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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

With Fastlane right around the corner, Raw is stuck in neutral

Illustration for article titled Withi Fastlane/i right around the corner, iRaw/i is stuck in neutral
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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Results: Enzo and Cass defeated Cesaro and Sheamus (Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contender match); Gallows and Anderson defeated Roman Reigns via DQ; New Day defeated Rusev and Jinder Mahal; Nia Jax defeated Jobber; Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte; Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn; Braun Strowman defeated Big Show.
  • This is a pretty middling Raw, but boy does it get off to a great start. Kevin Owens kicks things off with an absolutely incredible promo. He’s focused, angry, and insulting Goldberg every chance he gets. He’s letting Goldberg know that no part-timer is going to take the title that means so much to him. ”You’re nothing,” he says. It’s wonderful. Not only does it actually legitimize the Universal Championship and show what it means to Owens, it also gives him significant heat after he dismisses and barely acknowledges Chris Jericho. Great work all around, and I’m really hoping this is a sign that maybe, just maybe, Owens retains at Fastlane (I know, I know).
  • As much as I’ve cooled on Enzo and Cass, and as much as they have no business beating Cesaro and Sheamus, I am optimistic that moving them away from all the Lana and Rusev nonsense will maybe give them some of their old spark back before Wrestlemania.
  • I love when Kevin Owens is worried about the superstars he’s going to destroy. To Mick Foley: “I thought you liked Sami Zayn?”
  • I have no idea why Roman Reigns is being booked in handicap matches. Look, I don’t want him to form some random tag team for a night and beat the champs, but that guy is a great tag team wrestler. That’s his spot, so why not give him a partner and different opponents for the night? Why not actually give people a reason to cheer for him?
  • Lana turning out to be a great hacker because she’s Russian is the lone inspired part of the segment with New Day. That said, I’m stoked to see what New Day has in store as the hosts of Wrestlemania.
  • What if the crowd chants “eat a biscuit!” at Neville from here on out? I’m here for it.
  • That Bayley promo was rough at times, but no denying her star power as a main eventer and champ.
  • Also, Stephanie McMahon is a great heel, no doubt about it, but I don’t get her motivations here. If we’re branstorming, it looks like both her and Triple H are rounding up folks to be their puppets, but the lack of explicit explanations leaves Steph’s segments feeling empty. Why is she manipulating Bayley? Why is she so eager to cut down the new Raw Women’s Champion? A little clarity could go a long way.
  • How good was Braun Strowman vs. Big Show? Chain wrestling, superhuman feats of strength, and a decimated Roman Reigns on top of that. That’s a perfect main event. If this is all leading to Reigns somehow beating the odds at Fastlane though, I’m going to lose my mind.
  • The reaction to Brock Lesnar intensely staring into the camera while Heyman does his thing seems to be…split, at best. I loved it though. It was goofy, sure, but Brock’s also the kind of guy that can get away with goofy intensity because…well, because he’s Brock Lesnar. And let’s be honest, this whole feud is built on two guys being strangely intense.
  • No Emma or Emmalina this week, so that’s still a thing that’s baffling.
  • “THIS IS YOUR WORLD NOW!” Speaking of intense, Samoa Joe is still bringing it as a nasty, vicious heel. Triple H having him and Owens in his pocket has a lot of storyline potential.
  • I really hope Y2J is off TV for awhile. I’m not even sure I want him to show up at Fastlane. Build the anticipation for that comeback!
  • This Raw really feels like the show killing time until Fastlane. Familiar matches and long promo segments dominate the night. Not everything is bad by any means, but it’s a rather inconsequential show as a whole. At least the main event players are delivering.

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