By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Becky Lynch vs. Iyo Sky: A very good match. I was surprised to see the Raw go-home show for WrestleMania dedicate so much time to the six-woman tag match to start the episode, but it did breathe some needed life into the feud. This was Sky’s best outing on the main roster, and Lynch delivered both in the ring and on the mic.
Cody Rhodes vs. Solo Sikoa: A decent match with Cody going over strong in this final match before WrestleMania. The story of Sikoa being more concerned with softening up Rhodes for Roman Reigns felt ignored once the match actually started. It came off like Sikoa was more concerned with winning than hurting Rhodes. I also wasn’t a fan of Cody repeatedly stating that Sikoa isn’t ready. I’m not sure what purpose that served beyond bringing down Sikoa in the eyes of the fans, which made it feel less meaningful when Rhodes beat him. Ultimately, though, the show closed the right way with the strong challenger standing tall heading into his highly anticipated WrestleMania main event.
Rey Mysterio vs. Damian Priest: Dominik Mysterio’s promo was strong and generated the usual high level heat. The DQ finish was logical in that it put more heat on Dom heading into his match with Rey. The build to Rey vs. Dom has been excellent and their match should be a blast.
Brock Lesnar and Omos weigh-in: This was fine for what it was with Omos standing tall while Lesnar showed a bit of concern. While the match doesn’t do much for me on paper, they seem to have sold the masses on the spectacle.
Seth Rollins vs. Mustafa Ali: Obviously, these two are capable of having a longer and better match, but the match they had was what it needed to be with Rollins going over strong before his WrestleMania with Logan Paul. The live crowds love chanting the Rollins entrance theme and he seems to be as over as any babyface right now. I’m also intrigued by the new Ali character. He’s had a lot of swings and misses, and it feels like his new persona is still a work in progress, but hopefully it’s something that will click for him post Mania.
Austin Theory’s promo: Theory delivering his promo in the empty arena was an attention grabber. It required viewers to listen to his words while also preventing a live crowd from interrupting with “What?” and other chants. I was surprised that the company didn’t put together a John Cena video package to spotlight his return to the ring, but perhaps that will happen on Smackdown.
Intercontinental Champion Gunther vs. Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match: A showcase win. Gunther hasn’t spent much time on Raw, so while this didn’t really elevate the Intercontinental Title match at WrestleMania, it made the champion look strong heading into the match.
The Street Profits, Braun Strowman, and Ricochet vs. Alpha Academy and Viking Raiders: A well worked eight-man tag match. Both four-way tag team showcase matches are clearly there to get more people on the show. The men’s tag match seems likely to provide some good action.
Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville vs. Michin and Candice LeRae in a qualifier for the four-way tag at WM39: It’s a shame that Carmella is apparently sidelined. She showed a lot of chemistry with Green and hopefully she will be able to return soon. The silver lining is that the deserving Deville now has a spot on the WrestleMania card. It was nice to see Green on the winning side for a change. I’m not sure what they had in mind by having her lose to many matches early on, but the Karen character is working and hopefully that will lead to a steady push.
WWE Raw Misses
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn promo: There was nothing individually wrong with Smackdown’s t-shirt unveiling promo or with Owens and Zayn acknowledging their Los Angeles history during their Raw promo. But after watching the two promos run on back to back shows left me feeling like their characters are a little too caught up in the honeymoon phase of their reunion when they should still be hellbent on getting revenge on The Bloodline by taking the tag team titles from the Usos. Sure, Owens got fired up by the end of the promo, but smiling Sami seems a little too pleased to be back with Owens and not angry enough about everything he went through with The Bloodline. To be fair, the feud is still in a great place because of everything that has led up to the reunion and I’m looking forward to the tag title match as much as any match on the WrestleMania card. I just really want to see them put a bow on the build with a great money promo on Friday’s Smackdown.