The Road to WrestleMania made its final stop at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., and it did not disappoint. With all the pieces in place before the Show of Shows at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night, all that was left was to hype the matches to come and give the WWE Universe a final taste before heading to East Rutherford, New Jersey.
On the final Monday Night Raw, The Beast Incarnate returned to deliver a final message before defending his Universal Championship against Seth Rollins, Kurt Angle was honored with an incredible video montage to his Hall of Fame career, and all hell broke loose when the three woman scheduled for WrestleMania 35’s main event took the ring at the same time.
Stephanie McMahon’s Announcement
WWE’s Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon opened the show with an announcement that adds even more fuel to WrestleMania 35’s fire. She announced that the triple threat main event match between Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch will be winner-take-all.
This contradicts speculation from last week that Flair’s Smackdown Women’s Championship would not be defended, but now, that title, as well as Rousey’s Raw Women’s Championship, will all be on the line come Sunday night.
Seth Rollins Attacks Brock Lesnar
Lesnar returned to the ring accompanied by the greatest manager in professional wrestling, Paul Heyman. Before the pair could trash Lesnar’s WrestleMania opponent further, the D.C. crowd erupted when “BURN IT DOWN!” was pumped into the arena, and Seth Rollins emerged from backstage. He and Lesnar would trade shots including a low blow on Lesnar, a trip to Suplex City, and Rollins’ Curb Stomp to hype the match.
The Universal Champion will have his title on the line, and this should be one of WrestleMania’s best matches on the main card.
Four-on-Four Women’s Tag Team Match
The Fatal 4-Way match at WrestleMania didn’t need much more juice after the last few weeks, but alas, here we are seeing all eight women in the ring once again. WWE Women’s Tag Team champions Bayley and Sasha Banks joined forced with The Divas of Doom — Natalya and Beth Phoenix — to face the The IIconics, Nia Jax and Tamina.
The Glamazon’s return to the ring was again the main point of focus as Phoenix would put Tamina right through the barricade outside the ring, then connect on a Glam Slam to score the win via pin. The WWE Raw results have put a premium on this Beth Phoenix-Natalya pairing, and with The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection being the only pair to hold the Women’s Tag Team Championships since Elimination Chamber, it seems more and more likely those titles will change hands at WrestleMania.
Batista Delivers Message to Triple H
In what might be my favorite WrestleMania promo of all time, Batista walked out to the center of the ring, a video montage briefly played showing past encounters between The Animal and Triple H. Then, Batista took off his sunglasses, looked deeply into the camera, and simply said “Hunter, kiss my ass.”
Necessary? Eh. Genius? Absolutely.
Jinder Mahal vs. Apollo Crews
Promoting the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Crews would quickly pin Mahal, then eye the battle royal’s trophy that was placed ringside. Then, the other competitors surrounding the ring ran in to get close to the trophy. Naturally, an an impromptu royal rumble broke out. Titus O’Neil put on a show in the exhibition, but Crews proved to be the last man standing.
So far, names like Braun Strowman, both Matt and Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Chad Gable, No Way Jose, Heath Slater, Rhyno, Shelton Benjamin and EC3 have been announced for the sixth annual Battle Royal.
Kurt Angle Honored by WWE Universe
In his last appearance on WWE Raw, a video package played on the jumbotron celebrated Kurt Angle’s career. Of course, Angle’s WrestleMania opponent Baron Corbin interrupted after the video was finished to chime in.
Angle then challenged Corbin right then and there, until Rey Mysterio, who spent much of the last several years in various promotions outside WWE before joining the Smackdown Live main roster last year, made his first appearance on Raw in almost five years. Mysterio challenged Corbin to a match later in the show.
Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. The Revival
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
The Revival continued its winning ways by defeating Ricochet and Aleister Black via count out after Ricochet was pulled down from under the ring while trying to return. Black and Ricochet would continue their attack after the match ended. With rumors that The Revivial might jump to All Elite Wrestling (AEW), it feels like a matter of time before Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson are forced to relinquish their tag team titles.
Moment of Bliss w/ Roman Reigns
Alexa Bliss gave Roman Reigns the chance to address being attacked by Drew McIntyre the last few weeks, when not surprisingly, Reigns was ambushed by McIntyre backstage yet again. There’s not many dynamics heading into WrestleMania more face versus heel than this one, as the entire WWE Universe will be rooting for Reigns to capture a huge win on Sunday.
The Riott Squad vs. Rousey-Flair-Lynch
Tag Team Match w/ Special Rules
In a tag team match with the three women competing in the WrestleMania main event, Rousey, Flair and Lynch were to join forces, but if any of them betrayed their teammates during the match, they would forfeit their shot at unifying the women’s titles. Rousey would connect with an arm bar to score the win, then all three started going at it immediately after the match.
In a scene that looked like some kind of weird combination of Reno 911! and elementary school recess, a band of security and “police officers” broke up the fight. Everybody was handcuffed and taken out of the arena, where The Man and Rousey would start fighting in the backseat of a car, kick out a window, and somehow shake off 30 grown men to keep the charade going.
It’s obvious WWE wanted to remind everyone that these three hate each other, and this whole segment was one of the best promotions of the year.
Heavy Machinery vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
Heavy Machinery’s rise through NXT to the main roster on Raw is setting them up for a future shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pair of Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight combine to around 600 pounds, but are athletic enough to put on an awesome combination of power and agility. Otis caught Chad Gable in midair as Heavy Machinery connected with The Compacter to seal the victory.
While this made no impact on WrestleMania, it’s obviously gauging interest that Heavy Machinery will be contenders down the road, and Gable and Goode are all but finished as legitimate threats in the tag team division.
Braun Strowman Beats Up “SNL Cast Members”
Strowman continued his strange affinity for beating up little men by throwing Tyler Breeze and EC3 around like rag dolls. The Monster Among Men dubbed them “Colin Jost” and “Michael Che,” after the Saturday Night Live duo that will take part in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
It seemed like a waste of time to hype this strange dynamic, as it’s getting more and more apparent that Jost and Che will likely eliminate Strowman somehow on Sunday night.
Finn Balor Brings Out “The Demon”
Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush began a promo before Lashley defends his Intercontinental Championship at Mania. Suddenly, Finn Balor appeared on the arena’s jumbotron to announce that his alter ego “The Demon” — a character he’s sporadically brought out since his days on NXT — would face Lashley at WrestleMania.
The painted, Gaelic figure has never been a resounding hit as WWE never does a great job bringing it into the fold, but at least this match now has a touch more added intrigue.
Rey Mysterio vs. Baron Corbin
Rey Mysterio returned to Raw for first time in 5 years to face Corbin on behalf of Kurt Angle. After connecting on a 619, Corbin would hit Mysterio with a Deep Six to score the win. As Corbin left the ring, Angle came out from the back and caught Corbin with an ankle lock to close the show.
The WWE Hall of Famer is one of the greatest to ever do it, but after bidding his final farewell on Raw, it’s all but inevitable he’ll defeat Corbin. Angle isn’t even half the athletic specimen that Mysterio is these days, so his final match in a WWE ring figures to lack the excitement many fans would probably prefer to see, especially at The Showcase of the Immortals.