Monday Night Raw – March 21, 2016: And Then They Hit A Wall

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 21, 2016
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: John Bradshaw Layfield, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton

The march of pain continues for Roman Reigns as we’re in one of the smarkiest towns in the world. There are also less than two weeks until Wrestlemania so this is the time when the really heavy lifting for the show has to be done. It’s going to be rather, shall we say, interesting to see how Reigns is greeted tonight so let’s get to it.

This show is dedicated to Mary Katharine Stewart. I’m actually not sure who that is.

We open with the now traditional long recap of last week’s show. I get the idea of keeping us up to date but cut these things down.

Here’s Stephanie to get things going. Apparently HHH isn’t here tonight and you have 60 seconds to get to the box office for refunds. That absence is of course due to corporate responsibilities and NOT due to Roman Reigns attacking him last week. That’s because Roman Reigns is stupid and opportunistic. How short sighted could he have been last week when he attacked HHH for revenge?

Cue Reigns to some VERY loud booing (expected of course). Stephanie goes into her patented voice but Reigns puts his hand over the mic and says the reason HHH isn’t here is because he knows the beating that would be coming to him. At Wrestlemania, he’s going into HHH and Stephanie’s stadium and taking their title. Stephanie loads up the slap but Reigns blocks it with an ease that far more people should have when Stephanie pulls that arm back. That’s it for Reigns, who again kept it short here. That’s the best thing they could have done here and it worked far better than I was expecting.

Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles

Non-title and a very smart choice for an opener. Owens takes him to a knee with a headlock but AJ pops up into the dropdown and dropkick. They head to the floor and Owens gets in a hard whip to the barricade as we take a break. Back with AJ fighting out of a chinlock and scoring with an enziguri to put both guys down. The Pele misses and Owens takes his head off with a clothesline. A nice rack neckbreaker gets two for Owens but Owens misses the Cannonball.

AJ comes right back with the AA into a backbreaker for the same. Styles can’t get a top rope hurricanrana though and Owens debuts a frog splash for two. You know, because you debut a huge spot like that and have it get two. We get the ROH style slugout and AJ Peles him down again as we take a break.

Back again with AJ getting two more off his torture rack slam before heading up top. Owens is right there meet him, only to have AJ slip down into a sitout powerbomb with a nasty looking landing for two more. Cue Jericho though, only to have AJ grab the Calf Crusher anyway. That brings Jericho to the apron to break the hold though and Owens gets a rollup for the pin at 19:20.

Rating: B+. This felt like an ROH match and that’s the perfect way to start a show in front of this crowd. AJ losing is the right call and I was nervous that they would go for the 50/50 booking that has plagued them for so long. Thankfully they let these two beat the tar out of each other for a long time and the match worked as a result. Really good match but more importantly it was smart.

Post match Owens grabs the belt and says that everyone is wondering who will be facing him for the title at KO Mania. Cue Dolph Ziggler (DANG IT GET OUT OF HERE!) and Miz to argue with each other until Sami Zayn comes out. Miz calls him the skinny Seth Rogen as Owens leaves. Kevin says he’ll go to the Authority and get a triple threat match set up for the title shot tonight.

Earlier today, Dean Ambrose was in a pub to talk about how far Lesnar was going to have to go to beat him at Wrestlemania. Terry Funk of all people comes in and puts Dean over before giving him a chainsaw. Dean of course turns it on and slices through a table.

Stephanie makes Owens’ triple threat match for later.

We recap Shane returning last month to set up Undertaker vs. Shane. Various legends and Hall of Famers talk about how big it was, including Mick Foley, John Cena, Michael Hayes, Booker T., Chris Jericho, Edge, Steve Austin, Ric Flair and Jerry Lawler. They all think Shane is in over his head. You would think Shawn Michaels would have made an appearance here.

Here’s the League of Nations for a match but first of all we have to see last week’s beatdown of the New Day. This brings out New Day to call the League trash, complete with cards that call them trash. Kofi thinks Rusev has smelly feet and that the three of them would make a better set of kings than Barrett. That brings them to Sheamus, whose parents actually put the word SHAME in his name. Not to worry though because all of this could be cured with a simple bowl of BootyO’s because New Day ROCKS.

Big E. vs. Rusev

Rusev drops straight to the floor at the bell but Big E. throws him back in for the one man Unicorn Stampede. A big stomp has Rusev in trouble as we take an early break. Back with Rusev holding a chinlock before nailing a nice one footed dropkick for two. New Day is out after a beatdown during the break. Cole thinks this could be the most physical match at Wrestlemania because Cole isn’t that bright.

Big E. fights up again with the belly to belly but the Warrior splash hits knees. A Rock Bottom out of the corner drops Rusev for two and the fans are entirely behind New Day. Now the Warrior splash gets two and Woods is back up to start the brawl with the League. The Accolade is broken up with an electric chair but Big E. has to spear Sheamus through the ropes. That allows Kofi to kick Rusev in the head, setting up the Big Ending for the pin on Rusev at 11:03. Big E. gets a good reaction for the win.

Rating: C-. Good enough here but I’m worried that they might change the titles at Wrestlemania based on how many times the League has lost leading up to it. The key thing here though was the smart booking continues as they put out another match that people are going to care about and don’t focus on something they’re going to hate.

The Wyatt Family talks about rebirth and promises Dean Ambrose as a sacrifice tonight.

Here’s Big Show to talk about the Andre Memorial Battle Royal. JBL thinks Show has the best chance to repeat as the winner. Well given that he’s the only one who CAN repeat as the winner, you can’t argue there. Show talks about Andre’s legacy and how Andre was the greatest giant of all time. Last year it meant a lot to him to win the battle royal because he doesn’t win a lot of battle royals (right).

Cue the Social Outcasts to say they’re a combined Cinderella story. Axel says they’re more like Voltron and the Outcasts attack. Show grabs Slater by the throat but gets beaten down until Kane comes out for the save. The Outcasts are dispatched and Show hugs Kane, only to stupidly pose on the ropes, allowing Kane to chokeslam him down.

Stan Hansen Hall of Fame induction announcement. This is another deserved one.

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango

Just get AJ out here to cause the big upset already. Jericho takes over to start of course but stops to yell about how Fandango never beat him at Wrestlemania. Fandango gets in a few shots but misses the top rope legdrop. Cue AJ for a distraction so Fandango can get in a small package for two. Jericho pops back up with the Codebreaker for the pin at 2:10.

AJ comes down for the fight but Jericho bails. Styles says he’s competed all over the world except for one place, giving us a DRAMATIC POINT AT THE SIGN. We get the official challenge for Wrestlemania….which I could have sworn was already made.

Quick line from Mick Foley about how dangerous the Cell is.

Video on Shane’s training for the Cell, including clips from more legends talking about how tough Shane is. They seem to think that Undertaker is going to kill him anyway.

Here’s Kevin Owens to introduce the participants in the triple threat match for the #1 contendership.

Stardust vs. Sin Cara vs. Zack Ryder

Owens apparently got to hand pick these guys because he never told Stephanie who would be in the match. The announcers bury all three of them by asking why any of them deserve a title shot. Cara starts cleaning house to start as Ryder is sent to the floor. A slingshot ankle scissors gets two on Stardust but Ryder pulls them to the floor. Cue Sami, Ziggler and Miz to stare down Owens as the match is basically forgotten. A huge brawl breaks out and the match is thrown out at 3:40. No rating since so much was spent on Owens but the wrestling wasn’t the point here.

Everyone beats Owens down and DO NOT TELL ME it’s going to be a seven way match at Wrestlemania with three extra goons added in.

We look back at the opening segment.


Stephanie (of course it’s Stephanie) is leaving and HHH gets out of his car. They go to leave when Reigns appears and attacks HHH as Stephanie won’t stop screaming. Doesn’t she have a pointless ladder match to book?

Natalya vs. Charlotte

Non-title with Becky and Sasha bickering on commentary. Charlotte starts fast but gets knocked to the floor for a hard shot to the head. Back in and Charlotte gets two off a clothesline as the arguing continues. Charlotte hammers away in the corner but gets caught in a sitout powerbomb, setting up the Sharpshooter. A rope is quickly grabbed and Natural Selection puts Natalya away at 4:51.

Rating: D+. Not exactly Roadblock here but at least we got that good looking powerbomb in again. I could have done without the annoying chattering about Irish jokes and bling but that’s how you do commentary these days. The match should be fine assuming they give it time though this was nothing interesting.

We look back at Dean and the chainsaw earlier.

R-Truth vs. Bubba Ray Dudley

Bubba pounds him down to start and asks where Truth’s boy Goldust is. Truth makes a quick comeback and hits a running splash in the corner but D-Von offers a distraction, allowing a big boot to put Truth away at 2:10.

Goldust comes out for a failed save so here are the Usos for the real save. The Usos load up a table but Bubba breaks it up.

Here’s Vince to talk about the Cell and what might happen if Shane somehow pulls off a miracle. We look back at last week’s ending segment with Undertaker destroying Shane. Vince agrees with what Shane said about Undertaker last week because if Undertaker doesn’t beat Shane, this is his last Wrestlemania. Well…..that’s a bit better I guess.

Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman

Heyman is on commentary. Strowman hammers away to start but gets sent out to the floor, though not off his feet. The suicide dive doesn’t put Braun down and now it’s time for the beating. We hit the chinlock for a bit but Dean fights up and gets a sleeper, which seems to just annoy Braun more than anything else. Ambrose makes another comeback but can’t hit Dirty Deeds. Instead he settles for avoiding a charge to send Braun shoulder first into the post. Dean grabs a chair and starts beating on Braun for the DQ at 6:04.

Rating: D+. This was fine and did exactly what it should have done: showed Dean against a monster and let us see what he can do against him without wasting Braun’s monster aura. The match wasn’t good or anything but that’s what Braun is here for: to look like a big guy who can serve as a warmup for a match against Brock. They got the idea right here and it worked well enough.

Post match Dean hits him with the chair a few more times and scores with Dirty Deeds onto the steel. Some staring at Heyman ends the show.

Overall Rating: C+. They were rolling along and then hit one of the hardest walls I’ve ever seen. I really can’t remember the last time I stopped caring about a show as hard as when they announced that seven man ladder match. Yes it’s going to be a spectacle and yes it’s going to have some big spots, but it goes against every bit of storytelling they’ve had in recent weeks. They don’t have a roster to fill in a battle royal and they have a great story HANDED TO THEM with Zayn vs. Owens, but no let’s go with the big mess because it’s easy and requires less work.

The worst part though is the storyline explanation for this is “Stephanie felt like it.” Nothing more and nothing less. Why should I care about some story they’re putting together or anything for that matter when it continues to come down to “well the Authority wants this”? It’s lazy writing and bad storytelling, which is so much of a plague on this company.

Other than that though, this was actually quite a strong show as they kept things moving and avoided any major issues with the crowd. That was the key thing to the whole show: don’t give the fans a reason or a chance to hijack things and it’s clear that they pulled it off here. Good show overall and a needed show with less than two weeks before Wrestlemania but there were some major holes.


Kevin Owens b. AJ Styles – Rollup

Big E. b. Rusev – Big Ending

Chris Jericho b. Fandango – Codebreaker

Stardust vs. Sin Cara vs. Zack Ryder went to a no contest when all three attacked Kevin Owens

Charlotte b. Natalya – Natural Selection

Bubba Ray Dudley b. R-Truth – Big boot

Braun Strowman b. Dean Ambrose via DQ when Ambrose used a chair

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16 Responses

  1. Jay H (the real one) says:

    It continues to amaze me how much of a dope you are but you continue to prove me right every week with your dribble. By the way nice job not sounding sexist by saying women don’t belong in a Wrestling Ring. Also explain to me (and im sure you won’t) what your deal is with NXT?

  2. Ted says:

    Maybe an off season isn’t such a bad idea.

    • Corrector says:

      It would hurt financially to do an off season. They need to do a rotation for house shows. However that would cause them to run only one house show instead of two which would also hurt financially. I have no idea how they could implement something like this.

      To be fair, most of these aren’t due to overwork.

  3. Davey Meredith says:

    Dark match after Raw. Luke Harper injured his knee. Never seen so many injuries at one time before.

  4. Dragon says:

    I don’t see a problem with the multiman ladder match…..they have always delivered at Mania and it is more of a spectacle. Let Owens and Zayne fight at Payback or something. Also, Sami Zayne shouldn’t talk…..period. Some of the stories are finally progressing nicely like Usos/Dudleys and Jerico/Styles. The stipulation to the Shane/Taker match is great but would have been better added at beginning to give Taker a reason for accepting. Nice build so far (not the greatest) except for the main event lol

    • Corrector says:


    • Ted says:

      The problem is there is already a good storyline for a one on one match built over months. If you want to have the Multi man match. Do it for the us title. Kalisto could shine in that match. It’s not like the ryback story is important.

  5. Wim says:

    Mary Katharine Stewart is apparantly the daughter of a WWE camera man who died falling of a hill or a cliff or something. At only 22 years old that’s a tragedy but it’s strange to see Raw dedicated to this girl.

  6. RK says:

    Great post who will win in Wrestle mania-32 Roman Reigns Vs triple-H

  7. Ted says:

    It’s still stupid. You have a perfect wrestle mania storyline you use it.

    Also Braun sucks that is all.

  8. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I really think Undertaker & Shane are closing Wrestlemania especially when in one of the video packages Chris Jericho said Main Event a couple of times. I really have no issue with the Ladder Match because they can save Owens & Zayn 1 on 1 for later on in the year. I mean its not like they are never going to have a one on one PPV Match at some point.

    • Wim says:

      That’s not really the point. They already have so little and yet they refuse to use what they do have. If wrestlemania was full with awesome storyline booked matchen then sure, why not save Owens vs Zayn for later, but as things stand now though it makes no sense.

  9. M.R. says:

    Hyping Shane up as Taker’s toughest WrestleMania opponent? Well ok then.

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