It is time to get excited, WWE Universe! RAW just gave us 3 hours of uninterrupted WrestleMania hype, and to be honest, we're feeling pretty hopeful here at Pop Culture.
Monday saw some brilliant performances from Ronda Rousey, Roman Reigns, John, Cena, The Miz and even Bayley. The latest episode of RAW felt like WWE prepping a billion dollar party bomb destined to detonate on April 8th.
Pardon our enthusiasm.
But let's get into it, here are The 5 Things We Learned From RAW Last Night:
Ronda Rousey Shines
I want to be clear about this: if you’re still hating on Ronda Rousey, you may be dumb. In fact, Rousey’s arrival, combined with WWE’s storytelling, make the Rousey saga the least hatable thing in WWE right now — I dare say that it’s my favorite.
After looking like a bumbling moron in her Elimination Chamber promo, Rousey eviscerated any doubt that she can handle the microphone. She was so good on RAW that I actually think she sandbagged her Chamber promo.
I’ve had my concerns about Rousey, but right now I can tell you that they no longer exist. Ronda Rousey is going to be a massive star.
For decades, Vince McMahon has prayed to the heavens above (or the grottos below) that he could have an opportunity like this. And not only has Ronda Rousey manifested, but the crowd already loves her.
Roman Reigns Ready to Play Hero
Now that it’s WrestleMania season it’s time for everyone to double down, nay, quadruple down, on their hatred for Roman Reigns. Well, he and WWE aren’t letting that happen.
As much as you want to boo him, it’s not going to work. After promos like the one he just cut on RAW, you may actually be ready to cheer him come April.
Look, Brock Lesnar may have skipped RAW. But I think we all know that wasn’t the case. WWE is crafting a narrative — one that paints Lesnar as the villain, the Champion who isn’t there. And as much as fans want to hate Roman, they may have a bigger issue with Brock Lesnar’s light schedule.
WWE is baking that fans will buy this, that Lesnar has been a parasite of sorts and it’s time for him to go. Look for Lesnar and Heyman to embrace their clear roles as the villains, further establishing Roman as the better option as Universal champion
For anyone concerned about the depth of WWE’s talent pool, I’d like direct you to the Intercontinental Championship picture.
Three former WWE Champions have entered the Intercontinental arena — one of which is the best heel in the business, the other is riding a tsunami of organic momentum, and Finn Balor is at least handsome as hell.
I’m already crossing my fingers for a ladder match at ’Mania, but it’s a little early for such fantasies. For now, I’ll just enjoy WWE’s attempt to make the IC belt look like the Hope Diamond.
Bayley vs. Banks
Don’t call it a heel turn!
As fun as it would be for Bayley to go full villain, last night’s rejection of Sasha Banks was more about self-respect than it was a betrayal. We’ll probably see an edgier Bayley on the road to WrestleMania, but a definite heel turn may be out of the question.
Instead, WWE will reap the benefits of a babyface learning to put their foot down. This will allow Sasha Banks to slip back into her icy “Boss” character - a win for everyone.
So instead heel and face, we’re going to get Bayley vs. Sasha with both of their personalities turned up to 11 or so.
John Cena: Microphone Maestro
John Cena just trolled the WWE Universe into oblivion.
A solemn Cena addressed the Anaheim crowd, still in the grips of his Elimination Chamber induced existential funk. However, because he’s Cena, he rallied himself right before our eyes and said that he had finally found his road to WrestleMania, After a terrifically dramatic pause, Cena screamed that he wanted The Undertaker at WrestleMania 34.
The crowd could not have gotten more excited.
And just as we were wetting our pants, Cena pulled the plug. He told us “It can’t happen.”
While we picked up our jaws, Cena then switched over to say that he'd be on SmackDown to find his WrestleMania opponent.