Welcome to “Curb Stomp”, I Neaux Nerdy’s dedicated column to all things WWE. The name of this column serves as an homage to Mr. Seth Rollins’ late, great finisher. BRING IT BACK VINCE!
Here’s what you need to know: Tonight’s Raw broadcasts live from Pittsburgh, PA. Following the events of last Saturday’s Roadblock Live event, absolutely nothing has changed. The proverbial “Road to Wrestlemania” remained intact after Dean Ambrose failed to turn things upside down. So what does that mean for the rest of the Wrestlemania card? Let’s find out.
Segment 1: The League of Nations finally figures out what it means to be heels
The show opens with a Tag Team Championship match starring our unicorn adorned heroes, The New Day vs. the two League of Nations members who didn’t bother to show up at Roadblock. That’s Rusev and Del Rio in case you were wondering. You weren’t? I don’t blame you. Usually I would 100% tune out of this match (because Del Rio), but not this time. Magic was afoot.
There was so much to love about this opening that I hardly know where to begin. Here are just some of the highlights:
- We are starting the show with a match, not a 15 minute promo featuring the Authority
- The New Day’s obsession with “Booty” is slowly turning into the “Slap Ass” sketch from Key & Peele
- I LOVE the idea that Rusev is only buddy-buddy with Del Rio, easily the most stoic of the group.
- Boo-plex City – Big E’s three Belly-to-Belly suplexes on Rusev
- Annoyed Rusev
- For the first time in their run, the League of Nations finally act like and are treated by the audience as pure heels, not just those guys that bore everyone and spark random outbreaks of “the wave.” You’ve arrived lads! Don’t muck it up.
Segment 2: Is that a crowbar in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Next up is Mr. Dean Ambrose. He’s not out here to complain about his loss to HHH at Roadblock. He was “this close” to beating him, but made a mistake. No big deal though. Now he can just focus on whomping Brock Lesnar.
GOD I LOVE THIS MAN.
Look, I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, Ambrose is pure money at this point. His street fight with Brock at Wrestlemania is just going to be the sweet cherry that gets him a permanent seat at the main event table.
Brock and his advocate…. PAUL…. HEYMAN… show up to hype the match (though it certainly doesn’t need it). Ambrose, being the sweet lunatic that he is, successfully gets under Lesnar’s skin, provoking the Beast to make his way down the aisle and presumably rip a new hole in Dean’s slim fit jeans. Here’s where things get great…
Ambrose unzips his jacket to reveal a good old-fashioned crowbar. Okay. I’m ALL IN on this. I didn’t think it possible, and now I love Dean more. A crowbar could be the perfect trademark weapon for his character. Just the right amount of greaser and distinct enough that most people probably won’t immediately associate it with past Superstars.
Lesnar continues to circle to the ring like a lion eyeing his prey because weapons are like chew toys to him. Meanwhile, Ambrose bounces around the ring like a mad honey badger egging him on. Note to self: Dean Ambrose is definitely a honey badger.
No fists are thrown, and I presume things can’t get better than this.
I will be wrong.
Segment 3: Someone watched the new Captain America: Civil War trailer…
Ryback fought Sin Cara. It’s fine. Purely a means to set up Kalisto v. Ryback at Mania for the US Title. It will also be fine. Just give me a Kalisto WrestleMania entrance where he enters on a tank made up to look like a Dragonzord. I’ll wait…
Until that happens, I’m really more concerned with Sin Cara’s ring attire tonight: What if Black Panther didn’t wear a shirt and was 100% more accident prone? That’s the look he was going for right?
Segment 4: Ziggler won’t quit because the Authority won’t fire him
What a strangely cyclical segment. Steph’s great, of course. HHH is HHH. Then Ziggler shows up and, boy…. he’s trying. I’ll give him that. We’re not getting “Romain Reigns” cringe-worthy, but after Ambrose and Heyman, all the other colors in the world just seem duller by comparison, you know? Especially Mr. Pink.
Long story short, Ziggler runs his mouth a little too much and now his chances of having a Mania match hang in the balance. If he can defeat The Game tonight in a one-on-one contest, he earns the Mania match of his choice (excluding a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship). If he loses, no Mania for Ziggler.
Segment 5: It’s my favorite people in the world
Next up, Sami Zayn squares off against the Miz in a one-on-one match (a minor reward to those who follow Smackdown). Your Intercontinental Champion, Kevin Owens, provides commentary from ringside.
The only two people I might love as much or more than Dean Ambrose are Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. It looks more and more likely like they will get to tear it up at Wrestlemania, and if their NXT feud was anything to go by (including their days feuding as El Generico and Kevin Steen), we will get at least one magical moment at this year’s Show of Shows.
Two quick highlights from the match:
- Owens one-sided feud with Michael Cole is truly the gift that keeps on giving. He even chastises him for not watching Smackdown. HA!
- Zayn’s jumping moonsault from the barricade – pure wizardry. And the cut to KO’s face after told such a great story too.
Segment 6: “Brie Mode” is enough to make me hate cheese
This is not the Divas match you’re looking for. You want to go home and rethink your life.
Segment 7: The Radical Mongoose doesn’t ruin anything
This brings us to WWE’s obligatory in-show ad of the week (because not even Popeyes will stoop to that level). In what might be the most brilliant moment of ass-backwards, mildly insulting, meta-marketing they’ve concocted, the #SocialOutcasts are here to shill grilled hot dogs… from Burger King.
Segment 8: Total Divas is clearly destroying Paige
The woman’s hair is turning white for goodness sake. SOMEONE HELP HER!
Segment 9: Charlotte’s news is so important, it’s going to wait until Smackdown
Charlotte has something to say to Becky and Sasha on Smackdown, which means no Becky or Sasha tonight on Raw. Fine. At least they are finally putting effort into the Blue brand. Let’s also not forget this is still the most well told story happening in the company right now.
Segment 10: How many Superkicks does it take to get to the center of Mongoose?
The Usos battle one half of the Social Outcasts in a fairly quick tag match while the Dudleys commentate at ringside. The Usos win after superkicking the holy hell out of everyone and I care so little about it, I’ve chosen to represent this match with “Annoyed Rusev.”
Segment 11: Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, the torch gets passed…Right here… in Pittsburgh!
I repeat. Lesnar v. Ambrose will be ABSOLUTE MONEY.
Segment 12: I’m really enjoying this
HHH vs. Dolph Ziggler carry out a really, really good non-title match. I just… I felt like HHH in the shot above watching it.
Segment 13: Where’s THIS guy been?
After HHH bests Ziggler dashing away any hope he has of competing at Wrestlemania, here comes the handsome prince.
And. He. Is. PISSED!
Roman is so mad, he entered from the ramp.
For the next 7 minutes, Roman delivers the kind of one-sided beating to HHH you wish he brought out more often. Given the number of times Cole brings up Reigns surgically reconstructed face, you have wonder if they’re going to turn it into a character trait. Let’s hope so.
More of this. Less talking Reigns.
Segment 14: Ms. Jackie
We’ve got our Diva for the Hall of Fame. Sincere congrats to Jacqueline!
Segment 15: Is it over yet?
If this gets a Mania match, but they can’t be bothered to do a proper Goldust vs. Stardust match… I… I just don’t understand…
Segment 16: Do you smell with the Mac is cookin’?
Mark out moment of the night: Vince mimes the Undertake chokeslamming Shane like an enthusiastic eight-year-old watching from the audience.
That’s all I got for today’s show. Don’t forget to spread the nonsense.