Kashin In: The Raw is Tug of War for a Big Shiny Belt Edition (3-23-2015)

TUG OF WAR

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of Ka$hin In with Keila Ca$h. Tonight’s episode of Raw emanated from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. With WWE in the epicenter of the entertainment industry, one would expect the go-home show for Wrestlemania XXXI to be absolutely spectacular. We as fans deserve it after the lukewarm string of shows leading up to the biggest show of the year. Would the company give me something to sing about a la “Once More with Feeling” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

The video evidence should suffice.

Did Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar’s confrontation set the world on fire in anticipation for their WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania? Did Snoop Dogg sip on some gin and juice? The answer to these pressing questions can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.

  • Seeing Sting kick off Raw was pretty cool. He soaked in the moment and the crowd loved him. He cut a brief, but good promo explaining his motives for going after Triple H. Sting didn’t want to avenge the legacy of WCW by defeating Hunter at Wrestlemania. He wanted to take Hunter down for manipulating his way to the top. His abuse of power would no longer be tolerated and it was his mission to stop him.
  • Stephanie McMahon came out and introduced herself to Sting. She bragged about how WWE put WCW out of business and respected Sting’s loyalty. She compared him to a dog, but noted that would be an insult to dogs because he was dumb for not jumping ship sooner. Stephanie proclaimed that her husband would pin Sting’s shoulders to the mat at Wrestlemania and called him a painted up freak. Sting winked at Stephanie as he played to the crowd. Steph was about to bitch slap Sting, but he grabbed her hand in the nick of time.
  • Triple H came out to save his wife. Stephanie dismissed herself as Hunter got in the ring to confront Sting. Stephanie grabbed a sledgehammer from underneath the ring and gave it to her husband. Sting grabbed his bat that was hiding beneath his shirt and the battle of baseball bat vs. sledgehammer was on. Triple H backed down to the disappointment of the crowd. Sting tried to make it a fair fight by putting down his bat. Triple H refused to bite and Stephanie talked him down and told him to wait until Sunday to kick Sting’s ass.
  • This was a hot way to start the show. Sting did a nice job on the mic. He was comfortable and fed off the crowd which was an added bonus. Stephanie McMahon was awesome and her facial expressions were fantastic. Her face just screams pure evil and seeing Sting be completely unfazed by her bitchiness was great as well. Triple H brought the intensity without hardly saying a word. I think that the build for their match has been good and their match at Wrestlemania should be fun if all goes according to plan.
  • Oh. My. God. Dean Ambrose just busted a move. Color me shocked.
  • In any event, Dean Ambrose and R-Truth vs. Luke Harper and Stardust was solid. The action picked up after the commercial break and turned into a pretty good match down the stretch. Seeing R-Truth pin Stardust disappointed me a bit, but it was a way to put the babyface team over leading up to the Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania. It made sense in the grand scheme of things. Bad News Barrett was smart to run away with his IC Title after the match was over. The last thing we needed was another pointless game of hot potato for the belt. All in all, this was a success in my book.
  • I have to admit that Damien Mizdow looked quite spiffy as he dressed like The Miz during their interview with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell. That was a nice way to promote Hart and Ferrell’s upcoming comedy flick, Get Hard. Plus, it gives fans an extra incentive to check out the entire interview on wwe.com for laughs. Smart marketing strategy. However, it is strange that the duo is still together after Miz laid Mizdow out with the Skull Crushing Finale last week on Raw. Maybe Mizdow will emancipate himself during the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania. Too bad they couldn’t duke it out in a one-on-one match, though.
  • I have to give WWE credit for showing incredible restraint when it came to Bill Simmons joining the commentary table during the ten man tag team match. After all the trash talk between Simmons and JBL on Twitter, I thought a verbal flame war was about to take place. However, JBL was on his best behavior and didn’t heel it up. Simmons talked about his fandom of professional wrestling and didn’t detract from the bout taking place in the ring. This could have been ugly and annoying, but I was pleasantly surprised that cooler heads prevailed.
  • It appears that WWE is pumping the brakes on Orton and Rollins physically attacking each other until Wrestlemania. That is a smart decision in my estimation. Orton unleashed holy hell on Rollins a couple of weeks ago. Seeing Rollins get the upper hand would have been predictable. Therefore, saving the actual fight until the PPV makes sense. Both guys should beat the hell out of each other to the crowd’s delight inside Levi’s Stadium. Here’s hoping for carnage and mayhem.
  • Nikki Bella and Paige had a good match for the Divas Championship. They both worked hard and the crowd was invested in the action for the most part. Hell, I even used the WWE App to check in on the match during the commercial break. It appears that the ladies are truly getting a chance to show their worth inside the squared circle. We still have a long way to go in terms of character development and how the women are presented on television, but I like what I am seeing as of late. AJ Lee accidentally elbowed Paige which caused her to get deck with a wicked forearm by Nikki outside the ring. Nikki eventually hit Paige with the Rack Attack to pick up the win. After the match was over, AJ tried to console Paige, but Paige attacked her and the fight was on. The Bella Twins looked on in amusement as they watched their Wrestlemania opponents tear each other apart. It was a devious plan that worked. I think Paige and AJ will hug it out and be on the same page come Sunday. If the tag team match is positioned well on the card and the ladies get time to work, it could be a fun bout to watch. Fingers crossed!
  • That was a very cute segment featuring Snoop Dogg, Curtis Axel, and Hulk Hogan. It was light-hearted and fun. I knew an Axelmania vs. Hulkamania duel was coming. Axel is coming into his own with some nice character development. This type of gimmick has a short shelf life, but at least he is showing some charisma. If he is given the chance to shine in the ring with his new found personality, there might be hope for him yet when it comes to achieving meaningful success in WWE.
  • Rusev and Cena recaptured the magic leading up to their United States Championship match at Wrestlemania. After last week’s unintentional comedy segment that was the U.S. Title contract signing, things got back on track when Rusev viciously attacked Cena after his match against Jack Swagger. Rusev lured Cena in his trap by refusing to let go of The Accolade submission hold on Swagger after the match was over. Michael Cole astutely noted that Lana was not there to stop Rusev. Therefore, The Bulgarian Brute by way of Russia was not going to let go until Cena made the save. Cena got the jump on Rusev briefly, but The U.S. Champ quickly got the upper hand on Cena as he threw him back first into the barricade at ringside. He drove him into the ring post before tossing Cena over the announce table. Rusev grabbed the Russian Flag and waved it around the ring. As Cena was trying to regroup, Rusev went back on the attack and kicked Cena in the face. He slammed Cena back onto the announce table and locked in The Accolade. A half dozen referees came out to make Rusev break the hold. Eventually, Cena passed out and Rusev finally let him go. The segment ended with Rusev grabbing his United States Championship and getting back in the ring as the Russian flag dropped from the ceiling as Cena laid on the announce table unconscious.
  • This was a great way to add heat to the Rusev-Cena feud. The fact that this is a very personal feud without the fun and games adds an extra layer of drama to their match at Wrestlemania. I expect them to top their bout from Fast Lane and deliver the goods in the ring. In all likelihood, Cena will probably win because he is America’s saving grace from the evil Rusev. Plus, he could elevate the United States Championship to new heights against quality opponents. Let’s hope my cup of optimism is not brimming with false hope for the future. Especially when it comes to Rusev getting pinned for the first time in his career to Cena. It’s a scary thought, but I hope Rusev is still booked strongly despite a potential loss to Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, & Respect at the biggest show of the year. One can only hope…
  • Bray Wyatt’s promo was nothing more than a recycle of old material until he reached the back end of his spiel about The Undertaker. He was passionate about being the owner of the demons, darkness, and spirits. He was the judge of the dead and living. He vowed to make The Undertaker rest in peace at Wrestlemania. If it wasn’t for those last two minutes of unbridled passion from Wyatt, I would have completely trashed this segment for its repetitiveness. Wyatt stating that people hated who they were when they looked in the mirror was the exact same thing he said last year during his feud with John Cena leading up to their match at Wrestlemania XXX. All he did was copy and paste Cena’s name for Taker’s. Fortunately, things got better towards the end to make this segment salvageable. Taker vs. Wyatt should be a spectacle. Seeing The Phenom for the first time since the steak ended will be a sight to behold to say the least.
  • Normally, I hate cheesy product placement on WWE Television. However, The Burger King spot featuring Tyson Kidd and Natalya was cute. It made perfect since considering their somewhat tone deaf relationship. Plus, pimping some chicken fires is a nice way to make a quick paycheck. It was hammy, but I loved it. Sue me.
  • We got a demonstration of the Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania. The seven men took a few bumps without giving too much away. Before the brawl for all, Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan had a match with Dean Ambrose serving as guest referee via a fan poll on the WWE App. The match was solid. Both men worked hard, but they held back a bit because they have to save their best stuff for the PPV. The crowd was split and were cold because the 10:30 lull period tends to drain an audience as the three hour marathon that is Raw winds down. Ziggler picked up the win via a Zig Zag. I thought Bryan would even things up by beating Ziggler. Perhaps he will get his shining moment at Wrestlemania when he climbs the ladder to capture the IC Title. I fully expect the ladder match to steal the show at WM. We shall see how it all turns out.
  • Nice beard, Brock.
  • And the show ends with Reigns and Lesnar having a tug of war over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The main event segment left me underwhelmed. Heyman did a great job hyping the main event to the hilt, but it would have been nice to hear from Reigns one more time to tell Lesnar off to his face. I guess it makes sense that people have to pay money to see them fight, but this confrontation left me cold for some reason. I expected a little more firepower, but got a sparkler instead. The fans booing Reigns out of the building didn’t help matters either. The crowd inside Levi Stadium will eat him alive come Sunday. My only hope is that match will exceed expectations in terms of storytelling and in-ring quality. That’s all I can cling to at this point.
  • Overall, I thought this was a decent episode of Raw. The key Wrestlemania matches were highlighted while some were more downplayed than others. I am not doing the Snoopy Dance yet when it comes to my excitement for Wrestlemania. Let’s call it subdued enthusiasm. The past couple of months have been rough in terms of hype and anticipation. It appeared that WWE was easing their foot off the pedal and went into cruise control. Things have been hit and miss. Instead of getting excited for each episode of Raw, I was praying that the show would give me a reason to care about something. I got my wish on some occasions. Got pissed off at other times but assumed they would right the ship. I can’t fully give them a pass because the company never quite got it together this Wrestlemania season. The road has been bumpy and at some points downright treacherous. However, this show offered a small glimmer of hope that Sunday’s Showcase of the Immortals will live up to its name. It’s going to be a challenge, but I expect everyone to have their wrestling boots on. The goal is to put on a hell of a show. Let’s see if they are up to the task. Most importantly, let’s see if WWE can deliver the goods when it counts most.

On that note, this wraps up another edition of Ka$hin In with Keila Ca$h. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back late Sunday night with my Wrestlemania Review. Plus, I encourage you to check out The PWA Show this weekend as Chad Flatt and I run through the entire Mania card and offer our predictions. It’s going to be a busy week on the site. Don’t miss out on all the fun. On that note, I shall leave with “A Moment with Daria and Jane.” See you later, boys and girls!

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