WWE Raw Highlights (3/28/16)
The last WWE Raw before WrestleMania had its ups and downs, but the ups were really, really good. Let’s jump right in to the action and see what happened just six days before the Showcase of the Immortals.

THE Highlight
Taker/Shane set the tone for WrestleMania
WWE Raw started off with a bang tonight. The Undertaker opened the show, and shortly afterwards, he was joined in the ring by his WrestleMania opponent Shane McMahon. The pleasantries between the two was good, but it was the action that really put it over the top. After Taker made a sly comment about Shane being his daddy’s bitch since birth, Shane attacked but was quickly thwarted by the man who has gone 22-1 at Mania. Taker quickly got the upper hand in the encounter, but when he attempted a Last Ride through the announce table, Shane reversed it and managed to knock the Undertaker onto the announce table with a monitor. Then, as he’s done so many times before, Shane threw caution to the wind by delivering a flying elbow from the top of the ropes, sending the Deadman crashing through the announce table and onto the floor. But that wouldn’t keep the Phenom down because he rose, and when he rose, he was pissed. Now THAT’S how you sell a WrestleMania main event!

THE Lowlight
Poor buildup to other marquee matchups
The Undertaker and Shane McMahon did a PHENOMENAL job of getting everyone ready for their Mania match this Sunday. But the other two primetime matchups…well, those set ups were a bit more underwhelming to say the least. Let’s start with Triple H and Roman Reigns, who made two attempts on the night to complete the sale of their upcoming title match this Sunday. Let Triple H tell it, and fans are tuning in to this year’s WrestleMania solely to see him take on Roman Reigns for the title. That’s highly debatable but hey, the man’s trying to sell a match so you got to do what you got to do. For the most part though, Triple H’s final promo left a lot to be desired. Yes Triple H, we know you’re one of the greats and we know you’re a 14-time champion. What else you got for us? The promo dragged on too long and didn’t really do anything to make the average fan say “let me make sure I don’t miss this.” As if the speaking wasn’t bad enough though, the initial action between Triple H and Reigns was especially disappointing. After all the brutal back and forth that the two have had over the past few weeks leading up to this match, the second to last encounter between the two before the match was dry and didn’t do anything for the imagination whatsoever. Now it got a little more brutal in the back when Triple H used the Dudley Boyz to help set up Reigns, but all in all, the first go round was lacking.
So if you can’t sell it the first time, what should you do? Try, try again, and try, try again they did. And again, it didn’t go over. The action was better, sure, but it looked like they tried to reenact the epic Undertaker/Brock Lesnar brawl from last year when they had the entire locker room empty and separate them from brawling. But ultimately, this brawl didn’t hold a candle to that one. Two tries, and two relatively large duds.

Now, let’s move on to Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose.

The final interaction between Brock and Ambrose was different than that of Triple H and Reigns because the Brock/Ambrose interaction wasn’t necessarily underwhelming, at least not on the mic because as always, Paul Heyman delivered. But when Ambrose interrupted Heyman’s routine, he didn’t even respond verbally, or physically for that matter. He just came out and had a shopping spree under the ring, piling a wagon he rolled to the ring with a bunch of weapons. While funny because of the randomness, it still didn’t put the proper bow on a match that will probably steal the show this Sunday.
Overall, for these two matches to be two of the top three billed matches on the card, the execution to push these matches over the top just wasn’t there on the final Raw before Mania.

Match of the Night
N/A
No matches really stood out tonight. Besides, the final Raw before Mania isn’t about the matches; it’s about the buildup to matches and the event coming in six days, and as you’ve read in this article so far, the build ups were very hit and miss.

Other things
Snoop Dogg/Lion headed to Hall of Fame
Snoop D.O.G.G. is headed to the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Snoop has made several cameos in the WWE over the years, and he is also the cousin of WWE Diva Sasha Banks. This induction makes all the sense in the world, and should be plenty of fun to see.

Joan Lunden to receive Warrior Award at Hall of Fame
Journalist and breast cancer survivor Joan Lunden will be the second recipient of the Warrior Award this Saturday during the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The award is named after the late, great Ultimate Warrior. The Ultimate Warrior’s widow, Dana Warrior, will present the award to Joan.

New Day shoutout Phife Dawg
The New Day just get better and better. Always hip to what’s going on in the world, the New Day gave a proper shoutout to New York’s own Phife Dawg, who passed away last week. Big E proceeded to spit a pretty decent, albeit short, freestyle, giving further tribute to Phife. Bravo once again New Day, bravo.

Brooklyn Crowd was lit
New York crowds have been known to be very vocal, but this crowd was especially boisterous tonight, and can you blame them? We’re less than a week away from WrestleMania! Among the notable chants on the night were “Holy Shit” (in reference to Shane elbow drop), “CM Punk” (during the six-man tag match) and “This is Booty” and “New Day Rocks” (also during six-man tag match). “Turnt” wasn’t a strong enough word to describe this crowd tonight.

This Sunday
WrestleMania is this Sunday. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the WWE Network, and watch the event for free. Also, pre-show coverage in the form of the WrestleMania Kick-Off Show will begin on Sunday at 6 PM on the USA Network. Don’t miss the biggest day of the year for what is sure to be an exciting WrestleMania.

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