First off, I apologize for this review being a day late. I do have a good reason for it though. I spent part of my Sunday evening at a Kaiju Big Battel event during which the evil Dr. Cube and his minions tried to take over Toronto and hold the territory hostage for 99 years. Thankfully we were saved by the heroes of Kaiju like Space Monkey, French Toast (who is actually a giant waffle), Super Worst (who really is the best), Unicorn Party and American Beetle.
The event was so much fun that it should be illegal and really speaks to the beauty of the art form we call professional wrestling. It is so diverse and can truly be all things to all people and Kaiju is such a huge departure from typical North American fare. If you are into CHIKARA, you need to check it out.
The show also helped me achieve my goal of checking out more independent wrestling in 2017. I get spoiled in Toronto with a lot of WWE stuff but it’s really important to branch out and support other forms of wrestling for the health of the industry. I am really trying to see as much as I can this year and even spend more time at local Indies like Smash and Superkick’d. It’s going to a big wrestling-centric 2017 for this guy.
As a result of attending the event, however, I missed the first portion of Fastlane. I tried to get it in on Monday but work kept getting in the way and then I crashed hard when I got home before finally polishing it off in the middle of the night.
So I finally got caught up and am able to give you my take on the last PPV before WrestleMania.
Was the Raw-exclusive show as good as the previous Smackdown offering Elimination Chamber? Spoiler alert: No.
But it was still a pretty solid show until a really, really, really downer ending kind of spoiled it for everyone. Before we got to that ending, though, there was still a lot to enjoy. Let’s get to it.
Pre-show Match: Akira Tozawa and Rich Swann vs. The Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar (with Alicia Foooooooooooooooxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
205 Live is killing it lately. I have to admit that it’s become by far my favourite show on the WWE Network – even surpassing NXT in recent weeks. It’s really hit its stride in developing ongoing issues and characters and all of them were on display in this opener.
Noam Dar can bring it in the ring and has also hit comedy gold with this Alicia Fox angle. What could have been complete trash given the decidedly pre-women’s revolution treatment of Alicia Fox’s character has instead been redeemed by Dar’s over the top affection for her and his whole ridiculous persona which has been just a fun heel gimmick.
When it comes time to bring it in the ring though, Dar is all business and really has all the tools to be a star in the cruiserweight division if they ever decided to pull the trigger on a Noam Dar push. He has a unique offense, a ton of personality and is a great seller. I really enjoy his matches and he and Alicia really work well together as a heel unit as evidenced by her acting as a “human shield” to prevent Tozawa and Swann from hitting a double splash.
What can you say about Rich Swann? The guy is a charisma machine and he might be the most lovable personality in the entire company today. His dancing and giant smile when he heads out to the ring is a great way to get the crowds into his matches and the WWE has done a great job of reminding audience of how much personal adversity that he’s overcome to make as a professional wrestler.
It’s really took bad that his run with the Cruiserweight belt was so short as I still believe that Swann has all the tools to be a major player and hopefully he gets an opportunity either on 205 Live or perhaps as one of the first cruiserweights to break out on the main roster. A mark can dream after all.
The Phoenix splash he hit to win the match was a thing of beauty and Swann’s athleticism continues to be a major draw with the audience. He’s a guy who could probably get over just on the basis of his work but also has just a ton of natural charisma. Strap a rocket to him already.
Bringing The Brian Kendrick into the cruiserweight division was a stroke of pure genius as he’s really been its MVP and helped to anchor 205 Live in its early days and is now helping Akira Tozawa transition to the WWE style via their program together, which is also one of the most engaging storylines going in WWE right now and a huge reason why 205 Live has been such an excellent wrestling show.
Tozawa has all the tools to be the star of the cruiserweight division. When he’s done with Kendrick, I can totally see him in the title picture with whoever comes out of WrestleMania with the belt. His ring work is just a thing of beauty to watch and he is able to combine aerials with a more mat based style which really is the order of the day in the WWE Cruiserweight division.
This match did a great job of showcasing all four of these guys and hopefully gets some more eyes on the excellent 205 Live.
Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn
This was basically squash plain and simple. Joe got in all of his offense and Zayn sold it all like a champ while getting in a few hope spots during transitions. Joe is coming out of this one looking like a major player while Sami is once again seriously lacking direction which is not where you want him to be heading into WrestleMania.
I like Sami a lot and it’s a shame to see him stuck in this position. He’s essentially become what Dolph Ziggler was a face in that he’s such a good seller that he’s being used solely to establish incoming acts that the company wants to get over as monsters. That was his role with Braun Strowman and it’s the same part he’s been cast in with Samoa Joe.
That’s too bad and I really hope that there’s some kind of plan for Zayn beyond this role and he’s still one of the most talented performers on the roster and deserves way more than the role he’s in currently. When the deck is shuffled again at the next draft, there are few performers who would benefit from a brand split more than Sami Zayn.
Joe is going to be a major player over the next year. He’s as locked in as he was in NXT and is just killing it since coming up to the main roster. There are so many intriguing possibilities for Joe on Raw including obvious feuds with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins going forward as well as hopefully a chance in the title picture.
After years of toiling away in the indies and TNA, it’s great to finally see Joe get what he deserves. We’ve all known that he’s had this kind of run in him and it’s finally here. Seeing Joe come into WWE and kick all kinds of ass playing the same character that he always has is one of the reasons why I think the current era of the product is the best it’s ever been.
You can just imagine even five years ago, Samoa Joe being brought in under an Umaga-style gimmick (rumour is that he was a choice to play Umaga). Thankfully those days are done and thanks to NXT we have established guys coming into WWE as themselves instead of goofy characters.
I love it.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass
I don’t know what to say about this match. It wasn’t bad or anything but it just represents how much of a holding pattern that the Raw tag team division is currently in. It just feels like if Anderson and Gallows aren’t wrestling Sheamus and Cesaro, they’re taking on Enzo and Cass.
Raw is in some desperate need of some new tag teams and hopefully it happens after WrestleMania.
Anderson and Gallows retained and I’m not sure if they’ll ever pull the trigger on a Cass and Enzo tag team title reign. It’s pretty obvious that the focus will be on a Cass solo push and you almost feel bad for Enzo in matches like this where Cass shows off how much better he’s gotten in the ring because you just know it’s bringing us closer to a Big Cass solo run while Enzo keeps being a goofy character and making chicken commercials.
That isn’t to say that I don’t like Enzo. I enjoy his character as much as anyone else, but I mean we all know how much size and looks matter in Vince McMahon’s company and Cass has both of those things going for him. It won’t be long until a rocket is strapped to him and he’s pushed up the card.
Anderson and Gallows are excellent workers who deserve a variety of teams to work with to show off their skills. This title reign has kind of stunted them because, as mentioned before, when they aren’t wrestling Sheamus and Cesaro, they’re wrestling Enzo and Cass and they really need some fresh opponents to keep their run relevant and memorable.
The Raw tag team scene is horribly stagnant and it’s really dragging down everyone involved including the champs.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
I always feel the need to point out as a disclaimer that I am a huge fan of Sasha Banks. I have been since her NXT days. Her selling is incredible and the bumps and risks that she is willing to take in the ring really show the lengths she is willing to go to as a performer. I also own two Sasha Banks t-shirts so I think it’s just important to put all of my bias on the table.
Nia Jax has also really grown on me. I think it really speaks to the more body positive direction of the WWE women’s division that we’re seeing a greater variety of body types and Nia’s size allows her to be positioned as a monster heel and big challenge for the faces in the women’s division.
Of course the current state of Raw’s women’s division does Nia no favours. She really could benefit from a dominant Vader-like run as the champ. It could really do wonders to have her tear through the competition for months on end only for a new or returning babyface to finally end her title reign.
Sadly, this will never happen on Raw as long as Nia is stuck behind Charlotte in the pecking order. Additionally, the creative team seems to have little interest in developing a women’s division on Raw outside of four women: Nia, Sasha, Bayley and Charlotte. When you contrast this with Smackdown’s ability to give meaningful matches and angles to the eight women (Nikki Bella, Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Maryse, Natalya, Becky Lynch, Naomi and Mickie James) that it has featured on a regular basis and the deficiencies in Raw’s women’s division become crystal clear, which is tragic because of the quality of the women on Monday nights.
The insistence on focusing on just a small group explains why Sasha and Nia have been in a holding pattern feuding since December. I don’t have a problem with long feuds at all, but the way this one has been booked really feels like it’s just kept both women in a holding pattern until their WrestleMania storylines play out. I get that a lot of the booking can be this way around this time of year, but these women deserve better.
I did really enjoy this match a lot though. It told a great story using the old Flair-Vader Starrcade 93 template of the Boss taking an absolute beating from Nia Jax but still somehow staying in the match. Sasha’s selling really helped tell that story and sell Nia’s offense as absolutely devastating.
Sasha’s win with a rolling cradle out of nowhere accomplished two things: it let the Boss get the win and hopefully move back into the women’s title picture and it also kept Nia strong as she shrugged off all of Sasha’s offense and only lost to a fluke pin.
A lot of fans like to take a dump on Raw’s creative team but it’s also important to acknowledge when they do things right and this was an enjoyable women’s match that did a lot for both competitors.
Jinder Mahal vs. Cesaro
I was actually surprised that they brought out Cesaro to take on Jinder because I was hoping the fall out between Rusev and Mahal would just lead to a match between the two and a face turn for Handsome Rusev who looks great with his brand new haircut. I’m not going to complain about getting a bonus Cesaro match on a PPV though.
Sadly the match itself was pretty bland as Mahal doesn’t have much of an established offense to speak of and most of his current appeal seems to lie in his new, shall we say “enhanced”, physique.
The most exciting parts of the match involved Cesaro selling a lower back injury to the point where I really started to wonder if he really did injure his back in the match. Mahal’s heat segment, however really fell flat and things didn’t get back on track until Cesaro started hitting his spots, particularly his “Swiss”-1-9.
A springboard uppercut after a Handsome Rusev distraction thankfully finished things off although I was left wondering why they didn’t just go with Jinder vs. Rusev to blow off the tag team and move both guys on to other things – especially Rusev who is way too charismatic and talented not to have a key role on Raw.
Rusev beat down Jinder Mahal after the match, which will hopefully end the issues between the two but if I were a betting man, I would guess that we are going to have a series of matches between the two on Raw in the coming weeks.
Especially since instead of blowing this off, they gave Rusev a match with Big Show.
Big Show vs. Rusev
Man, just when I’m excited that Rusev is going to be free of Jinder Mahal they go and do this to him. Our handsome Bulgarian Brute was completely destroyed by the Big Show after we were teased that just maybe he would be moving on to better things.
Minus a small spot where Rusev worked over Show’s knee and hit a few of his excellent superkicks, he was treated as a complete afterthought taking the brunt of Show’s offense including the chokeslam and a knock-out punch in the corner for good measure.
Listen, I like the Big Show. I am so happy to see the shape he’s gotten himself in and he absolutely deserves a prominent role on Raw. Show’s recent match with Braun Stroman gave us an idea of what the newly incredibly fit giant is capable of in the ring and I really want more of that. I am ready for a new Big Show push and to see him in meaningful matches and angles again.
That push should not come at the expense of someone like Rusev though. The handsome one is only 31 years old and has unlimited potential in terms of his charisma, comedic timing and ability in the ring. At this point in his career, Show should be used to establish younger talents like Rusev. Not completely crush them in the ring.
Now maybe I will be pleasantly surprised and this mauling of Rusev will lead to an extended program with Big Show that will lead to a match at WrestleMania – since Show’s dance card is apparently now empty with rumours that Shaq will not be participating in their match. I’m not holding my breath though.
Push Rusev. Please for the love of God, push Rusev.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Neville (c) vs. “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher
I have absolutely loved this feud. Both guys have just been killing it as of late and their contract signing promo was one of the best things on WWE television over the last month. Just super compelling stuff as Neville accused Gallagher of being nothing but a joke, a caricature, and a collection of tired British tropes, while Gentleman Jack has really shown a new intensity to his character.
This feud is also a testament to the way the company has invested in 205 Live and the cruiserweight division. We’re really starting to see compelling characters come out of the show as they’re allowed to develop motivations and interesting feuds and angles. It feels like there’s been a real direction to the division since Neville won the belt and new challengers are built up to challenge him.
The Neville-Gallagher program has been by far my favourite since 205 Live started and none of it would have been possible if Gallagher’s character wasn’t developed from the show’s beginnings via a solid feud with Ariya Davari that allowed Gallagher to develop his gentleman character as well as showcase his in-ring work. As a result the audience started to invest in him. Such simple yet still effective basic wrestling booking that is too often missing from the main show.
As mentioned earlier, if you aren’t watching 205 Live, you should be. It’s worth your time.
The match itself was excellent and the cruiserweight division is really starting to pay off in huge ways. Gallagher and Neville told a compelling story that was not only different than everything else on tonight’s show in terms of style, pacing and move sets but also was entirely different from most cruiserweight matches that the audience has seen before. Matches like this will go a long way toward deprogramming the audience from expecting every cruiserweight match to be a spot fest and allow the performers to tell compelling stories in the ring that play to their unique styles.
Neville has been absolutely vicious since returning from injury. That element has really helped to take him to new heights and he unloaded some stiff shots on Gallagher throughout the match. His more ground based attack is also a joy to watch unfold as he has a powerful build for a cruiserweight which makes for stunning visuals when he puts a little extra on a snap suplex or a power slam.
The former man that gravity forgot deserves full marks for reinventing himself as a ring general with a brutal, ground based assault. It has done wonders for his career as well as it’s allowed him to be the monster champion in the division rather than languish in a babyface mid-card slot on the main Raw roster.
It’s really great that the answers the 205 needed in terms of direction were in the company the whole time in the form of Neville and that the key to revitalizing the former NXT champion’s career was found in the cruiserweight division. It’s a great fit and one that is paying dividends for us as wrestling fans.
Gentleman Jack carried his end in the ring as well. His selling was impeccable as he took stiff shots from Neville that left his body noticeably bruised and marked up. Gallagher’s offense is also so unique and fun. His dropkicks are works of art and those head butts allow him to stand out from every other worker in the company. I have no idea how he throws them and I never want to, because the noise they make upon impact sounds absolutely devastating and there were a few times throughout the match where I cringed for Neville when they connected. That is the mark of a great spot in a match.
The story told in this one was great and another classic wrestling stand-by. Gallagher gave it all he had but it wasn’t quite enough. Neville was able to fight off a stunning head-butt to toss Neville off the ropes and then bust out the Red Arrow for the first time in months for the win.
Those high flying manoeuvres become much more effective when we don’t see them every match and Neville’s reinvention has allowed him to maximize their effectiveness. Seeing the Red Arrow again was a nice surprise and really drove home how Neville had to pull out all the stops to beat Jack Gallagher. Both guys come out of this one looking great.
It seems likely that they’re going to build toward Austin Aries and Neville for the cruiserweight title when The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived returns from injury. I can’t wait for that program, but will also be somewhat bittersweet because Aries adds so much to the division with its commentary.
205 Live continues to get better and head toward great thing and this match exemplified every reason why you should be watching that show.
Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
Of all the matches on the card for this show, this one was the one that I was anticipating the most.
There was so much intrigue because Roman and Strowman didn’t seem to have a clear direction heading into WrestleMania at this point. There were the rumours of a match with The Undertaker for Reigns but they hadn’t really done anything to set up that match after teasing us with it at the Royal Rumble until Raw.
Strowman has been busying himself with taking out older powerhouses as well as gunning for Reigns but there is no real clear indication of what his role will be at Mania. It was entirely possible going in that there could be some kind of inconclusive ending to keep the feud going into Mania which would not have been a bad thing at all as both Strowman and Reigns have been excellent in the ring as of late.
The match delivered on all fronts. As far as big men matches go, you’d be hard pressed to find a better worked one. Roman sold like crazy for Braun’s offense and took some pretty big bumps. There was one sequence where Reigns charged at Strowman for a spear and Braun caught him, picked him up in one fluid motion and slammed him through a table.
Reigns has had no problem making Braun look strong and this show was no exception. For a man his size, Roman can really bump and is an excellent seller. Seeing as how this was by far the biggest match Braun Strowman has had to date, it could have really hurt him if he got in there with someone who didn’t commit to putting his offense over as completely devastating. Roman definitely made him continue to look like an absolute monster and keep his string of dominant matches alive.
WWE undoubtedly has big plans for Braun and that’s a great thing. For someone slotted in that monster role, Strowman might be the strongest worker in that position for a long time. The pacing of his matches is always top notch and his power spots are quick, smooth and look painful while he his transitions are really fluid and you don’t get the typical plodding big man match when he’s in action. I really appreciate Braun’s work and the sky is the limit for him.
Yes even with that finish.
Much will be made and there will be a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth at the fact that Roman went over Braun and went over him clean. I’m not going to add my voice to that chorus. Strowman lost after taking most of Reigns’ offense and completely shrugging it off. He took two Superman Punches in a row and still kicked out. It wasn’t until missing a splash and hitting his head on the top of the ring post that he was pinned.
The easy explanation was that he was momentarily stunned and it allowed Roman to get the three count. Braun won’t be hurt by that and they can keep the issue going between them on that basis. Even if it has to wait until Roman is done with The Undertaker.
I actually don’t particularly like undefeated streak angles as it pigeon holes performers into booking corners and too often telegraphs the finish to big matches. Now that the anchor of such a streak is off Braun Strowman, he can continue to develop his character and have some more compelling matches and feuds.
Roman continues to be rebuilt after last year’s stint in the mid-card and is looking really strong as he heads into WrestleMania to take on The Undertaker in what I’m assuming will be a match to pass the torch.
Reigns needed this win. Like it or not he’s The Guy. The company is rolling with him and that will never stop as long as he moved merch and is willing to be such a great ambassador with his Make-A-Wish work and his willingness and ability do all kinds of public appearances. With John Cena gone after Mania and transitioning into being a part-timer, WWE needs Roman to succeed in filling that slot. They are making him look really strong in the process, but Reigns is also living up to his end of the bargain by continuing to deliver the goods in the ring.
You can boo Roman all you want, but the people who move the needle for him are all the ones rocking his t-shirts at live events. They aren’t going anywhere. Just like with John Cena, your wishes of seeing a Roman heel turn or some significant character change are probably going unfulfilled because internet smarks are still a minority in the larger WWE fanbase. The people WWE needs to invest in Roman already have bought it. It might help keep you sane if you just try and enjoy the ride.
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Speaking of winning streaks being an albatross, Charlotte’s 16 straight PPV match winning streak left little doubt as to who was winning this one. Or so we thought.
Thankfully, Charlotte’s PPV win streak is now a thing of the past and hopefully the hot potato booking of the Raw Women’s Championship is gone with it. There has been a lot of questioning of this decision, but I think it was definitely the right one to make and now frees Charlotte to once again have matches where the outcome isn’t clear and help to freshen up her character as her feuds will no longer have to fit the template of her epic war with Sasha Banks (Sasha won every Raw match, Charlotte won every PPV one).
The fact that it went down on Fastlane instead of saving it until WrestleMania helps preserve Vince McMahon’s old commentary axiom of “anything can happen”. It keeps things fresh and leaves a lot of doubt as to who will be walking away from Orlando with the Women’s Championship. It also saved Bayley from having to endure a lame duck title reign as Sasha Banks did three times.
In terms of the match itself, well I will get this out of the way. There was a botch. Some people have unfortunately chosen to focus solely on one single blown spot and allowed it to ruin take them out of what was otherwise an excellent match. I am not one of those people. Maybe it’s because I watch a lot of other sports, particularly basketball, and see things like blown dunks a lot. The game doesn’t stop. It keeps going and you move on. It’s easy for me to look past one bad spot in an otherwise great match – even if it isn’t for a lot of other people. It in no way hurt how much I enjoyed this one.
Honestly you could put any combination of NXT’s Four Horsewomen in the ring and they would have an excellent match. This was no exception. The character work of both women added so much to it as well. Charlotte is becoming by far the best heel in the history of WWE women’s wrestling. I mean, at the commentary team is fond of mentioning over and over again, she does come by it naturally due to her genetics, but man the little taunts she does throughout the course of a match or the extra force she puts on a suplex or a chop really adds so much heat to her matches. Bayley, for her part, is the ultimate babyface with the “Hugger” character. It’s something that’s so wholesome and fun that it can’t help but get over. Especially with kids who really drive merch sales more than anyone else. I’ve always maintained that Bayley could have potential to be the female John Cena in terms of moving merchandise and an extended title reign would certainly help her get to that point.
I thought the story of Charlotte dominating Bayley and dismissing her at “just a fan” was really compelling. It was honestly better than the angle of how they set up this match and Bayley’s title win as a fluke win and angry Charlotte is much more fitting for both ladies characters than Bayley having a tainted one with Sasha Banks interference and the legitimacy of her reign being called into question.
Sadly they doubled down on that with Sasha Banks running in just as she did with Bayley’s title win, brawled with Charlotte (somehow not causing a DQ) and allowing Bayley to hit the Bayley-to-Belly to retain her title and end Charlotte’s win streak.
I don’t know but to me this booking kind of undermines Bayley’s babyface character as it’s not become clear on two occasions that she can’t beat Charlotte without Banks help. This would be fine if it was setting up Sasha turning on Bayley using that logic and Charlotte moving onto something else, but it isn’t. Instead we’re getting a triple threat match between the three at WrestleMania.
I don’t like the booking, but I do like the result. So it isn’t all a loss. I also really enjoyed the match and the emotional intensity that Bayley and Charlotte brought to it.
On another note: poor Dana Brooke. When Charlotte sent her to the back at the beginning of the match, I thought that maybe she’d also factor into the finish and that we’d get Charlotte-Dana and Sasha-Bayley as the next feuds in Raw’s women’s division. Nope. She just left and that was it.
I’ve long advocated or a bigger role for Dana on WWE programming. She’s too talented to be a lackey with no character, no speaking part and no development. The fact that this came a day after she tore it up at the Arnold Classic and the company is doing absolutely nothing to follow that up is a shame. They are really missing the boat with her and if this was all she was ever going to do with her on the main roster, they should have left her in NXT.
WWE Universal Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg
What do you say about a 189 day title reign ending in a 21 second squash?
This result was every Kevin Owens’ fan’s worst nightmare when the match with Goldberg was announced.
I am a huge mark for Owens. I have been since he was Kevin Steen in ROH and I had the chance to see him live at the Border Wars PPV at Ted Reeves Arena. His character, look, and move set were so fresh and different. The power bombs on to the ring apron and the viciousness with which he attacked his opponents quickly made him stand out from everyone else on the card.
The fact that he went to NXT and played exactly the same character and then went up to the main roster and did the same thing he’d always done against John Cena really validated to me that I wasn’t alone in my evaluation of his insanely high talent level.
When Finn Balor got hurt and had to give up the Universal Championship, I was thrilled that it was Owens who took the title the next night of Raw. His title reign has been amazing as he and Chris Jericho combined to be by far the most entertaining part of Raw for almost an entire year.
Now that’s all over. The Best Friends have broken up and will face each other at WrestleMania and WWE had, for whatever reason, decided that the Universal Championship belongs more in the Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar feud than in the Jericho-Owens match which is spinning out of one the hottest angles of the last 12 months.
At least the title change connected to that angle with the Chris Jericho distraction.
I don’t understand the logic behind this booking at all. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar doesn’t need the belt. These are two part-timers and big draws on name value alone. Goldberg taking the Universal title does nothing for him and really hurts the belt since whoever wins at WrestleMania won’t be around to defend it on a weekly basis.
If creative really wanted the belt off of Owens, he could have just as easily dropped it to Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble which would have significantly raised the stakes in the Braun Strowman feud and also allowed them to add some kind of title vs. career stipulation to The Undertaker-Reigns match at WrestleMania.
Instead the title that Kevin Owens has spent worked his ass off to establish as an important belt for six months is now around the waist of a 50 year old man who will probably gone in a month.
I don’t want to take too big a dump on Goldberg. The guy looks amazing. He came back because he badly wanted his son to see him wrestle and he’s out there interacting with every child at ringside and generally being awesome to all of his fans. You can’t really hate on a guy who is clearly having a great time and who at the end of the day is doing it for somewhat altruistic reasons.
His limitations in the ring are what they are and they haven’t changed in twenty years. To complain about them at this stage of the game means that you’re kind of asking Goldberg to be something that he never was.
This decision is not on him.
It is, however, still the wrong one and left a really bad taste in my mouth at the end of the show. The same bad taste that I had when The Rock beat CM Punk and ended his 434 day title reign or when Batista won the Royal Rumble instead of Daniel Bryan.
I appreciate the part timers and what they add to WrestleMania but there is no way they should continually be booked as more important or as a bigger deal than the talent who are there busting their asses long after the part timers have gone. As a wrestling fan that kind of booking is extremely frustrating and really sends the wrong message to the audience.
Goldberg should not be the most important member of the Raw roster in 2017. But he is and it was a bad end to an otherwise decent show.