The general consensus from last night's RAW was that the show was a dud.
Well, that's not entirely true. Most people will admit that the show was decent enough, but it paled in comparison to what many believed the penultimate RAW before Wrestlemania "should be". I can understand where those people are coming from - the lack of Lesnar, Undertaker and Shane-O-Mac was pretty evident.
However, let's focus on the show for what it was, not what we wanted it to be. Yes, friends, I'm donning my #PromotingPositivity Pork Pie hat and sharing with you the things I think you should be excited about from last night.
Roman Reigns Silently (and from the Ramp!)
What I expected to be yet another incredibly annoying promo by Stephanie McMahon wound up being far more than I could have hoped for with the entrance of Roman Reigns, from the ramp no less! Sure, he's got the Shield music, sure, he's got the Shield outfit, but just a new way to the ring alone is enough to get some people popping.
Then he got to the ring and. . . He didn't act like The Rock. He wasn't trying to be a Jericho-type "cool guy". He spoke softly AND carried a big stick, and by stick, of course, I mean his serious presence. It couldn't mean anything else, right?
It seemed like the Philly crowd helped us figure out what's really going on with Roman these days. People inherently like him, especially when he acts the way he did, so the initial reaction is to cheer him. Then, after that first burst, people realize that "it's cool to hate Roman" and THAT'S when the boos come. It's not legitimate, it's an artifice. I expected better, Philadelphia.
Styles and Owens, part 2
If it was up to us, NAIborhood, I'm sure we'd let them have a best of 70 series - I didn't catch their Smackdown encounter but this match was everything I hoped for and more.
Food for thought - Has Kevin Owens had a bad match in WWE yet?
Even the ending was fine by me - Yeah, it was a repeat of what happened on Smackdown, but that's going to be what happens until Shane McMahon wins at Wrestlemania and Smackdown becomes a WWE / NXT hybrid show.
If I say it enough, it will come true.
Battle of the Beasts
In a ROH review I wrote yesterday, I mentioned an encounter between Moose and Kongo, and bemoaned the lack of Rusev being used as the monster that he is. He might not have won last night, but at least the match was more along the lines of what I was thinking. He and Big E had a chance to tear the house down and while their stables got in the way, they did just that. I enjoyed that contest, and I hope it's not the last time we see them in a match.
While we're on the subject of New Day, two quick points off the #PromotingPositivity podium. First, what the hell were Big E, Kofi and Xavier talking about last night? Is this what we're going to get out of a "face" New Day? If so, please turn them heel again as soon as possible.
Secondly, Rusev has outgrown the League of Nations. His Twitter feed alone should be enough to get him back into the mid-card singles title market. Why he's not part of the IC ladder match is beyond me.
Ok, let's get back to the column proper.
Bo Flippin' Dallas
If you were to check out my DDTwrestling.com profile, you would notice that I have listed Bo Rida as my favorite current wrestler. That's probably not true, but I'd be hard pressed to find a guy more entertaining on a regular basis than Mr. Dallas. In fact, let me be bold.
Bo Dallas is performing, character wise, on a level very close to one Kevin Owens.
He might not be getting as much of a chance to shine, but in my mind, Bo Dallas is the leader of the Social Outcasts (in fact, I find Heath Slater to be the least entertaining of the bunch). Every little thing he does is magic. Go back and watch him try to beg off of Kane - Totally hilarious.
I'm pulling for Bo Dallas to win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, and then I want his cheesy smile bronzed and put in Andre's place.
Fandango had a match!
His hair might have been terrible, but at least we saw him. I was beginning to forget what he looked like.
The IC ladder match.
I'll be honest - This is not the match I was hoping for. No Harper (though since he apparently got injured, that's probably for the best), no Rusev, obviously no Titus O'Neil. I had originally expected Stardust to be a part of this, so that was nice to see.
Despite my minor disappointment, it's not like this match is going to be terrible, folks. Owens and Zayn can tell their stories, Ziggler and Miz are always dependable for some entertaining action, Sin Cara will dive off of stuff and Zack Ryder will be so legitimately happy to be on the Mania card that we'll be pulling for him the whole time.
Plus, there's always the chance (not really) that Cody Rhodes makes his return.
Young Mister Reigns continued to be the badass we all have wanted him to be by slowly (ssslllooowwwlllyyy) appearing from beyond the garage door and battling Triple H backstage. Once again, no talking, just brooding, exactly what we fell in love with when he was with Rollins and Ambrose.
This is what we've been asking for, folks. Stop moaning that "it's too late". Give him the cheers the last two weeks have earned.
Charlotte and Natalya got the chance to have an actual wrestling match, not a 3 minute hair-pulling contest. I know this is becoming much more of the norm thanks to the Diva's Revolution, but it's still worth mentioning. I get why Natalya can't force her way into the championship triple threat, but it's delightful to see her mattering in WWE again.
Ambrose bringing Hardcore back
Terry Funk might not have had as perfect a moment as Mick Foley did last week, but it was nice to see old Chainsaw Charlie back on my TV screen. As for the main event - I'll admit it, I went to bed after Vince's pretty underwhelming "big announcement". Braun Strowman just doesn't make me want to stay up until 11:00.
I did enjoy hearing that Ambrose got himself disqualified, though. There's no way Dean can beat Brock in a one-on-one contest. I better be seeing Ambrose drag a hot dog cart AND a shopping cart full of weapons to the ring in Dallas.
Like I said when this column began, I get it. Last night was not the explosion of excellence we all expected.
But it was a good RAW. Plenty to enjoy. Wrestlemania weekend is going to be a fantastic time.