Welcome everybody to another Sovereign Statement as we continue with the road to Wrestlemania. Raw has done a fairly good job in building their matches but it doesn’t have the same feel as years past. I have no idea what to attribute to that, but I guess it may have to do with some uncertainty with some matches that have yet to be announced. Enough with the intro, let us dive in and see what Raw had for us this week.
Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar In-Ring
Leave it to Chicago to let Heyman and Lesnar know how many of us feel about the fact that Lesnar has been an absentee champion. They booed him when he made his entrance and they continued to boo him when Heyman tried to speak. Well they did that until Heyman went into his schtick and the crowd went along with him. Daniel Bryan really was right in calling the crowd fickle. Heyman did what he does best and that was talk up Lesnar but I was surprised when he talked up Drew McIntyre. He called Seth crazy for wanting a match with him and I think Heyman did a great job in selling how much of a killer McIntyre is. McIntyre then came out and completely owned every word when speaking to Heyman from the entrance ramp. McIntyre told Heyman to find a new opponent for Lesnar after he is done with him but before he could go any further, Rollins came down and attacked him with a chair to the point of it bending. Rollins went into the ring to try and goad Lesnar into a fight, but he was having none of it. That was a fun opening segment and was the best one in the build to the Lesnar/Rollins match.
Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush vs Finn Balor & Yawn Strowman
You may be wondering why I called Braun “yawn” here and I will explain. I used to be so excited when Braun would come out but due to bad booking over the last year plus, I just don’t feel that excitement anymore. He feels very much like a Big Show or Kane now and that makes me sad to feel that so early in his run. I loved how Lio made fun of Finn’s height prior to the match because he said it with so much conviction. The match itself was fine but I feel like I have seen this before one too many times. We all know how good Finn is and we have gotten teases as to how good Lio is on Raw. Lashley has looked better in the ring since being paired with Lio and Braun did his usual strong moves. Strowman and Balor picked up the win when Lashley abandoned Lio which allowed for the easy victory.
Ronda Rousey Arrives
I love how Ronda just shrugged off the referees and security backstage when they tried to tell her why they were there. Ronda has owned being a heel and it just feels natural for her. She arrived with her husband Travis Browne and we will get more from him later on in the night.
A Moment of Bliss
These segments are just pure meh and I do not know why they keep trying to make this a thing. The crowd isn’t that into it and I haven’t been at all. Alexa is fantastic on the mic, but it has not translated to this talk-show segment at all. Elias was her guest and he announced how he would be the musical guest at Wrestlemania and how he couldn’t wait to play New York. Only problem is that MetLife Stadium is in New Jersey and I hope Elias does bring that up at Wrestlemania. No Way Jose’s conga line showed up with Heavy Machinery and Jose ended up attacking Elias. Jose then went to the ring calling for a match with Elias and Elias’ music hit which was strange to me. Usually the person who does the attack has their music played and not the other way around. The only reason this gets this high of a score is because Otis completely owned when he was in the conga line.
Elias vs No Way Jose
So, this was a match that happened and that is really all I can say about that. This was your typical bathroom break match and I never take pleasure in saying that. No Way Jose can be so much more than what he is, but I fear he will never get a chance to be taken seriously. Elias picked up the win in a match that took place on this week’s Raw.
Kurt Angle Wrestlemania Opponent Announcement
I know a lot of us were expecting John Cena or somebody of that caliber but instead we got Baron Corbin. This is an underwhelming choice, but they have had a long program that has yet to be resolved so it makes sense. I don’t expect much from that match, but I do know that Corbin will get plenty of heat if he pins Angle in his last match. That is pretty much the extent of this and then we got a match between Angle and Chad Gable.
Intensity, Integrity & Intelligence vs Ready, Willing & Gable
I love that they started with a handshake as a sign of respect and I’m pretty sure Angle has been an idol of Gable for years. Gable is completely underrated and underutilized on the main roster and he was a great choice to be in the ring with Angle. Angle cannot go like he used to, and Gable was able to help him out in spots. I really wouldn’t have minded if this was a more mat-based match like we saw with Riddle/Gulak in NXT because I think that could have benefited Kurt here. It was a good match but man this could have been so much better with a prime Kurt Angle instead of one at the end of a stellar career. Baron Corbin came out after the match to talk smack to Kurt about their match at Wrestlemania. Corbin attracts such natural heat like few can do nowadays and he relishes in it.
Baron Corbin Backstage
Apollo Crews has some personality and it is just a shame he cannot show it on a consistent basis. That is on creative for having nothing for him and not him. I love how Apollo challenged Corbin to a match and how the Revival were quick to dismiss any liking towards Corbin.
Boss Huggers In-Ring
I have enjoyed Sasha and Bayley’s run with the tag titles so far and I had wondered why they had not appeared on Smackdown yet and they addressed it here. They said they would be appearing at this week’s episode and better late than never I suppose. Natalya and Beth Phoenix then came down to the ring to challenge them to a match at Wrestlemania for the titles. The match kind of excites me but I would rather see someone else in that spot. No knock against Beth and Nattie, but they haven’t sold me on them challenging so far. We had a little bit of a fight between the ladies and that would lead to a match.
Natalya vs Sasha Banks
It would be very hard for these two to have a bad match with one another since they are two of the best in the company. Also, isn’t it nice that Natalya is wrestling somebody that isn’t in the Riott Squad? The match was good and was picking up nicely until Nia Jax came out and interrupted. She spoke some about wanting the tag titles and how Beth and Natalya don’t deserve a shot. Tamina then came out of nowhere and gave everybody a superkick and that was that. Feels like we are getting a multi-team match for the tag titles at Wrestlemania.
Mojo Mirror Thing
I want this to lead to something, but this just has a feel of leading to nothing. I have no clue what they are planning with him and I really don’t care much about it. I’ll save you the trouble and simply sum this up with one word, “Skip!”.
Ricochet vs Jinder Mahal
Ricochet is truly amazing in the ring and he makes everything look so easy. The bad thing is that he was paired with Jinder who is not known for his ring skills. The match itself was what it was and really was just a showcase for Ricochet. I don’t enjoy giving a Ricochet match this low of a score, but the man could only do so much with the opponent he was given. Ricochet picked up the win with the amazing looking 630° senton.
Seth Rollins Backstage
Short backstage interview with Seth here and it was a good one. I love the passion he had here and how he is just ready to take on anybody. Seth really has that aura of someone that can lead a wrestling company as the face.
Ronda Rousey vs Dana Brooke
I wish I had something to say about this match, but this was a squash match. I think Dana’s promo at Gorilla lasted longer than the match itself. Dana really could be someone, but she isn’t being given a shot right now. Maybe that will change but I think she is in line to be the next Alicia Fox. Someone that will be in the company for years but will not be taken seriously. Ronda and her husband would beat up security after the match and that was that.
Baron Corbin vs Apollo Crews
Here we have bathroom break number two and there isn’t much to say about this match. This match could be something, but it was pretty much nothing. Apollo is stellar in the ring, but he can rarely show it and he didn’t really here. Corbin pretty much controlled the whole match but was done in by a roll up again. The most entertaining thing about this match was how intense of an argument the referee had with Corbin after the match because that is something you don’t see very often in WWE.
This was so much better than what we got last week and those acting classes Batista has taken to work on his acting have paid off. He was great on the mic here and I will say it is the best he has ever sounded in WWE. I wish they would have done a side by side instead of cutting back and forth between Michael Cole and Batista because that was very distracting. Batista was calm, cool and collected with everything he said, and I am a smidge more excited for his match with Triple H at Wrestlemania. I expect Triple H will respond next week with an interview of his own so that will be interesting to see if it happens.
Braun Strowman Backstage
I really do not understand why Braun is stuck with this SNL storyline because it is so meh to the nth degree. Braun said how he will do something to them and I expect him to be on the SNL before Wrestlemania since they are in New York/New Jersey. He announced he will be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and I honestly had no idea they were doing that this year. Alexa came in to try and make sure Braun doesn’t do anything to the members of SNL and I really feel like we should expect to see Braun on SNL.
Drew McIntyre vs Seth Rollins
I said it in the DD and I believe it to be true that we should get used to seeing this match-up because these two will have many more for years to come. McIntyre is being built as the top heel and Seth is clearly a top face. McIntyre delivered a great promo before the match and challenged Roman to a match at Wrestlemania. McIntyre is not the man he was during his first run, and he has said as much, and he totally owns every moment. Seth then popped up on the screen and had some real intensity when we said he was coming for him. That should be a fun match and one that I could see either man winning to be honest. Back to the match and it was, as expected, a very good one. Really good back and forth during the match as both men had their time to shine during this match. It looked like Seth was about to pick up the win when Lesnar’s music hit and he came out to the entrance ramp. This distraction was all McIntyre needed to hit a Claymore kick from out of nowhere to pick up the victory. Fun match and one that I expect to see many more times.
This episode of Raw was very up and down but it wasn’t horrible. The highlights were the main event match and the Batista interview. The latter being a total surprise to me and I am sure many others as well. The opening segment was strong as well as it really gave some heat to the Rollins/Lesnar match at Wrestlemania. The low points are really too many to count but I will try my best. Apollo/Corbin, Elias/Jose, the Ronda squash and A Moment of Bliss were all the low points in the episode because they were all pretty forgettable. Make sure to join me next week for another Sovereign Statement.