Who will Ronda Rousey face in New Orleans?
SPOILER WARNING: This article contains full show match results and spoilers for WWE Monday Night Raw from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI, which aired on Monday, March 5, 2018
WrestleMania 34 is just over a month away, and while SmackDown Live still has WWE Fastlane 2018 in front of it, Monday Night Raw only has a few weeks of WWETV to get its plans in place.
It wasted no time, kicking off the show with a major, if predictable, announcement about what we’d be seeing in New Orleans.
Read on to find out what that was and for six things we learned from Monday Night Raw in Milwaukee.
1. Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs Stephanie McMahon and Triple H is happening and it’s best for business
There’s often a lot of cynicism about Authority (well, Trips and Steph) angles these days, and often with good reason.
And there’s even more cynicism about old timers and part timers popping by at WrestleMania and beating the guys and girls who do it 365 days a year.
So what better way to offer up our star attraction than to smoosh them all together in a tag match like this?
They’ve been laying the groundwork for the past few weeks (or even since WrestleMania 31, really), and it promises to be entertaining if nothing else, and what more can you ask for from WrestleMania?
It’s always a pleasure to see Steph in the ring, and Trips being far away from any of the titles in 2018 is sensible.
Kurt Angle needs the protection of a multi-person match, and with that much experience in the ring, RR will be taken care of.
The question of what happens with Ronda next is still open, but it’s a smart plan for her first WrestleMania match.
2. Roman Reigns has his work cut out over the next month, but we think he’ll deliver in New Orleans regardless
The annual sacrifice of Roman Reigns by the WWE Universe. At least this time the predictions of Reigns vs Lesnar II are actually happening, eh?
This build won’t be quite as one-sided as The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt before WM31, as Brock Lesnar will probably pop up between now and Mania, plus Paul Heyman is always available to speak for his client.
But most of the legwork will have to be done by Roman Reigns, and he’s already had a good couple of weeks putting in the effort to sell this match.
Whether he can bring the WWE Universe on board with him before we get to New Orleans is debatable… some people don’t want to be on board, frankly.
But they didn’t three years ago, either, but everyone in that stadium was on their feet during the brutal actual match with Lesnar – and that was long before Seth Rollins got involved.
3. John Cena makes it explicit: Cena vs Styles vs Nakamura at WrestleMania 34
Despite naffing off to SmackDown Live in search of his WrestleMania match and 17th WWE Title (it seems like the Champ is running scared of Brock Lesnar tbf, and who could blame him?), he came back to Raw last night.
Maybe smart, maybe cowardly… Cena was opting to avoid his WWE Fastlane opponents before their big date.
Instead, oldie but goldie Goldust challenged Cena to what was (apparently) their first ever match, as the Rhodes boy looked to punch his own ticket to WrestleMania.
Inevitably, it was not to be, but it does remind us of how deep that talent well is on Raw, that matches like Cena vs Goldust are just there hanging about waiting to happen of an evening.
Before his victory, though, Cena announced what he wants as his WrestleMania match, should he win the Six Pack Challenge and take AJ Styles’s WWE Championship at WWE Fastlane.
John Cena (c) vs AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura.
Much as we love Cena we still don’t want him trampling on our Dream Match. Styles vs Nakamura for us, please.
4. Nia Jax must, must, MUST get that WWE Raw Women’s Championship before the end of the decade
As so often happened on NXT, Nia Jax looked like bullying her way to a victory against Asuka, but The Empress of Tomorrow was just too much for her.
And it’s not just Asuka who has Nia Jax’s number. She can so often utterly destroy (almost) all opponents in her path, but the gold always seems just out of reach.
For an all-destroying dominator, poor Nia Jax has had precious little to show for it.
It may not happen this year, but before the end of the decade Nia Jax needs a title win to make good on all that brutal promise she’s shown across the whole WWE.
She’s good enough, she deserves it, all she really needs to do is believe she can do it, and it’ll happen by the time we hit 2020.
5. The women’s division is full of potential match-ups, and we’ve already got a dream match for September in mind
In our second women’s match of the night (see, SmackDown, it is possible), Bayley picked up a win over Absolution’s Mandy Rose.
Despite the efforts of Sonya Deville, Bayley picked up a win with a cheeky roll-up, and she only survived an Absolution beat-down with the belated help from her frenemy Sasha Banks.
Bayley vs Sasha Banks is hardly a brand new story, but it’s now one with so much history and potential to be taken to the next level.
At NXT TakeOver: Respect, the women made history with a stunning Iron Man match.
It’s never good to fantasy book too far in advance, but with their relationship deteriorating at their current pace, we can see things coming to a brutal finale at Hell in a Cell in September.
That would be one hell of a main event, and it doesn’t even need the title.
6. Bray Wyatt vs ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy is FINALLY getting back on track
This match-up looked so good on paper, and entertained the hell out of us in those bizarre early exchanges.
But things got stale pretty quick, with the pendulum swinging back and forth between the two men week-by-week, and seemingly nothing at stake, and nothing nearly daft enough happening.
Well, now things have got interesting once more.
After Bray Wyatt defeated Rhyno, he challenged Hardy to a match, and Hardy finally said the words we’d been waiting weeks to hear.
The Finale of The Great War will take place at The Hardy Compound, where Bray Wyatt will face The Ultimate Deletion.
If this works, it’ll be a mix of the insanity of Total Nonstop Deletion with the production values of the WWE and the creepiness of that House of Horrors match.
It’ll either be a barmy success or a total flop of stupidity, but we’re certainly on board for the ride.
WWE Monday Night Raw full show match results – Monday, March 5, 2018
Asuka vs Nia Jax
(The Bar) Cesaro & Sheamus vs The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
WINNERS: The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus)
John Cena vs Goldust
WINNER: John Cena
Bayley vs Mandy Rose
Symphony of Destruction Match: Braun Strowman vs Elias
WINNER: Braun Strowman
Bray Wyatt vs Rhyno
WINNER: Bray Wyatt
Finn Bálor & Seth Rollins vs The Miz & The Miztourage (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel)
WINNERS: Finn Bálor & Seth Rollins