How did Monday Night RAW affect the Road to WrestleMania?

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The final Monday Night RAW before WrestleMania is the last big opportunity to build the anticipation. Here's a look at how RAW influenced the look of this year's big event.

Hell in a Cell - Undertaker vs Shane McMahon

Lots of talking as expected with such a stipulation-heavy match, but blows were exchanged eventually and 'Taker got cut by a TV monitor to the head. Shane, meawhile, answered the question we've all been asking, showing he's still prepared to take the big bump with an elbow from the top turnbuckle to the announce table.

The match still has more gimmick than wrestling classic potential but, after RAW, it looks a little less of a chronic mismatch than it has to this point.


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Seven man ladder match for the Intercontinental title - Zack Ryder could be a contender

Zack Ryder is being given enough attention, following his inclusion in the ladder match for the IC championship, to make him look like a possible contender, especially after his win over Chris Jericho at RAW.

With so many participants it's impossible to tell if this is an attempt to make him look like a credible entrant, or a genuine and long overdue push. At the very least he now looks relevant.

The other six participants were involved in a tag match. All look to be in top form heading into 'Mania with Dolph Ziggler and Sami Zayn looking particularly hungry for the win.

Jericho vs Styles - It's happening, again

AJ Styles will face Chris Jericho at WrestleMania. They're both great wrestlers, even if Jericho now lacks some of the pace he had at his peak. They'll put on a decent match. It's all a bit lacklustre and juvenile, the veteran bully and the new kid fighting for supremacy in a yard neither of them owns.

Divas Championship match - Charlotte vs Becky vs Sasha

This is still too tough to call. Ric Flair will probably interfere in the match and may well influence the result. I think that's a shame. These three Divas know each other well and can put on a really decent match. This is one where a clean win in any direction would be a good result.

It also appears there will be a 10 Diva tag team match on the WrestleMania kick off show. It's an exciting time for the Divas division and 13 Divas in action over the WrestleMania program is a huge deal.

There is plenty of tension within, as well as between, the teams too so expect some kind of backstabbing to occur, but this could be a great showcase for some very talented Divas.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship - Triple H vs Roman Reigns

The WWE have been working extra hard to give Triple H enough heat to counteract Roman Reigns' less than warm and fuzzy crowd reactions.

It was much the same this week. Reigns is doing righteous anger perfectly and Triple H and Stephanie are doing their thing as normal, why fix what isn't broken. The crowd still aren't behind Roman Reigns but there are signs of a thaw and they are, at least, reacting to him.

It matters not whether a champion receives the belt to boos or cheers, just as long as they don't receive it to silence.

The beat up by the Dudleys and Triple H was a nice touch for fuelling Reigns' fire, and maybe gaining a few sympathy votes. The final interaction of the evening culminating in a frankly beautiful dive over the top rope from Reigns left me feeling very positive about this match.

 * On a side note; have Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose been dieting together? Both men seem to have shed a few pounds in the run up to their WrestleMania matches. It's more noticeable on Ambrose but Reigns is definitely looking leaner since his surgery break.

Handicap Match - New Day vs League of Nations

Alberto del Rio fought Kofi Kingston one on one with Kofi getting a surprisingly clean win to carry the momentum through to WrestleMania.

There's a lot of talent in this match, even if the match itself has a bit of a thrown together feel. It's definitely has opening match potential, there will be enough good spots to get the crowd going but it just doesn't feel like the result is important.

No Holds Barred Street Fight - Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar

This is the match of WrestleMania as far as I'm concerned. Street fight rules have levelled the playing field significantly. 

Brock Lesnar is a legitimately tough guy and he has the advantage of Paul Heyman with all his ECW credentials in his favour. Dean Ambrose has his own extreme background.

In a WWE released training video clips of Ambrose' previous wrestling persona, Jon Moxley, were woven into the footage taken during his time with CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling) a company known for its extreme and often bloody matches. 

Comedy is also high on the agenda in this match and this week was no different with Ambrose filling a wagon with weapons from under the ring while completely ignoring Brock Lesnar standing above him with a Kendo stick.

At the moment, Lesnar seems perplexed and amused by Ambrose' behaviour but he should be very careful not to underestimate the Lunatic Fringe.

A lot of suggestions have been made that this year's WrestleMania will not be the glittering showcase WWE relies on it to be.

After RAW, I believe the concerns to be unfounded. WrestleMania may be a different shape than its original conception due to the sheer volume of injured talent but it's going to be the spectacle we've come to expect nonetheless.

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