Surprised to see Raw posted so quickly tbh. You're obv on top of things which is good to see.
Anyway, had to kick off with HBK. The justification of his actions last night with regards to the fans really sold me on this promo. The bitterness came across well. Also loved the "The only thing that ever made me happy was being world Ö champion." line. Good stuff with that. RVD interupting, while serving its purpose of setting up the main event, was a tad random. And when Bischoff came out, the announcement of HBK vs. HHH at Mania came across as a bit of a throw in really. While a match between the two is obviously going to happen, the announcement could've been given more precidence. But yeah, the HBK promo was spot on. A few minor points with regards to the rest of the segment.
Um... yeah. Carlito > Vis. Not much else to say on that one. Although having a guy the size of Vis fall on you for a backstabber sounds pretty painful for 'Lito.
Nothing wrong with the SS promo as such, just wondering why we only heard from three of the five? Obv that Kenny would be pushed as the mouthpiece of the group, but a line from everyone would've been cool.
Ooh, bit of dissension between Carlito and Masters. Not sure what way you'd go with this, if one of the two ever turned. But something to keep an eye on in the upcoming weeks.
Second City Saints on Raw? That's pretty cool. Obv they were gonna lose though. Awful pun from Coach.
Another very interesting twist on the Haas/Benjamin angle. I guess now that Shelton wants to win this will be the match they lose? I dunno but part of me feels Haas and Benjamin would be better served in the MitB match. They'd offer more scope than Flair and Chavo. Plus if Flair goes into MitB as IC Champ it doesn't do much for the IC Title. But with regards to Haas/Benjamin, it keeps their angle ticking over. How they lose tonight will be interesting to see. Haas being accidently counted out or something maybe?
The Striker segment... was a bit random tbh. I'm not sure what purpose it served, unless you're planning on doing it weekly. Then it could build Striker some heat. Maybe have him take it to the ring one night for a face to gatecrash. Gonna have to wait and see how this plays out. If it's one and done then I don't see the point. Hopefully it leads to something interesting.
Dupree could be a solid member of the mid card if used right. Surprised Eugene even got 2 mins tbh. Although this does mean we've had two squashes in a row, and even then Vis/'Lito was alwasy gonna end one way. Hopefully the in ring action picks up as we go.
Decent little interview from WRC. Good to see they won't be lost in the Mania shuffle.
Another great promo in the Mickie/Trish saga. Not quite as good as the SNME one, but still a very good effort. At times here (and at SNME) Mickie's life story comes across as a bit of a sob story tbh, so be carful that you don't go looking for too much sympathy with her. Ashley for the save was a surprise, but I guess she's playing the 'face does the right thing' role in all of this. But yeah, this contunues to build into a great storyline. The encounter where Mickie fights back will be a great moment. Don't leave it too long for Mickie to seek revenge plz.
The action kicks up a spot here, and a long match with some good spots is what was needed tbh. As for Kane and Big Show, I get the point you're trying to make. They'd rather face the team that hate each other than a team who's on the saem page. But at the same time, it makes Show and Kane come across as a bit chicken shit really. The type of team they are, they shouldn't care who they face. They should be open to any challengers and show no fear as the monsters they are.
Edge is here, and tbh, with so much going on, I'd forgot all about the WWE Championship.
The main event certainly delivered, giving a good ending to the in ring action after the not so good start. I liked the whole 'break a leg' and now RVD has hurt his knee during the match. That brought together the words from the start of the show nicely. Anyway, great match, with a great ending. I'm glad we didn't have a physical confrontation between Trips and HBK here. The show of frustration with the sledghammer was enough at this point. Still plenty of time for the brawling between the pair.
The writing of Edge was spot on here. Really got across his attitude, with the self high five over Batista and then the Angle/Cena run down. Now, when Bischoff comes out at the end to make the big announcement, this is the kinda announcement I felt HBK/Triple H deserved. I could've easily waited for next week to hear something similar to this for that match. Anyway, triple threat should be a solid match. The beatdown of Edge and then the staredown was a good way to end this segment, especially after the whole storyline was near ignored throughout the rest of the show.
Anyway, Mania continues to shape up to be a hell of a show. I'd like a bit more hype/attention on the WWE Championship for the next show if the time contraints allow it. But yeah, you proved again why you're top of the mega standings. Keep it going man. Mania should be awesome once we get there.