WWE RAW 3/18/2024: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Rllegends's weekly review of "WWE Raw," the show where sometimes all you need to get back on track is a women's main event, a bunch of tag team wrestling, and an absolutely top-tier promo. That formula sounds repeatable, why not do it every week? Anyway, the good people of Rllegends had a great time with this week's "Raw" overall, and we have a lot to say about why we liked it — though as always, there were a few things that deserve mention in a more negative sense. We also don't have the time or space to cover the entire show (sorry Jey/Jimmy promo that was really good even though it got basic facts about The Bloodline story wrong) so if you want something more comprehensive, check out our "Raw" results page. That's also more objective, as opposed to this column, which is entirely based on our opinions.

So, did Becky Lynch vs. Nia Jax deliver? How are we enjoying Candice LeRae's heel turn? And just how good was that Cody Rhodes promo, anyway? Here are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 3/18/24 episode of "WWE Raw."

Loved: DIY is going to their first WrestleMania

Nearly ten years after debuting in "NXT," DIY is going to their first WrestleMania. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa were the darlings of the "NXT" Black and Gold Era, from their run as a tag team to their epic feud and five-match series (let's not talk about how it probably should've ended after three).

Gargano left WWE for nine months in 2022. Ciampa was injured in October of that year. They each returned, but it seemed like their paths may not ever cross again. When they finally came together again as DIY last year, it seemed like they couldn't quite capture their previous magic (that terrible entrance music doesn't help). Slowly, but surely, they've found their footing. They've looked like the DIY of old.

All their hard work and years of blood, sweat, and tears have finally paid off. DIY are going to "The Show of Shows" to compete for the tag team championships. This is for those of us whose rebel hearts still beat black and gold.

Written by Samantha Schipman

Hated: Creeds need color

I'm not talking about bleeding here or even leaning too heavily into the drab new outfits and latest incarnation of less-than WWE entrance music, but if there's anything The Creed Brothers lack in their early main roster tenure, it's personality. With that in mind, the last thing an individual, or a team, in that situation needs is ABYSMAL NEW OUTFITS AND TERRIBLE ENTRANCE MUSIC!

The amateur wrestling gear in the color of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh does not help. The music, which is only a half-step ahead of that of the new mix for Monday night's opponents, DIY, actively hurts. They're making positive steps — there's fire in everything that both Brutus and Julius do as far as the action goes. On "Raw," we saw Brutus bro it up with Pat McAfee ahead of a spot outside the ring. It's coming, and it's okay that it's not here yet because that's probably what comes last for most athletics-based professional wrestlers (and maybe even more so for those who have taken the amateur wrestling route in that discipline often encourages stoicism). It was glaring to see any and all Diamond Mine branding peeled away from The Creeds' presentation, but it's okay to move past that, especially considering Ivy Nile seemingly moving on to pair with Maxxine Dupri and Alpha Academy, Damon Kemp still in "NXT," and Roderick Strong now wearing gold elsewhere.

However, if you're going to strip down performers who really only have their in-ring abilities and athletic prowess going for them so far, you've got to give them something better than Eeyore and Middle School Joe's attempt at recording his first single.

Written by Jon Jordan

Hate: What is this pre-WrestleMania side quest?

If you pulled anyone off the street and asked them what The Judgment Day should be focusing on before their Six-Pack Challenge Ladder Match at WrestleMania 40, I guarantee you that not one of them would say "the guy who took out their rookie member in a gauntlet match." Well, here we are.

Instead of focusing their efforts on intimidating or sabotaging the confirmed challengers for their Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships, The Judgment Day are instead choosing to spend their time and energy targeting ... Ricochet. Ricochet serves no threat to their tag team title reign, and The Judgment Day decide that instead of targeting The New Day, Awesome Truth (they literally have so much history with R-Truth), and DIY, their energy would be best spent focusing their efforts on Ricochet. With three weeks to go to WrestleMania, there is not nearly enough time to give this match the build-up and catharsis it deserves.

So why are we even wasting time on this side quest?

If it's to fill out another spot on TV: save it. The Judgment Day literally are defending their titles at WrestleMania 40 in a ladder match that combines newer tag teams like DIY with veteran, record-setting duos like The New Day. There are so many possibilities to fill in that time slot and get The Judgment Day on TV. Right now, The Judgment Day are made to be side characters in their own title defense. It's ridiculous, it's disrespectful, and it's doing a huge disservice to the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships. What good are the champions and the titles they hold if they choose to focus their efforts on Ricochet with less than three weeks until 'Mania?

If it's to get Ricochet on TV: now is not the best time. Again, with less than a month until WrestleMania, there is no way to get Ricochet on that card in a satisfying way. If you wanted to reintroduce Ricochet into the WrestleMania pool, that should have been done earlier. If you just wanted to get Ricochet back on TV, period, then the "Raw" after WrestleMania would be perfect to bring him back as a high-profile return. Bringing him back now just to have him in this barely-a-feud with Judgment Day does nothing except fill a time slot.

Ricochet is an incredibly talented performer who put out a great showing against Dominik Mysterio Monday night, but he is the unfortunate victim of pre-WrestleMania booking. He has the potential to be a main course, but right now he is being treated as Judgment Day's appetizer. The thing is: you don't need an appetizer before WrestleMania — it'll spoil the rest of the meal.

At this point, it doesn't even feel right to call it a side quest. Side quests at least offer you experience and reward items upon completion. Whatever this is? This will pay off for nobody.

Written by Angeline Phu

Loved: The new Candice LeRae

Candice LeRae's exchange with Maxxine Dupri mid-match last week was not the best way to kick off the return of the former as a heel, but now that her new character is in full force, I am definitely on board with it. LeRae targeted an injured Katana Chance's knee during her and Indi Hartwell's tag team match against Chance and Kayden Carter. Not only did she send it crashing off the ring post, but she locked in a submission hold on it to force Chance to tap out.

There's always a feeling of excitement and intrigue when a wrestler adapts a new character, especially when the transition from the old character is gradual so you can really observe all the little details and signs. Such is the case for LeRae, with her showing signs of being frustrated with the outcome of her matches over the course of the past little while and not keeping Hartwell in the loop about her recent actions. It's a nice refresh for her considering she's been doing not much else aside from floating around the women's tag team division, and it's an even nicer refresh to see her turning heel while Johnny Gargano remains an unrelated babyface, finally freeing Candice from the seemingly eternal character of "Mrs. Wrestling."

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Hated: Great main event, not great WrestleMania build

It hurts my heart to associate this match with negativity, because I really enjoyed it. Becky Lynch is the kind of performer who thrives best in brawling, hardcore environments (to the extent that WWE's no disqualification matches can be considered hardcore) and that came out again here, as she took one hell of a beating and closed things out with a pair of tremendously executed high spots. Meanwhile, Nia Jax has been one of the most improved performers I've ever seen following her return to WWE, and she played her part as the nearly unconquerable monster to great effect.

In fact, my only complaint about this match is that it should have happened at WrestleMania. And with Lynch getting a clean win over Jax and Liv Morgan not getting involved at all, it seems the insertion of Jax and Morgan into the Lynch/Rhea Ripley feud was a temporary thing to fill the time between Elimination Chamber and Mania. And that just sucks. For one thing, it proves that WWE simply had no ideas for an actual feud between Ripley and Lynch and threw the match together because of their collective name value. For another thing, Jax and Morgan both deserve a WrestleMania spot — their interactions with Lynch and Ripley have been far more interesting than Lynch and Ripley's interactions with each other.

I maintain that the right move was always to run Lynch vs. Jax and Ripley vs. Morgan as singles matches at Mania; however, in the absence of that, I really hope WWE at least finds a way to get them involved in Lynch vs. Ripley somehow, even if it's just as outside interference. As the unsung heroes of this feud, they should be around to finish it.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Loved: LDS (not Latter Day Saints!)

Cody Rhodes was truly an American nightmare on the mic Monday night.

People have been up in arms about the alleged leniency with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's profane social media promos, and accusations have been made around the block claiming that Johnson is getting preferential treatment compared to other stars, who have been made to stay PG in their promo work (there is literally no other explanation for "Diarrhea Dwayne"). The rumors make sense — network rules have always been strict on what can and cannot be said over public broadcast, and sponsors certainly don't adore the gratuitous use of curse words and swears just before their products are given an official plug.

Rhodes shut down those rumors quicker than you can say "little d*** syndrome". LDS, for short.

Regardless of what you may personally think about Rhodes' generous use of profanity, there is no doubt about it: Rhodes showed up and showed out on "Raw." After months and months of lukewarm presentations, undesired concerts, and Powerpoint family trees, Rhodes' promo tonight was the spark that this feud needed to ignite. The vitriol and unfiltered rage that dripped off of Rhodes' voice was like gasoline, and what before was just a sad, mediocre campfire has erupted into a blaze. Rhodes is finally speaking like he intends to hunt the Bloodline — we are seeing an unhinged side of Rhodes that takes him from just the face of WWE to a bonafide, genuine "American Nightmare".

What separates this promo from just any other run-of-the-mill segment involved in this months-long feud, besides a scathing Rhodes with nothing left to lose and no interest in abiding by broadcasting profanity rules? While Johnson has been focused on being extravagant, on taking to social media or eating up huge chunks of time with concerts or going onto podcasts to coin new terms, Rhodes' promo was grounded. It felt like an honest-to-God wrestling promo — there were no fun tricks with the lighting, no Powerpoint presentations about a family tree. It was just Rhodes, in the ring, with a microphone, and all of the anger that has festered over the train wreck that was these past few months. The set-up was simple, but that allowed Rhodes to focus on what he was actually saying. Where Johnson focuses on the spectacle of his segments, Rhodes took it back to basics. Where Johnson's elaborate set-ups limit him, Rhodes' simple way of speaking allowed him to speak freely. Where Johnson's high-production promos feel tired, corny, and played out, Rhodes' segment was refreshing in its unfiltered violence and authenticity.

Johnson is all style and no substance — that's why his promos are flopping, even if they are just as profane and personal as Rhodes'. "The Rock" is all style and no substance, and if Rhodes' take-home acronym has any basis in reality, Dwayne is certainly compensating for something. Rhodes absolutely flamed Johnson, and he did it effortlessly. More of this going into WrestleMania, please.

Written by Angeline Phu

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