There are four weeks of WWE Monday Night Raw left until WrestleMania. On Sunday night, Fastlane took place and it wasn’t a show that was well received by the averages. I called it an average show in my review while receiving feedback from people telling me I was too nice while others agreed. Maybe I am too nice sometimes, but I just don’t feel like completely ripping shows. The work in the ring isn’t bad. It’s the booking that’s a problem, which I discuss in Raw reviews every week. I wrote more about the questionable booking in my Fastlane review for The Comeback as well. Now that Fastlane is over, let’s move on to Raw.
Live from Chicago, Illinois is the Raw Deal for episode #1240. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the banner up top.
The opening video package showed clips from Fastlane with Goldberg beating Kevin Owens for the Universal Title thanks to a distraction from Chris Jericho.
Let’s Hear From Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho’s music hit to start Raw. The US Champion walked out to a big ovation from the sold out crowd in Chicago. Jericho’s wearing a black and silver sparkle jacket as well as a scarf. He’s got the United States Title around his waist. No “List of Jericho” in his hands.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton & Corey Graves welcomed us to the show.
Jericho said Chicago is the birthplace of Y2J because that's where he made his WWE debut in August 1999. Jericho said it’s also the site of the resurrection of Chris Jericho. He said that he screwed Kevin Owens out of the Universal Championship. Jericho claimed that KO had it coming because three weeks ago at the Festival of Friendship, Owens betrayed him, turned on him and took his knife and stabbed it in the back of Jericho: “he twisted it in, man.” Jericho said he wanted to know why Owens did that. After a bit of a delay, here comes Owens.
Owens was booed as he stood on the ramp. Owens told him that he’s not going to give Jericho his answer after what Jericho did last night. Jericho yelled at him to answer the question you son of a…he stopped himself. Jericho wondered why Owens stabbed his best friend in the back. Jericho talked about how he was home, he was in the hospital and he wants to know why. Owens told Jericho that he was never his best friend as the crowd let out a big “ooohhh” reaction. Owens said that Sami Zayn was once his best friend, he stabbed him in the back and he’d do it again, again and again. Owens told Jericho that he was just a tool that he used. Owens mentioned that once he won the title, Triple H told him to do whatever it takes to keep that title. It led to Owens getting somebody to know what they were doing, have experience and be gullible. Owens told Jericho he was a perfect tool until he outlived the usefulness. Owens said that when Jericho accepted the match against Goldberg he became a burden and that’s why he had to go.
Owens said that he was man enough to admit that at Fastlane, it was Jericho that outsmarted him. Owens told him that he spared Jericho on the night of the Festival of Friendship for his family. Owens said that letting Jericho walk after that was the biggest mistake of his career and told Jericho his biggest mistake was costing him the Universal Title at Fastlane.
Jericho said his biggest mistake was trusting Owens. Jericho said 8 or 10 years ago he would have done it first. Jericho spoke about how he didn’t want Owens to be his best friend and said he’s got a lot of friends in the building tonight…“Cheer me on, man.” Loud “Y2J” chants for that. Jericho said that costing Owens the Universal Championship was just the beginning. He told Owens that it’s the beginning of a long road that leads to Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho at WrestleMania.
Owens said he was promised a rematch for the Universal Title whenever he wants one. Owens said he wants to take the United States Title from Jericho. Owens told him to put the US Title on the line at WrestleMania. Jericho said you got it and it’s on for WrestleMania. Owens went to leave, so Jericho told him to come to the ring.
Owens ran down to the ring for a brawl with Jericho. Samoa Joe went into the ring to join the attack on Jericho. Sami Zayn’s music hit and he ran out for the save with a chair in his hands. Zayn hit both heels in the ribs with a steel chair. Zayn with a chair to Joe’s back. Joe got back into it to go after Zayn as the heels double teamed him. Jericho went back into the ring with chair shots to the back of both of Owens and Joe. One of those chair shots on Owens looked like it hit him in the head, which is not a good thing. Jericho and Zayn were left in the ring as the show went to break. It was about 16 minutes into the show.
Analysis: That was a great promo exchange by two of the best talkers in WWE. The crowd loves face Jericho and he was getting cheered a lot as a heel anyway. The Owens explanation for why he attacked Jericho made sense since he was mad that Jericho accepted the Universal Title match for KO against Goldberg. I figured that’s how they would explain it. Having Joe attack Jericho with Owens made sense since Owens and Joe are linked as Triple H guys. Zayn coming to Jericho’s aid also made sense since he has issues with both of the heels. The crowd was hot for the whole thing. As for the US Title match at WM, that was expected for months now. It’s going to be a great match. Hopefully Owens is okay after the accidental chair to the head. That was a hot opening segment.
As the show returned from break, Owens vs. Zayn started with Cole noting that Mick Foley made the match with Joe and Jericho banned from ringside.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Owens was in control early on. They went to the floor with Zayn hitting a clothesline. Zayn sent him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Owens with a clothesline in the corner followed by a cannonball. Owens launched him in the air leading to Zayn hitting a dropkick. Zayn ran the ropes and hit a somersault dive over the top to knock down Owens. Back in the ring, Owens came back with a Popup Powerbomb. Owens didn’t cover right away. He punched Zayn in the head to weaken him some more. Owens with a somersault into a leg drop to the head of Zayn. Owens with a pumphandle into a move where he drove Zayn’s neck into KO’s knee. Owens hit a second Popup Powerbomb for the pinfall victory after five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens
Analysis: *1/2 It was a dominant win by Owens to show that he was pissed off after Fastlane and took it out on his former best friend. It would be nice if Zayn was booked better, which is something I mention all the time, but it’s not going to happen any time soon based on what happened here. This was about getting Owens his heat back after he lost the title. Zayn loses too much, but that’s how WWE is booking Zayn these days.
Later on Raw is Chris Jericho vs. Samoa Joe. Also on Raw, Goldberg will be there with the Universal Championship. Neville defends the Cruiserweight Title against Rich Swann up next.
Tomorrow on Smackdown: Orton vs. Styles. Winner gets to face Wyatt at WrestleMania.
PLUG TIME: I started a countdown of the 33 Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History that will end on April 2, which is the day of WrestleMania. Some of the matches I’ve written about so far are: Michaels/Flair from WM24, Charlotte/Banks/Lynch from WM32 and Rock/Hogan from WM18. Earlier today I posted the review of Guerrero/Angle from WM20 as well. Every day from now until April 2 I’ll have a new post up, so check out the list of the Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History now!
The announcers were joined by Austin Aries replacing Byron Saxton as he showed “my package” again, which was his video package showing him in the ring. Lots of “package” jokes followed.
Rich Swann and Neville made their entrances for the Cruiserweight Title match. It was noted that this was Swann’s contractual rematch after he got hurt following his title loss at the Royal Rumble.
Cruiserweight Championship: Neville vs. Rich Swann
Swann with a dropkick early on. They went outside the ring where Swann tossed him into the barricade. They did a spot outside the ring where Neville sent Swann head first into the side of the ring apron where the screen was. The match went to break two minutes into it.
Back from break, Neville was in control of the action. The fans were chanting “Austin Aries” with Aries noting that he heard them. Neville went for a springboard attack, but Swann countered with a jumping kick that sent Neville to the floor. Swann up top and he hit a somersault dive onto Neville. It was a Swanton Bomb onto a standing Neville on the floor. The replay made it look even better. Back in the ring, Swann with a headscissors take down, kick to the midsection and a Michinoku Driver earned a two count. Neville hit a forearm while Swann was on the top rope. Neville hit a superplex off the top rope leading to Swann rolling to the floor. Neville won a few matches with that move before, so good storytelling by having Swann roll to the floor. Neville drove Swann into the barricade again as they went to a second commercial.
Back to action 12 minutes into the match. Neville slowed him down with kicks to the gut. Swann landed on his feet after a suplex, then Swann hit his own German Suplex followed by a superkick for a two count. Swann avoided a Neville attack and hit a roundhouse kick. Swann went for a Phoenix Splash off the top rope, Neville moved and got a pinfall attempt for two. Neville applied a Rings of Saturn submission move for the win after about 14 minutes.
Winner by submission: Neville
Analysis: ***1/2 Awesome match with the champ retaining. One of the best cruiserweight matches on Raw to date. Probably the best because I can't think of a better one since they launched the division. No reason to take the title off Neville since he’s done such a great job as champion. Swann hit a lot of cool moves like usual such as the Swanton Bomb outside the ring and the kicks he does always look great. Neville avoided the Phoenix Splash, slapped on the submission and got the win from there. Smart way to finish the match where the champ capitalized on a mistake by the excitable challenger. The most refreshing thing about this is that they got way more time than most cruiserweight matches on Raw.
After the match, replays aired of the key spots in the match.
Neville was interviewed by Austin Aries in the ring, who asked about his thoughts on the last 24 hours. Fans chanted “Austin Aries” for him as Neville hesitated to answer. Neville said “look at me now” to all the doubters. Neville talked about how he has laid waste to pretender after pretender. Neville claimed there was nobody on 205 Live that holds a candle to the king of the cruiserweights. There were loud “what” chants. Aries asked if him if there was nobody that was competition. Loud “Austin Aries” chants as Aries pointed out the WWE Universe might disagree with Neville’s opinion. Neville told Aries he must be delusional if he thinks he is close to being on Neville’s level. Neville told him to go back to his announcer desk to entertain the universe. Neville threatened him by saying he might break his orbital socket again. Aries said he’s just there to do his job. Aries had one more question and said it’s more of a statement. Aries hit Neville in the head with the microphone. Aries hit a spinning forearm to knock down Neville. Crowd loved it. Neville left up the ramp.
Analysis: Well done by both guys in front of a hot crowd that chanted for Aries right on cue. If that was in front of a crowd that wasn’t as interested then it would have hurt the segment. The crowd being into it so much helped Neville rile them up and Aries made them happy when he decked Neville. That was really done. They should have an awesome match whether it’s at WrestleMania or somewhere else. It wouldn’t surprise me if the cruisers get a ladder match at WM, so we’ll see how they settle this.
Enzo & Cass were backstage as they bumped into Cesaro & Sheamus backstage. Sheamus noted that they choked. Cass told them to watch their match. Cesaro said they’ll watch it. Enzo said they’re not going to choke, but they might choke on some bubbly after they win. Enzo mocked Cesaro for his loss to Samoa Joe last week. Enzo & Cass left.
Analysis: The tag teams on Raw continue to have their issues.
Goldberg’s locker room door was shown. He’s up next.
The New Universal Champion Goldberg Wants To Talk
Bill Goldberg, the Universal Champion, was shown walking backstage. He made his entrance to a loud ovation with plenty of “Goldberg” chants for him. He was wearing the Universal Championship around his waist.
Goldberg held up the Universal Championship in the center of the ring. Goldberg: “This title belongs to you just as much as it belongs to me because I could not and I repeat, could not do it without you.” Goldberg said he stands in front of us as a humble man as WWE’s new Universal Champion. There were some boos for Goldberg, but a lot of cheers.
Goldberg said he had something he needed to say that he’s never made public. The crowd chanted “CM Punk” at him. He nodded his head at it as if to say “okay” or something like that. Paul Heyman showed up to do his “ladies and gentleman” on the ramp.
Analysis: Those were the first signs of boos for Goldberg. Some fans don’t like that he’s holding a major title in WWE as a part timer, which is understandable. Goldberg was about to say something and Heyman cut him off, which could have been earlier that palnned since the crowd was chanting for Punk.
Heyman said he did not come there alone. Heyman said he is there as the advocate for the challenger on April 2nd, Goldberg’s opponent and Heyman’s client Brock Lesnar. Lesnar made his entrance to a big reaction from the crowd.
Lesnar walked around the ring while Goldberg was inside it. Lesnar got right in Goldberg’s face. The camera did a wide shot to show the WrestleMania sign in the background.
Heyman told Goldberg that Lesnar was there to shake his hand and congratulate him on becoming the Universal Champion. Heyman said that he understands Goldberg is happy, but Lesnar may be happier. Heyman admitted that Goldberg has proven to be a beast and a conqueror like Lesnar has proven to be. Heyman spoke about how both of them needed to win, but only one of them will walk out of the ring as the winner while the other will walk out as the loser at WrestleMania. Lesnar smiled while Goldberg said “2-0” to Lesnar.
Heyman provided a spoiler by noting that at the end of the match there will be a new, reigning Undisputed Champion and his name is Brock Lesnar. That led to Lesnar extending his hand for a shake. Goldberg didn’t shake his hand. Heyman said after the match, they will say Goldberg is “Brock’s Bitch.” Lesnar picked up Goldberg and hit Goldberg with a F5. The crowd cheered that. Lesnar left with Heyman. Goldberg sold it as a big deal and took his time getting back to his feet. Goldberg was sweating profusely, which is something he tends to do.
Analysis: That was an effective segment in terms of making Lesnar look strong. It’s been a while since Lesnar has won a match on television, so fans need to see him looking as good as ever on the road to WrestleMania. Lesnar obviously has a big name and star power that few people have, but he got beat by Goldberg at Survivor Series and eliminated by him at the Royal Rumble. Pushing Lesnar the right way is going to be important heading into their WrestleMania match. Heyman’s promo was very good as usual. Obviously the “Brock’s bitch” line was the cue for the F5 by Lesnar. The crowd seemed to like it a lot. I think the segment was a success that accomplished what it was supposed to.
Later in the show is Braun Strowman finishing what he started with Roman Reigns.
Gallows & Anderson vs. Enzo & Cass up next.
New episode of Ride Along on WWE Network after Raw featuring Seth Rollins with Cesaro and Neville with Sami Zayn.
Enzo & Cass made their entrance. Enzo said they should have walked into the Windy City as the champions. They sucked up to the crowd noting the Chicago Bulls six NBA Titles (Jordan in 91, Jordan in 92, etc.) to get the crowd to chant “how you doin’” after every year he said. The champs made their entrance.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass
The match started with the faces getting some offense in. The heels escaped to the floor. Sheamus and Cesaro walked down to the ring, so the show went to break two minutes into it. Cesaro had coffee in his hand.
Anderson worked on Enzo with a back suplex. Gallows got in there with a slam attempt, but Enzo come back with a DDT. Cass got the hot tag against Anderson with a fallaway slam. Corner splash by Cass, then another fallaway slam and another corner splash. Body slam by Cass followed by the Empire Elbow for two as Gallows made the save. Enzo dumped Gallows to the floor. Enzo with a suicide dive that knocked down Gallows outside the ring. Enzo celebrated and knocked the coffee out of the hand of Cesaro by accident. Cesaro went into the ring, went for a clothesline and accidentally hit Anderson with it. Ref called for the disqualification at about seven minutes.
Match Result: Disqualification
Analysis: *1/2 A simple match with the obvious cheap ending as soon as I saw Cesaro out there with the coffee in his hands. You knew somebody was going to bump into it to start a brawl.
After the match, there was a brawl with all six guys involved. Cesaro and Sheamus cleaned house with Sheamus dropping Enzo with a Brogue Kick to end it.
Analysis: Triple threat tag match at WrestleMania? It's possible just based on that interaction. That’s a good way to get three teams on the show. It’s possible another team gets added too although New Day seem to be just the hosts of WrestleMania without being in a match.
A video package aired for the next WWE Hall of Famer, “Ravishing” Rick Rude. The video focused on his promos and his womanizing ways. Don’t forget the great tights either.
Analysis: He was a great heel in the 1980s and 1990s. Unfortunately, he passed away due to heart failure when he just 40 years old in 1999. I’m glad he’s going to be honored in the Hall of Fame. Will be good for his family to see him shown the love by WWE on March 31 at the Hall of Fame.
Coming up later we will hear from Bayley.
The tag team of Cesaro & Sheamus argued with Enzo & Cass. The Raw GM Mick Foley was there with officials to break it up. Foley put them in a tag match next week and said the winners face Gallows & Anderson at WrestleMania. The wrestlers left. The commish Stephanie McMahon told him to go to her office.
Analysis: Poor Mick has to go to the Principal’s Office again.
A clip aired of Austin Aries decking Neville earlier in the night to explain why Aries was on commentary.
Akira Tozawa vs. Ariya Daivari
Daivari started off with a hard clothesline leading to a two count. Chinlock by Daivari. They did a chop exchange, so Tozawa did his shrieking with the crowd joining in. Running kick by Tozawa followed by a senton splash for two. Daivari went to the floor, so Tozawa nailed a suicide dive to knock down Daivari on the floor. Back in the ring, Daivari with a kick to the gut, Tozawa avoided a suplex and hit a snap German Suplex for the win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Akira Tozawa
Analysis: * Easy win to put over Tozawa over Daivari, who rarely wins matches. The snap German Suplex always looks good.
After the match, Tozawa called out Brian Kendrick and told him to fight him face to face right now. Kendrick made his entrance. Kendrick said he’ll answer him on 205 Live. Kendrick told him that less number five is to be careful what you wish for. Kendrick left.
Analysis: They use Raw to promote 205 Live often, so that’s all it was. Not much more to it.
The New Day entered with their New Day Pops ice cream cart. Xavier Woods called it the “New Day Popcycle.” Kofi Kingston asked who this Popcycle represents and said it represents the WWE Universe ice cream dreams. Big E said as WrestleMania hosts they can host a number of events like hosting their feet up the butts of the Shining Stars. I don’t think he means that in a literal sense.
The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Big E (w/Xavier Woods) vs. The Shining Stars – Primo & Epico
The Shining Stars boys got some offense in. They went after Woods on the floor with the ice cream cart. Big E knocked down Epico with a clothesline and Kingston hit a cross body block. Back in the ring, Big E and Kingston teamed up for the Midnight Hour double team move for the win after two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The New Day
Analysis: * Easy win to put over New Day over the Shining Stars, who almost never win. I wrote something similar for the last match. Two squash matches in a row.
There was a video package about Trish & Lita in honor of Women’s History Month. Women wrestlers like Natalya, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Becky Lynch and Bayley spoke about them along with Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon.
Analysis: I’m a fan of women and history, but WWE really loves these tributes for whatever history month it is, huh? They sure do.
Bayley is up next.
Promo Time for the Women's Champ And Others
The Raw General Manager Mick Foley was in the ring. He called out Raw Women’s Champion Bayley to join her in the ring while Graves said that she is not his champion. The announcers went over the controversial win by Bayley due to the assist from Sasha Banks.
Foley congratulated Bayley for her win. Bayley said she wished she could call herself a champion. She noted that we all saw what happened with Sasha getting involved. Bayley claimed that she needs to move forward, keep going and look ahead to WrestleMania. Bayley spoke about how her year started and ended with WrestleMania. She mentioned that last year she stood in the crowd watching three women she grew up with in the Performance Center battling for that championship. Bayley said she promised herself she will be in the ring at the next WrestleMania. Bayley said it doesn’t feel right being champion after the controversy.
Foley said it doesn’t matter how you get there, it just matters where you are going. Foley said the question is who will be her opponent at WrestleMania.
Sasha Banks made her entrance in her ring gear. Banks talked about how they shouldn’t talk about Charlotte – they should talk about WrestleMania. Banks went into the ring. Banks said that she thinks they should make it happen at WrestleMania with Banks facing Bayley for the Women’s Title. Foley asked the crowd if we have a match for WrestleMania.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance along with Dana Brooke. They were in street clothes rather than ring gear like the other two women. They went into the ring. Charlotte complained about how Banks didn’t believe that Bayley was good enough to beat Charlotte. It led to Charlotte saying she was the victim in this conspiracy. Charlotte bitched about how she was robbed of her title and her pay-per-view streak while noting that Mick doesn’t care because his favorite “daughters” are going to WrestleMania. Foley told her that she lost her rematch.
Stephanie McMahon, the Raw Commissioner, joined the fun. She spoke about how Mick Foley is not the boss. Fans greeted her with “CM Punk” chants. Stephanie said the crowd is predictable because they’re just like CM Punk and called them losers. Stephanie talked about how she demanded more out of Mick as the fans continued to chant “CM Punk” while Stephanie kept talking. Stephanie said the person who deserves the Women’s Championship match is Charlotte Flair.
Stephanie said she was going to make the match official by saying that Bayley will defend the Women’s Title against Charlotte Flair. Foley said you can’t leave “The Boss” out in the cold. Stephanie wondered who the boss was. Foley said that Sasha deserves to be in a match at WrestleMania. Foley proposed Sasha vs. Charlotte next week on Raw. Stephanie had a different idea and put Banks in a match against Bayley up next while adding that if Banks wins she is added to the WrestleMania match.
Analysis: That was a ten minute promo to make a simple point, but they had to let five people talk in order to get there. Considering two of the women were in their ring gear and the other two women were not it was obvious who was going to be in the match. WWE needs to work on their “impromptu match booking” ideas so that they actually look like they are made up on the fly.
The announcers were joined by Charlotte on commentary with Dana Brooke standing by.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
This is not for Bayley’s Raw Women’s Title.
There was a slow feeling out process in the first two minutes. Shoulder tackle by Bayley followed by a hiptoss. Charlotte said that Banks interfered at Fastlane because she knew she wouldn’t get a title shot if Charlotte was the champion. Banks hit two arm drags on Bayley. Back elbow by Bayley followed by an arm drag and a corner clothesline. Banks came back with a headscissors to send Bayley out of the ring. Banks attacked on the floor, but Bayley went back in the ring. Banks avoided an attack. Bank in the ring, Banks hit a clothesline as the show went to break six minutes into the match.
Back from break, each woman got some nearfalls in different pinning predicaments. They fought for a backslide, Bayley went for Bayley to Belly, Banks avoided it and hit a forearm to the face. Bayley with a back suplex. Charlotte said she needed a closer look, so she walked towards the ring with Brooke. Bayley with a sunset flip and Banks hit a double knee attack leading to a two count. Banks sent Bayley face first into the middle turnbuckle. Bayley avoided a double knee attack, she went up top and Bayley missed a cross body block. Banks with a backstabber into the Bank Statement submission. The crowd barely reacted to it. Brooke on the apron, Charlotte tried to interfere, Banks kicked her away and Bayley tapped out to the Bank Statement at the 13 minute mark.
Winner by submission: Sasha Banks
The win means that it will be a triple threat match at WrestleMania: Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks.
Analysis: **1/2 It was an okay match, but not at the level of previous matches between them. It was weird because the crowd didn’t seem to care about it. They didn’t react to anything that the women did. The slow pace early on didn’t help matters. The failed interference by Charlotte was a weird spot that wasn’t even necessary for the finish. No surprise that Banks won clean since we see champions lose non-title matches in WWE so often. They had much better matches together in NXT in 2015 when Banks was in the heel role with Bayley as the face.
Post match, Charlotte went into the ring and kicked both women. Charlotte held the Raw Women’s Title over her head while pointing at the WrestleMania sign.
Analysis: The rumors for months had Nia Jax as part of the WrestleMania match to make it a four way, but her loss at Fastlane suggests that plans may have changed. She hasn’t been that impressive in the ring, so I can see why. The other three women should have a great match.
Later in the show, Strowman and Reigns will be there.
Up next is Seth Rollins’ rehab and an interview with Triple H.
Roman Reigns was shown backstage as Charly Caruso walked up to him for an interview. Reigns said if Braun Strowman wants to find him he’ll be in the middle of the ring at the end of the night.
Analysis: Main event confrontation segment for later in the show.
There was a video package of Seth Rollins working on the rehab for his right knee injury. He spoke about how he has dedicated his entire life to WWE, to rehab and work hard to be at WrestleMania. He spoke about how he can’t miss WrestleMania this year because he wants it more than anything else.
Analysis: Good way to show how hard he is working to get back into the ring.
Triple H was shown “via satellite” on the video screen as Cole asked him for his reaction. Triple H said you have to take your hats off to WWE for taking care of the health of their talent. He put over the doctor that was in the video. He said we hope that a guy like Seth Rollins listens to the experts and utilizes that advice. Hunter ripped on Rollins for lying to himself. Hunter said he never had to make up names for himself and he never had to call himself “The Man” because everybody else called him that. Hunter spoke about how Rollins thinks he can turn his lies into truth. Hunter told Rollins that if he calls out Triple H for WrestleMania all that would be waiting for him is a nightmare. Hunter said if Rollins shows up at WrestleMania then it will be the last thing he ever does in a WWE ring.
Analysis: Triple H does a good job on heel promos. He’s been doing them for decades. That’s what he is best at as a performer. I’m not sure when they are going to advertise the match or how they might go about it, but it’s very likely going to happen for WrestleMania.
Samoa Joe entered for his match against Chris Jericho.
There was a video package about Emma. They showed her in the gear and look she had for the last couple of years. It ended by saying “Emma: Coming Soon.” The announcers mocked it with Saxton saying start the countdown clock.
Chris Jericho made his entrance to a big ovation. The Jericho/Owens match for the US Title is official for WrestleMania.
Chris Jericho vs. Samoa Joe
This is not for Jericho’s US Title. Owens and Zayn are banned from ringside for the match.
Joe was aggressive early on with a back splash in the corner followed by an enziguri kick to the head. Jericho came back with a kick to the chest. Jericho up top with a cross body block for a two count. Joe came back with a running back elbow followed by a senton splash for two. Joe applied an armbar in the center of the ring. Jericho fought out of it and went for the Walls of Jericho, but Joe powered out of it. Jericho with an enziguri and a dropkick that sent Joe out of the ring. Jericho with a springboard dropkick while Joe was on the apron. Jericho attacked on the floor. Joe applied the Coquina Clutch submission on the floor. Ref counted them out while the crowd chanted “ten” for every number. Joe left him there on the floor, rolled back in around eight and Joe won by countout. It went five minutes.
Winner by countout: Samoa Joe
Analysis: ** It was okay for the time given. It seems like they didn’t want to put either guy over, so that’s why we got the countout win for Joe. The strategy by Joe worked in terms of just getting the win by choking him out on the floor. Jericho got in some offense, but it was mostly Joe in control.
Post match, Joe sent Jericho into the ring. When Joe went for an attack, Jericho hit a Codebreaker that sent Joe out of the ring. Jericho’s music played to end the segment.
Analysis: Good way of showing that Jericho still had a lot of fight left. They can do this match again down the road. I’m going to a live event on Sunday with one of the advertised matches as Joe vs. Jericho vs. Zayn, so that should be cool to see live.
Braun Strowman was shown walking backstage for the main event.
Coming up on 205 Live on Tuesday: Austin Aries has a message for Neville.
Next week on Raw: Enzo & Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus with winning team getting a tag title shot at WrestleMania.
Braun Strowman Confrontation With Roman Reigns
Braun Strowman made his entrance. Strowman said Reigns got lucky last night. Reigns said he didn’t want to have a match. He wanted Reigns to come out there like a man so Strowman can rip him limb from limb. Strowman told Roman that Chicago doesn’t like you and neither do I. Strowman: “Roman!”
The music of Reigns started to play, but instead of Reigns it was the music of The Undertaker. The familiar gongs hit and The Undertaker walked out through the smoke to a huge ovation from the crowd. The arena was lit up in purple as The Deadman slowly walked down to the ring. Taker did his full entrance that took a few minutes like usual. He did his pose on the steps as the lights came on. The crowd loved it.
Undertaker stared at Strowman in the ring. Fans chanted “Holy Shit” as Undertaker looked at Strowman. After a bit of a staredown, Strowman walked out of the ring and left through the crowd. Undertaker’s music started up again.
Analysis: That was an awkward moment, but no surprise since the reported match for Undertaker is Reigns not Strowman.
Roman Reigns’ music hit as Undertaker was in the ring. Reigns made his entrance to a chorus of boos. Reigns took his time walking down to the ring. The crowd kept on booing him as his music played. I should point out too that the crowd was silent as this was happening.
Reigns went into the ring for a staredown with Undertaker. Reigns said that Strowman called him out, not Undertaker. Reigns told Undertaker “this is my yard now” and the crowd booed that. A loud “Roman Sucks” chant started as Undertaker stared at the WrestleMania sign. Reigns looked at the sign too. Undertaker grabbed him by the throat and hit a Chokeslam. Crowd cheered. It’s on.
Undertaker left the ring as Cole said that’s what WrestleMania season is all about. Graves added that we’ll find out whose yard it truly is at WrestleMania. Undertaker walked up the ramp, put up his hand and the show ended at 11:10pmET.
Analysis: Strong way to end the show. The staring at the sign by Undertaker has been done many times in the past. Everybody in the building knew it was coming. The crowd hated Reigns as soon as he got out there. Reigns showed Undertaker disrespect by saying it was his yard now (Reigns did say with “all due respect” first) and Undertaker responded with a huge Chokeslam to send a message to him. I like the way they did it because it showed us that Undertaker looks healthy and ready for WrestleMania.
They didn’t announce the WrestleMania match officially, but that’s been the rumor for months now and was set up at the Royal Rumble when Reigns eliminated Undertaker. Reigns is going to get booed in that match, but I don’t think WWE really cares. They want to put him over Undertaker and that’s what they are going to do. I’ll be shocked if Undertaker wins that match.
Good ending to Raw. Much better than the last few weeks.
Three Stars of the Show
2. Kevin Owens
3. (tie) Chris Jericho
3. (tie) Rich Swann
7 out of 10
Last week: 4
2017 Average: 5.45
Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.75 (Smackdown is 6.66)
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 4, 5.5, 5, 7, 5.5
2017 High: 7 (Feb. 6 & March 6)
2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9 & Feb. 27)
I give it a 7 out of 10.
That was a good show this week. I liked the energy in the first hour. The second hour was slower, but the third hour was good again. Strong ending with Undertaker coming back to deliver a message to Reigns. The crowd loved seeing Taker again.
Neville was the star of the show to me. The match with Swann was awesome and his promo confrontation with Austin Aries was great too. Neville is a great choice as the guy to build the Cruiserweight division around. He’s proving it every week.
I enjoyed the Owens/Jericho promo to start off the show. I’m glad that they didn’t put them in the tag because their physical confrontation should be saved for another time.
Nice job of furthering the Lesnar/Goldberg and Undertaker/Reigns stories with one simple move in each case. It’s simple, but it works.
There were less short matches and filler this week. More of purpose for this week’s show.
Here’s what we know for WrestleMania 33 on April 2 in Orlando.
WWE Universal Championship: Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns – not official, but it’s coming.
WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton (likely) or AJ Styles
United States Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens
Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair
There are plenty of other rumors as well.
That's all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors. Go Toronto Maple Leafs.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org