WWE RAW RESULTS: Things Are About to Get Rowdy in New Orleans (March, 5th 2018)

Welcome all to my review of this weeks RAW episode, and it starts right with a WrestleMania feel. The build up continues to the 34th WrestleMania event, even from the very beginning of the show as Ronda Rousey gets her WrestleMania match, plus two women’s matches that includes a heart crusher for Nia Jax.

I Wasnt kidding when i said the WrestleMania hype begins right from the start as RAW opens with a displeased RAW General Manager Kurt Angle, easily infuriated at Triple H’s cheap shot last week. He calls out the Game and not too shockingly gets Stephanie, who is assured that her husband isnt even in attendance tonight. She also believes Triple H was provoked last week per Angle ruining their participation in what they call the most important contract signing in history. She blames Kurt for what Ronda had done to Triple H at Elimination Chamber, and wants to put it all behind them so Angle can resume his role. Ronda steps out, with her own reaction to last week.

Ronda makes it clear she has seen Triple H and Stephanie for what they really are, and it appears she plans on dealing with them. Stephanie looks at the situation as Ronda not entirely understanding her bosses decisions as an employee, which happens. She reminds Ronda that they gave her her dream opportunity, participating inside the ring at WrestleMania, and it doesnt get bigger than that. Ronda thanks Stephanie for noting that, because shes chose her WrestleMania opponent. Stephanie is hyped to hear it up until Ronda announces that she has selected to challenge Stephanie.

A Panicky Triple H, despite “not being there” heads down to the ring, reminding Angle to do his job as Stephanie is an executive. Angle agrees with Triple H and Stephanie having corporate roles but they have contracts also that designate them as performers, and he hasn’t forgotten Triple H’s actions back at Survivor Series so while Ronda wont be getting Stephanie one on one as she hoped, she will join Angle in a mixed tag team match at WrestleMania, facing Stephanie and Triple H. Triple H tries to clear himself and his wife from the ring before getting into fisticuffs with Angle. Stephanie also becomes subjected to a samoan drop from Ronda, who is only showing a small portion of the in ring offense to come at WrestleMania.

Happening after is a rematch from Elimination Chamber between Asuka and Nia Jax, announced beforehand last week. Asuka, who remains undefeated per her win over Jax at the said Pay Per View, is indeed heading to WrestleMania, opponent still undecided, but has Nia to contend with, someone who is looking to rebuild a path to the Grandest Stage of Them All. The Unbeaten Empress emerges first for the match, followed by the entrance of Jax, who is understandably looking all business.

Right on the bell, Asuka unleashes backfists, getting pushed seconds later to a corner by Jax. Jax makes steps towards the corner but gets kicked by Asuka, but Jax retaliates within seconds, turning back to face Asuka and clobbering her with her corner splash. Jax also hits headbutts and showcases her known strength not too long later, chucking Asuka with ease across the ring. Asuka rolls out of the ring, selling the damage done, and its not too long before Jax is following Asuka out to ringside as Alexa Bliss is shown conducting a split screen interview with Mickie James at her side. After a short amount of offense, Jax brings Asuka back to the ring, trying to clobber her against an opposite corner but hitting it herself when Asuka moves away. Asuka tries a comeback with back fists and kicks, then taking to the ropes and meeting Jax again, trying possibly to transition into the Asuka Lock. Jax counters into a backbreaker, then lifting Asuka back up only to get caught in a headscissor while Asuka stretches out her right arm. Asuka loses grip and tries to roll up Jax instead, only for Jax to take her by her hair, bring her to a vertical base then push her into an earlier corner. Jax blocks Asukas attempted kick and starts stomping her, then attempting to take her from the corner, being met with offense in the middle of the ring. While Asuka struggles to even move Jax in an irish whip attempt, she takes advantage of Jax sending her back to the corner, elevating herself onto the ropes but before she can do much else, Jax hits her with a forearm. Jax grips Asuka’s upper arms and spins her around in the air before dropping her whole body on the canvas. Asuka is having to regroup after the lethal body drop as we come to a commercial break.

When we return, Asuka is back in the ring but momentum is still on the side of Jax, swinging her around while having a hold applied. Asuka uses kicks and more to rebound, also releasing herself of Jax, and after a shining wizard, she attempts her first pin of the match, getting a near fall result. Jax rams her into an opposite corner moments later, then moving her away from it and crushing her steps from the center of the ring. Jax attempts a pin on Asuka there, and like Asuka before, she gets a near fall. Jax sets up a possible samoan drop, but Asuka gets free, only to end up being caught by Jax as she runs the ropes, becoming the victim of another attempted samoan drop. Jax makes her move over to Asuka for another pin attempt, very nearly getting three until the referee takes notice of Asuka’s foot on the ropes, disallowing her pin from continuing in turn. Jax is stunned, and also infuriated as she slaps Asuka over and over. Jax connects with a gorilla press slam to Asuka, and with Asuka left laying, she sees a chance to crush her with an oncoming leg drop but Asuka somehow musters the energy to move away, thus Jax’s leg drop misses the target.

Asuka suddenly locks her armbar on Jax, though Jax soon powers through, getting herself up and also, in turn, lifting Asuka all the way off the mat. Jax drops Asuka back first against the mat but Asuka still has ahold of Jax, and even utilization of the turnbuckles and ropes cant free Asuka’s grip. After a 2 minute stint of being entrapped in Asuka’s armbar, Nia taps out and Asuka wins the match, with Alexa and Mickie looking on from backstage, soured at Poor Jax’s defeat. Despite that said defeat, Jax receives respect and an ovation from the audience on her way to the back.

Moving to the next womens storyline, and we are set to hear from Bayley over her denying Sasha’s tag last week and stepping away from competing alongside her. Bayley does try to explain why she wouldn’t aid Sasha, but is interrupted by Absolution, headed by Paige. While Paige congratulates Bayley on finding her backbone, she makes out that Bayley has pushed away the one person who cares for her, and reminds her theres strength in numbers, referring to Absolution. Mandy is set to take on Bayley one on one.

Bayley and Mandy lock up to kick things off, with the veteran Bayley soon applying a waistlock. Mandy aims elbows and manages to send down Bayley, also hooking her right leg. Mandy doesn’t get to do anything to the right leg however, as Bayley kicks her towards the ropes. Rather than run into Bayley and oncoming offense, Mandy showcases athleticism by cartwheeling her out of the way. Mandy surprises Bayley with a dropkick that sends the former RAW Women’s Champion near to a corner. Bayley regroups before locking up again with Mandy. Bayley targets Mandys left arm, though Mandy tries to make a comeback with use of the ropes. Bayley irish whips Mandy, who evades her with athleticism. Bayley tries to do the same but is caught in the air by Mandy who rams her back first into a corner. Mandy showcases power again with a slam in the center, and that and the other offense done during the match is enough to get the Absolution member a near fall on Bayley.

Bayleys angry side shows as she drives Mandy frantically into a corner, continually shoulder tackling her. Bayley also hits Mandy with a running back elbow, though before she looks to utilize her finisher, Mandy darts to ringside. Mandy is in the arms of her Absolution comrades Sonya and Paige as we come to the single commercial break of the match.

We return to see Mandy back in the ring, resuming momentum with a grounded rear chokehold applied to Bayley. Bayley tries to break out with fists to the midsection, but gets kicked by Mandy. Mandy hoists Bayley upward for a suplex set up but doesn’t get to fully hit it as Bayley makes her way to the mat, both feet landing on the mat. Bayley doesn’t get to fire back however as Mandy hits her hard with a forearm. A Proud Mandy stands over Bayley then proceeds with a new pin attempt, but finds that Bayley still wishes to remain in the match as the former RAW Women’s Champion kicks out again. Bayley makes a comeback with forearms, also evading one from Mandy and getting her in a backslide, though only getting a one count on Mandy as she gets herself up quickly. Bayley also gets Mandy in a small package, resulting this time in a near fall.

Bayley goes for a running forearm, but Mandy ducks it. Mandy hits her axe kick/knees to a charging Bayley in the center of the ring for another near fall. Mandy doesn’t take kindly to the result and beats down on Bayley, proceeding with a pin attempt following it that again gets her a near fall. Mandy tries to seize Bayley near the ropes but gets kicked away, though she rolls through and charges back at Bayley. Bayley takes Mandy and places her on the ropes, connecting with a neckbreaker to Mandy while she hangs on there. Mandy manages to get herself up eventually but becomes the target of clotheslines by Bayley, axe handles also added. Bayley then takes Mandy down to the mat, giving her a flurry of fists before ramming her head first into a nearby corners top turnbuckle. Bayley back suplexes Mandy away from the corner then heads up the ropes, soon distracted by a mouthy Sonya Deville, but not enough for Mandy to try and rebound as Bayley gets to hit the diving elbow to Mandy anyway. Sonya tries to distract again but Bayley knocks her off the apron. Mandy rolls Bayley over to capitalize on Sonya’s plummet, but Bayley counters into her own and ends up pinning Mandy. Bayley wins the match.

On the orders of Paige, Absolution very quickly pounce on Bayley, beginning a two on one assault. Sasha runs down despite recent tension and sends Sonya and Mandy (with Paige) away, and while she tries to show her friend Bayley that she was there for her, a distrusting Bayley isn’t accepting of a hug from Sasha and walks away and leaves her to herself despite her shown help.

The last women’s related moment of the night sees Alexa meeting up with Nia in the backstage area as she ices her targeted arm. Alexa dismisses Mickie and recognizes the feeling of disappointment in Nia, losing at Elimination Chamber, losing tonight and now shes not even going to get a chance at WrestleMania. She recognizes how disappointed Nia must feel over that, and tries to “assure” her that shes not a failure nor let down her family. She has her friends also, and while she may not be getting a chance at WrestleMania this year, there’s always the next. She tells Nia how much she has accomplished and overcome, how shes looked like an outcast all her life, scorned for being a bigger woman. She wants Nia to not let it all get her down, for if she does, people will lose all respect for her. Nia is in tears.

(Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon, Ronda Rousey and Triple H Segment)

(Asuka vs Nia Jax feat Mickie James and Alexa Bliss)

(Mandy Rose w/ Paige and Sonya Deville vs Bayley feat Sasha Banks)

(Mickie James, Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax Backstage Segment)

Thoughts On:
Asuka/Nia: Losing for Nia was inevitable considering the opposition, but the two never fail to put on a good match and props to Nia for how much she powered through the armbar and for how long she took it before caving in. It appears everything is heading in the reported route of Nia vs Alexa considering the emotional backstage segment between the real life besties later on that saw Alexa “try” to be a “best friend” by reflecting on Nia’s past problems and the mistreatment shown towards her to try and uplift her, but rather doing the opposite. The ovation Nia got after her match as well as the personal delving really appears to establish Nia as a babyface from now on, sure to snap at Alexa due to how her words actually had deeper, crueler meaning. Not to mention that Booking wise, Nia is the one person Alexa has avoided over the months when it comes to singularly defending her championship against. Plus the outside of WWE persona of Nia Jax has majorly connected with the WWE Universe and may help her as a babyface in the future because shes genuinely likable. Whether Mickie is thrown into the fray on Alexa’s side or maybe because she actually feels for Jax, if Asuka isn’t also thrown into the fray, then there’s a high chance that Nia’s retribution finally comes at WrestleMania, when she becomes at last, the RAW Women’s Champion.

Bayley/Mandy: So rather than Bayley just getting an explanatory segment, there was a match also, which i didn’t mind as Absolution need to stay as relevant as possible, though the losses they’ve suffered as of late don’t make that too convincing. I Wouldn’t have minded Mandy winning her first ever singles match on RAW, but i guess they are playing up that Bayley can still win on her own, even if it was done the way it was. But this was mostly to build Sasha and Bayleys tension which still left plenty questions. Who is the heel here? It seems to be Sasha, just with the way she betrayed Bayley at Elimination Chamber, along with what happened at the Royal Rumble, as well as her assist for Bayley back at Fast Lane through the use of a weapon which some could say was heel-ish and used at the time to tease that Bayley couldn’t win without Sasha and that Sasha did it solely to keep the championship on Bayleys shoulders for her to win at last years Mania, which not only didn’t happen but no heel turn happened again. We could note Sasha’s antics on RAW as mind games, or she could be genuinely sorry over what shes done to Bayley and instead Bayley goes heel, so its a reverse in character alignments to their past feud. That and the reports of Vince going off Bayley and Bayley noting the chance of turning heel on past podcasts may add fuel to the fire, but when you add up everything heelish Sasha has done, there’s no way WWE cant turn Sasha heel. Her NXT persona mostly is missed and being a heel is what helped Sasha ascend in developmental and beyond. But is Bayleys recent announcement of teaming with the Heel Elias at MSG a hint of a swerve in the works? Guess we’ll know soon but i don’t expect the turn to happen next week, rather Sasha getting a member of Absolution in the ring, getting attacked and Bayley debating but massively refusing in the end to aid Sasha while watching backstage. Lets see what happens.

– Catherine

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