I’m just so tired of RAW lately. Every once in awhile, they can pump out a good episode or a memorable segment. But sitting through three hours a week has become a chore. I almost thought about skipping third Forecast completely and just getting a jump in WrestleMania. But I’m going to be fair and grant one to this PPV, even though I can’t say I’m looking forward to much in the show because I predict either the matches will be mostly average (the talent is still capable of good matches) or the results will be disappointing. Let’s just dive right into the final WWE PPV before WrestleMania.
Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs. Noam Dar & The Brian Kendrick
I didn’t even know this match got added to the card. That seems to be how secondary Cruiserweight pay-per-view matches function now. However, I can say that I’m excited for half of this match though. Brian Kendrick hasn’t let up with fantastic heel work, playing the condescending veteran who feels like he knows what’s best for the division and is willing to beat lessons into his younger co-workers. Akira Tozawa has been the latest victim, and their feud has been pretty exciting ever since Tozawa made it clear he does not like Kendrick. So I’m really curious to see how the two fare in a match. Rich Swann and Noam Dar, on the other hand, bring this match down for me, and that’s a shame because the underrated Alicia Fox is in the middle of it. I think I preferred this angle better when Cedric Alexander was in it, and even then, just barely.
Who I Want to Win: Akira Tozawa and Rich Swann, with Tozawa getting the pinfall, just so we can see that wicked fast german suplex.
Who Will Win: Akira Tozawa and Rich Swann. Spoilers: I predict a heel-heavy night of wins, and this is one of the few times I see the faces ending up on top.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
Welcome back to pay-per-view, Sasha Banks. At Royal Rumble, you somehow ended up on the pre-show a month after being a Roadblock co-headliner. Now you’re back on the main card of another traffic-themed show with a much-less experienced opponent. Nia Jax is the prettiest and maybe least-monster monster heel of all time, but WWE has been working to change one of those attributes. Recently on Monday Night RAW, these two had a match and it saw an already-broken down Sasha Banks being dragged from pillar to post by her Samoan adversary. Forget squashing Indy talent; this was the most threatening Nia Jax has looked to date, because she was able to dominate someone who in-universe has actually accomplished something and is going through a bit of a downer period in her career after constantly coming up short against Charlotte. But now that Sasha is at or close to 100%, she has a shot at redemption.
Who I Want to Win: Nia Jax; I don’t see Sasha Banks going full heel right now because that’d leave Bayley as the ONLY face woman on RAW, but maybe a loss to Nia could at least send her to the tweener zone.
Who Will Win: Nia Jax, not necessarily for the reason I want to. Chances are they’ll want her to look strong going into WrestleMania if that rumored Fatal 4-Way is happening.
WWE Tag Team Championship
Word of advice for wrestlers with gimmicks that are meant to be fun or outlandish: avoid the main roster at all cost. Emma got called up with the dancing gimmick and the fans rejected it outright; then again, being paired with Santino certainly didn’t help. Adam
Rose got called up and was consistently overshadowed by the dancing Indy wrestlers, fast food, and furries that he surrounded himself with. Then there’s Enzo and Cass, who got called up amid a ton of buzz and were fairly popular for a time. Then the Rusev angle happened and it seems that a portion of the audience has soured on them. Not just the internet either; the crowd was thanking Sheamus – SHEAMUS – for kicking his head off. Therefore, this Tag Team Title opportunity the company suddenly decided to gift them against Gallows and Anderson – who themselves have looked like total chumpstains lately – may be too little too late.
Who I Want to Win: Enzo and Cass; they may have jumped the shark, but I want them to at least be able to say they’ve won a Tag Team Title even once.
Who Will Win: Gallows and Anderson; these guys may lose often, but this Sunday, they could very well surprise everyone by pulling out a victory.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
So have you seen the photo going around the internet now of Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, surely the first publicity photo for her role as the character in the upcoming rebootqual? I wonder if she’ll be just as handy with an umbrella as Julie Andrews was, or maybe even as Jack Gallagher currently is. Yeah, his umbrella William unfortunately can’t talk like Mary’s can, but it’s still an entertaining part of his act. An act that fellow Brit Neville isn’t down with. Neville may be the King of the Cruiserweights, but he’s not a fan of acting like a stereotypical royal, something he scoffs at Gallagher for playing up. He doesn’t feel Jack is a gentleman at all, and is just out here being how fans expect British people at large to act. I’m not British, so I don’t know how most of them truly act on a daily basis, but this Sunday, personas be damned, it’s about who is skilled enough to pull out a victory.
Who I Want to Win: Gentleman Jack; you can’t deny he’s the most entertaining personality in the Cruiserweight Division right now. He’d make a more interesting champion than TJ Perkins.
Who Will Win: King Neville; the Cruiserweight Title change hands pretty frequently, but if anyone is gonna be able to successfully defend it on multiple PPVs, it’s King Neville.
Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn
After so much time in the game, Samoa Joe is finally appearing on a pay-per-view outside of Full Sail University and the Impact Zone. He’s waged wars against Kurt Angle and Shinsuke Nakamura for fans to slap money down to watch, but now that he’s stepped foot on the WWE main roster, his first PPV tasks comes in the form on Sami Zayn. Why Sami Zayn? Because Samoa Joe has apparently become an amalgamation of Destiny s Child and Birdman now, demanding people both say his name and put respeck it. He feels like Sami Zayn has not done that, so he wants to beat and break Sami down en route to WrestleMania. That or Triple H – now technically his adopted father, as Hunter is to everyone in NXT, pretty much – told him to beat Sami Zayn down, one of the two. Long story short, Sami Zayn is in for a rough night on Sunday.
Who I Want to Win: Samoa Joe; it’s the man’s PPV debut, and it’s not a WrestleMania, so there’s no need to make him lose to mortalize him like they did AJ Styles and Sting.
Who Should Win: Samoa Joe; have you seen Sami Zayn lately? The guy is likely going to get pounced so badly by The Samoan Submission Machine he’ll be shrieking Joe’s name.
WWE Women’s Championship
You know how I mentioned that WWE has a tendency to ruin characters who are meant to be fun once they’re called up? They might end up doing that to Bayley in record time. NXT booked her as an ultimate underdog perfectly. Like if NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II was the series finale of the Bayley character, it would’ve been as perfect as the Parks & Recreation finale. But so far, the spin-off, “Bayley Takes The Main Roster” hasn’t fared as well; after that nothing feud with Dana Brooke, she was catapulted to the Women’s Title immediately instead of saving it for a grander stage like WrestleMania. There have even been complaints about her not pulling a BoBo Brazil and refusing the title after winning it in a dishonorable way. Therefore, her character has been called into question by some. And this Sunday sees her first title defense; will she be able to fight off the “Queen of PPVs” Charlotte and hold on to the title?
Who I Want to Win: Believe it or not, Charlotte, if for any reason, so that Charlotte’s PPV streak can end at WrestleMania rather than a random B-PPV.
Who Will Win: Charlotte. It’ll become painfully ridiculous that Charlotte will reach five main roster title reigns THIS soon, but it’s gonna happen.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
So we now know that it IS possible for Braun Strowman to have a good match. His main event match with The Big Show a couple of weeks ago was surprisingly good. You barely ever get “average” out of hoss battles now, but if you tossed it in the Match of the Year conversation, it wouldn’t be that out of place. Therefore, if Strowman can have a good match with 2017 Big Show, he can totally have a good match with Roman Reigns, right? Contrary to popular belief, Roman Reigns is not a terrible wrestler. He has a terribly forced character, sure, but his in-ring game has never been an issue, aside from last year’s WrestleMania match (which I will get to in a few weeks). So given that we have two men who are capable of putting on a good match, that improves the chances that this match with be at the very passable, right? We can only hope.
Who I Want to Win: Brain Strowman; I don’t know if I’m gonna jump off the bandwagon eventually, but I’m kind of getting behind Braun now and life suddenly doesn’t make sense anymore.
Who Will Win: Roman Reigns; rumor has it he’s on a collision course with the Deadman for WrestleMania, and I don’t think WWE will want him to go against The Phenom looking weak.
WWE Universal Championship
Wanna know why it’s hard to take the Universal Championship seriously? The booking has been comical. Finn Bálor vacating the title due to injury was the right move, but booking Kevin Owens as a punk who can’t defend the title against any current main-eventers without help has quickly sunk the belt’s reputation. And now that he’s ended his partnership with Chris Jericho in the most heartbreaking way possible, he goes into battle alone against a part-timer hoping to be a hero for his kid, while WWE just hopes he’ll be a box office attraction for WrestleMania. The odds are definitely against Kevin; he has no Chris Jericho, he’s going against a legend who keeps making quick work of Brock Lesnar, and since the last two WrestleMania’s were headlined by part-timers, don’t think WWE is against doing it a third year in a row.
Who I Want to Win: Kevin Owens. Goldberg as a top champion in 2017? I Want that to happen as much as I want to brush my teeth with a muddy tree branch.
Who Will Win: Goldberg. Get ready for another WrestleMania headlined by a part-timer, because Part Three to the feud I never wanted a revival for will have the title on the line.