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Excited about WrestleMania 34? Raw didn’t help

WrestleMania 34Monday Night Raw this week was supposed to be the go-home show for WrestleMania 34. So, what did WWE send us home with?

No movement on Undertaker-Cena

John Cena, yet again, cut a 10-minute-plus promo calling out Undertaker, who yet again was missing in action. OK, so they’re saving it for Sunday, to give us the “big surprise.” It had better be good, because the walk-up to whatever they do has been utterly forgettable.

Ronda Rousey debut: Dud

I like the idea of easing Rousey in as part of a mixed tag, to take advantage of the novelty of her making her WWE debut, while also tamping down expectations for what she can do in the ring as a sports-entertainment rookie. I just don’t like what the writers have been doing to sell the match with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon on the other side. Last night’s Q&A was horrid. Why have Jonathan Coachman serve as moderator if you’re going to have the two teams talk over each other for the first 10 minutes, and he’s only going to get one question in? Why have Stephanie McMahon say anything anymore, for that matter. Nobody backstage is going to tell her that she’s not good at cutting wrestling promos, because she’s the boss’s daughter, but … damn, she is awful. Just awful.

Lesnar UFC tease

I’m on board with Paul Heyman talking up Brock Lesnar going to UFC if he somehow loses to Roman Reigns in the main event. It feels a little CM Punk pipebomb-ish to be talking about leaving the company, and gives us as fans pause in terms of what we think is the inevitable conclusion to ‘Mania, that being Reigns winning the Universal belt. OK, it’s going to happen, but, again, I like that they’re making me think.

Thinking ahead to Smackdown

That creative team has some work to do. AJ Styles-Shinsuke Nakamura sells itself, but whatever is up with Styles’ knee has to have you worried. The fun tonight should involve Daniel Bryan, Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The speculation out now about a possible heel turn involving Bryan turning on McMahon to side with Owens and Zayn is intriguing. Maybe we see some inkling of something getting us in that direction tonight.

Column by Chris Graham

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