With the countdown to Sunday's WWE WrestleMania 34 card finally down to the single digits in terms of days, Raw delivered Monday with a strong enough go-home show to leave you wanting more. Nothing particularly groundbreaking took place and there were very few reveals outside of Goldust adding himself to the Andre the Giant Battle Royal on Sunday, but the main event player came through with the kind of intensity level the show demanded.  

Stephanie McMahon provided the early highlight by putting Ronda Rousey through a table in the opening segment. Roman Reigns and Brock Lensar, meanwhile, brought the inconsistent quality of their storyline full circle with a juicy main event that saw both parties hurl insults and finishing moves.  The biggest miss on this evening was the lack of resolution on John Cena's challenge to The Undertaker, leaving him without an official match as we close in on the "Showcase of the Immortals."

For full coverage of WrestleMania 34, subscribe to our podcast -- In This Corner with Brian Campbell -- where we go in depth on everything you need to know in WWE each week.

Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar trade blows to close Raw 

The build toward their main event duel was fueled by Angle warning Paul Heyman backstage to save it for the ring at WrestleMania and encourage Lesnar not to say anything that would cause Reigns to attack. A final warning from Angle to Reigns in the locker room was met with the "Big Dog" telling the Raw GM to take his peace treaty "right back down to that pawn shop where you sold your Olympic gold medals." 

Angle instructed members of the locker room to form a wall on the ramp to block Reigns from getting to Lesnar in the ring. Heyman then cut a promo teasing Lesnar's return to UFC and that, should Reigns injure his client before Sunday, "this will be the last time you ever see Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman in the history of Monday Night Raw." 

After Heyman called Reigns nothing more than Lesnar's bitch, Reigns came out and challenged his peers to make room. "Y'all full-time talent are going to stand out here and protect that part-time bastard?" Reigns asked. "Think about it boys." After they separated to let Reigns through, Lesnar retreated. He came back with a chair but Reigns hit him with the first of five straight Superman punches. But just as Reigns lifted up the universal title and shifted his attention, Lesnar leaped up to hit an F5 onto the belt. Heyman screamed at Lesnar afterward that the F5 put Reigns down for good. 

After seeing this once-hot build take a two-week detour, Reigns and Lesnar delivered by re-exploring the core of their issues. Seeing Reigns convince the locker room to turn on Lesnar was smart. Heyman was also strong in reminding that this could be the final dance for Lesnar should he not re-sign with the company. This wasn't a rehash so much as it was a summary, and a damn good one. The fact that both walked off strong was the perfect final tease to the carnage that awaits us. Grade: A

Stephanie McMahon drives Ronda Rousey through a table 

Jonathan Coachman moderated an in-ring debate to open the show, pitting Rousey and Kurt Angle across from McMahon and Triple H. After some early insults between them, The Authority made sure to let Rousey know that her UFC credentials mean nothing in a WWE ring. "Ronda has been dreaming of coming to WWE her whole life," Triple H said. "To Steph, WWE is her whole life." 

McMahon compared the recent actions of Angle and Rousey to an uprising, saying she plans to show the locker room the importance of "quickly biting off the head of the snake." The Authority then heckled Rousey's rough history with handling defeat. Rousey closed by asking McMahon which whether she's right- or left-handed "because I still want you to sign my checks after I rip your arm off."

After photographers entered the ring for a faceoff, Angle and Triple H shook hands. But Rousey refused to accept McMahon's hand, forcing Angle to step between them. Triple H hit Angle on the head with a microphone from behind. McMahon then hit Rousey with a back suplex through a table before trash talking in her face.  

Rousey going through a table was the perfect surprise escalation that a go-home episode needs. Not only was McMahon's getting in her face to taunt a great touch, the trash talk between both sides was strong throughout the segment. Seeing WWE touch on the real-life theme of Rousey being essentially a sore loser in UFC was a plus. Grade: A-

John Cena runs out of time in pursuit of The Undertaker 

Cena talked about why silence from The Undertaker means his answer is "no" for WrestleMania. He also explained why five straight defeats in his biggest matches of late doesn't give him the right to take away a spot from someone else by forcing his way onto Sunday's card. Cena, who said he's proud to go to New Orleans as a fan, then provided a reason why fans should be excited for every top match. He closed by encouraging the Atlanta crowd to chant one more time for "The Deadman" to appear. The final plea saw Cena issue a warning that Undertaker can ignore him all he wants but "the second you annoy these people, you are a dead man walking." Cena closed by telling Undertaker "you left your balls at home" before walking off. 

While it's fair to argue that WrestleMania 34 is stacked enough not to need the promise of The Undertaker to bring in extra viewers, it seems silly to have wasted everyone's time with the same storyline result for the third straight week. WWE has painted itself into a corner by pushing off the reveal until Sunday. Unless we get Kid Rock singing "American Bad Ass" as The Undertaker revives his bandanna-wearing and motorcycle-riding persona of old, this entire build will have been a monster disappointment. Grade: C-

For full coverage of WrestleMania 34, subscribe to our podcast -- In This Corner with Brian Campbell -- where we go in depth on everything you need to know in WWE each week.  

What else happened on Raw?  

  • Bayley def. Sonia Deville via pinfall: Bayley showed a much more physical and deliberate style in this two-segment match, which she won by surprise rollup. Mandy Rose ran in to trigger a 2-on-1 beating from Absolution, but after Sasha Banks ran in to rescue her frenemy, Bayley refused her peace offering and a wild brawl ensued. Deville and Rose returned to attack from behind until peace was returned.  
  • Seth Rollins def. Finn Balor via pinfall: With The Miz on commentary talking about life as a new father, Rollins and Balor combined for one heck of a free TV match. After three segments and chants of, "This is awesome," from the crowd, Balor finally succumbed to The Stomp after kicking out or avoiding every big move Rollins landed. The Miz stood on the announce table after to raise his intercontinental title and stare down his two opponents ahead of Sunday.
  • Braun Strowman reveals his WrestleMania tag team partner? The Bar entered the ring to announce they don't care who Strowman chooses for Sunday's Raw tag team title match. Strowman came out and said his partner is backstage and angry. "He's a lot like me, just a little different." After going backstage to get him, Strowman returned in a white shirt and black glasses as "Brains Strowman." The Bar instantly attacked before Strowman powered out and broke free. Later, Curt Hawkins was wearing a "Pick me Braun" T-shirt when he asked Strowman to be his partner. "It could be my big break," he said. Strowman threw him head first through a wall, saying, "There's your big break."
  • Matt Hardy def. Goldust via pinfall: During a pre-match promo, Goldust plugged HBO's "Andre The Giant" documentary and announced he was joining Hardy in the battle royal at WrestleMania. Hardy went on to finish their uneventful match with a Twist of Fate before making creepy gestures while holding the Andre trophy.  
  • Elias def. Heath Slater via pinfall: Despite not being booked, Elias announced that he's ready to give "a performance of a lifetime" on Sunday at WrestleMania. He then made quick work of Slater in a virtual squash which ended following his Drift Away. Rhyno was at ringisde wearing a T-shirt that said, "I walk with Slater." 
  • Nia Jax cuts a promo on Alexa Bliss: During a backstage sitdown interview with Renee Young, Jax talked about how she has learn to define and respect herself despite Bliss' abuse. "I know who I am and I know who I'm not," Jax said. "I'm different, yes, and I am big. But I love who I am. This is how God made me and this is what my momma gave me. I am proud of this." She closed by calling Bliss an insecure little girl and a "pathetic fly" who is going to get squashed like a bug on Sunday.  
  • Asuka & Dana Brooke def. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James via submission: A hot tag to Asuka turned the momentum for good for the babyfaces as Asuka forced the tap out from James with the Asuka Lock. Bliss and James then attacked from behind, hitting a double DDT on Brooke. Jax ran in to crush James with a splash and Samoan Drop while Bliss escaped.