Alas, the road to WrestleMania is reaching its final days.
In less than a week, the biggest event on the WWE calendar will emanate from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
But before we could get to beautiful Northern California, we had to make one final stop at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
This episode wasn't bad. Actually, it was quite good, but the final the last five minutes was a microcosm of the lackluster build that was to WrestleMania.
Before we delve too deep into what too place, here are the full match results from the show:
- Dean Ambrose & R-Truth def. Stardust & Luke Harper
- Zack Ryder, Titus O'Neil, Darren Young, Erick Rowan & Ryback def. The Miz, Damien Mizdow, Adam Rose & The Ascension
- Randy Orton def. Seth Rollins, Joey Mercury & Jamie Noble
- WWE Divas Championship – Nikki Bella def. Paige
- Los Matadores & El Torito def. Cesaro, Tyson Kidd & Natalya
- Rusev def. Jack Swagger
- Dolph Ziggler def. Daniel Bryan
Now let's jump into the final episode of Monday Night Raw before WrestleMania 31:
Brock Lesnar-Roman Reigns face-off a letdown
That was it?
That was the best the WWE could come up with?
That was the lasting image of the main event before the biggest show of the year?
I'm certain the WWE could do better than that, right? Well, apparently not because all we got Monday was the main event players playing tug of war over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. And instead of it leading to something more eventful, the screen suddenly went dark and Raw went off the air.
Just like that, the show was over.
As I mentioned earlier, that ending was just a microcosm of the entire build to WrestleMania since the night after the Royal Rumble. It was simply money left on the table.
The WWE did something, but it could have done so much more with this segment. I've been saying that with a bunch of things on this card. A lot of things just seem incomplete. It feels like there are still many gaps to fill, but it's well past the point of doing that now.
If this feud had a ton of heat heading into this segment, I probably wouldn't have minded that ending we all got. But despite Paul Heyman's best effort, this match still needed some necessary heat going in. That's why I believe the WWE should have done more with this segment.
Now that begs the question: What is more? Anything! Anything would have been better than what we got, which felt like the WWE was doing as little as possible. We don't need an all-out brawl to sell the match, but get the most out of this as you can without giving away the attraction. Who knows how much longer you have Brock Lesnar to utilize?
Was that supposed to make our mouths water yearning for more? I suppose that was the desired effect, but it backfired. People did want more, but not because the WWE did such a good job of teasing them. People expected a gallon of water, but didn't even get a pint. That's not building anticipation. That's leaving people disappointed.
As I've said all along, on paper, WrestleMania is going to be a good show. However, I don't think the WWE did themselves any favors on selling this show to the masses by the way it built it up.
We're merely days away from the show and it still feels like there's something lacking. That's a problem.
Dolph Ziggler beats Daniel Bryan … again
Apparently, the WWE loved Dolph Ziggler beating Daniel Bryan so much that it had him do it twice in less than a week.
I'm a big fan of both of these guys, but I figured Bryan would get at least one win in this brief series. Instead, he loses to Ziggler clean twice. It's like the WWE realizes Bryan is a star, but instead of capitalizing on his star power, it has decided to use it as a springboard for other people. A prime example is Roman Reigns.
With Ziggler, however, I don't foresee the WWE putting the proverbial rocket on his back anytime soon, so what's the point of having him win both matches clean?
I saw people on Twitter say that by according to WWE booking logic, this must mean that Bryan is probably going to win the Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania.
Firstly, I don't think that's a guarantee at all. This is Bryan we're talking about here. He was a member of the Wyatt Family for a month last year and the angle was only squashed once CM Punk bolted the company and it had no other choice but to ascend Bryan to the top of the card. Don't be surprised if he's just another guy on the roster come next week.
Secondly, if he's in line to win the title, why have him lose clean twice on television in less than a week? It doesn't quite make sense, but I guess this wouldn't be the first time the WWE has treated a champion in nonsensical ways.
A prime example of that is your current Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett.
Sting speaks … again!
When Sting said that he was on Monday Night Raw, a part of me thought for a second that he was going to finish that statement by saying Nitro.
It was surreal just to hear him say Monday Night Raw after all of these years.
Speaking of Nitro, I'm so glad that Sting refuted the claim that he was there to defend the honor of World Championship Wrestling, saying that it would be utterly ridiculous for him to do so. Frankly, I couldn't agree more.
But what happens next? Stephanie McMahon comes out and tells Sting that WCW is dead and that it was crushed and blah, blah, blah.
I don't know why WCW was ever brought into this feud to begin with, but I'm at least happy Sting killed that notion. I was also happy with the interaction Sting had with McMahon and Triple H.
I loved McMahon's face when she grabbed Triple H's sledgehammer and I liked the power couple backing away.
See? That wasn't difficult at all. Use some creative juices and create some heat. That's what happened here with Triple H and Sting. Why couldn't get something similar with Lesnar and Reigns?
This was simple, straightforward and effective and I am more excited to see this match come March 29. That's the way I'm supposed to feel. They didn't go into an all-out brawl, but you have to give the people something they can hang onto until the match.
Rusev destroys John Cena
Besides the debacle from last week, I've enjoyed the Rusev-John Cena feud for the most part.
I thought Monday's segment between the two was another effective way to sell the match. After Rusev destroyed Jack Swagger for the 457th time, Cena ran down to attack Rusev.
Cena thought he was about that life, but Rusev easily turned the tables and showed him that he wasn't.
Rusev beat the crap out of Cena and put him in the accolade on top of the announce table.
Now, as good as this segment came off, it essentially gave away the fact that Cena will triumph over Rusev at WrestleMania.
People were on Twitter saying that Cena was going to pin Rusev in less than a minute. Of course that's not going to really happen, but that's how certain people are now that Cena is going to overcome the odds yet again and vanquish the Bulgarian Brute.
I believe the match will be very good, but my only hope is that Lana will accompany Rusev to the ring. Please? We all miss her. Not only because she's beautiful, but she's a necessary component to the Rusev character. And she's gorgeous, too. Did I mention that already?
SnoopMania, HulkaMania run wild on AxelMania
While ESPN's Bill Simmons sat and talked during an entire match, Snoop Dogg actually got into the ring, where Curtis Axel interrupted him.
Axel once again claimed that AxelMania was running wild, but Snoop Dogg had an ace up his sleeve (his short sleeves) in the form of Hulk Hogan.
Having Hogan come out as a surprise was pretty awesome. It was much better than trotting him out to cut a promo on the WWE Network for five minutes. That was bad. This was cool.
It also must have been really cool for Axel, who although he was punched out and then thrown out by Hogan and Snoop Dogg, he was in the ring with two of the most recognizable people on the planet. It certainly beats losing to Adam Rose for no reason.
Yeah, Snoop Dogg got to tear his shirt off to reveal how skinny he is and flexed with Hogan, but this must have been pretty cool for Axel.
Paige, AJ Lee have issues
This had to happen sooner or later. The two women spent the entire summer of 2014 hating each other and they're portraying mentally unstable characters.
Also, it created a bit of intrigue heading into the match.
"Will Paige and AJ Lee be able to coexist during their match against Nikki and Brie Bella," is a question we're certain to hear on the WWE Network at some point this week.