Edge vs Roman, Bianca Vs Sasha. Spear takes on spear and The EST faces The Boss. Throw in a Bad Bunny concert and we’ve got the ingredients for a rocking WrestleMania. We’re hopping in the fast lane towards Fastlane, but we’ve got a few extra mid-carders to run over on our way.
USA Network Star Threatened on Live TV
Raw kicked off with everyone’s third favorite wrestling talk show, Miz TV with the new WWE champ. After a loving introduction from pal Morrison, Miz talked about being the nasty little opportunist he’d always fancied himself and how he proved he was better than any other man who’d stepped up to McIntyre. This prompted MVP and Bobby Lashley to arrive and remind Miz who’d helped him out last night. Miz agreed that he’d promised Lashley a title match, but never gave a specific timeframe on that promise. Lashley, who gave his best promo in years, reminded Miz that he could cave his face in without even creasing his fresh white suit. He gave Miz an hour to come to his senses, and the next 60 minutes were threatened by a daunting on-screen clock that told us just when we would see Lashley again. I think this should be a permanent Raw feature, because it actually kind of rocks.
Once the hour was up, Lashley came down to the ring ready for a fight, but Miz politely asked for just another few weeks. Strowman interrupted the proceedings to demand his title shot that he definitely hasn’t earned at all, leading to an appearance from Shane McMahon for the second time in as many weeks. The man works hard for his money. Shane gently reminded Braun that he wasn’t a former WWE champ, and he’d held the Universal title at a time where it meant about as much as a Game of Thrones box set in 2021. Strowman still wanted to fight, so Shane suggested he go against Lashley, with the winner getting a shot at Miz. The champ later sat on commentary for the main event, watching Lashley kick out of a running power slam and hit a spear to punch his ticket. This was short, even for a Strowman match, but it made Lashley look fantastic. Another run at the WWE title is well deserved for the Chief Hurt Officer, who, alongside the rest of The Hurt Business, has dominated Raw for much of the past year.
Bad Luck BFFs
Things continued to get worse for Charlotte Flair, who’s still dealing with her dad impregnating her coworker, a situation most people hope to never find themselves in. She and Asuka once again faced tag champs Baszler and Jax, because why mess with something literally no one is enjoying. Baszler and Asuka had a great back and forth before Jax tagged in, and she and Shayna targeted Asuka’s arm. Asuka managed to get Jax in the armbar anyway, but Baszler broke it up with a rough kick to the face. As Asuka staggered, Baszler ducked and Charlotte accidentally kicked her teammate in the face. A leg drop from Nia ended the match, and a frustrated Asuka refused a hand from Charlotte. I’m more than okay with these two breaking up; Asuka needs her own storyline as the champion, and Charlotte can certainly hack it on her own as she fights her dad and his new baby or whatever.
Man Loses Pants, Wrestling Match
Damien Priest and Bad Bunny are the duo that will save wrestling in 2021, and they made another Raw appearance Monday night. Priest took on Angel Garza in what was a surprisingly close match up; Garza got some offense against the new Raw rockstar, even taking control until he extended an invite to Bad Bunny. The 24/7 Champ almost stepped in the ring, but he gave Priest enough time to recover and hit a big clothesline. Priest landed Hit the Lights, which is I guess what we’re calling The Reckoning now to avoid any confusion with Mia Yim’s anarchist persona, and scored another victory. Post match, Priest and Bunny took care of various 24/7 challengers before celebrating once again. By far best part of the Bad Bunny segments is how you can tell he’s having the best time knocking people out and hanging with a 6’4” guy who owns nothing but leather. I’m happy for him; someone out there should be enjoying WWE currently, and I’m glad it’s Bad Bunny.
Cole Cole Heart
NXT newcomer Zoey Stark has been given a huge introduction lately, facing the women’s champ in only her second match. Regal offered her a non-title match against Shirai this week, and we were all the better for it. Stark was excellent here, able to hang with the champ throughout a surprisingly competitive match. Shirai, as we all could have expected, also delivered a great performance, and made Stark look like one to watch in the NXT women’s division. After several near falls, Shirai finally got the win with the moonsault, but things weren’t over there. Toni Storm came out to remind Io that it was Martinez who ate the pin at Vengeance Day, and Storm herself holds a victory over the champ. Shirai agreed to a one-on-one, and we’ll see that match in two weeks. Storm has really settled into her heel persona, and Shirai is fantastic, as always.
Wednesday night concluded with another look at the Adam Cole is a jerk story; Adam came out promising to explain himself for his actions towards O’Reilly. He assured Strong that he wanted UE back, telling him how badly he missed his boys yelling jokes at the sidelines while he was getting his ass kicked. Balor interrupted to issue such an ass-kicking, but Strong defended Cole. Adam landed a super kick to lay out Balor, then apologized to Roddy and made us all watch him try and force tears for a whole minute. The two men shared a hug, before Cole revealed he’d been taking classes at UCF’s drama school, and nailed Strong with a low blow. He ripped the UE pendant from his former friend’s neck before landing another super kick to close the show. Cole is as detestable as we’ve ever seen him on NXT, and when we see O’Reilly again (potentially at Mania?), it’ll feel pretty good to see him kick Adam’s ribs out his back.
Big Dog Crushes Dreams
Reigns opened SmackDown by gently patting himself on the back for a successful title defense at Elimination Chamber. He said he wouldn’t throw himself a party to celebrate, mostly because no one except Jey and Heyman would attend, but also because someone had already crashed his party Sunday night. He called out Edge’s WrestleMania declaration and promised the man who carried the final season of Vikings that he didn’t want to go against Reigns at Mania. Daniel Bryan interrupted, haircut looking especially terrible, to issue another challenge for the Universal title at Fastlane. He suggested that some people thought Reigns was a beautiful coward, with the teeth of a stunning Ken doll, for holding the championship match immediately after the Elimination Chamber. Uso then jumped Bryan from behind and tossed him over the barricade, leading to our main event later in the night.
Jey started out strong, dropping Bryan with a shoulder tackle. Daniel tried to go for Uso’s arm, but Jey came back with a huge super kick to intercept a dive. He ran Bryan into the ring post, with Daniel barely beating the count to get back in. Jey continued to focus on the injured leg, but Bryan still tried for the Yes Lock. Uso managed to block it, then countered the Yes Kicks by nailing Dan square in the knee. Uso went up top for the splash, but Bryan followed, and both guys practiced their balance before Bryan landed a superplex. He got the Yes Lock this time, locking it in until Jey grabbed the ropes. He fled to the outside and ran Bryan into the steps, then forced him down to cause a double count out. After the match was called, Bryan again got the Yes Lock on Uso, but this Reigns arrived to break things up. He speared Bryan and got him in the Guillotine, choking the life out of that sad haircut to close the show.
Best Match of Mania 37 Already Decided
Bianca Belair announced that she’d made her decision on her mania opponent, and she elected to reveal her pick with everybody on Friday night. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville welcomed Belair, rocking an outfit that outshined everyone within a five mile radius, to tell us all what we wanted to hear. Just as Bianca opened her mouth, Reginald the Sommelier interrupted. I’m beginning to think this man cares slightly more about women’s wrestling than fine wine. He told Bianca that she would regret choosing Sasha, which brought out The Boss herself. She pushed Reginald to beat it before inviting Bianca to make the choice we’re all dying for and challenge her. This was the most heel we’ve seen Sasha in a while, which isn’t necessarily surprising, although a face vs face could have worked just as well. Bianca gave the pirate sign her best point and agreed to face Banks, and wrestling as a whole shed a beautiful tear. With Mania being another two night affair, Banks/Belair closing out one of the evenings will be absolutely fantastic, and more than deserved for both women. We can all only hope Reginald is nowhere to be found come April.