By Steven Flora
In one of the most bewildering matches in WWE history, “Woken” Matt Hardy battled Bray Wyatt from The Dilapidated City to the shores of The Lake of Reincarnation in The Ultimate Deletion. Find out how The Woken One ended The Great War at The Hardy Compound, and why The Eater of Worlds, as we know him, might be gone forever.
Wyatt has now been DELETED
Woken Matt def. Bray Wyatt in Ultimate Deletion
“Woken” Matt Hardy has fulfilled the promise he made upon his rebirth several months ago: Bray Wyatt has been deleted.
Their highly-anticipated final battle, dubbed “The Ultimate Deletion” and set within the sprawling grounds of The Hardy Compound, began as a one-on-one contest in a ring, but it quickly turned into a pursuit across the compound once Hardy’s drone, Vanguard 1, ignited the “Boomstick Protocol” and showered the ring in fireworks to allow The Woken One to escape his opponent.
The Eater of Worlds pursued his foe through “The Dilapidated City” (which bore an eerie resemblance to Wyatt’s own destroyed compound), lost track of Hardy in “The Land of Obsolete Men” (where The Woken One led Wyatt on a frantic pursuit among a yard of ornate tombstones) and nearly met his doom in “The Dome of Deletion,” when Hardy commandeered a lawnmower and drove it toward Wyatt while “Ode to Joy” blared through the Compound.
Wyatt recovered, however, and their battle culminated on the shores of The Lake of Reincarnation, when several members of The Woken Family convened to save their patriarch from defeat. Vanguard 1 distracted Wyatt as he was about to administer Sister Abigail, while Hardy ran for cover underneath Skarsgård, his trusty dilapidated boat. When Wyatt moved the boat aside, however, it wasn’t Hardy waiting for him but Señor Benjamin, who tossed a globe at Wyatt and began to sing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” with an assist from a zombie-eyed Jeff Hardy.
With Wyatt thrown, Matt re-emerged with a Twist of Fate that ended the match, and The Woken One charged The Reaper of Souls to send him tumbling into The Lake of Reincarnation. When Señor Benjamin attempted to retrieve Wyatt from the Lake, he found that the former WWE Champion had vanished altogether. As Hardy celebrated his “delightful” victory, Vanguard 1 flew away with a message flashing across its display: “Deletion: Complete.”
In other words? It's OVAH.
Side Note: This was ultimately a success. This had everything the previous Deletion's had except for the cameos from wrestlers. WWE was right to give Woken Matt the lead with this match and it paid off. The one thing that intrigues me is Wyatt is now in the lake of reincarnation, and this means his Wyatt character is dead … this could mean he'll be returning under a different persona, which is needed as the Bray Wyatt character needs a reboot ASAP.
Lesnar makes Roman pay
The good news for Roman Reigns is that he got his wish: Brock Lesnar showed up to Raw, just as Mr. McMahon promised. The bad news is The Big Dog was handcuffed when the Universal Champion made his presence known and was therefore utterly helpless to stop the beating and victimization that followed.
How champion and challenger got to that hellacious ending point is a bit more complicated, as neither Reigns nor Lesnar were present when Raw General Manager Kurt Angle opened the show — Reigns due to his ongoing suspension, Lesnar because he was reportedly running late. The Big Dog, however, had taken it upon himself to show up to the arena anyway, making his entrance through the WWE Universe and refusing to leave until Lesnar got to the building, leading a trio of U.S. Marshals to come to the ring and handcuff him.
Reigns took issue with the Marshals’ rough handling, however, and single-handedly fought the three of them off. He had less luck with Lesnar, who appeared and made a beeline for the handcuffed Reigns, administering countless German Suplexes, steel chair strikes and, finally, an F-5 before making his exit right as medical officials brought a stretcher to take the incapacitated challenger to a local medical facility, where he would be held under observation with no timetable for his release. (Lesnar later returned to tip it over.)
Reigns has said for weeks that he wasn't sure where Lesnar's focus was as WrestleMania approaches. Safe to say he got his answer.
Side Note: Great opening segment with the man running his mouth for the past few weeks getting his just desserts. Lesnar was extra vicious and with him attacking a defenseless Reigns, it made for good TV and I can't wait to see how they'll top it in the next few weeks.
John Cena faced the wrath of Undertaker's brother … Kane
John Cena demanded a response from The Undertaker in the wake of his highly personal WrestleMania challenge last week. He didn’t get it, but he did get one from Undertaker’s brother.
With The Deadman absent, Cena first asked if the WWE Universe still wanted to see him face The Phenom at WrestleMania — they do — before tearing into his would-be opponent for responding to his challenge with radio silence. Cena decreed that such a non-reply was a brazen act of disrespect to both him and the WWE Universe, who had given Undertaker everything they had over the course of his storied career.
The 16-time World Champion continued by claiming The Undertaker had allowed himself to revert from the “godlike” status the WWE Universe had propelled him to back into a man … and a "cowardly" man at that. It got to the point that Cena (and the audience) demanded Undertaker send him any kind of sign in response, whether it was a yes, a no, a veil of smoke or a flock of druids rolling a casket.
All of this wasn’t enough to provoke a response from Undertaker directly, but it was enough to summon Kane, who Cena assumed had arrived as an emissary to deliver Undertaker's reply. Instead, The Big Red Machine dropped the 16-time World Champion with a Chokeslam. The only question that remains is whether The Devil’s Favorite Demon was speaking for his brother or looking to challenge Cena himself on The Grandest Stage of Them All. With a match between the two sanctioned for next week, perhaps the answers are just seven days away.
Side Note: This is a slow build to Undertaker's return, which I get, but not seeing Undertaker THIS close to WrestleMania is worrying. I have a suspicious feeling this match will be Undertaker's final match and if it is that's okay, but I don't want Cena to carry the feud only for Undertaker to come in last minute, tombstone Cena and then look at the WrestleMania sign. I'm all for Cena vs. Taker, however having one man carry a feud is not good at all.
Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania
Non-Title Match: Asuka def. Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss via count-out
The short version of what occurred on Raw is as follows: Alexa Bliss still can’t beat Asuka, and she isn’t sorry for saying how she really feels about Nia Jax last week … though she may end up regretting her refusal to walk back her insults when WrestleMania rolls around, as she’ll be defending her Raw Women’s Title against Jax on April 8 in New Orleans.
As far as Asuka goes, however, Mickie James’ help gave The Goddess enough of an advantage it seemed as though Asuka's undefeated streak was in serious jeopardy. But Bliss was so overwhelmed by a retaliatorily Ankle Lock from The Empress of Tomorrow that she straight-up walked out on the match, absorbing a count-out loss in the process. With the match over, Nia bolted down the stage and decimated James before chasing Bliss from the arena. The champion made a narrow escape, but while Bliss' complaints about Nia’s aggression fell on deaf ears when she went to Kurt Angle — The Olympic Hero was none too pleased about his Women’s Champion acting like a bully instead of a role model — he decided to “do something about Nia” all the same: Give her a match at WrestleMania for the Raw Women’s Championship.
Side Note: Never would I have thought Nia would be the face in this situation. Nia Jax has always been portrayed as a bad person but this feud with Bliss has put her in a new light. Jax deserves the title and someone other than Bliss deserves the title now.
Other Notable Moments:
Braun Strowman def. Raw Tag Team Champion Cesaro: Angle has spoken, and Strowman's Tag Team Battle Royal victory will indeed land him a Raw Tag Team Title Match against The Bar at WrestleMania — provided he finds a partner. That said, The Monster Among Men seems to have no problem facing Cesaro and/or Sheamus by himself, as he demonstrated with a singles victory over The Swiss Cyborg on Raw. Granted, Cesaro was kind of hoodwinked by Sheamus into the match, as The Bar had planned to gang-attack Strowman, and the Irishman bailed at the last second. Regardless, The King of Swing was holding his own until The Gift of Destruction countered a springboard with a fist to the face and began to roll. A series of attempted interferences by Sheamus ended in disaster, as a fed-up Strowman eventually trucked The Alabaster Gladiator into the barricade. Cesaro still impressively refused to go down without a fight, blistering Strowman with uppercuts to the last second, when a leap off the turnbuckle landed him right in the path of a match-ending Powerslam.
The Revival def. Titus Worldwide and declared for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: The Revival may have missed out on a Raw Tag Team Title Match at WrestleMania, but Dash & Dawson have found a path to The Showcase of the Immortals all the same. After defeating Titus Worldwide by taking out Titus O’Neil and delivering a ruthless Shatter Machine to Apollo, the “Top Guys” spoke with Charly Caruso and declared that since Strowman had infringed on their turf, they would compete on his. Specifically, they would declare for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with the hopes of becoming the first tag team to hoist the prestigious trophy at WrestleMania.
Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville def. Bayley & Sasha Banks: Last week, Bayley’s deteriorating relationship with Sasha Banks led her to leave The Boss at the mercy of Absolution. Despite Banks deciding to forgive Bayley (she is “the bigger person,” in her words), The Huggable One isn’t sold. Bayley doesn’t mind the inciting incident itself, where Banks took advantage of an every-woman-for-herself scenario inside the Elimination Chamber and booted Bayley in the face with the Raw Women's Title on the line. (Banks seemed to hint she would employ a similar me-first mentality in the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal.) That said, Bayley still isn’t over how much Banks seemed to enjoy betraying her, and given that Absolution hit the scene in the middle of their confab, the two went into their ensuing tag team battle with the air yet to be cleared. Rose & Deville capitalized accordingly. After Banks inadvertently distracted the ref from counting what would have been a deciding pinfall from Bayley, the two former Women’s Champions went nose-to-nose, and Deville shoved Bayley into Banks from behind. The collision sent The Boss tumbling from the ring, a kick to the side of the head sent Bayley tumbling to the mat, and that was that.
The Bálor Club def. Intercontinental Champion The Miz & The Miztourage: It’s been a rough couple of weeks for The Miz. He’s not on the WrestleMania magazine cover even though he’s approaching the record of longest cumulative reign as Intercontinental Champion. He has to defend his title in a Triple Threat against both Finn Bálor and Seth Rollins at WrestleMania, where he doesn’t have to be pinned or submitted to be dethroned. And now, he and The Miztourage have taken a loss to Bálor and his good brothers Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson in a Six-Man Tag Team Match. About the only thing he could boast at the end of the night was that he and The Miztourage put a solid hurting on Bálor, isolating him from the rest of The Bálor Club — the OGBC, if you will — making The Extraordinary Man look distressingly human. Karl Anderson turned the tide, and Finn re-entered the fray when the time was right. Again, The Miztourage paid dividends by softening him up for The Miz, but The A-Lister’s understudies ended up being his downfall, as Finn launched Miz into an apron-perched Curtis Axel and rolled him up for three. The Miztourage retaliated with a post-match beatdown and got the upper hand on the entire Bálor Club, but Rollins, who had been scouting from commentary, dispatched all three when they went to drop Finn. Miz perhaps can bend the opposition to his will with two friends on his side. At WrestleMania, however, he’ll be in the ring with two enemies and no help in sight.
Overall Raw Rating: B
Things to look forward to next week
The Road to WrestleMania continues...
What are the plans for both Strowman and Elias heading into Wrestlemania 34?
Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss at Wrestlemania for the Raw Women's Championship?