WWE Raw Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from March 19
The Ultimate Deletion dominated the discussion on Monday's episode of Raw, thanks to considerable hype and tremendous performances by both Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, en route to their recognition as the night's biggest winners.
The match, highly anticipated for a number of reasons not least of which was whether WWE would allow the performers the creative freedom necessary for it to succeed, was a welcome change of pace from the WrestleMania hype that filled the rest of the show.
WrestleMania hype that included the latest drama involving Bayley and Sasha Banks, whose friendship is as close to fracturing as imaginable.
The two allowed their egos and hard feelings to cost them a tag team match and create further dissension between them. The depth of the story and the established history also earned them "winner" status, though.
Not so lucky was No. 1 contender Roman Reigns and former elite tag team The Revival, both of whom had tough creative nights.
Winners: Bayley and Sasha Banks
One of the more interesting ongoing stories on Raw is the fractured friendship between Bayley and Sasha Banks.
Monday, Bayley revealed The Boss' actions at Elimination Chamber have been haunting her since the Feb. 25 show, primarily the grin she flashed after knocking her off one of the pods. How, if they are best friends, could Banks find satisfaction in treating her like that?
The question hung over the impending tag team match against Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose of Absolution like a black cloud.
The dissension proved their undoing.
Unable to get on the same page and their arguments proving a distraction, Banks and Bayley lost a match they should have won.
It is almost disappointing that the story will culminate in the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal rather than in a high-profile singles bout the two deserve. We know from experience Banks and Bayley are capable of stealing the show. That their talents will almost be wasted in a multi-woman match is disappointing.
Hopefully, they have the opportunity to tell their story despite the circumstances.
Losers: The Revival
Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson defeated Titus Worldwide Monday night and joined Charly Caruso for an in-ring promo immediately after the match. Again, they insisted no team can match them and no team deserves a Raw Tag Team Championship match more than them.
Except, you know, they were one of the teams humiliated by Braun Strowman last week in the Tag Team Battle Royal. Not even together could they eliminate The Monster Among Men. That does not even take into account the losses the team endured in recent months.
It is difficult to convince fans what you are saying is fact when everything leading to that promo suggests otherwise.
The words come across as hollow and the result is a promo lacking credibility from two guys who probably deserve better but are not at all likely to get it until after WrestleMania at the earliest.
Winners: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt
Whether you believe The Ultimate Deletion lived up to the original TNA Wrestling production or not, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt earned credit for bringing something wholly different to WWE programming Monday night.
Was the match itself special? Absolutely not. As a production, though, it was a brilliant bit of storytelling that finally saw Wyatt meet his manipulative and deranged match in Woken Matt Hardy.
Everything The Eater of Worlds did, Hardy had another mind game waiting for him, cutting off his momentum and turning the tide back in his own favor.
The cameos by Senor Benjamin and Reby and Jeff Hardy were a nice callback to the TNA angles and added to the surreal nature of the match.
Would it have been nice for Michael Cole not to discredit it right out of the gate by calling it absurd and apologizing to the WWE Universe for what they were about to see? Absolutely. It felt like Vince McMahon himself speaking vicariously through Cole and it was the one blemish on an otherwise fun conclusion to the rivalry.
Above all, it left fans wondering what happens to Wyatt now he has been ultimately deleted by Hardy.
Does this bring about a reboot or a reincarnation of the character that has been desperately needed for the last three years? One can only hope.
Loser: Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns spent two weeks awakening the beast inside of Brock Lesnar, taunting him with criticisms of his contract and his unwillingness to show up when WrestleMania and the Universal Championship match between the two of them is rapidly approaching.
In those weeks, he cut some of the best promos of his career. Monday should have been another banner night for Reigns. Instead, management took a step back, attempting to build sympathy for The Big Dog as he was beaten and battered while restrained, first by handcuffs and then by a stretcher.
What Reigns needed Monday night was a show of defiance in the face of an ass-kicking he was sure to receive.
He needed to take suplexes and chair shots and smile, not unlike he did at WrestleMania 31 when he was the victim of a vicious onslaught by the same unstoppable force.
Instead, he was made to look like a babyface who is good at running his mouth but in the end, is any other babyface who would have received the same beating, all the while handcuffed (pun intended) by WWE Creative's insistence on making him a sympathetic figure rather than a defiant badass.
It rang hollow at a time when Reigns was red hot.