tag Team Challenge at the moment) on Raw, and while The Bar is great, there’s no reason for them to be so great without a challenger. Honestly, they’ve become a bit stale at the top because there’s nothing for them to do but look cute in their little skirt outfits and talk smack. I think it would have helped everyone involved if Titus Worldwide had won the straps because The Bar would have something to chase and both Titus and Apollo need the straps to get over the hump and further push them as a growing and believable team. This right here is why WWE Creative is not working at all!
Nia Wasn’t Ready For Asuka
This went exactly as most of us figured it would. It was a really solid match, but we all knew Asuka would be winning this, therefore it was pretty unnecessary. Yes, it was entertaining, but entertainment only goes so far when it’s obvious how the match is going to end. I’m sorry I sound like a stick in the mud but this match needed something beyond wrestling to make it interesting and as great as these two women are, I would have preferred to see something unexpected here. Yes, Asuka should have won and continued her streak, but this basic match could have gone down on any Monday night Raw, not the last Raw PPV before WrestleMania.
Is Woken Already Broken?
I feel horrible for both Bray and Matt. They’re great talents and hard workers but they’ve been hard done over and over again by booking! There’s so much these guys could be doing, but Matt has been reduced to laughing, and Bray doesn’t even have it that good! What a mess! If I was either of them, I’d be more pissed off than even my kids have seen me. I’m kind of surprised that Reby hasn’t gone off completely!
Tripping Through Tables
I was really worried about this segment. Would Ronda be able to do more than point at the WrestleMania sign? While she was nervous and struggled on mic, I think much of it was how overwhelmed she was. The fans were a bit mixed at times, but many fans in attendance loved her from the moment her music hit. She looked great, was very emotive, and when she turned to ask Angle about what he had to say, she was natural, and it was her best moment on mic through the whole thing.
I love how Angle handled himself here, especially when he was so obviously sick. I had questioned his health earlier in the show, and seeing how his right hand was shaking as he held the mic had me really worried. I loved how Angle handled himself and set up Ronda in this segment. It was well organized and well executed.
For me, seeing Ronda stand toe to toe with Trip was a beautifu thing to seel. She stood up to him and didn’t blink. It was beautiful. I also think it’s beautiful that Trip let her put him through that table, especially beautiful that she used the Angle slam after all the info Angle had given her. That slap from Steph was amazing. She never holds back slapping people, and I have to wonder if some of the makeup Ronda was wearing on Raw was to cover some bruising.
I also want to mention Ronda’s music. I’m thrilled that the WWE has obviously gotten the clearance to use Bad Reputation from Joan Jett at Elimination Chamber. And, since they used it on Raw as well, I’m guessing that they have clearance to use it for Ronda’s entrance for her time in the WWE. She’d always used it in UFC so it makes total sense. I’m thrilled.
Record-Breaking & Fan Hating
Going into this match, I really thought that Strowman would be breaking the Elimination Chamber in some way, because, well, he’s Strowman! That being said, I wasn’t at all shocked that Strowman eliminated four superstars in this match. He’s money, through and through. Heck, so is Elias! The two of them are money. That being said, Strowman should be working a bigger match at WrestleMania than against Elias – unless it’s a No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere Match. They need something big if their WrestleMania match is between the two of them but I’m sidetracking.
Strowman is money and more than proved that Sunday night in the Elimination Chamber. He was powerful, scary, a monster, but didn’t make it look silly the way Hogan used to. Strowman was unstoppable. That is until Reigns stopped him to win the match. After everything Strowman did and what he did to Reigns after the match, I’m not able to suspend my disbelief enough to believe this in any way, shape, or form.
It’s one thing to have Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rocky, Cena, even Hogan main eventing four WrestleManias in a row, but Reigns is no Austin, Cena, Hogan, and while related, he is no Rocky, and he never will be Rocky, no matter how much he’s pushed down our throats.
I have to say that this wasn’t a very good PPV for almost everyone involved. The women did a solid job, but nothing changed, so we are still at status quo. Reigns won so nothing has changed there either. Nothing changed in any of the other matches, and it honestly doesn’t even feel like there’s been a PPV, other than I stayed up Sunday night hanging out with my friends, the WRC.