Roman Reigns is down, but he’s far from out. After absorbing multiple beatings at the hands of Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, The Big Dog finally got a piece of The Beast Incarnate with a succession of Superman Punches that left Lesnar dazed. However, The Conqueror is not so easily dispatched.
On her first night as a WWE Superstar, Ronda Rousey sent Triple H crashing through a table. Now, Stephanie McMahon has repaid the favor.
In the final faceoff between WrestleMania’s Mixed Tag Team opponents — Rousey & Kurt Angle and Triple H & Stephanie — tensions escalated almost immediately, thanks to The King of Kings pre-emptively blaming The Olympic Gold Medalist for a potential Ronda loss. The Baddest Woman on the Planet replied by demanding why Triple H signed her with “ulterior motives;” Stephanie took issue with being demanded to do anything; Angle reminded his opponents they were speaking to an Olympic medalist and a former UFC champion; and Triple H brought it all home by reminding Angle that, despite all of Ronda’s accolades and skills, she was stepping into a world she did not yet fully understand.
The trash-talking continued through a pair of questions from the WWE Universe, peaking when Stephanie implied that Rousey’s impending loss would be too much for her to handle. Moderator Jonathan Coachman seemed to cool the hostilities enough to stage a pre-match photo opp, but Stephanie’s words had hit their mark, and Rousey was soon nose-to-nose with the Raw Commissioner. Triple H dispatched Angle with a microphone to the back of the head, and when “Rowdy” Ronda turned her attention to the COO, Stephanie struck, driving Ronda through the interview table she’d been sitting behind moments earlier.
How Ronda will rebound from this display remains to be seen, but she left Raw with the uncomfortable realization that Triple H and Stephanie were telling the truth after all: She may be a UFC champion, and she may be an Olympic medalist, but Ronda Rousey is playing an entirely different game now.
John Cena is out of time. Weeks have gone by without a response from The Undertaker in the wake of Cena’s WrestleMania challenge, and with the clock ticking down to zero, The Cenation Leader has come to accept that The Deadman’s lack of a response is his response. As he put it on Raw: "Silence means 'no.'"
And, having concluded that entering the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal or signing up as Braun Strowman’s partner would simply rob a more deserving Superstar of an opportunity, Cena came to Raw resolved and “proud” to experience WrestleMania as a fan. It wasn’t just stoicism either: The 16-time World Champion seemed genuinely fired-up to see Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor try to steal the show, join The "Yes!" Movement for Daniel Bryan’s return, witness AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura’s “Dream Match,” partake in the Rusev Day festivities and watch the Women’s Evolution take its next leap forward.
Before he resolved himself to a seat in the front row, however, The Cenation Leader tried one last time to summon The Deadman by lathering the WWE Universe into a frenzy. No dice. He even tossed off one last below-the-belt insult in the hopes The Last Outlaw would make his presence known. All he got was silence. And now, he knows what that means.
Six years ago today, Brock Lesnar returned to WWE. One year ago today, Brock Lesnar became Universal Champion. And six days from now, if events transpire to make Roman Reigns the Universal Champion, then Lesnar and Paul Heyman are gone.
That bombshell from The Beast and his advocate was easily the biggest shocker in Team Brock’s address to the WWE Universe before WrestleMania, where — with a wall of Superstars blocking the ramp in case of Reigns’ appearance — Heyman decided to deliver a sermon of “truth” that stretched well beyond the reveal that Lesnar had no desire to stick around if he wasn’t holding a title.
No, Heyman had larger truths on his mind, namely that the “mystique” he’d cultivated of Lesnar as a solitary figure who doesn’t respect anybody was, if anything, understated over the years. Lesnar’s feelings towards the WWE locker room and Universe alike fall somewhere between indifference and outright hostility and, while Heyman certainly respected Reigns’ bonafides as a Superstar, he felt comfortable in the same “not a prediction, it’s a spoiler” forecast for WrestleMania 34 that he gave for The Undertaker all those years ago: F-5 in the middle of the ring, 1-2-3.
Reigns, who had promised to leave Brock and Heyman alone if they kept it respectful, made his entrance soon thereafter, though the human blockade seemed dead set on keeping him from The Conqueror — that is, until he asked them if they really wanted to protect a “part-timer,” at which point the seas parted and Reigns hit the ring. After some circling, Lesnar made his move with chair in hand, and The Big Dog administered five Superman Punches that flattened the champion. Right as Reigns paused to celebrate, however, Lesnar sprang with a quick-strike F-5 that left Reigns writhing in the ring while The Beast left of his own volition.
If this is Lesnar’s final Raw, he went out with a bang. But it will take a special kind of effort to shutter Suplex City for good. Does Reigns have that in him? Six days until we find out.
In other action … Bayley def. Sonya Deville … Seth Rollins def. Finn Bálor … “Brains” Strowman confronted Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus … "Woken" Matt Hardy def. Goldust … Elias def. Heath Slater … and Asuka & Dana Brooke def. Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss & Mickie James.