Wrestlemania is coming up fast. You'd think I'd care more. Still, technically, this column isn't late, because I haven't finished watching the first match of this week's RAW yet (a Smackdown rematch between Kevin Owens and AJ Styles, killing time with each other before Mania).
WWE MAIN ROSTER:
So, I've got some good news, and i've got some bad news.
The bad news is, Neville broke his ankle sliding under Chris Jericho on Raw. Kudos to Jericho for a masterful live TV recovery and covering for the injury. And while it's sad that Neville will miss his first Mania, he'll also miss being used poorly at his first Mania, so there's that, at least. Even if there were some hints he was going to be involved in the Zayn-Owens match, he didn't need to be the third wheel in the Zayn-Owens match.
The bad news is, absence did not make the heart grow fonder for Roman Reigns. Because the Reigns that returned was the same Reigns they've been trying to get over for a year and a half. The smarks were booing him and the regular crowd was apathetic. There is no good news here. Reigns is going to be in the main event at Wrestlemania winning the title off of a semi-retired 90's superstar, and no amount of goading and insulting the crowd with tired old blue-collar angst is going to help.
The bad news is, Shane McMahon fuckbotched his big promo against the Undertaker. The other bad news is that him wrestling Undertaker in the Cell and winning is infinitely more implausible to me than, say, Aerostar being a time traveler. Also, Shane McMahon needs to learn how oxygen works.
The good news is, the New Day face turn is in full effect, and their epic beatdown at the hands of the League of Nations marks the official shift. They're still cheating to win, but there are worse tmeplates than the old Los Guerreros "Lie, Cheat, Steal" cheating face playbook.
The good news is, Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar is gonna be a hoot. They're really playing up the uncontrollable crazy angle for both guys, and it's working.
The good news is, Sami Zayn beat The Miz quicker than he beat Stardust on Saturday, and he's on track to face Owens at Mania. The bad news is, the Heluva Kick isn't super-over with the regular WWE crowd, and Zayn may n eed a more dynamic finisher or some audience training to make them recognize a big, important move is happening.
The bad news is, R-Truth and Goldust still aren't funny. The worse news is, someone (Vince?) clearly thinks this thing is working.
The good news is, Sin Cara has a snazzy new black outfit! The bad news is, he's jobbing painfully to Ryback to further the feud with Kalisto, so Kalisto gets another "you're small and I'm big so I don't like or respect you" storyline for Mania. Bleah.
The bad news is, the non-title picture in the Diva's division is a goddamned nightmare, with the goal apparently being to set up a feud between Paige and Lana.
A solid set of matches this week. American Alpha became the #1 contenders for the tag titles, as I expected/hoped. It's Bayley-Asuka for the belt in Dallas, which should be a great match. Squashes for the Hype Bros, Emma, and Tommasso Ciampa. Nothing super thrilling, but solid.