It’s time to write the final leg of my journey to Wrestlemania with the Raw men’s division! This part covers the period between the night after the Royal Rumble right up to Wrestlemania, with some outlined plans for what I would have afterwards too. For the story so far, make sure you read Part 1 and Part 2, but if you’re up to speed let’s pick it right up the night after the Royal Rumble!
January 29th, Raw
On social media before Raw, and during the show, “Kurt Angle addresses Samoa Joe” is promoted as the main event segment.
Results: Matt Hardy defeats Elias by pinfall, Braun Strowman defeats Apollo Crews & Titus O’Neil by pinfall, Finn Balor defeats Darren Young by pinfall
Promos: – Roman Reigns comes out to start Raw, talking about winning the Royal Rumble for the second time. He simply says he is going to Wrestlemania to face Brock Lesnar, and he will win the Universal Championship.
– After Finn Balor’s victory, Stephanie McMahon catches up to him backstage. Stephanie tells him that it’s good to see the Balor isn’t letting his failure at the Royal Rumble get to him, and walks off smiling.
– Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are in the locker room, talking about coming up short against Brock Lesnar last night. Rollins says at least they didn’t let Paul Heyman get inside their heads and drive them apart. Ambrose says that’s all well and good, but they got in this business to be the best and win championships, not to make friends. The Miz interrupts them, gloating about how he defended the Intercontinental Championship last night, and that he’s the only person in the room that can call themselves champion. Miz says his presence must make Rollins & Ambrose feel like even bigger losers. Rollins retorts by saying Miz is well known for having a big mouth, but he never backs it up on his own. Seth says a real champion would take on all comers, and if Miz is as good as he is arrogant then he would defend the Intercontinental Title against Rollins tonight. Miz says Rollins & Ambrose will have to start winning matches again before they get another title shot, noting that they didn’t even win at New Years’ Revolution to earn their Universal Title shot last night. Miz says he is the most must-see Intercontinental Champion of all time, and until they can prove they’re worthy of a title shot, they’ll never get this close to gold again.
– Kurt Angle comes out to talk about his win over Samoa Joe last night. He says it was a great feeling getting back in a WWE ring to compete after 11 and a half years. He says Samoa Joe kept pushing him and pushing him until he had no other option but to lace up his boots again, but after tonight he hopes he’ll have heard the end of it. That’s because he was waiting for his chance to shut Joe up personally, but now Angle thinks he can check that box. Now, Angle says he is going to do what he really should have done months ago. Angle says week after week, Samoa Joe was insubordinate. Angle says Joe made a business relationship personal, which was out of line. Angle says he’s had it with the constant jies and disrespect. Angle says these are all grounds for, at least, suspension. Therefore – and Angle is interrupted by Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie asks if Angle was really about to suspend Samoa Joe. Angle says to be fair, he wasn’t. He was going to fire Samoa Joe. Stephanie says if Samoa Joe crossed a line with the comments he made to Kurt, Angle was out of line putting himself in a match against Joe. Stephanie says now he’s trying to add insult to injury. Stephanie says she asked Angle not to force her into doing something she didn’t want to do, but now she has no choice, and Stephanie motions to the stage.
Triple H’s music hits, and he comes out to the stage with Samoa Joe by his side, and they make their way down to the ring. Triple H talks about watching Joe for years all around the world, then signing him to NXT, bringing him up to the main roster – and now Angle wants to undo all that hard work and time and effort Triple H has invested in Samoa Joe? Triple H says Angle isn’t going to fire or suspend Samoa Joe. He says Angle isn’t going to be doing anything for a while, and Joe attacks Angle. Triple H continues on the mic, saying that Joe took Angle’s son out of the equation, an now he’s going to do the same to Angle. Triple H then joins in with the beatdown, but John Cena comes out and clears Triple H, Stephanie and Samoa Joe from the ring. Cena helps Angle to his feet as Raw goes off the air.
Storyline: After Matt Hardy’s victory against Elias, Bray Wyatt appears in the ring and attacks Matt Hardy.
February 5th, Raw
Results: Seth Rollins defeats Elias by pinfall, Dean Ambrose defeats Bray Wyatt by pinfall, Roman Reigns squashes Goldust, Braun Strowman defeats Finn Balor by pinfall
Promos: – Raw opens with a clip of Triple H and Samoa Joe attacking Kurt Angle last week, with John Cena coming to the rescue. We then see Kurt Angle in the ring, who introduces John Cena. Angle says he has to thank Cena for helping him out last week. Cena says he had to help. Cena asks if that is how we treat Hall of Famers in 2018? Cena puts over Angle’s accomplishments in WWE, and says someone with that resume deserves better than to be attacked by Samoa Joe and Triple H. Cena says Angle beat Joe fair and square at the Royal Rumble, and that should have been the end of it, but it’s never that simple when the McMahons are involved. Cena says it’s now clear that Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Samoa Joe have been targeting Kurt Angle for months. Cena says when he has an issue with someone, he says it to their face, and when someone doesn’t like him they can bring it at any time because he never backs down from a fight. Triple H on the other hand has been using Samoa Joe to fight his battles ever since Joe debuted on Raw, and instead of outright challenging Kurt Angle they went for Jason Jordan. Cena says that’s low. Cena says he hasn’t always agreed with Kurt Angle, noting they have had their battles in the past, but he’s always respected that Angle will meet his challenges head on with integrity. Cena says Triple H has proven he doesn’t have an ounce of integrity in his body.
At that point, Triple H comes out flanked by Samoa Joe. Triple H says that John Cena has involved himself in something he never needed to be a part of. Triple H says Cena is one of the most valuable commodities in WWE history, and gives Cena one chance to walk away and leave this issue between Angle, Samoa Joe and Triple H. Cena says Triple H talks about business, and that’s all he cares about. But it matters to Cena that he’s able to look himself in the mirror at night, and he’s not going to abandon Angle to be outnumbered and beaten down like he nearly was last week. Triple H says Cena has made his choice, and Cena is going to have to live with that. Triple H says Cena can delude himself that this is all part of some conspiracy, but it’s well known that Triple H and Kurt Angle haven’t liked each other for years. Triple H points out that Kurt Angle has been Raw GM for nearly a year – if it was a conspiracy why has it taken Triple H so long to act? Triple H said his current problem with Angle started when he saw how Angle was trying to protect his son, and favour him over other, more deserving superstars like Samoa Joe. Which brings Triple H to the second point Cena is wrong about – Samoa Joe isn’t Triple H’s puppet, he doesn’t tell Joe what to do. Samoa Joe just agrees 100% with Triple H’s opinion of Angle.
But Triple H says the question still remains – where do we go from here? Triple H says he was going to give Samoa Joe a rematch against Kurt Angle, but John Cena’s actions last week has changed things. Triple H suggest that John Cena teams up with Kurt Angle instead, to take on the team of Samoa Joe & Triple H. Kurt Angle interjects to say that Triple H doesn’t have the power to make matches, reminding Triple H that it is Angle who is the General Manager of Raw. Angle says he likes the idea of a tag team match, but says that instead of competing, he and Triple H would pick teams instead. Triple H accuses Angle of being scared that he would end Angle’s career. Triple H agrees to the match, saying that he’s sure it won’t surprise Angle to learn that Triple H’s first pick is Samoa Joe. Angle says it definitely does not surprise him, just as it won’t surprise Triple H that Angle’s first pick, should he agree to do it, is John Cena. Cena says he would be honoured to represent Team Angle, then shakes Kurt’s hand.
– Stephanie McMahon finds Finn Balor backstage, and says she want to test out where Balor’s head is at. Stephanie says she doesn’t think Balor is the superstar he was in NXT, and says Balor wasn’t really tested last week. She says tonight’s main event will give them a better idea of whether Balor still has it, as he will takes on Braun Strowman.
– The Miz talks to Kurt Angle in Angle’s office, saying that he didn’t think either Rollins or Ambrose were impressive enough in their matches tonight to earn a title match against him. Angle says he disagrees, but either way they need to sort out a single number one contender and he doesn’t have time to mess around. So next week, because of the circumstances surrounding the end of the Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt match, there will be a fatal-4-way to decide The Mi’s opponent for Fastlane, featuring Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt.
– After his win, Roman Reigns gets on the mic and reiterates that he is going to Wrestlemania to beat Brock Lesnar and win the Universal Championship.
Storyline: – During both Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose’s victories, The Miz is on commentary.
– Matt Hardy distracts Bray Wyatt during his match, leading to Dean Ambrose picking up the win
– After Braun Strowman defeats Finn Balor, Triple H and Samoa Joe come out and Balor is beaten down by the other three men. Raw goes off the air with Triple H and Samoa Joe raising Braun Strowman’s hands, as the announcers declare Strowman has aligned himself with Triple H, and ask who can stop this trio.
February 12th, Raw
Results: Roman Reigns defeats Elias by pinfall, John Cena defeats Curt Hawkins by submission, Seth Rollins defeats Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and Matt Hardy to become the number one contender to the Intercontinental Championship (Rollins pins Wyatt)
Promos: – After his win, Roman Reigns once again gets the mic and simply says that he won the Royal Rumble, and he is going to Wrestlemania to beat Brock Lesnar and win the Universal Championship.
– After John Cena’s victory (which Kurt Angle was at ringside for), Triple H’s music hits and he comes down to the ring flanked by Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman. Kurt Angle says he knew those three would come to the ring, that’s why he was in Cena’s corner to make sure they didn’t interfere in the match. Triple H laughs at this, asking how Angle would stop Triple H’s team tearing Cena limb for limb if Angle wasn’t even brave enough to step into the ring at Fastlane. Triple H says his team is ready to go, with two of the most dangerous and dominant superstars in WWE history standing behind him. Triple H says John Cena’s legacy will speak for itself in the long run, but he doesn’t stand a chance going up against Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman. Triple H turns to Angle and says that Cena’s blood will be on Angle’s hands. Triple H says he doesn’t want to end the career of a future Hall of Famer, but if Cena stays with Angle he will be forced into it. Triple H says there is nobody on the roster who can tip the balance in Angle’s favour now. At that moment, the lights go out, and Finn Balor makes his entrance. Balor stands alongside Angle and Cena.
Triple H starts laughing, asking if Balor really thinks he can stand up to the Monster among Men? Triple H asks Balor if he thinks he has the ruthlessness to compete with the destroyer, Samoa Joe? Balor says he obviously doesn’t have the size of Strowman, and some may say he isn’t as ruthless as Joe. But Balor has more heart than the two of them put together, and after last week he’s not going to let anything stop him from shutting them up and putting them in their place. Balor says they run around thinking they can do whatever they want to whoever they want, but every now and then someone steps up and gives them a reality check. Triple H says he thinks he can do whatever he wants to whoever he wants because he really can. Triple H says it was him who brought Balor to NXT, and Triple H’s advice led Balor to the NXT Championship. Triple H asks if Balor really wants to throw all that away? Balor tells Triple H that even though Balor was given advice, he was never a Triple H favourite like Samoa Joe, and Triple H threw whatever relationship they had out of the window when he attacked Balor last week. Balor says he has to stand up for himself, and he’s going to fight with every ounce of strength in his body to stop Triple H victimising Angle. Triple H says Balor is condemning himself to a night of torture at Fastlane. Triple H asks why they should even wait for Fastlane, saying Braun and Joe can give them a preview right now. Triple H and Angle leave the ring as the other four start fighting. Cena throws Joe out of the ring and goes to help Balor against Strowman, and by teaming up they eventually double-clothesline Strowman out of the ring.
Storyline: The Miz is on commentary for the fatal-4-way match, during which Ambrose has Wyatt and Hardy pinned at different times but Hardy and Wyatt respectively break it up.
Stephanie McMahon announces on Twitter that John Cena and Finn Balor would both be in action on February 19th. Kurt Angle says this is a clear attempt to weaken his team ahead of Fastlane, and he declares that Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman will also be in action on February 19th.
February 19th, Raw
Results: Roman Reigns squashes Darren Young, John Cena defeats Bray Wyatt by submission, Samoa Joe defeats Matt Hardy by submission, Finn Balor defeats The Miz by pinfall, Braun Strowman defeats Dean Ambrose by pinfall
Promos: – Once again, after winning Roman Reigns gets on the mic and says he’s going to Wrestlemania to win the Universal Championship. “Respectfully sir, no, you’re not” interrupts Paul Heyman. Heyman says Reigns winning at Wrestlemania is nothing but a dream, because Brock Lesnar will walk out with the gold. Heyman gives Reigns credit, saying that yes, Reigns won the Royal Rumble for the second time, which is something Brock Lesnar has never done. But Heyman says Lesnar has never won the Royal Rumble twice because he has never had to win the Royal Rumble twice. Heyman says every time Roman Reigns has reached the top of the mountain, someone has knocked him off, but Brock Lesnar never falls off his perch. Heyman says in the last year Brock Lesnar has beaten Goldberg, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Heyman asks Reigns what makes him think he’ll be any different? Heyman says Reigns has proven he is nearly as good as Brock Lesnar, but the key word is nearly. Heyman says Reigns may be the best of the rest, but at the end of the day he’s just not on Brock Lesnar’s level. And if there’s still any doubt, Brock Lesnar will prove it at Wrestlemania.
– Finn Balor goes to Kurt Angle to ask for a match against Braun Strowman next week. Angle turns the request down, saying he can’t do that now we’re getting close to Fastlane, he needs his team at 100% and with Triple H and Samoa Joe never far away it’s too big of a risk. Balor says he needs his revenge for two weeks ago, and he needs to prove he can put a kink in the monster’s armour. Angle says he can’t do it yet, but promises to make the match for after Fastlane.
– As Balor comes back through the curtain after beating The Miz, he finds Stephanie McMahon waiting for him. Stephanie says she heard about Balor’s request earlier, and she’s delighted to say she has sanctioned Finn Balor vs Braun Strowman for next week. She wishes Balor luck and leaves.
– After Strowman beats Ambrose, Triple H gets on the mic and says that Kurt Angle should take a good look at what just happened to Dean Ambrose, because that is going to be Finn Balor and John Cena’s fate at Fastlane. Triple H reminds Angle that Balor and Cena’s blood is on Angle’s hands, but all he has to do to save Balor or Cena from the agony of stepping into the ring against his monsters is put Angle’s own skin on the line. Triple H says it doesn’t really matter either way though, Angle has no chance of coming out on top in three weeks, because Triple H always wins.
Storyline: Seth Rollins is on commentary for Finn Balor vs The Miz.
February 26th, Raw
Results: Bray Wyatt & The Miz defeat Seth Rollins & Matt Hardy (Miz pins Rollins after distractions from The Miztourage), Braun Strowman NC Finn Balor
Promos: – Bray Wyatt talks about Matt Hardy being “Reborn by Fate”, but what about Bray’s fate? Wyatt asks it it was Hardy’s fate to return to the WWE Universe almost one year ago? Wyatt says it was his fate to capture the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania, but because of Matt Hardy that won’t happen. Wyatt says Hardy must pay the price for his sin. Wyatt says Hardy will feel the wrath of the gods at Fastlane.
– Roman Reigns comes out to the ring and says he is focused on Wrestlemania, and focused on beating Brock Lesnar, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to sit on the sidelines until the “champ” feels like showing up. Reigns says he doesn’t have an opponent for Fastlane, but he wants one. Reigns says he is issuing an open challenge for anyone to step up and try to make a name for themselves by facing the next Universal Champion at Fastlane. Dean Ambrose’s music hits and he comes own to the ring. Ambrose says that he and Roman have been on the same page since day one, but Ambrose doesn’t have a match for Fastlane either, and he wants one too. Ambrose says he needs to prove to himself that he can still be a top guy, and Reigns needs someone who will keep him on his toes. Ambrose says Reigns is in for the fight of his life at Wrestlemania, but Ambrose knows he will come out on top. Ambrose says he’s the kind of guy who will fight, scratch and claw until the very last fibre of his being has left his body, and Reigns will nee to do the same to beat Brock Lesnar. So to Ambrose it sounds like he is the perfect opponent for Reigns at Fastlane. Ambrose asks Reigns to just promise him one thing: if Ambrose beats Reigns at Fastlane, Reigns will give Ambrose the first title shot after Wrestlemania. Reigns says you’re on, and Ambrose leaves.
Storyline: For Strowman vs Balor, Samoa Joe and Triple H are in Strowman’s corner, and Kurt Angle and John Cena are in Balor’s. Balor looks like he’s going to topple the giant and claim the victory, so Joe and Triple H jump in the ring and attack Balor. Cena tries to intervene, but gets beaten down. Triple H, Joe and Strowman then corner Angle, when Jason Jordan returns to Raw, and together with the help of Balor and Cena they manage to clear the ring. Jordan stands with Balor, Cena and Angle in the ring as Raw goes off the air.
Jason Jordan vs Samoa Joe is announced for March 5th. Clips from their previous matches and Jordan’s injury in mid-January are posted on social media to hype the match.
March 5th, Raw
Results: Bray Wyatt defeats Apollo Crews by pinfall, Seth Rollins defeats Elias by pinfall, Jason Jordan defeats Samoa Joe by pinfall
Promos: – Roman Reigns comes out to the ring to be interviewed by Renee Young. Renee asks Reigns about facing his friend on Sunday, to which Reigns says when two friends step inside that ring they can often bring out the best in each other. Reigns says he trusts Ambrose to bring the fight on Sunday. Reigns says that what Ambrose said last week was right on the mark – Ambrose embodies what Reigns will need against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Reigns says he knows he will be in for a war on Sunday, but he will come out of it stronger and better placed to leave Wrestlemania as the Universal Champion. Paul Heyman interrupts on the big screen, and he calls Dean Ambrose a weak opponent for Reigns at Fastlane. Heyman says Reigns is giving himself an easy win to make sure he’s not going to be weakened going into Wrestlemania because Ambrose poses him no threat. Heyman says Brock Lesnar brushed Ambrose aside like he wasn’t even there at the Royal Rumble. Heyman says Ambrose was clearly the weakest member of The Shield, and that beating Ambrose will prove nothing about Reigns’ chances at Wrestlemania. Heyman says Reigns has designed Sunday to be a confidence booster before he faces his real challenge, but when Reigns comes face to face with the Universal Champion he is going to be outmatched because Brock Lesnar is just too good. Heyman says that come Wrestlemania, Brock Lesnar will walk out still your Universal Champion.
– After Bray Wyatt beats Apollo Crews, Matt Hardy appears on the big screen like Wyatt usually does. Hardy says Wyatt thinks he is a god, but his fall from grace will be truly wonderful to witness. Hardy says that the spirit of Sister Abigail will be broken on Sunday, and Hardy will be victorious.
– Renee Young catches up to Dean Ambrose backstage to ask if he has any response to Paul Heyman’s comments earlier on. Ambrose stares at her, and then walks away without saying anything.
– The Miz (on commentary during Seth Rollins’ match) says that Rollins has no chance against the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. Afterwards, he grabs a mic and says Rollins may have won tonight, but he won’t on Sunday. Miz says that he will become the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time, and there’s nothing Rollins can do about it. Miz says Rollins can never be as successful an Intercontinental Champion as Miz has been. Miz says that he single-handedly made the Intercontinental Championship the most prestigious title WWE has to offer, and people only care about it when The Miz is holding it, and he always finds a way to keep it. Miz says Rollins will be lucky if he even makes it to Fastlane, and sends Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel down to the ring. Rollins manages to head off the numbers game though, and stands tall as The Miz leaves.
– Before Samoa Joe vs Jason Jordan, Triple H comes down to the ring to say that Jason Jordan returned last week and nobody cared. Triple H compares it to when he returned from injury in his career, saying he blew the roof off every single arena he was in. Triple H says that the lack of reaction to Jason Jordan’s return proves what he’s been saying – Kurt Angle has been showing extreme favouritism towards his son by even giving Jordan a job on Raw. Triple H says that Samoa Joe has beaten Jordan within an inch of his life before, and he’s going to finish the job tonight.
– After Jordan beats Joe, Angle jumps in the ring with a mic and says Triple H keeps talking about Angle’s team’s blood being on Angle’s hands. Angle says on Sunday, Triple H can get his wish of stepping into the ring with an Angle because he’s putting his own flesh and blood in the match – it will now be Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman and Triple H vs John Cena, Finn Balor and Jason Jordan.
March 11th, Fastlane
Results: Roman Reigns defeats Dean Ambrose by pinfall, Seth Rollins defeats The Miz by pinfall to win the Intercontinental Championship, Bray Wyatt defeats Matt Hardy by pinfall, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman & Triple H defeat Finn Balor, John Cena & Jason Jordan (Triple H pins Jordan)
Promos: – On Raw Talk following Fastlane, Matt Hardy says he wants a rematch against Bray Wyatt in the future, noting that Wyatt got the best of him tonight but Hardy knows he can beat Wyatt.
Storyline: – After Reigns beats Ambrose, Reigns offers Ambrose the Shield fist-bump, but Ambrose just walks away
– Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel attempt to interfere in the Intercontinental Championship match, but Dean Ambrose comes down to fight them off. After Rollins wins the match, Ambrose goes into the ring to celebrate but attacks Rollins, hitting him with Dirty Deeds.
Between Fastlane and Raw, Samoa Joe tweets bragging about his team’s victory at Fastlane. Finn Balor responds saying that his side may have lost, but they can at least hold their head high knowing they fought with integrity, not being under anyone’s thumb or resorting to underhand tactics.
March 12th, Raw
Results: John Cena defeats Elias by pinfall, Samoa Joe defeats R-Truth by submission, Seth Rollins defeats The Miz by pinfall to retain the Intercontinental Championship
Promos: – Triple H opens Raw by coming out and gloating about his victory last night. He says that he told everybody what would happen, and his team delivered exactly as promised. He says that as a reward for their efforts last night, he has given Samoa Joe a new contract with a bumper pay rise that will secure Joe’s spot on Raw for years to come. Triple H also says Braun Strowman has been guaranteed a title shot after Wrestlemania. But what about Kurt Angle’s team? Triple H says they need to be punished for standing against Triple H. Triple H says John Cena has too much value to the WWE, and he says he invested too much time and effort in Finn Balor in NXT for it not to be a PR mistake if Triple H fired him. But Jason Jordan on the other hand… Triple H says Jordan was never a star in NXT, he was never a star on SmackDown, and the only reason Jordan is on Raw is because he’s Kurt Angle’s son. Really, Triple H says he would be righting the wrong of Jordan’s presence on Monday nights by firing him. Therefore – Kurt Angle’s music hits and he makes his way down to the ring. Angle congratulates Triple H on his win last night, saying that he might not like it but Triple H’s team were better on the night. Angle says that doesn’t give Triple H any reason to fire Jason Jordan though. Angle says who gets hired and fired on Raw is Angle’s choice, not Triple H’s, and it was his decision to bring Jordan over from SmackDown.
Angle says Triple H has no real reason to fire Jason Jordan, other than to get to Angle. Angle says that for weeks now, what Triple H has openly said he wanted was Angle. Triple H holds his hands up, and says Angle’s got him. But Triple H says Angle was determined not to wrestle at Fastlane, instead willing to offer up his son like a lamb to the slaughter. Trple H says Angle preferred to sit on the sidelines and watch his son get beaten to a pulp in front of his very eyes. Triple H says he thought at the Royal Rumble that Angle hadn’t changed, because Angle stepped up to the plate and took on Samoa Joe like a man. But when Triple H showed up, Angle went running. Triple H says Angle decide to let others fight his battles for him. And now, just like others fought Angle’s battles, others are going to feel the consequences. Angle says he’s not going to let that happen. Angle says what Triple H wanted all along was to get his hands on Angle in the ring. Angle says if that’s what it’s going to take to save Jason Jordan’s job, then Triple H will get his wish. Triple H laughs and says it’s too late for Angle to turn round and make everything ok. Triple H says he would leave Angle unrecognisable, he knows it, but now he can just fire Angle’s son there’s nothing in a match with Angle for Triple H. Unless of course, Angle puts his job on the line. Angle looks shocked, takes a moment, and says if that’s what it takes, he’ll do it. Triple H smirks, and says he’ll see Angle at Wrestlemania.
– Seth Rollins comes down to the ring with the Intercontinental Championship over his shoulder. Rollins says that last night should have been one of the greatest nights of his career. Rollins says that being able to hold the same title that Bret Hart had, that Shawn Michaels had, The Rock, Kurt Angle, Stone Cold Steve Austin, to be able to hold the same title that those greats had, and to be able to say he earned it, should have been one of those moments he looks back at when all is said and done as one of his career highlights. But instead, the moment was ruined by Dean Ambrose. Rollins says he should have been triumphantly standing tall with gold in his hand, but instead he was left lying on his back. Rollins says he’s been calling Ambrose all day, and he’s been looking for Ambrose in the back, but he hasn’t gotten an answer to the question he’s been asking himself over and over again – why? Rollins says he wants Ambrose to come down to the ring and explain himself. Instead though, The Miz comes out. Miz says the only reason Seth Rollins is the Intercontinental Champion right now is because Dean Ambrose got involved in the match. Miz says Rollins just listed some all-time greats who were Intercontinental Champion, but The Miz is an all-time great Intercontinental Champion – in fact, he’s the greatest of all time. Miz says he had the longest Intercontinental Title reign in 20 years, and he is demanding his rematch tonight. Rollins says he told The Miz that a real champion puts himself in front of all challengers, so if Miz wants his rematch, he’s got it.
– After his victory, John Cena gets on the mic. He says he may have lost the battle last night, but he’s going to keep fighting the war. Cena says for almost two years he’s been watching one man tear through the Raw roster, and last night he finally felt the pain that Braun Strowman is capable of bringing. Cena says at one time or another, Strowman has manhandled everyone who has stepped in his way – but not John Cena. Cena says he needs to know first hand if Strowman is the real deal, and challenges Strowman to a match, one-on-one, at Wrestlemania.
– Roman Reigns is with Renee Young backstage, who asks Reigns about Dean Ambrose’s attack on Seth Rollins last night. Reigns says that for years, him and Ambrose have stood side by side like brothers, and going into Fastlane he would never have suspected Ambrose would do what he did. But when he looked in Ambrose’s eyes after their match, he didn’t recognise the person staring back at him. Reigns says something snapped n Ambrose’s mind, and Reigns can’t explain it. But Reigns says he can’t afford to dwell for too long on Dean Ambrose’s state of mind, because he has the biggest match of his life in four weeks at Wrestlemania when he faces Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. Reigns says Paul Heyman has been running his mouth, trying his best to psych Reigns out, but it hasn’t worked. Reigns says since he won the Royal Rumble, Lesnar has been hiding behind his advocate, so he is challenging Brock Lesnar to show up next week on Raw.
– Renee Young asks John Cena backstage why he would call Braun Strowman out having seen and felt what Strowman is capable of. Before Cena can answer though, he gets blindsided by Strowman, who throws him around the backstage area. With Cena down, Strowman leans over him and says “I’m just getting started with you.” We then cut to Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Samoa Joe laughing in Stephanie’s office, as Triple H says that’s what happens when you mess with Braun Strowman. Stephanie says next week, for the first time ever, John Cena will go one-on-one with Samoa Joe.
Storyline: – As Samoa Joe makes his entrance for his match, his Twitter argument with Finn Balor is shown on screen and the commentators discuss them.
– As Seth Rollins celebrates retaining the Intercontinental Championship, Dean Ambrose hits him from behind with a steel chair. He keeps hitting Rollins with the chair until eventually Rollins lays motionless in the middle of the ring. Ambrose stands over Rollins holding the Intercontinental Championship above him as Raw goes off the air.
Samoa Joe and Finn Balor continue to bicker on Twitter throughout the week, with Joe claiming to be untouchable with the backing of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon and his new contract, and Balor saying all Joe does is take shortcuts, and that wouldn’t help Joe one-on-one in the ring. Elsewhere, Paul Heyman tweets that Roman Reigns better be careful what he wishes for, because Brock Lesnar will meet him on the March 19th Raw.
March 19th, Raw
Results: Seth Rollins defeats Curt Hawkins by pinfall, Matt Hardy defeats Bray Wyatt by pinfall, Braun Strowman defeats Jason Jordan by pinfall, Samoa Joe defeats John Cena by pinfall
Promos: – As Seth Rollins celebrates his win, he is interrupted by the sound of laughing, and eventually we see Dean Ambrose on the big screen via a handheld camera, in the style of the original Shield promos. Ambrose congratulates Rollins on his victory. Ambrose talks about the history between the two men, noting that Rollins stabbed him in the back four years ago, but then last summer Seth wanted to become friends with Ambrose again. Ambrose says he never forgot what Rollins did to him all those years ago, and when Rollins wanted to get the band back together Ambrose never trusted him this time around. Ambrose says when they started teaming again, at first he was paranoid that Rollins was going to attack him again. But then Ambrose decided to take the power back, and wait for his opportunity to show Rollins exactly how it feels to have a steel chair wrapped around your back at the hands of someone you trusted. Ambrose says that when they teamed together, time after time Rollins allowed him to be pinned, Rollins abandoned him to take the loss.
Ambrose says it was all stoking Rollins’ ego, because as long as Rollins wasn’t the one getting pinned, everything was rosy in Rollins-land. Ambrose says that every time that happened it would just stoke the fire within him, fueling his determination to eventually tear Rollins apart, but then he realised that other people were starting to see Ambrose as a loser. Ambrose points to Paul Heyman’s comments before Fastlane as evidence that people had stopped taking him seriously. Ambrose says the blame for that lies squarely on Rollins’ chest. Ambrose says he picked his moment, and he took away what should have been Rollins’ moment of glory. And Ambrose admits he got lucky, because by waiting as long as he did, now he can be the man to take the Intercontinental Championship away from Seth Rollins. Ambrose starts laughing again as the screen fades to black.
– Jason Jordan is with Kurt Angle in Angle’s office, and Jordan asks if Angle really took the Wrestlemania match against Triple H to protect Jordan? Jordan says he doesn’t need protecting, he can go back to SmackDown and keep wrestling away from Triple H if he has to leave Raw. Jordan says Triple H is capable of anything between those ropes, and asks if Angle knows what he’s doing. Angle says he knows Triple H better than nearly anyone else on the roster, noting that they’ve been through countless battles together in the past. Angle says Triple H will not stop at anything to get rid of Angle if that’s what he wants to do, and Angle would expect him to put pressure on Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon to not hire Jordan on SmackDown. Angle says the only way to put the brakes on Triple H’s obsession is to get in the ring and shut him up, man to man, so that’s what he’s going to do at Wrestlemania. Angle says that’s all he has to say on the subject, but he does have something to tell Jordan about what’s in store for Jordan at Wrestlemania. Angle says this year’s Andre The Giant Battle Royal is going to be the biggest and best ever, and Angle wants Jordan to bring the trophy back to Raw. Jordan nods and leaves.
– Finn Balor is backstage with Renee Young, who asks Balor about his Twitter arguments with Samoa Joe. Balor barely starts his sentence when he is attacked by Samoa Joe, who throws him into a screen, then locks on the Coquina Clutch until Balor passes out.
– Stephanie McMahon catches up to Jason Jordan backstage and asks if he was trying to sabotage her husband’s Wrestlemania match earlier. Stephanie says Angle must be dreaming if he thinks Jordan is going to win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, because Jordan is going to be lucky to even make it to Wrestlemania after he faces Braun Strowman later tonight.
– Throughout the night, we see various superstars (including Bray Wyatt, Matt Hardy and The Miz) announcing their entries to the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania.
– Roman Reigns comes out to the ring and says he was promised that the Beast would be here tonight, so he’s calling Brock Lesnar out to the ring. Lesnar and Heyman come out, and Heyman tells Reigns to take a close look at Brock Lesnar, because this is what awaits Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. Heyman notes that Reigns and Lesnar are the only two men to defeat The Undertaker at Wrestlemania, and Reigns deserves credit for that. Heyman says the difference between their two victories was that Lesnar didn’t just beat Undertaker, Lesnar destroyed him. Heyman says Reigns allowed Undertaker to have a Wrestlemania moment as he walked away, but Brock Lesnar didn’t even let Undertaker leave the building under his own power. Heyman says that’s the difference between being a top level superstar like Roman Reigns, and a once in a generation athlete like Brock Lesnar. Heyman says ever since Roman Reigns won the privilege of losing to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, he has been spreading the delusion that he’s going to dethrone the conqueror like it’s a foregone conclusion. Heyman says the only foregone conclusions about Wrestlemania are that Roman Reigns is going to suffer just like Undertaker did four years ago, and Brock Lesnar is going to keep the Universal Championship. Heyman questions the need to wait until Wrestlemania to prove him right, and sends Brock Lesnar into the ring. As Lesnar gets to his feet, he is immediately hit with a Superman punch, which sends Lesnar rebounding off the ropes into a spear that sends Lesnar out of the ring, retreating up the ramp.
Storyline: After Braun Strowman defeats Jason Jordan, Strowman hits another three running powerslams on Jordan. Kurt Angle comes down to the ring to check on Jordan. As Strowman makes his way back up the ramp, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon appear on the stage, mocking Angle and laughing at him.
Finn Balor demands a match with Samoa Joe on Twitter, and Stephanie McMahon replies saying he can have the match, but he’ll have to wait until Wrestlemania, because he’s facing Dean Ambrose on March 26th. Also on Twitter, Kurt Angle says Jason Jordan luckily avoided serious injury at the hands of Braun Strowman, and will be fit to compete next week on Raw.
March 26th, Raw
Results: Bray Wyatt & The Miz defeat Matt Hardy & Jason Jordan (Bray pins Matt), Braun Strowman squashes R-Truth, Dean Ambrose defeats Finn Balor by pinfall
Promos: – Kurt Angle comes out to the ring and grabs a mic. He says that last week, Braun Strowman attempted to injury Jason Jordan in what was clearly an attack orchestrated by Triple H. Angle says thankfully Jordan is cleared to compete tonight, but Angle thinks he’s been giving Triple H more credit than he’s earned. Angle says that for months Samoa Joe tried to get to Angle through Jordan, and we all know how well that worked out for him at the Royal Rumble. Angle says Triple H will think he’s getting under Angle’s skin by targeting his son, but all Triple H is doing is digging the hole he’s going to be hiding in after Wrestlemania. Angle says all Triple H has ensures is that there will be no lack of intensity coming from Angle, and with his own career and undoubtedly his son’s career on the line, Angle guarantees that he’s going to apply the Angle Lock an make Triple H tap out.
Angle is then interrupted by Dean Ambrose, who is carrying a steel chair. Ambrose says there must be an epidemic running through Raw. Ambrose says it is Seth Rollins’ ego that will lead to his downfall, and now he can see how Rollins thought he would get away with that arrogance because Raw’s General Manager has the arrogance to think he’s going to be able to make a legend like Triple H tap out just like that. Ambrose says Angle also has the ego to think he can just ignore Dean Ambrose. Ambrose asks why Angle hasn’t made the Intercontinental Championship match Ambrose has been asking for at Wrestlemania. Ambrose asks if he’s going to have to force Angle’s hand. Angle asks Ambrose to take it easy, Angle doesn’t have a personal issue with Ambrose. Angle says Ambrose hasn’t won a singles match in nearly two months, and he can’t just reward sneak attacks with title shots, especially not at a show like Wrestlemania. Angle says he’s working on getting an opponent for Rollins at Wrestlemania, but it won’t be Ambrose. Ambrose then attacks Angle with the chair, hitting him over and over again, until eventually Seth Rollins comes out to make the save. But Ambrose sees him, and beats him down with the chair too, only leaving when Angle and Rollins are both down and out.
– Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are in Stephanie’s office, when Dean Ambrose walks in. Triple H shakes Ambrose’s hand, congratulating him on a job well done and saying Rollins getting involved was a nice bonus. Stephanie says that she’s looking forward to seeing that same sort of aggression in Ambrose’s match against Finn Balor later. Stephanie says a deal is a deal, and now that Ambrose has held up his end of the bargain she has no issue booking Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania.
– After being on commentary for Braun Strowman’s brief match, John Cena grabs a mic while Strowman is still in the ring. Cena says that what everyone just saw is an example of how dominant Braun Strowman has been for the last two years. Cena says he’s been in WWE for nearly 16 years, and he has never seen anyone dominate all comers as consistently as Braun Strowman has. Cena says it doesn’t matter who stands across the ring from Strowman, they know they are up against it when they go up against the monster among men. Cena says there’s no doubting how dangerous Strowman can be, but there’s one thing missing in his arsenal. Cena says Strowman doesn’t know how to pull a big win out of the bag, on a big show, when the bright lights are on. Cena says that’s the only thing stopping Strowman from being a next level, bona-fide star.
Cena says on the other hand, getting big wins when the chips are down is what Cena has made a career out of, and that’s what has allowed him to be at the top of the WWE for as long as he has. Cena says he’s not giving up his spot easily, and even though he’s not here every week WWE’s measuring stick is still John Cena. Cena says if you want to be a star in the eyes of the fans and everybody in the back, you have to go through him. Strowman says that’s exactly what he plans on doing. Strowman says at Wrestlemania, he’s going to show the world that John Cena doesn’t belong at the top of WWE anymore. Strowman says he’s going to take Cena’s spot, and put Cena on the shelf for a long time. Strowman says he’s going to bear Cena so badly Cena will question whether he can ever come back. Strowman says he has passed Cena by, and in two weeks the whole world will see the decimation of John Cena.
– Paul Heyman comes down to the ring with Brock Lesnar in tow, saying that last week Roman Reigns showed guts by standing up to Brock Lesnar. Heyman says he commends and respects that sort of bravery, but that it was equally and unequivocally stupid. Heyman says that nobody has ever picked a fight with Brock Lesnar and come out of it better off. Heyman says that all Reigns did last week was make the Beast angry. Heyman says Roman Reigns has the advantage last week because he held the ring, and he could pounce on Brock Lesnar before he could regain a standing base. Heyman says that won’t be the case at Wrestlemania. Heyman says Roman Reigns will stare into the face of the conqueror and know that he just isn’t bad enough to take the Universal Championship away from Brock Lesnar.
Heyman says Reigns is sitting in the back right now, and he’s probably been bragging to his buddies backstage all week about getting the better of the Beast. Heyman says Lesnar doesn’t just want to beat Reigns at Wrestlemania, he wants to beat the life out of Roman Reigns’ fantasy that Reigns is the “big dog” in the WWE. Heyman says Lesnar wants to call Reigns out right here, right now. Heyman says it would be far braver of Reigns to try and pick a fight with Lesnar with the tables turned, but it would also be far stupider, because he wouldn’t just be putting his pride on the line, he would be putting his Wrestlemania main event on the line, and he would be putting his career on the line. Roman Reigns’ music hits, and he marches down to the ring, but as he tries to enter he gets taken down by Lesnar. Lesnar goes to ground and pound Reigns, but he escapes, and hits Lesnar with two Superman punches that rock Lesnar, but doesn’t take him off his feet. Reigns goes for a spear, but Lesnar catches him and hits him with a German suplex. Lesnar then picks Reigns up, lays him out with an F5, and leaves.
Storyline: Jason Jordan’s ribs are taped up during his match as a result of Braun Strowman’s attack last week.
Finn Balor & Seth Rollins vs Samoa Joe & Dean Ambrose, a battle royal featuring Raw’s Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal participants, and a “Final Face-Off” between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar are announced for April 2nd.
April 2nd, Raw
Results: Jason Jordan wins a battle royal, John Cena squashes Goldust, Finn Balor & Seth Rollins defeat Dean Ambrose & Samoa Joe by disqualification
Promos: – After attacking John Cena as he celebrates his win, Braun Strowman gets a mic and says he’s going to save the rest of the beating he has in store for Cena for Sunday, but if Cena is able to he should enjoy his victory tonight, because it is the last time Cena will be able to taste victory for a very long time.
– Triple H comes out to the ring and says he is almost glad Jason Jordan won the battle royal earlier, because it will give him one good memory to look back on when he’s sitting at home beside his father next week watching Raw on TV. Triple H says Jordan and Angle will be watching the dawning of a new era for Raw – an era without Kurt Angle, Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son, Kurt Angle’s three I’s, Kurt Angle’s “you suck” chants, everything associated with Kurt Angle will be gone. Triple H says his favourite part about all this is that, when you really think about it, it’s all Kurt Angle’s fault. Triple H says if Kurt Angle had never brought Jason Jordan over to Raw, he would never have caught Triple H’s attention. If Kurt Angle had never put himself back in the ring, Triple H wouldn’t have been forced to act. Hell, if Kurt Angle had never knocked up some slut back in college this whole thing might never have happened. Triple H says the best part about the whole thing is that Kurt Angle will only have himself to blame when he’s lying on his back on Sunday, squinting up at the lights to see the referee raising Triple H’s hand.
Triple H says Angle isn’t capable of saving himself any more. Triple H says Angle found out at the Royal Rumble that his body can’t take any more punishment after all the abuse it’s gone through over the years. Triple H says Angle may have won at the Royal Rumble, but the amount of pain Angle was in scared him more than any loss ever could have, and that why he did everything he could to avoid getting back in the ring at Fastlane. Triple H says he was clever enough to bring it to a point Angle felt like he had no choice but to lace up his boots again, but make no mistake about it – it was absolutely Angle’s last resort. Triple H says he would have expected nothing less of the great Kurt Angle than to go out fighting, but it’s also the worst decision Angle ever made, because he has guaranteed it will be the last time we ever see Kurt Angle in the WWE. At this point Angle’s music hits, and he makes his way down to the ring. Angle asks if Triple H is done, because he’s been waiting in the back to hear what Triple H had to say and he thought Triple H would never shut up. Angle says Triple H was right in a way about one thing – he did force Angle into a situation where the only option was stepping into the ring once more. But Angle has a different perspective on it – a man is at his most dangerous when he has nothing to lose.
Angle says that to him, when he walks down to the ring at Wrestlemania, he isn’t doing so as the Raw General Manager, he’s walking down to the ring as the Olympic Gold Medallist, who’s facing one of his greatest rivals. Angle says that when you get to the top of any sport, you have the ability to kick it into top gear. Angle says his top gear is above most other people’s, because he didn’t just win Olympic gold, he did it with a broken freaking neck. Angle says he has main evented Wrestlemania with a broken neck too, so it doesn’t matter what Triple H does to him on Sunday, chances are he’s going to have been through worse. Angle said back then, he kept on fighting through the pain to give everything he had, just like he will on Sunday. Angle says the only difference is that this time, he’s not fighting for glory or pride or money, he’s fighting for his family. Angle says his family will be in his heart at Wrestlemania, and they will help him through the match. Angle says that when he makes Triple H tap out on Sunday to get Triple H off his back for good, Triple H is going to have to watch Kurt Angle welcoming the WWE Universe next Monday night, and Triple H will know that it’s Triple H’s fault he’s sitting at home watching Kurt Angle on Raw because like Triple H said, he forced Angle into this. Angle says that on Sunday, Triple H is going to feel something he hasn’t felt in 16 years: what it’s like to face a wrestling machine. Oh it’s true, it’s damn true!
– Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman come down to the ring where six security guards are already standing. Heyman grabs the mic and says it was exactly one year ago that Brock Lesnar regained his rightful place at the top of WWE. Heyman says that ever since Lesnar put gold back around his waist, he has been unstoppable. Heyman says men of all shapes and sizes have tried and failed to dethrone Lesnar, but Lesnar has powered past them all because he is just that good. Heyman says Lesnar is in the midst of the longest world title run in years, and Heyman doesn’t see it ending on Sunday. Heyman says Brock Lesnar is the biggest box office attraction in sports entertainment, and he is going to prove why on Sunday as he walks out still your reigning, defending, undisputed Univesal Champion. Roman Reigns comes down to the ring, and the security guards form a line between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. Reigns says as far as he’s concerned, the time for talking is over. Reigns says on Sunday he will become the Universal Champion, but right now he just wants to kick Brock Lesnar’s ass. Reigns and Lesnar move to the middle of the ring, and face off over the shoulders of the security guards.
Storyline: – Dean Ambrose hits Seth Rollins with the Intercontinental Championship, causing the disqualification in their tag team match
– Braun Strowman lays out John Cena with a running powerslam after Cena beats Goldust.
– As Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar face off over the shoulders of the security guards, Lesnar shoves Reigns in the face, and the two attempt to fight but the security gets in the way. Each man has three guards pinning them into opposite corners, but Lesnar and Reigns fight them off and start brawling in the centre of the ring. The guards rush back into the ring and try to separate them again, but once more they get fought off by Reigns and Lesnar. Because it’s Lesnar, at least one of the superstars get busted open during this brawl. The locker room then spills out to try to separate Reigns and Lesnar, and they eventually succeed in separating the two men and taking Lesnar out of the ring. But Reigns manages to break free inside the ring, and he leaps over the top rope on to Lesnar on the outside. The roster intervene one more time, forcing Lesnar back up the ramp with Reigns being restrained at ringside as Raw goes off the air.
April 8th, Wrestlemania
Results: Chad Gable wins the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Dean Ambrose defeats Seth Rollins by pinfall to win the Intercontinental Championship, Samoa Joe defeats Finn Balor by submission, Kurt Angle defeats Triple H by submission, Braun Strowman defeats John Cena by pinfall, Roman Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar by pinfall to win the Universal Championship
Storyline: – Ok, full disclosure, having written the Raw side of things I would not have had Chad Gable win the battle royal, but it was written on the SmackDown articles and I ruled that I couldn’t change anything that happened there. I thought it was fair that Raw won the Royal Rumble, so SmackDown should win here, but having seen how things turned out I think I would have The Miz win this to give him an accolade to brag about while he’s not necessarily in the title picture. Plus, it would be interesting to see if Miz could make this feel as important as he makes the Intercontinental Title.
– Braun Strowman vs Cena doesn’t go past 8-10 minutes. I want this to be the match that really takes Strowman to the next level, so I have him powerslamming Cena through a barricade and through an announce table in what is essentially an extended squash match that sends Cena on his way to a couple of months off, while making Strowman look as strong as possible.
April 9th onwards…
So here’s where I do change some things that I wrote in the SmackDown articles. For the Superstar Shake-up, I had AJ Styles and Baron Corbin moving to Raw, and Finn Balor and Samoa Joe moving to SmackDown. I am gonna change that to Braun Strowman, Finn Balor & The Miz moving to SmackDown, and Bobby Roode, Baron Corbin and AJ Styles moving to Raw. I also have Drew McIntyre debuting on Raw the night after Mania. This leaves the feuds as:
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kevin Owens for the WWE Title
Braun Strowman vs Chad Gable
Finn Balor vs Randy Orton
The Miz vs Sami Zayn for the US Title
Leading to Nakamura vs Strowman, Owens vs Balor, Orton vs Zayn and Miz vs Gable
Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe for the Universal Title
Bobby Roode vs Drew McIntyre
Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Title
Baron Corbin vs AJ Styles
Bray Wyatt vs Jason Jordan
Leading to Roman Reigns vs Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles, Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt vs Drew McIntyre, Dean Ambrose vs Jason Jordan
I’m actually going to leave it there I think for this article, because I appreciate it is one mightily long read (this part alone is pushing the 10,000 word count). I’m going to put another post up in the next couple of days explaining my thought processes in a bit more detail, but for now, I hope you enjoyed this whole journey! What do you think, did I do a better job than the actual WWE creative – at least so far? What changes would you have preferred to have seen? Let me know in the comments!