By Travis Kellar and Gene Axton - [email protected], [email protected]

RAW Dialogue 2/24: Shane returns! Heel turns! Reigns’ nose!

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Opening Segment

Holy $&#@.

That was pretty much the general consensus with Shane McMahon’s return. The crowd in Detroit went absolutely nuts, and Shane enjoyed it.

WWE dropped a huge bombshell in announcing Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon in a Hell in the Cell match for Wrestlemania. For them to book Shane in such a match must mean he is still in somewhat decent ring shape, and his matches back in the day weren’t bad.

My only question is: How do you even begin to book that match? Does Undertaker lose to Shane so Shane can take over RAW? Does Shane lose and have his return fizzle out as quickly as it happened?

Here’s an idea — have Sting be Shane McMahon’s backup and cost Undertaker the match. That way, it sets up for Sting vs. Undertaker for Wrestlemania 33.

The New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons and Neville

This was pretty much a run-of-the-mill tag team match, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I still don’t see why the WWE doesn’t push Neville in a more prominent singles role. He’d be a viable contender for the Intercontinental or United States title, and he’s arguably the best high-flyer that WWE has.

Don’t get me wrong — Kalisto is good, and I hope his push continues. But Neville vs. Kalisto would be one hell of a match.

Winners: The New Day

Lesnar’s Mania Opponent

Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose worked well together the last few weeks, so when a video of Lesnar attacking Ambrose surfaced online Monday we all saw the writing on the wall. The two will meet in a street fight at Wrestlemania.

The Usos vs. The Ascension

The Dudley Boyz half-apologized to The Usos for their impromptu attack last week and built the groundwork for a heel turn that sees them rallying against their long-time fans and “nostalgia act” persona. Once the teams in the ring got to their scheduled contest, it was clear there really wasn’t a contest. Super kicks. Splash. Usos win.

Winners: The Usos.

Chris Jericho and AJ Styles vs. Heath Slater and Curtis Axel

Former rivals Chris Jericho and AJ Styles expressed their mutual respect in the ring, which prompted all four Social Outcasts members to come out and make fun of them. Jericho and Styles challenged them to a match, so Heath Slater and Curtis Axel got into the ring and into action. Despite interference from their stable mates, Slater and Axel suffered another loss at the hands of The Walls of Jericho.

Winners: Chris Jericho and AJ Styles

Big Show, Ryback and Kane vs. The Wyatts

Barring Bray Wyatt replacing Braun Strowman, this was a rematch of the six-man tag match at Payback the night prior. This match ended differently though, thanks to Ryback’s Dudley-esque heel turn (I’m not sure how evil and underhanded “disgruntled employee” is going to come across, especially considering all three men took up the mantle of “no hard feelings”).

Winners: The Wyatts

Sasha Banks vs. Naomi

Team BAD attempted to run the numbers game on Sasha Banks, but Becky Lynch hit the ring and evened up the odds, which allowed Banks to trap Naomi in her submission finisher, the Banks Statement, and earn the victory.

After the match, Charlotte appeared at the top of the ramp and attempted to drive a wedge between the two wrestlers; it seems only one can challenge the champion for her title at Wrestlemania, which will inevitably put Banks and Lynch at odds. This is going to get good.

Winner: Sasha Banks

Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus

Once again, we were treated to this match for the umpteenth billionth time.

What really made this main event the best that WWE has done in a long time is what happened after the match.

Triple H came to the ring and kicked Reigns’ ass. After some back-and-forth, Triple H finally bashed Reigns’ head off the announcer table repeatedly until Reigns’ face was a bloody mess. Reigns was treated to a pedigree onto the steps to close out the show, with a not-so-fond “suck it” as Triple H finally left.

The problem? The fans were going wild for Triple H, and it was hard not to.

WWE needs to recognize they have a problem with Reigns. It’s a sad state of affairs when Triple H, who is generally disliked by most fans with inside knowledge of the business, is getting cheered more than who is supposed to be the guy to carry the business.

WWE needs to book Reigns as the bad ass that fans want him to be. We don’t want to see odds defied, obstacles overcame or mountains climbed — John Cena gives us enough of that.

Reigns needs to be the guy that arrives, kicks ass and leaves bodies in his wake.

Travis reacts: After weeks of crappy programming and boring feuds, WWE finally kicked things into high gear. Shane McMahon instantly injected a level of intrigue into the Authority storyline, Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose work perfectly together and I’m loving Ryback’s new attitude. WWE needs to think carefully on how to salvage Roman Reigns, or his Wrestlemania moment is going to be a major flop. I can’t help but wonder what’s in store for guys like Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler and Bray Wyatt, but there’s a few weeks before Wrestlemania. This week was a hell of a good start.

Gene reacts: Starting with Shane McMahon got the first RAW before Wrestlemania off to a hot start, but then it settled into its usual motions. Right now I have more questions about Wrestlemania than answers, and not in that good, suspenseful kind of way.

We watch RAW so you don’t have to

By Travis Kellar and Gene Axton

[email protected], [email protected]