WWE’s march to WrestleMania 39 continued with the March 13 episode of Raw, which the promotion held at the Providence Civic Center. In addition to the seven matches WWE booked for the three-hour broadcast, we saw the company hype up several bouts scheduled for the biggest pay-per-view of the year.
Because of how long Raw airs, we often see a mix of good and bad on each episode, and this week’s show was no exception. For now, let’s focus on the positives.
Which two things stood out for the better on the March 13 episode of Raw?
Cody Rhodes beats LA Knight and delivers a message to Roman Reigns
Before Cody Rhodes challenges Roman Reigns for the Undisputed Universal Championship at WrestleMania, he had business to take care of in the form of LA Knight. With the match against Knight, WWE aimed to give “The American Nightmare” a win over a credible midcarder while filling some of Raw’s lengthy runtime.
On both counts, WWE accomplished what it needed to. Rhodes and Knight worked a competent eight-minute match that ended with the Georgia native hitting Cross Rhodes and scoring the clean pin. It was, basic, by-the-numbers booking by WWE, but that’s all this needed to be.
After the match, Rhodes cut another passionate promo about how he’ll assist the likes of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens if he sees fit. He dropped a few good lines in this speech, including the tidbit about how he wears suits “not because I think I am somebody, but because I want to be somebody”, and ended things by warning that the sun is setting on Reigns’ “generational run” as Universal Champion.
If you still weren’t convinced that Rhodes should beat Reigns for the championship at WrestleMania, this promo should erase some of that doubt. His work on the mic and in the ring meets main event standards and the audience is ready to see him “finish the story”.
Damage CTRL attacks Trish Stratus
While this aired as a “Digital Exclusive”, WWE wisely aired this on Raw (while it’s nice that angles like this show up on YouTube to drive the audience there, but they need to make it to the television show — which reaches the largest possible audience — too). As such it gets a mention here.
Damage CTRL’s beatdown of Trish Stratus didn’t last long, but WWE made the most of that time. Having the segment start with Cathy Kelley interviewing The Miz — a typical empty WWE segment — as the pretense for the camera being around to catch the attack added to the angle’s spontaneity. It’s a nice departure from the tired “invisible camera” trope.
The 3-on-1 attack served it’s purpose. Damage CTRL has suffered some big losses over the last few weeks, including Dakota Kai and IYO SKY losing the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship a couple of weeks ago, so they needed to get some heat back to add some juice to their trios match at WrestleMania.
Before this angle, the dream match aspect of this showdown carried most of the promotional weight (which is fine), but segments like this will give fans a reason to watch beyond seeing these six ladies in the ring together.