The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 3/25/19: Thoughts And Prayers


Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Raw: Ronda Rousey murdered Dana Brooke in front of everyone on live television, Kurt Angle had a very slow and concerning dream match with Chad Gable, and No Way Jose disguised himself as Pentagon Jr.

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And now, here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for March 25, 2019.

Worst: Beating The Clock For Precious MOMENTUM

Up first this week is a “beat the clock challenge” pitting the participants in the Raw Women’s Championship WrestleMania main event against the three most expendable women on the show, the Riott Squad. The poor, poor Riott Squad.

It’s an easy enough situation to analyze. “Beat the clock challenges” really only work if the person who beats the clock wins something — match placement, a Royal Rumble number, a title shot, whatever — and having one with the three women who are already in the main event of your biggest show of the year (and who have, in Becky Lynch’s case, already had to jump through multiple unnecessary hoops to get there) is just kind of pointless. It’s “building momentum,” that vague power boost Raw and Smackdown pretend wrestlers get from “bragging rights” wins. What’s the point, you know? To show that the best people on the show can beat the worst people really fast? We watched Rousey beat Dana Brooke in a single GIF last week.

It’s one of those things that would work better, I think, if WWE still used actual jobbers for matches like this. With characters like the Riott Squad, you get stuck somewhere between 1980s booking and late 1990s crash TV booking where identifiable, recurring characters never truly feel like “enhancement talent,” but get treated like it, and instead of reveling in how helpless and bad they are, you kinda feel bad for them because it feels like maybe they’re just not being “used right” or appreciated. And when everyone on your show gets a turn being this kind of talent, you’re left with a roster that feels about 75% useless. It’s why you can’t have Jinder Mahal lose all the time for years and then suddenly get him over as WWE Champion, and why he instantly goes back to being non-threatening when that push is over.

Anyway, Rousey trucks Sarah Logan in a minute-25, which only has a “minute” in front of it because Logan ran away from her at the beginning. Charlotte Flair draws the short straw and gets Ruby Riott herself, the most difficult pull, and fails to put her away in time. Becky Lynch gets Liv Morgan, the easiest pull — pretty sure the referee could’ve schoolboy’d Liv and pinned her in less than 1:25 — and exhausts Liv’s entire moveset before pinning her in 1:18.

And that’s it, really. Nothing has changed, except now Becky Lynch has proven that she can defeat an unsuccessful wrestler in seven fewer seconds than Ronda Rousey. I’m not sure I care about interpersonal bragging rights, especially when Ronda effortlessly took Lynch to the fucking woodshed a couple of weeks ago.

I think the WrestleMania match is going to be really great, but I wish everything between November and now had been in better service of the talent, and a better build for a fight that was ready for Mania as soon as Lynch’s hand hit Flair’s face at SummerSlam.

Also, the less said about Ronda Rousey’s three attempted mic drops in a row where she had to walk back over and pick it up to continue her promo, the better. Someone probably told her this was cool, but it produced sufferin’ succotash levels of second-hand embarrassment.

Best: Paul Heyman Talks Too Much

More great work from Paul Heyman and especially Seth Rollins this week as they continue to build a WrestleMania main-event between a passionate, evolved babyface challenger and a champion who can’t pull his bright purple face out of the latest issue of Back Woodsman long enough to show up to work and participate. However, the only thing anybody’s going to be talking about is the cut-away to this kid.


Theory: The reason John Cena hasn’t shown up to take Baron Corbin’s place in the WrestleMania match against Kurt Angle is because Cena was transformed into a child by magic wishing dust and nobody will believe it’s him. Look at that picture and tell me that’s not John Cena. He’s got the same hair and it even looks like he’s doing a salute. Plus, he’s out here burying Paul Heyman:

WWE Network

The only irony is that child John Cena dresses like an adult, while 41-year old John Cena dresses like a child. John, if you’re reading this, I’m texting WWE PR with the address to a Zoltar fortune teller machine in New Jersey, I think it can fix everything in time for Mania. Also, I may have just accidentally pitched this to WWE Studios as a feature film.

Worst: Baron Wasteland

Speaking of Baron Corbin, he gets a strong win over Apollo Crews that would’ve helped his character a lot heading into the WrestleMania match with Angle if he hadn’t lost to the same guy like a geek last week. After the match, Corbin gets that one post-match heel cut scene from WWE 2K19 Universe Mode and attacks Crews again instead of leaving.

I feel bad here, because I feel like Raw’s creative team doesn’t actually know how to “build momentum,” and is always trying to build momentum. Corbin’s not a bad wrestler, but his character is a dog’s anus right now, and the fact that he’s still wrestling in stretchy dress clothes despite being three months out of the Raw General Manager role is inexplicable.

Best: Cross The Line

When Kurt Angle debuted in TNA Wrestling back in 2006, this was how he announced his presence.


On Raw, in the final meeting between Angle and Samoa Joe, this is how the match begins.


WWE needs a Network special entitled, Okay, We Admit That TNA Influenced Us A Lot And We Really Need The Competition Or We Won’t Come Up With Any New Ideas.

The match between Joe and Angle had its especially depressing moments — Angle not being able to get over for a vertical suplex and almost braining himself was one, and him quivering like he was about to explode after Joe snapped him over in the powerslam was another — but they kept it short, and I thought it worked better from an in-ring standpoint than Gable vs. Angle. Joe is better at this than Gable and has a ton more experience, and was able to actually carry Angle through his spots instead of just wrestling around him. That’s no shade on Gable, it’s just a compliment to Joe’s skill.

Of course, the United States Champion losing another match felt like a bummer, especially on a show where the Raw Tag Team Champions also get pinned (and get pinned all the time), and I feel like Joe’s forgotten how to win since becoming champ. It’s his first championship on the WWE main roster and he looks like a total stooge trying to defend it, constantly getting pinned in non-title matches, multi-man matches, and in the middle of 6-man gauntlets to guys who’ve already faced three opponents. Can we, like, have Joe actually win matches now? Please?

Next Week: Kurt Angle relives the opener to SummerSlam 2002 with a match against Rey Mysterio, and we only have one more goddamn Smackdown to do Angle vs. Daniel Bryan.

Worst: Is Braun Strowman Ever Getting A Real WrestleMania Match?

Who knows if either set of Tag Team Champions will make it onto the WrestleMania card, but hey, the two guys from the middle of Saturday Night Live are going to compete!

Colin Jost, who is still convinced that he’s an awesome passive aggressive pro wrestling heel, trolls the Boston crowd via satellite and ends up getting put into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. I was going to make a joke about how much this honors the legacy of Andre the Giant, but then I remembered the only battle royal he actually had at WrestleMania involved Jimbo Covert, Russ Francis, and the Killer Bees, so maybe it does? The rationale is that if they don’t agree to a physical confrontation, Strowman’s going to find them and murder them backstage. It’s the Lex Luger/Bruiser Brody situation, but with sketch comedy. I made the joke on Twitter last night, but my fantasy booking here is for Jost and Che to almost have Strowman eliminated before Nicholas slides into the ring and dumps them both.

On a positive note, I really like the friendship between Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss, who have found some sort of common bond in how highly they think of themselves and how little they think of other people. Real friends know that therapy is a positive thing!

Also On This Episode

Aleister Black and Ricochet have pinned the Raw Tag Team Champions! Again!

i’m actually kind of disappointed that Black and Ricochet are so obviously going to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic (against opponents I can’t remember) and move on to challenge War Raiders for the NXT Tag Team Championship at TakeOver New York, because my big fix to the size of the Mania card and the ongoing futility of The Revival would be to have The Revival go back to NXT for TakeOver and defend the Raw Tag Team Championship against Black and Ricochet there. You’d free up that spot on your 17 match-ass Mania card, and you’d put all four guys in a better environment for a longer, more exciting, actually meaningful match.

Or, you know, just put them in another fatal four-way between pre-show battle royals. Who cares.

Now that I’ve complained about Tag Team Champions getting shuffled into terrible fatal four-way matches at WrestleMania, allow me to get very excited about the fact that the Women’s Tag Team Champions are getting shuffled into a terrible fatal four-way at WrestleMania. A post-match interview made it official, but WE DID IT, Y’ALL, the IIconics are getting a WrestleMania match, a WrestleMania entrance, and hopefully some WrestleMania mic time. I don’t need them to win, necessarily, I just need them to (1) give Sasha and Bayley someone to wrestle who won’t fuck up every third move or accidentally kill them, and (2) get treated like the precious resource they are.

As for the match, Natalya has some BOSS TIME~ against Banks until Nia Jax and Tamina invade, and Beth Phoenix has to fight them off. We’re really going to have some form of Natalya vs. Tamina at WrestleMania in the year of our Lord 2019, folks. Good luck.

“How do you beat the team of Lashley and Mahal??”

I don’t know, Michael, maybe by easily pinning Mahal? Replacing Lio Rush with Jinder Mahal in a match is like replacing delicious pizza with a urinal cake. Maybe Lashley should’ve watched literally any Jinder Mahal match before making him his partner. How many handicap matches does this guy have to lose via a weak link tag team partner before he stops thinking they give him an advantage?

On the positive tip, at least maybe we’ll get to see The Demon Bálor finally get a WrestleMania entrance and skunk Bobert in 30 seconds to get the Intercontinental Championship on the card without having to kill too much time. Finn writhing down that long ass ramp with belts on his head trying not to choke on the fog machine should be at least three times longer than the match itself.

I don’t know if Triple H read the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War ’98 on Monday afternoon and decided to pretend he was still Hunter Hearst Helmsley or what, but the otherwise super cereal “Paul” went full jokester in this latest segment to build his WrestleMania grudge match against Dave.

Batista sent him a letter demanding an additional stipulation for the match — Triple H must put his career on the line, apparently — and H responds with Spice Girls quotes and jokes about how the moon is made of cheese. I don’t know. Maybe they were worried they were pretending to be too serious or something and wanted to dial it back, which I appreciate, but maybe dial it forward a little bit now. There’s got to be a happy medium between “deadly serious screaming of shoot names” and “let’s get ready to suck it.”

Also, AJ Styles should help Batista win at WrestleMania, because he also believes Evolution did nothing for his career.

Roman Reigns is officially great on the microphone. I wish he had a better build for this match than “Drew McIntyre decimated The Shield, except he lost to them in a six-man tag at the pay-per-view, then the Shield broke up, then Drew started picking fights with them individually and only one of them seems to care.” it doesn’t really do either of them a favor. Plus, do they put McIntyre over Roman Reigns at WrestleMania? They could barely put Lesnar over him there.

None of this is bad, and I get that they had to figure out what to do on hell short notice. I just want to be into Drew McIntyre as a character and a threat, and something’s keeping me from being able to do that. Maybe it’s the fact that he never wears regular clothes, and dangles a few strands of wet hair in front of his face just so he can whip them back during his entrance.

That all builds to another Drew McIntyre vs. Dean Ambrose hardcore match in the main event, which (again) is good enough, but feels like it would’ve been more effective if we hadn’t seen the same thing but better two weeks ago. We already fridged Dean once and Roman didn’t seem to care, why are we doing it again? Is Ambrose gonna show up two weeks from now and challenge him to a STREET FIGHT?

That’s this month of Raw in a nutshell, really. It feels like it knows it needs to take steps to improve itself and move forward, but it doesn’t seem to know which steps, or how many to take, or in what direction. It’s better than it was earlier this year, but it’s still got a way to go. They need to flush a lot of this after WrestleMania and start fresh, whether that means switching out some talent, letting some people go, or just refocusing on the things that actually work.

Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week

The Real Birdman

“How do you beat a team of Lashley & Mahal?”

WWE Network

Clay Quartermain

Roman: “Don’t you ever talk about my wife and kid”
Drew: “Seth and Dean?”

Brute Farce

Joe can’t believe he lost, Kurt can’t believe he won… I can’t believe I watched.

Mr. Bliss

John Lithgow: “There is a place that brings things back but they don’t come back the same”
Me: “A pet cemetary?”
Lithgow: “No. WWE Creative, and it’s never as good as the original, sometimes dead is better.”


Kurt found the sneaky way to avoid getting choked out by the Coquina Clutch. Not having a neck! Brilliant!

Martin Morrow

Wait, Heyman said Rollins’ generation needs thoughts and prayers? Does he think Seth is a 60 year old Republican Senator?

Freeway Knight

Seth is answering prayers? He really is Crossfit Jesus…

Big Baby Yeezus

*Commercial Break Ends*
“Ladies and gentlemen, Dean Ambrose did not make the 10 count, the match is over and the last 7 minutes of RAW will be Titus O’Neil falling under the ring on a loop”

Baron Von Raschke

Balladeer Elias: Well, about now Triple-H was wondering if the barn door had been closed after the horses had already left.

Harry Longabaugh

Are Nattie and Beth “The Order of the Phoenix?” or “The Bethly Hallows?”



That’s it for this week’s column. As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing on social media. Telling people on Twitter and Facebook to read these depressed wrestling jokes is the only thing that keeps us from waiting tables, and your only source of sports-entertainment humor being live-watches where Pat McAfee tries to keep Nigel McGuinness from dropping F-bombs. So, uh, thank you.

Join us next week for the go-home show for WrestleMania, somehow, featuring Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio, and Ronda Rousey teaming with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch against the Job Squad. But can they co-exist!?