Having left Triple H in a pile of flat screen fragments and stitches last week, Roman Reigns has now set his sights on The Authority’s power itself. Despite Stephanie McMahon’s continued bravado in the face of The Big Dog’s warpath, Reigns certainly did his part to stake his claim on The Authority’s territory in Raw’s opening moments. Not only did he explicitly promise Stephanie that he would dethrone The King of Kings at WrestleMania, but he also blocked her attempt at a retaliatory slap to the face. Yep, he is ready.
Kevin Owens had quite the evening on Raw: First, The Prizefighter was placed into a non-title bout with AJ Styles — itself a rematch of their SmackDown instant classic — which was summarily derailed by the interference of Chris Jericho at ringside. Then, Jericho’s jeers of “A-J-Styyy-les!” and interruption of the Calf Crusher helped Owens win with a rollup. But wait, there was more.
In the middle of his post-match victory speech, a boastful Owens was besieged by Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and Sami Zayn, all in the hunt for an Intercontinental Title Match at WrestleMania. Surprisingly, Owens not only kept his cool, but he also made lemonade out of thin air by getting Stephanie McMahon to sanction a Triple Threat Match to determine his one, true KO-Mania opponent. Smart, Owens. Smart.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H was conspicuous by his absence all night on Raw, and if what Roman Reigns did to The game in the brief moments he did show his face was any indication, The King of Kings was wise to keep his distance. All the champion did was pull into the arena with his limo to pick up Stephanie McMahon and leave, but Reigns was lying in wait.
The Big Dog not only barred The Game’s vehicle from exit, but he forcibly removed Triple H from the backseat and beat him about the arena parking lot. Only some quick thinking from a visibly shaken King of Kings allowed him to make his escape, but Reigns should consider this a win nonetheless: It’s not every day that The Cerebral Assassin finds himself outgunned.
It’s safe to say Mr. McMahon’s plan to play The Undertaker against Shane McMahon hasn’t gone quite as planned. Granted, The Phenom seems all too eager to eviscerate the prodigal son. That said, he also seems just as likely to tear The Chairman himself apart for presuming to use him as a puppet.
So, Mr. McMahon returned to Raw one week after narrowly dodging a chokeslam to add some extra incentive to The Last Outlaw’s mission: Should he fail to defeat Shane-O-Mac inside Hell in a Cell, this coming WrestleMania would be The Undertaker’s final WrestleMania.
Braun Strowman should thank Sister Abigail or whatever specter he worships that Dean Ambrose decided to use a chair and not Terry Funk’s chainsaw to make a statement against the biggest Wyatt of them all after a grueling battle in Raw’s main event. That Ambrose lasted long enough into his bout with Strowman to even bring a foreign object into the equation had to be a source of concern for ringside scout Paul Heyman, whose client Brock Lesnar will battle The Lunatic Fringe at WrestleMania in a No Holds Barred Street Fight. But what really left Heyman speechless (shocking in and of itself) was that Ambrose left The Black Sheep on his back, courtesy of a superhuman Dirty Deeds onto said chair. So can Ambrose do the same to Lesnar? As Terry Funk said (among other things) ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.
In other action… WWE Tag Team Champion Big E def. Rusev… Big Show declared for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal… Chris Jericho def. Fandango… Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. Stardust ended in a No Contest… Divas Champion Charlotte def. Natalya… and Bubba Ray Dudley def. R-Truth.