Another week goes past and we edge another week closer to Wrestlemania’s March 29 date with the WWE once again trying to ramp up excitement for the showpiece event to varying degrees of success.
To start with, it was another week to forget for the upcoming tag team title match and Andre the Giant Battle Royal with both plodding along at a frustrating pace.
Add to that very little in the way of storytelling and the WWE’s insistence to keep Kane and the Big Show relevant and both matches are shaping up to be duds on the WWE’s big night out in Santa Clara.
These two stories are no reason to give up on the event, however.
John Cena’s appearance on Raw, in which he called on his compatriots to get behind him and bring some much needed relevance to the US Championship title, makes for an exciting showdown with Rusev and finally brings Cena back to the forefront of a heated rivalry.
Elsewhere, a superbly cut Brock Lesnar promo, the ever consistent hype of Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns’ feverish interruptions have meant that the Royal Rumble woes are now long forgotten. This main event, with Lesnar as the all-conquering beast and Reigns as a plausible overthrower of the champion, has the makings of a classic.
Speaking of which, the HHH vs Sting match on the card is one the WWE are selling with their finest gusto.
Sting once again showed up on Monday Night to interrupt The Authority’s best laid plans, taking to task an attempt from the heels to set up Randy Orton.
It resulted in a superb snapshot of Orton and Sting, centre of the ring, surrounded by Authority bodies.
It seems the WWE is putting all of its resources and energy into the top of the Wrestlemania card, which is a shame for the lesser matches that have all the potential to contribute to an iconic show.
With that said, selling the stories of the likes of Cena, Lesnar, Orton, HHH and Sting does no-one any great harm and does ensure we will be in for a treat at the end of this month. Even if that does mean a lot of people will switch on halfway through, which is less than ideal!
WINNER OF THE WEEK – Larry Zbyszko
‘The Living Legend’ was this week announced as the latest addition to the WWE Hall of Fame, joining the class of 2015, which already includes some stellar names.
Randy Savage, Rikishi, Alundra Blayze, The Bushwhackers, Arnold Schwarzenegger in the celebrity wing and the inaugural “Warrior Award” inductee Connor “The Crusher” Michalek have all been added so far and it is expected that Kevin Nash will be the final man to be honoured at next week’s concluding Raw before Wrestlemania.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK – Rappers take over the WWE
— Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) March 17, 2015
I will be breaking someone off at Wrestlemania…… #OldSchoolAssWhippin
— Rouse Social me (@llcoolj) March 17, 2015
As per the last month of action in the WWE, this week was all about further establishing and developing storylines for Wrestlemania 31 in 19 days’ time (March 29).
It’s safe to say it was an eventful few days in WWE and Raw was at the heart of it.
The star turns from this week’s Raw were undoubtedly from those storytellers shaping the main events in less than three weeks’ time.
The back-and-forth between the Undertaker and Bray Wyatt came to a head in dramatic fashion with The Phenom accepting Wyatt’s challenge, much to the latter’s glee.
Wyatt’s signature rocking chair was set on fire via a lightning bolt from the top of the stadium as ‘Taker agreed to a showdown, while Wyatt laughed maniacally in the corner of the ring.
Despite Undertaker’s continued absence from live shows, the match between these two is being sold superbly by Wyatt. He is truly one of the best wrestlers in the company at selling a storyline.
Wyatt is only bettered by the man who has set the agenda for wrestling managers, mic-men and product sellers in the business, Paul Heyman.
Heyman was at his no-nonsense, intense best introducing the return of WWE World Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
His mic was cut off by WWE, but nothing could halt Heyman in full flow. His passion, conviction and way of working a story, the crowd and his athlete are superb and this was all on show in the best promo the WWE has seen in a long time.
Elsewhere, there were two non-title losses for Intercontinental champion Bad News Barrett and tag-team champs Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, while the Authority began to be dismantled and John Cena showed a brutality barely witnessed before.
Cena’s interruption of United States champion Rusev’s match ended with the latter being rendered unconscious from the STF. Not happy with enough punishment, Cena woke Rusev from his slumber with a bottle of water before again putting the champion in the STF and making him pass out.
The result; our Wrestlemania showdown which has breathed life into the US title like never before.
MOVE OF THE WEEK – Cena’s STF (see above)
TURNING POINT OF THE WEEK – Randy Orton’s revenge
After two weeks of speculation and general teasing, the Viper struck on Monday Night.
Randy Orton finally exacted revenge on Seth Rollins for his part in the Shield’s brutality which ultimately kept Orton out of action.
These two could end up with a scintillating rivalry, starting with a showdown at Wrestlemania.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
— Curtis Axel (@RealCurtisAxel) March 10, 2015
— WWE (@WWE) March 10, 2015
— WWE (@WWE) March 10, 2015
With just a month to go until Wrestlemania, this week’s Raw focused on, largely, developing story arcs and building the animosity ahead of this year’s showpiece.
As a result, we were faced with a largely ‘talky’ show.
Although some of the spots weren’t successful, there were some standout performances, including a highly entertaining cat and mouse between satirist Jon Stewart and the WWE’s present most loved heel Seth Rollins.
After Rollins calling out Stewart a week back and the resulting response from the comic, the two met in the ring to ‘face off’.
As entertaining as it was, it also gave Rollins further chance to showcase his incredible turn as heel which is firmly placing him as one of the most exciting athletes in the locker room.
With Randy Orton just waiting to turn on his Authority colleague, those two could be set for a superb rivalry in the coming months.
Elsewhere, Bray Wyatt continued to tease the Undertaker out of his hiatus with yet another superb promo but the battle for the US Championship took a bit of a turn for the worse.
John Cena, after being refused a rematch for the title by Rusev, exchanged pleasantries with Stephanie McMahon in a rather embarrassing section of the show which once again aimed to play Cena as the underdog, fighting the evil Authority.
For a fifteen-time champ, Cena having to prove his worth against Curtis Axel and be greeted with talk of a Wrestlemania without him are a little patronising for us all.
MATCH OF THE WEEK – Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins
An easy one this as the majority of the show featured little in-ring action. Both these two have some exciting times ahead of them in the coming weeks, months and years.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
— A.J. (@WWEAJLee) March 3, 2015
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) March 3, 2015
— WWE (@WWE) March 3, 2015